Guilty Crown

August 26, 2012

Oh. It’s another show dealing with pandemic. Well, at least in its aftermath. If humans don’t destroy themselves with warheads, I’m sure those tiny deadly virus will do an equally if not a much effective job. So in Guilty Crown, we have an epidemic that could have brought mankind closer to Apocalypse and extinction. However it’s not the entire world but a country that has closely experienced this. Guess which country? Yeah. Seems Japan is the perfect place for such happenings. Whether it is viral attacks, alien invasions or large scale wars, this is the place to start if you want your story, legend, fable, chronicle, anecdote and whatever that is you want to tell others. How and why the virus ‘chose’ Japan to start this devastating trail of destruction is perhaps anyone’s guess.

Set in the near future of 2029, the aptly named Apocalypse Virus has brought the citizens of Japan down to its knees. Without the help of the good of the rest of the world, Japanese would have been extinct by now and animes, mangas and games will no longer feed otakus with their fervour obsession. Oops. Got side-tracked there. As usual, there will be atrocities and conspiracies going on as people try to eke out a living getting back on their own feet. As usual, there will be the seemingly oppressive government that is made to look like the bad guy and the resistance force that is seemingly made to look like the cool heroes that will save everybody. As usual the vital piece will have to be a normal high school kid who doesn’t want to have to do anything with it all and is happy with his plain boring life but gets involved in it anyway after gaining abnormal powers. Yeah, it’s that destiny thingy. He becomes the hero, the villain. He saves, he sacrifices. He is perfect yet imperfect. Non-human yet so human. Well, if you’re looking for some sci-fi action, check this one out. If only I can grasp those damn sci-fi jargons and explanations, I would need a couple of Panadols to stop my headache and hope I don’t catch a serious virus along the way.

Episode 1
Inori Yuzuriha is running away from the pursuing authorities. She is injured as she puts a little cylinder into her mini robot, Funell and wants it to deliver it to Gai Tsutsugami. Despite getting help from her comrades, the blast was great enough to throw her off the bridge. Shu Ouma takes a train to school as he notes the increased presence of the military due to last night’s terrorist’s attack at Odaiba, now known as Ward 24. In class, his friend Souta Tamadate asks about his video clip for the presentation. He has not done it yet but promise will complete it. Hare Menjou thinks he’s dense. Shu narrates he may be so as he doesn’t know what to say to others so he hides his nervousness and go along with what they say. Ten years ago when the Apocalypse Virus pandemic wreaked havoc in Japan, the country relied on many countries to contain and rebuild the nation. Japan still relies on them till today. Shu goes to his workshop to finish his project but to his surprise sees Inori, the vocalist for the group Egoist right in the middle singing a song on her own. She gets startled when she hears him and Funell intercepts him. She accidentally activates the video of his project which is an incomplete clip of his hometown. She finds it beautiful. Inori doesn’t respond to his questions and is in a world of her own. Except that she says she must get this cylinder to Gai. Showing him a cat’s cradle, she wonders if he’s a coward. Shu looks into it and sees horrifying visions. The authorities storm in and apprehend Inori violently. Major Guin claims she is a terrorist of Funeral Parlour and if Shu continues to defend her, he’ll be purged as her accomplice. Immediately Shu backs off and goes down on his knees. After they leave, Shu felt somewhat relieved he is out of harm’s way but a pathetic fool for unable to do anything. He wanted to take that cat’s cradle and touch her hand. Funell, who has been malfunctioned, activates to show him the place he’s supposed to deliver the cylinder. As a last chance not to hate himself, he goes to deliver it. Meanwhile the GHQ people are discussing about the stolen Void Genome.

Inori is blindfolded as Guin interrogates her where she hid the disease they’ve been authorized to dispose without warning. But nothing comes out from her mouth. He’ll make her regret it and orders his men to purge every single resident in this neighbourhood. Shu enters the supposed area but a group of thugs confront him. They want him to hand over his ‘rice cooker’. Despite being a wuss and getting beaten up, he holds tightly to it insisting Funell doesn’t belong to him. Probably Gai saw his courage and moves in to show us his cool combat moves on the thugs and send them running with tails between their legs. As Tsugumi takes Funell away from him, Gai asks what happened to Inori and if he had abandoned her. Shu is overwhelmed with guilt and couldn’t answer. An explosion rocks the nearby area and it’s the GHQ Whitecoats invading. They’re shooting live rounds at everyone in sight. Gai wants Shu to protect the cylinder for real. Shu makes a run and sees Inori climbing out from the truck she was held captive. She is confronted with a couple of mechas. I guess Shu wanted to play the hero this time and rushes to protect Inori regardless of his own life. The mecha fires and breaks the cylinder. Shu feels weird in this alternate dimension as Inori asks him to use her. To take this power of Guilty Crown that gives shape through the bond between hearts. After seeing more visions, Shu places his hand into Inori’s heart and grabs out an iron sword. You know this sword is badass cool because it creates a light of storm through the clouds. You know this sword can kickass because it slices through the mecha like a hot knife through butter.

Episode 2
Shu just follows his instincts in fighting back despite still in shock in the moves he can pull off. Not as shocked as the Antibodies who have never seen such power. Shu goes to unconscious Inori’s side as Funell picks them up. Meanwhile Ayase Shinomiya engages in a brutal mecha fight with Daryl Yan. Tsugumi knows Ayase cannot win and bails her out before she gets killed by that maniac. Guin is not amused to learn what is happening as he meets Daryl, the son of the famous Major General Yan. He is here on his own initiative and bringing a new Endlave model to the operations centre. Guin is glad he could help out but when he extends a handshake, Daryl becomes angry, cocky and spiteful. He tells him he is here to do what he wants or else he’ll tell on him to his father. Shu is brought back to Gai who is glad Ayase is alright despite her lost. However he is disappointed with Inori’s failure. She may have got badly injured and worked hard but she has failed them at the crucial moment. She has let Shu used the Void Genome in that cylinder when it was meant for Gai. The cylinder was one of the only 3 enhanced genomes that Sephirah Genomics successfully cultivated. The power it bestows its user is King’s Power. That is, it analyses a human’s genome, draws out the hidden power within by converting them into Voids. Voids are ideas that have acquired form and the sword he used is one of them. Different Voids can be extracted from different people and that sword was Inori’s Void. Shu is now given the power to change things and no longer be a spectator. He will have Shu fight with them but he still has doubts of wanting to get involved so Gai tells him he has only 2 options: Sit quietly and be selected out of this world or adapt and change. Gai’s comrades inform him things have turned for the worse. Not only one of their men is captured, Antibodies have taken 100 innocent hostages and worst, that cold blooded psychopath Daryl is here. Gai regroups with his Funeral Parlour team as Shibungi mentions the difference in power is not worth taking the risk for this rescue mission. But Gai can’t pass this up since they’ll be exterminating Antibodies and rescue the residents. From this point on, all Funeral Parlour operations won’t be covert and they’ll make their existence known to the world.

As Shu follows Inori to their station point as all other Funeral Parlours are with theirs, he remembers Gai’s further explanation about the Special Virus Disaster Response Bureau AKA Antibodies who have been granted authority to dispose anybody based on their judgement whom they think has symptoms of the disease. The cornerstone of GHQ’s public security operation is their cruellest and sharpest fang. The enemy that they are facing now. Shu sees the Antibodies ready to execute a bunch of men. A wife of one of the men pleads that her husband is not sick. But when she starts touching Daryl, he becomes violent and beats her up. It ends with him and the firing squad killing them all. That is a cue for Gai to launch his operation. Part of the plan is to draw a diversion and draw the enemy Endlaves from the camp and some of their men infiltrate and take certain points under their control. Daryl is about to go wild when he receives orders to cease attack. There are too many missile targets for Antibodies main camp to intercept. Gai makes an announcement to Guin to surrender to release the hostages but Guin will not negotiate with terrorists and has an ace up his sleeves. In fact, he tells the leader to come out or release the gas planted underground. Gai shows up as Guin wonders the name of his group. Gai says the world operates on the survival of the fittest law so they continue to offer songs of mourning to the ones selected out. Hence their name as it signifies they are always on the singing side, that they are the survivors. Guin gives him to the count of 10 to return the stolen genetic weapon or else. Shu is amazed that everything is going according to plan and Inori believes he can do it. Shu sneaks up and takes out some of the Antibodies and extracts Daryl’s Void, Kaleidoscope from his chest in his surprise attack. When time is up, Guin fires all the beams but Shu uses the Kaleidoscope to create mirrors and lock in Antibodies main camp. The lasers ricochet within the barrier and fry everything inside. Gai praises Shu for overcoming his limits today and wants him to join them in their fight. Will he take his hand? Guess not. Why would he be sitting in his classroom imagining the cool adventures he’d be on if he had taken the offer? I suppose the normal life suits best for him. But that’s not the end yet as his class gets a new transfer student: Inori. And no, she’s the real deal. Not a fake.

Episode 3
As Funeral Parlour announce its existence around the world, Shu’s classmates are hounding Inori since they realize she’s that singer. Souta is a big fan of hers and even asks if she’s part of Funeral Parlour since her songs are so Funeral Parlour-ish. Shu’s other friends, Yahiro Samukawa calms everybody down and to make it easy for Inori. Shu gets more surprise when Inori waltzes into his apartment like it’s her own. Heck, it’s like she’s moved in! Shuuichirou Keido responds to the GHQ higher ups about the recent events and he will be putting Major Makoto Waltz Segai in charge for all Funeral Parlour related matters. Then they talk about the currently trendy genetic drug called Norma Gene (I hope they didn’t name it after Marilyn Monroe) that was accidentally developed during the Apocalypse Virus vaccination. Inori has did some background research on Shu and knows his family well. She is sent to live with him to protect him. Yahiro knocks on his door and gives him a horror movie to cheer him up since he noticed he isn’t being himself lately. But how do you explain Inori coming out from his apartment? I’m sure there’s a good explanation for this. As a good friend, Yahiro didn’t bug him and if he feels like it, he can talk to him any time. Inori receives a call by Gai and wants Shu to follow. Meeting Gai, he says that it seems someone has spotted them during yesterday’s battle. If it was a local resident then he could’ve taken care of it but he notes it was someone from his school. Seems that person who went under the alias of Sugar was making a deal for Norma Gene and there’s a good chance he may have seen them. He wants them to search every student of his school. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack, right? Shu realizes Gai can tell what people’s Void are. If not, he wouldn’t have made that plan if he hadn’t known. He further admits during that battle, he sensed the presence of the witness and his Void. Under the current Temporary Disaster Law, terrorists have no human right so if the witness identifies him, he won’t escape justice. Gai has informed Inori of the Void’s shape and if Shu values his normal life (is there going to be one anymore?), he must protect it at all costs.

Shu remembers the few rules of Voids. They can only be drawn from people who are 17 years old or younger and during the time the Void is drawn, that person loses memories of the time surrounding the event. First he tries to sink his hands into his class rep, Kanon Kusama but it seems he touched her breasts! Molester! And just like that, his reputation has turned from normal to bad. And that pic of him molesting Kanon went viral. So much about keeping a low profile. How the heck did he screw up? Inori mentions he forgot another rule – He must look in the eyes of the person. Or at least make that person think he is doing so (since Shu is the nervous kind and can’t look straight into a person’s eyes). Taking this from the top, Shu pulls out lots of weird Void shapes from the students. Vase? Pliers? Even a refrigerator?! Why is Souta’s one a hand blaster?! Anyway they’re all not what Inori is seeking for. Shu wants to know why Voids come in different forms and her reply it reflects things like a person’s fear or complex. Something like the shape of their heart. Yahiro helps Shu escape before Kanon can catch him. While taking a breather, Shu notices something odd with Yahiro’s words. “If you joined the Funeral Parlour, they would have put you through worse”. Shu realizes Yahiro is Sugar and says aloud that alias. Yahiro instantly turns from a nice guy to one who is ready to beat up somebody without a second thought. Shu pulls out Yahiro’s Void, which is a scissors and the Void that Inori is looking for. Inori is going to eliminate Yahiro but Shu wants her to stop. You know that friendship thing, bla, bla, bla. Inori obliges since he said so. Once Yahiro wakes up, the guys have a guy to guy talk and promise they won’t rat each other’s secret. Shu felt it was the first time he bonded with Yahiro. Shu and Inori take the train and the latter expresses her desire to get to know others. Suddenly the train comes to a crashing halt at the next station. Outside GHQ soldiers are waiting. Yahiro pushes Shu out of the carriage before the train continues his journey. Looks like he has been betrayed. Left stranded, Segai says Shu is under arrest.

Episode 4
Shu is taken in for interrogation but he isn’t revealing anything. Segai reports to Keido about the mystery Shu is. He seems like no ordinary member but displays none of Funeral Parlour’s ideology. Keido then shows Segai a video from Gai whose team are going to raid GHQ’s isolation facility and save their comrade. Segai has an idea. Shu is freed though he has to follow Segai who is going to tell him everything. While bringing him to the ward, he says Yahiro trades Norma Gene not because he is an addict but for money. He needs to save his little brother Jun who is being affected by the Stage IV Apocalypse Virus. He along with many other patients are lying unconscious treated in the ward. With GHQ, they manage to find vaccine for the virus and regain a measure or order. That’s why he hates Gai and his Funeral Parlour for trying to disrupt the order they’re trying to protect. He doesn’t understand why Shu would trample on their goodwill. But Shu mentions about his soldiers killing people so he replies those people refused regular inoculations and that some of their soldiers also died. Soldiers with families and hometowns who died in a foreign soil. Shu gets confused because Gai told him he was going to save those people. If so, why is he trying to rescue a mass murderer? Revealing the Sky Tree bomber, Kenji Kido, he is being locked up securely in their isolation ward and part of the Funeral Parlour. He is the comrade Gai wants to break out and not Shu. Segai passes him a transmitter in which he can push some buttons and punishment will come swiftly to those terrorists. Still unsure? Mentioning if Inori is under Gai’s deception, if Shu refuses to help, he is afraid he may have to ask her.

Shu’s lawyer comes to see him but it’s Gai in disguise. After Tsugumi puts on fake video and recording to the security room, Gai reveals his plan to retrieve Kenji. His team is making preparations for the invasion as they speak and once Kenji is freed, he wants Shu to draw out his Void. But Shu doesn’t want him he’ll obey his orders and that he never tells him anything. Gai realizes GHQ must have said something to him when the lights go out. Due to external hacking, the system is rebooting. Gai signals to initiate operation and Funeral Parlour launches on a massive attack on the building. Time is running out and Gai wants him to make his decision quick. Stay or move on. But they have another problem. Inori is ignoring Gai’s orders to go break out Shu whom she believes is still in his cell. This is jeopardizing Gai’s plan. Gai will secure Kenji on his own so he wants Ayase to back up Shu and Inori. Shu nearly got owned by a mecha if not for Ayase coming into the picture. She is upset that he must have said something to Inori because she has never disobeyed Gai’s orders. If anything happens to Gai, she won’t forgive him. Kenji is being moved so Gai fires his bazooka and this throws Kenji off. Shu sees Kenji and reaches to draw out his Void, a gun. But this is no ordinary gun as it manipulates gravity. Shu fires at all the mecha to levitate them but there’s just too many of them. Inori jumps into the picture so Shu fires a great deal of the gun to turn the area into a mini gravity-free space. I guess he feels it is alright to believe in Inori and reaches in to draw out her Void. A sniper is about to take out Shu but he was killed by Segai who doesn’t want any interruptions. To his amazement he sees Shu’s transformation as he goes on a slashing spree. Wow. The entire place is annihilated. Gai confronts Shu about his decision to come with them or go back. If he can’t decide, then believe in him. Trust everything in him but obey his orders. I guess he has got nothing to lose so Shu agrees to go with him. But he keeps the transmitter just in case. Once bitten, twice shy.

Episode 5
Shu is taken to Funeral Parlour’s main base as Gai announces Shu as one of them and will be part of their core operation. Then he talks about the next operation to take Leukocyte and wants the members to memorize all 145 diverging patterns of the proposed plans in 3 days. Otherwise, don’t bother in participating. Gai wants Ayase to train Shu because in his current state he’ll only be in their way. Shu tries to be nice to wheelchair ridden Ayase but she knocks him over and tells him not to take pity just because she has a wheelchair. It is what makes her unique. During that, Shu drops the transmitter and knocks out. He has a little dream of his past before waking up for some training that Ayase reluctant wants to do. Shu realizes his transmitter is in her hands and she’s not going to give him back until he passes the test to see if he’s got what it takes to be part of Funeral Parlour. So we see how much a wuss Shu is when he takes on Argo Tsukishima in a knife battle, Tsugumi monitoring his unfit heart rate (he doesn’t get much exercise I guess), the heavy weapons from Oogumo and lighter hand gun training from Inori. Ayase sees them shy-shy and labels Shu a pervert. Kyou is happy she gets to on a mission with Gai tomorrow but is sad she’ll miss Shu’s mock battle. Shu probably is just saying what’s on his mind. That everybody follows the confident one and if he did it himself, he won’t have any followers. He wonders if selfish people get ahead in this world. Argo says Gai is not like that and at this rate he won’t see anything and wants him to apologize since that was an insult to all of them. Shu joins Inori singing alone and asks why she joined Funeral Parlour but she asks him back in return. Well, I’m sure she is the main reason why, right? Yeah, he was happy she came for him then. He asks just what if they both leave Funeral Parlour together. She gets defensive and didn’t let him touch her hand. She says Gai gave her a name, a world. So she can’t go. What about all that I’ll-stay-with-you-forever thingy? Well, Gai told her to say that. The shock must be too much to bear as Inori warns him not to get too close to her. Even more shocking, he sees Inori entering a room with Gai.

Shu feels so humiliated that he didn’t see where he is running that he crashes into Ayase. She says the duo spend the night together like this 2 or 3 times a month and everybody knows it though they just pretend not to see. Ayase knows Shu likes Inori and it’s too bad for him but Shu also knows Ayase likes Gai. She gets rough with him and denies it is love but respect. Yeah, right. Shu laments why girls always pick a handsome cocky guy (would they have preferred a wuss like him?). Ayase says he can find out by winning tomorrow’s mock battle. He wanted to help her up but she says it’s her policy not to receive help from others. However since it looks pathetic crawling up, she hopes he could not see and leave. Gai, who is taking blood transfusion from Inori to prevent the crystallization of his Apocalypse Virus (they do it secretly, thus the misinterpretation by others that they’re a couple) notes how Inori looks more and more like ‘her’ every day. Next day, Gai and Kyou arrive at the airbase and just like he planned, there is only one squadron coming with disciplined people on board the plane with the OAU and Leaving Nations. Meanwhile Ayase briefs Shu on his mock battle that is modelled after a scenario to take Leukocyte. His goal is to evade the mecha she’s piloting, Steiner and take shelter in the truck behind her. The battle starts and everyone is shaking their heads that Shu will lose this one since he’s running away from Ayase’s attacks. Shu bumps into Argo and in that moment, he stumbled upon an idea and pulls out his Void, which is a rod that creates a dark sphere. It engulfs Steiner and Shu makes his way to the goal. Though Shu apologizes he cheated but Ayase that’s okay since he used a part that makes him unique. Everyone cheers for Shu and welcomes him to the team. Ayase returns his transmitter as Kenji wakes up from his slumber to meet them. However Tsugumi says they’ve got trouble. From the footage, they see the place where Gai was supposed to be, totally wrecked. Must be one heck of firepower because at only 3% output, the target destruction rate was 110% Awesome!!! That’s one freaking huge burning crater it left.

Episode 6
Leukocyte is a constellation of quasi-zenith satellites and when completed will have full 24-hour coverage over Japan. What for? To exterminate Japanese. Yeah, they’ve corrupted the world with their lolicons, galges, eroges, etc. Haha! Gai is still alive but has some bruises. Kyou and the other reinforcements were not so lucky. Though the supplies are lost and reinforcements wiped out, there is not enough time and Gai wants the operation to continue as planned. This time their target is the Leukocyte control facility at the base of the Tsukigase Dam. They’re going to sneak in and stop the control cores. From what I understand from the mumbo-jumbo, they can’t touch the core and they have to manipulate it without touching. This is where Shu’s Void Genome and Kenji’s anti-gravity gun comes in. But when Shu hears casualty will rise to 35%, he is not happy that 1 in 3 people will die and opts out since he doesn’t want anybody dying for nothing if he screws up. Either way, Gai says the operation will be carried out. Inori talks to Shu and she doesn’t like how he always talks apologetically to her. Gai heals and talks to himself that he’s just putting up a leader act. Kyou was barely alive after the Leukocyte attack but seeing how much she was suffering in pain (she was still speaking grateful words of him), Gai pulls the trigger to put her out of her misery. Gai is in a dilemma if he can repay their sacrifices. Shouldn’t he be better than this and that he is a much smaller man than everyone else believed. Shu heard everything so Gai says this is the real him. Whenever he loses confidence, he gets mad and lets other people spoils him. Including Inori. This upsets Shu and they both start throwing punches. Shu is surprised Gai allows him to land him one. He tells the kid he shoulders everyone’s lives and feels its weight. He doesn’t want to be indifferent. He wants to be worthy of everyone’s feelings. I guess those words were enough for Shu to offer his help.

Funeral Parlour attacks the control facility as planned. Daryl who has been discharged relishes in getting bloody. He fights Ayase and is not too happy she is occupying his Steiner. Gai, Inori, Shu and Kenji make their way to the bottom as Inori shows she’s not a chick to mess with. Hot babe with pistols in each hand. Feel lucky to die by her hands? Inside the core room, Shu has to concentrate but Daryl barges in and goes trigger happy, disregarding the fact he must not damage the core. Gai uses a couple of cool moves to cease his Endlave’s movements. However the core is damaged and knocks out some of the communications in Tokyo. Furthermore, Leukocyte 1 is falling since its altitude control has malfunctioned. It will fall into Tokyo. Gai wants Shu to give him that transmitter. Segai pops up and meets Gai for the first time. He felt it was a shame Shu didn’t use the transmitter but is now grateful he didn’t. Gai wants to make a deal with Segai. He’ll use this transmitter to do something about the satellite in exchange to erase all data on Shu that he has gathered from these incidents. The signal from the transmitter is connected to the Leukocyte and it is programmed to fire at it when he pushed the buttons. So Gai plans to line up the falling satellite exactly in the path of this transmitter and use Leukocyte to destroy it. However somebody needs to make himself the target. Gai will be it. Shu can’t stand by and watch again and since Inori asks if he wants to save everybody, a different Void weapon protrudes out of her chest. Gai is a second from pushing the button when Shu uses the cool new Void weapon to fire at Leukocyte 1. Communications restored and nobody died. Okay, maybe all those minor guards. Gai wonders why he did that since one sinner taken out would be enough. Shu said that he would help out and now he is his accomplice. I guess this means he’s joining Funeral Parlour for good, eh?

Episode 7
Shu and Inori return to school but he is having it tough since he has got this reputation of being taken in by GHQ. The popular student council president and heir to the Kuhouin Group, Arisa Kuhouin slaps them for shooting their mouth. She was kind enough to help dispel the rumours about Shu and that he was taken in to cooperate with the government. Now with everyone eased up, they start asking Shu lots of questions during his time there. Including “Is the military full of gay?”. Shu notices Yahiro not in class and was being told ever since the day Shu got arrested he stopped coming in. Shu didn’t expect his mom Haruka to come back so early (mommy loves wearing lingerie around the house because it must be boring wearing her lab coat at Sephirah Genomics day and night). He tries to hide Inori but trips and fall on top of her. He tries to reason his way out but Haruka was too hungry to understand all his ranting. Shibungi notes to Gai that because of the last few fights, they are short on equipment. They have the money but don’t have the means to transport them. Gai says they need a partner. Arisa is in a dilemma. Her grandpa, Okina who is the head of the group wants her to come to a party tomorrow and also left some back room jobs in her hands. She feels she’s not up to task but accepts it anyway since results are everything. Meanwhile Segai and Daryl meet Colonel Dan Eagleman at the harbour. He is excited on using his surface-to-air missiles called Dragoons. Wait a minute. How can such missiles fire at a ship when it’s supposed to go up in the air and not horizontally? Just turn it sideways! Seems he is going to fire it at a ship that is hostile to GHQ. Where did he get that information? An upright citizen reported it. That ship is a private party hosted by Okina and he is rallying his guests that Japan needs to stand back on their own 2 feet.

Meanwhile Gai and Shu also infiltrate the ship in this sudden mission since Gai has somebody he wants to talk to since he doesn’t appear in public often so they’re forcing themselves on him at his party. Shu is surprised to see Haruka and Arisa on board. So much so when the going gets tough, he passes the baton to Gai and lets him do his smooth talking. Or rather he’s insulting Arisa that she reminds him of his pet armadillo. How rude. But how true since he notes she curls up into a tight little ball to protect herself when she tries to slap him. Tsugumi contacts Shu that a Dragoon has been fired at the ship. He doesn’t want just them to abandon ship and wants to save the other passengers too. But time is not on their side. Hurry. Shu informs Gai about this when he just passed a phone to Okina in hopes he would purchase Japan’s future. Gai takes Arisa to the deck and is going to put a spell that will let her become her true self. Making her close her eyes and then opening them at the count of 3, Arisa suddenly sees Shu extracting her Void weapon, which is a ball. Not just any ball. A ball that opens up into a shield and turns the Dragoon into beautiful fireworks upon contact! Dan is bewildered that the missile just disappeared off the radar and orders to fire all the Dragoons. Can Shu protect it all? So while we hear Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers in the background, we get to see splendid fireworks being lit up all over the ship. Gai notes Arisa’s Void weapon as the Coward’s Shield that armours the weak self inside. Okina has been watching the spectacle and is convinced with this live demonstration Funeral Parlour has what it takes to defend against a second-order Leukocyte as he speaks to Shibungi. This means the Kuhouin Group will be aiding Funeral Parlour with their domestic transport routes. Tsugumi wonders how GHQ knew about the party at sea and it seems the so called upright citizen who reported was Gai himself. Arisa wakes up in her room safe but with Gai by her side. She tries to act tough and all but he pats her head and notes how she sucks in letting people spoil her. Is she starting to like him? I bet she is. Shu talks to Inori that he is glad he could use Voids. Haruka looks at an old family photo and reminisces that they have to protect Shu’s future.

Episode 8
Shu is leaving for his club’s summer camp and Haruka isn’t happy since he’ll be ‘abandoning’ her for a few days. Since he is going to Oshima, she hopes he would pay a visit to his father’s grave. But there is more to it to this trip. Seems Gai wanted Shu to bring Souta along to Oshima as the latter’s Void is needed for this mission to break through a security in GHQ’s facility there. I guess the mansion that his friends believed to be of Shu’s family villa is supposedly arranged by Kuhouin Group. Since Shu can’t take his eyes of Inori in her swimsuit, Hare doesn’t want to lose out and brings Shu along. Later Shu visits the grave of his father, Kurosu. Gai is also there and knows he was a professor at the old Tennozu College and a leading expert on the Apocalypse Virus. Shu doesn’t know much about him since he died 10 years ago due to the Lost Christmas incident. Gai isn’t really here to visit any graves. He takes Shu to a nearby shrine which is actually a hidden facility of GHQ. He wants the jewel that started it all and it’s situated within it. That’s where Souta’s Void comes in and he wants Shu to bait him by using Inori since he is an Egoist fan. Shu is not happy to use Inori but what choice does he have since Gai won’t hear any more of his excuses. That night, Souta asks Shu if there is nothing between him and Inori. For the umpteenth time, nothing. If that’s the case, he’ll go all out on her. Though Shu may not like it, he says he’ll help him out. Meanwhile Shibungi talks to Gai about Shu using his friend for this mission. Something that doesn’t fit Shu. On the contrary, Gai says that is what friends are for and life would be boring without adventures. Sounds so like him, right? Souta is pretty excited he is hooked up with Inori and is talking about his love and passion for Egoist that moved his heart, bla, bla, bla. Shu has been watching them and he thinks he is no different than him trying to attract her like playing her music video. Well, same thing, same result. Inori is fascinated. Or maybe she just gets fascinated by a lot of things. I guess Shu won’t allow Souta to confess and before he completes his sentence, Shu jumps out of hiding and pulls out his Void. I initially thought it was a hand blaster but it’s actually a sophisticated camera. To add to Shu’s embarrassment, the other Funeral Parlour members pop out from their hiding. It means they’ve been watching him! Oh dear. That embarrassing line… “Inori is my…”. She’s your what? :)

At the facility, Gai tells Shu to point the Camera at the door and it suddenly opens. Shu realizes Souta’s Void is for opening things. Man, this will come in handy opening any damn locked things. Meanwhile Keido who was visiting Kurosu’s grave earlier also heads into the facility. But he enters not as himself but using Kurosu’s pass card. Because of that, the alarm is triggered so Gai and co make haste. Shu uses the Camera to easily open the complex blocks hiding the room that contains the jewel. Wow. So easy. Just like putting forth a cheat code. But to Gai’s dismay, the jewel is already gone and he knows Keido beat him to it. When Souta comes to, Shu says he can’t help him anymore with Inori. He realizes he has feelings for Inori and blows his top that he should have told him earlier. But Shu gets mad about his tactless and pushy behaviour which gives him a hard time to handle. Shu accepts he is going to be hated by another friend but surprisingly Souta does the opposite. He is glad he was honest because he too had a hard time dealing with him as he was always distant. Souta says this means he has opened his heart up to him. On the journey home, Shu asks about the meaning of Void since he doesn’t truly understand but needs to use them. After all, his right hand is always touching people’s hearts. Inori explains Gai told her that her Voids change along with the states of people’s hearts so Shu deduces if he forms a bond with someone, his power will change too.

Episode 9
Yahiro and Jun are hiding at a church but Segai and his Antibodies are hot on their tails. Segai may have threatened the nun to tell their whereabouts but by the time they barge in, the duo have made their escape. Hare worries about Shu like he is a different person. Maybe something happened at Oshima? Speaking about the lucky item of a striped kettle, one drops in and in turns out to be from Shu who borrowed that item for Souta’s filming. Kanon uses this chance to let Hare and Shu be together. Meanwhile Major General Yan questions Keido about someone entering the facility at Oshima using Kurosu’s card. Can’t be a ghost, right? Since Keido was a close colleague to Kurosu, he thought he might not. Of course he feigns he hasn’t the slightest clue. Shu accompanies Hare shopping and some moments that made Hare close to the guy she loves. She’s about to confess and as always the good timing of somebody interrupting them. Someone rolled into the train escaping from the thugs and that someone turns out to be Yahiro. So with him back in the picture, Shu needs to talk to him as he still can’t forget his incident. Hare, you’ll have to go shopping by yourself. Walking along, Yahiro says when he heard that GHQ were putting Jun down, he used the confusion during Funeral Parlour’s attack do sneak him out. He brings Shu back to his place and lets him see Shu covered with crystals of the virus. Pitiful, no? Segai has been keeping a close watch on them and will be making his move soon. Yahiro hopes Shu can lend him some money since they need food. Shu calls Funeral Parlour’s base but Gai is out as Ayase takes the call. He wants to shelter an Apocalypse victim and there’s no two ways about it. He expects them to be at a certain location to be picked up. Shu says he’s not doing it for Yahiro. He can’t forgive his betrayal but Jun hasn’t done anything wrong. As Shu and Yahiro move along, Segai is waiting for them and orders his Antibodies to fire warning shots. Knowing they are walking into a trap, Shu wants to use Yahiro’s Void. However he is not going to let that hypocrite do it but Shu calls him a traitor and that he will not betray people like he does. All he has to do is shut up and let him use him. He pulls out the Scissors and Jun is shocked to see what’s happening.

Daryl is going to apprehend Shu in his Endlave so Shu runs away to draw him away from the brothers. However Jun’s crystals start reacting and giving out the same signal and reading as the Scissors so the Endlave automatically shifts its target and pins Jun to the ceiling. Suddenly the crystals migrate to the Endlave and takes over it. It goes berserk and slices its comrades. Segai who has been watching this from a distance decides to abort the operation for now. Daryl’s Endlave now being controlled by Jun walks up to unconscious Yahiro and takes him in its hands. Shu stabs the Scissors into the Endlave and finds himself in Jun’s vision. He sees the calm peace, moments before the events of Lost Christmas. Jun and Yahiro were also there playing happily at the park. Jun tells Shu he wants to take this one happy memory with him before he goes. He wants Shu to use the Scissors and kill him because that Void is the Void that severs life. The crystals stole his freedom but in return gave him the ability to see Voids. He also saw his brother’s dark side despite Yahiro putting up a gentle front. He saw Yahiro wanting to kill him for being a nuisance in his life. He isn’t the only one with a dark side. Friends, family and other people too. He feels living any longer, there’ll be sadness for him and wants to go out as one who loves his brother. Lost Christmas occurs and Jun wants him to hurry or else he’ll start hating and kill Yahiro at this rate. Shu cuts his life and this brings him back to reality whereby the possessed Endlave stops attacking. When Yahiro wakes up, he worries about Jun but Shu tells him straight he died. Didn’t hear that clearly? Jun died and Shu admits he was the one who killed him. Hare who has been tailing them all day also saw everything.

Episode 10
Funeral Parlour is in a critical mission. Shu is supposed to pull out Inori’s Void but due to the trauma of killing Jun, he can’t. He further goes berserk and the mission has no choice but to be aborted. Thankfully that was just a dream but the trauma is real for Shu. He also dreams of his sister and the Lost Christmas incident. Hare takes care of him and though she doesn’t understand what’s going on, she doesn’t force an answer out of him. Meanwhile Gai visits Okina and the latter knows Gai is the son of that person. He asks his reason for fighting and Gai says it is for a special woman he loves. So saving Japan is just secondary? Well, Arisa can’t be that woman. Haha. Okina says he has received word that the jewel is being flown out of Japan. Seems Yan is trying to transport it overseas and must stop him at all cost as he believes this rock belongs to the Japanese people. Yan is relishing in the turn of events that this rock is in his possession. Confiding with his colleague-cum-flame Emily, he says this will take him closer to the White House. But he is puzzled why Keido stole it and instead of running, waltzed right back here. Speaking of which, Keido is being imprisoned and isolated within the facility. Shu’s trauma gets worse as he starts visioning other students with the virus. Shu wants to quit Funeral Parlour so Ayase gives him her two cents worth about him wallowing in self pity. He thought he could change and be like Gai. Seems impossible, eh? Why the heck did he want to be like him? Shouldn’t he be himself? Ah, maybe for a certain girl… Gai points the gun at Shu’s head and says they’ve known the location of the stolen rock. Because Shu continues to be whiny that he doesn’t want such powers to begin with, Gai says it is possible to remove the Void Genome if its possessor dies. Then blam! Though it was just a warning shot, Gai says he’s dead and will have Inori pull out too. Ayase felt disappointed in him because she trusted him as a comrade. Oh lookey. Isn’t that Hare eavesdropping on it all? Shu goes home and thought he could say his final words to Inori. She wants him to listen to her new song but his trauma starts kicking up. He accidentally destroys her music. Oh dear. I guess that’s it. Goodbye smile. Goodbye tears. Goodbye Shu. Hello normal life. Yeah, like that will happen.

Dan is excited to see off Yan since the Major General will be bringing back some important materials. Daryl caught his papa kissing Emily in the elevator and he’s not too happy about it. Gai wonders if he is at his limits as Inori asks if she’s a monster (as she heard it from Shu’s mouth). He thinks she may like Shu but she is unsure if this feeling in her heart is love. Should be. He tells her to survive first. Haruka confronts Keido about stealing Kurosu’s ID to steal that rock and then handing it over to Yan. But he says he saw Shu at Oshima and he’s already inherited the King’s Power. And does she really think Inori came to live by his side is mere coincidence? Funeral Parlour is ready to hijack the transport plane as Yan meets Dan and gets ready to go. Segai broadcasts to every channel in the city that’s under GHQ control to view Funeral Parlour making their move. Then he orders the Antibodies to take Vaccine D now. Gai and co successfully make their way into the plane but something feels odd. It’s too quiet and easy. In the cockpit, they realize the plane is unmanned. And a message on the screen to Gai that congratulates he will be in heaven. Crazy Segai starts activating something that makes the rock glow. Shu may be turning into a delinquent. Because skipping class is the first step. He even calls Hare to come comfort him. Yes, he is taking advantage of the fact she likes him. However she slaps him! She doesn’t want him to see her as Inori’s substitute. Did he obtain so big a power that he can’t even see himself anymore? She saw him draw Scissors from Yahiro and cut down an Endlave and feels bad for him. She wanted to cheer him up so much but that Shu he just showed her wasn’t the real Shu that she loves. I guess when you make a girl cry this bad, you start apologizing but this might be put off a little later as suddenly the city is filled with a song. A weird song. As Shibungi notes, a genetic resonance that has something to do with the activated stone. Some of the people start having crystals formed all over them. Seems this is all part of Keido’s plan of coup d’etat as he is freed by Segai’s men, Andrei Rowan. He is going to finish what they started on that day. The day Christmas was lost and for humanity’s sake. Crystals are forming all over Gai as the plane crashes into a building. The city descends into chaos and Inori feels uneasy. This is not her song and wants it to stop or else ‘she’ will awaken.

Episode 11
Yan thought a terrorist had hijacked an Endlave and starts attacking him. However it turned out to be his son and he is not happy seeing his father and girlfriend together and fires at them and wipe out his entire staff too. With Yan assassinated, Keido assumes control of the top post and that means all military related matters fall under his command. He uses this confusion to blame the terrorists for launching this large scale viral attack. Segai forces Haruka to cooperate but Dan punches him and enough time for Haruka to escape. Segai subsequently shoots him. Shu knows this can’t be Funeral Parlour’s doing as they will never resort to bioterrorism. Tsugumi agrees (she’s telling him via damaged Funell) and that it’s all his fault because he refused to use Voids. The members of Funeral Parlour are in disarray since they have lost contact with Gai who is on the run with Inori. Shu makes an announcement throughout his school and wants his friends to report to the club room. Not only Hare, Kanon, Souta and Arisa are here but Yahiro makes his return too. Shu needs their favour to rescue his friends. But I guess he has lots to explain. Especially about Void and using them as tools. At first he’s thinking what Gai would do in this situation. But he decides to screw that and just do things his way. He demonstrates using Hare and her Void resembles bandages in which he uses to completely heal Funell. He apologizes to his friends for peeking in their hearts as he has used their Voids before. But Yahiro wants him to admit that the friends he is going to save is Funeral Parlour. Why does he want to save people like that when he can’t even save Jun? It’s because they believed he could do something. If it wasn’t for them, he’d still be someone who didn’t matter. And now they’re in trouble and there’s something he can do. His friends agree to help out. It’s what they can do too, right?

Gai and Inori come into Haruka. She is surprised to see Inori but asks about Shu. Gai assures he has been left behind at school but Inori is confident he will come. Gai is holding out as long as he can as Haruka tries to complete some practical test. A test that will allow Inori to sing her new song all over the city. Hey, isn’t that the ending theme? Anyway her song brings calm that the rock deactivates and dispels the crystals enveloping the people. With Funell at the wheels of the Humvee (I know Tsugumi is piloting that ‘rice cooker’ but seriously, how can it drive?), Shu and his friends make his way to the airport where Funeral Parlour is being hold up. He uses all his friends Voids to barge his way through like Arisa’s Coward Shield to deflect incoming missiles, Hare’s Bandage to fix the broken bridge, Souta’s Camera to open heavily closed gates and I’m not sure what Kanon’s is but it is like some visor that pinpoints the location of Inori. Finally he uses Yahiro’s Scissors to cut Daryl’s Endlave. Wow. Now he’s like a hero. Just when he thought he could reunite with Inori, some kid, Yuu AKA Daath Gravekeeper appears out from a wormhole behind Inori. Calling Shu a big disappointment, he draws out her Void. He uses that weapon to get rid of Shu but Gai takes the strike in his place instead. Man, he’s bleeding massively. With Inori’s song stopped, the rock reactivates and the chaos resumes. Wow. It’s really like the end of the world although it may just be the end of Japan.

Episode 12
As Keido explains, the city is becoming a big Void and Roppongi Fort is an illusion formed by a single girl’s heart: Mana Ouma, Shu’s sister. Keido gives Segai the Void information as promised for helping out but this is as far as he gets and they part. Shu realizes and remembers he may have met Gai before. Took him this long, eh? Gai wants Shu to stop Yuu because he and Keido are cooperating to sacrifice Inori to awaken Mana. Shu chases after him but it seems Yuu will have him remember his forgotten memories first. Flashback time. Ten years ago, Mana showed Shu her secret place by the beach. They also see an injured and unconscious boy on the shore. Mana boldly did the mouth to mouth resuscitation and CPR to revive him. This kid whom Mana named as Triton (because he seemed to have come from the sea) is Gai. Gai becomes part of their family and they spend the best summer together which will be their last and became Shu’s best friend. So how the hell did Shu forget his best friend and gentle sister? Returning back to reality, Shu is stuck in some odd place. He sees Inori at the altar as Keido explains Inori was a host body created to use as an interface for communication with Mana, the first person who touched the rock that started it all and the first person infected with the Apocalypse Virus. Thus she is known as Eve. With her soul being poured into the new body, her resurrection will herald the second coming of Lost Christmas. Shu has no choice but to watch Keido propose to Inori, supposedly her chosen partner will become the originator model of the next generation and new human race. He is going to control Eve via this rock. Further flashback reveals Mana did ask Shu about his feelings if she gets married. Say, Gai. He protests but she assures it was just a joke and asserts she loves him and wants him to promise that he’ll marry her. Seems the night before Gai confronted her as he has spotted those crystal symptoms on her. She did go berserk for a while and tied Gai up, reminding him that she saved him and therefore he belongs to her and can do whatever she wants with him. She says she will marry Shu and nobody is going to stop her.

Shu may be free of his captivity but creepy eyeballs with Mana’s voice are going to punish him for forgetting. Ayase and Gai bust into the building before Shu could lose an eye. Gai is alright because the crystals were protecting his vital organs. Then why was he bleeding so massively like it was so serious then? So while Segai shows Haruka what’s happening (because the ‘loser’ got booted out of the ‘arena’), Gai makes Shu remember more. On Christmas Eve Gai wanted to talk to Shu about the Mana he didn’t know. But it was Mana who turned up at the church instead. She gives him a hand gun and wants him to fire at the Christmas tree. But the gun backfired and hurt him. Then Shu came in and saw what’s happening. He saw crystals forming on Mana and told this monster to stay away. The shock of hearing that was too much to bear that her powers start to awaken. It burns down the church and started the incident of Lost Christmas. In the end Mana ended up destroying herself with her own out-of-control power. Mana looked to them for help that day and they couldn’t deliver. In the aftermath, Gai’s last words were that he is going to be stronger and just parted. To protect himself, Shu sealed away the memories of it all. Now that Shu understands what’s going on, they need to get Mana’s heart back since she has been awakened against her will and put her back to sleep again. Gai wants him to use the Void’s power to consign her evil desires to oblivion and that is to draw out his Void, which is a gun. I’m not sure why Gai is still conscious after his Void is drawn out. Maybe Shu didn’t let go of his hand as instructed. Gai shoots his gun at Inori and draws out her Void and interrupt the ceremony. Keido cannot believe that his Void forces other Voids to manifest. Shu takes her Void and cuts Keido away from Inori. Gai makes his way to Mana at the top and though Keido wanted to stop him, Yuu notes he has failed and knocks him out. Gai is enveloped by crystals and wants Shu to stab Mana through him. Can he? Well, after some heroic words like how he always looked up to him when he was a kid and now has become just like him then, the rest is up to Shu. He slashes him as Gai disappears with Mana into oblivion. She regains conscious for a short while and sees Gai hugging her. While the tower crumbles, I don’t know how Shu and Inori got whisked away out safely in a bubble. Inori notes she could hear Gai thank Shu and that he is happy. But when a cool hero is gone, you can’t help but shed a few tears for him, right?

Episode 13
It has been 2 weeks since that incident and GHQ has quarantined a section of Tokyo known as Loop 7 that has been affected by the second Lost Christmas. Nobody goes in, nobody gets out. All forms of communications are also cut within this area and people inside are living in evacuation homes. A couple of guys think they can harass Ayase but she doesn’t give in. It wasn’t Shu who kicked them away but Tsugumi. Missile Kick! Ayase still refuses help from her friends so they leave. Seems Ayase and Tsugumi are blending well in school and the other Funeral Parlour members’ whereabouts are unknown ever since Gai’s demise. To lift the gloom, Souta decides to do a cultural festival, something their school usually holds at this time. Arisa agrees as this will take the restless people’s mind off for a while. Yahiro holds his own Void in his hands. This is now possible as Shu mentions he thinks his power has changed during the last fight. Shu wonders why he is suddenly interested in Voids as he thinks he won’t be using this power again. On the contrary, Yahiro feels he will have to use it soon. As Inori will be performing a concert, we also see Daryl bumming around in the school grounds and been forced to help out by Tsugumi. Though the rest don’t realize his true identity, he is actually sent by Segai to just keep watch on things. Due to the current situation now, they can’t make any direct moves. During the cultural festival, a mini group of ruffians known as Philanthropists didn’t like how the kids are having fun in tough times. Their leader has returned with an Endlave and Humvee seeing he has got them from a wealthy guy who agreed with their cause. That sketchy guy turned out to be Segai. These blokes are going to teach those kids the harsh world this is.

Ayase talks to Tsugumi on why she cut her connection to her Endlave that day. Otherwise, she could have saved Gai and prevented his death but Tsugumi notes it was to save her. Ayase couldn’t care less about her own life now which is pretty meaningless without Gai around. Even as Shu tries to be friendly with her, she starts feeling guilty that she was the one who let Gai die. I’m sure Shu wanted to take the blame and responsibility for his death too. Suddenly Philanthropists barge in and cause their brand of mayhem at the school grounds. Shu wheels Ayase away from the scene but she gets mad that he wants to cut her connection and turn her into a slacker. She adds Gai gave her legs that could run and jump but can’t let it end this way. She wants Shu to let her stand on her own. Shu pulls out her Void. While Arisa evacuates the people to safety, Hare is on the verge of being rammed over by the Humvee when suddenly she is whisked away to safety by Ayase. Her Void turns out to be robotic legs and this allows her to fly and run faster than The Flash. Together with Shu (wielding Inori’s sword), they put the ruffians out of commission and the crowd applauds to their heroic efforts. Felt good, eh? During Inori’s concert, Ayase tells Shu that though she can’t accept what happened to Gai, she wants to think things through step by step. Finally Tsugumi manages to establish connections to the TV and puts it up on the monitor for everyone to see. Seems Keido is now the newly inaugurated president of Japan as he announces they haven’t been able to find any survivors in Loop 7 who aren’t highly cancerous. Thus his provisional government and GHQ have decided to completely seal off this area for the next 10 years and devote their efforts to eradicate the Apocalypse Virus to dispel the concerns of the international community. He believes it is his duty to bring about rebirth via purification. That’s a nice way of calling it genocide, right? In simple lay man’s terms, he’s going to freaking kill everybody in this area!!!!! Shu, can you believe what you’re hearing? So who was it that was so confident that the quarantine will be lifted soon?

Episode 14
The students are getting restless as Arisa tries to calm them and believe that help will arrive. However a small group of guys led by Hirohide Nanba and Takaomi Sudou isn’t exactly helping things out and is more like trying to persecute Arisa for her inaction. He files for a no-confidence resolution against her. Though they do not have internet to the outside world yet, they are still connected locally within the school’s boardroom and there are many nasty remarks heckling Arisa. Nanba and his boys are going to use the situation to their advantage and gather as much information on what’s outside and along with those who want to leave. He has a handgun as his trump card just in case. Tsugumi hands Shu a Genomic Resonance Gauge that she found during the ruffians attack yesterday. What is does is gauge the level of one’s Void. The higher the number, the more powerful. Let’s say Shu and Inori’s are off the scale. Since they realize they have never seen Tsugumi’s Void before, the girls tie her down to let Shu do the honours. Don’t worry. It only hurts the first time. So it hurts?! Keido initiates the next phase of his plan and that is to shrink the quarantine area. Wow. Those walls could really move. The Great Wall of Tokyo if I should say. Those found within the red line will be automatically shot! Here’s your first massacre since he took presidency. Ironically being once a cold blooded killer, Daryl didn’t like how this is done. Actually he is more concern about the new Ghost mechas that seem to not have any personnel controlling them. Rather, their location is secret. Segai is going to cause his brand of mischief again as he awaits the reaction of those who has been cut of communications for a long time. Yup, he is sending some little false rumour into the quarantine zone. Meanwhile Oogumo and Argo are still alive and are grateful Okina took them in. Bu the old guy says ever since Keido took office, his transport and communication lines have been shut down. Nanba calls Arisa to show her about rumours of the massacre and uses this to attack her inaction. There is going to be a vote for a new student council president today when rumours (from Segai) about handing over a member of Funeral Parlour will guarantee their release. The desperate students start a witch hunt whom they think belongs to the terrorist group as they should have a tattoo on their back (which is of course not true). Shu is worried Inori might be targeted but she looks fine. Actually she already dispatched those who harassed her. It was bloody…

Ayase is also targeted and her tough girl stance makes her even more a target by Nanba and Sudou. Tsugumi tries to help out but they got caught. In the hall, Arisa tries to dispel the rumour but nobody believes her. Nanba shows the crowd Ayase and Tsugumi whom he believes to be Funeral Parlour members since no one knows who they are before the quarantine. The crowd becomes unruly and call for their heads. Arisa totally lost control of the room. Shu steps in as the hero this time. He admits he is a Funeral Parlour member but wants everybody to let him handle this one. Sudou arrives at the border to hand in Tsugumi and Shu and negotiate their release but as soon as they step over the red line, they got indiscriminately shot! Actually those were just clones as Tsugumi’s Void, Hand Scanner is able to create clones of others and even remotely control them just like the real thing. Everyone witnessed the replay that the rumour was indeed fake. Shu tells them they’re afraid because there was so much they didn’t understand. Nanba didn’t like the direction this is going and pulls out his handgun but Shu swiftly pulls out his Sudou’s Void and knock it off his hands. Shu wants everybody to calm down and choose a leader who can save them all. Yahiro isn’t going to make Shu exit yet as he rallies everyone to support Shu as their leader. Needless to say, he got the instant approval. He might not expect this but I guess he accepts it since he’s in for the ride. Later Yahiro shows him a list of students and is going to rank them on a scale of A to F based on their genomic resonance values via the Gauge. From now on, Shu will lead them based on these values called Void Ranking System and that their value as a person is determined by the value of their Void.

Episode 15
Of course Shu rejects that suggestion and continues to treat everyone equally as they keep it going. He thinks imposing the system would be discrimination but Yahiro points out it is rather distinction. Inori says not to think of what others want but what he really wants. Souta confronts Shu about the system and didn’t like it. But when he learns he’s not going to implement it, he apologizes and they become good friends once more. At least he doesn’t keep grudges long. There is a crisis at hand. There won’t be not enough vaccine soon for everyone. Yahiro thinks Shu should be given priority because if he is out, who else will protect them? The distribution of the rest should be based on the usefulness of their Voids. Yahiro hands him a list of the rankings as Shu sees Souta at the bottom of F Rank. Naturally Souta and the F Rank students confront him and though Shu says he won’t implement the system (albeit he said it sheepishly), Souta wants him to draw out their Voids so that they can practice using it and be of use. Daryl has been ordered by Segai to wait for the students who will come for the vaccine since it’s running low. He has to do it since he was at the scene when the clone Shu and friends were shot down when they came to turn themselves in and thus part of the blackmail to keep those rumours from spreading. Segai is playing chess with Shibungi. No, he hasn’t joined the other side but if he wins, Segai will have to allow him to see someone. Shu is in a depression. He thinks he screw up. He agrees with Yahiro and Souta when they confronted him. Like he has no backbone. Hare hugs him and believes in the good characteristics he has. I guess this is her indirect way of confessing to him.

He gets message that Souta and his F Rank comrades just left the school building. Shu and Hare catch up with them and learns they are going to steal vaccine to prove their worth. So did they lie about practising? Hey, Shu lied too so they’re even. Daryl and his Antibodies spot them and attack. He is going to do nothing but slaughter everyone. While Shu distracts them, Souta wants Hare to fix the car so they could use as a getaway but Daryl fires into them. Shu shields Hare from the blast but is badly burnt. Hare uses her Bandages to heal Shu at her own expense. She notes Shu is like the kind king. So kind of giving everything to its people that they ended up with nothing and the people started hating him. However she likes him because he loses out because of his kindness and feels he will make a great king. The Antibodies’ helicopter fire at her and though the bullets miss her, they sever her Bandages. Shu is healed as crystals start forming over Hare. When Shu wakes up, he is horrified to see Hare dead next to him. The next thing he knows, she disintegrates into thin air in his arms. F*ck! HARE!!! NOOOOO!!!!! Shu is so angry, so mad, so pissed off that he forcefully draws out Inori’s Void and destroys all the Endlaves!!! No emotions. No feelings. No mercy. No forgiveness. DIE EVERYONE!!! Once the friends learn about Hare’s death, Souta apologizes and blames himself. Shu agrees it’s his fault and takes it out on him. Shu is broken. But he sheds tears for the last time. He realizes kindness is wrong and needs to separate the good from the trash. He is going to be king. Oh sh*t. I don’t like that look on his face.

Episode 16
Argo is going to dive down into Loop 7 and rescue Arisa as ordered by Okina. Seems the leader of Shanghai’s largest conglomerate, Ming Hua Group is in love with Arisa and if they pull off this mission, he’ll negotiate with the Association of Asian Nations on his behalf. More like a marriage of convenience, don’t you think? First thing Argo sees that shocks him isn’t the devastation but how the students are somewhat stealing vaccines from each other. Nanba and his Secret Police are apprehending a group of those little thieves. He wants this girl to swear allegiance to President Shu if she wants to live. Argo pops up to tell Nanba a thing or two about bullying but the rest sees his Funeral Parlour logo. Miyabi Herikawa and Ritsu Takarada are part of the Secret Police as they bring Argo to see Shu, who is running his little school kingdom like a tyrant. He sees Shu drawing out the apprehended girl’s Void and noticing her Void’s usefulness, he changes her grade to A Rank. Argo learns this elaborated setup is necessary because the government is making a new genomic weapon and a student fell victim to it days ago (Hare). Argo asks about Arisa and the need to take her out from this place so they bring her to an abandoned army transport ship. It was deserted during the confusion when Tokyo was sealed and inside they are scavenging vaccines. Argo is appalled those diving for the vaccines are showing symptoms of the virus. But as they say if they do their work, they’ll get the vaccine before they hit Stage II. Souta is one of the divers and his oxygen pump is having problems. However Shu doesn’t want the rest to help out because Souta must figure himself out the emergency tank in the suit. If he fails, so be it since they can’t waste resources on Rank F. Obviously the rest aren’t happy but they can’t raise their hand against the king. If he gets the symptoms, then it’s all over. Argo couldn’t care less and fixes the pump instead. Shu puts a Scythe Void at his neck and tells him that they’re currently planning to escape from Tokyo. That’s why everyone is working towards that goal. This isn’t discrimination but distinguishing and they can’t afford to be democratic in these trying times. He won’t hand over Arisa since her Void is valuable and makes Argo swear his allegiance to him. He is restrained and thrown into jail. Argo asks if Inori has switched to doing what Shu wants so she replies it was her choice.

In prison, Argo meets up with Tsugumi. At least she’s talking via Funell. She tells him how there were rampant violence and looting. Fear of the steadily closing in red line was making everyone jumpy. When Shu became king, all that stopped. So this school is like a kingdom by Voids and for Voids. Segai talks to Keido about many youths joining forces with Shu’s school now and knows he is collecting Voids. Haruka is working by Keido’s side and asserts she is just carrying out Kurosu’s wishes. Kanon wonders if Hare really die of a new weapon because she feels it was something else due to some rumours. Yahiro tells her to zip it and report to him anyone spreading those rumours. Kanon feels sad that everyone has changed. Shu confides in Inori and he needs to put up this tyrannical king act so that he’ll get everyone out or else Hare’s death will be in vain. Suddenly he gets word Argo has busted out from his cell. Orders are made to capture him. Shu confronts him at the gym so Argo tells him to fight him one on one now and if he loses, he must drop this king act. He notes he is not even close to Gai and is just a fake. Naturally Argo easily overwhelms Shu and with a neck at his throat, he wonders where that wuss had gone. Everyone loved him when he was a pale faced weakling struggling with all his might. I guess that’s another way of saying they love bullying him when he’s weaker, eh? Shu tells him if he thinks there is another way to keep everyone safe, then be his guest. Yahiro isn’t as soft as Shu and warns to surrender. Argo obediently gives up. Suddenly the iron structure from the roof breaks. Though Shu manages to save that newbie Rank A girl, the structure destroys her Void. Then she starts crystallizing all over and dies the same way Hare did. Shu realizes Yahiro had lied to him but Yahiro knows he will hesitate to use Voids if he had known. They can’t back out now and need to hide in from everyone till they begin their operation. Argo tells Shu to open his eyes and stop using Voids. But Shu draws out Argo’s Void and he has that evil look on his face that if he breaks his Void now, this pest will die. Arisa saw everything is about to warn the others but was attacked by Inori. Okina receives word from the Ming Hua Group’s leader that their deal is void now (no pun intended). As an old friend, he warns Okina to leave Japan as soon as possible because a huge naval fleet is building up in the Pacific heading towards Japan. And what’s this? Keido and Haruka revive Gai!!!!!! For real?!

Episode 17
Because a couple of guys were just not concentrating, Shu sends them to the disciplinary room. They resist so Shu pulls out their Void and threatens to obey him if they want to live. Shu doesn’t sleep a wink since he is planning their Exodus but Yahiro says that his tyranny is going too far and that there is resentment building among the students. Shu reminds Yahiro that it was him who gave him the idea the need for oppression. Inori seems guilty when Shu thought it was the people who resented them attacked Arisa. Speaking of which, she is cowering in fear in her room wanting somebody to save her. She was badly affected by Inori’s attack (she used the crystallized virus as her weapon). Nanba caught her talking to someone on her handphone (Gai as I found out). I guess it’s her turn to break so she seduces him. After that great ‘advance payment’, Nanba and his pals spread the rumour to everyone that Shu has been hiding the fact that if their Void breaks, you’ll die. Naturally everybody starts hating their king now. Yahiro confronts Arisa thinking she’s the culprit who spread the rumours but she reveals the true perpetrator. Shu confides in Inori, wondering if he’ll pay for this someday for trampling on people’s hearts. You don’t have to look far. I can see it’s coming. Inori admits she was the one who attacked Arisa and because of that, she feels afraid of herself. Yahiro sees Shu about Inori and says they can’t give her special treatment or else they’ll lose control of the students. But Shu fires back that he kept lots of secrets for him (his reason was to keep everyone alive). Shu draws Inori’s Void and threatens Yahiro. He thinks he is using him and waiting for a time to sell him out. Yahiro disagrees because he thought about it after Jun’s death that people make lots of mistakes and correcting them requires power. That’s why he wanted to work with him. Shu doesn’t believe him and probably Yahiro realizes this is the consequence of his previous actions. Yahiro has been demoted and sent to F Rank camp. After Nanba gets another ‘advance payment’ from Arisa, she gives him the details containing the date and time of the Exodus as well as information on the students’ Voids. Nanba wants to know why she needs them and she replies it’s for a coup d’etat.

The students begin their trudge to Tokyo Tower where their plan to escape will take place. Shu asks Nanba’s opinion about the students’ view of him. They’ll be grateful to a leader who will free them. Doesn’t sound too convincing. Shu explains his plan to the rest. Inside Tokyo Tower lies the machine controlling the Ghost units. He will use a Void to short circuit them and render those units powerless. Their job is to make a way for him to the tower. So the operation begins but it seems like a slaughter house to me as those in front gets killed. Shu can’t be breaking down and reflecting now so he pulls out Inori’s Void and charges ahead till he manages to destroy the machine and send Tokyo Tower come crumbling down. In the aftermath, everyone makes their way out as Shu invites Inori to come along. However Shu’s Secret Police point the gun at him. Not only them but the other students as well. The ringleader Arisa reveals herself. Inori wanted to rush to Shu’s side but Argo holds her back (so that dude still lives). Souta pushes Shu into the crater as everyone calls for him to drop dead. When Inori manages to free herself and run to Shu, a Void stabs through her. Oh hey look! It’s Gai! He’s back! Long time no see (just 5 episodes only lah). But he’s not going to give Shu a big hug. He cuts off Shu’s right arm!!! OH SH*T!!! So Gai now has his King’s Power? Shu is in total shock that he lost his King’s Power but Gai laughs it off and says he was just an usurper and the real king has always been him. Meanwhile the UN has voted a crushing majority to destroy Japan. What a way not to shoulder your responsibilities and wipe out a nation, eh? RM warheads are already on the way. I think they’ve wanted to do this all along.

