Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

July 28, 2013

We have seen many animes about humans fighting against demons. But how many animes usually will have the pair of main protagonist that is of a human and a demon working together for the benefit and peace of the world? Yes. You heard that right. It may seem like wishful thinking and naivety of their part but deep down in our hearts, don’t you think that is what we all yearn for? So instead of seeing humans against demons and at each other’s throats for centuries, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is actually a nice fantasy drama about a human and demon in their fateful encounter decides to change the world for the better.

Even though the setting of this world is of fantasy, much of it resembles like those medieval times in Europe. Which reminds me that this series is somewhat closely similar to another anime: Spice And Wolf. A big portion of this anime is about economics and perhaps some strategies of war. This is why I find both these animes similar. Besides, the main protagonist duo are also somewhat similar. They are both from different races, accompanying each other on a journey to achieve a goal and in the end the process helps change themselves for the better. Those who are bored with the eternal humans-demons struggle can watch this anime for a refreshing approach. I guarantee it will open up your views or otherwise it will be a major yawn fest.

Episode 1
It has been 15 years since humans and demons are at war. Humans managed to breach through the demons’ territory but smaller nations in the south fighting against the demons are also facing suffering and destruction. Amidst the chaos a hero and his group steps up to give humans hope. However for some reason, the hero abandoned his mates and ventured alone into the demon’s lair. He is about to slay the demon when he finds out she is a busty woman! The Demon King is female? That’s merely a title and she is the 43rd Demon King with the title Ruby Eyes. Hero isn’t fazed and will slay her but she remains polite and welcoming. She has been waiting for this day to make him hers. I’m sure he’s not going to accept that. Hero blames the demons for destruction but she points out pollution because the humans are cutting down trees too rapidly (something that will happen in the future) and even war among human nations is because politicians shun their responsibility and made the demons the scapegoat. She takes out a scroll to explain why this war is necessary. Before this war, humans were on the verge of annihilation. With the war, Central Nations keep funding the Southern Nations for the war. It might seem they get nothing in return but actually there is: Security. She has him touch a magic lamp that peeks into his past memories. Hero was at a lavish ball when he was young. They had them almost every night. Was it peaceful then? No. This is possible because of war. For without war, exporters could not have flourished. So war keeps food going to nations that are lacking of it. However she notes that the world’s agricultural output hasn’t increased. If the war ends, humans driven by their survival instinct will take up swords and kill each other to survive. In short, if the war ends, win or lose, humanity will be destroyed. The human kings must have realized this that’s why they only sent him instead of an army.

If the demons win, they’ll take over the human world and enslave them. Then they’ll fight among themselves to claim the slaves. It is the same if the humans win. She wants him to be her eyes to see what she longs to see and her blade. He doesn’t want to negotiate but she keeps bugging him especially with those puppy dog eyes. According to records, she would give him half the world but both agree it is the same as dividing the realms between humans and demons. The only way left is that she gives herself to him and he gives himself to her. She feels he could go far beyond this war. Even if she surrenders, the human kings will hide it and the demons will crown a new Demon King. That’s how necessary this war is. If an army is responsible in ending the war, then it is a king’s duty to find a place to end it. So with all this argument, is he ready to accept this deal? Will he be hers? She can’t promise him that his hands will remain clean. He will have to kill and stain his hands along the way while doing many horrific things. They both agree to belong to each other and seal the contract. So happy that she hugs him. Accidentally she touches the magic lamp and they see an embarrassing memory of her hugging a big hugging pillow of him! Practice makes perfect? But more shockingly, she can take off her horns!!!  Well, she doesn’t normally use them. Just for show?

Episode 2
The duo start their journey and teleport to a newly settled down human village, Winter Pass. They will begin their experiment here which will also help conceal their identities. They are greeted by Head Maid who is from Demon King’s clan. Of course her role is to be their maid. Demon King takes a look at the fields and thinks of increasing it from 3 to 4 rotations over a period of 4 years. This will increase fertility of the soil and food production during different seasons rather than leaving it to rot. Demon King and Hero are having a nice moment together. What she wanted to say was to put his head on his lap in which he instantly did it without hesitation. He is hers, right? The good part (they’re about to kiss) is ruined when they hear a commotion at the stable. Turns out a couple of young runaway slaves are hiding there. But Demon King calls them serfs. Though they are given land, houses, tools and live with families, they cannot choose their profession. They’re somewhat labourers for nobles. Anyhow, Head Maid knows it is a crime that they have run away and wants to report them in order to protect their position. This doesn’t sit well with Hero. Though Demon King agrees with Head Maid, she wants her to put it off till tomorrow morning. For now, give them food, clothes and prepare a bath to clean themselves. Though the duo are grateful for everything, the elder one hopes they don’t report them. Head Maid might seem mean to them especially when the younger one says they put in so much effort to get this far. Head Maid replies in doing so, they have snuck into somebody’s house, took advantage of their generosity and threaten the position of those who provided food and shelter.