Episode 18
Daryl receives orders that they’re supposed to protect Gai. What?! A stealth bomber starts dropping warheads over them so Gai draws out Nanba and his friends’ Void and combine it into a missile. Not only it deflects all the warheads, it also destroys the bomber. So what happens when the Void is destroyed? Too bad Nanba. You’re dead meat either way. So all those students who wanted to go against Gai better think twice because all he needs to do is easily crush your Void and it’s Hasta La Vista Baby. Tsugumi, Ayase and Argo are surprise to see Gai alive but more shocking is his change of character. He tells them he isn’t the same person before but they will obey him nonetheless. Daryl didn’t like the way things are going and attacks but his Endlave got destroyed. This distraction allows the others to escape. Arisa protects Gai from other attacks and hopes to be useful to him. Remember the fleet that was sent to destroy Japan? Yeah, they got destroyed instead. Even before they can warm up the seat. BOOM! They didn’t even know what hit them. Ironically they were sent to help Japan 10 years ago, now they’re going to destroy it in the name of virus cleansing. Doesn’t look like it’s happening now. Gai broadcasts to those UN bastards and the world, threatening them that 256 Leukocytes are pointing at them and that the military is at his command. He doesn’t want anyone approaching within 300km radius of central Tokyo and his demand is only one: Don’t interfere. Three days later, the world continues to watch with silence outside Tokyo. Okina learns about the situation, Shu and Arisa. He lets his secretary, Kurachi to handle negotiations with OAU as he has something to do himself.

Arisa is now working for Gai as her team are out looking for Inori. Daryl is in ICU while Shibungi finally beats Segai in chess. Could it be he lost on purpose so that he could let him see Gai? After all, they both have lots of questions they want to ask. Shu and Inori are taking refuge in the building when Team Arisa spots them. As they are to intercept, they’re being attacked. Both sides exchange fire but Arisa knows who this familiar ‘enemy’ is. After both sides cease fire, Okina comes out. He didn’t think Arisa was this foolish as Gai is a person who only aims for his goals and she will not be rewarded in the end. He can’t let them do this anymore and will clear his name with his own hands as he starts slashing everyone with his sword. He is ready to kill Arisa too but her self-defence has her shoot back at him. Another one bites the dust. Inori has heard she has become their target but is confronted by a group of thugs. Suddenly she changes character and the next thing she knows, she is covered in blood and the thugs writhing in pain. At least they’re still alive. Inori rushes back to Shu’s side all panicky of what is becoming to herself. While eating alone, she knows she cannot keep this up or she’ll kill Shu at this rate. Then her inner voice (sounds and looks like Mana) says on the contrary she will instead. It’s because she’s a monster and her heart is fake. Shu is attracted to Inori’s singing. She goes up to him and wants him not to hate and blame himself anymore. Even if everyone hates him or brands him a liar, she will always be by his side. Inori will be the decoy to let Shu escape. Knowing he will not allow her, she knocks him out and kisses him goodbye. Inori confronts Team Arisa’s Endlaves and turns into a monster by slashing them down. She is fine being a monster with fake emotions but will always protect Shu because she is who she is. Gai uses Yuu’s Void (a bow and arrow) to fire and bind Inori. Gai couldn’t understand why she would stay by a human’s side when she has always been on his. And when Shu wakes up not seeing Inori anywhere…

Episode 19
Segai sees Gai drawing out a Void but feels something isn’t quite right. Haruka tries to sneak in and kill Mana but she isn’t anywhere in her usual place. Or so she thought. Keido notes how she is like Kurosu in her ideals. Haruka reveals that Keido, her brother was the one who killed Kurosu and thought they were best friends. Well, he never thought of that. He pulls out a gun and fires at her. Shu sneaks up on Arisa and wants her to tell him Inori’s location when an alert is announced that Haruka has committed high treason and is on the run. There are orders for her arrest. Segai sees a video Haruka stealing a briefcase that Sephirah used to transport top secret stuff. He realizes what is going on and wants to be the one who will hunt her down. Arisa agrees to drive Shu to where Inori is in exchange he’ll let her speak to Haruka because she wants to know more about Gai (she thinks Haruka knows what his plans are). Haruka arrives outside Okina’s mansion but only sees Kurachi. Since the old guy’s dead and the mansion doesn’t belong to them anymore, they meet up with the others in an abandoned office. We learn Haruka isn’t Shu’s real mom (it explains why the kid calls mommy by her first name) and that she remarried to Kurosu but he died shortly. Even so, Haruka continued to raise him like her own. She thought they lost something and were licking each other’s wounds. A group of people comes seeking for vaccine. Among them is Segai. Thinking there is no threat, they let them in to convince them they do not have vaccine. That’s when Segai orders his Antibodies to fire, killing almost everyone. Oogumo takes in all the bullets meant for Haruka. He fights Segai to let Haruka and Kurachi escape but was easily killed by Segai. Kurachi sees the Void Genome in the briefcase Haruka had stolen. She says this is their last and worst hope. Argo picks them up and returns to where Ayase, Tsugumi, Yahiro and friends are hiding. Ayase and Tsugumi are devastated to hear that Oogumo is dead. Shibungi has his audience with Gai and is disappointed how far he has fallen. Gai points out his goal has always been the same. It is them who chose to build their dreams on it and get disappointed. Shibungi has always thought of him as a friend but Gai replies a king has no friends. Only subordinates and pawns. In that case, Shibungi as a pawn has a new goal: To kill him.

Ayase talks to Haruka about the Void Genome she has. She thought of using it on herself to fight Gai but Haruka warns her entire body may reject it. She doesn’t want Shu to use it too since it will kill him. Segai and his Endlaves start the fireworks. Let every bullet you have fly! Shu dives out from Arisa’s Humvee and makes his way there on foot. How can this be faster? The gang are out of options so Ayase wants Haruka to use the Void Genome on her. She was about to but Segai shoots it away. He reveals he was searching for the last remaining Void Genome and never expected it was with her all along. He wants it to behold that mystical and sublime light. Ayase and Segai race to retrieve the cylinder. Man, even a girl with no legs is still a worthy opponent. The cylinder falls at the feet of Shu. Haruka doesn’t want him to use it a second time as it may kill him. But Shu feels he should bear the burden of this sin and thanks mommy (he called her that for the first time) even if they aren’t blood related. Stabbing it into his heart, Shu recovers his King’s Power and Segai is in awe that this is the light he has been searching for. Shu pulls out his own Void to create an artificial right arm. Then he borrows Ayase’s Void Legs for high speed and destroys those Endlaves with his other friends’ Void (with their permission of course). Crazy Segai is going to ram his truck into Ayase so Shu sticks Scissors into him and severs his life. I’m sure Shu isn’t stupid enough to crash and die with him. But he looks cool walking out from those flames. Yeah, a hero cometh. The king has return. But they see crystals forming over him. Souta notes he has absorbed his virus. Then they realize his Void gathers everything and assumes its weight. Shu says if the Apocalypse Virus turns misery into bad will, he will assume that bad will and let it sink into his body. Watch out! Next stop, Inori.

Episode 20
Gai makes another broadcast to the world. Telling those stubborn people that there has been 34 invasion attempts and 42,000 hacking attempts (?!), he concludes they want to die. He is going to end the world on Christmas and create a new one. Kurachi announces Okina has left orders for her to use all his assets and connections to fight Gai and that they will join forces with a Private Military Company (PMC). She wants Shu to join them. Argo wants to know what Gai is planning so with Shibungi’s return, he explains Gai wants to cause Lost Christmas on a worldwide scale. Gai even gave him Kurosu’s diary because since they’re going to die, they the right to know. Flashback time. Keido was a student graduate at Tennozu College and people were nothing but annoyances to him. Till he met Kurosu. Somehow they clicked because of their ideas and researched Genomic Resonance together. One day Keido wanted to show Kurosu’s article that come out in the journal but caught him having affair with Saeko Shijou, an accomplished woman from the college’s medical school who was bearing Kurosu’s child by then. They got married and moved to Oshima. One day a meteor crashed into the island and it has readings of Genomic Resonance. Kurosu had to thank Mana because she was the one who found it (albeit she got a little cut on her finger. Oh dear). So as Kurosu and Keido research more about it, what I understand from that mumbo-jumbo is that though it may not be generally infectious, it is still dangerous when inserted as it will start replicating itself and is a trumpet for Apocalypse. Then they meet Yuu who told them about the meteorite that has sown seeds of Apocalypse across the nation. Very soon every Japanese will be its seedbed. When Mana matures as Eve, Earth will witness its fourth Apocalypse, which is the invisible hand of God at work. Saeko is already showing symptoms of the virus but is told not to abandon her child because Eve was bent on making him her Adam. So Shu was born but at the cost of Saeko’s life. Kurosu became devastated and since he turned Yuu down, the Daath kid turns to Keido.

So this is where Gai came into the picture. He along with the other bunch of kids were kidnapped or something and are placed in a facility specialized rearing male children to create Adam. After seeing so many deaths, it’s natural Gai got scared and ran away. He fell off the cliff and was washed ashore. That’s when he met Mana. Ironically he wanted to get away from fate but ended up trapped in a bigger one. A few years later as Kurosu left his kids behind at Oshima to continue research on the virus, that’s when he met Haruka as one of the student researches. She got curious with him and started taking care of him since he was so engrossed in his research that he forgets to eat and sleep. Then she told Keido she is going to marry him since he’s a really lonely person. He didn’t exactly give his blessings but just told her to do as she wished. That year, she became his wife and as she gathers the kids to have their first Christmas together, that’s when the Apocalypse Virus happened. On Christmas Eve when Mana and Haruka are waiting for Kurosu to turn up at the church, Mana wanted Haruka to go get papa, thinking he has forgotten. Keido sneaks into Kurosu’s lab and reads his diary. Seems he has found a genetic code that will interfere with the virus and he calls it the Void Genome. He concluded Apocalypse isn’t divine providence so humans can control it with intelligence. Kurosu stumbles upon Keido and the latter is surprised he has solved the mysteries of evolution and natural selection by himself. Keido suggests working as a team since Yuu is getting impatient and that he’ll be silenced if he doesn’t do something. But Kurosu refuses. Not because he is arrogant or jealous of Keido but rather he doesn’t want him to get into this mess. Keido doesn’t believe and has lost his marbles. He tells Keido he has made a big mistake: He is no friend of his. He pulls out his gun and shoots him. By the time Haruka arrives, to her horror she sees Kurosu’s bloodied body. Then Mana went crazy and the rest is history.

Haruka does some test on Shu and concludes he can isolate and absorb the cancer cells. This means Souta is cured. She cautions it might be too late to get Inori back since the transplanting of Mana’s consciousness into Inori is almost complete. But to make her whole, the gathering of all her pieces scattered during Lost Christmas had to be collected. Those shards of hers that got mixed with the people’s Voids. That was what Shu had been forced to do for the past few months. This is all the more the reason Shu must go. Before Shu leaves on a helicopter with the others, he says goodbye to his school friends and decides to give everyone’s Void back since it will be bad if he dies while using them. But they disagree because he can’t expect to fight Gai with only a gun, right? But Shu says he is using his powers to save Inori and everyone, not to defeat Gai. Ayase still wants him to keep her Void because if he fails, their lives are forfeited anyway. Shu wants to make up with Souta but the latter is reluctant to shake his hand. Eventually he loosens up and gets emotional, hoping Shu will always stay as his friend. Haruka narrates Kurosu was the kind of person who could do anything by himself and because of this he was always alone. But the truth is he was really lonely and wanted to be with everyone else. That’s why he gave the name Shu to his son which means “group”.

Episode 21
Gai remembers Yuu telling him Mana will be reborn in Cocytus shortly and that he will be king soon. Nobody, and I mean nobody, not even Yuu or Mana can stop it. The resistance fighters have entered the area as Kurachi realizes the threat of Leukocytes was a bluff and they were dumbasses to fall for it. It’s like Gai was trying to buy time. But Shu is glad they’ve arrive to save Inori and stop Gai. If they secure Inori, Gai’s goal will go up in smoke and they might be able to eradicate Apocalypse Virus all over the world, not just Japan. Shu sees Ayase trying to get into her Steiner and she requests his help to get her in. Out of the blue, Shu says how pretty she is. Not that he is hitting on her. What he meant is that it’s his job to get dirty so it’s hers to stay pure and pretty. As the fleet of UN military arrives, Gai uses the Void of Yuu, Arisa and Kenji to rain powerful crystals over the fleet. 87% damage!!! Freaking useless UN buggers. Keido orders his Endlave and Ghost units to clean up. Daryl wonders what Rowan is still doing here since he didn’t sound like he’s on this side. He also poses that question back to Daryl who has volunteered to be a guinea pig for the Gespenst mecha. He’s getting rather tired of the Endlaves being defeated by the Voids. Plus, he wants to choose how he dies. Shu and co infiltrate the base though Rowan orders to attack on them, it was just distraction and clones of Hand Scanner. This also allows Tsugumi to hack into their system and shut down their mecha units. Gai is about to erase Inori’s memories to awaken Mana. He wants her to hate him. If he had not awoken her back then, all this would never have started On the contrary, she is grateful instead. She gave her life. She met Shu who showed the beauty and ugliness of this world. He suffered, doubted, made mistakes and was ashamed of his ugly side but the reason she loves him is because he is heartbreakingly a human. That’s why although she’s a vessel, she still get to fall in love with him. Shu not only saves a soldier from a berserk Endlave but takes in his cancer crystals too. I wonder how much more he can take since each time he absorbs, it just grows.

Inori begins to forget as she starts singing her song which Shu can only hear. Because the communications have been restored, Tsugumi has been cut off from the rest so Shu is their only lead to where Inori is. In a room, they are confronted by Yuu who needs to have a private talk with Shu and separates him from the rest who will be facing Daryl and his freaking huge Gespenst. Yuu says he is the symbol of unity of Daath, the organization which derives from the will of the human race. When Shu brilliantly recovered his stolen powers, he was forced to re-examine the question who would be king: Shu or Gai. So he asks would he obliterate mankind in order for them to progress to the next stage and live with Mana for eternity. Obviously the answer is no. Yuu says Gai answered yes without hesitation. Thus Yuu will be stripping his right to succession. Shu and Yuu fight using their Voids as Yuu draws Voids from the group of standby followers. But he is using them indiscriminately and doesn’t care if their Voids get destroyed. You die, too bad. Yuu starts blabbing about Shu ignoring the inevitable destinies of selection and evolution, bla, bla, bla. He mocks him even though Mana chose him, he refused her, squandered everything and chose a fake like Inori. Shu tells him off he doesn’t know anything about Inori. Neither does anybody. When he was hurt making the same mistakes, she was the only one by his side the entire time. This time, he will be by her side. I don’t know if Shu made some powerful blast or not because Yuu’s last words were to challenge him to resist the despair. Did he escape and vanish or disintegrate and die for good? I hope it’s the latter. Now Shu faces off with Gai who mentions he just missed Inori. He says Mana, their lost Eve will be reborn by devouring Inori. With Mana breaking out from the crystals, is Apocalypse coming sooner than expected?

Episode 22
Tsugumi can’t seem to regain control of the system as Shibungi realize there is someone on par with her: Kenji. He wants her to hold out till he gives the signal. Mana revives and is happy thinking Shu came for her. However she starts badmouthing Inori of getting in her way till she manages to destroy her and regain this body. Shu tells her off Inori is not a monster and a human because she cried for him. Mana felt sad that Shu is going to reject her again even though she loves him very much. Gai tells her to let him be and leave the rest up to him. He draws out her Void weapon and a world map appears on the ground. Mana is not going to forgive Shu for hurting her. She initiates the Lost Christmas phenomenon by dancing around the world map. Ballet dance? What’s with that tenor voice too? No laughing matter because everyone around the world got turned into crystals! As Gai puts it, this is the fourth Apocalypse. Leave your feeble body and preserve yourself in crystals forever. The Void was just a sign announcing the new world, a new world where the heart takes from. Communications to our heroes’ Endlaves got cut. Argo fights hard to defend Ayase who is out to take manual control of her Endlave. Rowan is worried for Daryl who is pushing this Void Genome emulator which is still under trial but that kid isn’t going to stop. Not after he kills everybody. Gai and Shu fight and Shu couldn’t understand why he wanted to save Mana by asking him to stab him then at Roppongi. I guess that was the reason. He didn’t understand. Gai is furious he was chosen and yet he gave it up. In the past, he would’ve accepted Shu as Adam to be Mana’s Eve. But now he thinks he isn’t worthy of that. Keido thinks he is winning against Kurosu because Mana, the daughter he tried to save is going to end the world. Haruka manages to get up close to him and wonders if that is the reason why he did this to Shu and the world. She isn’t going to hesitate to shoot him.

Shu laments he might lose when he sees a crystallized little tree and hears Inori’s voice encouraging him. He absorbs that tree as Inori allows everyone to use her. Seems Shu is absorbing everyone’s Void and with renewed faith of those people who believed in him, Shu is going to get Inori back. Shibungi confronts Kenji and shoots him before he gets any chance to fight back. In this instant, Shibungi gives Tsugumi the signal to connect Ayase to her Endlave and fight off Daryl. Shu unleashes one final devastating strike on Gai. As he is falling, he couldn’t believe his eyes of seeing Shu and Inori together. Keido commits suicide with some injection and starts crystallizing. He notes neither he nor Kurosu won in the end. Shu catches Gai who tells Shu that it’s alright to be himself. Shu is transported to a different world. A world after the Apocalypse. Everything is crystallized and Daath’s ideal of Earth. Everything of this world is going to be a memory inside the crystals. Gai notes this would have happened to him either way. He was afraid of the selection process and struggled to put an end to Eve and Mana. After being stabbed by Shu at Roppongi then, he thought he’d be able to free Mana but Daath won’t accept Mana’s death as she is the will of the natural selection. Even if she dies, she’ll be resurrected. So there is only one way to release her: She had to complete her story. That’s why Gai decided to become a demon king himself to further spread this Apocalypse Virus and wait for Shu to come. Gai knows his end is near as he hugs Mana and they both start crystallizing. He tells Shu all that’s left is to save Inori. Shu sees Inori heavily covered with crystals trudging closer to him. She doesn’t want Shu to blame himself and thanks him for everything. She hopes he can stay by her side forever. They hug as Shu absorbs everyone’s Void and their crystals. I guess you could say he’s trying to be a hero, a saviour. Due to the Genome phenomenon, the building starts collapsing. Everyone scrambles their way out. Rowan sacrifices himself to throw Daryl to safety and parts with an advice that he should be kind to others if he wants another chance at life. He believes he used to be a nice person. Shu is being swathed with crystals as he feels everyone’s hearts and feelings of love and hate flowing through him. Inori lets Shu take her cat’s cradle and from what I understand, Inori absorbs all the crystals Shu has taken and it’s sayonara for them. Everyone gets out from the collapsing building. But did Shu make it in time? A few years down the road, Yahiro, Souta, Kanon, Tsugumi and Ayase gather to celebrate Shu’s birthday. Well, he is still alive albeit he needs a walking stick (he’s blind?!). Shu alone on the bench listens to Inori’s music and feels like he is embracing her in his arms while thinking back the fond memories with her.

“You Have To Be Cruel To Be Kind!”
NOOOOO!!! What the hell is this unsatisfying ending?! Just as I have feared, everything was going great guns, the plot, the action and everything but the way things ended spoiled my fun for this entire series. It could have easily been one of the best animes of the season and probably of the year. But the rushed and abrupt ending seems to have taken out the major points. It’s like as thought it was making a winning dash to the finish line but stumbled just a few centimetres from crossing it in style and victory. Even before watching this show, I knew there were reviews and comments from many viewers that they did not like how the ending was. Now I understand why. There were quite a few things that were left to be desired. Firstly, you might be asking what happened to this certain character. For instance, Daryl. So he was saved from dying in the battlefield. So what became of him? Argo and Shibungi? I doubt Funeral Parlour is still around seeing Gai is gone (for good) and no need for anymore resistance bodies. So yeah. What happened to them anyway? Arisa? What about that girl? You thought she had died in the final episode while she took in bullets protecting her beloved guy. But it was just a scratch and she’s still breathing. Another minus point for the ending is that the main guy didn’t get the girl in the end. Haha. Sounds like a joke? No doubt the world is saved from Apocalypse. That’s a good end. However I doubt the world won’t even know what saved them. So to me the rest of the world didn’t really matter. I guess this is the price Shu had to pay for saving the world and be king, eh? Now he is a lonely blind guy by himself. Inori gone. Hare was gone a long time ago. Ayase and Tsugumi don’t seem the kind who would make a great pair. Arisa is a wreck. What’s left? Oh no more Voids too. The world is void of Voids. Hah. I just wanted to say that. No more Apocalypse, no more anything. Plain boring peaceful world, isn’t it?

I managed to get a glimpse of this OVA called Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas. From what I understand, this 15 minute OVA is supposed to be a promotion for the game of the same name released back at the end of July 2012. Well, I’m not really impressed with it either. As I see it, the storyline takes place 10 years ago around the Lost Christmas incident and I suppose you have to play the game to understand what really happened. Thus the OVA does not have any relation to the plot, storyline and characters we see in the TV series. Except for Makoto. He may not look like a joker but a bishonen. However he is still ruthless and cold. Seems his army is set out to capture an experimental subject that has escaped from a facility: Scrooge (looks like Shu). This hooded guy is on the run with another girl, Carol (looks like Inori) and a cute little stray dog. Seems they are trying to find Daath. Well, his army has no qualms in shooting in public and even dropping an Endlave on somebody’s house! WTF?! Just to pursue this guy?! Even though they lost him, Scrooge traces the Endlave who chased him back to Makoto’s base. Though Makoto is already prepared and has his firing squad target him. He wants to know Scrooge’s objective before he dies. Carol notes they don’t know about Daath and suggests he take out her Void, which is a cross between a sword and a chainsaw. Makoto is awed at the light and power he sees. Then some strange monster with Apocalypse Virus crystals drops in. One of the crystal debris hit and blinded Makoto’s left eye (that explains his robotic eye) and this nullifies Carol’s Void. When the monster attacks, Scrooge pulls out a Void from the dog. Some kind of tri-blade thingy. The monster crumbles but the poor doggie died. Some lady (the one controlling the monster and perhaps pursuing them), Present (looks like Gai) watches them from afar and notes how Scrooge has the ability of a King. Scrooge and Carol leave. Makoto is still alive but now he’s a mad man because his laugh is eerie and crazy enough to make him one.

Despite the many terms and some of the confusing plots (at least to me), I find the story and the twists to be quite interesting and intriguing. It started out with a devastating virus and the people trying to get back on their feet with the tyrannical rule of the authorities. So you’re not only living in fear of the virus but the government as well. After Shu gets his King’s Power, the pace picks up as we see him and the resistance fighters take on missions to fight those in power. The plot then turns when Mana is on the verge of being revived. Then it turns again when Shu becomes king of his own little kingdom before the final fight against the ex-leader of the resistance group. I won’t go so far to say that the action is totally awesome but even if you are an adrenaline action junkie, the fights will still be enough to satiate your action needs. Cool enough to make me glued to the screen. I may not be a mecha fan but I guess the mecha fights were also okay. I just find it odd that people pilot those Endlaves from another cockpit and not directly inside the mecha themselves. I know this is to prevent deaths as when the robot is destroyed, the pilot also dies (unless there is an eject button in which you pushed it fast enough). However the pilot’s sensations are also linked to the Endlaves so any damage taken, they will also feel the pain. So if it gets too much, the pilot will also die if he/she is not aborted in time. So really, what’s the use of remote controlling Endlaves in this sense? Maybe they can easily switch places since Endlaves are placed at almost everywhere they are positioned to be despatched.

The designs of the Voids are quite cool as they are a mix between futuristic items and everyday equipment. Well, provided if your Void is cool enough to be ‘useful’. I wonder what kind of Void I would have… It’s also cool to see Shu pull out and use the different kinds of Voids he needs when the situation calls for it but since each of the Voids have only one purpose, sometimes it gets a little bland to see them being used for the same purpose over and over again. I mean, Arisa’s Coward’s Shield is just to protect and shield herself while Souta’s Camera just opens up things. It would have been nice to see a person’s Void to have more than one function but I guess that defeats the purpose of making every person having a different and unique Void. That’s why like I said it’s nice to see Shu putting use the different combos of the Voids during battle. But it seems Gai can fuse them and change them into something else and while this is interesting, probability it won’t be so feasible since you are messing with the Voids of others and there is a big probability you’ll break it in the end. Then that’s the end for that Void owner. On a trivial note in terms on design, the symbol for Guilty Crown seems fitting for a corporation’s logo. I don’t know. I just feel it’s like that. The mid-intermission whereby they display this GC logo, I thought the format reminded me a little of Bleach because we see different interesting and creative designs around the GC logo. But not every episode will be similar as I noticed there are some repeats of the same style in other episodes.

On to the characters. Obviously Shu as the main protagonist, it’s hard not to feel any pity on him. It’s also hard not to hate him at certain times. It’s like to us he makes us feel a baggage of mixed emotions. After being given powers, as a normal kid he definitely wanted to stay out of it all as much as possible. He doesn’t want to get involved in anything to do about saving the world or ridding it of the deadly virus. You can’t blame him for not joining Funeral Parlour or having his doubts of the group because all he wants is a peaceful and quiet life in which he won’t stand out. But when your past comes catching up and destiny persistently knocking on your door like an annoying salesman that won’t go away, what choice does he have? Whether he likes it or not, Shu holds the power to change destiny, to change things. To make things better or for worse. And to prove that he is just a normal kid and not some superhero, he makes mistakes. He makes them the hard way. The way it will make him regret and doubt his own abilities. He gets confused on what to do. It’s easy to point your finger at him but do you understand the responsibilities he is shouldering? He wants everything to turn out for the best and learns the hard way. So when Shu became a dictator among his school friends, he easily turned from hero to zero by the way he treats everyone. However without this iron fist ruling, chaos and disorder would have continued. It is funny that people seem to work better when there is a clear hierarchical order. It keeps them in line. It makes them know where they stand. And so the age old law of the survival of the fittest and that the strong shall govern the weak still stands even in today’s modern society. Then of course people start to tire his tyranny and because they have the numbers and someone who will take the lead in overthrowing him, Shu bears the brunt of it all. Call them ungrateful but generally that’s what humans are. So Shu has one last chance to redeem himself and fix things right and he pulls it off. Just too bad he didn’t get the girl in the end ;p. In some ways, Shu’s character and role reminds me of a couple of other anime characters. Shu is like Code Geass’ Lelouch because he is trying to use his powers to change but not without effects and consequences (albeit their personalities were on opposite polar). Also, Geass lost cutie Shirley in a similar fashion how Shu lost Hare. Why do cute girls like them have to die halfway?! Shu is also like Linebarrel of Iron’s Kouichi because he started out like a wuss and when he gets a taste of a new power, he imposes his brand of justice upon others (at least for the tyranny part).

Well, at least sweet Inori stayed by his side through thick and thin. At the beginning she was void of a lot of emotions. She was like a tool. But once she spends time with Shu and finds that he is imperfect, she somewhat changes and feels more emotions. She even fell in love with him. Albeit she doesn’t show it in her actions and just through her words, the impact of that she fell in love isn’t really being felt (at least to me). So can you say that love indirectly saved the day? Love is also about sacrifice, right? Too bad Shu may just end up like his dad being a real lonely guy. Gai as the resourceful and charismatic character, when he became the antagonist towards the end, I thought there was something wrong. Has he been putting up such a good act to deceive his comrades all along? So when it turns out that he was just playing the part of the villain to pave way for Shu to do the necessary, well at least it makes sense. In order to deceive your enemies, you have to deceive your allies first. Gai isn’t the perfect person that some may idolize him to be. He has his shortcomings too but he doesn’t show it to others. He’s got a reputation to keep. That’s why he is the leader of the resistance group. It is not clear if Ayase ‘respects’ Gai anymore after his return from the ‘dead’. But at least this paraplegic who once refused help from others has learnt to open up herself that sometimes people want to help not because they want something in return. They just want to help, that’s all. It makes things and life easier. Something amusing about the perky Tsugumi is that when she’s doing her hacking, she’s sorta like dancing and prancing around. Sometimes in a naughty way. It’s as though she’s showing to us that this hacking thing is fun. Well, if you’re a genius at her level.

For Arisa, I felt that she has fallen from grace. Ever since the move to vote her off as student council president and losing her leadership to Shu in the process, I’m not sure if she turning to the dark side would be the right way to describe her situation. She seems blinded by love for Gai that she is willing to do anything for him. Well, was it all worth it since Gai is gone, has never returned her love. Now what is she? Don’t know. Yahiro on the other hand was trying to work his way back up again. Initially he would sell his soul to do anything to free Jun but was that what he really wanted? So after Jun’s death, probably it opened his eyes and how he had been blinded like a slave to Jun. Then he realized he can’t lose any more precious people in his life but I guess it’s too late by the time Shu became king of his own country. He reaps what he sews and bore the consequences for his initial betrayal. Even so, Yahiro didn’t resort to betray Shu as bad as before when Arisa led the uprising against Shu. Because of Souta’s open character, it’s easy to read his emotions. You can tell when he’s happy and you can tell when he’s not. All he wants was to be Shu’s friend. How hard can that be? Well, if your buddy got super cool powers, it’s real hard then. How many ordinary people openly admit they’re friends of Superman? Hare is probably the only other character aside Inori that stayed by Shu’s side all the way. Too bad she had to die so early. Sad to say, her death indeed opened his eyes. If she hadn’t, Shu would have continued to hesitate on what policies to follow and more people would have ended up dead.

Keido as the main antagonist, I still do not understand the implications of him and Kurosu and what they’re trying to achieve by bringing another Lost Christmas incident. Sure it’s about creating a new world. Keido wants to be the one who shapes the next evolution in mankind. But isn’t that playing God? Plus, what makes him think he is so suitable and the one who will be man’s next model? The same reason why every megalomaniac wants to take over the world or destroy it perhaps. So if his initial proposal to Mana failed, but it’s not over yet because he returns again and this time my guess to destroy the world for real. From what I understand, he was so jealous of Kurosu’s brilliance, the kind he could never attain, his plan in the second half of the series was to destroy mankind for good as opposed to Kurosu’s goal to save it. Still keeping those grudges after a full decade, huh? So I guess when he said neither of them won was because well, Earth continues to spin and mankind is as rotten as it is before. Any hope of saving them despite the virus is gone? It’s a lose-lose situation for them. More perplexing is Yuu and his Daath organization. So again I don’t know why Yuu struck deals, first with Keido then with Gai just to bring fourth Apocalypse to the world. Oh, maybe it’s that destroy Earth thingy. Segai as the other antagonist is a crazier one. He may look like a jester but he’s a dangerous guy you shouldn’t be messing with. He is sharp, manipulative, sadistic and has the knack to obtain what he wants. Merciless and cruel, he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Daryl is another cold hearted and crazy bastard in the beginning. However as the series progresses, it feels that he loosens up a lot. It’s as though he has lost his bite ever since he killed his father. He is not as crazy as before. I’m sure it could be demoralizing each time he gets his Endlave butt kicked by Voids. But yeah, he doesn’t seem that wild anymore. And from the way I see things, he might have a thing for Tsugumi ever since he bumped into her at the cultural festival. Nothing concrete about that.

Because the series is peppered with lots of other minor characters, some come and go, it left me wondering some of their roles. Like Kenji. He’s got this seemingly ferocious reputation as a Sky Tree Bomber and is first seen tied down to a chair in a strait jacket like a dangerous mad man. So what is this Sky Tree Bomber incident thingy, we’ll never know. So after busting him out of the facility and using his Void for the Leukocyte mission, he seems pretty forgettable after Gai’s first death. You won’t even know if he even exists if they had not shown him being allied to Gai in the second half. What about Funeral Parlour’s second in command Shibungi? Was his role just to kill Kenji? What about his new goal to kill him? Heck, Shu did that job for him. Speaking of deaths, I thought at the rate things are going, maybe that most of the casts will be wiped out in the end. If Apocalypse didn’t come again, maybe something else would kill them. After all, how could they kill off a cute girl like Hare in the middle of the show (okay so I admit, I may have a soft spot for her cuteness). Minor characters like Guin and Kyou making only a couple of episode appearance (even that was just a handful of scenes) got killed, Jun couldn’t be saved anyhow, that “guts” Dan guy got killed, bug guy Oogumo died an honourable death, Yan was murdered by his own son, the old Okina geezer also got killed, pain in the ass Nanba also got sent to his maker, Segai saw a different kind of light before he went to the other world, Gai and Mana get to die a second time, Keido puts an end to the speculation that he’ll still be breathing if there ever is a sequel by killing himself. Even ordinary people die. And when Inori sacrificed herself, I just thought everybody else should just go with her. Oops. Even Yuu it seems vanished to thin air. So I was expecting people like Daryl to bite the dust but instead that Rowan guy did it in his place. I thought Argo would also face the similar fate since he got injured by Daryl’s Gespenst but it seems he is tougher than he looks. I thought Shibungi will also die after having an audience with Gai since the new king won’t allow those against him to live. I suppose his job was to spread the flashback and let others know about their past. But still, I thought he would die like Kenji due to lacking screen time presence. I thought Kurachi would die since she’s leading the military into the final battle. As earlier said, I thought Arisa would die because she took in some bullets and would gladly follow Gai. I thought Yahiro, Souta, Kanon and the rest of the world will be killed thinking Shu would somehow screw up and break all their Voids he is carrying. Didn’t happen. Can’t make a third mistake at this important point of the show, can’t he?

There are many more other stuffs that I do not understand as you have already read from my previous paragraphs. I’m going to add them more here. For instance, Inori’s case. If she was the lead singer of Egoist, how come GHQ never really took action against her as a terrorist? I mean, she has got to be popular seeing people like Souta are fans of her weird songs. If Gai actually broke her free from her captivity in the facility, then how in the world did she become a singer? Maybe it’s underground music? Even so, GHQ should be looking for her for a long time since she is somehow who escaped from the facility and they need to retrieve her since she is important, right? Another bugging question is, why and how did Haruka and Keido revived Gai? So it’s for Keido’s plan to destroy the world and Gai to put his lover Mana to rest once and for all because if he leaves it hanging like did and got killed for it, this cycle will repeat again and again courtesy of that mysterious Daath kid. So to say Haruka and Keido actually found Gai’s body? Didn’t his body disintegrate into oblivion then? I couldn’t say his body was crystallized like it did the second time he died so maybe there’s a chance they found pieces here and there and put back the pieces. Just kidding. And remember the Shu met Gai in the first episode? If Gai was supposed to have the cylinder which contains the Void Genome, why was he telling Shu to protect it? Then it broke and Shu obtained the King’s Power. Then Shu saved Inori. Then Gai reprimanded Inori for her failure because she failed to deliver the cylinder that was meant for him. Shouldn’t have Gai just took it then? Or maybe it was just an act? One very big act from the start. Gai may have remembered Shu and wanted him to take it so that he could rope him into his organization and use his power for his ultimate goal. And what does Inori’s cat’s cradle signify? What does it mean? Her other personality as a monster, is it Mana herself? After all those mysterious scenes in which Inori beats up those who antagonize her close to death, so her monster self was just someone with lots of sharp crystals and running wild? Well, Gai easily captured her. What about the Voids? What about them being reflective of one’s heart and soul? If that person changes, shouldn’t his/her Void change too? If that’s the case, then you could say nobody changed because their Void remained the same. I remember Inori having another different Void. Is it from her other monster self or is it part of Shu’s evolving power that he pulled out a gun instead of a sword?

The drawing and art is your typical standard Japanese anime with good looking people like Gai, generic heroic high school kid with slight spikey hair, cute pretty looking girls like Hare and sexy girls in sexy outfits like Inori and tight body hugging ones like Tsugumi and Ayase. I like some of the design of the equipment such as the portable mini screen. The physical handle might just be an L shape object but once activated, you get your hologram-like screen. Cool. Quite futuristic if I should say. Of course when Tokyo has been plagued with the second Apocalypse Virus, the city is painted as a dark, depressing, gloomy and desecrated city. A good picture of what the city will look like if Apocalypse comes.

With the extensive cast line-up, I guess everyone played their role that fits their character but none of that really stands out. Maybe for just Ai Kayano as Inori as she is quite soft-spoken and void of any emotions. Even so, ironically it makes her sound fragile and frail, which fits the kind of character Inori is. She also doubles as the voice of Mana. She was the voice as Menma in Ano Hana, Hibino in Kamisama Dolls and Shiraume in Ben-To. The rest includes Yuuki Kaji as Shu (Haruaki in Cube x Cursed x Curious), Yuuichi Nakamura as Gai (Tomoya in Clannad), Kana Hanazawa as Ayase (Kobato in Kobato), Ayane Taketatsu as Tsugumi (Azusa in K-ON!), Aya Endou as Arisa (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Kazuhiko Inoue as Keido (Kakashi in Naruto), Nobutoshi Canna as Segai (Lancer in Fate/Stay Night), Yuka Nishigaki as Yuu (Kazemaru in Inazuma Eleven), Kouki Uchiyama as Daryl (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Anri Katsu as Argo (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kenji (Niizuma in Bakuman), Chika Fujimura as Haruka (Sora in Oh Edo Rocket), Takahito Koyasu as Shibungi (Ilpalazzo in Excel Saga), Takahiro Mizushima as Yahiro (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Souta (Shinpachi in Gintama), Minako Kotobuki as Kanon (Yuuko in A Channel), Yu Shimamura as Hare (Kurumi in Needless), Katsuhisa Houki as Okina (Jinbei in One Piece), Miyuki Kawasho as Kurachi (Tsuyuha in Manyuu Hikenchou) and Toshihiko Seki as Kurosu (Mousse in Ranma 1/2). The first opening by Supercell is My Dearest and is a fitting rock outfit that suits the action pace of this anime as with the second opening them The Everlasting Guilty Crown by Egoist. Though it is a fictional band in the series, the vocals are provided by Chelly. At first I thought how different it was Inori’s voice when she’s singing. Then I got to know it was by Chelly who substitutes her voice whenever she’s singing. The second ending theme, Kokuhaku by Supercell is also a rock outfit. But the first ending theme, Departures ~Anata Ni Okuru Ai No Uta~ by Egoist is a slow ballad. It may seem out of place but seeing the direction of this anime, sometimes when an episode ends, you just can’t feel sad or heart-warming. There are a bunch of insert songs used in this anime. Euterpe by Egoist must be the most frequently used one as this is the first song we hear from Inori. Despite being a slow and calming piece has a melancholic and depressing feel to it. The rest of the other songs by a bunch of other groups have this upbeat feel which are often used during battle sequences. It makes you want to cheer on the heroes. Otherwise, some of the slower pieces are used for dark and gloomy scenes.

I’m sure there are lots of underlying themes in this series. Firstly about being cruel to be kind. As seen with in Gai and Shu’s actions, in order for them to what is best for everyone in the end, they have to get down and dirty. For Shu, he is the only one who can draw out other people’s Void so he has to use this ability and keep others in line otherwise there would be more meaningless sacrifice. For Gai, he had to show who is in command and playing the antagonist isn’t easy as well. You really thought he had changed when he used other people’s Void without considering what would happen to them, eh? Well, some deaths are perhaps necessary for the better good. Then about the law of the survival of the fittest. This is necessary in basic evolution to ensure that the strongest will survive in the long run. So was it right for Shu who wants to save everyone, strong and weak disregarding this natural law? It’s good he doesn’t discriminate but if you’re talking about wanting to fend off future attacks that become stronger and stronger, say a virus, then I guess you’ll have to re-evaluate your philosophy thingy. Death is also another topic and with the numerous deaths seen here, it tells us that death strikes anyone indiscriminately and you can avoid it. Everybody dies one day. It’s not like you want to be Adam and Eve and live forever, right? Or do you? And yes, the over-used “When great powers come great responsibilities”. I guess you are responsible for your own actions. Sure you can blame others but ultimately it is you who did it. As far as this anime is concern, being king here isn’t fun because you’ll have to shoulder lots of heavy responsibilities and burden. You’ll have to take in the sins of everyone. Thus my theory of why this show is called Guilty Crown. Or maybe… It’s the reverse for the initials of Code Geass…

Even if viruses seem like the major baddies of epidemic shows, it’s usually the human factor that makes us the real villains. I’ve been infected with this obsession with anime for many years and it doesn’t seem it will get any better. Ironically the ‘cure’ to it is to watch more! Hey, that’s not really a cure. Fortunately it’s not infectious because my friends and family didn’t catch them :). The next time a real big epidemic virus is sweeping and spreading fast across the globe, if you ask me, I think I prefer to kick the bucket fast instead of waiting for researchers to come up with vaccine that would probably just be temporarily relief. It saves all the hassle and suffering. And how long would that take for a hero or saviour to show up?   Sometimes it isn’t the amount of effort put into the research of making the vaccine and cure. Sometimes it’s not the size and might of your army. Sometimes all it takes is just one right person and the right attitude to fix it all.

Sacred Seven

August 25, 2012

“With great powers come great responsibilities”. Yeah… We’ve heard that superhero movie line used like a million times in just about everywhere. I’m just as guilty using it because I’ve used it several times myself in my blogs over the years. Sacred Seven may fit this motto very well but I wouldn’t say it will be exactly a superhero series. Sci-fi action of good versus evil, yes. But short of being something anyone would call it a superhero series although you have the typical hero powering up and action sequences pack with powerful punches, kicks and aerial attacks.

Aruma Tandouji as the main protagonist, as usual starts out as somebody who lives a low profile life. Doesn’t want to get involved in anything. Prefers to live a boring, plain, standard and normal life. You see, this tall guy had a reputation of putting a bunch of delinquents in hospital because of his latent powers called Sacred Seven. A power that has harmed many when he couldn’t control it and swore never to use it again. Till harm in the form of Darkstones threaten to ruin the peace of his town that he is forced to choose to use his powers for good and save the day. Oh, he couldn’t do it by himself. Perhaps the cutie daughter of a noble billionaire, Ruri Aiba who possesses jewels that would unleash Aruma’s true form whenever she inserts into him, and her loyal butler, Makoto Kagami, aid Aruma whose powers are their only chance against the Darkstones.

Episode 1
A big Darkstone is rampaging throughout the seaside town. Aruma’s inner power is reacting to it as he tries to hold it in. In the aftermath, Ruri and Kagami along with a talkative Darkstone, Onigawara check out the ship that was destroyed by the Darkstone nicknamed Perseus. They note they need Aruma’s power. Aruma himself is a loner in school. Because of his tall stature and violent past, everyone keep their distance away from him. It doesn’t help that he looks like a delinquent. Everyone except Wakana Itou. This girl couldn’t care less about all that and is ‘brave’ enough to approach Aruma to join her Rock Club. No, not the musical kind. The kind where you research on stones. Oh, there’s another word for it: Geology Club. She’s particularly interested in him because she always observed him searching for rocks at the river. However he’s not interested but she’s not listening and hopes to meet him at a museum that is exhibiting a big jewel today with her friends, Nanami Akasaki and Ageha Yamaguchi. Aruma back home gets a visit from the CEO of Aiba Foundation, Ruri and her butler Kagami. She pleads for his help and guess what? He’s not interested. Kagami reads out the detailed research he has done on him when suddenly Aruma’s power starts reacting. He is so pissed that he wants to be left alone, it causes a crater where they’re standing. Ruri has no choice but to leave.

Perseus is attacking the city so Ruri’s battle maids go into action in evacuating the city and prepare to take out the menace. Wakana and her friends are actually at the bus stop and hoping that Aruma to show up. But her friends head off to the museum first while Wakana waits patiently for Aruma. When Aruma sees the rampage from the distance, he couldn’t help think Wakana is in its path and sets off. Ruri learns Perseus’ target is the museum. If it gets this other jewel, it’ll be game over. The maids reach the museum in time to clear everyone out. They even offer to buy the jewel from the owner at a very high price. Kagami engages his personal mech to fight Perseus but it was of no match. Perseus then changes its target to Ruri and dashes at blazing speed towards her position. By the time Aruma arrives in his mini scooter, a large explosion rocks the place. Wakana may be unconscious but at least she’s not dead. Aruma gets mad. Very mad. Good thing he didn’t turn green. Just a horn coming out from his forehead. Ruri is also in the picture as Perseus assaults her. Aruma in his Darkstone form fights Perseus and smashes the latter like a wild beast. He could have taken out Ruri if not for her voice managing to reach him and calm him down. Aruma laments his stupid power that hurt people but she will be unleashing his true form. She gives him a jewel and transforms him into a Lightstone hero. Since the jewel at the museum failed to be secured, it becomes a Darkstone and attacks Aruma. But with his new found powers, he easily defeats this Darkstone by destroying its core. In the aftermath as the pieces of the Darkstone are being taken away, a little tentacle piece escapes and returns to its Darkstone master. Aruma joins the Geology Club but is surprised to see Ruri and Kagami as new members too. Hey, wait. Are they even students of this school? They bought the entire school and she became its chairman while Kagami the student council president just to stay close to him. Wow. Rich people and their money to splurge…

Episode 2
Aruma is called to Ruri’s office in school and he is surprised to see Onigawara talking. Do stones talk? Ruri assures that Onigawara is harmless and his only power is to sense Darkstones like Aruma himself. Kagami lets Aruma in some history about Darkstones. Seventeen years ago, several meteors with 7 types of alien power crystals crashed into this planet. Hence they were called Sacred Seven and have the power to alter human DNA and cause mutation. Aruma may be one of them since there is a chance his late mom may have come into contact with Sacred Seven. The powers depend on those who touched it. Those who can control their powers are called Lightstones and those powers that manifest on its own are called Darkstones. Aruma is their only hope in the battle with Darkstones seeing the police and military don’t have the right power to fight them. She will do anything for him to help them out. Anything? That desperate? Aruma asks about the pendant she had (he saw it in her family photo). Kagami says Ruri used it to unleash his powers then. But Aruma needs time to think whether he should help them. After all, Ruri doesn’t want him to be forced into doing something he doesn’t want to. Meanwhile the Darkstone tentacle slips into an American Hercules plane. In mid-air it combines itself with another Darkstone and the plane explodes. Then it absorbs a battleship and becomes a gigantic sea hurricane. Elsewhere Aruma is at the riverbed doing his usual of searching a particular rock. Not just any rock. It’s a jewel pendant his mom gave him to suppress his powers. But when the bullies confronted him, they threw it into the river. He lost control of his powers and that’s when he earned his infamous reputation. This was also the place Wakana first met him and she is happy to see someone else sharing the same interest of searching for rocks. Though he isn’t really doing this for fun.

Ruri’s maids detect a huge electromagnetic storm building up at the coast and of course it’s a Darkstone. Guess what else the US military plane was carrying? Nitrogen chloride carbide warheads. Guess where the storm is heading to? Kagami goes to pick up Aruma at his scrawny humble home and brings him to Ruri’s luxurious mansion equipped with all the latest technology and gadgets. And maids too. But Kagami brings him to a room to show him a little girl crystallized. Though frozen, she is still alive. She is Aoi and Ruri’s elder sister and only family member. Ruri’s parents were killed by Darkstone and had a pendant too, a gift from her mother. Ruri believes if she destroys every Darkstone even at the cost of her precious memento, she could save Aoi and thus formed this foundation. Ruri found out Kagami had shown Aruma something he didn’t have and slaps him. She didn’t want to impose her problems on him. But well, Aruma is going to help them. However he didn’t expect his first help to be skydiving. What other better way to reach the core of the storm? No time to argue because the Darkstone dragon is attacking them. In the midst of the turbulence, Aruma and Onigawara fall off. Ruri also jumps off but she could have put on the parachute first, couldn’t she? No time says she? She must really trust in him that much that she doesn’t need one. Once she catches up to free falling Aruma, she gives him a jewel for his transformation. Now equipped with cool board to glide through the air, Aruma finds the core since Onigawara is inside the Darkstone itself (he got swallowed soon after falling out of the plane). Aruma crushes the core and sends the Darkstone crashing into the sea and the storm dissipates. Kagami hopes Ruri will not do anymore rash things but she notes Aruma will always protect her like he did. Flashback shows that he did use his powers to protect Ruri from a falling metal beam. But had they forgotten something? Where’s Onigawara? He’s at the bottom of the ocean floor with feeder fish feeding all over him.

Episode 3
Ruri buys a jewel at an auction for 9.9 million Pounds!!! How rich is this kid?! She might need it for her fight against Darkstones but don’t you think that was too pricey? Aruma is searching for stones at the river at night when his power starts reacting. Kagami who is escorting Dr Kenmi Yuuji is suddenly attacked by a Darkstone. Kenmi is unfazed and uses his own Darkstone jewel to fight back with backup support from Kagami and the maids. Aruma crashed his mini scooter in the midst of the fight and though the Darkstone guy escaped, Kenmi expresses interest in Aruma. He wakes up in Ruri’s mansion and she feels guilty for not being there when this happened. Kenmi sees Ruri to warn her that 2 individuals have escaped from his research facility. The one who attacked them, Naito Kijima is one of them and the other being Lao Fei Zui. Kenmi says that Naito has been committing crimes using his Darkstone power and his arrogant attitude to not turn over the new leaf is a big problem. He tried to offer counselling but was accused of taking away his freedom. He needs Ruri and Aruma’s cooperation to take him back and claims Naito will return to kill him since the vaccination that keeps him from turning into a full Darkstone is running out. In addition, Kenmi also wants to take Ruri and Aruma under his protection. Naito returns to his secret hideout and Fei manages to inject a serum in time to avoid Naito from fully awakening. Fei wants to follow him in his fight the next time but Naito doesn’t allow it since it’s too dangerous. Naito also notes there was another guy with powers like him. The highest class of Sacred Seven. Kenmi takes Ruri and Aruma to tour his research facility. He also hires them as his bodyguard since he is 95% sure Naito will attack him tonight. Noting he was the one who set off the Perseus incident, he is on his way to completing his Darkstone transformation and is getting dangerous by the day. Everyone gets into their respective post and true enough Naito infiltrates the base. He lets loose his Darkstone creatures since he has no time to deal with small fries. He heads straight into the room with the serum but Kenmi has already anticipated this and blows up the room. Naito thought he could escape into the water (one of his powers is to go through walls) but was electrocuted. Then he has to deal with Kenmi’s lethargic SP, Arakune. She might seem not interested in her job but she fights equally well if she really puts her mind to it. After giving her the slip, Naito reaches to where Kenmi is. This time he locks horns with Aruma in his Lightstone form. Naito tries to convince people like them with such powers should be free and not belong to anyone. The talk allows Arakune to paralyze Naito but he manages to escape and turning the facility into fiery hell. Though he didn’t get what he came for, he has found a new target.

Episode 4
It’s the school cultural festival and Ruri is very excited to look forward to her first festival as chairman. Remember that tentacle Darkstone? It’s still around and it is making its way into the school grounds. However it turns everything to stone in the wake of its path. Onigawara senses the Darkstone and not wanting Ruri to cancel the festival she has been looking forward to, Kagami plans to handle this one himself and warns Aruma not to tell Ruri. So I guess to keep Ruri from figuring out, Aruma calls Ruri to meet at the rooftop. Gasp! A confession she thinks? Actually it turns out he wants more practice with his powers to better protect everyone and hopes she could transform him now. She has some spares but each costs millions! Wow. Turning into a hero can be an expensive affair. About others seeing him in this outfit, don’t worry because they’ll think he’s cosplaying. At least that’s what Wakana thought and that it may be a good idea to advertise for the club. Poster boy? Kagami and Aruma track and chase the Darkstone, which has split itself into 2. Kagami is busy tackling one and is successful in putting it out of commission. But the other tentacle crosses the scaffolding of the stage. It becomes vulnerable and starts to give way. There are several guys painting on the top as they fall off. Although Aruma grabs hold of it, he can’t show his powers in public. He can’t hold on much longer. So is the guy hanging precariously on top. He falls off but Kagami in his mecha puts on a flashy hero show to tie down the stage and enough time for Aruma to catch the falling guy. Those were the same guys who mocked Aruma, now they have a different opinion and respect for him. Aruma goes off to find the tentacle but it has merged himself with the fireworks. Looking like a bloated virus or sea urchin? Aruma could’ve finished it off but his power wears off. Now that the Darkstone is going to explode, Kagami throws it up in the sky. Fortunately, it becomes a pretty fireworks display. With everyone else watching in awe at the ‘grand finale’, Kagami and the maids put on a heroic display like they are filming a movie to cover it up. Ruri reprimands Kagami and Aruma for doing this behind her back. She wants them to promise her never to fight a Darkstone without telling her. Nevertheless she thanks them for saving the festival and rewards them with onigiris she made. The festival proceeded smoothly but Wakana’s 24 Hours of Rock presentation bombed. Boring! Nobody finds the rocks cute like she does.

Episode 5
Now it’s Geology Club’s turn to hold their own camp in the mountains. So uh… A camp to look for more rocks? At least Wakana is showing some enthusiasm. There is a mountain shaped like a pyramid believed to be worshiped by the ancients as the Stone God. So while they’re having fun Onigawara senses Darkstone presence. Yup, it’s in that pyramid mountain. Wakana wants to explore it but were given excuses and made to return to the camp (for their own safety of course). Kagami doesn’t trust Aruma yet but has no choice but to leave Ruri in his hands while he goes deeper to explore. Inside, he is attacked by Darkstone spiders. Suddenly an earthquake rocks the place (the Darkstone in the mountain activating). Ruri jumps the gun and starts running towards the mountain with Aruma close behind. Then the ground caves in and they both fall deep into it. Aruma is separated from Ruri but he has to deal with pesky Darkstone spiders. While the maids take Wakana and her friends to safety, Kagami detects the place is boosting the Darkstone’s power and the pyramid shape amplifies its power. Kagami finds Ruri but the chamber they are in locks them in. Seems they are in the core and the Darkstone is going to devour them. Kagami protects Ruri fending off all the Darkstone spiders but his ammo and strength is limited. He can’t use his power blast to get them out because Ruri will get caught in it. Aruma somehow made his way below the core and could hear Ruri’s voice above. Though she has no jewel, Kagami gives his (the one powering his mecha). Ruri slides it down the gap to Aruma and he transforms in time to cut through everything with precision without hurting the duo. His cut is so powerful that not only the core is destroyed but it created a big hole through the top. On the way home, though Kagami appreciates Aruma for being there to save Ruri, that is follow with harsh reprimanding because Aruma said himself that he would protect Ruri. Except that he had gotten her into this mess. When they return, he is going to give Aruma intense high standard training so as not to suffer any more incompetence. God damn it…

Episode 6
Kenmi tracks down a Darkstone named Zero and fights it. Zero’s fire power causes massive damage to Kenmi’s power suit before escaping. His assistant notes that the flaws in the gem impact on the suit as well. Naito is having nightmares of the time he was being experimented on. A very painful experience indeed. The serum that Naito got for Fei isn’t working anymore and at this rate, she’ll die. Naito says he’ll make a better serum. And that is by using Ruri. Ruri sees Aruma at the rooftop and he didn’t like how close she is talking to him. Not that he wants to be alone but I guess a guy needs his space. She thought he called her annoying (because she wants to eat lunch with him) so she got up and leave (perhaps hoping he would come after her? Did not!). Nanami and Ageha feel so dead in polishing rocks. It’s like their youth wasted away. Only Wakana takes enthusiasm. So the duo turn their attention to Kagami whom they are really interested. But Kagami is worried about Ruri who seems depressed. With an emergency meeting from the foundation coming up, Kagami and Ruri excuse themselves. Boring moments again for Nanami and Ageha… Along the way, Kagami slams on the brakes to avoid hitting a kid collapsed on the road. Actually she is Fei in disguise and this is a distraction so that Naito can kidnap Ruri. He even sliced Onigawara in half! At least this keeps his mouth shut. Kagami realizes he has been tricked and contacts the maids to initiate emergency measures. Kenmi learns about Ruri’s kidnapping and sends Arakune out as he fears they will contact Aruma first. Well, Kagami got to him first but leaves him with broken Onigawara. What the hell is he going to do with this? Kagami fears if a Darkstone is involved, it might not do Aruma any good and will call him if he is needed. Aruma must have lots of free time to even glue back Onigawara! Screw that! He tapes all over him and it’s like magic because Onigawara returns to his talkative self. Onigawara senses the same Darkstone presence that kidnapped Ruri and he’s getting closer. Arakune battles Naito in the forest near Aruma’s home and they are even. It ends with Naito stabbing his sword into Arakune’s arm before escaping. Kenmi tells Aruma that they need to find Ruri fast because Naito is using her to brew a serum as it will keep his mind as a Darkstone. He offers Aruma to come to his lab because he has ample supplies of serum but Aruma views that as he has given up on Ruri. Of course not and since Arakune has planted a transmitter on Naito, they must quickly follow him to his hideout.

Episode 7
Fei is using Ruri’s blood to produce the serum. Kagami is not in favour of Aruma following them in fear his Darkstone power may go berserk. Though they trace Naito’s presence to the mountains, suddenly Naito heads away from it. Kagami has him search the area without fear of his power reacting to Naito’s and gives him a kit that he wants it to deliver to Ruri. If he loses it, he’ll have to work his ass off forever and still find it not sufficient to pay off his debts! Woah! What’s inside it?! Ruri uses the oldest trick in the book to let Fei loosen her: She needs to go to the toilet. Then she charges straight at her. She can feel Fei is the same as her and wants to know where Naito is. However this place is deep within the mountains and there are no exits. Naito is the only one that can enter and leave. Fei weakens and says that she and Naito do not lie because if they do, they’d be no better than humans. Kagami realizes he has been sent on a wild goose chase since the Naito has loose the transmitter somewhere else. Aruma finds Naito and the latter brings him to Ruri. She wants to bring Fei to a hospital but Naito disagrees because as far as society is concerned, they do not exist. He further adds that Kenmi is using them. His lab is doing experiments on them with Sacred Seven powers and Fei’s brother got killed in one of those experiments. For them, they were captured, stripped of their freedom and tortured in the name of science. So if Kenmi gets them, they’ll be killed. Thus he wants to kill Kenmi and be free. He asks what Aruma is fighting for because he is fighting for his freedom. An explosion rocks the place and to everyone surprise, it’s Zero on a rampage. Kenmi is also in the fray to stop the madness. Zero is like a raging bull out of control. Fei tries to reach Naito to inject the serum but meets Zero. She realizes this is her brother. Naito then takes Fei and escape. Aruma who has been using his back to support a heavy rock squashing them. Finally Ruri uses her jewel to unleash his power. She could’ve done that earlier, you know. It’s not that the jewel in the kit (so that’s why they’re that precious) was out of her reach. Kenmi explains this Darkstone escaped from their lab and must have been attracted to Naito’s Darkstone. Zero isn’t human anymore so destroying it is the only option left. Well, Aruma didn’t kill it. He just whacks it away. Yeah, it got away. Aruma asks Kenmi about what Naito said to him and though he admits they do research on Sacred Seven, they will never hurt humans. He assures that he will protect them both. After Kenmi leaves, Aruma and Ruri have heard both sides of the tale and will have to do their homework first before choosing whom to believe. Obviously we’ll soon know that Kenmi is lying and a despicable villain because Zero is back in his lab as his assistant mentions about releasing Zero was somewhat rash. Kenmi had to lie to keep them apart since Aruma and Ruri have contacted with Naito and Fei. Fei is distraught to know her brother is still alive and Naito couldn’t hurt Zero because Kenmi then whispered Zero’s true identity to him.