She reminds them that she considers those who are incapable of determining their own fate as insects. She hates insects and refuses to call such as humans. The duo then apologize and they hope they could make them humans. Head Maid requests Demon Lord’s permission to hire them as maids since their house is too big for her to handle by herself. Approved. Hero thought Head Maid hated them. She corrects him that she hates insects. Plus, nobody in this world hates maids. SO TRUE!!! I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!!! I shall term them as Sister Maid and Little Maid. Hero is out hunting with Little Maid and she happily relays the joy of learning many things with her sister. Hero admits he is not smart or good with money. He can’t even work in fields or take care of animals. All he cares about is peace but when it is achieved, what will he do? Demon Lord becomes a teacher and educates a group of nobles’ sons. We learn about the Crusade of the Holy Key, a holy army formed by the Crisis Response Council of Central Nations to exterminate demons and end the war. There have been 2 such occasions in the past 15 years. Though 2 important demon cities were destroyed, they failed to capture the demon’s capital. A couple of requirements needed for a crusade. Determination to end the war and economic support. Humans need to eat otherwise you can’t wage war or sustain a society. Later Demon King feels frustrated in teaching those kids and have this idea of turning them into frogs! Hero advises she better not. Her idea to educate the nobles’ sons is so that if she gets enough prestige, the farmers will start listening to her ideas. Her next stop is to teach the at the Village Elder’s house. Hero accompanies her. She is confident the fruits of her labour will be seen in a year’s time and she has brought along a secret weapon in a box.

Episode 3
Three months later, the crops are growing nicely. Hero and Demon King teleport to the Lake Convent of Lake Country. Demon King learns humans are devout believers of religion though Hero isn’t so. Some care more about the church than the king because this is where heavy research comes from. She hopes to use this to her advantage. Disguising herself in name as Red Scholar, they meet a priestess of the convent. However this priestess knows who Hero is and is pissed upon seeing his face. She is Knight, his old comrade and party member with him during the attack on Demon King’s territory. She is upset because he went alone, went missing and suddenly pops up with a beautiful woman. So what gives? Slap! Demon King explains (obviously a lie) that Hero wounded the Demon King but before was attacked by so many demons he was forced to retreat. She met him coincidentally and nursed his wounds. As gratitude, he became her bodyguard. For Knight’s case, after she reported Hero as missing, a letter was issued that he sacrificed himself. All his comrades were received compensation. Knight didn’t want to make a profit out of it and refused. She ended up as a nun in hopes of helping everyone. As for the other members, Gramps the old pervert took the money and worked for an intelligence group in some southern country while Mage left on her own. After Hero went on his own, she too followed but Knight tried to stop her. By that time, she realized all her belongings were gone. On to business, Demon King shows Knight her secret weapon in a box: Potatoes. Knight tastes it and finds it very delicious. Demon King explains to her the high yield of this plant because it can grow in cold weather, bad soil and being underground it staves off birds. If harvested properly, it can bring 3 times more yield than wheat. In return for this agriculture technique, Demon King would like to set up a convent at Winter Pass and be the head nun there to teach the villagers of other agricultural techniques. Then she could build convents in surrounding areas. This is her goal to end wars and starvation.

The negotiations end well as Demon King and Hero leave satisfied. They talk about some of the threats they may face. One including a war-like Ice General dwelling in the southern seas. But their main worry is the merchant group called Economic Alliance of Merchants and Southern Independent Cities. Or Alliance for short. Their influence is spread wide across the land and are involved in 60% of the wheat business. Can you see where this is going? They are powerful enough to dethrone a king and solely operates in safeguarding their interest and expansion. Hero remembers doing a speech for them. Demon King calls it a propaganda to rally the public. Think he was paid millions? Nope. Only 15 gold coins. Cheated!!! Lesson learnt the hard way. Demon King has been secluding herself for the past 2 months in the room not for nothing. It seems a group of Alliance guys has received an invention called compass from this Scholar. They know this invention can change the world but remains suspicious of this Scholar from Winter Pass. They want the Alliance to benefit from this compass and will make sure Scholar has not sold it to anyone else. Sending in the assassins? I guess this is just ‘business’. Hero packs up on his journey to search for Mage. Demon King gives her an armour and a name list of trustworthy demons. Demon King wants some physical skinship reward since Head Maid pressuring her that there has been no development for the last 2 months and to take the aggressive lead since Hero is a virgin! What do you expect when she locked herself up in her room? Head Maid could even tell they have not been holding hands. She is bothered that he will be reunited with his ex-flames once the convent at Winter Pass is finished and he returns with Mage. Just to satiate her for the time being, he pecks her forehead. A better one when he comes back. He better remember that!

Episode 4
It has been 6 months. When Knight arrived learning Hero is not around, she became a crazy woman. The guy she yearned to see so much isn’t around on a ‘business trip’? Nevertheless she stays and becomes fighting instructors to the village noble’s sons. Demon King dresses up because she is going to be in for negotiation. A couple of Alliance guys (let’s call them Merchant A and B) arrive at Winter Pass to see her. Demon King shows them a new crop that can flourish when water is scarce: Maize. There is a big unused land unsuitable for other crops in the north and that they can operate this large scale harvesting operation there. This will lead to a massive market in villages in which Alliance will control. Merchant A points out she is not selling a specific product but a method. Once they know of the method, she won’t be needed, so how is she to benefit of this? She wants a prompt end to the war and it doesn’t matter who wins. Merchant A doesn’t believe it because he truly believes it will end in their victory. Things seem to be heading south when Demon King says to her, the Alliance is a trading partner rather than friend or foe. Merchant A signals to Merchant B to prepare the assassins waiting outside. Head Maid knows of this because her watching ghosts are keeping tabs on them. Merchant A asks what makes her think they will help her. She answers it is the thing that they have in common and the second strongest bond: Equal profits. Merchant A laughs so much and realizes before humans or the church, they are just merchants. He agrees to enter a contract with her and signals for the assassins to step down. When they leave, he asks what is the first strongest bond. When she mentions love, he laughs again. Then he proposes to her!!! Didn’t see this one coming, eh? Not part of her plans, no? Call it a long term investment. Which guy wouldn’t be appealed by her intelligence and charm? Demon King tries to refuse it but I guess it’s too late when Merchant A kisses her hand.