Episode 8
Kagami reports his findings on Kenmi’s group for the last 10 years but it wasn’t anything much. As Kagami is going to do things his way, Ruri pays Aruma a visit at his home. She gives him a contract to sign because up till now she has been forcing him to do stuff and ignored his feelings. But he shoots back how much she is going to pay him when he dies. He will hold on to the contract but feels she still doesn’t trust him. Ruri still needs to find a way to keep Aruma by her side so Onigawara comes up with an idea. I guess the glue and tape is coming off so he wants the duo to go find some rock in Enoshima. But they’re not just ordinary rocks. The only way you can tell that these rocks are different is to join hands and they’ll know. So… It’s like a date, huh? Ruri shows that she is so rich that she doesn’t even know how to take a train… Money can buy you everything except experience. Meanwhile Kagami sees an old friend for more information on Kenmi. However he advises him not to go against the man. Aruma feels nostalgic returning to the town he once lived in and realized he lost Ruri. He backtracks his steps and thankfully finds her waiting at a shop. He offers to hold her hand so as not to get lost but she didn’t want to. After getting a piece of rock that resembles Onigawara from a shop, Onigawara teases Ruri that they should kiss! Okay, so the stone is supposed to react to their devotion. This means they must hold hands till it glows. They’ll postpone it after they get something to eat. Aruma couldn’t help put get annoyed at Ruri who isn’t saying anything but her face is like wanting to tell him something. Does he hate her or something? Ruri is concerned about his reaction to the contract and realizing that he made that little girl cry, he assures her that he doesn’t mean it that way. He really wants to protect them. Ruri returns to her happy self so the store owner signals a finger gesture to them. Innocent Ruri doesn’t know what it means so Aruma had to lie it means they’re friends. Placing the rock in their hands, it is not glowing at all. So they take the time to look around town. Ruri learns more about Aruma. He moved here with his move when he was young and made some friends. However fun times didn’t last when he used his power to teach a bully a lesson. His friends view him as a monster so they had to move again. Ever since, he never had friends. Mommy told him if he stands tall, people dear to him will never leave you. I guess this doesn’t mean growing tall, huh? Ruri says they have met before but he doesn’t remember. The duo continue to frolic in the beach and play sparklers. When they return home, Ruri’s maid are excited to know what they have done. Ruri shows them the finger gesture and sends them into total frenzy. They are further surprised that Onigawara is fixed up good by the maids. About the rock? It was obviously a lie just to make them go out on a date together. That devil! On to serious stuff, Kagami apologizes to Ruri that he can’t find any evidence. On the other hand, Kenmi’s informant reports that Ruri and co are trying to gather information on them. But Kenmi is not worried a bit.

Episode 9
Aruma must be tired after all the harsh training he gets from Kagami and the maids. Looks like he has a long way to go. Ruri thought of helping Aruma with his homework and lets him copy hers but the other classmates think they are such a lovely couple. Even rumours are going around that he bullied her into doing his homework. Kagami hands him a study guide easy enough for a guy like him to understand because they still need him to fight Darkstones. Surprisingly he tremendously improves that the teacher himself couldn’t believe it. Actually he couldn’t believe he had friends to study with. Even Wakana notes how everyone has met the real Aruma. He always thought of wanting to be a rock but since that day, he stopped becoming one and moved. Trouble in the form of Darkstones appears. Two of them this time. Ruri and her maids have already prepared several line of defence. Aruma engages Darkstone A but its speed and strength overwhelms him. And it is only using its feet to stomp and kick him. Kagami and the rest fight Darkstone B and no amount of firepower could stop it because it is absorbing everything and turning bigger. Their final trump card, Ruri firing a cannon missed its core. Meanwhile Aruma continues to get stomped. And stomped and stomped and stomped… Of course being the hero, he can’t easily give up. He powers up with all the determination in his heart to protect his friends and destroys Darkstone A. Then he runs as fast as he could to wear Ruri is. She and the other maids are a few seconds away from being squished when super Aruma drops in to save the day and destroy Darkstone B. But it’s not over yet. Both the Darkstones then start to combine and fly straight for town. They realize it was a decoy to wear them out. Aruma chases after it and shoots it down from the sky. It’s raining Lightstones? Aruma puts a stone that he always had in the club’s exhibit. He feels he owes it for saving him many times but Wakana thinks it is with all its other rock friends now so it won’t be lonely.

Episode 10
Suddenly the crystallization covering Aoi disappears. Though she is still in frozen shock. Onigawara guesses it could be due to a Sacred Seven resonance with Aruma. In the previous battle, he used all his powers and that might have caused a change in Aoi’s condition. Ruri is desperate to hear anything from Aruma if he knows anything but sadly he doesn’t feel anything different. To further help her and understand better, Aruma requests to hear what happened. Five years ago as Ruri’s family were preparing for Christmas, Kagami was an apprentice butler and had his reservations on Ruri and Aoi. Kenmi pays an early visit so the kids are ushered into their room in which Ruri had a hard time making a clay angel. Ruri’s dad couldn’t support Kenmi’s research anymore despite him assuring they would understand greater his daughters’ power once it is completed. Still, he is reluctant to sponsor him anymore. On Christmas Eve as everyone prepares to move out to their villa, Aoi accidentally rips the wreath that the sisters had been making as a present to their parents. Ruri is distraught and wants to complete the wreath herself despite Aoi wanting to help out. The wreath may be easy to fix but it’s the clay angel that Ruri worked so hard and it’s broken. With no time left, the rest head to the villa first as Kagami’s dad, the head butler tasked him to wait with Ruri till she calms down. Ruri feels guilty for telling Aoi she hates her and should’ve apologized. On the other hand, Aoi also feels stupid for not apologizing to her. So as the family wait for Ruri’s arrival, Zero attacks the villa. Kagami’s father deals with the menace but he too is human and has his limits. Once Ruri is done with the wreath, they rush all the way to the villa. Ruri’s father realizes Kenmi sent this. Father got burnt, mother got stabbed and before Zero could kill Aoi, she became so petrified that a crystal formed around her body. Kagami’s dad lures Zero into an explosive trap to take it out. Kagami and Ruri are shocked to see the villa in flames. Kagami’s father’s last words to him were to protect Ruri with his life. Though Ruri never knew what exactly happened, she was told by Kenmi that she turned into a rock by her own will as an emergency self defence measure. This means they can’t release her from the outside but she still hopes that they can save her. Concluding that Aoi became a crystal because she was too afraid of Darkstones, that’s why she formed this foundation to destroy all Darkstones that threaten her. Then she’ll have to come out. Aruma meets Naito on his way home. Naito warns him again they are being used by Kenmi and wants them to be free. Aruma is just happy to be protecting others seeing the power he once hated for destroying people can now be put to good use. He wants Naito to join them since they have the same powers. But Naito notes that even if they do, their ideals are not the same and is off to go kill Kenmi.

Episode 11
Suddenly Aiba Foundation is under investigation for tax fraud. Ruri is charged for embezzling the foundation’s fund for personal use. The reporters are hounding the school but Wakana and her friends don’t believe that Ruri is such a bad person. They sneak out and meet Kagami. Aruma wants an explanation but there isn’t time. Kagami says that the mansion is sealed and they can’t get close to it. The maids were laid off to minimize damage. Suddenly they are surrounded by Kenmi’s men. Before they can take any action, the maids drop in and round them up. They kick ass! True they were laid off. But they’re doing this because they want to and don’t have to follow Kagami’s anymore. Where the heck did they get all the arsenal? It was tough sneaking them out under the police noses? Well, the police are idiots then. Haha! Then Fei appears. She tells them Naito is going to kill Kenmi and wants to follow them in their rescue mission. Meanwhile Ruri is strapped to the operation table. Kenmi is preparing to conduct surgery on her. He explains the Aztecs used hearts of their warriors as sacrifice to stay as a powerful nation because they got blessed by the heavens. So what does this mean? Kenmi wants to take Ruri’s heart and by gaining such power, he will take his place among the gods. Great. Another crazy guy who wants to play God. Ruri got so scared that she crystallized. So like her sister… Fei further reveals Kenmi’s scheme to take down the foundation and be the sole controller of Sacred Seven from the start. With Naito starting the fight, Kagami thinks of using this chance to confuse the enemy. Splitting into 2 teams, Aruma and Fei are to rescue Ruri. Aruma gets a rude jolt when Kenmi releases Zero to fight him. He’s crazier than ever. Inside a room, Aruma is shocked to see his mother’s pendant. What’s it doing in this place? Naito comes into the picture and is going to put Honyu (Zero’s real name) to rest but Fei is confident she can save him with the serum she made.

Aruma goes off to find Ruri. He sees her in her crystallized state. He can’t get close to her and as Kenmi puts it, that resistance will keep growing stronger till she fades away. Aruma ignores him and keeps calling to Ruri to come back and uses his mother’s pendant. So great the flash of light that it has Aruma remembering his forgotten memories. Aruma and Ruri’s mom did meet and the latter gave the former a pendant to keep Aruma’s power from going berserk. Aruma saw Ruri playing nearby when metal beams start falling. He uses his power to protect her. Ruri is freed from her crystallization as the pendant disintegrates. He thinks they’re even now since all these years he has been keeping Ruri’s mom’s keepsake and now he’s paid her back. He doesn’t need any pendant anymore. He has her. Is that a confession? Save it for later because Kenmi is amazed by his tremendous show of power and was right to pick him. When he first became a Darkstone 3 years ago, Kenmi saw how powerful he was without his limiter (the pendant). However he never tried to use his power and kept it at bay with his will power. That’s why he had to try all sorts of things just to make him go berserk and unleash the purest Sacred Seven powers. So everything that has happened so far is because of Kenmi. Everything was his doing. All the Darkstones that rampaged. Meanwhile Naito manages to hold Zero down and Fei injects the serum into him. It enables Zero to regain his human memories. However he still goes berserk and starts killing all the assistants involved in the experiment that hurt Fei. Kenmi kills Zero and takes out his heart. He inserts that Darkstone core which he has been cultivating and feels the power flowing through him. Feeling invincible, eh? Wait till you see our angry heroes kick your butt.

Episode 12
Kenmi is going to eat Aruma’s as his main dish because his powers are on a different level from other Darkstones. He absorbed Ruri’s pendant which has the Sacred Seven energy inside. And after that, he’ll have Ruri as dessert. Naito is not going to let him feast away and become God because he’s going to send him to hell first. But Kenmi takes Fei and flees so Naito chases him. Aruma urges Ruri to transform him. She says his power has been with him all along since he accepted her and fought alongside her. The only jewel for that is the Sacred Seven itself. Aruma transforms into a cooler Lightstone form. So cool that Aoi finally wakes up from her slumber! Naito’s movements are restricted because Kenmi is using Fei as a shield. Fei feels guilty for causing all this and wants Kenmi to kill her so that Naito won’t hold back. He gladly obliges but Aruma snatches Fei away. When Naito charges at him, Kenmi absorbs his powers and renders him unable to use his Darkstone powers anymore. Fei is so devastated that her Darkstone power activates. Erm… Her Darkstone form looks like a cross between an Ewok and Mickey Mouse… Anyway, she wants everybody to die! Kagami is having his hands full with Arakune when he receives message from the maid squad that they have rendezvous with Ruri. Kagami then goes searching for Aoi and is surprised to see her moving. But Aoi knows Kenmi’s evil is growing and needs a favour from Kagami to take her somewhere. Aruma continues to take on Kenmi and furious Fei joins in. However Kenmi absorbs everything they throw at him and grows stronger. Kenmi got so cocky that he speaks so loud that the entire world could hear his ambitions and his role in killing Ruri’s parents. So now he thinks he is so close to God, he can say anything without getting away with it? Aruma couldn’t give a sh*t about all that and summons a powerful drill to slash pass that guy. Well, Kenmi isn’t God yet so it’s natural he isn’t that powerful. He laments things aren’t going as planned.

Noting that his time is up and slowly turning into stone, he isn’t going down alone. Before he crumbles, he takes Fei along with him and inserts his Darkstone into dejected Fei. By granting her his evil (which include Zero’s), Kenmi tells Fei to go destroy the world. The Darkstone amplifies Fei’s grief and soon she turns into a giant upside down pyramid and starts slamming rocks big enough to cause huge craters wherever it falls. Yeah, everyone is going to die. Not even Naito’s voice could reach her. But Aoi knows he can do something about it (Ruri surprised in seeing her sister back alive). She wants him to go save Fei with Aruma’s help and uses her pendant to transform Naito into a Lightstone. Naito flies up to Aruma and they cooperate so that Naito can get close enough to Fei. Fei couldn’t understand why Aruma is trying to stop her from destroying everything so it’s time for his hero-like speech. From his personal experience, he tells her about the powers that they’re bequeathed with, there people who came and help him, there may be use for his power after all, to protect others and that there is a reason to live. Get all of that? At that moment, Naito embraces Fei from behind and takes out the Darkstone. Crushing it returns Fei and the sky back to normal. Couldn’t say anything about the craters, though. Aoi tells Ruri that while she was frozen, she was conscious and could hear everything she said and knows how hard she has been fighting for her. Ruri becomes emotional and hugs her. In the aftermath, Ruri holds a press conference to clear the air, Kagami and the maid squad are reinstated and return to the mansion, Naito and Fei continue to wander around together while Arakune visits Kenmi’s grave. She doesn’t seem too sad about it. I guess it’s time she quit her job, huh? Finally, Ruri invites Aruma, Wakana and her friends on her cruise ship to go rock hunting in the ocean. However Nanami and Ageha don’t like Aoi because she’s hogging Kagami! And little Aoi knows it too! So he chose a loli over high school girls? Well, he is her butler, right? Ah, I wish I could see this ‘fight’…

“I’ve Got The Power!”
Uhn… Rock power? So well… I guess everything ends nicely, huh? Till the next megalomaniac decides to show himself up and either take over the world or destroy it. I don’t think each and every Darkstone has been destroyed because if it was, Onigawara would have been done in too. That was something Ruri did once mention in her quest to rid of all the Darkstones in the world. Now that Aoi is alive again, I don’t see there is a need to extensively go all out and destroy them. Reinstating her maids is probably just to monitor and keep an eye on the situation. After all, after defeating a Darkstone that got close enough to be God, is there any other kinds of Darkstone or Sacred Seven power that Aruma can’t handle?

For the characters, I’m not sure if I should say they are the cliche types but take Aruma for instance. Like some heroes, he starts out as a loner that nobody wants to talk to because of his size and past. A rough diamond, you can say. Then comes along a cute girl, she helps guide him to use his powers for good and in the end, he becomes a hero and made a few friends of his own. Hey, it may still be just Wakana and her friends but that’s a start. All I can say for Aruma is that he is the kind of person that needs to be given a chance. A chance to show that he is not as bad as you think he is. Because of that, he somewhat lost his way and direction, apathetic from what goes on in his surroundings. He always had the power within him. He just needs someone to guide him how to unleash it and use it to its full potential. Of course such powers are like double-edged swords and if you don’t nurture it the right way, you’ll go the opposite direction instead.

Ruri, she’s a very concerned girl. Concerns for Aoi. Concerns for Aruma. Concerns about Kagami and the maids. Concerns about Darkstones that will turn the world upside down. That’s good, right? That makes her cute too. She may seem vulnerable and weak but she has strong determination in her heart. For areas that she has shortcomings of, she leaves it to her butler and maids. And more recently, Aruma. That’s why they respect and love her. I really wonder what she does in real life to get this rich. Don’t tell me her funds are from her late parents’ will. Kagami is the ever good loyal butler who will do anything for Ruri but he could’ve been better if he smiles often instead of putting a serious face. Okay, maybe if he does that, it’s hard to take him serious nor will things get done if he is too friendly. He doesn’t like Aruma too much not because he is in love with his oujo-sama or anything. At first he can’t trust him to leave it in his hands his master’s safety since you hardly know the guy in person despite having all the data on him. Even if Aruma did prove his worth, I’m sure Kagami will still hold some reservations about him. Onigawara felt like a comic relief because of his smart ass and witty lines (he always ends his sentences with “~oni” which is loosely translated as “what the hell?”). One thing that bugs me about Onigawara is this ability to materialize punctuation marks and emoticons. At first I thought this was just the animation bit to portray his emotions (if that Darkstone has got one anyway), but realized those marks do come up in ‘real time’. After a while, they disintegrate into thin air. So besides his wise cracks and sensing other Darkstones, is this his other ability? Heck, he can’t even move ~oni.

Wakana and her pals also feel like side distraction. If we’re not hunting or fighting rampaging Darkstones, it’s their cue to fill in. So have you known any other person who loves rocks more than her? Hardcore geologist maybe. If you go ask me to search for rocks in rivers or by the roadside, I’d prefer catching spiders because looking for rocks may seem like an extreme polar version of finding a needle in the haystack. Rocks, rocks everywhere. How much can you collect anyway? But it’s good that Wakana likes these natural, ‘cheap’ rocks that you can find anywhere (hey, they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours too) instead of those precious stones that sell at ridiculous high price at auction houses. Her friends are an amusing bunch to watch whenever they want to get Kagami’s attention. Too bad I would love to see more of such light-hearted scenes. I guess if you’re in such a boring club with nothing but rocks (technically you could be staring at the brick walls. Which are also processed type of rocks…) so with a hot guy in the club, I suppose they’re more interested in him. Yeah, probably the only rock they’ll ever be so happy to have is a statue of Kagami. But now with loli Aoi in the picture, tensions are rising up. Now that Aoi is back, she seems livelier than ever. What do you expect when you are frozen in suspended animation 5 years ago? Looks like she has got a lot to catch up in terms of growth too.

I had this feeling that Kenmi was going to be the true villain instead of Naito. Probably it’s the way he says things and not what he says. Sure, his words have lots of assurance and support in them but they sound somewhat ‘hollow’ as if he has an ulterior motive. So I guess when a guy like him decides to play God, he perishes like a fool. You know what they say when you play with fire, right? Naito and Fei were like Aruma: Lost. They had lots of trauma during their stint under Kenmi’s brutal and heartless experiments so in a way you feel pity and can’t blame them for wanting to kill that bastard outright. Even if Naito and Aruma’s ideals clash, in the end what they truly want is to protect the people they loved. It’s good that they didn’t get consumed by the dark side and the world would have ended if Fei had gone on with her killing spree. It’s just sad that when she had finally found a cure for her brother, Kenmi kills him. Man, that’s very short-lived. There is a special episode called Shirogane No Tsubasa focuses on Naito’s past. However I did not watch it because I further read that the episode is a recap of the series and just putting a few new animation on Naito’s past, that’s all. I feel that Arakune is just some extra character. There is no depth to her character. She is just Kenmi’s SP and even with her top-notched skills, she is still a laidback person. Someone who feels bored with life. She just fights because Kenmi orders her to. Then when he’s gone, she moves on. To where, who knows. Thus I feel if they substituted her character with unimportant and nameless guards, it still won’t have a major impact on the flow of the storyline.

The fight scenes are pretty okay but that is what you would expect when you have power gems that give you extraordinary powers. If you can’t pull off such exaggerated power moves, then you might as well not use the stones. Till the end I still don’t know how this Sacred Seven power works. At least for Aruma’s case. I’m not sure if he even really understands how to actually use the options that his Lightstone power gives him. What I notice is that whenever he is in a pinch or in need of a solution, he just says aloud that he needs something to cut open or blast through or speed up. And then some mini menu will pop up and choose the option he is seeking. With the Darkstones wrecking so much havoc, it makes me wonder how the city will get repaired at this rate. Reparation bills will cost a bomb! As much as a single gem, perhaps. Since Kagami has his own mech to do battles, most of the time his mech will get destroyed or some parts hacked off. I know the opponents he faced aren’t your ordinary villains but it makes me feel that each time he goes into battle, there is this risk that the machine will get damaged. It gives an impression that he isn’t so skilled after all. Even when fighting Arakune, no doubt her body suit makes her agile as compared to the heavy and clumsy mech, at least you thought with Kagami’s skill level he could handle her on equal footing and not get toyed around. I like some of the maid squads (not because they are dressed in pink frilly maid outfits, mind you) because some of them especially the sniping squad, they carry cool artillery firepower. You definitely don’t want to mess with these girls. As for the designs of the Darkstones and Lightstones, well, let me say they aren’t that impressive. Aruma’s Lightstone form feels like a cosplay hero while Naito’s Darkstone form seems like a generic bad robot. Then in his new Lightstone form, I thought he would become a new member of the G-Force… And I mean the anime with heroes in bird-like outfits not the Hollywood hamsters lah!

There were some indications but not concrete enough. About what? About the love chemistry between Aruma and Ruri of course! I wasn’t placing too much expectation on this but having a guy and girl like them in this series, there has got to be some inevitable moments from the feelings of the heart, right? Well okay, maybe the seemingly romance part feels like a distraction altogether. As observed, Aruma and Ruri had a few close moments with each other and each time you can’t help wonder if this is a sign that their relationship be taken to the next level instead of employer-employee status. That ‘date’ episode at Enoshima I thought it was the nailer but they were just sorting out and making it clear that they are just friends. So during the battle with Kenmi and in the aftermath, seems that there was no sign on the chemistry after all between Aruma and Ruri. Like as though the romance part (okay, more like get-closer-to-each-other part) never happened. They are just like friends like how they are with Wakana and co. I suppose it won’t be right if you get love in the way of an action series and in this case whereby Darkstones threaten to destroy the world, love can wait. The opening theme is Stone Cold by Fictionjunction and is your generic rock piece that suits the pace of this action series. The ending theme is Kiseki by Yuuka Nanri. Oddly, halfway through the series, both opening and ending songs swap places and with new animation all together. I guess this is one way of having another different theme if you don’t have budget to come up with new ones. Of course the special song for the final episode, Tsunagaru Made by Megumi Nakajima (voice of Ruri) is a slow piece to fit the good end to the series.

So what does this series teach us? With great powers come… Oh, you can fill in the blanks yourself and with your eyes closed by now. It’s a good thing that in the real world, such gems that give us power does not exist or else you can tell how much havoc it will wreck especially if it falls into the wrong hands. For now, such beautiful gems are only possible to be owned by wealthy rich people. Heck, one tiny little gemstone may cost you millions and that is even a small and light one. What more, are you going to spend $4 million bucks on a 6-carat little diamond and blow it on somebody to be used as Lightstone? Or Darkstone if you’re heart is nor pure. So are diamonds forever? And if diamonds are girls’ best friend, then for guys, be sure to always protect your family jewels :). No amount of money could buy that back if they are broken!

Asa Made Jugyou Chu

August 24, 2012

I’m still contemplating whether to classify Asa Made Jugyou Chu to be hentai or hardcore ecchi. Maybe it falls in between there. For those who want to know what this OVA is all about, all you need to know is that this guy who has earned a scholarship to his dream school gets mistakenly put into a girl’s dorm. There is no turning back so he has to sleep with his teacher who is taking responsibility for this foul up. Geez. Sleeping and bathing with your teacher? Not to mention the other ‘indecent’ acts they’ll be doing. Be prepared for ecchi galore…

Today’s Lesson…
Yuuki Kagami can’t sleep. How can when your busty teacher is sleeping right next to you?! And Ayane Kakinozaka has this habit of sleep walking. Heck, no! It’s sleep sexing! Oh Yuuki. You’re so screwed. How did this come about? Seems at the principal office, Ayane screwed up and put Yuuki in a girl’s dorm thinking he was a girl. Well, other people did made that mistake before since because of his name. I thought Yuuki was dual gender? Anyway the principal can’t do anything about it and they’ll have to deal with it. Oh, if anything funny happens, Yuuki’s scholarship will be revoked and he’ll be expelled from school. Bummer. He worked so hard to get a scholarship in Houren Academy and he ends up like this? Ayane got this bright idea that she will live with him so that she could watch over him and make amends. I don’t know about the last bit… So in their room, Ayane suggests Yuuki cross-dress as a girl in order for him to keep his real gender a secret but he feels embarrassed. I don’t know how she got this twisted idea because she starts stripping herself thinking if she’s as embarrassed as him, it’ll even out and it’ll be okay for him to cross-dress. I’m sure that’s not the reason why he went along with her plan. So Yuuki manages to get by dinner without the girls noticing. He looks so girly, sounds so girly. Heck, he must be a girl! But the real challenge is bath time. How is he going to pull this off? Yeah, Ayane coming in with him too. Just in case. Again she has this twisted idea. She tells him porn books are forbidden in the girls’ dorm. Does he look like he has any? Ayane fears his pent up sexual desires will make him lose control and start attacking girls! So instead of those books, she wants him to look at her boobs and naked body all he wants. Anymore of this and I’m sure Yuuki will turn into a sex maniac. If not, lose his mind and go psycho. Bed time. To prevent Yuuki from sneaking out and doing something naughty to other girls, Ayane handcuffs their hands together. So this is where he becomes sleepless. Yeah, Ayane is all over him. What kind of f*cking dream is she having? It looks like she’s enjoying it! Next morning, Ayane thinks Yuuki should attend school as a girl. She even has a girl uniform ready for him to wear. But… She wants him to wear panties too! The skirt is so short that if anyone catches him seeing men’s underwear… NO WAY!!!

Thankfully Yuuki didn’t have to cross-dress but while walking in the corridor, he bumps into classmate Risa Takabane. He apologizes but she remains cold to him. Yuuki laments the direction of his school life going downhill so much so he didn’t reply to Ayane’s greeting. This leads to Ayane unnecessarily worrying about his stress. I’m sure she is the culprit who is building up his stress. She fears all that stress will make him impulsively commit sex crimes and get expelled. She hears her male colleagues about taking out their stress at the baseball batter. Oh God. Not another weird idea cooking up. Remembering her professor’s thesis, she thinks he can help Yuuki reduce his stress by hitting things. Guess what ‘thing’ she makes him hit? Yuuki is wondering whether Risa hates him when Ayane suddenly comes into the room and strips herself! Then she wants him to spank her butt! Please spank or else you’ll turn into a sex offender and get expelled. Is this how she views him? But Yuuki is facing a dilemma to spank or not because if he doesn’t, she won’t let up. So he hits just once. Okay? End of story. Not. She thinks hardly one spank will release all his stress and wants him to hit more. He is having second thoughts but I guess those tears convinced him he must go on. For better or worse. More likely the latter. So the multiple spanking goes on and on… Hit harder! Wow. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, it feels that Ayane is actually enjoying this S&M play, don’t you think? Feels good, huh? Yeah, even Yuuki almost got carried away. He sends her into ultimate climax when he accidentally gently touches her butt. Okay, we should stop here and go take a bath.

While Ayane takes a breather, Yuuki heads in first. Thinking there was no one, to his surprise, Risa comes out. She thinks she has seen ‘her’ before so Yuuki thinks back the fake story to use if ever such scenario arises. ‘She’ just came back abroad and due to various circumstances isn’t officially admitted yet. Did Risa buy it? Yeah, she did. Risa gets too close to Yuuki but he is ‘saved’ when Ayane comes in. She explains about Yuuki’s circumstances from abroad and is in charge of ‘her’. She also tells Risa to go back to her room while she’s still warm and she obediently obliges. Yuuki remembers he forgot to take off his wig and when he is about to do so, Risa comes back in! Looks like she is back for a second round. There’s no rule to forbid that, right? The duo try to get away from her but Risa becomes a serial molester over Yuuki! She’s squeezing and fondling his ‘flat chest’. So Yuuki learns Risa is a lesbian because she prefers relationships with girls and that boys are filthy and dirty creatures. If she’d only knew… She’s going down south and before she could touch his ‘elephant’, I don’t know what Ayane did, must be some big tsunami to splash Yuuki out of the tub. Ayane becomes Risa’s molest victim to buy Yuuki time to get away. Probably she pushed to right (or wrong) buttons because now it’s Ayane’s turn to turn the tables on her and molest her all the way! Yuuki is done changing and returns to inform Ayane he’ll head back first. I guess he didn’t expect what’s coming. A steamy yuri affair between the ladies! Grope master! I think Yuuki nearly died due to loss of blood.

Ayane catches a fever and is put to bed. Risa thought Yuuki should come to her room but he assures he doesn’t catch a cold from her that easily and needs to look after her. I know what will happen if he took up her invitation. Yuuki takes her temperature and man, it’s so hot that the thermometer broke! Shot right through the glass! Thinking she needs her medication now, it turns out to be a suppository! She wants him to shove it up her ass! OMG! Is he going to do it? Yeah well, better get it over it. And when Yuuki accidentally got his finger inside… Do I need to say it? Now it’s Yuuki’s turn to catch her fever. What did he say about catching it? Ayane is in a nurse outfit and will gladly repay the favour. She’s going to stick the suppository right up his ass! NOOOOOOOO!!! What a way to get screwed.

Hard On Physical Education!
Thank God it’s over! Honestly I was cringing while watching this. Everything here feels so wrong (but so good at the same time). I know. I should have stopped watching when it was getting weirder by the moment, right? Well, I decided to ‘brave on’ to see what happens next out of curiosity and to see if it could get and ‘worse’. Well it did. So unless you are a true ecchi fan, you might want to skip this. There are some funny moments but really, if you want to watch this show, it’s just for all the fanservice. I mean, what kind of teacher would have J-cup size boobs? Not only that. Her boobs seem to defy gravity and physics. So bouncy like as though they are water balloons. And probably the fact she is worried Yuuki will turn into a sex offender is just a facade that she is some sex maniac. A masochist if I must say. What about the principal not able to do anything? Well, I thought she just wanted to have some fun and see Yuuki suffer because as the principal, I am very sure she has the authority to do something about this mistake. After all, you’re talking about a boy in a girl’s domain. If anything scandalous happens, the school’s name will be tarnished too, right? And this is a prestigious school I believe. So that’s why I thought she is just a sadist to make life more interesting-cum-difficult.

So can you blame Yuuki if he actually becomes a sex maniac and offender? With all the factors pushing his limits, there is only so much a man can take and anymore, he’ll burst like a needle popping a balloon. I can’t believe Ayane would easily throw away her modesty just to calm Yuuki’s non-existence sexual tension. Like I said, it is probably all make believe so she can take out some of her sexual frustrations herself. I wonder if she’s got a boyfriend. Not surprise if she didn’t. Heck, I feel Ayane is in the wrong line of work and should have been better in the porn industry! See her naturally giving us lots of fanservice views of her panty shots and close ups, boobs and nipples shots? If Yuuki has got Ayane as his problem in one hand, now he has to deal with that lesbian Risa. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place. Doom if he remains a girl in his eyes and even doom for him if his real gender is revealed. Do girls really molest and grope each other when they’re in the bath all alone? Or is it just males’ fantasy?

My solution if this case ever happens, you should just walk out of the school and enrol somewhere else. I mean if a prestigious school can’t fix this minor error, then there is nothing so great, right? What we see here is just like sweeping dirt under the carpet. And it will be just odder that a girl just wants to help you relief your sexual tension. Especially if that girl is your teacher. Teaching you the wrong things in life? Heck, I think you don’t need lessons for it. It’ll come naturally I guarantee :). I’m also sure that there are many other ways to do so but to be on the safe side, maybe I’ll just stick to those porn magazines if I ever wanted to take out my sexual frustrations.

Are you ready? I said, ARE YOU READY?! The boy band phenomenon still lives! That’s what I thought when I was about to watch Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%. This is another one of those games being given the anime adaptation and I thought it was somewhat a little similar to La Corda D’oro. First they are both of a reverse harem genre. That’s right. One female surrounded by gorgeous handsome hunks, each with his own personality. Second, the genre also revolves around music. You’ll hear a new piece of music in each episode. But instead of fairies, we have well, uhm, spirits? I won’t say that the spirit part will be obvious but you’ll see them somewhere in the anime as you go along.

Saotome Academy is the most prestigious school for those who want to further their career in music. Be it pop star idols or budding composers, this is the place to take your first step. Haruka Nanami, the main female protagonist is one of the many aspiring musicians hoping to write songs and someday, let her favourite idol sing it. And in an academy with some students hoping to be idols, you can bet that their good looks and charm are going to play an important role. What happens when you have not only 2 or 3 guys taking interest in the girl but 6 handsome heartthrob bishie guys?! Yes, count them. Six hot looking guys. Life is always of choice and it’s not easy choosing. Furthermore, the academy prohibits students from falling in love with each other. Romance not allowed. In the event if they do, they’ll be expelled. So begins Haruka’s journey to achieve her dream and the guys’ mysterious attraction to this girl. Are you ready to find out if she can do that and avoid the pitfalls of falling in love? Check it out.

Episode 1
The series opens with the 6 guys singing in a concert like a boy band to the screaming crowd. That’s why I thought it was going to be something like Lemon Angel Project. Nope. Not close enough. Back to the story proper. It’s snowing and Haruka is running late for the entrance exam at Saotome Academy but the guards at the gate stop her. No matter how hard she pleads, they can’t make her an exception because if you give in to one, what about the others they had to shoo away? It’s tough because they’re just doing their job. They tell her to go home. Herald heartthrob number 1: the positive and lively Otoya Ittoki. He helps her out and pleads for her case. Guards: No way, Jose. So can heartthrob number 2, the rich son of a conglomerate, Ren Jinguuji do the job? He tells the guards she was helping a lost girl on her way, thus the reason why she was late. Had he know she was a student of this academy, he would’ve let her hitch a ride in his limo. Guards: Go home. Suddenly. Yes, suddenly, the guards receive a call to make this an exception and let her in. Miracle! Haruka sits for the exam and aces. Her friend, Tomochika “Tomo” Shibuya is glad to know Haruka is in the same class with her. She is also her dorm roommate. During the entrance ceremony, the principal known as Shining Saotome makes his grand and flashy debut. He flies his way in (via wire of course), he dances and sings to the hearts of the students. Yes, that’s the famous composer who has written 20 million songs by himself! WTF???!!! 20 MILLION SONGS???!!! Oh sh*t!!!! Getting a hundred is already an amazing feat let alone 20 million! I’m sure his aspiring speech has given the students the much needed motivation to achieve their dreams.

Haruka also finds Otoya in the same class with her. Bespectacled Natsuki Shinomiya instantly comes rushing to hug Haruka because she reminds him of Elizabeth. If not for Masato Hijirikawa pushing her away, she could’ve been the victim. Instead Otoya became the victim. So who is this Elizabeth anyway? His dog. Oh… And he has a penchant for cute and small things. Souta Takanashi of Working!! anyone? Their homeroom teacher Ringo Tsukimiya (who may be a drag queen) was a super popular idol (all homeroom teachers in this academy are super popular idols) explains about the state-of-the-art facilities and amenities needed to guide them through. Even the cafeteria is so high class. You need the cash to splash just to eat. There, Haruka meets petite Sho Kurusu and also Ren, who thinks their reunion is fate. Seems Ren and Masato know each other though Ren is in the top Class S as with Sho while Masato and the others in Class A. Haruka and Tomo start unpacking their stuffs in their room after a hectic first day. Tomo learns of Haruka’s favourite idol, Hayato. But unlike most idols, Tomo thought Hayato is somewhat a ridiculous idol because of his clown-like behaviour on stage. But to Haruka, he will always be her idol and his songs are amazing because when she was small, she had a weak body and lived in the countryside being taken care by her grandma. When she returned to the city, she couldn’t put up with all the noises and became ‘paralyzed’. Right in the middle of the street. Then, she heard Hayato’s voice from the screen. His voice was soothing enough to sweep her away to another world. It was very calming to her heart, filled with warmth. His music ‘saved’ her. Since then, she wanted to write songs for him. That same night, a stray black cat enters her room and steals her handkerchief. Haruka goes after it and she manages to get it back after following it to the lakes. Then she saw something incredible. It’s Hayato! Hayato is right in front of her eyes! No actually. He claims he is not like a shallow guy like his twin brother and that he is Tokiya Ichinose. But Haruka couldn’t understand what he meant. She is pretty sure he is Hayato.

Episode 2
Apparently Saotome popped out from nowhere to explain he is not Hayato. However Haruka didn’t like the fact that Tokiya was belittling Hayato despite being twins. It’s not right for twins to act so hostile like that. Tomo learns the unbelievable encounter and suggests that if Haruka gets close to Tokiya, maybe she’ll get a chance to meet her beloved Hayato. In class, Ringo explains the Composer Course and Idol Course. The first assignment is the pairing from both courses. They may not be in the same class but the winning pair will open a path to their major debut. They have until the end of the term to choose their partner but cautions about falling in love. As a start, they’ll be randomly and temporarily paired to do some recording and also to check their music level. Composers will write the music while idols write the lyrics. Haruka is paired with Otoya and she has been given the honours to go first since she was the highest scorer from last year. However at the piano, Haruka couldn’t start. What’s this? She can’t play a piano? How did she ace the exam then? Oh, that was all written and theory. But she did learn piano from grandma, right? The students start murmuring that she may be no good. Haruka sinks into depression and Otoya ‘saves’ her again by being by her side and give her words of encouragement. He says if he debuts, he wants his songs to make everyone happy. Haruka gets her confidence and starts studying hard. Otoya on the other hand can’t seem to find the right words and he is annoying his roommate: Tokiya. So after bugging Tokiya to help him out to write lyrics, probably he is regretting it because it sounds so technical. Sounds so fast forward, eh? Better go find someone else. He goes seek help from Natsuki and Sho. The former probably in the midst of harassing Sho over his cuteness. Try somewhere else. What about Ren? His words are those of trying to charm ladies. Masato? He’s such a strict traditionalist that his weird words are too hard to comprehend. Well like they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. Tomo is surprised that in the span on 1 day, Haruka is able to read music! She’s a genius! But she still can’t write the music she wants. She sleeps over it and dreams about the times spent with grandma. She got up in the dead of the night and went for a walk at the lakes. She starts humming and Otoya thinks that’s a very nice song. He incorporates it in his lyrics and finds it good. They both work hard and finally record the song.

Episode 3
The results are announced and it’s safe to say Haruka passes with flying colours. Meanwhile Tokiya confronts his homeroom teacher of Class S, Ryuuya Hyuuga. He is not happy that he was given too low a score. Though he notes he sang flawlessly, he lacks the important aspect: Heart. Keep this up and he’ll be dropped from Class S. So when a guy who is already in a bad mood meets a very apologetic Haruka, what do you get? He tells her off about her plan to befriend him so that she could get close to Hayato. But that’s not her reason. He doesn’t want to listen further. When she returns to class, she sees nasty comments on the blackboard claiming that Haruka is a fake musician, that she got in through connections, etc. She is made to play to perform again and the rest have their doubts. Otoya tells them to shut up and listen to her first. Unfortunately Haruka froze once more. Otoya complains to Ringo but she says she’ll have to deal with such if she’s to enter into the world of music. Welcome to the real world. Haruka is recollecting her feelings alone when the black cat pays her a visit. Thinking it’s trying to cheer her up, she calls it Kuppuru (Kuroi = Black + Purupuru = Fluffy). As she tries to get something for Kuppuru to eat, she meets Masato. He too has his own words for her. Meanwhile Ren is charming the ladies with his saxophone but we know there is only one girl whom he has his sights on. Otoya wants to make Haruka feel better and enlists Natsuki and Sho’s help to make her chocolates. But it may be a bad idea because Sho can see it coming. Natsuki is adding lots of unnecessary ingredients into it! Tabasco? Fish paste? Is he trying to kill somebody?! Now the chocolates are done, he needs somebody to test taste it. Oh sh*t! Run for your lives! Nobody can escape from his grasp! ARGH!!! I think the guys almost went to heaven a little while there. Masato visits Haruka who is still struggling to play the piano. He reveals his past whereby his father was so strict, so much so their relationship was just that of a head and successor. But the old steward was there to make him feel at ease and even thought him how to play the piano. Haruka also tells him about her own past and slowly with Masato’s touch, she is able to play the piano and remember the happy times with grandma. Haruka is grateful to him so now it’s his turn to play a song for her to hear. She is then able to play the piano and shut up her non-believers. Masato remembers the time when he saw Haruka sang to a bunch of kids at the snowy park. He didn’t know whether he wanted to go through with what his parents want but after hearing the warmth in her song (despite just being Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), he learnt how wonderful music can be. That’s why it’s he who should be thankful to her.

Episode 4
Otoya, Masato and Natsuki are practising their dance moves for next week’s test. They see a group of girls ‘hounding’ Ren. I guess with his playboy status that’s got to be expected. Ren sees Masato friendly with Haruka so he interrupts them by giving her his rose and some lines that would probably make an amateur girl like her fluster. But Sho is here to remind him about completing his lyrics and to stop fooling around. Remember what Ryuuya said? Oh, speaking of the devil, here he is. He reminds Ren that if he doesn’t turn in his work tomorrow, he’ll be expelled immediately. Ren doesn’t seem to take his words seriously. Later the rest discuss about the childhood friends Ren and Masato are during lunch. Both are heirs to their family’s company and thus know each other since young. Even so, their personalities are like day and night. Masato begged to his father to study music. He was against it so eventually it was agreed that he came here only for a year. As for Ren, the family’s eldest son took over the wheel after their father passed on and wants Ren to go into music to advertise for the family. In short, Masato wants to be here but couldn’t but Ren doesn’t want to but finds himself here anyway. Ren is having writer’s block so he starts playing his saxophone. His beautiful music attracts Haruka to where he is at the top of the roof. She compliments his song but sees a crumpled paper containing his lyrics. He says he is getting tired of this place when Masato scoffs him off for his insincerity and to leave then. Ren agrees since he was forced into this and has no real reason to be here. However Masato points out if he’s just playing around, how can he fake that beautiful saxophone play? But Ren tears up the lyrics and this riles up Masato who thinks he is making light of music and punches him. Guess what? Haruka goes all her way out to find all the torn paper! Every single piece! Man, that’s dedication! She even skipped classes for that scrap of paper! Extreme! Meanwhile Ren ponders more about his past. When his idol mom passed away, his father got rid of everything that has to do with her. Ren was listening secretly to a demo tape that she dedicated to her unborn baby then (Ren) and was touched. It was the only thing left she had of her. Ren unwittingly said some words that Haruka thought it would make good for his lyrics. Oh, she has found and pieced them back. At least most of it. She gives it back to him and hopes he could show his true feelings and not quit. Then she goes off to find the remaining pieces (hell, she’s even got the rest of her friends to look for them. Like finding a needle in a haystack). Ren notes she won’t be able to find it because he has not written it yet. Ringo is trying to convince Ryuuya to give that kid a chance but he’s not going to budge if Ren doesn’t do his work. Suddenly Ren uses the PA to let everyone hear his song and safe to say, he’s not going to quit the academy after all.

Episode 5
Haruka bumps into Tokiya but he ignores her. In his room, he asks Otoya about Haruka and he explains she is the kind of girl who does her best to help out. Haruka is in the woods alone practising her composing when Sho suddenly falls off a branch. What is he doing there? He warns her not to tell this to anybody. In class, Otoya shows the girls a magazine that features Ryuuya is going to be the star of the next action movie. And there’s this notice that an audition will be held for newcomers for the film. Natsuki explains Sho is a big fan of Ryuuya and that he has got to pass this news to him. Sho isn’t exactly happy that Natsuki spilled everything and before that guy makes thing more complicated, Sho takes Haruka’s hand and run. After explaining that Ryuuya was known as Prince of Fights due to a hit drama he starred in, Sho mentions he had a weak body and no confidence in doing anything. Seeing that drama lifted his spirits and cheered him up. Even better, he was happy Ryuuya became his homeroom teacher. That’s why he is his hero. Haruka realizes Sho’s case is just like hers. Suddenly a trap is sprung and Sho gets caught in a giant net. Thanks to Natsuki. He explains Sho’s fear of heights and probably that branch falling incident was his own way in trying to overcome it. So everyone agrees to help him to just do that. Oh no. I have a bad feeling about this. Bungee jumping? Each time, the places get higher and higher. The final one being parachuting from a helicopter. What has he done wrong to deserve this? Natsuki thought they’ve been too lenient and should strap him to a rocket blasting into space!!! But they need to know the source of why he is afraid of heights. Leave it to Saotome to handle it. Was he eavesdropping? Well, he claims hearing out students’ problem is part of his job. Hypnotizing Sho, they delve deeper into his memories to find the age he started to fear heights. When he was 5 years old, Natsuki chased him to the top of a tower. Cornered at the age, he slipped off though Natsuki caught his hand. At that high point, that’s when his phobia started. So… Natsuki was the culprit?! He’s going to get it… At the end of the day, Sho is disappointed not because of the hell he went through but the little disclaimer at the end of the audition note that the auditioning role is to be the main character’s younger sister. Since he wanted so much to audition, Natsuki has a plan. Make him dress like a girl! Oh wait, he’s already got a dress ready! I don’t know how but they manage to force the dress onto Sho. When Ryuuya passes by, he sees cross-dressed Sho and feels ‘she’ is the perfect person who will fit that role in his upcoming movie. Make sure you be there at the audition, Shoko. Oh God. Looks like he got traumatized again.

Episode 6
Haruka is excited because she is going to Hayato’s concert and he’ll be releasing a new song. The rest are worried she may get lost but she assures them she’s got it all together. Haruka bumps into Tokiya. She asks if he’s going to his brother’s concert but he didn’t say. Since she is going, he hopes she won’t get lost. Haha. True enough, she got lost but she thought she spotted Natsuki on the street bench. She goes up to him but he doesn’t respond. He is busy writing songs and tells her to scram. Eh? Is this the Natsuki we know? When a passer-by accidentally throws his burger wrapper into him (it missed the bin), suddenly Natsuki gets very upset and goes to teach them a lesson! Woah! See that crater on the wall he just punched! OH SH*T!!! Before any violence could happen, Sho arrives in time and puts on his glasses, returning him to normal. Eh? What just happened? At the cafe, Sho explains to Haruka that if Natsuki removes his glasses, he becomes a completely different persona: Satsuki. His alter ego has a reputation of putting 50,000 people who ticked him off in hospital! WTF?! However Satsuki has also this genius talent in composing. Another point is, Natsuki doesn’t remember who Natsuki is in this mode. Natsuki nearly took off his glasses when the tea fogs them. But when he sneezes… Sh*t is going to happen… Satsuki tells them off not to categorize him like Natsuki and whacks down a tree! Thank God Sho put his glasses back on before Haruka could add to his statistics of hospitalized victims. Haruka and the guys made it for Hayato’s concert. When it begins, Haruka felt something not right. He may still have a beautiful voice but he doesn’t feel the same as he used too. Hayato unexpectedly drops his microphone. The fans urge him to continue singing and the pushing has made Natsuki lose his glasses. Just great. Satsuki barges up to the stage (beating up all the security with his kung fu!) and chides Hayato for singing insincere songs that it pisses him off. He is going to show him how it’s done. Haruka’s friends back at the academy are shocked to see the live coverage that Natsuki is singing at Hayato’s concert. Haruka tries to sneak up and put back his glasses but was caught. Satsuki suggests doing something fun and is about to kiss her when Sho puts his spectacles back on. Phew. Then Haruka trips but Hayato catches her. Wow. Now she’s this close with her idol. But she sees his injured feet and realizes Tokiya also had the same injury when she bumped into him earlier today. Could it be that Tokiya is Hayato?

Episode 7
Though Haruka is making progress with her music, she goes to see Tokiya and knows that he is Hayato. She asks about his feet but he doesn’t want her to bring it up. Haruka is confused why a famous idol would go to an academy like this. Meanwhile Tokiya is doing his recording and though Ryuuya mentions his perfection in almost every field, he still lacks the heart in his songs. He can’t let him stay in his class any longer. Tokiya quickly makes his way out to meet his manager, Himura. He notifies him of his busy schedules but Tokiya is devastated to hear that the concert he wanted for his new song has been scrapped because the president feels he is more suited for variety shows and dramas. This means his next new song isn’t going to be released. Haruka and the rest learn Tokiya has been kicked out from Class S and Haruka believes it may be because of his injury rather than anything else. Tokiya sees Saotome and the principal reminds him about his promise. His work quality was decreasing so he invited him to this academy so as not to let his talent go to waste. He was also willing to help him switch agencies but right now he is not happy Tokiya is a big disappointment. He reveals it was him who gave the orders to Ryuuya to demote him. If he doesn’t buck up, everything will be cancelled. It’s raining that night and Haruka could feel something wrong. Yeah, she takes a walk out to the lakes to find Tokiya singing in the rain. She confirms he is Hayato and wonders why he pretended to be his twin brother to come to this school. He replies he wants to sing but can’t. She claims his songs are beautiful but isn’t that because it was Hayato who was singing them? But if he tries singing as Tokiya, it isn’t the same and no good. Haruka tells him about her similar case whereby she froze and couldn’t play the piano but he says they are different and leaves. Tokiya is now in Haruka’s class but gossips are rife throughout the academy that both ‘brothers’ are totally different. Ringo announces the summer camp. The students will take this time to choose carefully the perfect partner for their graduation. So, does Haruka really want Tokiya?

Episode 8
On Saotome’s perfect private island, Tomo gives advice to Haruka that she has to decide soon because if she hesitates, someone else will nab the one she’s hoping for. Besides, Tomo herself has chosen Yajima who worked with her on the last assignment. And what’s a grand welcome without Saotome putting up his flashy entrance. Yeah, he’s in his loincloth this time. I think even if you give Haruka all the time in the world, she couldn’t decide. So guys, make your first move. First, Otoya comes up to her to her and confess her loves her. Her music, that is. He is going to write her name as his partner. Meanwhile lots of girls are flocking over Ren and wonder whom among them he will choose. My guts tell me it isn’t going to be anyone of them but a little lost lamb :). Haruka continues to think hard that night when she sees Kuppuru. She talks to it (who else can she turn her problems to?) and though she can’t get Tokiya out of her mind, she doesn’t know what to do. Kuppuru leads her into the forest as she finds a large ruin. Suddenly right before her eyes is another handsome man, Cecile Aijima, the prince of Agnapolis. Where’s that? He is going to give her a beautiful dream. While singing, he takes Haruka through a different world and if you haven’t guessed it by now, Cecile is Kuppuru. Long ago when his clan set foot on this island, from the trunk of the tree, life is given. Muse, the guardian deity who guided them said that days of doubt will continue but they exist to challenge and spin out something rich and beautiful. In course of time, what she creates will bring about a miracle. Haruka finds herself back in her own room. She sees Tokiya passing by and goes talk to him. He realizes he has been hurting her since they’ve met. Just because he can’t sing doesn’t justify his actions of taking it out on her. He was angry with himself. He didn’t know if he was Hayato or Tokiya. Now it’s Haruka’s turn. She still believes his songs are like magic, the reason why she is here today. Not because they are Hayato or Tokiya. But because they are his songs, just as they are. She loves his songs. Tokiya explains soon after he debuted, he lost his aim and got into an accident. He heard a boy singing Amazing Grace and went to sing with him. Soon he started singing with the rest of the children. The kids feel he is a singer and promised to attend his concert. They wanted him to continue singing. Tokiya wants to sing so much and Haruka wants to hear it so much that it brings her to tears. He agrees to start again.

Episode 9
Tokiya improves in his singing and as Saotome notes if he keeps this up, he’ll be back in Class S. So Tokiya is no more that cold bastard he was to Haruka and thanks her. She’s thinking if she puts his name down as her partner then… Oh wait. Here comes Otoya. What’s this? He has put her name as his partner? And he’s really excited about it that their dynamic combo will make them the best pair for the graduation audition. So she’s giving some thought about it that she too has to be grateful to Otoya but what’s this? Ren not only gives her a bouquet of flowers but he too has written her name down as his partner! I guess no other girl looked for his lyrics as hard as she did, huh? Thanks to her, now he has a reason to be here. Once that’s done, Masato confronts Ren to tell her to stay away from Haruka. Why? Because he needs her as his partner and no others will do. Since both guys won’t back down, looks like childhood friends has turned intense rivalry. All over a girl… Haruka gets another surprise. Even Sho has written her name as his partner. Since she has a deep aspiration for an idol just like him, he thought they understood each other. But not so fast! Natsuki is here to claim Haruka to be his partner. God, this is getting messier. What’s more, Natsuki hugs her! Hey, he’s got his glasses on! Sho thought he is into cute and small things (doesn’t Haruka somewhat fit that bill too?) but Natsuki is dead serious about this. So while the duo wrestle it out, Haruka now finds a letter from Masato in her shoebox wanting her to be his partner. Well, that’s already 5 guys who have taken an interest in her. And the only person she wanted isn’t on the list. Yet. Soon, everyone gets to know about this situation. Haruka could have easily settled it and picked Tokiya since Hayato is her idol but something is stopping her. Something that is not so simple… Haruka goes to seek Ringo’s advice but she’s not going to help her choose. She’s got to do this herself. In fact, Ringo has news for her. A sixth candidate has just written his name down for her. Who? You’ve guessed it. Tokiya! Ringo couldn’t help contain her excitement to see which of the guys she will choose. It’s always exciting to see other people get out of sticky situations, eh?

Episode 10
This has never happened before in the academy so it’s natural that Haruka is under pressure. Ringo says she has to choose quickly since the deadline is tomorrow. If she doesn’t hand in her answer, not only her but all the 6 guys will be disqualified. Stay neutral, bring all down. Pick one, disappoint the rest. Now you know the dilemma guys face in harem animes, eh? Just be glad that Cecile isn’t in the equation :). Sho is happy thinking the letter he received from Haruka means he has chosen her! Yippee! But wait. Why are the other guys doing in the same room? Seems they’ve all got the same letter to meet. Bummer. In a dilemma to choose one, Haruka has written a group song for all of them to sing since all of them chose her. She can’t simply pick one over the other since each of them had helped her in their own ways. She feels if they sing together, it’ll warm their hearts and lift their spirits and a miraculous harmony would be born. Otoya and Sho agree to do it but Natsuki wants more time to think. Tokiya disagrees because everyone here wanted to be the lone guy chosen because each thinks they can sing her songs best. Ren and also agrees with Tokiya. Saotome comes into the room (because worried Ringo had reported to him) and is fascinated with a group audition. However he cannot allow it since that goes beyond the definition of being a pair. Besides, choosing all 6 will be too greedy. It may seem cruel to choose one but that’s how you do it if you want to survive in the industry. If she doesn’t, they’ll all fail. So as everybody thinks about it, in the end, all the guys get the same idea that they want to work together with her. Before Saotome could leave in his helicopter, the gang plead to him to hear their song. He is still sticking with his guns but Ren tells him to fail them after he has heard their song. Besides, if he doesn’t hear this now, he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. They’re playing psychology now, eh? So yeah, he’s not going to let this pass and allows them. The song instantly takes Saotome to another world! Yeah, he’s floating on Cloud 9. Or whatever stars he is on anyway. In the end, he loves the song so much that he wants to hear it again and again! What a total change! He calls the song, Serious Love 1000% Yeah, he loves it not just 100% but 1000% I guess this means a group performance is given the green light for the graduation audition, eh? Meanwhile Himura discovers a message from Saotome on Tokiya’s handphone.

Episode 11
Himura lets Tokiya know about his schedule today and the latter is not happy that his other plans for today’s evening are being bulldozed over. He’s supposed to practise singing with the rest. They are waiting as they can’t move on since they’re short a member. Eventually he manages to arrive albeit late. So they get the ball rolling and Haruka even wrote a new song just thinking about them. At the end of the day when the other guys have left, Tokiya almost collapses into Haruka’s arms due to fatigue. She touches his head and realizes he is having a fever. However he shrugs it off. But will he listen to her about not overworking himself? He thinks he can handle it since meeting people like this only happens once in a lifetime. Well, the body doesn’t lie because as Tokiya goes on to his next schedule, he collapses in front of Himura. Better start taking care of your health. He wakes up in bed and remembers his practice meeting with his pals. As he dresses up and is about the leave, the president stops him. He mentions about Himura being guilty that what happened was his fault. But the president is upset with the fact Tokiya is a student at Saotome Academy. Wait. He didn’t know this? Tokiya apologizes for not telling him but the president blows his top about his sense of obligation. His contract is expiring soon and that he should be thanking him instead. Tokiya says he wants to sing but the president mentions about the flop of his last live performance. He could have been able to do anything in due time but did he fall for Saotome’s fast talk? Well, all that anger probably has made the president burst a vein or two. Now he needs medical attention. The rest are anxiously waiting for Tokiya to show up and from Haruka’s body reaction, Natsuki thinks she may know something. The president is hospitalized but he’s okay. Yeah, it’s ironic for a guy who collapsed earlier on to take care of him now. I guess when you’re this close to death, you start getting nostalgic. Since he has no kids, Tokiya has always been like a son to him. He apologizes for stomping on his feelings and was just looking out for him because he has seen all sorts of characters in this industry. Leaving his agency is like throwing away Hayato. But Tokiya says he will be Tokiya from now on because he has found hope. Himura is also sad that he is leaving the agency but hopes he won’t push himself too hard. Tokiya hails a cab back to the academy. Finally after all the missed calls from Otoya, he manages to connect but… The battery died! How typical. Guess what too? There’s a long traffic crawl and congestion due to fallen debris up ahead. Looks like he’ll only get there when morning comes.

Episode 12
The news is rife with reports that Hayato has retired. Not exactly but becoming a student at Saotome Academy. That academy is not a music school but also a music agency. This means Hayato is also switching from his previous agency to Saotome Agency. Saotome explains to Ringo and Ryuuya that the decision to be a student here was made by him. He promised to give him a second debut provided he satisfied him with his songs. Rumours are spreading like wildfire throughout the academy that Hayato is in this school. The rest finally make sense why Tokiya is always late. Haruka apologizes for keeping a secret. Masato tells off Sho to understand how Haruka feels since she couldn’t tell anyone. Sho continues to ponder why Haruka couldn’t have just chosen Tokiya since she’s a fan of Hayato and knew his real identity. Natsuki explains Haruka has always done her best to make music for their sake. That is one truth you can’t deny. Then it’s like Haruka knew when Tokiya is coming back. She sees a pigeon flying and follows it. Yeah, it leads her to that guy. She is worried he was never coming back as he apologizes. But he’s got some explaining to do to the other guys. They want to hear it from his mouth. He admits he has been hiding and lying to them. His agency wasn’t pushing his singing career so he wanted to start all over again here, which has made trouble for Haruka and the rest. Mentioning her words saved him, he pleads he wants to sing together with them. What about his idea that each of the guys wanted to be the lone person chosen by her? Was that a lie too? Well, Haruka’s idea of them singing together has touched him because she always wished for them to sing. He finally understood he will never meet such people in his life again and found a place where he could sing. Then he confesses to Haruka that he loves her. Her music, that is. Duh. What were we expecting? I guess after all that emotional drama, you can’t hold a grudge forever, right? Saotome who has been watching the drama from his surveillance camera activates the lights all around the academy. He even broadcasts live to the world of this brand new idol from his agency called Starish! Brand new prince idols with 1000% love! The gang sees Saotome as he explains how their song touched him when he first heard him. Yeah, we saw his reaction too. The kind of song that can heat up a country. He is not going to let this chance slip away. This means they’re going to debut! The guys are happy that their dream have come true but when they include Haruka as the seventh member, Saotome says she cannot participate in this project. Eh? Why not? Saotome shows the supposed million-hit songster who has won a crazy number of awards. He is known as the God of Composers and has been directed to write their debut song. Since the key to this project’s success is intense impact that will leave a huge hit, he can’t have an amateur like Haruka do the job. He notes her amazing talent and positive results that have exceeded expectations. Because of this, he has been lenient to her and reveals he was the one who allowed her in to take the entrance exam. The guys really want Haruka as their songwriter but as Saotome puts it, can she write a song that surpasses the God of Composers? Man, that’s a Herculean task. (Wo)man versus God…

Episode 13
Even if Haruka did say she’d be happy to hear their song being sung by other people, Saotome reminds her she is not a fan but a composer. But does she have the heart of a pro? Since she’s unsure, Saotome cannot leave Starish’s in her hands. The guys protest but as pointed out, pros will sing no matter who writes the song. Finally he says the need to be absolutely essential is a must to survive in this industry and he feels she doesn’t fit that bill. Outside, the guys still can’t believe Haruka isn’t going to be part of the debut and think of opting out. But Haruka tells them not to boycott since this is a one-in-a-lifetime chance they should not miss. She promises to catch up with them. Next day, the guys didn’t turn up for rehearsal. How can they sing when they’re feeling like this. Otoya thinks they should go talk to the headmaster again but Masato knows it’s pointless. For all you know, he might be putting his next plan in motion. Suddenly they get news from Tomo. Haruka is gone. Actually, she went back to her grandma’s place. She is surprised she returned out of the blue. But Haruka is spacing out and being unresponsive while staying. She’s got a lot on her mind. Like in a dilemma. Then when she says she might stay here forever, grandma heads to the piano and plays a tune Haruka loved so much, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (or was it ABC song or Baa Baa Black Sheep?). Grandma says their family considered sending her to study music but with her fragile body, they had second thoughts. But when she suddenly claimed she wanted to study music (that Hayato incident), she was happy that she finally found a path she could follow as she even practised every day with her piano. That’s why she always looked forward to her letters because it’s as though she could hear her playing the piano. She knows she’s experiencing a rough time but also knows she is doing her best. Haruka is overcome with emotion as she apologizes. She admits she ran away and all the other things that describe her as being not good enough. Grandma says she met some wonderful people and she’ll never meet anyone like them again. Next day, Haruka prepares to return but she gets a pleasant surprise when she hears a familiar group of voice. Hey, it’s those guys! In addition to picking her up, they start singing her song like a pro boy band. That’s icing on the cake. Once that’s done, they throw in all the encouraging words to her. That she brought them together, they want to sing her songs, etc. Haruka once again gets teary and is through running away. She wants to continue writing songs and vows to compose music that only she can write for them. I know she’s so happy that it’s bringing her to tears but she doesn’t have to cry like that… Then out of the blue, they hear that trademark laughter that could belong to no other than Saotome. Oh. What’s he doing here? He notes her kind nature and rants about the law of the jungle and the likes. He wants her to be a greedy egoist when it comes to creation. In short, he was just putting up a test to see if Haruka realizes what she is lacking. And since he passes her, that means he gives the green light to write songs for Starish! Best news ever! Now the team a whole again, they work hard for their debut concert. And like the performance we see them put on when this series started, now we see the full length boy band performance on stage. Screaming fans included. Music to your ears?