Prince talks to Gramps how potatoes are a hit in their town. The convents are also helping them to improve farming and establish education facilities. There are even windmills created to help improve their food spread. Prince wants to stop the war and assist the convents but as Gramps point out, Central Nations will stop supporting them and they well know their town cannot survive long without it. Demon King may be regretting in becoming a merchant. Because there is a huge stack of bills, invoices and other documents for her to go through! That is just 20%!!! She really wants to see Hero whom she hasn’t heard of. He has written letters back but those are his epic adventures in slaying demons and even weird creatures asking his hand in marriage!!! Demon King is so stressed out as Head Maid puts her to sleep. In actual fact, Hero does come back here once in a while to write the letters. With his teleportation skills, he has no problem. Head Maid agreed to keep this from Demon King since it’s not her place to say but now feels this is getting nowhere. She wonders if it’s love problems seeing she can tell he ran into a host of girls seeking his hand in marriage! The maid knows… Telling him that Demon King is getting worried, Hero says when he first became hers, he thought she would use him to fight in against demon rebels to end the war. But she never uses him and instead ensures he never fights. He fears that when he pictures his death, he sees her sad face. Head Maid says all of him belongs to Demon King. The feelings he can’t express too. Prince confides in Gramps that Central Nations won’t send in Crusade of the Holy Key but wants them to defeat demons on their own. At the only island, Bright Light Island where demons occupy, it would be like sending their men to watery deaths if their boats are sunk. And some negotiations that ended up having them to go to war. Winter Pass’ nobles’ sons are eager to enter the war but Knight tells them off she won’t let them die with a stupid face since they’re too young and inexperienced. In short, they’re not going. Later she regrets saying it to them and talks to Sister Maid. Though Sister Maid can do lots of things now, she wonders if she is really human.

Episode 5
Merchant A discusses with his fellow merchant that the war is about to start. Since they are making compasses, this will be useful for the naval battle. Plus, if they can secure Bright Light Island, it will open up new trading routes for them. Hero is at Gate City when he saves a demon slave girl from being bullied by a human guard. He learns from her the troops controlling it and the forces in the middle of town who are nobles. Since slave girl views herself as lost and resigns herself to this fate, Hero wonders if this is what they have won. It will be the same too if demons won over humans. Despite learning the Eastern Fortress is a safe haven for lost demons, it is still not enough. Slave girl wonders why he is working for the Demon King. Has he lost too? Then they hear the voice of an injured elderly demon cursing the humans for stealing their lives and peace. Hero tells slave girl he belongs to Demon King not because he lost. Being winner doesn’t give right to do whatever you want and he is proof of that. Meanwhile the troops set sail to Bright Light Island but are ambushed by giant squids. Puny arrows no match for large tentacles. One by one the ships are sunk. In the end, Prince’s father sacrificed himself for him to escape. Back on land, the White Night King can only blame everyone and doesn’t care. Prince won’t accuse him of his father’s death because he died in what he believed in. But he blames him for the defeat because of his failure to plan ahead and cost the lives of thousands of soldiers. White Night King accuses him back that he is hording a mysterious Scholar and also involved the Alliance who is sponsoring him with a large sum of money. Prince decides to take his father’s place and vows to take back Bright Light Island.

Demon King talks to Knight and admits she is the demon king. However Knight accepts this as her confession and clears her of her sins. Being a Demon King doesn’t make her sinful, right? Actually why Knight can be so calm in hearing this is because Hero already told her the truth. He begged her to believe him she is a nice person (demon, rather). Because he trusts her, she won’t betray his trust. They shake hands and be friends. But over Hero, that may be a different story. Later, Little Maid and Sister Maid give a surprise present to Demon King, a little doll of Hero and perfume respectively. They also present Head Maid with a designed apron with embroidery. Later when the maids head out for the New Year festival, Demon King lies alone in her bed, lamenting it has been a whole year she has seen or touched Hero. She feels like she has lost motivation to change the world. She yearns for him when suddenly he is right by her side. It’s not dream! So happy to see him that she starts whacking him with her pillow!!! That’s for making her feel lonely! Those horrible ‘picture diary’ reports don’t count! It descends into a petty argument about using their popularity to flirt around with the opposite gender and Hero calling her flabby. They stop when they hear the New Year festival music in the background so Hero dances with her and even teaches her. Now all the nice words come out. Demon King wanted to reward (or punish – depends how you view it) with a kiss but since she took too long, the music ended. Hero decides to return to Gate City and retake it within a month. Seeing her has given him the courage and gives him an idea on what to do. They note the next time they meet will be at the battlefield. Hey, wait a minute. What about the kiss Hero is supposed to give Demon King? Did they forget?

Episode 6
Demon King tries to explain her best when Sister Maid asks about the reason people go to war. Ironically she tells that there is sometimes good coming out from conflict even though fundamentally they are all the same as it allows to proceed to the next level. Besides, even when boys fight over a girl, that is war and conflict, right? Hero disguises himself as Dead Knight causing havoc and nightmare to everyone in Crusade of the Holy Key. Thanks to his demon connection and fairies, he is able to pull deathly illusions and scare the hell out of them. It makes the troops loose moral and want to go home and the Commander in serious panic mode. Knight works under King FKA Prince as they set up an outpost to keep watch on Bright Light Island. King is surprised that Demon King/Scholar is joining them in this war. Knight thought Demon King’s identity is busted since Gramps sensed something in her. He just wants to check out her humongous boobs. Ahem. Back to serious business. Seeing King’s determination to reclaim their pride and not rely on Central Nations by opening up this new route, Demon King tells them her plan to attain victory. First, they put use to all the available manpower in bringing together big chunks of ice and ‘sticking’ them together with the massive salt resources Demon King has provided with sea water. This creates a land leading up to Bright Light Island. I can’t believe the demons didn’t see this coming. They just waited for the humans to finish their land bridge and then attack, huh? So both sides clash and it is bloody everywhere. I guess the land ice is so thick that the giant squids can’t even break it apart. At the end of the day, the humans succeeded in taking out the demons’ second line of defence. Surprisingly they only suffered 500 casualties and have 12,000 men left. When report comes in that Ice General is going to lay a siege on them and their reinforcement amounts to over 10,000, Demon King says that this is part of her plan and that force are the soldiers from Gate City.

Flashback reveals Commander went berserk and thought of sending all his men to Bright Light Island. General doesn’t favour this but Commander views the civilians here as traitors by befriending demons. Then he makes General to be the new commander and he can protect this town of traitors if he wants to. Now that the place is void of soldiers, General thinks of go begging to influential demons and to establish an emergency government. He views this place no longer a human territory but a meeting place between humans and demons. The demons are going to siege the humans as their last chance. Hero teleports back to main camp. Knight beats Demon King in hugging him. Like never seen him in months. Oh wait. That’s true. Ice General enters the fray and easily takes out the light infantry. Knight wants to do the honours in taking it out. After a flashy sword battle, Knight emerges the victor. There goes the walrus. Googoo Goojoob… Man, I thought if this was how powerful she is, she should’ve gone in as a one (wo)man army to take out all the demons instead of letting hundreds of soldiers die. King hosts a lavish feast for his men for their hard fought victory and pays tribute to Demon King and Knight. Gramps meets up with Hero and is glad to see him once more. Gramps talks about Hero’s abnormal strength whereby no human would have accepted him, thus his isolation. He thinks he left the group so that they don’t have to bear the isolation too. However he points out he is still human and apologize for making him feel lonely. Hero thanks him for the many things he taught. Including boobs and breasts. Haha. Noting this country is blooming beautifully, he assures Hero won’t feel lonely here and welcomes him back.

Episode 7
Sister Maid writes in her diary how things are improving in the village. With King assuming the throne and moving the economy in the right direction, the kingdom is also experiencing a boom. One of Winter Pass’ nobles’ son is now working under him. Hero trains with Knight and later they have a refreshing bath drawing water from the manual water pump created by Demon King. Knight wanted to talk about who will end up being his wife and mistress but Hero’s mind is preoccupied about the war. It’s the same for both sides. Whoever loses will experience hell and end of war doesn’t guarantee peace. Little Maid seems to be fast becoming her own inventor. A good future cook rather. Demon King had told her about the carbonated spring and she amazingly created her own carbonated orange juice. Demon King combs Hero’s hair as the latter prepares for his council meeting with Dragon Archduke tomorrow at Gate City. Hero is supposed to be Black Knight and a representative for Demon King. Her worry is not the old dragon but his daughter, Dragon Princess. Not only she represents local demons as a council member, she is one of those eyeing Hero as her wife. Meanwhile Commander is being put on trial for his cowardice. He comes up with lots of silly excuses in his bid to be free. The council laughs at his so called fight-to-the-death actions since he practically abandoned his post and the city. He is given the death penalty and locked up. Hero after the meeting meets up with General at the festivals. Their talk is interrupted when feisty Dragon Princess comes looking for her husband! That’s Hero, right? Oh sh*t! No matter how much he protests he is not her husband, it won’t change her mind. An earthquake ravages through the land. Demon King and Head Maid discuss that they may have to act sooner since the intervals between them are decreasing. She wants Head Maid to send her bed back to the Underworld Palace. On another day, Hero teleports Demon King to Iron Country to retrieve a finished prototype from a workshop. She has brought along Sister Maid too because she has learnt many things. She is better than a noble or a general because she is educated. It is part of Demon King’s plan to use education as a powerful weapon for the future. And the prototype invention: A printing press. Writing made easy.