Prince Idols!
Seems that won’t be the end yet as the second season has been given the green light. But we’ll leave that for the future since you can’t really predict what is going to happen. Just like in show business. Today you may be the hottest and fastest rising star. But tomorrow due to some petty issue or scandal, you’ll be finding yourself out of the scene. So like a fairytale ending (at least for this season), Haruka gets to continue composing songs for the guys. I think there is no better combination than the seven of them as a band. It would be unthinkable for her to choose one over the other not because it will leave resentment in fans for the unchosen guy, didn’t you realize the harmony and teamwork are at its max when they’re producing music together. I know that I have this habit that whenever an anime is of the harem genre, I would prefer that the main lead character chooses whom he wants to be but I am willing to make this an exception simply because… It’s a reverse harem. So it’s okay for the girl not to choose a guy since it’s a reverse harem but not alright for a guy in a harem series to stay indecisive and not select the girl he wants to be? Haha. Bad excuse :(. With the way the episodes are being played out, initially we have an episode focused on one of the guys and their little issue before being ‘solved’ in the end, it’s actually hard for us to see which one Haruka would end up with. Though many would have said Tokiya since he is her Hayato idol but towards the end, it didn’t become so clear cut.

Besides, if you want to talk about the romance part, I somehow don’t feel the impact and the intensity. We all know from the start that the 6 guys would be in certain ways attracted to Haruka and that girl will be the main and centre of attraction. I know it is part of the academy’s rules that no love relationship is allowed but seriously, when boys and girls are at that age, you’ve got raging hormones, you’ve got puberty to deal with, you’ve got the rebellious genes and certainly you’re curious about the opposite sex, right? So unless Haruka and the guys are really strictly adhering to that policy, don’t you think a girl like her would find such hot handsome guys irresistible and the guys find this girl cute? Don’t tell they’re putting music first. True, that’s their passion but if you’re talking about love and romance section, that doesn’t quite cut it. So, it feels that the rule of falling-in-love-is-forbidden was just a ‘notice’ to let us viewers know that you shouldn’t get your hopes up to see the gang falling in love. Otherwise, you might be thinking, why aren’t these handsome hunks making a move on this cute little lamb? Why isn’t this adorable lady showing any signs of love dilemma? Yeah. Convenient ‘rule’, if I should say. On the other hand, you might also think that with this rule in force, the series might turn into a slapstick comedy as the guys tussle each other over a girl. I can’t envision that either. Thus the relationship between the casts feels like they’re just best of friends. The guys like her not because of romantic feelings but rather because she helped them out when they’re lost and made them realize that music is an important part of their lives. She likes them because they too gave her the encouragement and strength to become someone who is a noob in music to a pro. Now that’s what you call a genius. They help her unravel her hidden potential so it’s common sense that a lady with proper manners like her would be grateful.

Otherwise, the characters are just pretty generic although we have a range of variety of personalities between them. Haruka is your typical innocent and goody-two-shoes girl. She may be naive about the outside world but always tries her best to help out those in need. I guarantee if she was helped or help out more guys, the number of men in the boy band would easily increase. Haruka is so polite that she also loves to apologize profusely. I thought it reminded me of Fruit Basket’s Tohru. Sweet and cute?  But she’s not that all perfect because she will get disheartened and sink into depression if the going get s a little tough. Like when others start badmouthing behind her back or the headmaster put his foot down that she can’t write songs for the hunks. That’s why she has to princes to lean on and she can definitely count on them. As for the guys, like I said they all typical have a special place in their heart for Haruka despite their varied personalities. We’ve got a friendly and buoyant guy, a playboy and ladies man, a strict traditionalist, a split personality (I thought I find this guy a little girly too), a petite with lots of angst and the obligatory cold and unfriendly jerk who eventually warms up. At least Tokiya now truly wants to sing as himself and he’s got Haruka to thank for that. Even his agency president allowed him to go and wished him all the best. Can that really happen in the real world? There will be lots of suing here and there already. It’s unbelievable that a nice guy like Natsuki has a dark personality. They say still waters run deep. More unbelievable and ironic is that this terrible personality is a talented songwriter. I thought he should have been a professional killer :). Just remember to bring extra glasses along. Lots of them. That Cecile guy could’ve been in the mix too but I guess he won’t count because he’s some spirit. It’s already crowded to have 6 guys and you’re going to add another to the complication? I don’t really understand what Cecile’s role is except to just guide Haruka the path back whenever she feels down or goes astray. Besides, even with him as a supernatural, I don’t really feel any magical phenomenon placed on her just like what La Corda D’oro did. I’m sure he didn’t put any magic or cast any spell on her to enhance her musical talents, right? I believe it’s Haruka’s own hard work and effort. If you ask me, the show could have been done without him and progress nicely too without his presence. Tomo as Haruka’s friend just, well, felt like she was there so that Haruka won’t be the only girl around. After all, every girl needs a best girl friend to talk things out. Some things that only girls would understand. Sure, she helps out too but her role felt like she was just a minor character, that’s all.

The most amusing character has got to be Shining Saotome. I know many musicians are crazy in their own sense and that very reason is why they get to be creative. But this guy, he is like a total mystery. I won’t question about his achievement of 20 million songs though I still find that freaking hard to believe. Imagine this. Let’s say he writes about 10 songs a day and for every day of the year. That equals to 3,650 songs per year, right? Assuming he has been writing songs for 50 years and that adds up to only 180,000 over songs! Even if he wrote 100 songs a day that will take up his tally to just 1.8 million. Thus the question is, how freaking old is he to have achieved 20 million songs by himself?!  Don’t tell me he writes a fresh new song every 5 seconds and if that is the case, yeah, I think reaching 20 million is possible. Another odd thing about him is the tendency to pop up anywhere and eavesdrop on his students under the guise of anything that concerns his students is his concern too. I know that’s what a good headmaster should be but the way he pops into the scene, not only it’s eccentric and sometimes flashy, it’s too a point that if you see him do this stuff too many times, it just freaks you out. Then he loves talking in style. Mixing a good amount of English words into his sentences, he probably would be a very good salesman because of his charisma. Maybe that’s why people love his songs too. Maybe it’s not what he says, it’s how he said it. At one point I even thought he was a secret agent or an alien! He might act like a showy and flamboyant person (that’s what entertainers should be, right?) but underneath that exterior, he pulls many strings and gets things done. If you’re not serious and don’t show any commitment or improvement, then it’s out you go. When I first see him made his appearance, I thought how similar he looked to Principal Kuno from Ranma 1/2. I can’t help think that the character is modelled after the latter even though that’s just my speculation. They both eternally have sunglasses on their face, slightly tanned and yeah, the undeniable eccentric behaviour.

As in line with the music theme, nearly each episode has got a new song with the guy in focus singing that piece. However, I want to say that if you ask me, I would prefer the guys to sing together as a group rather than individually. I don’t know. Maybe it is just me because when the guys are singing solo, they don’t sound suitable. But when they combine as a group, they sound pretty much better. Perhaps the multi-layer of their voices covers up the ‘horrible’ solo voice? I’m not into boy bands but if these guys were to sing, they should be in a group so I guess it was a good idea to debut them as one, eh? And what’s with the name like Starish? Sheesh. I thought Saotome would have chosen a better name. Oh, I don’t know? Maybe, The Bishonens? Hey, Saotome may be a good songwriter but nobody said he had the knack in naming groups, right? I just hope people won’t mistake and call them Starfish. Though the guys do play musical instruments such as guitar (Otoya), saxophone (Ren), violin (Natsuki and Sho) and piano (Masato), these aren’t given much prominence as the main focus is on their vocal abilities as a group. As the drawing and art of the series cater to pretty people, I have no qualms in all the good looking people except for one little issue: Haruka’s eyes! The colour of the eyes that she has makes it as though she looks blind. Either that, it also feels like as though she is having some sort of eye disease. I know anime characters have a wide variety of eye colours but I find the combination of yellowish iris and light greenish pupil to be a terrible mix.

I had this feeling that Miyuki Sawashiro was the voice behind Haruka and damn right I was. It took me some time to confirm whether it was her or not (okay I admit, I checked it out subsequently). She voicing this character seems a departure of her usual roles I often hear such as Ayane in Kimi Ni Todoke, Kanbaru in Bakemonogatari and Maria of Arakawa Under The Bridge. She does sound different when voicing a lovely girl. The best voice acting goes to Norio Wakamoto as Saotome. He still hasn’t lost his touch of voicing this kind of eccentric characters and his low sexy voice is his definite trademark like how he did as Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden and Charles in Code Geass. Some of the casts also voiced roles that differ than their usual and it was a surprise when I found out that they don’t sound like the other anime characters they used to play. For instance Yuuichi Nakamura as Ringo (Tomoya in Clannad). I suppose you’d sound different if you’re trying to voice a drag queen, eh? Then what about Koji Yusa as Ryuuya (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach)? I usually hear this guy voicing as Kansai-ben characters but here he lacks that accent and sounded like a tough guy. Being the strict guy, Kenichi Suzumura as Masato certainly didn’t sound like the carefree guys roles he usually play like Sougou in Gintama and Yoshitake from Daily Lives Of High School Boys. Other casts include Takuma Terashima as Otoya (Teppei in Princess Lover), Junichi Suwabe as Ren (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Kishou Taniyama as Natsuki (Saten in Needless), Hiro Shimono as Sho (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Mamoru Miyano as Tokiya/Hayato (Death The Kid in Soul Eater), Yuka Imai as Tomo (Arisa in Fruits Basket) and Kousuke Toriumi as Cecile (Kiba in Naruto). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Starish and they are boy band worthy. Orpheus is the dramatic opening theme while the excitingly lively and clincher Maji Love 1000% serves as the ending theme. The typical boy band dance may not be that unique but it’s still cool to see them move around.

I’m sure what this series is trying to hit that it is not all glamour and glitz in the music industry. Just like any business out there, it’s a dog eat dog world and sometimes you have to be ruthless if you want to survive. As far as this anime is concern, seeing the number of composers and idol wannabes that the academy is churning out, the competition is going to get tougher and stiffer. Haruka is going to find it hard to keep a step ahead because I’m sure she is not the only genius songwriter her age and era has to offer. If you can’t keep up with the trend, then you might as well think about early retirement. Especially with the idol-crazy Japan, you are going to need to be at your very best to satiate the needs of fans and listeners alike. So don’t go thinking and rushing in that the music industry is set for the easy life. No. It takes a lot of hard work (more than 1000% I guess) and luck to get where famous singers and songwriters are today. You may have the talent but what is the use of all that when you don’t have any connections? More importantly, don’t give up and lose heart easily. So as Saotome put it, the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest, it’s every man for himself. Tough, right? Whoever said doing show business was easy? We saw what Tokiya/Hayato went through, right? The schedules he had to meet and the things he had to do, working to the bone and over-exhausting himself, it doesn’t make him human anymore. That’s not life anymore. What is the point of it all? Is this what he wanted? Yeah, sometimes the simpler life is better. It’ll be easier just to buy a CD and listen, eh? Now if you’re talking about the rampant piracy these days, that’s a different story altogether.

Currently the Hallyu or Korean Wave is making its presence felt around the world, whether it is Korean drama or the boy bands or girl groups with excessive number of members and weird names, numbers or acronyms sprouting out like mushrooms after the rain. Well, I’m not into that and not even so much of J-pop. Anime themes has been my staple music diet ever since I got addicted and it’ll probably stay that way for a long time to come. Unless some mesmerizing group of heartthrobs or captivating ladies can dance their way into my heart and totally change my taste. What are the chances? Never say never. People love a good song and a catchy one will instantly be spread worldwide and stay evergreen for a long time. The music scene has evolved and come a long way since the early days. And to a certain extent music really does change the world. Are we ready for a new kind of music revolution? We’ll have to just check it out then.


August 18, 2012

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But how do you tell the difference between a fake and a real thing? In the world we live in, everything is nothing as it seems. Perhaps it is just human nature that we tend to deceive each other for various reasons. Heck, even Mother Nature does that. I suppose that the people at SHAFT weren’t telling lies when they actually came out a sequel for Bakemonogatari. Nisemonogatari is a continuation of that and this time in this sequel, our main guy, Koyomi Araragi isn’t going to get any more girls into his harem. This time his little sisters, Karen and Tsukihi who were the side characters in the prequel while Araragi himself sort out supernatural oddities of the other girls, they take the centre stage for the sequel. At least, that is how it seems.

The conman responsible for wrecking the lives of Senjougahara and the one who made Sengoku got that constrictor snake all over her body is back in town. So if the law can’t put this dangerous guy down, I guess this is where little vigilantes like Karen and Tsukihi come in to do the job to prevent him from spreading his curses and make a profit via other unsuspecting people’s misery. But when you’re fighting somebody as evil and who can’t think of anything but money, your physical strength isn’t going to do you any good. What more, someone who is believed to be delving in the dark arts of the supernatural. And so our good brother Araragi has to once more play the ‘hero knight in shining armour’ as he delves deeper and deeper into more psychological twists that involve his family now. If you love the mind blowing first season, you’ll love this one too.

Karen Bee

Episode 1
Suddenly Araragi finds himself kidnapped and handcuffed to the tables in the cram school. How the heck did he get himself into this? Senjougahara might be the culprit. Oh, she is. And she can’t unlock his handcuffs because she already threw away the key! And the antidote too! So he’s poisoned? He’ll soon be if he doesn’t listen to what she says. But she assures him he doesn’t have to worry because she’ll protect him. Is this her way of protecting him? So Araragi wants to drink but she teases him by drinking a cool bottle drink by herself. In addition to her insults, she tempts him and finally lets him lick a drop like a pervert from her finger. As for food, she stuffs the entire onigiri into his mouth! What about toilet issues? She’s willing to change his diaper because she is so in love with him that she is willing to manage his entire body from ingestion to excretion including his brain. Extreme tyrannical love! So how did all this happen? We’ll have to go back in time a little earlier in the day.

Araragi is supposed to have tutoring by Hanekawa but something came up so he’s somewhat free. He goes see his sister, Tsukihi and wonders where the other sister, Karen is. Tsukihi isn’t happy he’s always treating them like kids but he worded in another way that he doesn’t trust them. From what Tsukihi said, seems Karen is out helping people out of trouble. That’s another way of saying she’s getting into some fight. Tsukihi throws a tantrum and this reminds Araragi to remember about Sengoku. He calls her and reminds her of his promise that he would come over. Coincidentally, she’s free now. Araragi wants to bring Tsukihi along but she doesn’t want to get in the way of her friend’s ‘love’ and decides to stay home and watch the house. On his way, Araragi spots Hachikuji and suddenly his prankster side activates. See his perverted face? Bad news. In a dilemma whether to go see Sengoku or bug Hachikuji, I guess he gave in to the temptations of the latter. Well, Araragi surprises Hachikuji with his extreme molestation! Enough to send any kid into trauma and she snarling at him like a cat (despite being a snail – you’ll get what I mean if you watch the prequel). So they start off their nonsensical conversation about money and love. You can buy love as they sell it at the store for only 298 Yen! A bargain! On to serious stuff, Araragi is in a dilemma whether to tell his family about his secret (he was once a vampire but cured). She thinks it’s better to keep them a secret because by revealing them, he might expose them to danger and end up suffering for it. Araragi is amazed by how she could add the word “courage” to her sentence and for his case, the courage to keep secret to himself. Araragi challenges her to it and the loser will have to do a handstand. Hachikuji’s wearing a skirt and he’s going to expose her kiddie panties to the public! Hachikuji starts off her “courage” sentences and the final blow that has Araragi doing the handstands: The courage to admit defeat. It’s his lost. But when he starts doing the handstand, he doesn’t want to stop despite Hachikuji telling him so. Actually he wants to take a closer look at her panties! Kick in the face! He uses her “courage” sentence against her: The courage to admit he’s a pervert. Then he mentions she was wearing a mature, sexy lingerie instead but she dismisses. As proof she’s not, she has to show it to him. Definitely a ploy. Back to serious stuff, Hachikuji feels he can guide is family out should they venture into the supernatural but for now he should do nothing. As they part, Araragi wonders if she’ll disappear seeing Oshino is no longer around. She asks him back if she is in trouble, would he help her? Definitely. Because he won’t let others do it. She adds that even she stopped getting lost, there must be a reason she continued to linger around. Till she finds that reason, she won’t leave. And even if that day to part comes, she’ll come and say goodbye.

Episode 2
Araragi narrates Karen’s tomboyish character who excels in sports especially martial arts. As for Tsukihi, she may look feminine on the outside, she is easily provoked and her fits could almost be hysterics. Together they are a heroic duo called Fire Sisters playing and view themselves not as ally of justice but they are the justice themselves. Araragi knows that what they are doing is just a game and that they are irredeemable fakes. Araragi finally reaches Sengoku’s house and he notices her different bangs. Did she change her hairstyle just for him? Since her parents are working, she ushers him to her room. Oh… There is a closet she doesn’t want him to open. Even if it’s him she won’t forgive him if he does so. I think she’s feigning it’s hot that she takes off her sweater and wants Araragi to do the same. She wants to play King Game but you can hardly play that with only 2 people. So as they settle for the Game of Life, Sengoku mentions a weird charm circulating not just in her school but among middle schoolers. She thinks the Fire Sisters are up to something. Sengoku couldn’t tell them what happened to her snake so they got others to investigate. But she’s not worried about anyone performing the charm since the sisters don’t believe in supernatural. It’s more like they’re going to find out who is spreading it as they believe someone had deliberately spread the word for their own reasons. Changing the game to Twister, I can’t believe Araragi doesn’t know how to play so Sengoku is going to teach him with her body… Thankfully her mom suddenly comes back before she really got into very ambiguous positions. Araragi leaves but gets a call from Kanbaru. She teases him that she is totally naked. But that’s okay since she is in her room. How she dresses is up to her. She only goes outside naked on occasions. Oh… Suddenly she falls into traumatic mode because she forgot to close the front partition of her room and when her grandma walked pass, she gave her this sad look. Since Araragi is free today, he decides to come over to her place and clean up. Along the way, he sees Karen walking a handstand through the streets! She mentions that she is doing some volunteer community work. Does she even know what that word means? As they chitchat (Karen striking a very odd pose), she gets a call and looks like she is confident she has something heroic to tell tonight. Then off she goes. Hasta La Vista, baby!

Araragi opens Kanbaru’s room door and all the books just came flooding out. Worse, Kanbaru is still wallowing in sorrow naked. He didn’t knock because he thought he wanted to see her depressed so she lets him see all he wants on her. He apologizes and would like to take responsibility: To marry her that is! Yikes! Serious? Kanbaru declines the tempting offer because she knows Senjougahara will kill her if that happens. Oh, how I remember her violence… After she gets dressed, she shows him a basketball t-shirt that she got as memento from her first year with all her teammates signing on it when they reached the finals. Then she talks about misinterpreting words she thought to have been erotic and the embarrassment is getting on Araragi’s nerves. He starts cleaning but couldn’t tell the difference between the books. It’s all the same to him. Then he starts teasing her that it’s normal to like handsome guys since all girls do (she’s a BL fan). Plus, he uses what she said to him over the phone against her like stripping here is alright since this is her room and that he may be a big pervert, sending her into disarray. Kanbaru has no choice but to prove her innocence as she pins Araragi down and rubs his stomach! Ticklish? Then she’s going to take off his underwear! Now, how does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine? Next time when you want to sexually harass Hachikuji like this, now you know how it feels, eh?

Episode 3
Kanbaru’s place is totally clean now. She’s so impressed that she thinks he’ll make a good wife. Wife? She also adds he might end up marrying Hanekawa and the rest of the other girls as his lovers. I’m sure if this happens, Senjougahara will kill them all! Araragi says that he will be marrying Senjougahara someday but he’s breaking into cold sweat saying that. Kanbaru would really want to be his mistress if she wants to but warns that girls can easily take advantage of his kindness. Since she likes the way they are now, she’s going to stay like this. Mentioning about Senjougahara and Hanekawa, she feels like they have their little world of their own and isn’t pleased. But if they’re happy, it’s not her place to say anything. Then they play some card game Kanbaru bought at a whim and she thought she could show him how fast she learns the rules. However Araragi beats her flat and without much effort. Talking about her monster arm being find out by her grandparents, Kanbaru assures him that her mom puts a wall between them so they never asks. All that’s left is to tolerate a few more years. As Araragi leaves, he sees a creepy guy outside the house, Deishuu Kaiki. He asks if Araragi is the child of the house (of course not) and notes his politeness even to strangers. Since he thought Gaen’s child lived here, he might as well take a look but could hardly feel any aura so he’s going to ignore it. Araragi notes that Gaen is Kanbaru’s mother’s maiden name. Since there is no money to be made, Kaiki leaves, learning a lesson that even if one suspects the truth, it may still be worthless. Araragi thought he saw shades of Oshino in him but a major difference is that Kaiki is more like a guillotine cutter. He wanted to tail him but his guts about his bad omen changes his mind. I think that’s a good thing. Along the way, he spots Senjougahara and calls to her but she ignores him. Once he catches up to her, she insults him that he is running away from tutoring and other words that would drive a man to suicide. Then she pushes him down and looks deep into his eyes. She can tell he has played around with several girls! Woah! Six girls if you count Kanbaru’s grandma! Noting he is super popular, she jabs her hand into his mouth! She warns him about committing adultery (despite he’s not) and if he got slightly serious, she’ll kill him and the other woman! Scary! Don’t forget who he belongs to and this is what it means to date her. She further teases him that it’s quite wonderful to be a girlfriend of a guy who is super popular. When Araragi mentions about the ill omen Kaiki guy outside Kanbaru’s house, Senjougahara knocks him out.

So this is how Araragi ended up being kidnapped with multiple handcuffs to his arms. Senjougahara explains bit by bit who this Kaiki person is. She didn’t expect him to return to this town. Before Araragi introduced her to Oshino and they solved her problem, she met 5 conmen and Kaiki was one of them. The first one in fact. Araragi notes Kaiki and Oshino are similar by virtue of their expertise in the supernatural but she insists he is a fake. Her family suffered greatly at his hands, took all their money and vanished without a trace. Thus by keeping Araragi here, she wants to protect him and doesn’t want to lose anything important. Aww, how sweet. She wants him to stay here till she figures out his motives. Even if there is none, at least till he leaves town. What if he moves here? Then Araragi has to stay here forever! Haha! Or the second option will be to kill Kaiki. Not okay. Araragi’s handphone rings and since it’s in his pants’ pocket, Senjougahara purposely does some molestation before taking it out. There is a message from his little sister pleading for his help. Suddenly in a rage, Araragi breaks free from his chains! Woah! Better than the Hulk or Superman! He needs to go home but Senjougahara says he’ll have to defeat her first. He knows he has to, that’s why he loves her. Araragi’s cool lines fluster her for a second before his handphone receives another call. She picks it up and looks rather distressed. Who could the other person on the other line be so much so that the abusive Senjougahara would give in and do everything that person said? She gives Araragi the green light to go home. So who really was that person? Guess… Hanekawa.

Episode 4
So was it all a setup? Araragi is about to blow his top when Karen isn’t going to reveal anything to him. If not for Hanekawa, he could’ve got violent on his sister. Araragi makes up with his sister but didn’t like the fact that they’re acting goodie-goodie in front of Hanekawa despite her saying that she’s helping them out on her own free will. Before Araragi goes to talk to Hanekawa alone in his room, he gives a lecture about being strong and a hero, a lecture I suppose the sisters don’t want to hear him rant. Talking alone with Hanekawa, they start off about Araragi knowing his sisters for many years as compared to Hanekawa for only a few months. On the serious stuff, about the charm that is circulating among middle schoolers, they note Sengoku then wasn’t the only victim but the biggest victim. The trend of the charms going around had negative effects and were curses. The sisters’ guess were that someone was deliberately trying to spread them. Araragi realizes Hanekawa had been helping them for quite a while and it was her who called Karen’s handphone that time when she found out who was behind it. Hanekawa says she was running late and didn’t see the person himself and only Karen did. But she did say his name is Kaiki. Off topic, Araragi wants to know what Hanekawa said to persuade Senjougahara to let him go. Well, this: If she doesn’t be a good girl, she’ll ask Araragi to be her boyfriend instead. Scary indeed. Araragi goes to cool himself by taking a bath when Shinobu comes out of his shadow to join him. He thinks she was the one who broke the cuffs but she couldn’t remember (maybe she did). Then she breaks the ones around his wrists and eats them!

Making Araragi wash her hair, she mentions that neither of them still forgives the other but there is no reason that they can’t come together. She explains a wreath-fire bee monster that is affecting Karen. Dating back to the 14th or 15th century, it’s a type of infectious disease with no known cause. It starts with a fever so high that the victim is unable to move till he/she dies. After a long time and hundreds of death, a famous onmyouji stopped it but noted in his scroll how their bodies were covered in flames. Seems that is what Karen is experiencing now. A very hot body temperature as Hanekawa and Tsukihi are nursing her. Araragi is not sure if this Kaiki guy used a supernatural monster to poison his sister but Shinobu thinks it’s doable. Provided what Senjougahara said was true about him being a fake and conman, there’s no reason why a fake can be more real than the real thing. Unskilled but still a master con artist nevertheless. Maybe they who can bend the supernatural to their will aren’t human to begin with. Perhaps the supernatural monsters themselves? Araragi hopes Shinobu can eat her disease to bring down the symptoms but as she put it, she can eat the bee but not the result of the bee sting. Going off topic a little that Araragi is staring at her naked body, perhaps she would scream loud enough to let everyone here and that he will keep her mouth shut with doughnuts. Araragi dares her because he knows she can’t leave his shadow. Suddenly Tsukihi comes in wondering why her brother is bathing so long. She is shocked to see Shinobu in the bath with him and shuts the door. By the time she returns, Shinobu has gone back into his shadow but why is Tsukihi holding a knife in hand???!!! Oh sh*t! Thankfully she believes it was just her imagination despite Araragi’s big mouth on Shinobu’s detailed description. After she leaves, Shinobu pops back out and resumes the topic on Araragi’s lifespan. He may be human but still retained some vampire traits like healing. So does this mean he’ll live as long as 500 years? Even if he did, by that time all his loved ones will be gone. In the end, it’ll be just them and other bonds he forged won’t matter. She suggests he should kill her to become human again. But he refuses and is done with this discussion. There is nothing left to say and they’ll live till the day they die. Shinobu isn’t planning on getting along with him and warns not to let his guard down because if there’s a chance, she’ll kill him while sleeping. For the time being, she’ll be his shadow. I don’t know whether they’re reconciling or provoking each other. Their actions and words are confusing.

Episode 5
Out from the bath, Araragi wants Tsukihi to spill the beans but she doesn’t want him to get mad at Karen. He’ll get mad at both of them anyway. She distracts him with talks of regrets, being ‘platinum’ mad and the number of friends he have up till recently. Because Araragi was blowing his top so loud, Hanekawa had to come down to tell him to be quieter. Then his towel drops off. Oooohhh… Next is what Araragi thinks happened from what he heard. May or may not happen exactly the way it was but somewhat more or less like this. Seems Karen had confronted Kaiki and she doesn’t want to buy a charm or cure. She wants to punch him! This is for the giant pain in the ass he has caused. However Kaiki plays cool and says he was merely providing what the kids wanted. As oppose to what Karen accused him of ruining relationships, he mentions his objective is to get money. It’s what makes the world go round. He thought a person like Karen isn’t going to get her worth for working free but she dismisses she’s not hired by someone and even so, she’ll not accept the money. Kaiki admits he is a conman and that children are easier to fool so if she really wants to stop him, the fastest way is to bring him money because his target is 3 million Yen! And he considers himself human for doing so. Just like Karen doing good deeds, he fills his bank account with evil ones. While her activities make someone happier, he spends his earned money and greases the gears of a capitalist economy. To him, money solves everything. He corners her about the value of money as an object, especially the jacket she bought. Kaiki is going to give her a little present: A bee. A mere touch on her forehead, she is suddenly paralyzed. Of course nothing is free as he takes whatever money in her wallet and leaves no change. He recommends before the poison takes hold, she should call someone for help while he makes his escape. From now on, he’ll avoid meeting his customers directly. Bye. Araragi sees Hanekawa off and the latter wonders if he is mad at her seeing she was the one who tracked Kaiki down. Is there a point? At least she could’ve told him. As apology, she gives him makeshift tickets to touch her breasts. Really?! Doing so will make her hate him forever. Bummer. Hanekawa notes how his sisters resemble like him on the inside. She cautions that the real problem in a fight comes after he’s made up.

Araragi brings weakened Karen to bed and cleans her body. She says that though she knows strength is important but you can’t be strong overnight. But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore all the bad stuff you see. Admitting she screwed this one up, she didn’t like how Kaiki spread the curse to middle schoolers just because they were easy targets. The worst part is that he spreads is that he spreads hatred and fear, then take the money and vanish without doing anything. Sengoku may be his victim but she was lucky. What about other kids who went to him for help not knowing he was the source? Plus, she also didn’t like his viewpoint that money is everything. There are some other things more important than that. Like love (I thought you could buy that at a shop? Just saying). She won’t stop till she is victorious are at least keep trying because the outcome isn’t important. She might have lost the match but will win the game. Karen didn’t want him to clean her anymore because she fears it might spread to him. Then Araragi hit upon an idea. Consulting Shinobu in the toilet, he wonders if there is a way to transfer her supernatural illness to him. There is a way but she doesn’t like it. Of course big brother would do anything to alleviate his sister’s suffering. He goes back to Karen and startles her up. She has to prepare herself because he is going to kiss her!

Episode 6
The result of the kiss that we didn’t see? He only managed to absorb half of it (and let his vampire ability heal it) so Karen’s fever went down a little. On his way out, he spots Hachikuji. Learning his lesson, he didn’t sexually harass her so much so she got disappointed! You mean, she really liked that?! Without his sexual harassment, he’s just a flea?! So Hachikuji can tell that something is wrong but won’t ask much. She feels his sisters are just like him and that they too have saved a lot of people. Araragi thought that they’re still kids and should listen to others as the topic deviates to when would one be deemed as an adult. By law, work or age? Some adults still think they’re kids, you know? Soon they part as Araragi is near Senjougahara’s house and Hachikuji doesn’t get along with her. Coming inside, Araragi sees Senjougahara sharpening many pencils with a blade! Who is she going to murder?! She’s going to confront Kaiki seeing he refused her protection. For that moment, Araragi must be surprised to hear her slip of the tongue that she is being subjected to bully by Hanekawa. She? Get bullied? Anyway Senjougahara still keeps Kaiki business card. Ghost Buster Kaiki? Definitely sounds like a con job. She called him and he still sounded the same. Araragi wants to come along but almost got his eye blinded when she points the tip of the pencil at his pupil. I guess that’s a no. Telling her what happened to Karen, he thought she’s going overboard trying to seek revenge on all 5 conmen like that. She notes that Kaiki is different than the other conmen because he was the one who ruined her family. Though she can’t blame him entirely, if she forgives him, she won’t be herself anymore. Even without him, she feels her parents would’ve split up. Protecting Araragi was just an excuse because in the end, she just simply hates Kaiki. So don’t get the wrong idea. She’s not doing it for him. That’s tsundere for you! But there’s one thing he didn’t get. If Kaiki was a fake, how come it sounded like he could see her crab? She replies he may be a fake with more power than the real thing and thus even dangerous. He probably deliberately feigned incompetence to squeeze more money out of her parents.

To make it clear to him, the ‘justice’ concept won’t work on him since he is evil unlike weak hypocrites. But he won’t sit back and allow her to commit a crime because he loves her. He might not know why he’s dating her but he’s so in love that he doesn’t need a reason. If she’s going to see Kaiki, then they’ll do it together because he also wants to protect her. Wow. So cool. Senjougahara quips if she was a man, she’d be so jealous of his manliness that she’ll kill him and thankfully she’s a woman so she could love him. However there is a condition if she is to take him to her. Promising he’ll do whatever it takes, she notes that when Hanekawa cut her hair, she moved forward. So by settling her past with Kaiki, she intends to move forward. But she’ll only tell him after the meeting regardless of the outcome. Does it really matter? She calls it a foreshadowing of his death. What?! If he dies, she’ll have to spend her lonely days with the telescope he gave her as birthday present. WTF?! Araragi leaves and hopes she won’t do anything rash on her own. Of course. Even if she did lie, she keeps her promises. She advises that he too needs his sleep because Kaiki isn’t one anyone can deal without loss of sleep. When he reaches home, Tsukihi is panicking. Seems Karen is gone and she’s freaking out. Calming her down, Araragi is going out to find her but wants Tsukihi to stay behind because if she meets Karen, there is a likelihood she’ll persuade her to go with her. Outside, Araragi tries to think like Karen, where would she be. Obviously it will be at Kaiki but does she even know the place. Nobody does. His panic thinking is so ‘loud’ that it woke up Shinobu from her slumber. He wants her to help her find Karen (despite her rewording ‘help’ as ‘order’ seeing vampires like her can’t disobey her master’s word). Shinobu sniffs and since the siblings’ blood structure are similar, she notes that Karen hasn’t gone very far and points in her direction.

Episode 7
Araragi finds Karen sprawled on the ground but still has the strength to stand up. Still being stubborn, she wants to fight him. He’s not going to fight back and if this is the case, she starts pounding him with her secret moves. To her surprise, he can take hit after hit. Shinobu who could also feel the pain, suggests of helping out but he orders her to do nothing. For that, she hopes he would not only pat her head but rub her breasts. Joking? Karen’s fists are hurting (more like Araragi getting hurt) so she starts using her kicks. She thinks that being the good guy always wins but he notes that it isn’t her physical strength but her will that she needs to have. When she said she couldn’t forgive Kaiki, where was her will? Still adamant that she’s doing the right thing, he asks her how can one be right by seeking a reason from another person. How can you take responsibility by forcing that reason on someone else? She’s not justice. She’s just playing a kid’s game and is a fake. Then he hugs her and though he is mad at the sisters, he is madder at Kaiki for hurting the things he is proud of and will pay. That’s why he wants her to leave it to him and clean up after her (heck, she can’t even clean her own sweat).

Araragi and Senjougahara confront Kaiki at the park. Kaiki notes she has become a normal girl and somewhat boring. Since he’s not here to fight, he wants to talk. He agrees not to spread the charms anymore and stop cheating middle schoolers. As for Karen, he need not worry and will be healed within 3 days as what he did on her was just instant hypnosis. Kaiki officially apologizes for what happened to Senjougahara’s mother and will do his best to return the money. However she doesn’t believe a word he says because he doesn’t seem repentant. He’s a conman after all. She warns him she is doing everything she can not to kill him and that is a very tough thing for her. She won’t ask for him to return the money as it won’t bring her family back. He seems happy about it but noting the look in Araragi’s eyes, he doesn’t feel the utmost hate since he hurt his sister. He says it’s her fault for getting involved with him in the first place. But Kaiki says her mistake was to come see her alone and if she wanted to beat him, she should’ve brought numbers. He admits that her aspects were right but to Araragi, is he like deciding that she’s a fool and isn’t strong? Denying her kindness is a mistake. Without girls like her, conmen like him will be out of business. It’s Senjougahara’s turn to ask he could’ve easily talked her into doing whatever he wished so why is he going according to her wishes? Kaiki tells that she overestimates him. Even if she views him as an enemy and a conman, he is a minor and shabby old man. He is nothing special or dramatic and so is she. Shifting his focus to Araragi, he wonders if his life is full of drama because he could tell something lurks in his shadow and that he absorbed half of Karen’s illness. So does Kaiki actually know supernatural stuff? As he put it, he knows nothing but knows somebody who does. More precisely, someone he thinks who think they know.

So for the wreath-fire bee, that record that it comes from a plague is fake. However there was no such plague during that era. It is falsified history and those who came after the author foolishly believed the tale he had written. There were no victims and definitely no monsters. If you think they exist you’ll feel like they’re there. Noting that Karen’s illness will subside in 3 days without doing anything, he doesn’t want to get involve in Araragi’s delusions. Araragi clearly feels he’s a definite fake. Kaiki adds they’re worse than oil and water. More like fire and water. But since he feels he’s not the fire type, maybe rubidium and water. Araragi thinks the fire must be his sisters then. Senjougahara seeks his handphone and then breaks it. Now he won’t be able to reach those middle schoolers. She says though it is their fault for being tricked, he can’t do anything for the victims anyway and even if he did try, he’ll end up stealing more from them. Kaiki admits he would because he’s a conman and that whole atonement thing was a lie too. He is further disappointed Senjougahara is really boring because now she looks heavier and fatter. Haha. Heavier yes but fat? Did she use to be that wonderful? Well, she doesn’t care what he says because now Araragi loves her therefore she likes the way she is now. Kaiki understands their relationship and won’t wreck it seeing that he won’t do anything that won’t get him money. He promises to leave town by tomorrow and tells her the man who once tried to rape her died in an accident in a faraway town. Senjougahara thought he is lying seeing a man who had forgotten about her till this morning wouldn’t know a thing about the man who tried to rape her. Unless, he was lying about not knowing her too. So why all the lies? There is no such thing as truth in this world. He signs off that the fact she was once in love with him doesn’t count as cheating. Just be happy with the man she has now. Araragi wants to confirm if that is true so she mentions at that time she was desperate so anybody who could offer their hand, she would have favourable views on them. She is glad that Araragi was the one who saved her. As for the request she wants Araragi to perform, since she has settled her past, she wants him to compliment her. That’s it? In contrast to her cold exterior, she says she’s a cute and soft girl and hopes he would go gentle on her tonight. Is it…

Soon without even 3 days, Karen has recovered and is back to her normal self (why are the sisters sleeping naked together?!). He explains what happened to Kaiki and that there will be no more victims. But the Fire Sisters enthusiastically head out as they still need to clean up the damage he did from the charms he left behind. Relationships won’t heal themselves, you know. Araragi narrates he is proud of his sisters. They may be fake heroes of justice but because of that, they’re closer than anything to the real thing.

Tsukihi Phoenix

Episode 8
Araragi narrates the several traits of Tsukihi. One of them being an immortal. Is he joking? While he is doing his homework, Karen comes bugging him if there is anything she can help out. There’s none but she really insists. Oh wait. There’s something different about Karen. That tomboy is WEARING A SKIRT!!! Is the world coming to an end?! Araragi thought somebody bullied her and swears he will make that bastard pay. So after calming down, he thinks it’s cosplay. What? That simple clothes she borrowed from Tsukihi is cosplay? Then I guess every girl is cosplaying too. Seems Karen wants to ask if she’s looking cute. Of course. Instantly she happily hugs him. Breaking his rib or two. Araragi on the other hand felt creepy with his sister all over him and couldn’t believe her character would overlap with Kanbaru. Speaking of which, seems Karen wants him to introduce to her. She even kneels down, beg, gets her head stepped on, suggests to even lick his toes and desperate enough, will give him her virginity! Hold your horses! How did she know about Kanbaru? There’s this unofficial fan club of Kanbaru that sent her newsletter with lots of pictures of him in it and upon doing her own investigation she finds Kanbaru look up to Araragi as her teacher. Araragi has no intention to introduce Karen to her seeing Kanbaru has a dangerous sexual penchant that no one knows. That’s when Karen started getting violent and jabs his gut! If a cute little sister pleading nicely won’t do, then use violence. Araragi suggests solving this via challenge. A game that he will choose and won’t be unfair to her. If it’s for the sake of meeting Kanbaru, then bring it on.

He comes back with a toothbrush… Uh… What again? Don’t tell me, he’s going to stick it up her butt???!!! Hell, no! He’s going to brush her teeth. Eh? Explaining via hairdresser cutting one’s hair example, I’m not sure how he is trying to associate the ‘touching’ with someone else brushing your teeth by generating major psychological resistance. So if she can withstand this for 5 minutes without freaking out, she wins and she’ll get her introduction. So as the brushing begins, Karen starts to feel the kind of sensation she has never felt before. Araragi has that evil look in her eyes as he strokes her teeth and tongue with the gentle soft brush! OMG! It’s like a new kind of hentai sex play!!! Karen is feeling so good that she’s giving off ambiguous vibes that this may be a hentai flick! On the other hand, Araragi suddenly starts to feel how cute Karen looks. Even better than Hanekawa! Something inside him is awakening! And then he can’t hold himself any longer. He pushes her down and goes on top of her! She allows it! His other hand is going to ‘tour’ all over her body when suddenly… Tsukihi is shocked to see the incest between the siblings. Girl, interrupted. Care to explain what’s going on? Why is big brother happily pushing down happy Karen in her clothes brushing her teeth? The duo in sync act out very surprised that they didn’t know what they’re doing and thanks to Tsukihi, they’re ‘saved’. But I guess she didn’t buy it because she wants them to stay like that till she returns from the store to buy an awl (a tool to make holes like in your belt). I think they just got the death sentence. Oh look at the time. Fifteen minutes has gone past. Araragi admits his defeat but it seems Karen felt that the game was a draw since Tsukihi interrupted. She wonders if he allows, could make it best out of three. Don’t tell me they’re addicted. Oh God. They’re having another go. Well, there’s still time before Tsukihi returns. At least they’re getting along better, eh?

Episode 9
Somehow Araragi miraculously escaped Tsukihi’s awls! Then he calls Kanbaru and it seems she is not prepared to meet Karen yet. She thought he was going to give his sister’s virginity! I can’t believe Araragi countered that by saying he would rather take Karen’s virginity than give it to her! As he prepares to take Karen there, she decides to do a penalty game in which the loser of the rock-scissors-paper game will have to carry the winner on the back all the way. Karen teaches him the trick of playing that game but cheats herself and loses. So she has to carry him and he wants to sit on her shoulders. As long as it’s less than 180kg, she can handle. Wow! Worrying about her ponytail, Karen uses her key to cut it off!!! WHHHAAAAAAAAAT?! Doesn’t she have any attachment to it?! Hard to take care and always hated it? It’s a wonder why she kept it till now. So as Araragi rides on her shoulder, he starts feeling like a giraffe. But something is bugging Karen. His crotch is touching the back of her head. She wonders if she can cut it off just like her ponytail. NO WAY! Unlike her hair, it won’t grow back! Then she grips his thighs so tight that it cuts blood circulation to his lower half since it would make her feel better as his calves were pressing on her boobs. So off she goes. On the way, they meet a strange lady, Yodzuru Kagenui who is asking the way to Eikou Cram School. She seems arrogant but cool. Her words of calling Araragi a devil boy and Karen a wasp catches his attention. Araragi calls Hanekawa since she should know where the school is. I guess it’s just an excuse to hear her lovely voice. The cram school is an abandoned building Oshino and Shinobu once lived. Araragi starts sweating when she mentions about sending her regards to Kanbaru. And he didn’t even mention it to her! How much does she know about his private life?! Once he relays the answer, he wonders why she wants to get there. Well, nothing much except to establish a base of operations. She then advises him that a girl this tall will come and ask him the same question. If that happens, she wants him to treat her with the same kindness he did with her. Araragi wonders why Karen has been silent all the while so she mentions she was readying herself as she feels Kagenui is a really strong person and couldn’t beat her herself. Wow. What’s with her power to analyze the strength of people? As long as they’re not evil, she can tell the difference. But how sure is she that Kagenui isn’t? Araragi introduces Karen to Kanbaru and vice versa. And cautions to beware the pervert and the idiot. They’re blushing? That’s not a compliment!

He leaves and on his way home he spots Hachikuji. He ponders if he should greet her the usual harassing way or ignore her. Though he has no interest in her, he has no particular reason to ignore her. I guess this means, it’s harassment time! As he sprints towards her with that perverted grin, suddenly Shinobu grabs his leg and makes him trip! Haha! He failed and made it the biggest screw up of his life! So they chat about Araragi probably ditching his studies to make Hanekawa like him. She thinks his motivation is Hanekawa’s boobs and herself, her sexy curvaceous body. Araragi quickly shoots her down about her barrel-shaped body and asserts he doesn’t like flat lolis. The reason he is talking to her because she has big boobs for an elementary kid. He quips since he’s dating Senjougahara and loves Hanekawa, he’ll marry Hachikuji! She steps on his head and doesn’t want such a proposal. Their nonsensical chat is brought to a halt when another weird girl, Yotsugi Onoki asks them the way to the cram school. Besides her emotionless expression, her speech style reminds me of Railgun’s Misaka clones (although it’s just restricted to “I said that with a posed look”). Araragi points the way but her last words bugged him. She called him a devil boy and Hachikuji the snail girl.

Episode 10
When Araragi comes home, Shinobu emerges from his shadow and tells him there is a dire situation that needs drastic action. Gulp. Let’s hear it. Mister Donuts is having a sale of any donut costing only 100 Yen! WTF?! I guess Shinobu really wants it, huh? On his way out, he bumps into Tsukihi who wonders if Karen is coming home early since she has something to discuss with her. The disbandment of Fire Sisters? Well, Tsukihi mentions she’s not into this justice thing like Karen. So you could say Araragi was right about her being a fake in this sense. She does it because she’s easily influenced by others around her. Yeah, she may even throw a farewell party for the Fire Sisters and would bring lots of middle school girls for him. Before he leaves, he tells Tsukihi not to dress so sloppily even if this is her house. Suddenly he spots something amiss and strips her! Holy sh*t!!! Then he binds her hand and pins her down to the floor! OMG! Has his inner imouto rape awakened?! He notices the scars on her chest and everywhere else on her body are missing. Do scars heal? But the sicko touched her boobs just because he felt like it since they were right in front of him! He even wants to fondle it with his feet! Stop violating her!!! She laments that it’s ironic that the sisters have pure relationship with their boyfriends but still require a physical relationship with their brother. In a bad mood, she tells him don’t bother to come home. But he is coming home. Into her heart. Cheesy… What more to his own sister… At the doughnut shop, it’s safe to say Shinobu wants everything on offer. But Araragi can only buy 3 doughnuts. Then she tries to convince him to make an investment by getting on her good side. Or else? After that short Mexican standoff, Araragi agrees to increase the tally to 5. While Shinobu is frolicking in her doughnut paradise, Araragi asks about the weird ladies that came looking for directions. She says Yotsugi isn’t human but a supernatural creature. She just took on a human form and her name is probably an alias too. Thus she is Kagenui’s familiar. But Shinobu isn’t going to share anymore information. Not even buying more doughnuts will tempt her. I thought he could just order her and she’ll have to obey? Anyway if he wants to know more, he’ll have to ask the old guy sitting behind. OH SH*T!!! That’s Kaiki!!! Anyway he’s still around to take care of minor business but promise will be leaving soon. Sure he’s not lying? But I’m sure he isn’t since he blames Araragi for making him lose lots of money. On the topic of Kagenui and Yotsugi, he has the information but please pay up first. How much? His entire wallet is good enough. The duo are ghost busters just like him. While he is fake, they are the real deal. He’s a conman and they the onmyouji-shikigami pair. Even though they are specialists, their field is only limited to immortal creatures.

On the way back, Araragi ponders if they’re after them but Shinobu disagrees. In that case, would that mean there are other vampires out there? Well, vampires need not necessarily be the only immortal creatures around. It could be anyone who has supernatural oddities within them just like Kanbaru or Hanekawa. When they reach home, they are surprised to see Kagenui and Yotsugi at his doorstep. Araragi asks straight if they’re here to kill them. However Kagenui dismisses they have hardly any time to waste on normal humans with lingering after-effects. Araragi’s mind starts to cloud when Kagenui mentions Oshino’s way. The ways she said it was like as though she knew him like a colleague. Because Yotsugi has been pressing the doorbell nonstop, annoyed Tsukihi barges out to tell the culprit off. Suddenly Yotsugi’s finger enlarges and blasts through the wall!!! OMG!!! TSUKIHI IS WRECKED INTO HALF!!!! OH SH*T!!!! In that moment, Araragi is filled with enrage (worse than the Hulk) as he is going to kill Yotsugi. However Kagenui pins him down. Then she shows him his sister. Her body is back to normal like it was never destroyed in the first place. Yotsugi points out that wasn’t his real sister and she is possessed by an evil immortal bird. Shinobu steps in and isn’t going to let them do what they wish. Kagenui is confident this ex-vampire isn’t a threat but Shinobu begs to differ. She can still drain Yotsugi’s powers and then she can handle Kagenui herself. Of course Araragi knows that is a bluff but enough for them to back down. Kagenui notes that she won’t kill a sister in front of her brother. That thing after all isn’t his real sister. Fake sister? She’ll give him a day to sort things out and will be back tomorrow. No running or escaping too. And by then if they still get in their way, they’ll kill them too. Araragi is still upset and wonders why they’re aiming for his sister. Kagenui replies a monstrous fake that snuck into a human family, pretended to be a human and deceived humans, that is evil and such a con can’t be forgiven because they’re the good guys.

Episode 11
Shinobu narrates about a supernatural cuckoo. It was the kind of bird that plants its eggs in other birds’ nests. It waits for the other mother bird to leave, then pushes the eggs out and lays its own before waiting for the mother bird to warm and hatch it. So this supernatural cuckoo, Dying Bird does the same thing but to a human mom. It reincarnates itself like the immortal bird, the phoenix who reincarnated itself by throwing itself into the fire. But in this case, Tsukihi wasn’t the victim but her mother. She carried a monster in her womb and a year later, Tsukihi was born. Though Dying Bird is a harmless creature, it is nevertheless fake and immortal and it has repeated this cycle into the modern era. Karen is dumbfounded to see a big hole in their house so Araragi lies that a truck hit it while he was out. Tsukihi wasn’t hurt but she helped guard it so she’s out tired. Karen enthusiastically takes over the watch as Araragi asks her if she will die for her him and her sister. Of course. And with a smile. Araragi notes he too would die for his sisters and would do so every day till he is dead. Huh? Say what? For this next scene, Araragi kisses Tsukihi awake!!! Imouto-con!!! Just like in fairytales how the princess gets awakened by the prince and lived happily ever after, it’s not the case here. Tsukihi blows her top, very annoyed that her first kiss reserved for her boyfriend went to her brother. She’s not happy. But Araragi gives out a good laugh because this proves that she is his sister. Just like Karen. And that is the truth. He says not to count his kiss because when they’re young, there have been countless times that they made promises to marry each other. Yeah well, he’d marry both of them. Araragi goes out but he’s not taking a walk. He’s going to settle things with Kagenui. What’s in it for him? Nothing. Just a waste of time and for his sister. Shinobu seems to have remembered Tsukihi’s name and notes it’s a good name.

They confront Kagenui and Yotsugi at the cram school. Kagenui makes comparisons that she’s not as friendly as Oshino but of course Araragi says Oshino isn’t violent. Since violence suits them and that a brawl is inevitable, might as well do so. Plus, they have the same human-supernatural creature combo. Yotsugi may be expressionless but she can still mock her opponent Shinobu that this ‘grandma’ can’t beat her. Yeah, ‘granny’ will show her the difference of years of experience this tired old body has. Kagenui and Araragi prepare to face off so he asks her relationship with Oshino. Well, they’re university classmates of the same occult club with Kaiki. Wait. Kaiki? Plus, Kaiki was the one who told her about his sister. That bastard! So it was his fault to begin with. As the match starts, erm, I won’t really call it a match since it’s one-sided. I mean, Kagenui pounds and pummels Araragi like a player who isn’t controlling his fighting character. He gets beaten up, bones broken and smashed into walls. Not to mention tables flying too. It’s bloody and gory! Reminds me of that time he took on Kanbaru. Kagenui asks if he could still truly love Tsukihi as he always has. Of course he can. And if so, what about his other family members? Would his parents and Karen be okay with it? What would happen if the fake realizes she’s a fake? Because as of now, she is still unaware. Can she still continue to live the normal life as she always has? Then after crashing Araragi down several floors (man, he looks so dead!), she goes check on Yotsugi and what do you know? She’s already beaten up! All talk… And she staging for an elaborate comeback isn’t convincing. Kagenui asks if Shinobu would like to have a final round match with her but she laughs it off because her master hasn’t lost yet.

Araragi still bloodied, stands up as Kagenui tells him not to enforce his whatever ideals and values on others. However he refutes that they’re not just other people. They are his family. For them, he will lie, he will deceive, he will get into trouble and do things he’ll never be able to repay. If to her being fake is evil, then he’ll shoulder that burden of being evil. He doesn’t need them to like him. As long as he can hear them calling him their brother, it’s good enough. Kagenui counters the different philosophies and fundamentals that humans are born good (Mencius) and humans are born evil (Xun Zi). If a person does good, that’s not their true self but a lie. All good is hypocrisy and therefore it constitutes a deliberate attempt to be good. So which has more value? Real or fake? This was a topic she used to discuss with Kaiki. To her, it would of course be the real. While Oshino said that both real and fake are equal, Kaiki argues the fake had more value because in its deliberate attempt to be real, it becomes more real than the real thing. That is the lesson that she learnt after 10 years. She admits defeat and takes Yotsugi with her. She’ll make Tsukihi an exception and since Araragi is her mentor, he’ll keep a close eye over her. Plus, she knows he wasn’t serious in fighting them as she doesn’t feel his killing intent. That cuts out the fun for her. Araragi says she didn’t want to kill him because she was treating him as a human even though he too is a monster. Ever since he became this way, only Oshino referred to him as a human being. Kagenui regrets acting like Oshino but leaves with a word that Oshino would never say: “Goodbye”. Back home, Araragi checks up on his sister and looks like she’s pretending to sleep. Can’t risk another kiss again, can’t she? He tells her the truth that he was out fighting a human like a monster and a monster like a human for her sake. Well, that’s kind of him, eh? She thinks he loves them but he says it’s the other way, he hates them (but he’s saying it with a smile). Once summer break ends, he’ll introduce his girlfriend to them. Tsukihi got so shock as she never thought this was possible! Yeah, that’s the truth. Hey, Senjougahara cut her hair short?!

The Truth Is Out There… Somewhere…
To tell you the truth, I really enjoyed the sequel as much as I did for the prequel albeit I remembered it was confusing and there were many parts I didn’t comprehend. Nevertheless it was still an interesting watch. I’m not sure if they are going to pull off something like they did in the prequel. Back then when the TV series ended, the remaining episodes came out via webcast. Seeing that everything here has ended, I guess there won’t be such a case. But wait! I saw that ‘to be continued’ sign at the end of the final episode. Could it mean something or are they just faking it? Though 11 episodes for this season may seem short, but I have a feeling that it could have been shorter if they cut out a lot of parts. Number one, many of the conversations that Araragi gets into are seemingly distractions and not related to the plot of the current arc pertaining to his sisters. But even if they are not related, they make good topics to discuss and think about. Yeah, even some of the lines are witty and funny. Number two, despite the Fire Sisters as the main focus in this sequel, I don’t really feel their impactful presence. Take for instance Karen’s arc. For the first 3 episodes, Karen didn’t really make a prominent screen time appearance (I don’t consider that street handstand to be one). What we see is Araragi going around frolicking with the babes of his harem and it feels like the producers were trying to make us not forget who they are and that they’re still around. Then for Tsukihi’s arc, the first episode itself felt like it’s for Araragi x Karen. Where was Tsukihi all the while? Till she waltzes in right at the end and catches them in their seemingly hentai toothbrush play. People, especially jealous girlfriends, do remember this is not how you should use awls.

Character-wise, I guess Araragi is still the good brother despite being perverted and sarcastic at times. You can say that his relationship with his sisters is somewhat hot and cold. Like a love-hate relationship. He might say he hates them but I suppose that’s his way of saying he loves them. After all, if he truly despises them, he would not have gone all out for their sake when they got involved in oddities. Oh, I notice this trivial thing. Araragi didn’t manage to study right till the end of the series. Hanekawa the tutor couldn’t make it and could you say the supernatural stuffs were a distraction? Can’t say your dog ate your homework, eh? Karen’s athleticism is amazing. Makes you think she isn’t really human the way she twists, turn, jump and pulling off moves with strength. To her, her fists do the better talking. But despite her tomboyish behaviour, she is still a girl beneath that exterior. It may be a surprise that the revelation of Tsukihi is that she isn’t really their real sister and another supernatural creature. But it’s not like Tsukihi was possessed by one after birth and was already one inside mommy’s womb. So I conclude that in this sense whether she realizes she’s the immortal phoenix, she’ll always be Araragi and Karen’s sister. Likewise they will also consider her as their family. What defines a family differs to the individual and seeing Araragi has spent many years with Tsukihi as her brother, it’s not like knowing the little truth will change things. He’s not that kind of person. As for the other girls, Senjougahara still has not lost her knack for insults and tsundere. She’s the kind of girl you won’t want to have as your girlfriend. Trust me. Unless you’re a super M. It’s obvious pain fun to see her torment Araragi but I guess that is the reason why they love if each other. If you can call it love, that is. Hanekawa might seem like a smart person who knows everything but as she pointed out, she only knows what she knows. So does this mean that everything Araragi asked somewhat fall under the scope of her knowledge? Coincidence? Kanbaru is still the BL pervert we all know her while Hachikuji the ever lost snail girl who surprisingly loves Araragi’s sexual harassment greetings. Probably that is the reason why she is still lingering around lost. Hoping he would find her and greet her that way to provide some amusing fun. Sengoku made the least appearance among the girls and it is clearly obvious that she totally digs Araragi and would’ve let her body teach him the pleasures of adulthood if not for her mom’s unexpected return. Bummer.

Kaiki even though is an evil conman and antagonist that everyone loves to hate (especially the characters in the series who are affected by him), I feel that he is an interesting character because he is not afraid to tell you the truth in your face despite his specialty in making up lies. The things he said are frighteningly true to a sense if you think about it. As he knows the basic negative nature of humans like desperation and greed, he works and uses them to his advantage to make money and leaves his victims in a lurch. Despite that, he can only be blamed for half of it. The other half is the victim themselves. In most cases, if they were much calmer and think straight, they wouldn’t have gotten into such predicament. With demand comes supply. And if everybody were intelligent enough not to fall for conmen, people like him would be out of business. Sadly, this thing like the con job of scratch-and-win and Nigerian bank scams are so rampant these days that conning can be considered as a thriving business. So for a person like Kaiki who doesn’t even have a single knowledge on the supernatural and not even a physically strong person himself, his best asset is his mouth that psychologically convinces others to buy his stuff. After Kaiki’s departure, I thought Kagenui and Yotsugi were going to be the main antagonist for the final arc. It’s not accurate to say that they are the villains because they too have their own ideals and were just doing their job. Good thing it didn’t turn out ugly in the end. At least Kagenui could see in Araragi’s eyes that he really means what he says and that not everything has to go by the book. Yotsugi may look ‘dumb’ and expressionless but her strength isn’t something ordinary humans should take for granted. Till she met her match in Shinobu. Speaking of that ex-vampire, it seems that she is quite talkative in this sequel. Heck, in the previous season, she doesn’t even say a word and was mysteriously popping out of his shadows, something I did not understand how and why then. At least we know a little more about her. There is a prequel movie in the works, Kizumonogatari and this tale would perhaps shed more like on this vampire loli whose other name (or nickname whatever she was called) to be Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. Say what again? As for Oshino, I guess he really left the town for good, huh? With Araragi around, I’m sure he is confident that kid can handle things himself.