I guess the inevitable has arrived. Demon King and Knight in a showdown outside Hero’s room. So who’s going to be with him? They have to move now seeing Knight has discovered a handkerchief from Dragon Princess claiming Hero to be her husband. Since they can’t decide, Head Maid will enter on their behalf. No go? Then they shall enter. Head Maid pushes them into the room. Good luck .Too late to negotiate, eh? Well, Demon King tries to negotiate. Knight sleeps on the floor while she and Hero sleep on the bed. If not, Knight can sleep on it daytime while they use it during night time. Sounds awfully one sided, no? It’s taking too long that Hero falls back to sleep! So the best solution is that both ladies flank his side while patting his hair. Feels good? They want to tell each other embarrassing stories of Hero. I wonder if he’s really asleep. Demon King reveals she needs to return to her world next week to renew her licence. Wait a minute. They’re making it sound that the title is like a business. If she’s lucky, it’ll only be a few months. She has to conduct lots of procedures like visiting the grave of the previous Demon Kings. This is necessary to bring the demons together. Because many demons want to invade the human world and she is going back to prevent them from starting their own war. Head Maid will accompany her and she will leave a list of things on what to do. Before Demon King departs, she gives Sister Maid an Earth Fairy Ring that can change her appearance. There will be times she needs to attend meetings and such so she can use this ring to disguise as Demon King. Hero sees off Demon King and Head Maid. Meanwhile Commander is seeking refuge in White Night King’s place. Thanks to his distraction and cloning powers, he managed to sneak out. They are both in cohorts with Commander seeks revenge on General and all those traitors while White Night King plots the downfall of King and plans to take over his treasure and kingdom.

Episode 8
Merchant A was passing by so he stops by to see Demon King. Sister Maid disguises as her and talks to him. Merchant A hints about counterfeits and he had bad experiences with them. This causes her to start panicking. Hero comes in and takes off the ring seeing her cover is already blown. Hero and Merchant A know each other. He was the one who paid Hero 15 gold pieces for his speech. Hero notes he has changed. He used to be someone aloof obsessed with perfection. You can thank Demon King for opening his eyes. Hero notes Merchant A still hasn’t fulfilled his contract. The one whereby he will throw a feast when he returns. He agrees to it and Hero wants it now. Hero takes him through several spots (I didn’t know you can get teleport sickness if you’re not used to it) and they end up in the demon realm where rainbows shine at night. This is where they will feast. Because Hero believes in his words, he tells Merchant A about Demon King’s true identity and the world she comes from. Then he shows him Gate City. This neutral place is a melting pot for humans and demons. Everyone is happily engaging with each other and Merchant A realizes some of his Alliance buddies are also there. Merchant A wonders why he made such a risky move to be a representative for Demon King. Hero thought it would be lonely to just come back as just a hero. Dragon Princess and her entourage throw the guys the best feast ever. Hero is willing to sell Gate City to Merchant A. But what does he want in return? Hero points out merchants are viewed as stubborn greedy monsters because they’re only interested in gains and losses. But that is not true after meeting Demon King. She may be the first one to find something that cannot be expressed in terms of gains and losses. He wants Merchant A to show him that as payback. Head Maid accompanies Demon King before the door of the grave. She feels the previous generation kings are getting restless. Before she enters, she makes Head Maid promise that if she comes out not as herself, she is to slay her down.

Knight wants Hero to take her sword and become her master. It’s not that she has realized that she will never beat Demon King, she feels she wants to do something. To her in comparison, Demon King has a dream, foresight, smart and kind hearted. If Hero is leaving for the future, she wants to come along with him and will not betray him. Hero relents and makes Knight his, erm, true knight. The villagers are giving Sister Maid and Little Maid lots of freebies. They are very grateful to Demon King and Head Maid. Because of them, they have o much abundance. More than enough after tax deduction and to get them through winter. King is surprised when he receives a damning message from the holy religion of Light Spirit. He is in a pinch. Soon word of this spreads around. King and Gramps make haste to Winter Pass to meet Hero and Knight. It seems Light Spirit has issued a decree that the potato is a demon crop and whatever agricultural methods from Demon King are considered teachings against Light Spirit since the church was never credited in her studies. In short, Scholar/Demon King is a heretic and if King allows her to get away, he will be considered a blasphemy. Demon King won’t be back in 2 months. Gramps thought they could use that ring but Hero won’t use it that way. He has a plan. He wants Sister Maid to let the authorities arrest her. Once they are out of this country, Hero will come to her rescue. There won’t be any problems if this is done outside King’s kingdom, right? But this act of disobeying the church will be another problem. Hero doesn’t want Knight or Gramps to follow since they have their own duties and place to protect. They fear they will have to leave him again. Hero knows he can wipe out the entire Holy Capital’s army by himself but doing so won’t please Demon King. Whether he fights, win or lose, this doesn’t mean he’ll let them take anything from him.