One of the main aspects to watch this series is of course the visual art. SHAFT still has not lost its touch producing the different type of arts and visuals from different views and perspectives so much so watching the series may be annoying and tiring your eyes out because they really do spam you with all those various views and colours. As if it is already hard enough for me to keep up reading the subs (because after all this years, my Japanese is still mada-mada. True!), my eyes had to keep up with the changing and different scenes. The dramatic the conversation or scene, the faster a different angle or view is changed. Nevertheless hats off to them for doing such creativity. So whether it is Araragi’s top ahoge that is somewhat like a sign to display his fluctuating emotions, to the different drawings of the characters’ facial expression (usually comical and simple that makes it cartoonish), it is quite refreshing to see all kinds of them. It’s good enough already that they also don’t spam you with words… Thank goodness that wasn’t much here. Another I want to point out is the posing of the characters. Especially Senjougahara, whenever the girls talk, it’s like as though they are doing some sort of sexy pose. Feels like fanservice… Tempting… And no, you’re not going to see Senjougahara in her undies or even when Araragi looks under Hachikuji’s skirt or stripping Tsukihi’s kimono. Even if you tilt your head or monitor, you won’t see Kanbaru’s prized assets. Maybe you’ll see that if you buy the DVDs but that’s another different story. The few fight scenes are exhilarating like the one whereby Araragi took on Karen underneath the highway bridge and it feels like we’re watching a superhero super power movie. The final match with Kagenui doesn’t disappoint if you’re the kind who likes to see lots of blood and gore coming out from Araragi (don’t worry, he still heals but slower). I guess that’s why that guy could take on so many dangerous stuff and ends up alive in the end. When you’re an immortal despite being an ex-vampire, having such healing abilities you would be inclined to give less attention to your well-being and focus on the welfare and security of your other loved ones.

The main cast of characters are retained from the previous season and they still do a fine job getting into their character. Even Eri Kitamura as Karen and Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi they make the Fire Sisters sound lovable. Joining the cast for this sequel is Shinichiro Miki as Kaiki. His suave and smooth voice is suitable as the conman character he played. After all, he played character roles such as Urahara in Bleach and Takumi in Initial D so his voice is quite fitting for this character. Ryoko Shiraishi is the voice behind Kagenui and perhaps I am not familiar with her voice that I can’t identify her as the one who played as Hayate in Hayate No Gotoku. Same case for Yotsugi who is voiced by Saori Hayami who did Musubi in Seikirei. The surprisingly one has got to be Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu. At first I thought it was Aoi Yuuki because you know, I had this impression that vampire lolis like Mina Tepes from Dance In The Vampire Bund are best done by her. Plus, I don’t recall Maaya Sakamoto sounded like this. Of course she can deliberately make this voice but it confused me and made me in denial that it was really her. Fake? Nah. Hey, wait a minute. Now I remember. Although Shinobu had no lines in Bakemonogatari, wasn’t Aya Hirano credited as her seiyuu? Well, I guess it’s okay since nobody heard how Shinobu sounded like in the first season so why not start afresh.

There are 3 different opening themes. Futakotome by Chiwa Saito is a theme for Senjougahara (she is also the voice for this character) and the song feels somewhat like a sequel to Bakemonogatari’s Staple Stable. Yeah, those staples are still around. Marshmallow Justice by Eri Kitamura is for Karen. A lively and upbeat outfit that describes the kind of girl Karen is. Hmm… Lots of fire and bees buzzing around… Finally, Platinum Disco by Yuka Iguchi is for, you’ve guessed it, Tsukihi. This is my favourite song among all the pieces because the lively Chinese tune is very catchy and Yuka Iguchi is singing in a cute way. Even cuter, Tsukihi doing a cute hand movement dance. Trying… To imitate… That… Never mind. The only ending theme is Naisho No Hanashi by ClariS. Typical rock pop but the ending credits animation is sketchy and messy. On purpose of course. There are various background music and most of them are of course weird. Some have that eerie feel and some to that dramatic beat. Weird is after all the theme of this anime, right?

The fundamental point that this series is trying to tell us is the subject of real and fake. Truths and lies. When we are born, all of us have been fed with assumptions, ‘truths’ and the likes. So what constitutes real and fake depends on our belief, principle and conviction that we hold. Some beliefs that we do not hold strongly on to are easily swayed and changed. And to quote a line from Lenin, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. What we have been thought to believe the truth it has been all the while suddenly turns into a fake and a lie, can we humans accept the real truth? After all, the truth hurts, right? There will always be some truth in the lies and there are always some fakes in the truth. So far everything you have seen here, are they truths, lies or half-truths? For all you know, maybe the producers will come up with a shocking revelation that everyone here was just faking it. Hope that would be lie!

I guess when you are possessed by an unexplained supernatural, it is natural for us to fear in it simply we do not fully understand the reason behind it all. Because modern science and medicine do not really explain or give scientific evidence and proof, we turn to bomohs or local shamans in hopes of seeking a cure. In that desperate of need, this is when we usually become vulnerable and those with bad intentions seek to take advantage of this situation. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, at please respect them. There are lots of unexplained things in this world. Tales and stuffs that you might have heard from your grandmother trying to scare the wits out of your pants when you were young. Eventually it’s really up to you whether you want to believe it or not. Hey, on an unrelated note, if you really hate someone, there’s this website that appear only at midnight and when you type in the name of the person you hate most, you can send him/her to hell. Sounds too good to be true? Am I telling the truth or lying through my teeth? Check it out yourself…

I never thought I’d live to see the day whereby Kenichi will have its own OVA. Heck, I even never had hoped that there would be History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi OVA (Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi OVA). Because of the way the TV series ended, it somewhat left me with a bad parting experience since it ended too abruptly. Very sudden. So after 5 years it was released as a TV series, now I guess the trend is not to do blockbuster sequels like what Hollywood is doing, but to do a couple of OVAs and let old fans get nostalgic and perhaps rein in new ones in hopes they might take a look at the series and read the manga which is still currently ongoing.

For those wanting to see the OVAs, you need to have prior knowledge and know-about of this series. Just like Air Gear OVA. Jumping straight in won’t do because you’d be at a lost since the double OVA episodes are based on events after the TV series. So we’ve got this kid, Kenichi. He’s such a weak boy that he spends 9 years of his school life getting bullied by just about anybody who is stronger than him. So weak that he can’t stand up for himself. His life changes when he becomes a student of Ryouzanpaku Dojo and the disciple of 6 masters, each a master in their own arts. From Sakaki’s karate to Apachai’s Muay Thai, Shigure’s weapon skills, Ma’s Chinese kenpo, Akisame’s philosophical jujitsu and the main head of Ryouzanpaku, Hayato, Kenichi’s tortuous journey has just begun. And they say a long journey begins with the first step, right? What? A long journey?! Yes, it’s not bed of roses because training = hell. It’s amazing he manages to put up with all that. But he gets stronger along the way, right? I’m sure Miu, Hayato’s granddaughter who is a martial artist herself must be Kenichi’s motivation to go through life’s living hell. Well, love does make a man do and withstand strange things.

Episode 1
We are introduced to all the masters of Ryouzanpaku Dojo. Yeah, those unbeatable masters of Kenichi who is in the midst of yet another hellish training. Must be another one of Akisame’s inventions to buff him up and at the same time torture him. Yeah, kill 2 birds with 1 stone. And the masters are mocking him like as though he is not there and can’t hear them! Hayato is glad that Kenichi has made some progress though he still has a long way to go. Look at all the muscles and nice abs he’s got! He’s no more that thin scrawny kid. It seems after defeating Odin, Kenichi has become the leader of Ragnarok too. Hayato summons the other masters for a strategy meeting. Seems Isshinsai Ogata has gained some powers and is declaring war. What more, he is joining forces with a dark group called, well, Yami. Ogata was supposed to be a disciple of Ryouzanpaku but it got messy and never materialized. If they make their move by attacking Ryouzanpaku, their strongest disciple will be in danger as their objective is to obtain the strongest warriors. So you don’t be a maths genius to know how many strongest disciples there are in Ryouzanpaku. Yeah, they have only one. So the only thing for them to do is the usual: DO NOTHING! Hah! I bet they want to see Kenichi get beat up. Or maybe let him improve himself because you learn best when you experience it yourself. Meanwhile the pair of the Zanshin Taisha-ryuu method, Kurando Yakabe and Tsukasa are impressing Yami with their moves. They consider themselves as pawns and have no need for names. Their target is Ryouzanpaku and in the event if they succeed, they will be part of Yami.

Kenichi feels good to be back in school after a long absence to heal his injuries but he has lots to catch up. He meets up with his Shinpaku Alliance. They never change (especially Niijima). Some miss him. Some don’t. Like Tanimoto. He tells Kenichi that Odin is nowhere to be found ever since Kenichi defeated him. Tanimoto then lands a kick at him and Kenichi didn’t dodge. He tells the kid to go and have more training. While Kenichi is watering his plants, Miu suddenly lands a kick on Kenichi. Her turn? She says it’s an attack she should’ve dodged. While she lectures him about his heart not prepared to be a true warrior, she is doing this for his sake for him to be stronger. Unfortunately he takes it the other way. He feels his distance between her has just gone wider. Kenichi and Miu are out shopping with Honoka (little sister still have a big buranko on Kenichi). On their way home, Miu senses a big battle coming up. The kind of aura where there is blood lust. As they cross the railway tracks, The Zanshin duo appear and attack them. The duo aren’t going to reveal their names since they are prepared for death as they have no need for them. Initially Kenichi was fighting Tsukasa but due to his principle of not hitting women, he is just blocking all the way. Miu switches to fight Tsukasa and the way they are clinging and using the poles to fight, makes it look like pole dancing-cum-martial arts. Kenichi faces off with Kurando but the kid continues to block. Honoka couldn’t believe that people just started attacking her brother and Miu so she thought of helping out by whacking Kurando with her toy hammer. Since she is not the target, Kurando flings her away. Thankfully she lands in the bushes and is alright. In that instant, Kenichi becomes enraged and transforms into a different person. When their knuckles connect, Kenichi is able to repel Kurando’s with so much force that it made the latter’s fist sore! Tsukasa lets Miu know that their attack is just a diversion because the strongest warriors of Yami are taking out Ryouzanpaku.

True enough, those Yami warriors sneak into the dojo and you must think that those Ryouzanpaku masters are dumb people for not knowing those baddies (some even much bigger than them) creeping up right next to them. Yeah, they’re happily frolicking away with their own agenda. Then when the signal is given to charge, surprise, surprise! The Ryouzanpaku masters dispatches them with no sweat! It’s like it was all child’s play! All over in the blink of an eye! Maybe they were acting ‘dumb’ because they don’t really feel a powerful threat within them? The Yami guys threaten that their disciple is in danger but Hayato believes in him and is not fazed. Kenichi and Kurando fight between the small space of 2 incoming trains! Kenichi manages to best Kurando and gives him a powerful blow to his chest. Tsukasa has just been defeated so worried Kurando calls out to her name. Kenichi points out that they do have names after all and as long as they have a gentle heart that can call out the name of someone you love, you can’t call yourself a pawn. Kurando takes Tsukasa away and he acknowledges his defeat. Despite being targeted, Kenichi and Miu gladly invite them to Ryouzanpaku if they have any problems and are confident the masters will understand. They part by exchanging each other’s name. Hayato and the rest are cleaning up the place and since they don’t want the kids to worry what happened, they pretend as though nothing happened. Well, not only they are bad liars, but the place is obviously filled with scratch and burn marks. Almost decimated. And nothing out of the ordinary happened? I guess the duo decide to play along and not let them worry that they also run into a pair of attackers as well.

Episode 2
Shou Kanou of Yami meets Li Tenmon as he has been requested by Ogata to meet the latter. Shou sees a demonstration of Tenmon’s disciple singlehandedly taking out everybody else. So guess who is Tenmon’s next target? Niijima is not pleased Kenichi is planting flowers at Shinpaku Alliance’s base. Not that he cares. Ignore that sneaky guy! Kenichi bumps into a Chinese girl, Li Raichi who is searching for some place. Seems she also likes plants like him and notes the better quality of Japan’s soil compared to her home. She is here to work hard so that she can move up the ranks and help her family back in China. Kenichi learns that the place Raichi is seeking is this place but she is over with the dry run and leaves. Hayato and the other masters discuss another threat that will befall on Kenichi. A certain group is going to use their disciple to take out Ryouzanpaku’s best disciple, an ideal scene for Yami. Hayato thinks the key to victory of this duel is the one who possesses the best disciple. Renka frolics with Kenichi. Too close for comfort. And it’s making Miu staring back with those eyes. Jealous? Before any cat fight can begin, Miu sees how cute Renka is. Like a cat. Miu plays with Renka like a cat while Kenichi the hapless guy gets accidentally pain from it all. Niijima is at Ryouzanpaku visiting Kenichi when he gets an emergency call. Seems some girl in full roller blading gear is taking out Kisara with her drunken fist technique. She asserts her target is Kenichi but since she doesn’t know how he looks like, Siegfried becomes the decoy but he didn’t realize the way he calls himself has given himself away. The real Kenichi shows up and he prepares to fight her in exchange for Siegfried’s release. Wait a minute! Kenichi, fight a girl? Okay, so he is just dodging her moves. So what’s new? Well, there’s a way he can use to touch her. And he learnt it from Ma. Oh no. It looks like a perverted move trying to molest her! No wonder she can’t tell where the next move is coming! When he manages to get hold of her hand, he changes into Akisame’s jujitsu. Kenichi is baffled when she says he is better off being a florist. She unmasks herself and Kenichi is surprised to know she is Raichi. She further explains she is of the Chishou Clan and Tenmon’s daughter. As a soldier of Yami, she has trained hard for the sake of her family and is going to kill Kenichi and move up the ranks of Yami and earn enough money. She is serious. She ticks off the rest because they use their martial arts for sports and to her clan, martial arts is the way of life.

Raichi attacks and is confident with Kenichi’s chivalry, he won’t defeat her. Because Raichi is of smaller size, Kenichi takes lots of massive lower blow since he has always been used to fighting opponents who are larger in size. Though he receives a great blow but manages to avoid a fatal one. Now it’s his turn to rant about his philosophy. Sure, he may not be doing martial arts for money. But he’s not doing it as hobby either. You know, protect those he loves. Yeah, we all know that. Seeing that she uses martial arts to kill and hurt people, he will have to defeat her to save her from herself. Kenichi then starts sitting down. Has he given up? When Raichi attacks, he is able to counter and block every kick. As far as I understand, in this kneeling move which may seem vulnerable, it s a form of fighting stance that can parry any attack. It’s a stance that fits Kenichi since he’ll be able to take Raichi out without hurting or killing her. Each time Kenichi does a submission move that is close to breaking her bones, he backs out. This gives Raichi a chance to counter attack to the point she strangles him. Shinpaku Alliance is going to intervene but Kenichi tells them not to interfere. Raichi can’t seem to kill him so Kenichi explains for someone who loves the earth and flowers, killing is impossible from the start. Raichi lets go and realizes there are truths in his words. She then admits defeat however her father lands a punishment blow for her failure. Tenmon is going to bring Kenichi back to Yami as a souvenir. Niijima uses his special ability to gauge the enemy’s abilities and weaknesses. However his ‘vision’ crashes! I guess it’s off the scale, huh? Retreat! Tenmon unleashes some fearsome move that rocks the place. Literally. As far as I understand, he is one with the earth and soil so he’s able to pull off that awesome hurricane-like manoeuvre. Not even Miu and Renka’s cooperation could stop him.

Niijima calls for a retreat into the base but Tenmon breaks through like nothing. Shinpaku Alliance could have been done for if Ma had not stepped in. So master versus master both with equally devastating moves. However Ma screws up and Tenmon breaks his hand. Or did he? Something about Ma’s smaller size that he is able to repel the attack back to him when a larger opponent traps him. Raichi pleads to Ma not to kill her father but Tenmon says this guy doesn’t have any killing intent in him. He notes Ma had held back his power in that last attack. Ma also says the same thing to Tenmon. If he hadn’t held back, this entire building would’ve collapsed and Miu and Renka would have also died. It’s because he is a father seeing Miu and Renka reminded him of his own and couldn’t bring himself to watch them die. Tenma calls for a temporary truce and will settle things later. Before he leaves, he leaves Kenichi a message. As the greatest disciple of Ryouzanpaku, many fighters will come challenge him. However, will his principals of katsujin ken (literally martial arts with belief to save and protect) work on all of them.

Still Going Strong…
Another unsatisfying end? Well, with only a couple of episodes, it won’t amount to anything much since the manga is still ongoing. Whether or not they will make more OVA episodes or start another season is another story. Besides, there is no news of it yet so maybe it will take another 5 years for anything to happen. I happen to briefly browse through Wikipedia and I saw the immense number of characters! This means, Kenichi is really going to meet lots of challengers and fighters. I guess it’s human’s nature to want to take on the very best and beat him so that they can be number one. Then the cycle repeats. Kenichi may have improved a lot since as far as I remember him from the TV series. But from the looks of it, he still has more to learn considering the many future opponents he is going to face. As much as I want to acknowledge that the Ryouzanpaku masters want to train Kenichi up to be a strong fellow, I can’t help believe more that they love to see him in misery. I mean when you are as strong as them that there are no opponents of your level, what better twisted way than to train your pupil and enjoy see him carve his own path to become the strongest with all the sufferings and torture. They may not have much of an appearance (as well as with the other characters) due to the restricted number of episodes, but their incredible might and strength easily tells us they are one that are not to be messed even if it looked so simple. The one amusing thing that was still noticeable in this show is the flashlight eyes. Whenever the masters scheme something, their eyes will usually flash like as though their eyes are of a car’s! But this time in serious battle modes, the bad guys too have such ‘lights’ in their eyes! It makes me laugh every time I see this.

There are some explanations of some martial arts moves and they are pretty decent, though an otaku like me won’t remember much. Considering the vast amount of martial arts, techniques and variations, I guess you can never stop learning. Maybe Kenichi should add capoeira into his repertoire? Taekwondo doesn’t seem too bad too. Thus the fights we see in the OVA are pretty standard affair of what we should expect to see in a shonen action anime. Just that we get a little better explanation of some of the moves. Of course some of them are impossible. As standard it is to retain the original seiyuus of the original TV series, change is very rare and at least not for the main character. In the OVA, Miu’s seiyuu to my surprise has been replaced with Rie Kugimiya! I was expecting her trademark high pitch voice but surprisingly she’s pretty decent. Though I don’t remember how the original sounded like but I guess Rie Kugimiya did well to closely portray the original. There is a good reason why the change of seiyuu for this OVA. The original seiyuu for Miu, Tomoko Kawakami passed away in June 2011. She had lots of anime roles under her belt like Athena from Aria The Animation, Fuyuki of Keroro Gensou, Misuzu of Air and Chrno Crusade’s Rosette. Will be sorely be missed by her fans. RIP. So I guess you can’t use someone who is already dead, right? So maybe this is one of the reasons why it took them this long to produce. Well, actually not. It’s just my speculation.

It would be interesting to see how Kenichi fights his future challengers by sticking to his principal. Will he break them at one point? I mean, he is human after all so he can’t maintain a perfect record of not doing so. I’m sure at one point he’ll have to fight back women too. Those advocating equal gender rights may not be so pleased in this aspect… But with Kenichi having enduring so much pain throughout his training, he should’ve been immune to them and not easily feel the pain. Maybe it gets tougher and tougher in each training? I don’t know. I didn’t go through them. I’m glad I didn’t. It’s also a good thing that Kenichi didn’t turn into a masochist after all that pain. It would be weird and perverted if he actually does. After all like they say, no pain, no gain. Pain is only all in your mind. But for me, I would prefer to twist that ideology and go with something like this: No pain, then good lah!

Another anime that revolves around a group of boys? Did they make a rip-off from Kimi To Boku and mix it with Nichijou? Actually Daily Lives Of High School Boys is anything far from Kimi To Boku and the only similarity they have is well, the series focuses on a bunch of high school boys of Sanada North High School which is an all-boys academy. As you have guessed that this series isn’t only focused on the 3 main characters but the other odd characters that surround them in their daily lives. That’s what make their seemingly ordinary daily lives filled fun and excitement, right? Not so if you’re on the receiving end of the joke of course.

One of the few reasons that attracted me to watch this comedy was this funny line I read from Wikipedia: “High-school boys are really simple and curious creatures. They want one and only one thing: girls. But they haven’t got a clue about them. Male teenagers are dumbfounded by the girls’ thought process, actions, appearance and everything in between. They spend countless hours amongst themselves discussing and arguing their theories which are usually completely off base. If only they had the courage to ask them instead of screwing around and talking about nonsensical things, they might get somewhere”. That basically sums up what teenage boys are, eh? Ah yes. I was once at that age. And girlfriend-less. Okay, let’s not bring up my unfortunate past. Well, after watching this anime, I can say that seeing them talk about the opposite sex is like trying to get a Full House for your poker cards. Rare. There are incidents on this topic but the host of other random nonsense makes it seem insignificant. So you could say that this ‘plot’ is somewhat a little misleading.

And since this is a predominantly guy anime, is there gay or yaoi elements you ask? Even the title sounds a little gay, don’t you think? Well, it never crossed my mind when I was watching it because I was too darn busy laughing at the silly antics the boys had to put up and deal with. Even if there are, it is probably part of the joke and you won’t really notice it. Not that I realize any. Instead of a series whereby an entire episode is one straight story, this series is divided into very short and random skits. So short that probably the longest one only lasts about 5 minutes and the shortest perhaps only 2 minutes. On average you will have around 8 skits per episode. I guess this is a good formula if you want to keep your audiences ‘entertained’ with fresh skits that are independent of each other. But to say independent is not accurate because some of the skits do have a minimal impact on the subsequent and later ones. Don’t worry. That won’t spoil your fun in watching their antics. So can we start already?

Episode 1A: Prologue
If it’s not bad enough Tadakuni is running late with a bread in his mouth, his friends Yoshitake Tanaka and Hidenori Tabata are eating leftover curry and ramen respectively on their way too. Tadakuni isn’t happy that his friends are also mashing together mobile suits and adventure heroes seeing this is a collaboration work between Square Enix and Sunrise.

Episode 1B: High School Boys and After School
Tadakuni wants to know how to get a girlfriend so his friends act out in a simulation with him but end up doing several takes because someone wasn’t following the scenario or change of setting. When they’re just about to give up, Tadakuni remembers he forgotten something important and takes the hand of his ‘girlfriend’ (Yoshitake) and make a run to see the ‘scenery’. Hidenori is impressed he should be able to score with girls with that but the only problem is… They are in an all-boys’ high school!

Episode 1C: High School Boys and Skirts
Hidenori and Yoshitake bum in Tadakuni’s room. Hidenori wants their opinion on skirts and with Yoshitake though they didn’t like the idea of ‘just a roll of cloth around your waist’, he even got the guts to ask Tadakuni’s permission to wear his sister’s skirt. Not only that. They even want to wear her panties! Then as they put their leg into the skirt, they start arguing about leg hair so Tadakuni got so pissed off that it ends up they all agree to go change and wear the skirt. But… It seems Tadakuni is the one who came out wearing the skirt! Scammed big time!!! Noting how cute he is and that he could make extra money out of this, Tadakuni gets taken in by their praises. Then his sister comes in to see her brother trying on her bra next… Oh shiiiiiii…

Episode 1D: High School Boys and Ghost Stories
Hidenori mentions he saw something strange at a restaurant the other day. When a customer left, there were 3 chopsticks on her bowl. Thinking this is a scary story, Yoshitake proceeds to tell his about shaving his nipple hair with a razor. Do nipples grow back? OUCH!!! See a doctor damn it! Now it’s Tadakuni’s turn. His friend drank something non-alcoholic and doesn’t feel good. Taking him to the toilet, he saw squirming in his vomit is a centipede! His friends stop him as they need to go to the bathroom. Inside, they see Tadakuni’s sister puking like mad! Thinking she must have overheard their story, they also vomit out to see if it’s true! Of course, Tadakuni made all that up and there is no way he could tell them that now.

Episode 1E: High School Boy and Female Companion
Hidenori is shocked to see something through his class window: Tadakuni walking with a girl to school! The class is in a commotion! Delinquent Motoharu tells them to be cool and observe. He concludes the girl next to Tadakuni is someone he just met since they are gazing away from each other and their walking pace differs. He then rallies the class for an operation to maximize their virgin power! When Tadakuni reaches the gates, he is surrounded by Motoharu and the other guys. He is going to ask who this girl is when Tadakuni gives directions for her to the station and she thanks him. So she was just a lost girl asking for directions? Red faced!

Episode 1F: High School Boy and Literature Girl
Literature Girl sees Hidenori is trying to read a book at the river bank but it’s too windy. She then sits close to him. Hidenori’s mind is racing who the heck this chick is and the need to say something cool. After thinking the lines he should say, he spouted the embarrassing lines of “The wind is troubled today”. Literature Girl then replies with “But this wind is weeping a little”. Hidenori continues to put up a cool front but knows he can’t take this any longer and calls his buddies for help. Yoshitake arrives first and utters another wind line. Hidenori is going to walk away coolly when Tadakuni arrives. However he can’t read the atmosphere and mentions something about potato chips being half priced at the convenience store. Literature Girl got enraged and beats him up! The contents of her bag come loose as Hidenori realizes she is writing a novel. A love story of boy and girl meeting at a riverbank and the main character uses the power of the wind. It’s like she wanted her fantasy to become a reality and chose Hidenori as the protagonist (this explains her oddly contorted happy face). But what Hidenori can’t accept she gave the character a particular background and thinks he is an introverted lonely otaku.

Episode 2A: High School Boys and Morning Journey
Tadakuni picks up a fine looking stick on the road when Hidenori suddenly slashes him with his umbrella. Thank goodness Tadakuni was swift enough to counter it and slash him back. Tadakuni didn’t like it that his friends drag him into playing RPG journey with the ridiculous fast pace of the story but I guess he has no choice but to play along. Yoshitake realizes he forgot to bring his back so they all rush back as Tadakuni drops the stick. Soon Motoharu picks it up and plays RPG with his friends. After a girl passes by them, they got embarrassed by what they did, drop the stick and pretend all this never happened.

Episode 2B: High School Boys and Convex Mirror Girl
Tadakuni works part time at a pizza parlour with fellow co-worker Nago and Yasunori. Tadakuni asks what do high school girls find attractive about boys. Nago isn’t too enthusiastic in answering but mentions about the face. She finds it odd that they are talking about themselves and thought they wanted her to praise them. They think Nago should work on her appeal so she brings out a convex mirror and guess what? The light must have reflected this fat ugly girl into a pretty babe! Woah! Who the heck is this different person?! The guys couldn’t believe it was her and hope to meet the girl in the mirror again. Even if that’s impossible, they won’t stop trying. Just keep dreaming…

Episode 2C: High School Boys and Friendship Power
Tadakuni’s sister beats up her brother and accuses him and his friends for stealing her underwear. Hidenori denies it is them but Yoshitake saw something unpleasant: Hidenori is wearing her bra underneath his shirt! The culprit even did a stakeout to catch the culprit. Want to guarantee that person will never appear? Yoshitake is in a dilemma but decides to tell Tadakuni when he sees that bugger also wearing his sister’s bra!!! WTF?! Then he thinks deep about their friendship and decides to bear their burden of sins to lead them back to the right path. This means, putting on a pair of panties over his head. Then he realizes he has been betrayed because his friends catches him in the act and pins him down for Tadakuni’s sister to give him a super kick. In that instant, Yoshitake reveals the other culprits too. Screw friendship!

Episode2D: High School Boy and Literature Girl 2
Motoharu is at the river bank with Literature Girl. He says he hates the wind, causing her to be pretty much shock. He continues the wind is always taking away his precious things and hopes to stop it. He walks away coolly but gave in to his embarrassment because he said that to the wrong girl! It was supposed to be his sister, Mino who just returned from the convenience store.

Episode 2E: High School Boys and Traditional Events
Toshiyuki Karasawa shows tells the guys about the school’s event of picking up trash. They didn’t like how uncool it is and see the school pamphlet. They are horrified to see a 70 hour fast event and go confront the principal. Of course he doesn’t know a damn thing since he has been the principal for only 3 years but not wanting to disappoint them, he cooks up a story that back in 1984 when the school was facing a crisis of reduced enrolment, the principal at that time pleaded his case for 70 straight hours and thus saved the school. They don’t have to fast but as long as you love the school it is enough. However that moment of touching deep meaning comes to a crashing halt when Karasawa reads the pamphlet that points out this school was founded in 1989. Oh damn!

Episode 2F: High School Boy and Childhood Times
Motoharu talks to Mino about his friends who also have sisters but do not get along as well like they do. Sister tries to make him remember they use to play at this river bank but he disagrees the human spinning game she always played with him. She insists it was him who wanted to play it very much. She wants to play that now to make him remember but he isn’t sure about their height difference now. Amazingly she pulls it off and he remembers how much he was bullied.

Episode 2G: High School Boys and Ghost Stories 2
Hidenori mentions he spotted some crap on his eyebrow and plucked it out. But it turns out to be white eyebrow hair that had grown 3cm! Uh, that’s supposed to be scary? Yoshitake doesn’t want to lose out to ghost stories so while Hidenori calls Karasawa over (because that guy knows lots of ghost stories), Yoshitake relates how he was scrubbing his face so hard that he heard a crack. Then he started bleeding before the blood and pain suddenly stopped. In the end nothing happened. Was that a true story instead? Tadakuni continues that he saw once something in Karasawa’s head when he took off his cap. However he can’t tell the guys since probably that guy wouldn’t want others to know his secret. His friends decide to ambush Karasawa before he gets here and what do you know? He is outside the gate facing off with Tadakuni’s sister! She overheard the story too? Then they all start to chase him and it is obvious what Tadakuni said was just a lie…

Episode 2H: The Daily Life of a…
Lady Yukana wants to skip school despite her 3 handsome butlers telling her not to be selfish. She insists and forces them to come up with reasons for her to skip school. You can say they are all stupid and silly which includes fake tooth, catching a cold, dog died, massive amount salted fish entrails in her lunch and someone by the name of Imada. She got so pissed by their idiocy that her front false tooth came off! Then one of the butlers picked it up and used it to chase the other butlers. Yukana got so fed up with the ruckus that she decides to go to school. Yeah, whether on purpose or not, that got her ass moving to school, right?

Episode 3A: High School Boys and Summer Plans
Hidenori calls up his friends to gather so that they can make plans for the summer vacation. He starts reprimanding them like a general to get their spirits up before starting to chair the meeting. But the rest feel they want Karasawa to be the chairman and call him over. Then Tadakuni’s sister passes by and Hidenori asks her which of the guys she would like to date. After some thinking, she picks Karasawa! Say what?! So happy he allows her to sit on her lap but she got upset and wrestles with him. As for the rest, they continue their planning and since time is running, an outing to the beach will do.

Episode 3B: High School Boys and Beach House
The guys are at the beach but failed miserably in trying to pick up any girl. Then Hidenori thinks he knows why the girls are ignoring them. Motoharu wants him to spill it out and the answer turns out to be girls like hot ramen. I think it’s a play of words with ramen (noodles) and ikemen (handsome guy). He got slapped.

Episode 3C: High School Boys and Hotspring
After taking a nice bath, the guys decide to play penalty ping pong in the losers must punch the student council president. In addition, they are required to answer correctly to a topic and 3 strikes mean you lose. With topics like Uranus’ moons and foreign presidents, seems only Tadakuni is the only one who is ‘unknowledgeable’. He thinks the rest have pre-setup this. So he decides to go with one he knows and that is, the flags of countries with a moon on it. To his surprise the others know their stuff well and the plan backfires on Tadakuni because he only knew Malaysia! Safe to say, he lost.

Episode 3D: High School Boys and Radio DJ
Hidenori is acting out his own personal radio programme while Yoshitake isn’t into his character. So reading postcards and giving replies are all part of the pretend and when the show ends, Tadakuni who was reading his manga didn’t even bother to give his closing comments.

Episode 3E: High School Boys and Summer Memories
With summer vacation almost over, the guys decide to have fun till they puke. So over the music video, we see montages of the guys having fun at the festival, singing karaoke and kimodameshi (I hardly doubt it would be fun with all guys). Then Hidenori gets a call from Tadakuni about their plans for tomorrow. He checks his calendar to find it is already 4th September and summer vacation is way long over! Thus the guys start playing shiritori together though Tadakuni’s choice of words for rebuke seems to be a coincidence that has them playing the game going around in circles…

Episode 3F: High School Boy and the Train to School
Hidenori rides the train to school and takes interest in a girl in the same coach. Actually he wants to tell her about the hair sticking out from her mole on her neck. He wants to tell her so badly but doesn’t have the guts. Seeking advice from others also didn’t help as they tell him not to do so because it may deem rude. On another day as Hidenori is in his usual dilemma, finally he goes up close to her to tell her but experiences cold feet. Then he realizes something. Shouldn’t someone have pointed it out already? Does this mean she doesn’t have friends? Is the mole a proof of her loneliness? He decides he is going to tell her even though it will mean getting his head ripped off. As she steps off, Hidenori calls out to her and points to her mole. She gets embarrassed at first but eventually gives out a smile and thanks him. Thus the story of a foolish boy who seriously worried about something this stupid ended.

Episode 3G: High School Girls Are Funky: Uniform and Boyfriend
I guess it is inevitable that if there are high school boys, there must be their counterparts too. Ikushima wonders how to get a boyfriend but since she’s too annoying, Yanagin punches her and ends the topic! Then with Habara, they talk about the things high school girls could do. Yanagin gets passionate to do everything and feels pity for high school boys because this anime is about them doing stupid things in their everyday life. She gets an idea to borrow Habara’s brother school uniform, much to her dismay. Yanagin and Ikushima frolic in a guy’s uniform when Habara’s brother steps in. A moment of AAAAAARRRRGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 4A: High School Boys and Eavesdropping
Tadakuni spots Hidenori and Yoshitake together and thinks they’re talking behind his back so he sneaks close enough to eavesdrop. First he couldn’t comprehend the odd story they’re talking followed by the dirty talk (lots of censors and bleeps!). This is followed by politics so Tadakuni wonders if he was close enough to them in the first place. He wants to be better friends with them so he steps out but it turns out they are different people despite looking close to his buddies! Who the hell are they?!

Episode 4B: High School Boys and Cultural Festival
The student council president of Sanada East High School, Ringo is going to confront her student council counterparts and isn’t going to let the boys look down on them girls anymore. When they enter the student council room, they got spooked thinking they entered a delinquent room because they consist of Vice President (let’s just call him that), Motoharu and Sanada. But quickly the guys treat the girls to tea and with much politeness. Ringo is shocked at them being perfect gentlemen and compared to their room which is clean and tidy, theirs is messy and unkempt! Role reversal, I’d say. Yeah, the girls use their room as a casual hangout place. Vice President thought Ringo is unhappy with the snack but actually she can’t let them know about her inferior complex. Then the President (let’s call him just that too) says he invited those girls here for a meeting because their schools are supposed to collaborate for the cultural festival. Because President mistakes Ringo’s friend as his counterpart, he got punched and she vows to beat him at the festival.

Episode 4C: High School Boys and Cultural Festival 2
President takes Ringo around the festival and shows them the horror house they put their heart and soul in making it the scariest. Because he claims she will scream so loud it will destroy her vocal chords, Ringo’s pride and ego kicks up and challenges him if she doesn’t raise her voice while going through the haunted house, it’s her victory. But why is she bringing her friends in too? Slowly her friends bite the dust when they meet a guy who is looking for his eyeballs on the floor followed by another whose guts and inner organs are visible and beating! Scream fest! Ringo comes into several scary ghosts as she tries to hold in her scream. Just when she thought she has reached the exit, she saw the scariest scene ever: naked President taking off his underwear! Actually he was trying to change into a ghost costume. Since he points out she screamed, she punches him.

Episode 4D: High School Boys and Cultural Festival 3
Yoshitake and Habara are tasked as the receptionist. Habara talks like as though she knows about guys but Yoshitake knows better and keeps quiet. She then nags him when he didn’t properly greet her friend. Soon Yoshitake switches place with Vice President and Habara starts to panic sitting next to this scary looking guy.

Episode 4E: High School Boys and Cultural Festival 4
After the drama club’s act, Ringo is having her confidence in their school’s light music club. She is confident she will beat President this time but he tells her to give it a rest because everyone is trying to have fun here and not ruin it with her petty ego. But he crosses the line when he says even if their school compete, the girls will never best them. This riles up Ringo as she makes a scene. President also has the same idea of fighting her and makes it clear who is wrong and who is right. Vice President fears this will tarnish the festival’s image but surprisingly everybody is enjoying the fist fight! Especially the girls! Well, seems Ringo lands every punch and kick on President and it’s like the guy couldn’t even touch her. Even if his excuse that he doesn’t hit girls, it’s probably a lame ploy for him to go down. Everyone cheers Ringo as the winner and though she doesn’t understand what’s going on, she revels in the limelight of victory but Karasawa treats it like another cultural programme and moves on to the next line-up, running her moment.

Episode 4F: High School Boys and Counselling
Tadakuni seeks Nago’s advice seeing lately he has been feeling distant with his friends. It’s not like she’s giving him a clear cut answer because eventually it is still him who needs to settle this his own way. Then he sees his friends but doesn’t know what to say. Nago says since they’re not fighting, just be normal. Tadakuni goes up to them and… Oh crap! It’s that Hidenori and Yoshitake look-a-likes! Who the hell?!

Episode 4G: High School Girls Are Funky: Humour
The girls are badmouthing the high school boys for even being alive and think they aren’t even fun to watch and just acting tough and cool. Noticing they have a high school boy living next door, Yanagin screams out to Karasawa for his meagre opinion. I guess after hearing comments like why high school boys don’t just die or why are they trying so hard to live, it’s best to ignore them and let those screaming b*tches shout till they get hoarse. Threatening him about cutting his screen time and without them they wouldn’t have got this far, Karasawa throws down several snacks and in an instant like the wild zoo monkeys they are, start picking up and eating them. Look who’s pitiful?

Episode 5A: High School Boys and Dubbing
Tadakuni and his pals watch 3 middle school girls having fun together at a park bench. For the heck of it, they start adlibbing their conversation with weird storylines that probably you won’t understand if you try to follow it. Finally they even adlib that the guys (themselves) are staring at them for a while and got depressed.

Episode 5B: High School Boy and Seniority
Motoharu meets Mino to go buy ingredients for tonight’s dinner. He didn’t expect to meet her friends as she introduces them to him. Then it’s like role reversal because her friends surround him and give that evil grin like as though they’re going to do something bad. First they tease him about his beard and since he tries to protect his pride by not giving a straight answer, Mino whacks him and warns him to watch his mouth around his elders. Seeing he can’t break the hierarchy when his sister is around, Motoharu holds it in all the humiliating torment they give him from forcing him to say words like a comedian and tying his hair up like twintails. Finally when it’s time to leave, he thought his reprieve is finally here but Mino wants him to come along with them. Why? They’re buying ingredients for dinner, right? Yup. Her friends are staying over tonight. Oh, that was the sound of his heart breaking…

Episode 5C: High School Boys and Saviour
Vice President, Motoharu and Karasawa plead to Ringo to lend them her school’s equipment. However she doesn’t give a damn. So desperate that when they corner her at the dark alley and spouting words like “Even 2.5 hours would be fine” and “It’ll only be for a little while”, it was enough for them to be mistaken as predators because some nice guy came up to them to tell them how they’re bothering her. The trio realize and no choice… They start getting violent! Guess what? They got knocked out! Actually they pretended to lose because if he ever knows Ringo knew them, it would be embarrassing for him. Now all that’s left is for Ringo to go away. Unfortunately she didn’t get the message and was going to tell him how she knew the guys. Vice President kicks her butt to give her a hint. Did she finally get it? Well, she gets rough with her saviour instead. Dumb…

Episode 5D: High School Boys and Old Friend
Hidenori and Yoshitake meet an old friend in the streets they haven’t seen for a while, Kiyotaka. However as they’re talking, they notice his girlfriend by his side giving them death stares! Is it because they’re interrupting their date time? They try to leave but Kiyotaka invites them to eat with him. I don’t know, they could’ve refused but joined him instead. So more worries because his girlfriend is giving them intense death stares while Kiyotaka is oblivious to the atmosphere. Even talking about group dating. So when they point out to his girlfriend, he explains she is his sister and her squinting is because she lost her contacts. He came to pick her home. Tension and worried for nothing!!!

Episode 5E: High School Boy and Biography of a Hero
While walking up the stairs to a shrine, Hidenori remembers 8 years ago before he met his friends, he was bullied right here. A masked boy claiming to be an ally of the weak gave him a whistle. If he blows it, he will come running to his aid. A few days later Hidenori again got bullied and at his limit as he was about to blow the whistle, the masked boy appeared and shot the bullies with his flying rubber bands. Upon knowing his fearful reputation, the bullies ran away. Hidenori asked why he came even before he blew the whistle and his answer was to help an important friend. After that he left and was never seen again. Ever since, Hidenori believed in his words and suddenly he heard the familiar tune belonging to that kid. Thinking he’ll be able to see him again, he rushes up the stairs only to see Yoshitake… Oh dear. He was that masked kid? Hidenori runs back down the stairs… I guess some things are better left unknown.

Episode 5F: High School Boy and Literature Girl 3
Once again Hidenori meets Literature Girl at the river bank. His heart is screaming “NOOOOOO!!!” as he knows she probably wants to live out her fantasy again. Yeah, look at that idiotic hopeful grin on her face. However being the entertainer he is, he doesn’t want to disappoint her and scrambles for cool words to say. He starts off with “The wind is cold” and but thought that sentence wasn’t cool enough and starts adding bit by bit. However Literature Girl doesn’t seem impressed. He finally spouts out a line believed to be his best, “The wind is sparkling” but Literature Girl fell into laughing frenzy instead.

Episode 5G: High School Girls Are Funky: Resentment
Yanagin is pissed off their song doesn’t match their movements at all and wants to redo it everything so they could earn enough to play a gig in London for a week. But taking it from the top once more makes them all out of sync instead. Later Yanagin is seen furiously punching Karasawa. Remember the sweets he gave them? They’re expired. Haha! Because Karasawa is blocking her punches and kicks, she has Ikushima hold him down. As she kicks, Karasawa turns around and lets her butt get kicked! Since that’s not working, they insult him about his insignificant existence. Karasawa takes off his hat and shows them a hideous scar. Speechless. Habara felt so pity that she gave him 5,000 Yen!

Episode 6A: High School Boys and Holy Night
Tadakuni and his friends barely escaped being hit by a brick thrown by Tadakuni’s sister! She’s totally upset! Flashback on Christmas Day, Hidenori casually asked her why she was always alone on this day. The rest is history. So as the mad girl chases them down the street, Yoshitake got kicked out of commission and Tadakuni thrown off the edge! Run Hidenori! Run!!! Then in the crowded shopping area, Tadakuni’s sister suddenly realizes she is the only one without a boyfriend because of all the lovers around her. She breaks down when Hidenori volunteers to pretend to be her girlfriend. He got punched in the face instead.

Episode 6B: High School Boys and New Semester
Yoshitake arrive in class for the new semester talking to Tadakuni, Hidenori and Motoharu about some video game. Then they joke about the wind blowing the window sounded like a miso grilled tofu. When the teacher comes in, she nervously said there was an error in the printout she handed at the end of last term. She tried to contact everyone but only couldn’t get them. Then she wrote on the board apologizing that the new school term actually starts tomorrow! I guess the reason why the boys chase her is because she’s running away laughing.

Episode 6C: High School Boys and Little Sister’s Troubles
Tadakuni’s sister visit the student council room seeking for Motoharu and Karasawa’s advice. Seems she was confessed yesterday and rejected him. So? He punched her. Oh sh*t! He wants her to see her again today and thought she needed their help. But when Karasawa learns it is her fault that they got into a fight and resulted her in getting punch, she has no choice but to solve this herself since the presence of older boys won’t help. With a heavy heart, she leaves. She goes meet her confessor and she resolves to beat him up if he punches her again. However he apologizes and leaves. Karasawa and Motoharu are watching from afar and relieved that they were worried over nothing. To their surprise, they also see Hidenori and Yoshitake nearby. They are disappointed because they wanted to play the hero…

Episode 6D: High School Boys and Ringo’s Troubles
Ringo comes to the student council room seeking for Vice President, Motoharu and Karasawa’s advice as she is bothered by people calling her tiny. However their answers are very considerate which makes her can’t trust their opinion. She wants to go ask President instead (who is in the next room) but the guys won’t let her because they know he’ll get his ass kicked. So they stall her with quizzes especially the one that had her stumped for hours (Japan has more slopes upwards or downwards – it’s the same, no?). When she realized it’s a trick, she heads next door but Karasawa imitates the sound of a cat. She starts searching it enthusiastically but upon knowing it was that bugger, she punches him and continues her journey. She sees President playing his handheld video game and asks her question anyway. His answer too is considerate that will make any girl swoon over but you know what? She got embarrassed and punched him! What the hell answer does she want?

Episode 6E: High School Boys and Motoharu’s Troubles
When a girl comes in to the student council room seeking help to find her lost dog, Motoharu blows his top and blames Karasawa for always helping people and wants him to say “No!”. He did say “No”. To Motoharu’s request. Haha! That’s not it. Soon Vice President comes in with the lost dog and the girl is so happy that she’s laughing like a maniac. Motoharu still wants Karasawa to say “No” so the latter makes a compromise. He wants the girl to pay up for their services. Not laughing anymore, isn’t she?

Episode 6F: High School Boys and Sure-kill Shot
Mitsuo wants to practice his sure-kill shots with Hidenori. He shoots a Standstill Shot that Hidenori could barely see him lift his feet. He thought this will be a goal when suddenly Hidenori catches it and notes how weak it is. Then Mitsuo uses the ace up his sleeve with his Reflection Shot but Hidenori again punches it away. So frustrated that Mitsuo grabs the football with his hand and runs straight into the goal! FOUL!!! In the end he got admitted into… The rugby club.

Episode 6G: High School Girls Are Funky: Past
Yanagin and Ikushima are arguing so Habara’s casual remark of them that they got nothing to show off has them turn against her. Calling her a flat chest and bringing her to a guy named Takahiro Matsumoto, they want him to date her since he has no girlfriend! However he just gives them 5,000 Yen in hopes they can let him off. Habara walks away depressed and it seems Takahiro can’t do anything about it. He explains back in elementary school, he was bullied a lot by her. So huge a bully that every high school boys would tremble upon hearing her name and Archdemon was her nickname. It even took every kid from the first to fourth grade to take her down. Scary…

Episode 7A: High School Boys and Gags
I’m not sure what gag Yoshitake is trying to pull off letting a crab pinch his mouth. Tadakuni tried shooting milk with his eyes but got the lactose spilled all over his face. Finally Hidenori seems to be doing some Incredible Hulk poser when he’s actually unzipping his pants without using his hands! Woah!

Episode 7B: High School Boys and Indoor Adventure
Since they’re bored, the trio decide to play Dragon Quest. However Tadakuni couldn’t follow the sudden pace of the story and the different odd characters that the duo used as party members to go defeat some demon king. It’s no wonder why he gets confused of which character they’re playing since Hidenori and Yoshitake are acting as a several characters. Suddenly Hidenori becomes a new mysterious character that appears before them! To be continued… Soon.

Episode 7C: High School Boys and Indoor Adventure 2
That mysterious person seems to be somebody seeking their help to find his lost child. So much for the tension and drama. As the confusing plot with characters continue (Tadakuni still can’t keep up with them), suddenly they hear footsteps of the demon king coming in. It’s Tadakuni’s sister. They need to tackle the ‘demon king’ now and pounce on her. However she is strong enough to hold them down. The duo plead for Tadakuni to do something or make a cool ending. His action? Just save at this point. I don’t think they can continue this anytime later.

Episode 7D: High School Boys and Older Brother
Yoshitake and Tadakuni’s sisters are talking to Yuusuke, Hidenori’s elder brother about their brothers. They want them to act their age now and assume Yuusuke as their leader should do something about it. Yoshitake’s sister thinks the girl standing there all along is his girlfriend and blows her top he should have realized her feelings for him! Actually she’s a senior from his club. Getting back on topic, she continues they stole her panties and did something awful to her on Christmas. Yuusuke realizes it’s when she ran through town bawling. Yoshitake’s sister then gets suspicious how he knew about that. It’s like he saw a picture of her. With Tadakuni’s sister holding him down (by his head), Yoshitake’s sister tries to take the handphone in his pocket but it turns out to be Tadakuni’s sister’s panties. In addition to his glasses, I think his head just snapped…

Episode 7E: High School Boys and As We Are
Hidenori isn’t amused again that Literature Girl is behind him. Even if she’s making that sad face, he’s thinking of not giving in. Suddenly the wind blows away her papers. As she tries to catch it, she trips and hurt herself. However she can’t open the bandage box and give up. Then drinking from her bottle, it tastes awful so much so she coughed it out, including her snot and all. Hidenori is trying his best not to give in and laugh because he thinks by doing these bloopers she is expecting some sort of reaction from him. As she takes out her tissues, it got blown away by the wind. Once more she trips and crashes into Hidenori. She starts crying out loud so Hidenori thinks it’s okay to be lame since that is who they are. He stands up but accidentally heads butt her unconscious. Whoops. He left his jacket with her while she ‘sleeps’.

Episode 7F: High School Boys and Careers
The teacher collects the career questionnaire the boys have filled in. She knows that they aren’t being serious and checks them. True enough, there are weird answers that piss her off (including frustrated comments). One wants to be a middle school student? A ghost? Sports adventurer? Teacher wife? Science entertainer? I don’t want to be a lawyer answer? The final straw has to be entering college so she just overturns her table. That bad, huh?

Episode 7G: High School Boys and Mitsuo
The guys are talking about Mitsuo’s bad habits that includes singing karaoke for kids, eating kiwi and getting hair stuck to his tongue, thinking electricity can flow into this room when one offs all the lights when he got his first handphone and the ultimate prank Motoharu played on him was to exchange his shoes with a girl’s during elementary school. They never realized it till they graduated. Mitsuo heard everything from outside and comes in, pretending to be cool and all. Guess what? The guys continue to talk more nice ‘info’ on him right in front of his face!

Episode 7H: High School Boys and Mitsuo 2
Continuing where they left off, Mitsuo chides them for turning his past into jokes but it seems when they continue their ‘respect’ with more stories, all of them seems to be from Yoshitake. That bugger thinks they are focusing too much on him and counters with another story on Mitsuo. Something about accidentally sitting in the wrong seat of a girl and apologized for hours without knowing what it was. Mitsuo points out that never happened. Then after thinking a while, Yoshitake realizes that it was himself… Duh.

Episode 7I: High School Girl Power
A teacher is giving the trio girls some quiz. Habara doesn’t know what that devil on a chair is while the duo answer correctly “Belphegor”. However the teacher scolds them they are wrong because high school girls shouldn’t know a demon’s name! Throwing a fit, she tells them that she came here to boost their high school girl power and that the duo aren’t that cute. Trying again with another one, Ikushima gets it right by no knowing the answer. But she blows her top once more when Yanagin gets the next one correct despite common knowledge. She chides them the need to pretend to be an idiot who doesn’t know common knowledge is what makes girls cute! WTF?! I think she wanted to take off her own skirt (to make a point that guys’ brain and eyes are directed ‘right here’) but was restrained and the segment ended.

Episode 8A: High School Boys and Motoharu’s Sister
Miho wonders if her brother has ever gone “Zukyun!” before. That’s her term for the sound of a heart being pierced. She has never felt it before and Motoharu thinks she’s always making fun of people. Then when they pass by a cute dog, she suddenly goes “Zukyun”! Is Motoharu going to slap her?

Episode 8B: High School Boys and Mitsuo’s Worries
Hidenori and Yoshitake are trying to cheer a very depressed Mitsuo sitting by the swings. The duo leave seeing there is nothing more they can do. Four hours later, Mitsuo is still wallowing in his sorrows and haven’t moved from his spot so the irritated duo kick him off the swing! Looks like they’ve been waiting all the time. Seems Mitsuo’s parents found his porn magazine and to that kid it’s a big deal. The duo just tell him to go die.

Episode 8C: High School Boys and Manga
Hidenori wants Yoshitake’s earnest opinion on his manga. Initially he was reluctant to comment seeing he isn’t into this genre but after much pestering, he lets his comments flow. Seeing he is persistent about someone getting punched in the face is weird, Hidenori beats him up and tells him off he doesn’t understand his manga!

Episode 8D: High School Boys and Balconies
A guy is asking his neighbour girl across the balcony to return his DVD. Hidenori spots this and is appalled since he’s here to lend his notes to his absent classmate. He feels jealous… A girl is writing peacefully in her room when she hears a loud thud. It’s her neighbour, Hidenori who has just jumped across over to her balcony! It’s 5 metres apart, you know. He wants her to lend her DVD. Seeing he is so persistent on it, she yells at him to go back. Another 5 metre jump back…

Episode 8E: High School Boys and Convenience Store
While Hidenori is making a purchase, he notices the rookie cashier making an error in returning his change. Realizing the line behind him has build up, he worries he’ll get panic if he corrects him, won’t be able to handle the queue and even may lose his job. He thought of telling the manager but he looks so scary. Then the manager opens the next counter and what do you know? He’s just a trainee who is having problems using the scanner too! Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Episode 8F: High School Boys and Towers
For some reason, Tadakuni’s sister has got her bag stuck up high in the tree. Hidenori and Motoharu only got involved because she said she wanted to go to the store. Hidenori steps on her shoulder to grab the bag. She’s at the bottom supporting his weight so we won’t have that you-saw-my-panties accusation. Since they are nowhere near, she punches him. Motoharu helps out as he steps on Hidenori’s shoulder who is on Tadakuni’s sister. Getting heavier, isn’t it? So close, yet so far. The only way left is to throw things to make it drop. Unfortunately the guys throw their bag and it got stuck up there too. Uhn… Has anybody thought of climbing the tree?!

Episode 8G: High School Boys and Cakes
Yoshitake asks if there is anything Hidenori wants to do now. There is. Pee in his pants! Other than that? Eat some cake. Speaking of which, there is one right now because they bought it knowing it is his birthday today. However he can’t handle sweet stuff and Yoshitake is about to punch him. Hidenori notes there is another thing he wants to do: Throw pie. Yoshitake throws the cake in his face! I guess it’s not wasted this way.

Episode 8H: High School Boys and Horoscopes
Yoshitake reads his and Hidenori’s horoscope (they are Virgo) and notes today they will experience the worst luck in an entire decade. Hidenori doesn’t believe in this crap when suddenly a bee lands on his mouth! I think he wants to spread this bad luck to Yoshitake and tries to kiss him! He slams the bee into his mouth (yuck!) and they fear Motoharu may have mistaken their act. He promises he won’t tell anyone and even prepares to pay them! They beat him up when they realize he actually knew it was a bee between their mouths and not considered a first kiss. Before they could recover, another bee lands on Hidenori’s mouth. Déjà vu? Why is he trying to do the same thing to Yoshitake?! Oh, Karasawa is there too. He uses a bug spray on them. Clearly the worst day of their lives…

Episode 8I: High School Boys and 100
Motoharu is narrating about humanity’s chances against ‘them’ since they are better in every aspect. Turns out to be a large centipede as Motoharu freezes it with a freeze spray. Continuing his narration on the bug’s traits, characteristics and other possibilities of more of its kind, he takes it outside to get rid of it. Heading back inside to make sure there are no more and making precautions not to open any small gaps in this season (Mino just opened the window to fan herself by the way), to his horror, more of those creatures turn up at his feet! Horror!

Episode 8J: High School Girls Are Funky: Ramen
Yanagin notes that Nago scored first place in the exams while she is second. Not happy, she challenges her to karate outside but gets a body blow that she couldn’t even see it coming. The vomit is flowing like a river… After giving all sorts of excuses and challenges her to finish eating a jumbo bowl of ramen. Before she could start, Nago already finished hers! Wow! In a panic and trying to come up with more excuses, finally Nago breaks her silence and wonders who she is. Oh…

Episode 8K: High School Girls Are Funky: Skirts
The teacher tells the girls their skirts are too long and to make it shorter. That is, pulling them up till their chest. But wouldn’t they look like idiots? Challenge the limits of society she says? Honestly, they look idiotic rather than cute. Ikushima notes this is when Habara’s brother comes in so teacher says he is a nice normal guy so he’d laugh it off when he sees their panties once or twice. That’s her concern? True enough Habara’s brother walks in. But he’s not alone. He brought his friends too and they see the inevitable! Shameful! AAAAAAAARGH!!! Regretting it now?

Episode 9A: High School Boys and Older Brothers and Sister
Yoshitake’s sister suddenly announces that she and Yuusuke are dating. Even that Yuusuke guy is shock. Yeah, first time he heard time. From the way she says things, you can tell if Yuusuke dates her, he’ll get eaten up! Hidenori has no objections about them dating but wonders if she can kiss him. She replies an instant no! So the guys discuss and think she must be desperate to find a summer boyfriend and finally cracked. Yoshitake can’t take any more of this and wants Yuusuke to introduce her to some of his friends instead. Looking at the list of friends he has, seems they’re all perverts. So he just picks one and calls him with an intention to introduce him to a girl. He is eager to meet her but wants to know if she’s cute. Then the guys panic because they don’t really know what her face look like (she’s faceless by the way).

Episode 9B: High School Boys and Drop Kick
Hidenori is by the riverbank when a girl named Emi lands a drop kick and sends him tumbling into the river. Guess what? She doesn’t know who he is! Actually she kicked the wrong person because Hidenori’s back looked like the friend she was supposed to kick, Kiyohiko. Hidenori doesn’t hold any grudge but wants Kiyohiko to kick Emi to let her have a taste of her own medicine. Of course he refuses and this makes Hidenori upset and throws them both into the river. Kiyohiko starts crying rather because there is someone else who understood his feelings. Then it’s like both guys suddenly bonded together and go away, leaving Emi bloody much confused what just happened at this boy-meets-boy encounter.

Episode 9C: High School Boys and End of Summer
Emi narrates how ever since the drop kick incident, Hidenori has become close friends with them and hang out for the remainder of summer. On the night of the festival when they meet up, Emi sends Kiyohiko to buy some drinks so she can tell Hidenori something important (I can guess what it is judging from her body reaction). She is relieved when Hidenori says he has no girlfriend. But she flusters when he asks about her and Kiyohiko though she mentions he is just the guy next door. Hidenori has something to say too. Mentioning his mom was disowned by her parents, he has never been to a family gathering and that’s why during his vacation he came to secretly visit his grandparents on his own. Yesterday when he asked his grandma, apparently they are cousins. Oh…

Episode 9D: High School Boys and Glasses
Hidenori comes into class in a panic because his glasses are nowhere to be found. Can’t anybody see it’s right on his head? Only Mitsuo spots this but is puzzled why nobody else sees it. They all go help him find his glasses at the toilet followed by the vending machine but couldn’t find it (obviously). Mitsuo thinks this must be a joke and the guys are going along to find a right time for the punch line. Just then, Motoharu spots the glasses on his head and everybody including Hidenori heave a sigh of relief. Not only that, they laugh it off! Were they really blind?!

Episode 9E: High School Boys and the Daily Lives of the Student Council
Vice President initiates the meeting for anything to be reported. However the incidents that are being reported are insignificant or irrelevant that it pisses off Vice President. All this upset is making his stomach hungry so they decide on where to eat and it is decided that it should be ramen. Then a teacher comes in to whisper about some scandal. Vice President and the guys head out to face the emergency while leaving President behind.

Episode 9F: High School Boys and Panties
Vice President makes a confession to Motoharu that the other day he saw the panties of a girl while she was climbing the stairs. He felt it was depressing. Don’t get the wrong idea he’s gay but rather he feels guilty for doing so. Motoharu on the other hand thinks that panties are the symbol of happiness. Wanting to prove who is right and to get a set of panties here, Vice President makes a call. So the enthusiastic eager beaver that comes by is no other than Ringo who is more than happy to help (show off rather that she is needed) them wire their internet. However that dumb girl took an hour to figure out that the cable wasn’t even plugged in! Then searching for the modem, how the hell is it stuck right up in the ceiling?! They give her a ladder to plug it in and so the guys take a peep underneath her skirt. See the expression on their faces… Once she’s done and left, the verdict is… Motoharu is suddenly overcome with guilt that they did something that can never be undone. He feels horrible for deceiving a stupid girl just to see her panties. Though his feeling is genuine, I can’t help feel he is over-reacting. That’s because he skipped school for 3 days as a result…

Episode 9G: High School Boys and Wiring
The student council guys come to Central High to help wire their computers. President’s counterpart thanks them for a job well done but still wonders why Vice President is working under this idiot. Vice President says that he was once a wild person but President gave him a chance to change and thus he is here and looking up to him as a father figure (is he that old?). She even goes on to make her vice president say he is something similar but it turns out to be all lies. As she leaves, Vice President tugs the cable to make her trip and both vice presidents feel good she deserves what she got.

Episode 9H: Archdemon
Yanagin narrates how they counter the tyranny of Archdemon who was Habara, the 10 strongest warriors of the elementary school was gathered. She and Karasawa were one of the little heroes. When the fight started, she couldn’t remember much except for waking up in the aftermath to see all her comrades beaten (probably that’s how Karasawa got his scar). However all it’s not lost because Habara too was down and this means both sides ended in a draw. Ever since, Habara lost her brutality and since Yanagin lived close to her, she was selected to monitor her. And now this is where they are now. Habara cries upon remembering this story but for Karasawa, he’s just vomiting like mad. I guess some fear can’t be easily forgotten.

Episode 10A: High School Boys and Limits
Hidenori can’t hold on any longer at the convenience store but it seems someone is hogging the toilet. No choice, he makes a move while trying his best to hold it in and think of a place he can do his business. Thinking the park has free public toilets, he heads there only to see Literature Girl reading her book nearby. He changes his mind to go look for another toilet. Can he hold on any longer?

Episode 10B: High School Boys and Consequences
The person who is hogging the toilet at the convenience store is no other than Mitsuo. Seems there were no tissue papers so he used a paper from his book. Then he experiences a string of bad luck. Slipping on a banana, an entire bottle of pepper spilled into his ramen and diving into the river to save a kitten in a box only to find out it’s a stuffed toy. He is frustrated of these manga-like incidents. Next day, another manga cliché is going to happen. You know the kind of girl-boy meetings whereby the girl who is late for school is rushing with a piece of bread in her mouth? Fortunately Mitsuo bend down to tie his shoe and avoided bumping into the girl.

Episode 10C: High School Boys and Winter
After hearing from Motoharu that Mitsuo jumped into the river again, Hidenori remembers he has something to do. He goes to the riverbank and sees Literature Girl standing there. Then it’s like she could felt his presence and turns around (with that angry look on her face). However Hidenori is nowhere to be seen and only left behind is a note: He wants his jacket back. Oh sh*t! She’s still keeping it after how many episodes already?!

Episode 10D: High School Boys and Run
Literature Girl bumps into her classmate Takahiro. Then she runs into Hidenori and panics like she saw the most unbelievable thing before her eyes. Then she chases him all over town like a mad woman! Don’t know what’s going on but better start running! Run so far that they got out of breath and even a point she was running ahead of him. So when they’re dead tired and stopped in their tracks, she grabs him by the collar and yells that Takahiro is just her classmate and not what he thinks! That was what she was chasing him for?!

Episode 10E: High School Boys and Mochi Soup
Hidenori flips through the TV channels but as he slurps his mocha soup, he didn’t chew properly and it got stuck in his throat. His family is away as he desperately calls out to Yoshitake for help like a psychic. Yoshitake too experiences the same thing. Mochi stuck in the throat because he didn’t chew it to smaller bits. Same thing but only he calls for Tadakuni for help. Oh, that guy too experienced the mocha in throat choke. But he’s lucky (or unlucky whichever way you look at it) because his sister punches his gut to make him spit it out.

Episode 10F: High School Boys and Ground
Tadakuni’s sister slips on an icy puddle. Hidenori spots this and approaches her despite her hoping that he wouldn’t. Then he slips too. Two idiots on the ground. She gets up and leaves in a hurry while Mitsuo sees Hidenori lying on the ground. He too approaches him despite him not wanting Mitsuo to come close. Then déjà vu. Because Mitsuo also slips. Tadakuni’s sister can’t take any more of this and return but slips too. Three idiots on the ground…

Episode 10G: High School Boys and Bikes
Yoshitake is just talking to Motoharu about snatch thieves when suddenly the latter’s wallet got snatched. Motoharu goes after him by borrowing Takahiro’s bike but it seems he can’t cycle! Yoshitake helps him by pushing from the back but crashes. Not wanting to give up, they repeat this get-up-cycle-and-crash process. It took him so long that the day is almost over. Then on the final try, Motoharu is able to cycle without falling down. Everybody is so happy that they celebrate his amazing achievement and forgot that important something… Oh well. Nothing beats this sensation, eh?

Episode 10H: High School Boys and Cooking
Since Motoharu insists he wants croquette for dinner, she punches him in the gut to tell him to cook that difficult dish himself. He makes the dish and when Mino tastes it, it is damn tasty! Better than what she could make! Not happy, she orders him to make her fried rice. Guess what? Bloody good! How about katsudon then? Incomparable! By now her stomach is bulging and she’s thinking he must be making her look bad since his cooking is good but made her do all the cooking all the while. When she has him make some hamburgers, she thought she could sabotage and find something to complain. However it turns out delicious so she punches him for being able to cook so damn good. He took that as a compliment.

Episode 10I: High School Boys and School
Hidenori and Yoshitake are bored in class. They play Green Light, Red Light followed by using the latter’s jacket to catch like baseball. Then Hidenori throws his shoe instead as they sit and watch. It seems their school is closed on its founding day. Why the heck are they hanging around instead and not go back or some other place?!

Episode 10J: High School Girls Are Funky: Women Who Left a Scar
Yanagin wonders what it’ll take for Karasawa to earn his forgiveness but eventually yells at her top that she too fought this crazy cold-hearted demon for his sake. Ikushima she could show him her panties but he wants her to do Kinniku Buster move. Believe it or not, she agrees as he does the crazy stunt while her friends watch in disbelief. It must hurt like hell for Yanagin while Karasawa is knocked out. Why not? Jumping down from the second level and landing on his feet.

Episode 11A: High School Boys and Fathers
Hidenori plays baseball with his father at the park in the dead of the night. Why is he using his golf stick to hit the ball?! So as they play normal catch, they talk about dreams when Yuusuke turns up. Seems he is locked out of the house and has no key to enter. Well, the guys too don’t have a key to enter, why else would they be playing catch in the middle of the night? And mommy is away on a trip for 3 days… Oh…

Episode 11B: High School Boys and Literature Girl 4
A girl (let’s call her Brown Hair Girl) comes to sit by the riverbank when she realizes Hidenori sits next to her. She panics thinking the need to start a conversation and probably he is totally into her. Hidenori realizes he was so engrossed in his manga that he didn’t notice he sat next to her. He too panics and feels the need to say something cool seeing getting up and leave would hurt her feelings. However he doesn’t give a damn, gets up and leaves, surprising her very much. Soon, Literature Girl taps her shoulder and it seems she is very angry. Did she steal her spotlight?

Episode 11C: High School Boys and Conflict
Hidenori is running away. He is in alert mode about Yoshitake out for his blood. When he thought he spotted Karasawa, turns out to be Yoshitake in disguise. So after a few tricks, they finally confront each other and vow to settle it. Yoshitake tricks him and this allows him to return to base and kick the can! They’re playing kick the can?!

Episode 11D: High School Boys and Kick the Can
Mitsuo joins in the game but it seems he didn’t expect the anything-goes rule (exception of poking eyes and hitting below the belt). Furthermore, they are using his precious Gunpla model as the can! They start off so Mitsuo gets tricked into Yoshitake’s Karasawa disguise but enough to counter this distraction to prevent Hidenori to kick the can. Realizing Motoharu is snipping from afar, Mitsuo takes him out with his marbles. However Mitsuo falls for the same Karasawa disguise trick twice and earns a punch. This allows Hidenori to kick and destroy the model. Boo hoo! However the guys gather and give him a new model set they have pooled their money for his birthday present. After buying it, they realized he already had one and thus played this game to destroy his old one. Mitsuo is touched by their kindness but realizes the set they bought is a knock off. Throw it away…

Episode 11E: High School Boys and Chit Chat
Takahiro is talking to his friend about girls who eat being cute. His friend narrates an incident that happened during the cultural festival setup day. A girl who was good in everything suddenly broke down in tears, confusing her friends. Then they found out she was too hungry to move. The point is, the fact that she tried so hard to hide her gluttony makes her cute. Takahiro then asks his opinion on the other types of girls. In the end, they sum up based on their findings, the cutest one has got to be a student council president that everyone makes fun of. Ringo happened to hear that but she scoffs off no such girl exists. She never looked herself in the mirror, has she?

Episode 11F: High School Boys and Love Letters
Yoshitake gets a love letter in his shoe box. Wait a minute. This is an all-boys’ high school, right? Consulting with his friends, they think it’s some guy trying to pull a fast one and decide to beat that guy up so he won’t do something like this again. Yoshitake waits at the park while his friends behind the bush. Then Mitsuo comes by and Yoshitake thinks he is the culprit and calls his friends out to pummel him. Mitsuo also fights back despite not knowing what’s going on. The real perpetrator is Motoharu and since he was too scared to confront them about the lie, sent Mitsuo instead.

Episode 11G: High School Boys and Distance
It is believed when a girl moves away from a boy she is next to, the boy would feel hurt. This is what Brown Hair Girl loves doing as she enjoys seeing the depression on Takahiro, his friend and a host of other guys’ face. Then when it comes to Yoshitake, it’s like he is following her around like a stalker. When she is about to ask him, he gets up and leave. Haha. How’s that for a taste of your own medicine?

Episode 11H: High School Boys and Annoyance
Hidenori narrates that he is so close with Yoshitake that everything he does annoys him. Even the smallest things annoy him. From randomly taking his time to select food, finish his food first, impulsive over-reaction, cry at movies (although it is a sad movie), doesn’t carry his handphone with him, expecting a comeback line, can’t handle carbonated drinks and one whereby he offered to help find his lost bicycle keys without being asked. You can say that just about everything he does annoy him. The ultimate one has got to be making the same joke all the time.

Episode 11I: High School Girls Are Funky: Conflict
Yanagin wants to find out who among them is the strongest. Ikushima agrees as they prepare to fight but Habara is against it as it is pointless. Yanagin is pretty confident and says back that they can’t be friends forever and for a monster reputation like her, she seems pretty relaxed. As they’re about to set the rules, Habara wants to know if they’re going to fight, why do they need rules. Then it hit them for an Archdemon where rules never applied, this mad woman would not understand the concept that rules were made to avoid the worst possible outcome. Seeing a deadly aura coming out from her, they start shivering in fear and call off their fight. I guess even without lifting a finger, they understood well who is the strongest. In that instant, Habara threw away a large rock she was hiding behind her back. Oh sh*t!!! Good thing they didn’t fight, eh?

Episode 12A: High School Girls Are Funky: Demons
Habara narrates each time she comes close to Karasawa or does something nice, his reaction will always to be on the defensive or act with extreme caution. She thinks he has special feelings for her but believes it must be an understanding. Yeah, understanding alright. More like fear.

Episode 12B: High School Boys and Lies
Motoharu asks Yoshitake what is Twitter so the latter lies that it is some Italian food and other mumbo-jumbo. He then proceeds to ask lots of other terms that include tsundere, KY and doyagao and Yoshitake clearly is making them up with his tall tales. However the final one he got MMORPG right and it seems Motoharu knew all along he was lying.

Episode 12C: High School Boys and UFO Catchers
Hidenori and Yoshitake suck playing the crane game. Then the prize they got fell close to the hole but since they’re out of money, they think of shaking the machine. Good thing it didn’t budge. Tadakuni’s sister comes by so they advise her not to waste her money on it. I guess she only took half their advice. With her monstrous strength, she shakes the machine and gets the prize!!! Kids, don’t ever try this.

Episode 12D: High School Boys and Store Employee
Hidenori is playing a crane game that has a girly figurine (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica?)as its prize. However he is trying to reason himself that it is not the figurine that he wants but rather to beat this game and the satisfaction that comes with it. To his dismay, he realizes a store employee had been watching him play all along and it seems she misunderstood that he really wanted it. Though he understands she wants to encourage the customer, now it makes him look bad like as though he’s a sissy. So when he finally wins it, the employee declares him out loud as the winner and congratulates him. So will he come back again? No way!

Episode 12E: High School Boys and Assertiveness
Takahiro and his friend watch a girl solely reprimanding a classmate guy for shirking his class duties despite having his own chores to do. So they discuss about their relationship and obligation and conclude the girl must be possessed by desire to push herself onto him like that. Then they ask Literature Girl for her opinion and without hesitation she replies it pisses her off because she will never do such shameful behaviour in public of causing the other person any trouble. But they shoot back that they didn’t expect to hear from a girl who chased down a boy from another school. She gets the shock of her life. Yeah, everybody knows about it.

Episode 12F: High School Boys and Getting Hit on
I don’t know why Ringo is hanging out with the student council guys. So bored that she wants to go have fun. I don’t even know why they bothered to oblige her. However she has this penchant of running of by herself to buy food and being hit on by several other delinquents. Well, chowing down the food is one thing but the guys had to come ‘rescue’ her and make the delinquents go away. So when another one pops up, Vice President punches the dude but realizes he just punched President!

Episode 12G: High School Boys and Frankfurter
Mitsuo drops his frankfurter so Yoshitake tries to save it but the stick stabs his hand and bounces off. Hidenori also uses his hand to save it but also gets stab (their scream is hilarious). Motoharu punches it away and it bounces off right Ringo’s face and into the back collar of Takahiro’s friend. After frantically getting it out, the stick stabs into Tadakuni’s stomach before dropping on the ground. Mitsuo picks it up and eats it as though nothing happened. All the drama for nothing.

Episode 12H: High School Boys and…
Tadakuni narrates this mundane day in his usual town will end today because it’s their graduation. Meeting with Hidenori and Yoshitake, they note the 3 of them will separate once they graduate as they are taking on a different path in life. So after graduation, Vice President is the most emotional one crying his heart out. He has taken over President’s post (he and Ringo graduated) as he gives the cry-baby some words of encouragement only possible from a senior. Mitsuo finds a birthday present in his desk and finally it is a real Gunpla model set. Yoshitake is at the shrine and digs up a time capsule he buried 10 years ago. It is confirmed he is that rubber band hero and a note he left for himself if he had become a hero 10 years later clearly didn’t come true. Hidenori and Literature Girl meet at the riverbank, spouting a few words of the wind as he extends his hand to her. I guess for once she put on a nice face. Tadakuni’s sister congratulates her brother’s graduation. I suppose it’s nice for her to be nice to her brother once in a while. Then a girl comes up to Tadakuni wanting to make a confession before he leaves for Tokyo. However Tadakuni ruins the mood because he doesn’t know who she is! Neither do we. I know it’s heartbreaking and rude to tell that to a girl but really, who is she? Have we met her? She says she came here because he said he wanted to meet her again. Did he? She is the girl in the mirror… Oh sh*t! Nago?! Suddenly Tadakuni wakes up breaking out in sweat and is annoyed it was all a dream. FFFFFuuuuuu… Lastly, Tadakuni’s notes his everyday life with his idiotic and hopeless friends is just the beginning (ironically it’s the end already) as Tadakuni runs to school with a bread in his mouth, Yoshitake upgraded to leftover cheese fondue and Hidenori slicing meat of his kebab. Well, have fun till you graduate.

Episode 12I: High School Girls Are Funky: The Movie
After graduation, the trio head to London but their archrival, Silver Demon awaits them and a heated power battle with Archdemon ensues. Of course this movie isn’t happening.

Special 1: High School Boys and Ideals
Yoshitake and Hidenori are discussing their ideals on what makes girls cute. Messy eaters? Clumsy? Having livers of steel? Broke her arm and wore a cast? Getting lectured? These are among the traits they see a girl as cute? They must have a screw loose in their heads. The duo note they’re on different wavelengths and quit this topic. Also noting there is no such girl in this world, if there ever was, they both say they would date her. Be careful what you wish for because here comes Ringo possessing all those traits! Yikes! Horror! Eat your words!

Special 2: High School Boys and Loneliness
Hidenori asks his pals if they are free for Christmas Eve but it seems they all have their own plans. So he is the only guy who is so darn free on that day and decides to visit a manga cafe. Inside, he is surprised to see Tadakuni followed by Yoshitake. Realizing the coincidence, Hidenori whips out his handphone and calls Motoharu. Over the next shelf, his ringtone is heard! Oh sh*t! Hidenori realizes why the guys acted if they actually had plans so he leaves the place immediately and pretends he didn’t see anything. I guess this is what lonely boys do, eh?

Special 3: High School Boys and Zippers
Takahiro and his friend discuss about what makes a man cool. His face? That can’t be the only trait. Since his friend falls silent, that really can’t be the only trait, right???!!! I’m not sure what his friend goes about ranting that a man’s duty is to protect woman and that makes them cool. Not like he understands that too. Then they leave and along the way, the wind blows up the skirt of a girl. Must be an eye opener for the duo, eh? For some silly reasons, Takahiro’s friend unzips his pants!!! Flasher! And the duo put up a fake act that his fly is open and can see his underwear! The girl is not amused and doesn’t give a damn and walks away. The duo thought they were so cool but in actual fact we just know they made a fool and embarrassment of themselves. Oh, hear the police siren closing in?

High School Boys Are Idiotic And Funny…
Oh yeah. Fun and enjoyable series. Too bad it has to be this short. So this is what their daily lives is all about? Nobody said anything about their abnormal daily activities, did they? The characters are lovable themselves but they do not possess enough quirky or unique traits that make them even more lovable. Basically they are quite generic. I thought Tadakuni is going to be the main character from the way things started out even if he is just 1/3 of the friends to be focused on. However I feel that his presence and role starts to slowly diminish like as though he is an unimportant side character. Heck, the anime itself makes a joke about it. There is one episode whereby he doesn’t even appear and in the next episode, it’s like he just make a couple of seconds insignificant appearance and that’s it. Maybe it’s because among the trio, he is like the most normal one. I also feel that Hidenori takes up the most screen time among the friends and he is equally the troublemaker and idiotic fellow with Yoshitake. It’s like the duo love teasing and making fun of Tadakuni too. There are dramatic moments and there are tense moments. But it all ends up as something humorous and plain silly.

I know that this show is for the boys but the way I see it, sometimes they are making some of the girls as though they are the bad apples. If not the troublesome ones. Yanagin and Ikushima already have their rotten attitude and it could’ve been the terrible trio if Habara wasn’t so demure nowadays and was her demonic self (she’s probably the only character who gets her own detailed past flashback). Karasawa is probably the coolest when dealing with those b*tches because he knows better than to fight back and just let them scream their heart out. After all, words don’t hurt like sticks and stones, right? He still fears Habara, though. Their lady teacher is such a crude lady teaching them the wrong things like it’s as though she’s making them better girls but the opposite seems true. Ringo is like someone who wants to feel of being needed and showing off. But in the process her dumbness gets in the way (it really takes her a long time to figure out something simple and even so if that something is just a trick). The sisters of Tadakuni and Yoshitake aren’t exactly your sweet onii-chan or ototo-chan loving sisters because they couldn’t care less about those monkeys. Mino is equally the same and if her brother does better than her, she beats him up (don’t even start about that particular scene whereby her friends were humiliating Motoharu). Nago, the way she talks is like she’s tired of talking and feels like someone who wants to be left alone though she will still try to offer some advice if you ask her. Literature Girl is a little mysterious and things indicate that she may have feelings for Hidenori. Why always go up close to him to hear him say those novelty lines? As for the guys, even if they are idiots at least they know how to be gentlemen especially for the student council guys. They may look like delinquents but their hearts and actions are polite and courteous. At least when they are talking to the girls. Among the guys themselves, boys will always be boys so you can expect the kind of insults and scuffles that they put on. I notice that President’s words to Ringo may sound mature but they also sting. However it feels like he is just all talk and when it’s time to walk the talk, he flops.

I guess one of the bizarre traits of this anime is to introduce several new one-off characters as the series goes by. There are too many of them and the series itself even pokes fun ‘advising’ viewers not to remember them all because it really doesn’t matter. So we have several characters popping up at the beginning and if you think about it, makes you wonder where the heck they have gone. Like, what happened to that fake tooth Lady Yukana anyway? But like they said, it doesn’t really matter. The way they introduced more characters halfway and at the end felt like those characters were going to be recurring (and I mean more than twice) but it’s just for that particular scene. The drawing and art of the series look simple and since the characters lack the fine details, I won’t say they look horrible but just simple. Hey, this is a comedy series. You don’t need beautiful art to draw you in. Just the jokes. My only gripe is that some of the characters drawn are faceless. If they are background characters that do not have any lines, then it’s fine but some of the side characters don’t even have a proper face. Okay, maybe that is a little inaccurate because you just don’t see their eyes as they are never drawn. Take for instance Tadakuni’s sister and even Mino. I don’t believe I ever see them having them having ‘the most important facial feature in Japanese anime’ despite being minor characters.

The jokes and antics can range to mild to silly that makes you go WTF. That’s why it is good to have short skits so that you don’t drag on the joke for too long and make it lost in translation or boring the audiences. The quick and fast pace of the skits will have you laughing right after as soon as you get the joke and when the segment ends. Some of the jokes break the fourth wall but this is just minimal. The sponsor screen is one of the few places for this kind of jokes and its style reminds us of Gintama (this anime was produced by Sunrise too). Just like how they proclaim a second season at the end but they’re going to do it with live action actors. Young and attractive actors, that is. Don’t know whether they’re joking and pulling a fast one or an announcement for really what is to come. Hey, anything is possible with these boys. Another amusing thing is the characters who narrate the sponsors on the screen who bring you this anime bla, bla, bla. Yeah, the sponsors who lazily bring you this anime. Or sponsors who may or may not bring you this anime. Or sponsors who bring to you this anime normally. Or sponsors who bring you this anime with a bang. You get the picture. Sometimes earning Tadakuni’s rebuke in the process. They love pissing him off, don’t they? In between the skits, a short still picture of the characters in the series as they say the name of this series. Mostly funny pictures and sometimes works as the aftermath of the skit.

I actually never thought about the fanservice in this anime. Come to think about it, they are very minimal and it won’t even cross your mind. Like when Tadakuni puts on her sister’s bra (a guy putting a bra on is fanservice?!) or Yoshitake putting panties on his head are some of the very few fanservice that comes by. But of course they serve as jokes and antics. However looking I was browsing through the web and accidentally saw a couple of fanservice scenes that I believe I had never seen them in the anime. I won’t say those scenes are tantalizing but enough for the most decent of viewers to realize it’s fanservice alert. For example, the part whereby the girls pull up the skirts high up till their chest thus the scene makes it visible to see their colourful panties and the time whereby the student council guys are looking up Ringo’s skirt while she is plugging in the cable. Was the version I saw censored? Of course as I have guessed, these few scenes come with the DVDs when you buy them. Can you blame guys for being perverts? That’s natural, right?

The best voice acting goes to Yu Kobayashi who is the voice of Yanagin. This is what her powerful loud voice does best and thus characters like Yanagin are best suited for her vocals. When she first appeared, it is like she’s screaming so loud in each of her lines that if you turn on your volume a little louder, your speaker may explode! I love it when she goes into this mode. So if you remember her roles like Ayame in Gintama or Kaede in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, you’ll get an idea how she’ll sound like here. Tomokazu Sugita as Hidenori, his character reminded me like he is a high school boy version of Gintama’s Gintoki. The way he speaks, rebuffs and make comebacks like as though he is that silver perm haired samurai. Only less the silver perm and the samurai part :). Other characters include Miyu Irino as Tadakuni (Syaoran of Tsubasa Chronicle), Kenichi Suzumura as Yoshitake (Kairi in Peach Girl), Daisuke Namikawa as Motoharu (Mystogan in Fairy Tail), Yuuki Ono as Karasawa (Kaname in Kimi To Boku), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Mitsuo (Usui in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Ao Yuuki as Ringo (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Chiwa Saito as Ikushima (Kirie in Girls Bravo), Yukana as Habara (Ai in Amagami SS), Youko Hikasa as Literature Girl (Mio in K-ON!), Akira Ishida as President (Hakkai in Saiyuki), Hiroki Yasumoto as Vice President (Sado in Bleach), Ayahi Takagi as Tadakuni’s sister (Noe in True Tears), Junko Minagawa as Nago (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Shoutaru Morikubo as Takahiro (Shikamaru in Naruto) and Takahiro Sakurai as Yuusuke (Jenos in Black Cat). The opening theme is Shiny Tale by Mix Speaker’s Inc and I thought this pop rock outfit didn’t somewhat suit the kind of genre this series is. I felt this was the kind of song you hear for those animes with dramatic plot or action shonen anime. The ending theme, Ohisama by Amesaki Annainin sounds more like it. Like a funny but cheerful and stage play song with the singer himself singing it out with full of soul. It makes you want to go “babababa rarira ba ba”. Besides, the animation itself is quirky. We see the guys doing a stage play dressed in all sorts of weird costumes. Typical monsters, heroes, maids, animals and they even got an afro character. I don’t really know what’s going on with the hero fighting and taking out everybody (including the ‘girl’ he’s supposed to get in the end) but it’s funny watching this. Just like hearing the song. And the audiences… Some don’t really look too amused at what’s going on.

So the bottom line is, boys will be boys. As long you are around that age, those kinds of antics are expected for the growing and curious teenager. You have to go through all these kind of stuffs first before you can mature and be a wise man. But sometimes it could really take a long time or they don’t at all. I guess that’s why it’s good to have friends like these you can rely on, count on, help out, accompany with and sometimes make fun of. That’s what friends are for, right? Guy friends that are too goody-two-shoes? Sounds like he came straight out from the storybook. Non-existent. What are real friends for when you can’t even talk a little dirty joke or steal and wear your sister’s underwear? Haha. Don’t try this out. Ever. And even some of the antics they do like making a girl plug a modem on the ceiling no matter how silly it looks because it’ll make you look just bad. What about talking to girls at the riverbed? Sometimes silence is golden. If your cooking is better than the girl who has been making dinner as many times as you been to school? Just compliment her. Being friends with a girl who was once the biggest bully in town but now a very shy and reserved person? Still waters run deep. It doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious. And should they make a spin-off series about the daily lives of high school girls? Probably fill it with lots of fanservice and sexual innuendoes to cater for guys who can’t get a decent girlfriend. Just like me :(.

Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi

August 11, 2012

Boy from city returns to rural town for healthier environment due to his little brother’s asthma condition. Check. A bevy of local girls setting the stage for a potential harem. Check. Romantic encounters with those female residents. Check. Ends up with one of them in the end. Well, you’ll have to check it out yourself in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi (A Bridge To The Starry Skies). Basically this is what you would expect from this anime that is based on the adult visual novel of the same name. I have seen quite a number of this kind of visual novel game genres adapted into animes so I wasn’t really putting my hopes up even though I knew deep down in my heart that this is one of the type of genres that I love watching throughout the years.

The said kid is Kazuma Hoshino and due to his little brother, Ayumu‘s asthma, the duo moved back to the countryside town Kazuma once lived in, Yamabiko. I guess with all the kinds of pollution in the big city, it would only wear out Ayumu’s weak little body. What are big brothers for if they can’t even care for their little siblings? So being the new kid in town, Kazuma will eventually encounter and make friends with the other town residents (I think it’s a pretty small population so my guess is that he’ll be able to know everybody by the end of the day or two) and as expected, the encounters and meetings he’ll get into with his friends. Okay, make that female friends. What else is there to do in this small rural town?

Episode 1
As usual, there’s always this type of flashback when a boy leaves the town. The kind of memories whereby he leaves the girl behind and the promise they’ll always be friends. Don’t worry if you can’t remember this scene because I’m sure later on it will play up again to jog our memories. So the brothers arrive at the countryside via train. Ah, such refreshing greenery and clean air. Kazuma feels nostalgic visiting here because he was friends with the previous inn’s owner. As they continue their journey by bus, Ayumu realizes they are heading towards the wrong direction. Quickly getting off at the next stop, the next bus will be in one hour’s time. Hey, what do you expect in this backwater town? What to do? Wait lah. While bidding their time, a monkey steals Ayumu’s cap. Good brother Kazuma chases after the naughty simian. It’s like the simian is leading him deep into the forest and toying with him. Hoping across rivers and even climbing trees, wow, Kazuma sure can keep up with the monkey. So once he manages to get the cap back, he realizes he is lost. He is not seeing the forest fairy when a girl, Ui Nakatsugawa is standing before him. Seems she is gathering food ingredients and from the way she explains things, she’s a glutton. Why isn’t she looking fat? Probably the countryside has better chance of burning out those fats. Haha! Kazuma follows her as she leads the way back to the bus stop. As she hops over the river stepping on the stones, Kazuma flusters upon seeing her pink panties. But he is suddenly remembered of doing the same hopping thing on this river. The flashback distracted him so he misses his step and ends up falling on Ui, kissing her. I don’t even know if this move is possible. If you think nobody else is in this forest, think again, Ui’s friend, Ibuki Hinata saw what happened and accuses him of being a pervert (including a kick in the face). His explanation of the misunderstanding didn’t convince her so Ui settles it. Then they part and he returns back to Ayumu at the bus stop. Thankfully he didn’t get kidnapped. Kidnappers in this rural area? Putting the cap back brings back another memory that he did so to that girl he left behind.

Boarding the right bus, they arrive at the inn, Yorodzuyo. Kazuma doesn’t recognize it since it has been a long time he has been here and thinks it must have been rebuilt. The inn’s hostess, Senka Yorozu knows who they are and greets them. Taking them around the place, she reveals that some parts have been rebuilt. Then she shows them their room they will be living in from today. Since Kazuma is dirty after that monkey chase, he goes to take a bath but didn’t expect somebody cleaning it, Tsumugi Toudou. He panics and bumps into Senka. She makes a snickering comment about his ‘little brother’. I guess now he can’t get married, eh? That night, Ayumu can’t sleep by himself and sleeps next to his brother while Kazuma ponders the events that have happened today. Kissed a girl, being spotted in his birthday suit. Hmm… Very eventful today. Next morning, Senka introduces them to Tsumugi who is a part time waitress at this inn. She will guide them around Yamabiko. Though Tsumugi says she didn’t see anything about him yesterday, Senka cheekily points out with that size, anyone could hardly see ‘it’. That’s so insulting to his manhood, isn’t it? On the way to school, Tsumugi learns of Ayumu’s asthma condition and they came here first to settle down before their parents. In class, Ui seems to be spacing out over that kissing incident so Ibuki suspects that to be the case. The teacher introduces Kazuma as the new transfer student. Ibuki is surprised to see the pervert and he too is equally surprised to see the girl he kissed. Fate or coincidence?

Episode 2
Ibuki didn’t want that pervert to be in the same class but what do you expect this is the only class for their grade. Blame the small population of this town. Daigo Minamikokubaru, who is also the son of the homeroom teacher doesn’t act like a student in front of his mommy teacher but like her idiotic son. She scolds him like a mommy and has Kazuma sit in his place while relegating her son to a makeshift cardboard box. Naturally as the newbie, his classmates are eager to know more about him. But Ibuki isn’t so interested in that pervert and the way she says things has the class misinterpret that Kazuma pushed down the natural airhead Ui by force in the forest. Ibuki gets close to Kazuma by sharing her textbook so that he won’t get close to Ui. During recess, Kazuma witnesses the big eater Ui is. Still not full after devouring 2 big bento boxes? So after school, his friends show him around town. Tsumugi also joins them and Kazuma’s friends are surprised to see Ayumu is this cute. Could they be related? Well, save your conspiracy theories and genetic jokes for later. Adding to the group is Kasane Toudou, Ayumu’s classmate. Tsumugi observes that Kazuma is a considerate brother because he paces his strides to match Ayumu. So the gang visit various places and the first stop being a snack store. Guess who is eating all the snacks bought? Why all cheese flavour? Other places include the sake shop, bike shop and ramen shop. Kasane as the insider girl of Yamabiko knows every detail or information. So should you have any queries or topics for gossip, she is the best person you should look for. Next stop is the viewing platform as Kazuma learns the place he got lost yesterday was the Twin Mountain. Legend has it that a god and goddess lived on its top and were so deeply in love with each other that they neglected their work. The God in heaven was angered and split the mountain into two to separate them, thus the name of the mountain. Ever since, the lovers had to call out to each other “I love you” from the summit. When they do so, their power and feelings reached the village and a huge crop formed. This is how Yamabiko came to be. The next stop is Kotama Shrine and the shrine is famed for its steep numerous steps. I don’t know why Ui and Kazuma raced each other to the top. Must be tiring, eh? At the top, the shrine’s priestess, Madoka Koumoto is surprised to see Kazuma. So surprised that she runs away. Did he scare her or what? So maybe all that running was to whip up Ui’s appetite because now they patron Bagpipes, a dessert restaurant as Ui orders a jumbo parfait. Don’t worry. She can finish all that. Where the heck all the food in her stomach go? Is there some sort of warp time-space dimension inside her stomach? As Kazuma wipes the mouth of a very satisfied Ui, she thanks her ‘onii-chan’. The rest are surprised to hear this so she apologizes that she got lured in hearing Ayumu calling his brother so. Back home, Ui ponders about this and concludes although Kazuma is Ayumu’s onii-chan, Kazuma is also the onii-chan. Huh? What?

Episode 3
Senka thought she should do some service to the boys and wake them up but what she heard coming from Kazuma’s room are ambiguous words that only yaoi fans can expand with their wild fantasies. No, they’re not having homo sex but Ayumu trying to fix Kazuma’s messy hair. On the way to school, Kazuma meets up with his friends but had this feeling that somebody is watching him. On a trivial note, Ui’s favourite period: Recess. You know why. Rumours are also spreading about Kazuma pinning Ui down in the forest. When Kazuma thought he had found the culprit who had been watching him this morning, he chases after her but bumps into Madoka. Since she has mild androphobia and Kazuma didn’t realize he has his hands on her shoulder, Madoka panics and gives him a judo throw. I hope he didn’t break his back. Later Kazuma learns that she was raised by a strict grandfather so he decides to go apologize to her at the shrine. After making up, Madoka asks if he really did push Ui down and do all sorts of things to her. Madoka is relieved once he explains what happened. Perhaps he explained everything. Including the accidental kiss. Enough to bring Madoka to tears. Wow, this guy. First he somewhat scared her. Then he freaked her out and got thrown. Now he made her cry. Suddenly Kazuma get shot by acorns. Acorns? It is that stalker, the tomboyish Koyori Toudou. She is the self proclaimed ally of justice who protects the peace of Yamabiko. So Kazuma is now the bad guy? First it was Ui, now he made Madoka cry. Madoka begs Koyori to not do anything bad to Kazuma since it’s a misunderstanding. No choice, Koyori backs down only because Madoka said so. But she warns she’ll kick his ass again if he makes Madoka cry. Then she makes some lame ‘disappearing’ move by having the duo close their eyes. Duh… Kazuma walks back home with Ui since Ibuki has archery club practice (she’s been selected to participate in the next tournament) while Daigo has extra English lessons (it’s a way to say he failed). On the way home, they meet Ayumu who happily tells them he joined the sketching club. Ui hopes to be his model next time. Kazuma checks Ayumu’s forehead to find he has a slight fever. He wants to carry him back despite Ayumu feeling everything is okay. Ui remembers how her brother used to carry her like this. After putting Ayumu to bed, Kazuma and Ui are alone in his room. She flusters upon thinking if Kazuma should check her forehead like that. Kazuma can tell Senka is eavesdropping so as he makes sure she isn’t by the door, Ui starts whacking all the snacks she brought in. I’m not sure, is she not supposed to eat them?

Episode 4
As Daigo throws a bag to Kazuma, the latter accidentally bumps into Hina Sakai. She thought he was teasing her when he called her cute. Actually he was pointing to the handphone strap she has that Ayumu likes. She leaves embarrassed while Daigo teases him about the cool beauty Kazuma just talked to. Hina narrates she was born a tall girl so nobody called her cute. So when Kazuma said that, she thought it was teasing her. During recess, Kazuma learns about the local Hikonan Race. It’s a big event for the locals since there’ll be TV coverage and the winner will be interviewed. The participants represent a local shop so it’s no wonder why they are looking forward to this race. Look it as free publicity and advertising. Guess what? Kazuma has to participate too so Senka gives him special training that turns out to be chores cleaning the inn. Is she making him doing her job? So when he starts his real training outside, Kazuma sees a groceries bag beneath a tree. Koyori who is trying to save a cat stuck up a tree thought he is a thief now. She was reprimanding all the way till embarrassed Kazuma pointed out that he could see her panties. This throws her off balance and she lands on his face. I don’t know what he was trying to do to save her to end up in that position. Kazuma learns Koyori is Tsumugi’s little sister and also Kasane’s elder sister. However he finds it hard to believe they’re related since their bust size is so different. He got a deserved kick in the shin. Kazuma helps Koyori deliver the groceries she bought for an old man, Gengoro Yamakawa or more affectionately known as Gen-ji. He thought Kazuma is her boyfriend but she dismisses this villain to be one (why is she stammering and blushing?). Kazuma learns more about Gen-ji’s family. His wife died 3 years ago and his only daughter is now married. But his grandson, Keita is supposed to undergo a simple operation. However he is nervous and refuses to undergo it. He hopes Koyori can go talk to him.

On another training day, Kazuma meets Ibuki on the streets as she doesn’t mind sharing her water bottle with him (she’s not worried about indirect kiss?) while Ui does her own training: She’s eating a huge bowl of super size ramen. What has that got to do with running? Koyori and Gen-ji visit Keita at hospital. She tries to give encouragement to him and to be in high spirits. However if that’s the case, Keita wants Koyori to win the Hikonan Race. She agrees to join and win it and in return, Keita will undergo the surgery and get even better. Hina who has a penchant for cute things, is out jogging when she sees a cute but abandoned teddy bear. She adlibs with it but gets embarrassed thinking that Kazuma has heard her. However he apologizes for not knowing she was his senior then. Kazuma runs up the shrine and sees Madoka. They talk about the race and it seems the winner will get to play the coveted Ogami (male god) part for the Fall Festival of the Twin Mountain legend. Madoka explains further how the festival of the legend is played out between Ogami and Megami (female god) as this festival is also about the God of the mountain descending to the village and uniting with one of the villagers which brings blessings. Then, when the feelings of Ogami and Megami calling to each other meet in their hearts, as proof, at the night of the festival it is said that a beautiful bridge of stars will appear in the sky.

Episode 5
Seems Daigo has a secret outfit for Ayumu for cheering to help Kazuma get through the race. The school’s sports day has arrived. Ui scores perfect in the bread eating contest, the boys can’t get their eyes off Madoka’s bouncy boobs as she tries her best to jump and reach the bread, Hina wins the 100m race by a mile, Tsumugi is so clumsy and her hips are so big that she got stuck within a ladder and for the hunting race, Kazuma got the weirdest request: Big boobs. Whose? He takes Madoka but gets beaten up instead. Then it’s Ibuki’s turn to demonstrate her archery. But she got distracted just by looking at Kazuma and thankfully nails it with the second shot (imagining Kazuma’s face as the bull’s eye). During break, Kazuma and Ayumu meet Ui’s parents. Mommy made a feast considering her daughter’s big appetite. After that butt sumo wrestling among mothers (WTF?!), the much awaited Hikonan Race begins. As the participants warm up, everyone (especially Kazuma) is shocked to see Ayumu in a cheerleading outfit, cheering for his brother. I know he looks cute in the eyes of many but it’s a big embarrassing moment for the big brother! Just when Daigo thought he is going to get pummelled, Kazuma gives the thumbs up instead. Wait a minute. He’s into this sort of thing? So the race starts and there are a few checkpoints that participants need to clear such as eating 30 bowls of shiruko soup (guess who tops in that), catching 10 eels (fanservice cue?) and the final checkpoint that they need to wear a random costume. Hina gets sexy qipao outfit but she sees Ui clumsily walking in a penguin suit. Her cute penchant is alerted and she starts chasing Ui like a mad woman. Now, that really made Ui run for her life. Koyori who is leading the race is wearing a wedding dress but trips and sprains her ankle (it’s hard to run in high heels). Kazuma (in a groom’s outfit) comes by and lends her a hand after seeing how she is determined to win this race for Keita. She initially refuses help from the enemy but seeing Ui and Hina gaining ground, Kazuma carries her like a princess and starts dashing to the finish line. Imagine the people’s surprise upon seeing them like this. In the end, the photo finish reveals Koyori as the winner while Kazuma takes second place. In the interview, Koyori encourages Keita to be in high spirits and drive away his sickness since she kept her promise and won. Keita watching the live interview has his confidence boosted.

Episode 6
Wait a minute. Kazuma doesn’t know what final exams are? Even if he is too busy moving around to study, he should know what that is. Hope he’s just pulling a fast one. So to help study for the exams, the usual suspects head over to Yorodzuyo for a sleepover study session. Hina is also here because she wants to use this opportunity to apologize to Kazuma. But she got distracted by Ayumu’s cuteness. So as the study session begins, the first thing Ui took out was her snacks! Is she serious? Is food all she got in her head? Take two. Taking a break, it’s bath time and this is the part Daigo is waiting for. Of course he got disappointed seeing that it is not a mixed bath. He expected too much I guess. Then after hearing the girls engaging in tantalizing bath time dialogues, Daigo feels the need to infiltrate. I mean, he is so turned on that he could hang the wooden bucket on his… You get the idea. Watch out for splinters. So as he climbs to the top to peep, Koyori squishes shampoo powder into his eyes. Perhaps Daigo should keep his harem paradise to his imagination instead of turning it into a reality. That’s because now he is going outside the garden but Senka has predicted this pervert. Punishment time. So after the ping pong match (the ball got stuck between Madoka’s boobs?), when the gang go to see fireflies, Ui remembers how her brother introduced the girl he is going to marry to, Kuriko. Ui didn’t like it and didn’t properly greet her. She ran away and sulked at the viewing platform. Ui came by and stayed by her side, listened to her till the end. She was afraid she would lose her brother forever but when she realized she shouldn’t feel this way, she went to search for them to apologize. At the riverbank filled with fireflies, she saw her brother and Kuriko kissing. In the end, she was so shocked that she didn’t even congratulate them on their wedding day. This flashback causes Ui to lose her appetite and definitely a big shocker to her friends. Something is wrong. Then they continue their studies till it’s bedtime. Daigo of course is disappointed once more because under this roof with 7 beauties, he had to sleep next to a guy. I suppose you can commend him on his wild imagination of the girls comparing breasts and showing off their lingerie. He should know better than to sneak out because Senka is waiting for him… In the middle of the night, Kazuma gets up for a drink and bumps into Ui who can’t sleep either. Probably she’s hungry. They both talk about Ogami and Megami’s feelings when so happen Madoka wakes up and is disheartened to see them close together outside staring at the night sky.

Episode 7
With exams over, Daigo suggests they head to Honchou, the biggest town around to have their post-exam party. Ibuki can’t tag along since the tournament is around the corner and needs to practice. Hina joins them in hopes she can apologize for real this time. At the arcade, Kazuma beats Koyori in a fighting game (the sore loser wants to settle it via real wrestling), Madoka attracts the guys with her dance moves (must be her bouncy boobs), Ui fails to get a snack in the vending machine (despite she can get the snack anywhere), Daigo tries his luck in playing a strip mahjong game, Kazuma tries his luck in a crane game and wins a rare Bobopin memento. Then he plays some Q&A dating sim with Tsumugi and the questions asked feels like sexual innuendoes. Probably Kazuma is imagining too much. Just when Hina gets the chance to face Kazuma and apologize, she got distracted by the Bobopin he gives her. Then the gang goes karaoke-ing (I guess Ui is here to order the food only). Meanwhile Ibuki can’t concentrate and gets reprimanded to do better. When the exam results are out, Kazuma failed a couple of subjects, Daigo a few more and Ui, maybe just about everything. And she’s so relaxed about it. So it’s remedial classes for their summer, eh? Since Ibuki’s tournament is around the corner, Daigo plans to for them to go cheer on her. To his dismay, Hina and Tsumugi couldn’t come as they are busy with their jobs. To him, this halves, the group’s breast percentage by half. Is that what he is here for? The gang meet Ibuki before the start and give her the encouragement to do her best. Ayumu apologizes he didn’t bring his cheerleading outfit. That’s a joke, right? However Ui feels that Ibuki is forcing herself to be cheerful. The tournament ends with a disastrous result for Ibuki. They’re supposed to meet up at the lobby but Ibuki never showed up. On the way back, Ayumu thought she just wanted to be left alone so Kazuma had an idea where she’ll be. He finds her sitting alone at the viewing platform. He hears her out that although she has been training since young, there’s always this thought that she would miss her target. True enough, that fear came true and her mind just went blank and couldn’t focus. She was so frustrated with herself that she ran away here. Seeing the tears rolling down her eyes, all Kazuma could do is to shout out from the top of his lungs that he hates final exams. This way, she could feel better in letting her frustrations out. Thus Ibuki also gives it a shot and despite yelling herself an idiot, she feels much better.

Episode 8
Ibuki hopes he could keep this a secret between them and also to call her by her first name. For this episode, it’s the much anticipated obligatory beach episode. Babes, swimsuit, the sea, the sand, what’s not to like. By now you can guess why Hina is tagging along, eh? Kazuma teaches Ibuki to swim and Hina does the same for Ayumu. Ui sees what is happening and you can say it’s not an enjoyable expression. Tsumugi notices this. Then later alone with Madoka, Madoka remembers that night she and Kazuma were together and asks her opinion what she thinks of him. Does she like him? Though she flusters, Ui says she likes him in terms of a big brother. Next is the watermelon splitting event. I’m sure nobody wants to hear Daigo’s rant and just hurry up with the cutting. Ibuki did something cheeky to test whether Kazuma’s blindfold has no holes in it. He puts his hands on Ayumu’s chest and wants him to figure out which girl’s breasts are these. Seriously, a girl would’ve screamed when he put his hands over them. So when he mentions the flatness belongs to Ibuki, it’s understandable why she hit his head with a stick. Can you blame her that when it’s her turn to slice the watermelon, she’s aiming for Kazuma instead? Ui perfectly splits the watermelon for everyone to enjoy. Daigo wonders where Ayumu and Tsumugi are and fantasizes about something perverted. Actually Ayumu is asking if there is anything she wants to buy since she is working part time at Yorodzuyo. Well, she’s thinking of working there in the future and she loves the place as well as Yamabiko. Ayumu feels he has been a bother to Kazuma but she doesn’t want him to think that way since he is trying hard to make him happy. If he wants to be grateful, he should also make him happy by being happy himself. Meanwhile, Hina is admiring the cute anemone when Kazuma comes by. Now it’s her chance. Though she apologizes, he misinterpret it’s for being late to leave the beach with them and thinks it’s no big deal. Ui asks when Ibuki got so friendly with Kazuma. She doesn’t have a clear answer and asks Ui back. But she doesn’t seem convinced that Ui was just asking out of curiosity.

Episode 9
Ui is testing a new jumbo parfait when she got the spook of her life. She thought she saw a hungry ghost outside the window but it turns out to be Hina. Kazuma finds Hina collapsed at the park due to hunger. After she regains her strength back (if she keeps up this eating rate, she can be second best to Ui’s appetite), Kazuma learns she has ran away from home after having a fight with her dad and didn’t bring anything along. Even if she did her cute puppy eyes pleading, Kazuma has his hands tied since he’s a freeloader at Yorodzuyo. However he really pities her so he sneaks her in to his room. As he goes down to get dinner, Hina takes off her clothes to wipe her sweat. Then he comes in to find a big surprise and had to make up an excuse to keep Senka’s suspicions at bay. Because Hina couldn’t let him sleep on the floor, she suggests sharing the futon. Seriously? Can they fit into it? Okay, put it sideways. Legs sticking out… Kazuma hears her out. Seems Hina wants to go study at Tokyo University but her dad is against it thinking she won’t come back. It’s true she gets dizzy smelling the liquor in her shop but she’s good at selling them. Thus she wants to study business management and use this knowledge to tell people about their different liquors. She tried telling this to him but was always cut off and yelled at. Then remembering about proper timing and all, she apologizes to him for the misunderstanding when they first met. Seeing that she has finally got this off her chest, Kazuma is confident she’ll get a chance to properly explain to her dad. Next morning when Senka wakes him up, she sees Hina sleeping all wrapped around his body! It’s not what you think! And Hina did say she had good sleeping habits… Though Senka reprimands them for not consulting her first, she’ll have Hina earn her keep and has her work at the inn. Due to Tsumugi taking a few days off, I guess this means Kazuma also has to help out. In the midst of her job, Hina’s father barges in to take her back. She is reluctant but when Kazuma comes into the picture, daddy blames him as being a bad influence to her daughter. Kazuma puts his foot down by telling him what Hina had wanted to tell him all along. However daddy gets rough on Kazuma but Senka warns of any violence in the inn. If he insists, she’ll get down and dirty too. Can’t risk that, can’t he? Daddy goes back alone and his wife has a talk to him about their daughter’s feelings to help out the family business.

But this isn’t the end yet because Kazuma is being challenged to a duel. Long ago, villagers settle their difference via tug of war at the shrine. Usually this was how it was done when 2 men fought over the affections of a woman. Kazuma isn’t going to back down and will render that old geezer speechless. A considerable crowd gathers at the shrine for the showdown. If Hina’s dad wins, Kazuma has to pack and leave town. Though Kazuma is a little embarrassed wearing the traditional outfit, he is surprised that Ayumu too donned the same clothes. Did Senka put him up to this to cheer him on? The duel starts and Hina’s mom could even make a cheeky remark if she could exchange her husband’s dirty butt with a younger one! Hina’s dad draws first blood and his immense strength almost has Kazuma crossed the red line (it means you lose if you do that), Kazuma fights back and with his youth he slowly regains ground. Though Hina’s dad is motivated on the thoughts of his daughter, age is catching up with him. Kazuma uses every ounce of energy left to pull the rope and not only it resulted in his victory, he crashed onto Hina. Hina returns home and feels daddy is still sore over his lose and hasn’t forgiven her. But mom says he challenged Kazuma despite knowing he would lose. He wanted to lose intentionally in front of her and to be able to support her without realizing it. But he took it too seriously, got his stamina drained and felt upset that things didn’t go the way he planned. Hina goes hug her father sulking in his room and mentions how cute he is when he’s embarrassed before thanking him.

Episode 10
Madoka who missed the event because she was reading books to children at the library, learns about it and misinterprets Kazuma was battling Hina’s dad over his daughter. It causes her to sink into depression so Koyori pays her a visit and thought would cheer her up. Of course when she learns from Gen-ji about the meaning of the tug of war, she storms down to the inn to confront Kazuma (who is about to start his summer homework with his friends) that he is going to get married. Of course he’s not. Koyori thinks of explaining this to Madoka when Daigo comes up with a shocking revelation. Could it be that Madoka likes Kazuma?! But why is Koyori the only one flustering? Daigo and Kasane get an idea and recruit Ui and Ibuki to help play cupid and pair the duo up. But Ibuki is not so interested and storms out with Ui following close behind. Ibuki wants to know if Ui is okay if Madoka and Kazuma end up together. They both can’t answer that either. On the other hand, Kasane and Koyori see Madoka and give her a book to read on how to date. They are going to set him up with Kazuma. Madoka is obviously nervous when she meets Kazuma (unaware this is a setup) at the amusement park. Kasane, Daigo and Koyori spy on them hoping that something interesting will happen. The date didn’t go too well for Madoka because she got frightened by the roller coaster ride, got spooked by the haunted house (despite being a priestess she has fear of ghosts) and though the petting farm may be less scary, she got disheartened when Kazuma mentions how the rabbits were eating non-stop just like Ui. Then after the Ferris wheel ride, the stalkers think the duo have kissed judging from Madoka’s body reaction. Actually she’s still nervous about the whole thing. On another outing without the stalkers, Madoka dressed in a rather near-revealing outfit (reminds me of Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft) takes Kazuma hiking to the mountains. When Madoka crosses the stream, the wind blows off her hat. Kazuma grabs it and puts it back on her head and remembers this familiar scene. Now he remembers she is the girl whom he met back then. Madoka explains she was never good in interacting with boys and always came here to play alone. That’s when she met Kazuma and felt fun playing with him every day. Now that she thinks about it, it was probably love at first sight. When she first saw him at the shrine, she was surprised and everything happened too quickly for her to explain. She thought if she didn’t say a thing, there’s a chance he would remember who she is. Even if it’s just a little, all she wanted was a place in his heart. She wore the same clothes back then today in hopes he could remember. Well, back then her hair was short, right? So I guess he can’t really remember it was her. Madoka understands his feelings and wonders if he remembers the final words he said before he left. She wants him to say them to her again even though this isn’t a farewell. She starts crying so he says they’ll always be friends from now on. Good enough but isn’t that another way of saying that she’s being rejected?

Episode 11
Daigo teases Kazuma that he rejected Madoka. Speaking of the devil, there she is and she’s not bitter about it. Elsewhere Ibuki talks to Ui about the festival that the parts played by Ogami and Megami were usually served as proposals. Though Tsumugi is taking the part of Megami, she wonders if Ui should switch place with her since Ogami is played by Kazuma. Ui has her doubts about the confession this seeing she views Kazuma as her brother. Ibuki hints that at this rate Kazuma will be taken away by Hina, Koyori or even herself. Hint, hint. Big hint there. Ui thought she was joking. We know she isn’t. That night Ui gets a call from Ayumu. Next morning, Kazuma is quickly ushered out to take a long stroll. He meets Ibuki at the bridge so she decides to go hang out at Honchou since she didn’t come the last time. So the usual. Karaoke, video games, shopping and eating. But they didn’t expect a shop to treat them like a couple since they are having a promotion for couple’s day and it’s making them embarrassed. Seems Ayumu has called Ui over so she could sketch her. Why is she starting to strip?! Didn’t she say she wanted to be his model? After Ayumu finishes his sketch, he reveals that he plans to give it to his brother as a present seeing that they’re both going out. Woah! Wait a minute. Where did he hear that from? After that advice from Tsumugi, he thought that he would draw for Kazuma and the reason he heard from Kasane that Kazuma rejected Madoka was that he liked Ui. She dismisses all that and still feels he is just like her brother but Tsumugi says Kazuma is not Ui’s brother but Ayumu’s. Ui is worried if she dates Kazuma, it’s like taking him away from Ayumu. Would he be okay with that? He may feel lonely but since it makes him happy, he too will be happy for him. Meanwhile Ibuki jokes to Kazuma about the free can drink they got because they look like a real couple. If that’s the case they should start going out for real. She’s not joking isn’t she? Then when Kazuma leaves, he thinks hard on Ibuki’s words. Then it hit him. He runs back to see Ibuki still sitting at the same spot. He quickly apologizes that if he had caused any misunderstanding if she suggested that they go out for real. If she was serious, then he apologizes he can’t. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Even if she dismisses that as a joke, why is she starting to cry? Oh look how convenient, it’s starting to rain too. Oh, she’s under the hut. Ibuki comes back home all drenched and when her mom asked, she answers “Furarechatte”. It can both mean “get caught in the rain” or “got rejected”. Ui still wonders why she couldn’t congratulate her real brother back then. She gets her resolve to call and congratulate him. But her brother is surprised how she knew Kuriko is pregnant. He meant to break the news to her but seems she beat him. Ibuki goes to yell out her frustrations at the viewing platform. Feeling much better, she is ready to move on. Then meeting Ui, since she is still somewhat excited, Ibuki thought she got pregnant. It’s her brother. Oops I mean his wife lah.

Episode 12
Kazuma is shocked to hear that he will be playing the Ogami role in this year’s festival. He thought the winner of the Hikonan Race had the honour but even if Koyori qualified, she is still a girl (despite her tomboy character). So the highest ranked guy in the race is Kazuma and he is the all-important male representative for Yamabiko. Kazuma further learns from Daigo that Hikonan Race was a competition created to see who would play the Ogami part. There have been couples who have got together after confessing during the festival and when a couple is born out of it, legend has it an abundant harvest will be imminent. Ibuki has club practice while Daigo’s mom drags him away for being too relaxed since the festival around the corner. This means Kazuma and Ui will have to walk home alone together. Hina senses an awkward silence between them. Kazuma and the rest dress up in their traditional costumes and practice for it. Kasane is around to snap pictures so she could sell them to her classmates who are willing to pay a high price for it. Sneaky little girl… Later Tsumugi talks to Ui and wonders if she and Kazuma are fighting. Ui explains the feelings of her heart and Tsumugi concludes that she is in love. This causes confused Ui to fluster a lot. Still deny that it’s love? On the other hand, Kazuma gets his lecture from Hina. She is straight to ask him why he didn’t tell Ui how cute she is. Relating her case of how she wanted to say things but never got around it till Kazuma told her, she realizes that if there is something she wants to say, she has to say it herself. Ui couldn’t help thinking about the word of love and yes, that first accidental kiss. So much so she didn’t have much sleep. After school, Senka goes over the programme for the festival to the players. This include Ogami receiving a scroll from the angel (played by Madoka), riding the float down to the bridge to meet Megami and reading out loud to her what’s written in the scroll. So even if he’s reading the scroll, he has to put his entire heart into doing it. Then what he says will become the truth for Megami. Later as Madoka practices her moves, she gets a call about feigning illness.

On the day of the festival as the girls are about to change, suddenly Tsumugi got stomach ache. Cancelling it would not be wise so they need a replacement. Who? Ui! Can she do it? Well, since she was with Tsumugi throughout the practice, she’s confident she can pull it off. And to replace Ui? Kasane! Can she do it? Well, since she was with them snapping away throughout their practice so she must have memorized some of the moves. Hina isn’t giving Kasane much choice. “Do it or do it!”. Well, what choice does she have? The festival gets underway and Kazuma is shocked to see Ui at the other end instead of Tsumugi. The crowd is bewildered over his silence. So once Ayumu cheers him and he recomposes himself, he opens up to read the scroll but it turns out to be a love confession. Taking a deep breath, he shouts out loud that he loves Ui. She is shocked and nervous by his words so Ibuki nudges her to reply. At first Ui was too soft but as Ibuki encourages her to speak louder, finally she lets out a loud answer that she loves Kazuma too and sends the watching crowd cheering happily for them. Just what this boring town needs. A real life love drama. In the aftermath of the festival, everyone celebrates at Yorodzuyo. Daigo has to serve his drunk mother while Ayumu is a hit with the ladies! Are they trying to seduce and corrupt him? (“I actually look pretty good when I’m nude”). Kasane knew she has been tricked when Tsumugi couldn’t remember the stomach ache she had. Madoka notes to Ibuki that they got rejected. Then at the riverbed, Kazuma and Ui kiss underneath the bridge of starry skies. It may be their second kiss (and of this entire series) but their first real one.

Episode 13 (OVA)
This is Daigo’s episode. How often do you have the supporting male loser taking centre stage? Yeah, he hogs the limelight. For all the wrong reasons. While Kazuma and Ui are having fun in their date, lonely Daigo plays his online RPG game and seems the virtual friend he made is a girl named Yuuka. After class, Daigo hints to his friends to hang out together but Kazuma and Ui are part of the upcoming cultural festival committee and have stuff to do together. Since Daigo didn’t ‘understand’, Ibuki has to point out to him that he is disrupting a couple’s date. So Daigo walks home alone and he’s so frustrated that he is still single that he shouts out loud he wants to get a girlfriend. Right in the middle of the road. Oh, in this sleepy town, I guess only the birds heard him. He meets Ayumu halfway and learns his sketches and drawings will be put on display during the festival. However Daigo starts fantasizing on his own when Ayumu mentions about Ui’s near-stripping incident when she was a sketch model. Nude drawing? Only happened in his mind. Yeah, this made him want to draw to. I guess the subject has got to be a girl, huh? Then he gets an idea. He doesn’t necessarily need to draw but can take photos. Convincing Kasane to lend her camera, he manages to convince Tsumugi to be his model with the lame excuse that he has awakened to art. After school, Daigo snaps like crazy as Tsumugi naturally poses. He hopes that this will progress to the point whereby Tsumugi will strip in the name of art! Oh yeah… Then Hina’s mother and the other moms come by and learn what Daigo is doing. They volunteer to be his subject (and even strip down for him!) but Daigo made the wrong move by saying he might be into older girls but not middle age women. Suddenly the sky turns dark and the eyes of the mothers… They’ve become Terminator!!! Tsumugi could sense something bad is going to happen and excuses herself. Here comes the pain courtesy from the middle age mothers. Daigo plays his online RPG once more with Yuuka and after logging out, he notices someone posted a comment on his question on how to get along with girls. Complimenting the things she is self conscious of seems to be the answer and thinking back, he remembers Kazuma complimenting Koyori’s outfit as she is supposed to be holding a concert for the festival. He tries his luck with Madoka but her friends tell him she’s changing into a maid outfit in the locker room and since her bust is too big, she’s in the midst of fixing it. A cue for Daigo’s fantasies to get ahead of him. He thinks his compliment will allow Madoka to let him examine her boobs! Madoka gets a call from her grandpa so she has to explain the maid outfit she wears isn’t indecent. As she goes outside to get better reception, Daigo’s mom comes by and sees the maid outfit lying around. She puts in on for size to make sure it follows school regulations. Daigo is eavesdropping outside and happily thinks it’s Madoka. Then he sees her outside and wonders who could this person be. Opening the door, he saw mommy dressing up. A scene he never wanted to see in his life. He’ll have a hard time erasing it from his memories.