Episode 9
Merchant A speaks to Merchant B about Central Nations making their move as part of their plan to revive the church’s decreasing influence ever since White Night King whom they could influence blundered in a disastrous loss and the heroic King took over the throne and swayed the people. If they are going to do anything as the Alliance, they need to form a new council. One of the nobles’ sons under tutelage of Demon King who is now a fine man agrees to help them. All Merchant A needs is more time. A large crowd mostly peasants and even those from neighbouring villages have gathered at the town square of Winter Pass. They can’t believe Scholar will be arrested and labelled a heretic. Sister Maid talks to Knight and Hero before she plays her role. She notes everyone has been kind to her and her sister. They love them and Scholar so much that they feel they can’t do anything in return to repay such kindness. Sister Maid breaks down moments before she gets into her role. King and his entourage arrive on the stage to hand over ‘Demon King’ to Messenger from the Central Nations. He checks if she is a double. Obviously he can’t tell if she’s a fake. After clearing King for his cooperation, they chain her up and whip her till she bleeds! The crowd couldn’t bear to see her in pain. King has to hold back his emotions and not do anything rash. ‘Demon King’ is allowed to speak to the crowd. She starts off explaining her real life experience as a serf. She is the third of seven siblings and slowly watched each one of them die in different circumstances till she and her little sister are left. They ran away and were given a chance to start life anew. Because fate has been too kind to her compared to her dead siblings, she has to reject it. Because she is human. Because she still doubts herself. She believes the first step to being human is to admit you are human.

She tells them feeling the warmth of the sun is proof that they are human the Light Spirit’s beloved children. She doesn’t want them to stop hoping, thinking and working as with the earth’s blessings, Light Spirit has brought them wealth and freedom. They were not created perfect beings because it is to give them freedom to keep doing things better every day. So don’t abandon things just to make life easier. No one, not even the king or church has the right to take these treasures from them. By this time, Messenger has beat up ‘Demon King’ so much but she still refuses to give in and stands up and continue her speech. She will not surrender those treasures again and become an insect even if they bring her much pain. Messenger orders the people to stone her so she tells them to do so to protect their families and she will not blame them. It is their freedom to do so. However if they do so because someone ordered them, then they are no better than an insect. And she hates insects. She refuses to become an insect. Because she is human. The crowd are moved by her words and start stoning Messenger and his guards. Messenger orders ‘Demon King’ to be beheaded but this time King steps in to protect her. Hey, this is his country. He feels ashamed to have his eyes opened by this girl and realized he was an insect at heart, not knowing there is such pride in the hearts of his people. Knight lectures Messenger that his actions and the church shamed her as a servant of Light Spirit. King announces Scholar to be under his extended protection while Knight recognizes her as a saint. The crowd becomes ecstatic and welcomes their decision with a rousing applause. King wants Messenger to go back to his country and will meet again under different circumstances. With that, the unwelcomed guests leave much to the crowd’s delight. And Hero didn’t even have a role to play in this. But he is amazed of her bravery and that words alone can make an entire army withdraw.

Episode 10
That fine speech now has some serious snowballing consequences. Central Nations view that as declaration of war and it causes the serfs to rebel over the landowners in which they have no choice but to let them go. Attacking on King’s nation won’t be so soon because doing so will destroy the buffer that cushions them between the demon’s land. Plus, with different local warlords, it will take 6 months just for them to unite in a place. Hero is confused on Central Nations or the church’s goal so Knight explains despite their banner to unite the world under Light Spirit, it is actually to obtain riches, respect and power by stealing from others. They want to preserve such society forever. Sister Maid now understands what Demon King told her about keeping wealth for oneself might make you rich but it will never make you prosper. Give money to people and they will spend it. True prosperity comes from free flow of wealth and goods. So what the church is doing is draining the pockets of everyone to preserve their wealth. Hero is at a loss what to do when Little Maid comes in with refreshments. She made 2 variations of pie. It gives Hero an idea. The Lakeside Convent has split from the central church. Calling themselves True Church of the Light Spirit, they are going to make this the national religion. Of course this is causing the central church to be in chaos with views divided. Merchant A could guess his is Hero’s doing because Demon King won’t do this on impulse. Noting the fine paper he is reading from and the printed letters instead of handwriting, it occurs to him that Demon King’s plans are bearing fruits. Discussing with Merchant B about wheat prices, because Central Nation is in recession, he wants to buy as much and stock up without raising suspicion. His plan is not to buy wheat, but to sell currencies. The new teachings are moving slowly. They think of using minstrels to sing to illiterate peasants but Sister Maid opposes in doing something like that. Because most supporters of Light Spirit are simple believers, it is wrong to get them involved in something nasty. She suggests explaining why they should come in simple songs. The truth in the songs the bards spread will have more people streaming in.

Merchant A shows Merchant B his invention called product purchase agreement. It’s like buying in the future. For example, he buys wheat now that a farmer doesn’t have. But when the time comes, he must produce the goods. If price of wheat has risen by that time, this means he has bought it at lower prices. If it doesn’t, they can create artificial scarcity to keep prices high. This is one objective. The other is to invoke fear. They’ll make Central Nations think next year will be a good harvest for wheat. But when the time comes, not only there is little wheat to sell but to eat too. This will lead to fear and buying up which will make them rich. They can then move up in the Alliance and possibly set up their headquarters at Lake Country. Merchant A also has employed his assassins in part of his plan. He won’t allow those from those supporting the Central Nations put a stop to his plan. Cloud Dragon talks to General about the lack of salt supply ever since losing Bright Light Island. Dragon Princess warns General that most blue skinned demons like Cloud Dragon are descendents of Demon King and possess the greatest desire to conquer humans. There are rumours they are secretly contacting humans at Gate City. Meanwhile prices of wheat rapidly shoot up as fear starts making its way into the people and the common sense that the high price is the current market price. Demon King’s disciples start noticing the strange trend in the city as they report to King. The increase in price of wheat has snowballed to other commodities. This causes landowners and nobles to save up their money. Even so, this won’t be enough to buy anything. Because the southern countries’ price has not increase, they will be coming down here to achieve their goal. This will destroy their economy. They suggest imposing high tariffs when leaving the country. Otherwise Central Nations will take all their food and they will starve through winter.

Merchant A is surprised Dragon Princess comes to see him. Due to the scarcity of salt, which is a valuable commodity to demons, she is here to have him spare some although she can’t say how much. Merchant A thinks back on Hero’s words on gains and losses and believes Dragon Princess is the key in achieving that. He thinks there isn’t much they know about each other. Flashback reveals Head Maid learning Demon King has become a demon king. She is worried that the previous kings will alter her body. Even so, she believes she will still be herself. She also vowed not to use violence and yearned to meet her destiny. She showed Head Maid a picture of Hero who is a toddler. She can’t wait to meet him 15 years later. Despite knowing he will hunt her down and kill her with his sword, she hopes to say at least hello before she strikes her down. After all, he came from afar just to kill her, right? This might be a crazy idea but she wants to witness a future that no one has ever seen. Meanwhile Central Nations have issued a letter to declare war on the southern nations. This shows they have run out of grains due to their tariffs. The war will begin in 10 days during the first month of winter. Hero is frustrated that he doesn’t want to fight as this is not what she hoped for. He asks King if there is any way to fight without casualties on both sides. He is not being naive either. King thinks it depends on the weather. If they’re fortunate, snow will come earliest in 2 weeks. He swears on his name he will make that happen.

Episode 11
Merchant A has his members go on a buying spree. Merchant B reports the church has backed the Holy Capital to issue a new currency and the current one will be declared illegal. Of course this means the Holy Capital will stand to profit from the exchange rate from old to new. As other countries preparing their attack against the southern nations wait, they are surprised that the local landowners are giving them top quality produce. A plan to prevent outbreak of war at any cost? White Night King and Commander are cursing Scholar who is believed to be alive. The former laments his serfs are running away to Iron Country. Commander suggests a surprise attack to steal them back. King discuses with Hero and Knight about the 20,000 troops they’ll be facing. The most they have is only 4,500. If they’re lucky. It’s going to be tough to ensure minimum casualties. But things turn for the worse with the unexpected appearance of demons spotted marching from Bright Light Island. Hero will settle this since King has no troops to spare. Hero doesn’t want to fight the demons either and heads off to the island. Financial Minister (formerly one of Demon King’s students) enters into a negotiation with Merchant A. They praise each other for the tariff and purchase agreement they respectively came up. Merchant A has 4 points to discuss with him: 1) To give exclusive exemption to Alliance from tariffs for goods passing through his area; 2) Lease the rights for Bright Light Island to them (even though the island is nothing but salt); 3) Establish banks and Alliance facilities within the capitals of his nations; 4) They’ll purchase their entire potato stock. Financial Minister thinks of Merchant A’s actions before he realizes he is planning to use wheat as a pseudo currency. He remembers Demon King’s teachings that for competitiveness, it is best to have more than one currency. Since Central Nations’ economy is weak now, it is the perfect time to do so. Merchant A introduces Dragon Princess to him and she hopes he can consider their bargain.

Hero sees the army of blue skinned demons marching towards to human world and notes they are well equipped provisions to stay for the long run. That’s when he finally meets Mage. Mage wants Hero to destroy the dimensional gate after she handles this even if this means they will not be able to enter the demon realm again. Mage uses her training from all these years to individually teleport back all the demons back to where they came from! And she sounds really frustrated in having to do this. Then, Hero uses his flashy move to destroy the portal. Demon King comes out from the room but Head Maid knows she has been corrupted and fights her in hopes to bring her back to the Demon King she knew, loved and respected. Unfortunately she couldn’t match her strength and got an arm chopped off. White Night King’s army moves quickly for the surprise attack. Despite Iron Country’s army being vastly outnumbered, thanks to one of the soldiers (who is Demon King’s ex-student), he places traps and effective war tactics to halt the enemy and minimize their casualty. Knight may be having her army on standby, but she is also having the locals pacify the warlords with wine, meat and even horse fodder (though it is filled with dirty food that will make them sick). I’m sure everyone would at least stay happy this way rather than dying on the battlefield. Iron Country’s army general praises Soldier for his commendable performance and wants to promote him to general. He is being modest and says he is just applying what he is being taught. The report comes in that their side suffered very minor casualties and injuries compared to the enemy. There are some enemy soldiers who have escaped into the city and a hunt is conducted to flush them out. Commander is believed to be hiding among them. Hero suddenly finds himself underground after the explosion. He is shocked to realize that the demon realm is actually underground instead of another world. He flies as fast as he could to the palace and crashes into the room. That must be a hard crash for him to destroy the walls. He learns from Head Maid that Demon King has been corrupted by the previous demon kings. She does not hesitate to attack him.