Walking home, he sees Hina obsessively fawning like a maniac outside the window of a pet shop. Hmm… Maybe he can hit on her too. In the spur o the moment, he dresses up in a cat costume. Isn’t the box a little too small? He thought this won’t work since it’s an obvious epic failure but what do you know? Hina actually buys it and brings him back to her room! Hina goes out to get some food so he takes off his head gear. He didn’t expect her to come back so soon and puts it back on. But it’s backwards! Hina got spooked out and in his attempt to calm her down, crashes into her. Her father goes up to check the ruckus only to see Daigo on top of his daughter. Now he’s dead meat! In class, Daigo laments his fate when Ibuki nervously asks him (like a tsundere) if he wants to go with her. Perhaps he doesn’t want to let this chance slip as he never thought the girl he considered his friend would ever have feelings for him. Of course things didn’t turn out the way he wanted because at the archery club, he becomes a target practice for Ibuki! She’s going to pull off a William Tell! What if she misses? Don’t worry. She only misses one in every ten shots. That’s not convincing! I don’t know how it happened next but it must be a harrowing experience for him. On the way home, he meets Ayumu again. Kazuma’s brother invites Daigo to his room. While he waits, suddenly Ayumu comes in wearing a female school swimsuit! Oh sh*t! WTF?! What gives? Ayumu noticed Daigo down lately and seeking Kasane’s advice, he thought wearing this was the best option to cheer him up. Oh God! Yaoi scene. Even Daigo can’t resist the temptation to do in cute Ayumu despite him being straight. Holy sh*t!!! Daigo pushes him down to the floor!!! SO YAOI!!!Then Kazuma sees what is happening. Daigo is one dead man… The festival begins as Koyori sings her heart out on stage, the customers are taken aback by Ayumu’s cuteness serving them in a swimsuit, Senka finds Madoka cute in her maid outfit, Ui is more cute than scary as a cat monster in the haunted house and Ayumu’s sketch on Ui is part of the exhibit. At the end of the festival, Daigo sits alone by himself while Kazuma and Ui dance at the bonfire. A bespectacled girl, Yuuka Dai comes up to him. She is the online girl he plays with as she thanks him for always helping her out in the game and wonders if he would care to dance with her. But of course. Finally he gets the girl! Hooray. So what is the lesson that we learn? Perseverance and persistence pays? Heck no! If you want to screw around with the harem girls meant only for the main guy, don’t. Because you’re better off dating a lesser known side character not included in the list! Haha! See, even losers like him get the girl in the end. After getting beaten up so many times, like they say: No pain, no gain.

A Starry Bridge Too Far…
Oh well. There wasn’t anything much to expect from this kind of anime. Boy-meets-girl(s) in backwater town, the friends spend some time with each other and no sudden shocking twist in the end that has him leaving the town for whatsoever reasons. Oh yeah. That would be terrible. Otherwise this anime is just average stuff and nothing much to shout about. The ending may seem rush and could have been better but what more do you expect after the guy finally chooses the girl? At least this is one thing good about this anime. Our main guy finally ends up with the girl. She becomes his girlfriend and they become a couple in the end. So we don’t have the dissatisfaction of that guy choosing nobody in the end which of course disappoints everyone. Though fans of other pairings may not like it but it’s better to have some disappointed rather than all. You can’t please everyone. Though many (including yours truly) would have spotted from a mile that Kazuma will eventually end up with Ui. She is the first girl he meets in Yamabiko. She is the first girl whom he accidentally saw her pantsu. She is the first girl he kissed (albeit by accident. It still boggles me how they can really end up in that position after slipping off a rock). Heck, she has that feeling of the-main-heroine-that-the-hero-will-end-up-with aura around her. Like it was written in the stars. Okay, so maybe that was just me. After all, I also felt that this was leading to an Ui-route.

So of all the other girls, why would Kazuma choose one who is an airhead? Even more, a glutton. I don’t know. Maybe it’s his taste so I have no right to criticise it. Perhaps girls who exude that clumsy and dojikko trait have that extra edge in the moe factor. At least this shows that not only popular, pretty and perfect girls would end up with the hottest guys in town. Okay, Kazuma may not be the most eligible bachelor but as the newbie in town, he is something fresh to the locals. Yeah, he is a hit with some of the moms and middle age- whoops, I mean young mothers. If Ui is really going to be Kazuma’s wife, I’m sure a big budget of their household expense will go into food. That girl has nothing but food on her mind. But I guess being a simpleton makes things easier and less complicated. Call it a trade-off for brains if you will. Now, if she eats brain food, would that improve her airhead-ness? I don’t think so. If Ui is the lively airhead, I also consider Hina as another airhead but she is quieter. The only reason why she is called a cool beauty in the eyes of others is because she doesn’t open her mouth. But when she does, you can tell this tall girl is somewhat a slow person like Ui. For instance, she actually spells out the definition for certain subjects even if the situation doesn’t require her to. Like when Kazuma’s in a pinch giving Senka an excuse that there is a wasp in his room (to hide Hina), she went on ranting about wasps. Heck, information that I don’t even know. Or want to know. So wasps are diurnal? Just like Ui’s obsession with food, her obsession is with cute things. So kittens and puppies beware. Don’t let her crazy cute fetish awaken. Initially as part of the official harem, Hina’s part and body action never seem to indicate that she likes Kazuma more than friends. It feels she was worried about getting the proper chance to talk to her dad about going to university, that’s all. I thought that her role of trying to apologize to Kazuma would be a recurring gag but that ended in her little arc when she ran away from home and slept at Kazuma’s place. Perhaps she is the kind of person that doesn’t succeed at first go and needs many tries before she gets it right.

The other harem girls too had their fair share of screen time so I suppose in this sense that they are given equal treatment of being ‘rejected’. Haha. As expected, Ibuki the tomboyish girl who didn’t like Kazuma when she first met him eventually turned into a tsundere and got flat out (pun on her boobs intentional) rejected. I don’t know how she came to like that guy whom she accused of pushing Ui down in the forest and doing funny things on her. Maybe it’s when he came to console her after her disastrous outing at the archery tournament. He didn’t seem like he has done much but at least by being her company, it makes her feel better. Aside Ibuki, Madoka was the other potential rival for Ui to end up as Kazuma’s girl. I guess all those flashbacks of them spending their younger days were just a distraction and just a build-up so that Kazuma could remember his forgotten memories once more. And then reject her. So would you believe me Kazuma’s taste in girls is weird? I mean, he chose an airhead over a busty miko priestess. Any (perverted) guy would have chosen Madoka over Ui any time. No, I’m not one of them ;p. And I won’t choose Ui either ;p. But one thing about Madoka bugs me. I know she has a case of mild androphobia but after that judo throw, it seems that the phobia has gone ‘missing’. After that you notice her mixing well with the other men in town like as though they’re nothing. So does she really have fear of men? Or was it Kazuma acted too impulsively? Koyori is the other tomboy and brute. Just like Ibuki, she too didn’t like Kazuma very much but after that tiny falling-from-tree incident in which Kazuma broke her fall, she started to like him. However you won’t see Koyori in trying to pursue the feelings of her heart because she is more preoccupied in helping Keita overcome his fear of the surgery. And after she won the Hikonan Race, she became a minor side character. I guess that makes it less one girl he would end up with.

Tsumugi may not have many chances like the rest and even the closest scene that she got to being Kazuma’s potential girl was the one playing the Q&A video game. Despite that, it was just Kazuma’s horny misinterpretation gone wild. She is more like the big sister of the pack and imparts advises when needed to especially to Ui and Ayumu. Judging from the poster, I knew Kasane wasn’t going to be part of the harem but it didn’t stop me from hoping. Sheesh. Anyway she’s not. All she’s interested in is getting the latest scoop and gossip in town. She’s got a reputation to uphold and what happens if she finds herself in love? How would news spread about if the insider girl isn’t around? What about Senka? She’s just like a caretaker for the brothers in this town. One thing that amuses me about Ayumu is his gullible character. I know that he would love to help out and the best he could do is to cheer on them. But to believe and take other’s advice and seriously cross-dress? Does he know no shame or embarrassment? Sure, he is a naturally cute boy that every guy and girl would love to have fawning and swooning over, but to do it over and over again in different female outfits feels like he wasn’t brought up as a proper boy. I’m not saying that he should be a macho and naughty kid. If you ask me, if he starts cross-dressing and act the way he does, nobody will see him as a boy. Yeah, he’s good in either way too. Then we can call him Ayuko… What else is there left to describe Daigo? Just like other animes of this genre, every main male protagonist needs to have a perverted buddy who is also a loser for comic relief and also to show why the main guy gets the girl instead of him. Just as not to make it really bad for him, that’s why in the OVA there is a girl that takes an interest in him. Hey, with so many fish in the sea, there has got to be at least one that suits you, right? Whether or not they hit it off or break off (I would personally blame it on her perverted behaviour), that’s another story. So next festival for the Twin Mountain legend, may it be Daigo and Yuuka’s turn to get some blessing.

Of course with this kind of series, it’s hard not to talk about the fanservice. I’m not saying that this show is overwhelmed with them but if you keep your eyes and ears peeled, you can spot some of the deeper erotic meaning. What do I mean? Sure, there are a handful of panty shots scattered here and there and of course some of the scenes with strategic censors that will only be removed if you diligently buy the DVDs. Then there are those subtle erotic sexual innuendoes with the characters in such poses. Including Ayumu. This kid is so girly sometimes you feel that if you are a straight person, your horny sense will go haywire and in a dilemma whether to get stimulated and turned on or not. That’s for the visual part. Now for the aural part, mostly you can hear cheeky comments and naughty remarks from Senka. Especially about Kazuma’s dick. And then you have some homonym words in Japanese in the sense that if you’re a perverted person, you’d probably see the double meaning in those words. Like ‘shasei’. What does it mean(s)? Go Google it to find out :). The sexual innuendoes also reach as far as the next episode preview. At least some of them. And they had to involve innocent Ayumu in it. For example, which hole in your body would be the most painful if you shove an acorn in it? Now, if you’re a dirty minded person, you would have quoted a certain hole but there are other holes in your body too, right? Like your nose hole. Then you have Kazuma’s ‘King Cobra’, something that taste like ‘cheese’ and even pink Nyanbobo. Pink what? Probably tits…

If there is one other thing that I like, it is the art and drawing of the sceneries. The setting being in the remote mountains, it is quite nice to see the luscious greens and other natural environment. I like the special effects on the water and flowing river. It feels quite real and nice that it calms my heart. Not to say that my heart was beating and racing like mad watching this show but by looking at the clean surroundings, it sure puts your heart at ease even though they are just animation. But I can’t say the same for the characters. I won’t go as far as to say that they are horrible, but the kind of drawing somewhat reminds me of another adult visual novel adapted into anime: H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~. It has its own style but I prefer my animes if they’re going to have lots of cute and beautiful people in it, to be those bishonen and bishoujo type. It’s not that both games were created from the same developer or the animes were produced by the same company either. Heck, the opening theme, Hoshizora No Horoscope by Nomico, had that similar feel and beat to H2O’s opening outfit, Katayoku no Icarus. As for the main ending theme, Dash No Cinderella by Eriko Nakamura and Ai Shimizu (voices of Ui and Madoka respectively), I feel it’s somewhat weird. Frenzy beat, some lines that are a little too fast, the girls trying to sound cute and making giggles with cutie exclamations of “Saikou!” (“The best!”) at the end? I don’t know, it’s a sign that it’s one of those songs that I won’t like since my hair was standing on ends.

Probably in an overall sense, I would rate this anime, 3 stars. Out of billions in the sky! Haha! Just kidding. If you like cute harem romance animes with uncomplicated storyline and some ecchi elements in it, you can consider giving this anime a try. Just beware of the typical cliches you’d find so prevalent in many of the animes these days. You don’t have to live in the big city to have a decent romance harem. Thank your lucky stars as long as the small village has a decent amount of cute girls, a harem, oops I mean, romance is possible. Just beware that news spread around way faster since everybody is somewhat connected. And if the parents catch you deflowering their daughters, you don’t have to wait for the festival to be sent to the stars.

Uhm… Magicians eat miso? Well this I got to see. However there isn’t anything much in Mahou Tsukai Nara Miso Wo Kue that would warrant anything because the way this single OVA that only lasts for a mere 12 minutes plays out, it feels more like a promo and to test market. You know, perhaps see the reaction of viewers and their feedback if this series needs to get its own series or something. This series was the winner of Kodansha’s first light novel rookie of the year award, so I guess you can say there is some potential.

So as to why they chose miso as a magician’s food, miso isn’t just ingredients for that Japanese soup and is a clever abbreviation of something. It is narrated that over a century ago, magic was revealed to the world and mankind has since been finding ways to establish it as alternative to science. However, the discovery of Material of an Impediment to the Sorcerer’s Orders or shortly known as MISO, has greatly hindered its progress and eventually magic was worked out of obscurity and became a societal norm. In other words, magic isn’t power but a technique that can be raised. And as I understand from the visuals, it also became ingredients for miso soup in your everyday life meal.

Miso Soup Is Good For The Soul
Shouta Hacchouya is having his nice usual miso soup breakfast. Ah, the tranquillity. Ah, the good smell. Ah, the wonderful taste. Nothing beats miso soup in the morning. Well, enjoy it while you can because a blonde girl, Artemisia comes crashing into his room via the window! Then she takes him and run because the Tiger helicopter is firing live ammunitions at them!!! Wait a minute. How can a military helicopter fly in between the cramp apartment space? Artemisia, a princess from the birthplace of magic, Majieeru takes Shouta along and flies into the sky. Since the helicopter is still following them, Shouta suggests she use one of her most powerful spells and aim it towards that window. Artemisia is reluctant since she can’t use her magic this way. After assuring her, Artemisia fires a big powerful fire blast that sends the helicopter exploding! Wow! Too big! Too made up for Shouta to believe! Suddenly the next scene we see Artemisia in her bikini, posing around the beach as though she’s a model for the gravure shot. Fanservice in the midst of it all?

Celestine Edith De Majieeru is unhappy that her SP’s job to bring Artemisia here has failed. She assigns Manuella to handle this. This is followed by Celestine giving us viewers more fanservice in some model-like shoot. Shouta enters his room and the first thing he sees is Artemisia’s pantsu. What is she doing searching underneath his bed? To put a long story short, she is searching for his porn. Is this her reason for wanting to learn more about ‘skinship’? Guess what punishment she got? Noogie time! Then we see a swimming face off between Artemisia and Manuella. Ding, ding! In one corner, we have a flat chest and in the other corner with have the curvaceous and busty Manuella. Seems Artemisia is challenging her to a contest whereby if she loses, she’ll follow her back to Majieeru. Manuella thinks she is out of her mind because to challenge her in a water-based contest, it’s like wanting to lose as Manuella power is to control water.

Bear with that fanservice of Manuella (I guess it’s her turn this time) before we see another déjà vu case for Shouta. Entering his room, this time he sees Manuella’s striped pantsu. What is she looking for underneath his bed? She wastes no time in admitting (with confidence) the stuff high school boys use to satisfy their overflowing sexual desires. In short, porn, right? What’s wrong with girls these days?! Why are they so hard up looking for a guy’s porn?! Anyway Manuella is here with orders to look after Artemisia while she is in Japan so she needs to stay here for the time being. Shouta doesn’t put up resistance and allows her. I guess it’s no difference having another trouble since one is bad enough. How bad can another be? Well… Shouta’s intention is to have her answer his questions but it seems she can read his mind and refuses. She doesn’t give him a chance to talk and since she needs his assistance, offers him to join her. That way, Artemisia will lose the only thing that is keeping her from returning to Majieeru.

A magic duel of fire and water between Artemisia and Manuella. The latter clearly has the better advantage. Just when Artemisia is about to regain her balance, Manuella is going to use miso extract on her. I’m not sure how dangerous it is for Shouta to comment how unfair it was. Though Manuella agreed to this duel, she never said she would restrict herself to just using magic. Then Celestine drops in and meets Shouta in person for the first time. Artemisia is surprised to see her sister.

If You’re An Otaku, Eat Anime, Watch Anime, Sleep Anime, Die Anime…
So… What just happened? Like I said, it wasn’t anything much and felt like an extended promotion trailer because we see bits and pieces of snippets what could be clips of a season long worth of anime episodes. They seem promising though. We have the comedy, we have the fun characters, we have the action, we have the drama, we have the magic and yeah, we have the fanservice. All in one. Most of it. So if this is ever made into a longer TV series or at least several OVAs, it would be interesting to watch this show. Even the opening credits animation is worthy of being that of a TV series. Heck, you see funny things and other characters that didn’t appear here. Thus in a way this OVA did succeed in perking up a little of my interest for the series. But that is only if they do make a proper series out of it. If they keep it too long and nothing done, then this show will probably fade in time from my memory. Fade into some dusty corner of my memory banks that I probably wouldn’t retrieve it ever again in the rest of my life. That’s as good as forgetting it, eh? So miso and magic may not seem like a compatible ingredient and combination that go well together. But when it does as seen in this show, the mix is quite chaotic! Maybe they should try some chicken soup…

Mayo Chiki

August 5, 2012

What is the difference between a butler and a maid? Butlers are usually assigned to males while females usually get the tasks of being a maid. What happens if it is vice versa? Can a female be a butler? If you cross-dress, maybe. From the premise of Mayo Chiki, viewers are told that the butler in question, Subaru Konoe is actually a female rather than a male as believed by 99% of the characters in this anime. However I am alright and would have gone along with this premise except for a little tiny issue. No matter how you look at it, Subaru definitely looks like a girl!!! I know that in anime you have lots of characters that are androgynous but seriously, no matter what manly clothes you put on Subaru to make her look more masculine, she has that girly look! And the worst part is everybody believes she is a guy. I mean, won’t they get suspicious nor have they asked if ‘he’ is really a she? Not to say that Subaru also acts very manly but like the polite butler that everyone expects to. So yeah, I really can’t fathom how everyone else could not see Subaru is not a girl. Even if I didn’t read the premise, I would instantly tell you my first impression that Subaru is a girl. Woman. Female. XX.

Of course when there are secrets, this means there is a chance that someone is bound to discover it. On purpose or by accident. In the case of Kinjirou “Jirou” Sakamichi, it is the latter. A very unfortunate latter. To make things worse, Jirou has gynophobia (fear of women) because his mother is a pro-wrestler and his martial arts sister, Kureha wants to follow in mommy’s violent footsteps. What better way than to ‘hone’ their skills by doing all the submission and painful moves on the only guy in the house (their father died of an illness by the way)? Hey girls, I have a suggestion. Why not use a punching bag? Realism you say? Well, can’t beat that. Good luck Jirou. You’re going to need them all. And thus over the years of abuse and suffering, he becomes ‘afraid’ of woman that the mere touch by them has him nose bleed. Not to be mistaken for sexual stimulation. So when he finds out about Subaru’s secret, they have to work together with the very sadistic master of Subaru, Kanade Suzutsuki to keep that butler’s identity a secret from the rest. Oh, did I mention that Subaru is such a popular butler in school that almost every girl will start fawning at the mere sight of ‘him’? Yeah. That. Man, this is going to be bloody tough. As if life isn’t already tough for punching bag Jirou. What is protecting one’s secret identity without the complicated matters of the heart getting in the way too? Yeah, life is indeed complicated even for high school students.

Episode 1
Right at the start of the episode, we already see Jirou getting his daily morning abuse from Kureha. Such a rude wake up call. As we learn, mother had left the kids all alone because she’s going on a world tour to find ‘challenging’ opponents. She is so strong that nobody can beat her, literally there is no one else left to fight her. Well, nobody said she was a good mother. In Rouran Academy, Jirou observes the oujo-sama-like daughter of the school, Kanade being served wherever she goes by Subaru. Even in school, Jirou’s reputation must be going downhill because his guy friend, Yamato Kurose thinks the reason he isn’t interested into girls is because he is gay! That already has become a rumour in school. So as he runs away to freshen up himself at an abandoned section of the boys’ toilet, he accidentally spots Subaru using a cubicle. Of all the unused cubicles, he had to open that one. First he couldn’t understand why Subaru is wearing girl’s panties. Is ‘he’ a pervert? But that’s the start of his trouble because Subaru is going to kill him as Jirou no longer have any more human rights! Don’t worry, what Subaru meant is that she will take his memories and not his life. Thanks to Jirou’s lifelong abuse, he can take the powerful punches Subaru throws at him. Fight, fight, fight and what do you know? Jirou ‘saves’ Subaru from a falling glass specimen. I don’t know how Subaru’s clothes can come undone so easily because this means Jirou groped her soft breasts and realizes Subaru is a girl. She thinks his nose bleed is him getting aroused and knocks him out with a fire extinguisher. Ouch.

He wakes up in the infirmary bed only to find Kanade sleeping next to him! And he is handcuffed to the bed. Oh dear. While seductively playing with his mind, she says she is imprisoning him because he has discovered her butler’s secret. So the question that many would ask: Why did Subaru cross-dress as a boy? The men in Subaru’s family have for generations served Kanade’s family as butlers. But Subaru is a single child with no other siblings to inherit the job. Being a girl, she cannot be a butler but Subaru insisted she wanted to. So her father gave her a condition that if Subaru can complete 3 years in high school without being discovered, Subaru will be allowed to be Kanade’s butler and the women in her family are not allowed to be one. Since Jirou has discovered that secret, this threatens that very condition and Kanade thought of doing any means to seal his mouth. Jirou realizes he has to be thankful to Kanade too because she was the one who stopped Subaru from going on a rampage to kill him. Kanade shows her sadistic side when she tests his nose bleeding symptoms by seductively touching his body. Due to his allergy to girls and a bastard who is too scared of having girls touch him, she calls him a chicken, derived from his name Sakamichi Kinjirou… Sakami-Chi Kin-jirou… Sakami CHICKEN Jirou. Geddit? Kanade wants to help him overcome his phobia in exchange he will not tell Subaru’s secret. This way, the condition made with her father is considered not broken. Otherwise, it’s death! How does an unidentifiable corpse found at Mt Fuji sound? Better accept the offer! If Jirou thinks his home will be his sanctuary, then he has to think again because on Kanade’s orders, Subaru is now living with him to make sure he doesn’t spill her secret. There’s always that accidental chance of him seeing her naked, right? Right. And he wouldn’t have count on seeing it so soon. Another memory erasing technique in order I presume?

Episode 2
Kurose thinks Jirou-is-a-gay rumour is coming true because he is seen walking to school with Subaru. He warns him about the group called Shooting Star Subaru-Sama or S4 for short. Let’s just say they are an underground fan club of Subaru and you what will happen if they find out about this, right? Why do they wear head masks that look like KKK?! Anyway, true enough there are some s4 members trying to kill Jirou but are taken out by a splinter group of S4 called Watching Over Subaru-Sama (WOSS). Let’s say this club as oppose to S4 who only wants Subaru for themselves, are somewhat a fujoshi fan group who would love to see some yaoi stuff brewing between Jirou and Subaru. Kanade gives Jirou a poorly drawn card (sheep ticket?) but powerful one. With this in hand, Subaru cannot disobey orders given by the one holding this card. Later Kanade makes Jirou go out on a date with Subaru as part of her scheme to help the former cure of his gynophobia. Something tells me this is just an excuse for her sadistic amusement. To avoid suspicions, Subaru is dressed like a girl and what did I tell you? She looks girly enough to be in a dress. They go to the arcade and Jirou plays a crane machine to get her a sheep plushie she likes. Is that blood dripping out from the sheep’s mouth? During the break at the park, Jirou explains his phobia to Subaru. Kanade soon calls Subaru and instruct her to do seductive things on Jirou in the name of curing him. Jirou is allowed to use the sheep ticket and to Subaru’s dismay, she has no choice but to follow every order he says. Jirou feels guilty even making a simple order but I guess Subaru has snapped and wants to ‘warm” him up. Suddenly Kureha lands a double kick on Jirou’s head! Seems Kureha has heard rumours her brother is going out with a guy and tailed him. She thinks Subaru has a perverted fetish to cross-dress! Kureha fights back but is easily defeated by Subaru. Kureha runs away crying in disbelief that she was defeated so easily. So this is the results of her daily training abusing her big brother? So the ‘date’ ends with Jirou leaving for home. He can tell Kureha underwent a huge shock because the teddy bear got ‘butchered’.

This problem though not resolved, there is another one brewing. It’s the physical examinations! Last year Subaru was able to evade it because she was sick but this year as told by Kanade, she must rely on Jirou. So how? For every measurement, Jirou takes the liberty to measure Subaru! I’m sure the other guys will start thinking he is really gay. And since Jirou has this gynophobia, Subaru returns the favour by measuring him. I guess it’s better than having the pretty nurses do it. Due this tiring ‘feat’, they manage to get by. As they eat together on the school rooftop, they talk about friends and Jirou learns Kanade and Subaru was always home-schooled and had private tutors. They only had a chance to attend school during high school so Subaru has never eaten with anyone else before. Jirou suggests that they should start calling each other by their first names since they’re going to be friends. Subaru manages to call him that but soon falls asleep on his shoulder. At least Jirou didn’t nose bleed when she touched him. As usual, sneaky Kanade pops up from her eavesdropping spot. She tells him Subaru probably feels comfortable around him to sleep on his shoulders. Since she has always been guarding her secret, she never got anyone this close to her. With Jirou knowing her secret, they can both be friends, a first for Subaru of course. Kanade dismisses herself as Subaru’s friend because to her, she is nothing but Subaru’s master and doesn’t see her as a friend. They used to be close but that was all in the past. Jirou goes him and Kureha asks him if he is going out with Subaru. He mentions they are just friends. Why is Kureha relieved? Because she had just fallen in love with Subaru!!! OMG! If she’d only know she had fallen in love with a girl!

Episode 3
So imagine when Subaru comes knocking on Jirou’s door only to see naked Kureha coming out from the bath. Kureha confronts Jirou talking to Kanade on the rooftop about Subaru’s reaction in seeing her body. Why is she disappointed when there is no reaction? Kanade fuels the fire by even saying Subaru is madly in love with Jirou. But rest assured, Kanade claims Jirou is going out with her instead! To prove it, Kanade knows a certain birthmark on his body (that gynophobia test). In addition, her smooth persuasion has Kureha believe that this will make them sister-in-laws if the duo get hitched. Thus she suggests a double date at the water theme park. As Subaru goes off to teach Kureha swimming, Kanade explains she and Subaru once came here as children. It was a time when they were kidnapped for ransom. Though the incident was resolved quickly without incident, Subaru felt guilty for failing to protect her. That’s when the distance between them grew and just like Jirou, she too has her own weakness. Later when Kanade sends Jirou and Subaru to get some drinks, Jirou sees a little girl drowning and dives in without second thought to save her. After all that, he passes out. He dreams of his father telling him the meaning of his name. It meant ‘close by’ and in other words, he wants him to become someone strong enough to say “I will protect you, so stay by my side”. So Jirou wakes up with Subaru by his side on the bench, claiming nothing much has happened. Really? Suddenly they get a message from a masked man that Kanade and Kureha have been kidnapped. He wants Subaru to come over to a certain location in 10 minutes. Subaru gets weak when he sees him picking up a metal knife. Jirou realizes this is what Kanade meant by Subaru’s weakness. She explains this has something to do with the previous kidnapping and thus her phobia of any bladed objects. Jirou promises to rescue them and knocks Subaru out with a punch to her gut. That easy?

Jirou arrives inside a building and faces off with the perpetrator whom he realized his target is Subaru. Jirou gets beaten up, enough time for Subaru to catch up and stop the villain from finishing Jirou off with his knife. He is surprised Subaru is no longer afraid of bladed weapons as Subaru gives him a knockout punch. Subaru rescues Kanade and apologizes for her failure. But Kanade notes her loyalty and wants her to stay by her side as her butler and friend. The perpetrator turns out to be Subaru’s father, Nagare, who is also the Suzutsuki family’s butler chief. Looks like another setup by Kanade? Jirou wakes up lying in bed of Kanade’s mansion. You can tell Nagare is not amused and doesn’t like Jirou being close with his daughter. Kanade notes how similar Nagare and Jirou are. Both love their family very much though Nagare can be overprotective and overbearing since Subaru is only his immediate family member. Subaru’s mom died when she was only 5 years old. Though her family members followed this tradition that girls cannot become butlers, Subaru rebelled against it and didn’t need a new mother, probably why she’s so desperate to be a butler. Kanade apologizes for dragging him into this mess as she thought there might be an improvement if she comes into contact with someone similar to herself. Because of him, Subaru can stay as her butler and she did all of this because she loves Subaru, who happens to be her first love. Now it’s Subaru’s turn to come in and talk to Jirou. First she starts crying in his arms. She was scared that she would lose Jirou as her friend then. The touching moment is interrupted when Kureha barges in when she heard her brother is tempting to go out with Subaru despite having Kanade as his girlfriend. This is also news to Subaru and what do you do if you have 2 angry females bent on breaking your neck? You jump out of the window even if it’s the second floor! So happen Kanade was there and he takes her as his ‘hostage’ and makes a run for it. He has had it with her lies and framing of him but she notes that she what she said wasn’t totally a lie. Especially the part whereby Subaru was her first love.

Episode 4
Subaru pleads to Jirou to let him stay at his house and be at his service. Hmm… Something is wrong. Kanade calls him to tell him that she got kicked out of the house. So I guess there is no choice but to let her in, eh? They’ll both be alone since Kureha is on a club field trip. Speaking of which, she’s tackling a bear deep in the forest. After Subaru and Jirou practice judo, Jirou is surprised that Subaru wants to wash his back. Is this part of being a butler’s job? In the midst of the washing, Kureha suddenly comes back! She broke her arm and was sent home. Oh dear. Kureha notices Jirou acting strange. Furthermore, she finds a strange pair of panties in the laundry. Thinking somebody is in the house trying to seduce her brother, she kicks open the bathroom door. By that time, Subaru has submerged herself enough in the bathtub. The sight of Subaru in her bathroom knocks Kureha out. Kureha treats Subaru with great hospitality including liking the ramen cup noodle she hates just because Subaru likes them. To add to Jirou’s misery, Kanade is also here to be part of the amusement. As his maid. Then it turns into a butler vs maid battle to see who can please Jirou. I guess the seductive moves are too much for Jirou to handle so much so he collapses. But this is not a funny matter. Kureha is worried and starts panicking that Jirou is dying. Though he is fine recuperating in bed, I feel he is going to need more time to recover because Subaru is giving him to hot treatment to make him sweat more. Eating spicy food, placing hot towels over him… And he’s chained to the bed…

Jirou could guess Kanade’s presence is to take Subaru back. So she brings him to the river bed whereby Nagare is living in a make-shift tent. Jirou is partly to blame for all this. Ever since the incident at the amusement park, Nagare and Subaru entered a cold war. Kanade’s father couldn’t take it and punished both of them by kicking them out of the house and will not be readmitted if they do not reconcile. Kanade’s plan is for Jirou to forgive Nagare. This will have Subaru’s anger subside and they can all go home. Subaru comes by to drag the sick person back and worse still, she now hates her father. Jirou just wants Subaru to forgive her father and end this crap but she is more worried she is not doing a proper job as his butler. When she saw that look on Kureha’s face, she really thought he might die. It reminded her of her mom’s case and wants to stay by his side. Jirou gives her another scare when he collapses. But soon gets back on his feet to scoffs off that he will die from such a simple illness. He wants Subaru to return to the mansion with Kanade because to make her loved ones worry means a failure as a butler. He dismisses Subaru as his butler. So with things returning to normal, Subaru is glad things turned out for the better and Jirou is his friend. Then off she goes to visit her dad who has gotten sick. Then as Jirou talks to Kanade, she kisses him! A test to see if his phobia is cured? I guess this means their work isn’t done. Oh, that was her first kiss too. Jirou thought Subaru was her first love and though she confirms it, it’s not like she’s confine to it.

Episode 5
While Jirou is on his way to school, Masamune Usami crashes her bike into him! She thought of pretending nothing happened and is shocked to see him alive! Is that her first reaction? Since Jirou notices his glasses stuck on to Usami’s thigh, he subtly tries to hint to get it but she thinks this pervert wants her panties! So he manages to safely get his glasses without touching her but when he puts them on, Usami recognizes who this bastard is and kicks him and stomps on his stomach! He finds himself in the infirmary, courtesy of Subaru and Kanade who happened to pass by in their limo and saw a strange kid sleeping on the road. Subaru seems to have a request for Jirou. She wants him to accompany her for the school festival since Kanade is busy organizing it and wants her to enjoy the festival without worries. As they talk, Jirou thought she was referring to his kiss with Kanade when he realized Subaru also kissed him. At the theme park after he was out cold saving a little girl. Well, some may call it CPR but when you stick your mouth onto others, I guess in some ways you can still call it a kiss. Subaru thought he wanted to do it again and prepares to kiss him when in good timing Kanade comes in. In her seductive style, she tells him their class will be doing a cosplay cafe. Plus, everyone wants to see Subaru cross-dress. Jirou notices Kanade dropped a love letter so she teases them about going out with this fellow and forced kiss. Anyway she plans to turn down the confession.

As Jirou meets Usami on the rooftop, she has a bizarre request of him. Be her boyfriend and accompany her for the school festival. He thought he is screwing with her but she explains she is from S4 and the first time she laid eyes on Subaru on this rooftop, she fell in love with ‘him’. During the school festival, there will be a secret all-out war between S4 and WOSS. So if there is a belief that Jirou is going out with a girl other than Subaru, this will shake up those yaoi fan girls. So if S4 if successful, she’ll convince S4 not to touch him ever again. Since Jirou is still reluctant, Usami gets pissed off and starts calling him chicken (I can she can derive this nickname from his name too) and blames him for the war between S4 and WOSS since he is so unusually close to Subaru (everyone else thinks Kanade is the only person Subaru is close to). She even shows him proof of photos of their ‘date’ and how rumours are spreading that Subaru is getting more feminine. Jirou fears Subaru’s secret may be revealed and no choice but to go along with her plan. It gets complicated when Subaru comes into the picture. She asks who Usami is and she thought Jirou was joking when he said she is his girlfriend. But since he confirms he will be on a date with Usami during the festival, Subaru punches the traitor. Jirou’s torment continues because he has to be Usami’s practice boyfriend after school. Even buying swimsuits for her when it would’ve been better if she had done it herself. So embarrassing. So much trouble. So misunderstood. That sums up what Jirou had to go through. But Usami wants him to believe in her because she believes in him. What?

Episode 6
I can’t believe nobody for a second thought Subaru is a girl in that nearly revealing Chinese dress. I know it’s cross-dress cosplay cafe but… See those small boobs sticking out? Though Jirou pretends to be Usami’s lover, it gets worse when jealous Konoe refuses to leave them out of her sight. It’s obvious they’re fighting over him. Till they see this flyer to patron the Animal Cafe. Kureha class is doing this cafe and she is thrilled to see her Usami senpai as well as Subaru. Usami gives Jirou permission to go with Subaru but he is kidnapped by a sheep mascot. That person turns out to be Nakuru Narumi and is the leader of WOSS. Not only she has this fantasy of Jirou and Subaru together, she has this fetish for glasses! Nakuru can tell Usami’s plan to deceive WOSS during the festival and warns Jirou about the deal he made with Usami because there is no way she can influence S4. Before Nakuru can reveal anymore, Usami kicks her away and admits she had been lying to him from the start and runs away in tears. Subaru insists Jirou tell him what’s going on. They infiltrate a secret location whereby both factions are preparing to face off. But what surprises them both is that Kanade is a representative of S4 and will be hosting this event. This causes their presence to be busted. So to make this cult quiz more interesting, the winner will conquer all the losers, including what should be done to Jirou. I guess if you’re a diehard fan of Subaru, you’d even know the slightest minute detail. I wonder if this is embarrassing to Subaru. Jirou and Subaru are on Nakuru’s side but they notice Usami isn’t on the opponent’s team.

As both teams are neck to neck, the final question as the tie breaker turns out to be who did Subaru gave her first kiss to. With pleas from Jirou and Nakuru, Subaru sums up her courage to point at Jirou. Eh? Kanade even has a movie as proof. Remember that amusement park incident? Yeah, that. The S4 crowd now wants to kill Jirou. He has to do something about this because the sadist is enjoying herself. No choice, Jirou makes a loud confession that he loves Kanade. She plays it cool and rejects/dumps him right in front of the crowd. Outside, Kanade further teases Jirou that she is not happy he made a false confession to protect himself. As revenge, she hugs him and says she loves him. How does it feel to have a taste of his own medicine? He asks about Usami so she explains that she was a bit different from the others and didn’t try to blend in. He rushes off to find Usami alone at the rooftop. He sees a school resignation letter in her hands as she explains how when she first saw Subaru, she thought how lonesome ‘he’ was and thought ‘he’ might be the same as her. That’s why she thought Subaru would be her friend. However after meeting Jirou, Subaru changed. She thought she hated Jirou but realizes she hated herself for being like this. Since Usami has told him her secret, he tells her his about his phobia. Subaru finds Jirou and has heard the truth from Kanade and apologizes. Jirou introduces Usami to Subaru and they become friends. While Subaru dances with Kureha at the bonfire, Usami vows to change and tears up her resignation letter. Later Usami wants to start off her friendship with Jirou by making him call her first name. But she finds it embarrassing and kicks him. And she hopes to get along well?

Episode 7
Subaru has another weird request to ask from Jirou: Elope with her! Guess whose orders this is from? Jirou faints due to the drugged drink Subaru gave him. Now where will Jirou be when he wakes up next time? Why didn’t I think of it? Right next to Kanade in bed in a luxurious hotspring inn owned by her family. Not sure if anything steamy happened last night but it seems it’s Kanade’s turn to run away from her family. Her family wanted to go overseas for the summer holidays but she didn’t want to. So is kidnapping Jirou the same as what her family was doing in deciding her schedule without her consent? Of course the pretext of this eloping is also to help him cure his phobia. As a start, putting lotion over her body. She’s making it sound so horny… You can tell Subaru is upset because she has a spiked club for the watermelon splitting event and has dug a very dig hole to bury him in the sand. Jirou patrons the beach house to buy drinks and is surprised to see Nakuru, Usami and Kureha working part time there. The trio were supposed to swim to their camp but got lost, separated and chased all the way to this beach by a shark. Usami is getting suspicious of Jirou’s purpose here with Kanade. Jirou tries to prevent the inevitable by having Subaru putting on glasses. Did he seriously think he can fool the rest with this disguise? Even Kureha thinks it’s Subaru cross-dressing. But Kanade dismisses this is not Subaru but her cousin, Punyuru Takanashi! Say what? I guess it was convincing enough for Kureha to believe. Except Usami. She confides in Jirou why is Subaru lying. Call it a good thing because Usami misunderstood Subaru’s fetish for cross-dressing going this far. Can’t she see those boobs are for real? And as for Jirou and Kanade, Kanade tells her that they are eloping. Usami doesn’t believe a word she says and even though Kanade admits she was just fibbing around this has Usami blurt out she and Jirou are close friends. Then she explains all the things they had done together although she worded them in an ambiguous manner. Subaru overheard it and got upset and ran away. Jirou catches up to her and explains he was indeed at Usami’s house because she promised to treat him to her cooking. Usami also wanted to help out with his phobia and starts rubbing her body against his in a swimsuit. Subaru punches him seeing it sounded like harassment. When they return, seems Nagare wants Kanade and Subaru to return to the family. Subaru feigns she is scared of this disgusting scary person, sending heartbreak to that poor father.

Episode 8
Nakuru makes Punyuru read out her yaoi manga between her and Jirou. She throws the book out in her embarrassment! Jirou can’t sleep that night and goes to dip in the hotspring only to find Subaru doing the same. Suddenly Nagare comes in and luckily Subaru is small enough to hide behind Jirou’s back. Nagare still doesn’t like Jirou but his words show that he truly cares for Subaru. Nagare leaves but return upon finding a girl’s panty in the laundry. Trying to cover for Subaru, Jirou lies it is his fetish but Nagare can tell this is his daughter’s favourite panties. Seriously?! Nagare is convinced he has an illicit relationship with his daughter and is going to give Jirou a kick he’ll never forget. But Subaru blocks that kick and knocks him out for good. Jirou also gets whacked when he accidentally sees Subaru’s naked body. Is this the second time? I guess this memory erasing technique worked because Nagare can’t remember why he is sleeping in the hotspring and Jirou his head is slanting to one side. After a day playing on the beach, the gang visit the festival that night. Usami can see through another of Kanade’s lies when she says Jirou is her fiancee. Kanade also realizes that Usami knows Jirou’s secret. So as the duo challenge each other at the stalls, Jirou notices Subaru missing and as hinted by Kanade, she is up in those mountains. Jirou treks along the path only to find Nagare standing in his way. Jirou learns tomorrow is the death anniversary of Subaru’s mom. Since a lot of things happened when Nagare eloped with his wife, Subaru is sleeping by her mom’s grave. If Kanade goes on an overseas trip, Subaru must follow and this means Subaru won’t be able to visit her mom’s grave. Kanade comes by and orders Nagare to enlist her for the event. Then she reveals to Jirou that this is a secret she was told that Subaru wanted to keep a secret from him.

Jirou meets Subaru at the grave. Explaining he has heard from Kanade, Subaru continues that her mom always worried if she would make any friends she is unsociable. Subaru becomes emotional so Jirou hugs her despite knowing his phobia can make him pass out again. He doesn’t care about that and wants Subaru to tell him everything about her mom. After she introduces him to her mom, he finally passes out. Then he wakes up in a tent back at the festival. Just in time for the grand battle royale even with the winner getting the grand prize of a sheep plushie doll and a kiss from the Yukata Beauty. Who? Punyuru?! You can guess Nagare will be entering this contest and is hell bent on ‘killing’ everyone to protect his daughter. As the event starts, Nakuru becomes some drunk stripper and has the uncanny skill to strip anyone of their underwear! WTF?! After undressing Usami and violating Kureha (more like tickling her unconscious), it’s a final face off with Jirou. The other last player standing is Kanade. She has singlehandedly taken out all other participants! Including Nagare. She makes a clever move by holding Jirou’s glasses as hostage. Then throwing those fakes into the lake to distract Nakuru and make her go out. Kanade hugs Jirou for being a brave soul but since she can’t let him win, I guess this means Punyuru’s kiss goes to her. Ah well. Saves all those complicated matters. Jirou wakes up to find himself lying on Subaru’s lap. She lets him know Nakuru went on a stripping rampage after she thought Jirou’s glasses were broken so Kanade had to go down and settle everything. Subaru is happy she won the sheep plushie. Then as they watch the fireworks, Subaru tells Jirou she doesn’t them to be just friends.

Episode 9
Usami calls Jirou to help her out in her part time job. But what he didn’t know is that he’s supposed to be working in a maid cafe. Don’t worry, he doesn’t have to cross-dress. The cafe owner, Maria though Jirou is Usami’s boyfriend but he dismisses anything like it. Even so, she hopes he can continue to be her friend. Trouble starts when Kanade patrons the shop as a customer. I guess Maria allows her since she was paid off a handsome sum. What happened to Subaru? I don’t know how Kanade gave her the slip but Subaru is being mistakenly picked up by a butler cafe staff to start serving the customers streaming in. So while Subaru is busy at her end (she had to work to repay the door she busted. If not, repay with her body. Yikes!), Kanade does what she does best, enjoying the amusement of seeing Usami and Jirou serve her to her whims and fancies. After spending such long hours (enough to piss Usami off), she is ready to go home till Nakuru and Kureha show up. They are temporary part timers hired by Maria. Kanade continues her patronage playing a fighting video game when bored Jirou wanted to go wash some plates but accidentally trips and rips Usami’s clothes. Why when guys do this, their hands must grope the breasts? Kanade compounds his misery by making up lies about Jirou’s maid fetish. Kureha believed her and runs out crying. While Nakuru goes after her, Kanade continues her teasing. She warns Usami about Jirou’s extreme fetish for maids with garter belts. Then twisting everything and messing with Usami’s mind if she likes Jirou or not, she convinces Usami to show her garter belts to him as proof if Jirou doesn’t have those fetishes. Unbelievably, Jirou would’ve fallen into that hypnotizing garter belt fetish trap (I guess he really digs it) if not for Subaru finally showing up (must have repaid her debts, eh?). Jirou asks Subaru about what she meant about being more than just friends. She flusters and just says that wasn’t a confession and what she meant was to be best friends. Then she returns to Kanade who has just called Kureha to clear up the misunderstanding. Usami hopes Jirou can come back here and work part time once in a while. Then she gets embarrassed and upset when Jirou mistakenly hears a ringtone that she specifically assigns Jirou’s number to.

Episode 10
Kureha looks forward to her 16th birthday. She parties along with Nakuru at Usami’s place and I’m not sure if her home is haunted with ghosts! After giving Kureha her presents (guess what Nakuru gave? Yup. Glasses), Nakuru and Usami put on a play acting as Jirou and Subaru respectively. I think it’s just Nakuru wanting to play out her fantasies. Kureha’s birthday bash continues at Maria’s cafe as Kanade and Subaru also joins in. This has her remember her 8th birthday whereby she kicked up a fuss of wanting to see daddy. Jirou calmed her down by using all his savings to buy a teddy bear (that she uses to wrestle with it). Then Kanade plays a customized fighting video game with Kureha (she was moe enough to convince a couple of game geeks to design the game in a day!) using Jirou and Kureha as the main characters. It sounds so perverted… Jirou throwing his underwear… As Kureha is being chauffeured home, she remembers during her 10th birthday, she hated mommy for whatever reasons and sulked by herself at the park. She remembers Jirou coming to pick her back and remembered that expression on his face. I hope it wasn’t the expression of her doing submission moves on him. She further remembers how Jirou never failed to remember her birthday. Except for last year. Seems he went out with Kurose after they manage to get some platinum tickets for a live show. So when he came back, Kureha took out her frustrations on her brother and even ripping the t-shirt he bought at the event. I don’t know. At this point I’m hating her for forgetting all the good deeds he has done for her. So what if he happened to forget this important day and that is just once and his first time. Kanade suggests Kureha quit being Jirou’s sister and be hers instead. Because Subaru sounded like she was defending Jirou, Kanade jokes she should be Jirou’s sister instead. Then Kureha remembers the times Jirou had been there for her in place of her mother and forgives him. When she returns home, she is happy to find Jirou has bought her a big polar bear stuffed doll. He has learnt from his mistake never to make her cry again like last year. Kureha is so happy that she hugs him. And by that she means doing all the wrestling moves. Happy birthday Kureha. Finally Usami plays a customized video game by Kanade. I already guessed it. No matter how you look at it, win or lose, it’s to piss her off.

Episode 11
As Jirou and Subaru walk to school together, Usami crashes into them. Their face was close enough to kiss. Usami breaks them up thinking she’s about to see 2 guys kissing in public. Then she scoots off and gives her half eaten bread to them. Jirou bites it and Subaru thinks it’s like an indirect kiss. Wait. She said that? Kanade joins them for lunch at the rooftop and I could see from a million miles that she planned something. Putting white wine into Subaru’s food made her drunk and wanting to strip! Taking advantage of that, Kanade orders her butler to lick the sauce off Jirou’s neck. Subaru is about to confess something to Jirou but falls asleep. Ah, miss the all-important part. Jirou notices Kanade spacing out. After putting Subaru in the infirmary, back in class Jirou thinks he may have heard Kanade making a weird but cute sound. Nyu? He’s not hearing things. Even the classmates heard it but Jirou tries to cover it as his voice. Not working. Taking Kanade away, she reveals she has this secret the entire school doesn’t know and this is her only weak point. Whenever she has hiccups, she can’t help adding “Nyu” at the end of every sentence. I don’t know whether she’s doing it on purpose because it seems so fake but by saying this, she has become cuter and has this tendency to attract guys towards her. Subaru has recovered enough to explain further that it happened once when Kanade was a child and at a party when this happened, the adults find it so cute and even argued to offer to stop her hiccups. Her bodyguards failed to quell the incident so much so the police was called in to take care of it! Similarly the same thing happened 4 years ago but this time Subaru was there to stop it. But I guess things changed because Subaru is also captivated by her cute voice that she wants to monopolize it! Anyway Kanade sends her home to retrieve tools to stop her hiccup. Yup, part of her scheme to get her alone with Jirou and do some seductive stuff. So by the time Jirou runs off and bumps into Subaru who has returned (that fast?), Kanade’s hiccups have already stopped. See? Was she faking it? But she’s not faking this one when she falls down a flight of stairs and sprains her ankle. Though she is hospitalized and her injury is deemed nothing serious, Subaru feels guilty for failing to protect her. She cries in Jirou’s arms when Nagare pops up. I guess he also wants to admit Jirou into hospital but he is here to relief Subaru of her duties. Seeing she let Kanade get injured, it is obvious that as a butler, she must take responsibility. Nagare will take over her duties to tend to Kanade but Kanade won’t allow anyone else to be her butler. However as Nagare mentions, this already has been decided by her father. Though Kanade will talk and convince her dad to overturn his decision, Nagare says that if she stops being a butler, Subaru can stop pretending to be a boy. Subaru accepts her fate and feels honoured to have served her. Then she runs off. With her leg injured, Kanade sends Jirou to go after her. He catches and hugs her. Vowing he won’t let her go even if he falls, Subaru is alright that he doesn’t have to keep her secret anymore and it’s goodbye. Not a punch to his gut but a peck on his cheek. Ultimate nose bleed! Let it flow!

Episode 12
Usami finds Jirou lying around and after learning what happened, she offers him a ride to where Subaru is. I’m sure because of her reckless riding, it’s not that he has nowhere else to hold but her boobs. He finds her at the hotspring inn and she doesn’t feel like going home tonight. Jirou calls to inform Kanade so the latter hopes they can have their very ‘first experience’. This has been bugging Jirou all night that he can’t sleep. Furthermore, Subaru even asks if there is something he wants to do more than kissing. I guess he’s trying hard to hold it in though he says he would prefer to do it with the person he loves. Subaru snuggles up close to him and he got the wrong message and is prepared to do it anyway. He gets punched instead and all Subaru wanted was to sleep together. Nothing more. So they sleep while holding hands and this calms Subaru down because mommy used to do this for her when she couldn’t sleep. I hope Jirou doesn’t lose all his blood by the time morning comes. She thinks she can’t go back being a butler but he is okay for her staying like a normal girl. Next morning Kanade and Nagare pick them up home. Jirou gets his usual from Kureha and she thinks his homosexuality has awakened after spending a night with a ‘guy’. When Jirou comes to school, he learns from Kanade that Subaru has transferred to another school. I guess you know what this means for S4 & WOSS, right? One big gloomy fan group. Suddenly, Subaru returns! Oh wait. It’s Punyuru as a new transfer student in Kureha and Nakuru’s class! Well, I suppose this way Subaru won’t have trouble trying to hide her secret. Of course even if everyone else doesn’t see it, Usami can tell that Subaru is cross-dressing but can’t help wonder why. Kanade makes Jirou carry her around like a princess as he starts to observe her soft and curvy features. If only his nose bleed didn’t get in the way of this enjoyment.

Later Jirou talks to Subaru about her choice of becoming a girl. He knows she wants to be a butler but circumstances have made it impossible for her. Seeing how she really wants to be Kanade’s butler, Jirou vows to leave it to him. He enters the most dangerous place in school. A place filled with crazy S4 and WOSS girls who do not hesitate in attacking and blaming that bastard for making Subaru transfer out. Jirou defends his ground well but instead of fighting back, he begs for them to cooperate for the time being. They start gathering signatures from everyone for a petition to have Subaru back as a butler. Seeing how everybody really wants Subaru back, Punyuru also signs it. At the end of the day, Kanade takes all those signatures back to her father and the result? Subaru is back to being Kanade’s butler! Hooray! Order is restored. Now the fan girls have a reason to continue existing. So if Subaru’s back, what about Punyuru? I can’t believe the rest believed that crappy reason she had to transfer out. Of course Usami is annoyed that everyone didn’t see through that obvious disguise but nevertheless feels happy of how things turned out. That night, Subaru calls Jirou out to the park because she wants to thank him properly. Not as a butler but as a girl. Okay, do you see where this is heading? Since Jirou is hesitating whether he wants it or not, Kanade has to come out of her hiding (those darn plan of hers again) to ‘warn’ that if Subaru doesn’t kiss him, she will. Instantly Subaru nails a good one right on his lips. Too bad his nose bleed had to ruin it all. Better hurry up and cure it or else they can’t go further beyond than this. Woah! Did Subaru actually say that?

Episode 13
This filler episode feels like giving Nakuru’s turn of attention among the main girls. Jirou is browsing through porn mags suggested by Kurose when he finds a BL magazine in the midst. Kurose thought he is really gay! Then Nakuru shows up at his doorstep and his first reaction is to close the door on her! Don’t let the true pervert get in! Call the cops! But he relents since Nakuru threatens to scream kidnap. She’s here not for Kureha but to seek his advice. Huh? Really? This was what happened. Few days ago while Subaru is relaxing in his hot bath, she saw something shiny from afar. Fearing the worse, she instantly dashes out, jumps across every obstacle (including a truck) and up the building to take out the photographer who turns out to be Nakuru, snapping secret shots of her. Nakuru then decided to save her glasses instead of the very expensive camera equipment and finds herself falling off the building. She could’ve been a pancake if Subaru didn’t grab her. Then at the cafe, Nakuru reveals her intention of wanting to sell those photos to the WOSS fan girls so she could make some money to publish her own doujin. However the steam was covering the picture so it’s no good. Kanade overheard this and willingly helps Nakuru out by giving out more pictures of Subaru! In butler form of course.

So Nakuru was able to sell out all the photos to those desperate fan girls but with cash she realized she still had one more problem: She’s in a slump and can’t finish her doujin despite the volume was already so thick that Kureha needed to use her special chop to nail the stapler down. And tomorrow is the convention. She even got Usami to help out. Nakuru gives some of Subaru’s photos to Kureha. She got so excited that she decided to show her Jirou’s room since he is away at Kurose’s place. Cheeky Nakuru starts searching for porn mags and finds quite a few. At least this proves he is interested in woman, right? As reward for ‘letting’ her rummage his collection, she leaves behind a BL magazine as a reward. So that’s how it got there. Continuing her work, she is still in a slump and figured she needed more help and called Subaru and Kanade over too! And when Nakuru is done, Subaru’s super chop like as though she’s using a sewing machine has Nakuru’s volume finally completed. Then she wants to ask Subaru about something. No, not about BL or glasses. What could it be? Seeing her so nervous and shy, Kureha and Usami think something is really wrong. However Nakuru decides not to ask them eventually. Next day at the doujin convention, Kureha and Usami spy on her since they smell something fishy (why are they dressed in Hidan No Aria and Kampfer outfits?). To their surprise, they witness Nakuru’s fans buying everything so it’s an instant sell out. After that they tail her to the bookstore, anime and game shop. Kureha realizes something amiss in all her purchases. She bought boy-girl romance stories instead of BL! Could it be she’s in love?! So shock that their presence got busted by her. So after accompanying her to measure her bust and buy some bras, finally Nakuru decides to tell them what’s bugging her. She wants to know what they think about her bust. Disappointed? Well at least you can see the frustration on Usami and Kureha’s face. After all the trouble they went through… Since she can’t ask them for advice (I figure those 2 are flat, that’s why), so she went to see Jirou for it. And so that is how this came to be. STORY TOO FREAKING LONG!!!!!!!!! But it’s not over yet. Nakuru wants Jirou to date her tonight. Yes, she’s serious.

Surprisingly, Jirou didn’t turn her down and go with her request. So they hold hands (hold your nose bleed there) and even eat her delicious bento. Jirou is trying to restrain himself no matter how cute Nakuru is looking now, underneath that exterior lies a true pervert. Nakuru also seeks his advice on her slump on BL stories. Yeah, why him I wonder… Anyway she’s serious that there’s a reason for this. Asking him his opinion when he sees her breasts, you can’t blame Jirou for putting on a cynical expression because no matter how serious she sounds, maybe it’s just the topic that she’s asking. Nakuru further reveals a while back, a boy confessed he liked her! Shock! Never in anyone’s wildest dreams, eh? Of course she rejected him because she decided to devote her life to BL novels. Knowing that she is not the type that is popular among boys, she started to think about herself. Then another weird request: She wants him to fondle her boobs because she heard rumours that by doing so it will make them smaller. WTF?! Well, she does mention about her complex of her boobs and prefers them small. Jirou gives his honest opinion that everyone has a complex or two and that guys won’t fall in love just because of breasts. Really? Is he that sure? Nakuru wants him to prove that statement with his body! He has to or else she can’t concentrate on her BL novels. What made him said okay? Well, she thought he would be the one who would save her. Yeah, Jirou the hero and all saviour. Now you know why the main girls flock around him. So if he bears and gets through this, she may just be able to get over her complex. As she starts rubbing all over him, Jirou is finding it hard not to nose bleed and manages to do so (oh, if only the rest were here to see this, I can guess what kind of reaction they’ll put and the action he will receive). Nakuru gets motivated that and even thinks he is good BL material. Hell no! He pushes her away and in that instant her glasses fell off. Suddenly Jirou sees how pretty she is! Man, she’s damn cute! Nakuru is relieved to have got over her complex but as she looks at Jirou, she can’t help notice how cool he is. Her heart suddenly skipping beat. But she got so scared at this thought that she runs away from him. Now she doesn’t want him close? So you see now why guys can’t understand women?

Cheesy Turkey…
I just can’t help but feel annoyed at the end. From the way things are going and from my experience of this type of shows (oh sure, I must be a real expert in watching genres like these now), I wasn’t placing much hope on the ending. I guessed that Subaru’s identity will come close to being exposed but since that didn’t happen, it turned out to be her life job on the line. And yeah, Subaru eventually gets to keep her job and be Kanade’s butler in the end but that is all to be expected, right? At least they didn’t use money, power or status to turn that around and instead the subtle power of friendship. So are they saying that if we get enough signatures, we’ll be able to turn things around? If only that ever works in real life (okay, sometimes it does). So maybe it wasn’t really about letting Kanade get injured the reason why Subaru got her job back but I am speculating that it is a test by Kanade’s dad to see if Subaru wasn’t just capable as Kanade’s butler but have her own circle and friends too. You can have the best butler in the world but if that butler lacks the kind of important values between other humans, then I guess you’re as good as nothing. The story flow isn’t anything unique either. You get your usual beach fanservice episodes, the school cultural festival, the maid cafe instalment and the boy-and-girl-alone-at-the-hotspring-inn drama as your expected cuppa. Some episodes give more prominence to a particular main girl and as Jirou goes along keeping Subaru’s secret, he peeks a little more into Subaru’s past and understands the situation better.

So the other thing that I am annoyed is the characters themselves. Perhaps it is the pace and the flow of the series that made me feel this way. For instance take Jirou. It’s mind boggling that he developed this phobia of girls touching him after getting abused by the 2 closest women in his life. I mean they just touch him. It’s not like they’re hitting him or something. And with so many incidents of coming into contact with females, why didn’t his body develop some sort of wacko immunity to cure his nose bleeds just like how he got them in the first place? So each time contact is made, he tries hard to hold it in. If he can’t, he passes out, wakes up somewhere. Otherwise he is just some plain ordinary guy who to his best abilities would help those out in need. Sounds pretty normal for a main character, eh? If he’s really scared and chicken of girls, what is he doing in a co-ed school in the first place? He could’ve transferred out to an all-boys’ school. Maybe being scared of girls doesn’t mean he fears them. See how he is still okay with porn magazines? I guess 2D is okay, eh? Yeah, 2D girls rock! Hopefully that nose bleed phobia will turn into nose bleed of stimulation instead ;p. Or else he will have to live with the reputation of being gay and make some crazy girls go wild and happy. The way this repetitiveness is played out somehow reminds me of a similar anime: MM! Fortunately Jirou didn’t turn into a masochist like what Tarou did and was all along. In both series, they experience getting beaten up. Lots of them. It’s no fun being guys like them. Unless you enjoy these kind of things.

I guess Subaru is the one I could say that undergoes the most change. She opens up her heart to others ever since meeting Jirou and her identity being found out other than members of the household. I feel that Subaru is torn in a lot of ways and in a dilemma between the roles she has to undertake. Though she still does a splendid job as a butler, at the same time there is this feeling that she wants to be a friend. Though she may be acting like a boy, there are times when she needs to be a girl. Get what I mean? Her growing feelings for Jirou is getting pretty obvious so I suppose even Kanade had to back down and give her a chance for Subaru to act like a real girl at least once in front of Jirou. Subaru may have a few other quirks with her and since we know that she has a phobia on bladed objects, how come she overcome them so fast and easily during that fake kidnapping incident? When you develop a phobia, it’s not that easy to just cure it and for Subaru’s case it was just poof! Gone. So why can’t Jirou do the same for his gynophobia? I guess this means with him having a long way to go, it gives a reason for the rest to stay around him. Is this chicken such a fun guy?

Kanade being the sadist is amusing to see how she will toy with those around her. She always stays one step ahead of everybody and will not allow any space for others to step over her. That’s why she’s seen as close to perfect. She’s already got Subaru as her butler, now she’s got Jirou as her personal toy. But her amusement in teasing Jirou too much has become such an annoyance instead. Don’t take this the wrong way that she’s a cold-hearted person (everyone has a little devil in their hearts) as she still cares for others but in her own way. Since you don’t really know what is going on in her mind, you can’t tell whether she likes Jirou for real but my guess is that she does or else why continue to toy around with him? There are many other guys whom she can take out her amusement from or even slap their face with cash with (that’s what she did for the school nurse) but why him? To make sure he keeps Subaru’s secret hidden may work at the start but as the series progresses, that doesn’t seem viable anymore. After 13 episodes, you think that some kind of trust has formed between them, right? Besides, do you think Jirou is the kind of guy who would expose somebody else’s secret just like that? So you think she doesn’t have feelings for Jirou? Not that she would show it even to us.

Muscle brain woman is what describes Kureha best and that is what makes her totally annoying. In her quest to be strong just like mommy, poor big brother has to endure her daily tortures. Doesn’t she have a heart? Doesn’t she know how her brother feels? Maybe too much brute force has made her an airhead and someone who is so gullible enough to believe any weird and false rumours she is being told about her brother. Doesn’t she know or trust her brother well enough? Maybe all she’s interested is just giving him some wrestling moves. But at the end of the day, she still loves her brother very much because she’s the only family member she’s got. You can blame mommy for irresponsibly leaving the house to search for someone stronger. Well at this rate, I don’t think she’s coming home because she’ll be finding none. Usami I can classify her as a tsundere while Nakuru really is a true pervert with her obsession for glasses and BL. Nagare like a good father to Subaru can be too overprotective at times and though he might try to sound or act cool, he usually ends up looking like an idiot. At this rate, I guess he and Jirou won’t be burying the hatchet very soon.

For the romance part, I guess you can say the main characters love revolves around Jirou and Subaru. Kanade may be a bisexual because she did indicate though Subaru was her first love, it’s not like she is going to stick to it till kingdom come. Kureha loves Subaru but still thinking that she is a boy. However even if she did mention that she likes him, I feel it is more towards the admiration sense because you don’t see her flustering like girls do when they’re in love. So what happens if she really gets to know Subaru is a girl? Will she turn yuri then? Usami started out liking Subaru and now she also likes Jirou as far as I can see from her interactions with the chicken idiot. Nakuru’s passion is of course BL stuff between the duo. Whatever happened to S4 and WOSS in the end? I felt that their presence didn’t have much impact in the sense that they may be obsessed over Subaru but I don’t see that passion here. Maybe it’s because they don’t have much screen time. Even so I thought since Subaru is so damn popular, if they are true obsessed fans then they would be stalking to wherever she goes. The way Subaru goes out to town and even on that fake date dressed as a girl with Jirou, you would think that some diehard fan girls would be around and take notice. Even that physical examination should have the guys at least raise an eyebrow but no… They just think how close Jirou and Subaru are. With everyone this ‘dumb’ and not as observant, it’s safe to say that Subaru’s secret is very safe. Even a smart girl like Usami still can’t fathom why ‘he’ cross-dresses. Everybody open your eyes! It’s a girl I tell you no matter how you look at it! Then again, I don’t really want to reveal it either because it’ll shatter lots of dreams and fantasies. Yeah, the truth hurts so it’s better for things to stay as they are now.

There are quite a few trivia to spot in this anime. For example, I thought Maria’s maid assistants look awfully familiar. I thought it could just be coincidence but then I found out they are actually cameo appearance made by KissxSis twin sisters, Ako and Riko despite being named Milk and Choco respectively. I also didn’t realize it at first but there are quite a few scenes with cameo appearance from Mirai Suenaga. Who? The mascot character for Culture Japan created and designed by fellow Malaysian Danny Choo. On a trivial note, I notice the episode titles are taken from a speech that occurs somewhere during the episode. Some of the next episode previews are filled with sexual innuendos that it makes you chuckle in amusement upon realizing what they’re actually doing. For example the one whereby Subaru was worried about doing something properly, how sensitive it would be and how much it hurts but it turns out to be blood donation. For the mid-intermission, the characters sputter random nonsensical words that sometimes do not make sense. I’ve been wondering about that sheep plushie and it still bugs me that people find them cute since it has a drop of blood dripping from its mouth… Maybe it’ll get even more popular if it had its guts spilling out or brain sliced open… Just saying…

After hearing Yuka Iguchi’s trademark annoying high pitch squealing characters such as Index in To Aru Majutsu No Index, Yashiro in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko and Maria in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai, it was really a surprise to find her voicing Subaru because she really sounded different using a lower voice as the character. At first I couldn’t recognize her but when Subaru starts squealing in panic, suddenly it occurred to me how familiar this voice was. Then it hit me. No doubt that is the voice of Yuka Iguchi! Looks like I’ve been so stereotyped by her voice roles that I am utterly surprised that she could even voice this kind of character roles. Eri Kitamura is fitting as Kanade like her other sly characters like Rin in Kodomo No Jikan and Ami in Toradora. Kana Hanazawa as usual does her best in a full retard mode as Kureha like how she did for the titular character in Kobato, Rana of Freezing and Shiro in Deadman Wonderland. Other casts include Satoshi Hino as Jirou (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima series), Mariya Ise as Usami (Stocking in Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt), Kana Asumi as Nakuru (Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Keiji Fujiwara as Nagare (Sven in Black Cat) and Natsuko Kuwatani as Maria (Suisei Seki of Rozen Maiden).

Subaru may not match the all-in-one butler of Hayate and the bishonen demon butler Sebastian but like any butler, despite the gender, financial status or race, butlers do their best to accommodate their master’s needs, whims and fancies. That’s what butlers are for and that’s why they are so handy to come with. So if I ever find myself caught in the same position as Jirou, probably the first thing I would do is to blame the butler because well, the butler always did it! Haha! Enough about butlers already, I prefer maids though.

Tamayura ~Hitotose~

August 4, 2012

I guess the OVAs must be popular enough to warrant a TV series.  Ever since the OVAs came out back in 2010, a year later, Tamayura ~Hitotose~ received a TV series of its own. Many would consider this anime to be a ‘healing’ anime because of the calm and soothing pace the series has to offer. No gory violence or blood, no extreme and mindless fanservice and no exaggerated jokes and puns that would make you die laughing or have stomach cramps. Ah yes. What better way than to ‘detoxify’ what all other animes have corrupted our minds. So if you’re looking for dragon slaying adventure or even some high school comedy romance, look elsewhere. You watch this show because you want to ‘cleanse’ the good of your mind and soul.

The TV series is more like a continuation after the events of the OVAs. I won’t say you will lose much if you do not watch the OVAs and jump straight in to this one, but I feel it is better to watch the OVAs first for a better understanding. As the main story goes, photography enthusiast Fuu Sawatari is saddened by the sudden death of her beloved dad. One of the many memories he left behind are the wonderful photos he took. It brings sad memories just to look at them but as in life, we all have to move on. But Fuu is not alone as she will experience many more wonderful moments that will turn her sadness into happy memories with the support of her family, friends and the people of the town she resides. So basically in this TV series, Fuu has left the town she was born in to return to the town her father loved before he went to Heaven, Takehara. She also decided to take up photography once more so that she could stop staining all the joyful memories with colours of sadness.

Episode 1
As the last summer of middle school begin, Fuu and her friend Chihiro Miyoshi are browsing through photos of Seto Inland. Chihiro in addition to her cry-baby habit, tries not to make Fuu remember the sad memories of her father’s passing. Each time she thinks she does that, she starts crying. It’s true that whenever Fuu sees photographs from her late father, it always brings back sadness. That’s why she packed up his stuff away. But when Fuu returns home, she sees her little brother Kou browsing through daddy’s photo album. Fuu realizes in those pictures, there were fun and pleasant moments that she never wanted to forget. That’s when Fuu thought she wanted to have daddy’s camera. So with mommy Tamae, they unpack daddy’s stuff and they see a mug that Fuu made for daddy as well. Fuu still remembers how daddy thought her to use the camera and as Tamae notes, daddy is still alive in her. Next day in class, Fuu shows Chihiro the camera and she has made her decision to take up photography again. Thus Chihiro became Fuu’s first shot. So happy that Chihiro cried… When Tamae gets word from grandma that there will be no problem for Fuu to return to Takehara, Kou also wants to tag along. Since they don’t view transferring of schools to be a hassle, it is decided. Tamae is going to move there too. Of course Tamae will need 2 months to tie up everything since it is her dream to work in grandma’s Tamayura Cafe in Takehara. Fuu sends her photograph to a professional photographer Riho Shihomi and wonders if she would get a reply. Fuu and Tamae talk about their childhood friend Kaoru and Sayomi whom they used to spend time with at Takehara and that Kaoru was surprised to hear Fuu is going to attend the same high school as her. One morning, Chihiro finds Fuu excited and out of breath. She has got a reply from Riho and she finds her pictures of everyone in it to be very lovely. Also inserted in the letter is a ticket without a destination. Chihiro notes how Fuu has changed. Perhaps somewhat a little more aggressive. She attributes it to Fuu’s father who gave her that strength and that he is the one happiest about Fuu taking up photography again. As the days passed, Fuu cuts her hair short for a new image and Chihiro gives her a bundle of stuffed dolls as farewell gifts. Cute or creepy. But… She has more gifts! Oh dear. Thank God they are just a handmade album and camera case that comes with a holder for the ticket. Chihiro also wants to change and be aggressive and she manages that first step without ending up crying. Fuu takes several trains to reach Takehara and notes how the scenery never changed. When she steps out of the train station, she is surprised to see a greeting of “Welcome back” on the ground. It is Kaoru and she is happily waiting for her. Emotions overcame Fuu as she felt as if this town had been waiting for her this whole time.

Episode 2
It’s been a month Fuu has arrived at Takehara and she’s getting along fine with her friends Kaoru Hanawa, Norie Okazaki and Maon Sakurada. But she is still nervous (sometimes to a point of being clumsy) when talking to others. Especially the energetic homeroom teacher Kazutarou Dougou who loves making bad puns of regions and blowing his whistle. As the friends taste grandma’s delicious lemon pie (I WANT TO TRY SOME TOO!!!), Fuu learns Sayomi won’t be home tonight due to a seminar. Because of not wanting Kaoru to be alone, she suggests a sleepover. Grandma gives the green light and allows them to use the second floor. Norie and Maon arrive and as they wait for Kaoru, Fuu gets a call from her saying she can’t make it because apparently she can’t refused Dougou’s plea to help out with the festival. Since she doesn’t know when it will finish, she doesn’t want to spoil Fuu’s fun and tells her to go ahead but Fuu and the rest think of helping out. The more the merrier, right? If they can just ignore that Dougou guy… I think his okonomiyaki doll is more creepy than cute. To reward the girls for their hard work, he treats them to Hoboro’s okonomiyaki. Obviously that teacher has a crush on her so to him, he wallops the big 3-layer okonomiyaki and the girls just find it hard to finish that big serving. So the sleepover is back on track with the girls having a bath, taking pictures and flipping through the photo albums. They start to realize what Maon meant when she earlier said she wanted to bring background music: Horror music for ghost stories! Suddenly! They hear footsteps. OMG! Who could it be at this hour? Grandma and Tamae are asleep. Thank goodness it turns out to be Sayomi. She managed to get out from the seminar and judging from Kaoru’s message, she thought she really missed her. Or maybe she’s just over-reacting. The start talking about Dougou and his awful puns but to their surprise they find Maon actually laughs at them because she is a fan of puns. When everyone else is sleeping, Fuu sees Sayomi looking through the photo album. Sayomi thanks her for coming back to Takehara. It is proof that memories of her father have turned from sad to being full of warmth. She and Kaoru was always worried about her family and always looked forward to see them again. Though her father was the one who brought them to lots of memorable places, it is now her turn to give Fuu all sorts of experiences to remember. That way, she’ll find more things to love and in turn they will give her strength. And of course Fuu is glad she returned because she loves everything there is about this town.

Episode 3
Fuu and friends have a taste of Tamae’s delicious special lunch set (I WANT TO EAT THEM!!!) and the peach jelly as dessert (I WANT TO EAT THAT TOO!!!). With Kou serving them, shotacon Norie gets even noisier and ecstatic. Thank goodness Kou didn’t turn into someone who fears her of have instant negative reaction upon seeing her. As Norie and Maon leave, the former notes how having a cute little brother beats having an older one. They feel somebody following them. Once they reach the intersection, they split up to cause confusion. Then they corner her and question her. Introducing herself as Komachi Shinoda, she reveals she was secretly tailing Norie to make sure she doesn’t do any bad things. What bad things? She accuses Kaori of only learning how to make sweets to get closer to Kou. Oh. I can see where this is heading. Cheeky Komachi surprises Norie with a rock-scissors-paper game and the latter lost. Norie gets pissed off and falls into her mischievous pace. Meanwhile Fuu retrieves the photos she took of the special lunch from Maestro but she doesn’t feel satisfied on how they turned out. Maestro imparts some advice on the lighting and to savour the taste of the food before snapping it. Wouldn’t that mean there will be no food left to take once you eat them all? After Fuu tries to snap shots of Momoneko (nothing came out perfect because that candy floss-like cat is never still), they return to Tamayura Cafe. Guess what? Komachi is here too. To stop Norie’s dastardly schemes. Oh boy… She further accuses her of making grandma to teach her to cook to get closer to Kou. She challenges her to see who can make the better tasting sweets. Initially Norie didn’t want to play along but I guess she got swept by Komachi’s cheeky flow. Grandma allows them to start the challenge now and here and Kou will be the judge once he returns. I’m sure this is a super incentive for Norie to do her best. As they start, Norie decides to use her own recipe instead of grandma’s while Komachi is at a loss what to do (she claims she knows too many recipe that she doesn’t know which to pick). Grandma helps Komachi out and suggests pancakes and even guides her in making them. At first it doesn’t turn out good (over burnt). What is missing? The most important ingredient: The wish for someone to enjoy to food you cook. Komachi peeks at Norie and she is almost done and confident with her cooking. She starts thinking maybe she wasn’t after Kou after all (Norie’s dream is to be a patissiere). Komachi tries again and this time it tastes better. Then everybody starts eavesdropping when grandma asks when Komachi have been interested in Kou. She was honest to say when he first came to this town. At first she thought he was a girl but when she learnt he is a boy, that’s when her interest peaked. Kou returns and tries both sweets and finds them both delicious. What does this mean? It’s a draw. Then everyone has a taste of them and it would be unfair if you ranked one higher than the other. Fuu wonders when Norie started making sweets so she explains when she was young, her family was supposed to go on a trip but she suddenly got sick, causing the trip to be cancelled. She thought her brother would be mad but he left her a delicious red bean cake. She never forgot that taste and thinks the desire to see someone smile is what gives sweets their delicious flavour since sweets are made from the feelings of kindness. Fuu captures the delicious moments of everyone enjoying the sweets and she hopes she can do the same for her photograph like how a tasty dish brings a smile to both the ones who eat it and the one who made it. Soon… Komachi has a camera in hand and challenges Fuu… Oh dear. Here we go again. Unforgivable to take pictures to get close to Kou? She’s his sister, for God’s sake!

Episode 4
For the summer holidays, Maon is happy she can go back to Oosakishimo Island because her family runs an inn there. She invites her friends to come along too. Fuu and Kou would love to tag along since their grandpa also lives on that island. I’m not sure which is worst. Fuu being nervous all the way from the boat ride till the inn or Maon’s very emotional father, crying right after thanking the girls for taking care of Maon. Maon didn’t want her friends to go in to her room and brings them up to the second floor to have a panoramic view of the inland sea. She wants to help out with her family with the inn but her mother tells her to guide her friends around the island. While touring around, the gang sees Maon staring intensely inside a stage hall named Virgo. They think her dream is to be a stage performer and is torn between that and her parents’ supposed wish to run the inn. The next stop is the watchmaker’s shop, Fuu and Kou’s grandpa’s workplace. Norie needs to make a good first impression on grandpa but guess who they see at the store? Komachi! Oh dear. Is this a curse? For Norie, yeah. But for Komachi, it must be fate. It’s funny that Komachi can steal the scene right under Norie’s nose and she can’t do anything about it. So grandpa shows up and he is equally nervous in meeting them. I guess it runs in the family, eh? They learn grandpa receives orders to fix watches from all over the world. As they stop for dessert, a group of female employees are asking directions to Maon’s family inn. Maon is tongue tied at first but apologizes to her friends that she needs to guide the tourists to her place. And Komachi has to leave too seeing her granny has requested her help to make red bean mochi. She’ll settle whatever score with Norie back on Takehara. Less one noisy girl… Back at the inn, Fuu and co watch Maon nervously helping out the tourists with their luggage. They wanted to help but grandpa advises not to because Maon is doing her best to give her guests a warm welcoming service. Grandpa leaves and that night the friends are treated to a nice inn meal. Maon’s parents come to talk to them and Norie has something she needs to talk to Maon’s dad. No, it’s not about marriage! It’s about Maon’s dream in the music industry and she thinks the inn may be holding her back. Maon has overheard this and dismisses that. She says the inn is very dear to her and her intense staring at Virgo was because it is also a special place to her. When she was young, she witnessed a stage performance and was captivated by it. She thought how the people on stage could cast a spell to unite the audience’s heart and felt maybe she could do that too. The inn is where she was born and raised so it’s like a precious part of her. She doesn’t really know what she wants to do in her future and would like to help her parents out with the inn though she doesn’t have confidence in dealing customers. But her parents and friends saw how she did today and though she may be shy and never good at speaking, they knew she earnestly welcomed the guests. All they want for her is to choose the path in life she wants. Her father adds Maon had been switching dreams so often in her life and is going to show them a secret. A secret that Maon tried to keep her friends away earlier in the day. After restraining her, they see cartoonish drawings of her dreams scribbled on the wooden wall. Among them includes a mangaka, magician, comedian and a person who wears animal costumes. It’s okay. Don’t need to hold back your laughter. I guess it’s okay to have many dreams too. Just become what you want to be then. Fuu observes Maon and her dad, how he is kindly looking after his child like as if he is embracing her dreams and all. She wonders if her own father is watching over her the same way.

Episode 5
Chihiro comes to visit Takehara but she got so excited that she stepped off the train upon hearing ‘Ta’ on the announcement. She ended up in Tadanoumi and the next train is an hour away. Fuu suggests for her to wait there while Tamae goes to pick her up. Hey, Tamae fetching her in a Harley? Woah! Fuu returns to the cafe to see Tamae’s old motorcycle club members. They are glad to see Fuu all grown up and show her a picture of Tamae during her younger days. They’re here to ask Tamae out for another motor excursion. Tamae returns with Chihiro and that night she stays at her place. Next day, Fuu brings Chihiro to meet her friends. While eating Hoboro’s okonomiyaki, they learn Chihiro started calling Fuu, “Fuu-nyon” when they first met because of the former’s nervousness. As they tour around town, Chihiro spots something and excitedly rushes to it. What could it be? It’s Momoneko! Who can’t resist seeing that cute furry cat? Kaoru got a bad feeling when Sayomi SMS her to build up some enthusiasm. Before they could ignore everything, there she is! How fast is that? She plans to hike up to Mt Kurotaki. I remember how her driving sucks. So bad that you can say she’s got a ‘licence to kill’. Haha! But good news! They won’t be driving. Bad news? They’ll be walking there. Bummer. It beats having to sit in her car, right? Say, isn’t Mt Kurotaki back at where Tadanoumi was? Oh shi… And after walking for 3 hours, they only get a short break?! Sayomi and Kou seemed okay but the other girls…  During the break, Kou tastes only one of Norie’s sweets. Only one. Maon finds Chihiro likes cute things and the latter tries to learn whistling from the former. Finally reaching the foot of Mt Kurotaki, Chihiro almost collapsed when she heard Sayomi saying that it takes another 2 minutes for warm up and another 30 minutes to reach to the peak! They’ve been walking all day, haven’t they? She accidentally drops her bag and out comes her cute (to me, they’re creepy) little handmade dolls. They didn’t reach the peak but at a reasonable place to view to town from a high ground. Chihiro starts crying seeing Fuu has managed to take care of herself. I guess it’s okay since she held it this long. To commemorate their friendship, Chihiro has the girls take a doll each (I don’t know, I find their names weird). In return, they swap email addresses and this brings another round of tears to Chihiro. As the gang sees Chihiro off at the train station, Chihiro notes how she felt lonely when Fuu made new friends. But now she doesn’t feel that way anymore. And as Fuu narrates, no matter how far they’re apart, distance or years, they’ll always be friends.

Episode 6
In the fall of 1999, little Maon was reading aloud her fairytale storybook at the top of the observatory top. But each time a visitor passes, she stops reading as she felt embarrassment before continuing when they’re gone. She noticed one visitor happened to whistle. She goes to an isolated spot to continue her reading when to her embarrassment realizes Fuu was hearing what she read. So embarrassed that she hide her face under her turtle neck sweater! Of course Fuu finds it interesting and because she starts asking questions about the story, Maon had to make things up impromptu since the story wasn’t finished. Then she spots Norie and Kaoru coming up. She is a little shy of meeting them because their families are currently staying at her inn. Norie is pestering Kaoru to come to the top but the latter is just tired (though Kaoru did not say this I can’t help feel that all she wants Norie is for her to shut up :p). So the tugging and tussling between them ended up with Norie accidentally slipping and falling on her butt. Ouch. She starts crying. Kaoru starts crying. I guess cries are infectious enough because Fuu also starts crying. I think Maon wanted to cry too but she needed to find a way to solve this and came up with an idea to whistle (part of her spontaneous answer from her fairytale). At first nothing came out but after that, she got the hang of it. Instantly the crying stops. Maon continued to whistle like as though the entire sea is her stage. Norie and Kaoru are impressed, made up and return to their family. Likewise, Fuu also returns to her father. Maon ends her fairytale story how a big crowd gathered and everyone became friends.

In the spring of 2009, as Maon leaves school she spots Momoneko and tries to follow it. It leads her to Norie who is somewhat sitting dejectedly. Her heart’s broken? So as the duo walk around town, they learn a little about each other like Maon who came to this island herself and is living alone. So for a noisy girl who loves sweets, why is Norie to exact opposite today? Well, there was a boy she liked. She made him a pumpkin sweet but the kid didn’t like sweet things. That’s when Norie snapped and went crazy with her verbal abuse/chiding. I guess that’s where her depression stems from. Maon learns Norie wants to be a patissiere but for herself, she would like to try her hands at becoming a musician though she isn’t in any music club at the moment. When Maon starts whistling at the sea, Norie thought she heard this familiar tune before and notes it is like as though she’s whistling to the ocean as her stage. Hey, that is what Norie was thinking. Coincidence? Maon continues her whistling and doesn’t care if it’s coincidence just as long as she understands how she feels. Guess what? Norie said that too! What does this mean? Her whistling may be her top-class instrument! To make certain this isn’t really a fluke, Maon whistles once more and hopes to make friends. What do you know? Norie extends her hands for them to be friends! Is she a psychic?! And that was the start of their friendship and how Maon started whistling because it made her a friend. But I guess the mystery is only exclusive to the duo because when Fuu and Kaoru tried to guess them, they are far off. Very, very, very far off.

Episode 7
As Fuu and co go meet up Kaoru at her home, they are shocked to see her strangling somebody!!! Actually she’s finishing up Sayomi’s teruterubouzu when she got a call and suddenly left. Yeah, the face of that teruterubouzu looked like somebody strangled it… Like being hanged… Seeing that Kaoru haven’t been to the Path of Longing in years, thus the reason why Sayomi made the teruterubouzu to hope it will be sunny tomorrow. The rest start making their own teruterubouzu. Fuu remembers how her dad promised to bring her to this festival but he usually ended up busy and thus the promise went unfulfilled. They stop by at Maestro’s place and overheard him giving advice to a couple of girls who plan to confess. Place of recommendation to confess? The graveyard. Yikes! Why? A girl can squeal in fright and cling on to the guy! Besides, isn’t it romantic the place being dark? Yeah, hope you see no ghosts… Passing by the town in preparation of the festival, Fuu tries to snap a shot of Momoneko but she is afraid it will turn out blur. Suddenly to her surprise, Shihomi comes by to lend Fuu her tripod for stability. By the time she sets it up, Momoneko is gone. Shihomi has returned from Tokyo for this festival. Making their way into the packed Hoboro’s okonomiyaki restaurant, suddenly Dougou has a favour to ask the quartet. They have a bad feeling about this. He plans to confess to Hoboro during the festival and wants them to help out. I guess they can’t say no, can’t they? Thus the plan is for the girls to invite Hoboro for a walk and that’s when he’ll come along to show her the way. On the day of the festival, dark clouds loom over the city as it starts drizzling. While they are writing their wishes on paper lantern, Kaoru’s old friend, Shouko Hirono turns up and they are surprise to see each other. But once Shouko realizes the place she recently moved in was where Fuu once lived, the duo start getting chatty. Have we seen them this talkative before? By 4pm, it is still raining as the gang make their way back to Tamayura Cafe. Kaoru is ecstatic when Kou returns but that turned sour once she sees Komachi with him. Here goes the rivalry again… So much so Komachi blurted out her intentions to confess to Kou. Did Kou hear that? Thankfully, he was preoccupied with several grannies at the other table. Kaoru feels frustrated because this is her first Path of Longing as well as Fuu’s since her return and it had to rain. Fuu has dozed off and dreams of her dad. She wants to tell him all the fun memories and new friends she made. By 5pm, the rain had miraculously stopped. They go outside to see the town beautifully lit with bamboo lanterns. As they browse through the wish lanterns, they get a call from Dougou as the cue. They invite Hoboro for the festival so Hoboro gives Dougou a quintuple decker okonomiyaki special. Eat that! Fuu narrates how everyone how came with special feelings in their heart and they helped out to make this day special to her and that her father’s promise has finally been fulfilled.

Episode 8
Though Dougou didn’t manage to confess to Hoboro, he’s still as lively as ever. Fuu mentions when she stopped by at Hoboro, as Shihomi is staying with her, they might be related. They come up with wild theories like they once loved the same guy but overcame resentment with friendship or Shihomi is freeloading for the pancakes. Fuu notes how she was in middle school, she chanced upon a sky-themed photo album in the library. She was captivated by it and this led to her first encounter with Shihomi. Visiting Maestro, guess who Norie is shocked to see as a regular patron? Yeah. Komachi. Trying to take photos to challenge Fuu over Kou? As they look at her photos, they note how she has improved a lot (although her first few photos were on Kou. Stalker…). Komachi says Fuu’s tamayura inspired her to take up photography. Then over at Hoboro, they see Shihomi snapping shots of Hoboro in action making okonomiyaki. She can really put up a show. Shihomi asks the girls a series of questions that include Hoboro’s real name (Chimo?), her surname (Yakusa) and why this restaurant is named Hoboro (in Hiroshima, a hoboro basket signifies divorce. Just kidding. Actually it’s taken from a name of an uninhabited island whereby it is rumoured that critters are eating the island away). Later Fuu and Shihomi browse through the photographs the latter took. Fuu realizes that she photographs a lot of other things instead of the sky. Shihomi mentions she’s not photographing the sky anymore and then noting the ticket with no destination that Fuu keeps, it represents them, their vague and formless dreams. Fuu wonders if Shihomi hesitates sometimes too when the latter invites her to go to Casablanca, an eatery run by an ex-classmate, Misono Fujii.

On the train there, Fuu can’t help ponder if Shihomi is giving up photography. The girls meet Misono at Casablanca and as Fuu admires the several drawings on the wall, a couple of guys come in and tells Misono to give them everything she’s got. Well, are you up for Bitter Melon Cream Green Tea Chilled Noodles? WTF is this combo? You can tell how it tastes when they put it in their mouth. Nevertheless, they finished it all! As explained, these guys help Misono taste-test items she wants to add to her menu. Yeah, and she has all these crazy ideas dying to get out of her head… Just hope they don’t die eating them. After they leave, Misono continues that they are from the flower shop and have been taking pictures of the same spot over the years. There are things you only discover once if you’ve lived here for ages as their photos showed more than just scenery but change. As they talk about the things they did in life, Fuu wonders if dreams change. As Misono puts it, she’s greedy. She wants to take in both things that change and those that doesn’t. Since she’s so greedy, she might want to find something else to do. While walking back, Fuu asks Shihomi if she’s being greedy too because her family, friends and scenery of this town are all dear to her. Shihomi responds that Fuu looked sad when she said she wasn’t photographing the sky anymore. However she notes she will be sad if Fuu gives up photography because she cares for her and it brings her both hope and sadness. Of course it is up to Fuu to decide and choose. She is sure with the way things are, they are all greedy in this aspect. Shihomi assures Fuu she hasn’t given up on photography yet. Fuu narrates the pictures they take are for them to decide and as for the ticket with no destination, it has the freedom to take them anywhere as the decision to go where she wants lies within her. The girls have a taste of Hoboro’s new Bamboo Shoot Muffin. Yummy! Now this is the kind of dish I would like to taste-test and try.

Episode 9
An episode on Momoneko?! At least for the first half. Even cats like him have dreams. Yeah, dreaming of Fuu feeding and tending to his needs. Must be such a wonderful dream that he falls off the wall! Don’t worry, he’s okay albeit a little grumpy. It doesn’t help when Norie makes unnecessary comments like it’s good to be a cat because he can laze around all day long. That night, Momoneko goes on his usual patrol around town. Putting litter into correct recycle bins and helping a female cat from being harassed by a male cat. I guess this even happens in the cat world. The female cat wants Momoneko to help out as she shows him a vegetable farm ravaged by a wild boar. At first he was reluctant but her cute pleas must have changed his mind. But when the scary wild boar shows up, Momoneko runs for his life! Back at the shrine, he is in a dilemma whether to go back or not but thoughts of the wild boar made him stay put. Next morning, to his worse fears when he visits the vegetable farm, the female cat gives him the cold shoulders. Momoneko becomes depress and for the first time, Fuu is able to get a still shot of him. However since he is down, it doesn’t make the picture look good. But she and her friends’ comment about Momoneko being a local guardian spirit and his presence makes them feel at ease has to cat’s spirit up again. Then on its way to confront the wild boar, it’s a showdown. Of course Momoneko is no match for the tough boar but he gets a little help from Kou who starts throwing stones. With that distraction, Momoneko scratches its face and sends him running away. Kou and Momoneko become friends and when the former returns to Tamayura Cafe, the girls are puzzled to see him sketch a paw of a cat in his sketchbook.

A grumpy customer, Shouko Tobita enters Hoboro’s shop to request for 10 okonomiyaki to eat! Dougou doesn’t want to lose out and orders me. She also does likewise. Fed up with their childish challenge, Hoboro is going to make 20 okonomiyaki each and they better not leave a crumb! Oh, they’re so screwed! Of course they both can’t finish it but Shouko starts experiencing stomach discomfort (what do you expect?). Since Hoboro has no additional futon, she and Sayomi carry her back to Tamayura Cafe. Seems Fuu knows her because she was the one who spoke to Maestro for confession advice. Next morning, the girls are surprised to see her on another eating rampage! How many plates of breakfast and sweets did she whack?! Of course get stomach discomfort lah! Hoboro and Sayomi return with Shouko’s friend, Manami Hoshi who was worried about her. They ask about the confession so Manami tells them though Shouko did that, the guy she liked since middle school only viewed her as her friend. I guess that’s why she’s so upset. Maon starts her weird delusions that the guy may be in some shady organization not wanting her to get involved. Shouko wakes up and dismisses all that crap. That’s when Sayomi thought everyone should have fun and go for a drive. Oh no… While Hoboro wormed her way out to back out and look after shop, it’s not so lucky for the quartet. Thank God, Manami also drove so the girls are spared the ‘hell drifting’ that Sayomi did. It was one hell of a scary experience for Shouko, eh? It’s amazing she’s still alive at the top of the mountain but I guess you can attribute another sickness for her. Once Shouko sees the breathtaking view, she casts away her misery, deletes all the photos she has on that guy and decides to move forward. She wants Manami to take a photo of her but the latter notes if she did, it may make her look sad. She continues that the photos she took had emotions in them and sometimes it’s best to cry her heart out. It’s okay to show her emotions in front of her and her camera as they are on her side. With that, Shouko is overcome with emotion and has her best friend snap a shot of her stupid crying face. But to Manami, that is the face of honesty and adorableness as the tears of sadness sparkled with radiance instead.

Episode 10
Kaoru thinks of asking everyone’s help to search for ingredients for her potpourri this Sunday. However upon learning they have their own plans, she somewhat feels dejected. Of course her friends can tell something is wrong. Back home, Kaoru thinks how her friends have their own goal in life when Sayomi comes in to suggest to go mini sanctuary exploring this Sunday. She clearly rejects it, giving no room for big sister to finish. Next day while walking to school, Kaoru’s pals each have the same idea of inviting her to come along with them but of course she refuses their kind invitation. So this is when Norie confronts her that she knows something is wrong because Sayomi called her and since Kaoru refused her mini sanctuary hunting, she almost got dragged into going with her! Kaoru insists there is nothing wrong and wants to be left alone. As they quarrel, Komachi interrupts them by taking their shots. I’m not sure about her rational of taking pictures in contrast to Fuu’s calm and soothing ones to beat her. Huh? War photographer says she? Come Sunday, Kaoru receives SMS from her friends telling her what they are currently doing. While tending to her garden, Sayomi ‘hijacks’ Kaoru with a toy gun filled with bamboo vinegar (it stinks). She brings her to Tamayura Cafe and she is surprised to see her friends waiting there. Seems Sayomi had a hand in this calling them all here since they are worried about her. Norie had even made a special dish to cheer her up. So finally Kaoru reveals what is bugging her. She likes making potpourris but has lost sight of her goal since she doesn’t know if she can keep this up in the future. She didn’t want her indecisiveness to cause them trouble. If Fuu and Maon’s words are nice, then it’s the opposite from Norie. Yeah, she snaps back at Kaoru that she always worry too much about those around her. But the bottom line is, all her friends care about her. Norie continues to remind Kaoru about that special memory she had when she was a kindergarten kid. She was sick but didn’t want to miss out on the field trip and went along. She couldn’t hold it in anymore and vomited. The others find her stinking but Kaoru gently wiped her mouth with her favourite handkerchief. Kaoru announces what she wants to do. She suggests holding an expo on themselves. An exhibition they can openly show what they’re capable, thinking of and feeling. She manages to get permission from her dad to use a hall at Old Kansai Manor for it on 30th December. The girls get excited upon knowing that all the people who come and see their work at the expo even if the things they do still have a long way to go.

Episode 11
They thought Maon is going to put on a whistling performance but she notes she wants to try something different. On her way back from a book signing session, she went to see a recital drama and got inspired. She wants to do this for the expo but before that, she wants to perform her first performance at her family’s inn. So as the friends discuss the story she is going to recite… Wait a minute. She hasn’t even started thinking of a story! Can she finish in time? Maybe. MAYBE?! The show is in a week’s time, you know? Maon works hard but experiences a writer’s block. She sees how Hoboro has even made up a poster for the drama and her parents are really looking forward to it. Norie comes to check on her and what do you know? She hasn’t got anything down yet! Don’t panic! But I don’t know what’s worse. That or Sayomi’s horror storybooks she lend as reference for her recital drama. Maon feels nervous and doesn’t want to disappoint everyone so Norie cheers for her to do her best. Come Christmas Day, which is also the day of her recital drama, it seems Maon already has written a story but she can’t think of an ending! Can she finish it up in time? The suspense is killing me… But at the inn, her parents mention that they have invited their past guests to the recital and quite a number decided to come that their inn won’t fit. So how? They rented Virgo! Wow. Unexpectedly Maon gets to realize her dream at performing here. As the crowd fills the hall, Maon still can’t come up with the ending. There are thoughts of postponing the performance but she can’t let those people who had high hopes for her down. So she decides to go for it and her friends ensure they’ll always be there for her. Though nervous at first, Maon gets into the pace of her recital (why the heck did she even use Dougou’s puns?). I feel that her whistling bird story mirrors her own life. When she reaches the ending, that page is blank. Oh no. She must come up with something spontaneous. Looking at the support of her friends and parents, she closes the book and the words suddenly came naturally. “The bird flew back and told her parents how she managed to make new friends”. In a heartfelt thanks to her parents who believed in her so that she was able to speak today, the audience give her a round of applause. I guess the show is a success. The quartet gather at the observatory top where they first met, Maon says there are lots of things she wants to try in the future, a little at a time. Thanks to them, she has the confidence now. Thanks to her, lots of people want to attend their expo. I guess Maon’s success has also inspired her parents to put on their very own recital drama back at their inn. One on Maon’s embarrassing childhood secrets! Maon’s first bed wetting… Oh Sh*t!!!!

Episode 12
All that’s left is to put up posters for the expo. But the girls feel they are missing something. Dougou thinks he knows what it is and goes around as a walking billboard to advertise the expo. I think that wasn’t it… The exhibition opens and behold! Nobody. What do you expect? A bee line at this hour? They just opened, right? But the first customer turns out to be Komachi. Actually, she wants to participate and put her photos next to Kou’s drawings. Erm… Why are many of her photos have angry faces of Norie? So the first real customer is… Momoneko?! He doesn’t seem impressed till he sees Kou’s cat paw drawing and leaves satisfied. Okay, the first real human customers are Tamae and grandma. Soon the crowd builds up and would you believe it? Dougou overslept and almost missed it! Better late than never. For Maon’s recital drama, she puts on an exciting performance of Noko the Bamboo Fairy. With the visuals, aroma experience and getting the audience to be involved, it makes it a refreshing experience. Maon seems so lively that like as though she is a natural and a pro. So when the story reaches its climax that something bad is going to happen to the main character… To be continued! WTF?! That’s really leaving viewers in suspense! So the girls are kept busy at their respective areas while Shihomi once more gives Fuu the morale booster that the photos she take can capture the moment when a heart has been touched. At the end of the day, the girls read the questionnaires and they all had positive praises. But some suggestions they made for the expo to be better (if there should be any) seemed like they’re pushing it a little. There’s even one from Sayomi which states that since they have given her a lovely present to end the year with, she promises to give a better present in return. They can’t help feel it’s a bad omen. After the countdown to New Year’s Day, Fuu gets a call from Chihiro. She mentions about visiting the shrine with her new friend Tomo and will gladly introduce her to Fuu the next time she visits. She is happy that the sadness of her moving to Takehara never happened. Ah well, starting off the New Year crying already?

The girls get a simultaneous wakeup call at 5am. Guess who the devil is? Yup, Sayomi. They can tell this is the start of the bad omen when she comes in with that weird getup. Bad omen number 2? They can’t refuse her nice offer. Where are they going? She’s going to drive them to somewhere nice. Did she say drive? Oh shi… Did she say mountains and cliffs? Double shi… Though the good news is that she drove slowly and safe, but heck, even the snail seemed faster! Blame the GPS for sending them wrong directions but it may be a blessing in disguise. Or not. I don’t know how, Sayomi’s car is hanging precariously on the edge of the slope! Thank God it’s not the mountain edge of cliff. DON’T MOVE RASHLY! So once they all manage to get out safely, Sayomi can even make a joke that her great luck cancelled out Kaoru’s terrible luck! Why are the other girls feeling they owe Sayomi?! But Sayomi went back into the car to get some equipments to make hot tea and it left the girls on the edge of their seat (feet rather). She’s so carefree in taking those things out and I guess you can say that she had great luck since the car didn’t slide down. They watch the sunrise coming from behind the mountain as Sayomi mentions that there is one thing they wouldn’t have seen if they watch this view from the mountain top: The mountain glowing in the sunrise itself. She likens it to the girls that they pursue their dreams, but their worries and cares may prevent them from realizing it. However others can see how blindingly beautiful they are glowing. Fuu takes a group photo and narrates how in time they may all separate, that’s why she wants to capture this precious moment. It brings tears to her eyes when she realizes the treasures she had discovered through her father’s viewfinder. In time, they may slip out of her hands forever, that’s why she wants to capture these moments and in a way it connected her to her father’s spirit. Sayomi continues to be the lively one turning every negative aspect into positive. It’s a good thing they got lost or else they could never have this heart warming moment? To hear that from the culprit… Don’t even encourage her. Soon those people who heard they got stranded offer them warm refreshments. I guess the towing assistance is going to take a while, eh? Fuu’s final narration is that the treasures she sees before her will disappear in time. But if she captures them with her camera, she’ll always be able to say to those treasured moments, “Welcome back!”.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Memories…
Oh yeah. This is such a calm and heart warming story that there is going to be a sequel scheduled to be release in 2013. The slow and gentle pace of this series I have to admit that at times I caught myself yawning but don’t take that as a bad sign that this show is boring. There are of course some light-hearted moments and the characters that drive this series. So I would rather attribute my yawn to my lack of sleep and the most, ‘a person who is not used to watching such calming stories’. Therefore I would say that this series is quite suitable for the family to watch and though it not be family themed or oriented, the friendship and bond the characters make are enough for us to reflect and apply in real life. If everybody had this kind of warmth and tenderness, the world would be a better place. Well, I guess it’s not possible in the big city but for a small sleepy seaside town, yeah, maybe. Everybody knows everybody and everybody is everybody’s friend.

As the series doesn’t entirely focus on Fuu alone, it is refreshing that some episodes also focus on her friends and their issues. As in the OVAs, part of the storyline and goal of Fuu in taking up photography again is to find that little light circles that appear in photos called tamayura, hence the name of this show. Also, a favourite photo of hers that contains an outline of her dad and filled with those tamayuras, she and her friends too had this objective of finding this mysterious place in which this photo was taken. However in the TV series, we don’t really see Fuu chasing after them so much so if I hadn’t refreshed my memory, I would have really forgotten all about it (I didn’t go and rewatch the OVAs again before starting this show). But that’s a good thing because instead of being obsessed and infatuated of something minor, there are lots of other wonderful and amazing experiences that she encountered. And that is what happened in this TV series. Hopefully all these encounters will lead her to what she is seeking for and bring her the ultimate joy in life.

The most amusing and of course my favourite character is still Momoneko. It’s nice that they dedicated half an episode to the cotton candy-like feline but I feel I there should be more screen time appearances of that little creature. Maybe a spin-off series would do some justice? Even if Momoneko just bums around town, doing as he pleases, I still don’t really know what that cat is. Just like that mystery in Mashiro-Iro No Symphony’s Pannya. Cute and adorable, no? Enough to make me smile each time he pops up on screen. As the girls say, he may be a local guardian or something that keeps the town safe. In its own way. But the way he purrs, it makes as though he sounds ‘tired’ and ‘bored’. The second amusing character goes to Norie. For every girl group, you need one who is lively and noisy, right? Norie fits that bill and every time she gets excited, she goes into her high pitch squeal that will either annoy you or make you fawn with much endearment. I know that such girls are irritating in my books but due to the nature of this anime, I guess I find Norie quite likeable. I don’t mind her breaking out into such frenzy modes because it makes me smile. Norie’s ‘rival’ would be Komachi and that cheeky tomboyish girl doesn’t hold back when it involves Kou. I don’t know how shifting her interest to photography and rivalling Fuu would ‘protect’ Kou. A weird habit that I find Komachi likes to do is that when she cheekily challenges her ‘rival’, she loves slapping her own butt right in the face of her ‘rivals’! How unlady-like. I wouldn’t really consider Sayomi to be the big sister of the group. She’s a little pretty much of an airhead herself. She doesn’t really listen if the girls have something they disagree and continues with her topic. Then her driving would either make her a world rally champion or someone who would add to the statistics of road related accidents. Let’s hope it’s her great luck after all these years that prevent her from becoming a victim of the latter case.

Fuu’s gentleness and kindness somewhat reminds me of Aria The Animation’s Akari. Don’t you see the striking similarity in their characters? She treasures all her memories, past and present and of course her family, friends and the things she love. It may be a totally different story when she grows up but with the pictures she has captured, it is like encapsulating a moment in time with her photos. And each time she looks at them, she could be whisked back to that time by just thinking about it. It is unfortunate that she lost her dad at a young age but that doesn’t stop her from getting on with life. It may seem Fuu will never continue experiencing a father’s love like her friends do but even without him physically around, Fuu is a strong girl. So people, appreciate your parents whilst you still have them around. Though Fuu has a long way to go before she can be professional photographer, she keeps improving by the day. There’s just one subject of interest that keeps eluding her camera lens: Momoneko! Yeah, she can never get a clean shot of that cat. I don’t know if Momoneko’s position and location are hard to reach for humans because Fuu is always seen trying so hard and in awkward positions just to capture a single shot even if Momoneko is stationary. In this sense, it makes Fuu somewhat clumsy and a klutz.

Kou is a cool kid. You might say that he is too young to understand what is happening and that he seems to be having fun all the time, but that is a good thing, right? Kou is cool because he doesn’t get traumatized by Norie’s constant shotacon fawning. Not to say that Norie harasses him but each time he pops into the picture, you can expect her to start going wild. It may be because he doesn’t harbour any hatred or ill feelings because usually if kids do, that’s why they start getting alarmed whenever the serial harasser appears. Whether Kou knows it or not that Komachi likes her, he doesn’t treat her indifferent. So I’m sure if Komachi doesn’t treat everyone close to Kou as her rival, Kou will still be the nice friend he always will be. I just hope Komachi doesn’t take her rivalry thing and consider Tamae and grandma to be her new ‘rivals’ if she ever manages to convince herself she has bested Fuu. On a trivial note, I realized if you say Fuu and Kou’s name in succession (like how their grandpa did), it sounds like ‘fukou’ which means misfortune or bad luck! Didn’t you realize it?! Maon is the shy girl of the pack and though her ever changing dreams are amusing (who ever said you should just stick to one dream?), I find the way Norie can understand every single whistle she makes to be an amusing mystery. Maybe whistling is another way of communication since she is shy of speaking to others. But I’m sure Norie isn’t just making a bloody confident wild guess each time. But so far she has 100% perfect record in guessing every whistle right. I feel Kaoru is like the calm in the rational sense among the group. She just needs to put up with Norie antics especially the loathsome pet name she calls her as “Kao-tan”. About Chihiro’s handmade dolls. I don’t know, I just find them creepy instead of cute. She also has a knack of naming them odd names but I guess she finally made a doll that resembles very much like Momoneko. See? Too cute to resist having one.

Maestro though making few appearances, I think he’s quite a cool guy too especially the way the ‘advices’ he gives. Some of them feel like he’s trying to make a pass on a girl but in that sense it really makes him a funny guy. Dougou too isn’t such a bad guy. Just another noisy fellow but with lots of spirit. I’m not sure why he likes to rope in the main quartet girls for his help and especially Kaoru. Maybe it’s a way to show that he is concern for his students. I’m sure his love for Hoboro will keep him going on strong. If she realizes that. The other characters like Shihomi, Shouko, Manami, Shouko, Tamae, grandma and Misono do add more soothing and gentle affect to the pace of the series and effect on the lives of the girls. They are such nice people with their own perspectives on things that serve as inspiration to Fuu and the rest. But too nice that it makes them looks bland. Heck, most of the people in Takehara are so nice that crime doesn’t literally exist. Have you seen a policeman in this place? Not that I notice. Don’t get the wrong idea. Being good is, erm, good. But in the world that I am living in, it is hard to believe there exists a town whereby everybody is kind and warm. So much so it looks fake.

Because I have hears Ayana Taketatsu and remembered her as a seiyuu who is at best doing character roles that usually does reprimanding (think of Mio from MM! and Kirino in OreImo), it never occurred to me that she can also voice cute and moe roles like Fuu. I never thought it was her voice till I did a little research and suddenly I am reminded how this is what K-ON!’s Azusa sounds like if she didn’t spend her other time reprimanding Yui. Yuka Iguchi’s character roles somehow always annoy me. But not in this anime. Even though she has that trademark squeaky high pitch voice like Index in To Aru Majutsu No Index, Maria in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai and Yashiro in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko, as Norie here, I don’t really find her irritating. So it must be the flow and pace of the story that affects my mood and my perception of her in this series. Yukari Fukui (Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) must have the easiest role because as the voice of Momoneko, you don’t hear her saying anything else as that cat. Other casts include Kana Asumi as Kaoru (Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Yuko Gibu as Maon (Yumi in MM!), Kanako Miyamoto as Kou (Naru Arata in Eureka Seven AO), Ryou Hirohashi as Komachi (Alice in Aria The Animation), Sayaka Ohara as Sayomi (Alicia in Aria The Animation), Minako Kotobuki as Chihiro (Yuuko in A Channel), Erino Hazuki as Shihomi (Akari in Aria The Animation), Miyu Matsuki as Hoboro (Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch), Junji Majima as Dougou (Kinji in Hidan No Aria) and Jouji Nakata as Maestro (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou). The opening theme is the clincher of this series. Okaerinasai by Maaya Sakamoto, it is a soft and calm piece that nicely sets and conveys the pace of this series to viewers of what they’re going to expect. Yes, this is one of those few calming songs whereby it makes me want to close my eyes, lie down and do nothing but think of all the good memories. There are several ending themes, all of which have this heart warming feeling to it. The main one is Kamisama No Itazura by Megumi Nakajima and other special endings by her include Natsudori -Uta No Piano- (episode 2) and Hoshizora (episode 7). The seiyuus of Fuu, Kaoru, Maon and Norie sing the special episode 11 ending called Ashita No Hidamari while Maaya Sakamoto does the final ending piece on the last episode entitled A Happy New Year. In addition, there are a few insert songs (usually by one the seiyuus of the main quartet) that will also make your heart warm and fuzzy. So if the storyline and pace of the story isn’t enough to make your heart go emotional, hear some of these tunes and you’ll get an overdose of touching-ness this series has to offer.

As for the drawing and art, I won’t say that the sceneries are breathtaking but they are still beautiful in their own right. The characters especially the girls look cute in their own way and of course, Momoneko the cutest and adorable thing of them all. I guess you can say that sometimes you don’t have to put in a lot of detail to make something look good. Perhaps the genre and the pacing of the story also play an important role so with simple and easy drawings you see here, there is nothing people like me should complain. Besides the visuals, I think there is another thing that makes its ‘cameo’ nearly in every episode: The food! Tamayura Cafe and Norie have this penchant and knack of making sweets so for a sweet tooth person like me, watching those tasty delicious desserts make me want to have a try. Really! I can’t help notice myself drooling at those sweets. Thank God I didn’t try to eat my monitor screen. Or even try to bite Momoneko for fantasizing him as a cotton candy. How embarrassing that would be. Even if I’m not a fan of okonomiyaki, Hoboro’s skill and the way she makes it at least make me want to try them. Not the triple decker, please! I’ll start off with a small one first and definitely I won’t add on 20 stacks of it like some okonomiyaki-obsessed or glutton people. But I hope Misono can keep her menu to be tasty and practical instead of just trying out crazy ideas just because she thinks it pops up in her mind.

I suppose another subtle aspect this anime is trying to tell us about is true photography. Nowadays with handphones embedded with camera functions or at most digital cameras, you don’t see a real camera that uses film anymore. There are certain things that only such camera can bring about especially if you’re talking about the quality and texture of the subject taken. Maybe digital technologies have improved on that but the arguments would be something similar to reading a real book or e-book. And with technology, everybody can be a photographer these days. Some for wrong reasons (blackmail, voyeurism, etc). Fuu’s trusty Rollei 35S will make her treasures even more precious. Mind uploading them on Facebook? Heck, do you even see technology in this anime?! No wonder it is such a ‘healing’ anime.

So do I feel my mind and soul ‘cleansed’? Well, I’m glad I get to watch this anime because it also brings back my own many sweet (and bitter) memories when I was a kid. It’s just too bad I didn’t have an interest in photography so most of my memories are drawn from my own memory instead of looking back at past photo albums. It is true that it is up to you to decide whether certain memories should be happy or sad but if you’re going to live your life forever in sadness, then there is no point in living, right? How long are you going to wallow in sorrow? That won’t bring the dead ones back alive. Just like how Fuu slowly turns every sad memory into joyful ones, it is the only way to move forward. Life isn’t totally perfect so there will always be good and bad times and those dear to you will always be there to support and guide you. So before the sequel comes airing, I guess I’ll go back to more extreme violence, mindless ecchi fanservice and over-the-top comedies. Then make time for another round of soothing and calming ‘purification’. Hey, life is a cycle, right? You have got to take the good and the bad together. Hmm… Should I take a photo of myself now and upload it on Facebook? Oh I forgot. I don’t even have Facebook what more a camera.

Ai Mai Moe Can Change

August 3, 2012

Wait a minute. Using Smart Phone apps to instantly change your clothes? Wow. Interesting idea. This way, you can try out lots of fashion and clothes before buying the real deal, right? When I read about this concept for the single OVA of Ai Mai Moe Can Change, I was expecting to see lots of girls changing into cosplay outfits. Guess I got ahead of myself. Anyway as this OVA is concerned, the AMB Company is in the midst of hiring Navi Girls (that’s their fancy term for promo girls) to promote their new service call Moe Can Change that allows users to simply change their clothes with a simple touch of your Smart Phone app. Cool or so cool?

Change, We Can!
Kiyan Chie and her friend Anna Moeki are acting out their Navi Girl audition part at a video store. Is it such a good idea? I mean Kiyan may be a lively person buy Anna is a total opposite. I guess for a silly girl like Kiyan, she doesn’t know the meaning of shame and hugs her friend in public. Anna’s sister, Kanna is equally a silly girl, if not, even surpassing Kiyan herself. She is glad to be her partner for the Navi Girl. Only if they don’t ignore her. Anna teases Kiyan that she is too silly to use a Smart Phone. A girl named Sarari scans them and since she finds their data perfect, hands over a Smart Phone to Kiyan. I guess even silly girls like her can easily use the app to change clothes as she tests it out on Anna, much to her display. Sarari returns to her professor, Dr Lamp about her mission’s success. Lamp gets a call from her boss Miki Maya who isn’t happy she’s causing trouble with her experiments again. Sarari reminds Lamp about her other experiment.

Kiyan continues to change Anna’s clothes so she has had it with her and decides not to be her Navi Girl partner. However upon seeing those heartbreaking eyes, she changes her mind. It takes more than this just to make her mad. But I guess Kiyan didn’t learn her lesson as she starts changing Anna’s clothes to commemorate their friendship. Kanna is in the picture again but they ignore her. The only time they didn’t is when Kiyan changes her outfit of that of a wolf (because Kanna wanted so much a recommendation) and Anna chants a spell (she’s in a witch outfit) so that she could fire a big blast at her. While they are at a cake shop, Anna couldn’t believe her clothes changed again. Kiyan says it isn’t her doing. It seems to be the doing of the waitress (Sarari). Then another round of change again, Anna in a school girl outfit and Kiyan a swimsuit (she likes it because she can move around better). Suddenly all the other girls in the cafe start to have their clothes changed. Sarari runs back to the kitchen where Lamp is to tell her the ladies don’t seem pleased about the change. Miki barges in and chides her for another mess.  Because of her, she always has to apologize on her behalf.  Lamp calms her down and offers her a cake. Then Miki’s outfit turns into a witch. Oh? So the cake also changes one’s clothes? Is there an app for that? Since Kiyan and Anna have found them, it’s time to make like a banana and split. Up, up and away!

While walking along, Kiyan and Anna see a girl changing her own clothes with an app. So much so she causes a traffic jam because all the busy bodies couldn’t take their eyes off her changing. Then when she runs away, Anna hijacks Kiyan’s Smart Phone and turns their clothes into of a police woman. Kiyan goes after her while Anna summons Kanna. It isn’t hard since she’s been hiding in the bullets. Transforming her clothes into a kappa, Anna tosses her into the air. Kiyan adds to her velocity and kicks her towards the girl and knocks her out. Lamp orders Sarari to direct traffic as she collects the girl and laments this year’s model is having problems. When the duo bump into Lamp, she reveals she is the one who gave them the Smart Phone. They remember she was one of the judges at the Navi Girl audition. Albeit she was sleeping most of the time and getting ticked off by Miki. Lamp mentions as Moe Can Change Navi Girls, they must be able to cope with anything and invites them to her lab. Outside the door, seems the servers of Ai and Mai are having problems opening the door. But they summon all they’ve got to let them in. Lamp puts the girl down and explains she is one of the Mairoids that AMB Company developed. Kanna somehow sneaked into the lab and is not happy she is the only one left behind after the commotion. She is going to ‘gobble up’ their bodies and is starting with Sarari but she transforms into a different person. Lamp then puts on some pacifier thingy into her mouth and she reverts back to Sarari. The rest wonder if she’s a robot but Lamp corrects them she is a Mairoid. As written in the Navi Girl advertisement, the Moe Can Change service includes Mairoids for all users and Sarari is her personal cute Mairoid. Kiyan gets excited and fired up as she cuddles Sarari. Lamp says she’ll do anything to make the nation acknowledge moe! Yeah, like who doesn’t love Japan’s moe already? A few days later as Moe Can Change launch their service, Kiyan and Anna begin their work as Navi Girls.

Wardrobe Malfunction!
I’m sure those different outfits featured are those you would see in the game that this OVA was based from. I haven’t played the game before but I guess I can picture what kind of things that will happen for a bishoujo-raising game. You pick a cute girl (or girls) and you raise and dress up the girls with all the cute outfits. Well, not my kind of tea. So I’ll pass. This OVA isn’t really much except perhaps just to advertise the game. Whether it will get its own anime adaptation or not is another story since we’ve seen some potential of the concept and a little bit about the characters. Plus, it’s not that the outfits that they change into are thaaaaaaat ‘appealing’ either. It just feels ‘normal’.

While it is interesting that the concept of Smart Phone apps are able to change the clothes you wear physically and you don’t have to resort to any simulation or mock model to review them, but I guess there will be a few downside to it all. Firstly, the fabric industry will go bust since the demand for cloth will drop dramatically. And those illusionists who perform changing into different costumes will also be out of a job because there’s no more ‘thrill’ in it when you can change clothes so easy with technology. Secondly, if this app picks up and gets popular, what happens when there is a major malfunction? Will your clothes suddenly ‘disappear’ while in public and leave you stark naked? Unless you are wearing your original clothes underneath, which leads to this next point. Based on what I have seen in this anime, changing your clothes will also mean having the ability of whatever that clothes permit and in this anime, a witch. So not only the clothes, but the broomstick accessory and the ability to fly and shoot energy ball are also possible? I know this is anime so they might have put some exaggerated stuff in. Heck changing clothes immediately using an app seems far-fetched already. So what happens if I want to change into a ferocious dragon? I can burn an entire city down, right? I feel like becoming God today. What kind of clothes God wear? Oh? Nothing? So you become invisible because nobody can ‘see’ Him?

And when the clothes are changed to your desired ones, I’m sure they are not just hologram and you can touch and feel them too, right? Because if you’re using some light bending theory to trick the eyes then if you touch the clothes, you would actually be touching the skin, right? And I’m sure if the outfits do materialized, they aren’t piled onto your original clothes, right? So I’m thinking they must be swapped and be kept in some time-space dimension while you wear the current one. Again, when there’s a virus or malfunction… More dangerously, you can use the app to change the clothes of a friend. Wow. How dangerous is that? So what if your friend is a pervert? What happens you just walked by some strangers and they think you’re pretty cute and just key in some commands. Wahlah! You don’t even know what went missing. Then if you want to just waltz into the army camp, you just need to press a few buttons to wear some fatigues and loose the worries on disguise. The list of sneaky infiltrations could go on and on. I’m sure they’ll have some security firewall thingy but that’s a different story. Then there’s the case of trademark and plagiarism… Oh, so many things and most of them not even are being touched by the series.

The people who would benefit most of this service would be the fashion industry. Designers don’t need to waste material to come up with visual representation nor do they need to slog it out for hours putting it on paper the creativity that is bursting inside their head. And for those who love to be trendy and keep changing fashion with a fickle taste, this would be a good idea too. For me, I think I’ll still stick with the conventional clothes on my back because it feels much safer and warmer. And if I want to watch people change into different costumes, I might as well watch people in a speed cosplay changing competition. Unless they make an app for maid outfits then maybe… Just maybe…

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