Episode 12
Mage makes her presence to King and his aides. So where has she been all this while? Sleeping? Is that a joke? Anyway she claims she has met Scholar and was told to deliver a message. In short after her convoluted words, smallpox is spreading and needs to be eradicated. Is there a cure? Mage shows them how to make vaccines and antibodies as instructed by Demon King. King thinks this could be a great way to work towards ceasefire. Imagine if everybody gets a shot for one gold piece. They are surprised that Mage wants to close the gap between humans and demons as she is tired of all the silly nightmares. Financial Minister expresses though demons may look strange, they are still intelligent. Maybe they are more similar to humans than they think. They may have factions and races like humans too. He hopes King will consider Dragon Princess’ request since she is willing to become their prisoner. Hero fends off Demon King and the latter tries to tempt Hero in sharing half the world. He refuses to get baited and chides her thinking as out dated. The world has changed and it doesn’t belong to her now and it’s not hers to give. But her body is the most important thing to him and is his. Demon King manages to drive out the corruption and return to her normal state. After reattaching Head Maid’s arm, Hero updates her the developments above ground. Unfortunately several innocent people had to die when Commander makes his way into a barn. He thinks Sister Maid is Scholar since she is operating a weird machine (printing press). He takes Little Maid hostage and beats up Sister Maid. Thankfully Soldier came to her rescue and they clash swords. Despite Soldier taking in heavy wounds, he continues to fight. His sword may have broken but he has wrapped his wrists with iron to fend off Commander’s strike. It ends when the guys fall down a chute. Commander splattered like a tomato while Soldier barely hanging on, using his sword to stab the wall to break his fall.

The Central Nations’ soldiers are getting restless. They are fed up having to put up with tasteless food. Although the army has brought along with them lots of gold as it is more efficient to transport around, the nobles have started to realize and panic that with so much gold and no food in winter, that’s why they’re attacking the southern nations. However the war has not even begun yet as the warlords are petty arguing the territory they will receive after defeating southern nations. Because of this, some disgruntled soldiers become mercenaries and decide to ambush the southern nations with a sneak attack. Knight has seen this coming and will attack and end this swiftly before it abrupt into a full scale war. Knight and her army employs hit and run tactic to confuse and wound the enemy. Then they split into smaller groups as a ploy to break up the mercenaries and then attack them. Then the best reinforcement comes: Snow. Because of that, the enemy troops are forced to retreat. Some even ran from the fight as they don’t have enough food. In the Holy Capital, it seems the higher ups are cursing the Alliance for causing the rise in price. They are also making a deal with a blue skinned demon general to make him rule the southern nations one their goal has been achieved. It is part of their plan to forever be perceived as enemies and make certain that the church will always rule. They also have plans to recapture the demon realm and this time they have a secret weapon: Gun powder. Another invention Scholar created and mass developed in Iron Country.

Demon King greets her people and they give her a rousing applause when she assures Gate City will remain under her direct control and protection. Then she introduces Black Knight (Hero) and praises his efforts in maintaining order in that city and punished those who broke the law. As part of the show to demonstrate his might, he swings his sword but the crowd doesn’t seem assured. Head Maid tells him to pull off a flashier move so he blasts the entire mountain!!! Did he overdo it? But the demons love it!!! Demon King calls for the Quriltai meeting among all the greater races but the crowd misinterpret this as they are going to war with humans. I guess Demon King still has lots of work to do even if it’s just a meeting by those chiefs to decide that. Hero assures her he will be by her side no matter how long it takes. After some time, Demon King is back in her humble abode in Winter Pass. She learns that the southern nations’ potatoes are sold to Central Nations via Alliance. If they taste them themselves, they will realize it is not demon’s food. It is also possible that countries may start leaning towards the south and the first step to a dual currency system. Sister Maid recounts Merchant A’s surprising words that he wants to trade with demons. He is willing to stake his life on it. King can’t answer now but he will keep his options open as he wonders if demons and humans are more similar and wants to know more about them. Knight tells Demon King that during her absence she has given her sword to Hero. Don’t worry, it wasn’t her body. She is telling this because they are friends. They both shake hands and admit they love Hero the person he is. But that doesn’t stop them from fighting over him during ‘critical’ moments. Poor Hero gets caught between them. Their bosoms. Literally. Lastly, Demon King and Head Maid talk about Sister Maid’s bravery to stand up and gave birth to liberalism. Demon King finds humans amazing despite being chaotic and rowdy. That’s why she loves this world.

Knowledge Is Power
I did not set out very high expectations for this series so I was surprised when it ended, I find the entire series be very interesting. Despite the ending that doesn’t seem to mean much because basically life goes on. Even with several new developments in the end, the cycle continues and so whether it is good or bad ending, I can pretty much say that the entire series itself is entertaining. In fact, I have to admit that each episode draws me deeper and deeper in wanting to know more about the developments on just about everything. I might not be the brightest guy in trying to understand the mechanics of the economics but I guess they kept it simple enough for a simpleton like me to understand them or at least the gist of it. Some may find it boring due to the talking and drama and lack of action scenes but to me this is one of the better ‘thinking’ animes out there without putting in too much of battles and fanservice to ruin everything. In short, this is a great anime and I recommend that everyone of all ages and walks of life to watch it.

So basically the speeches and dialogues of the characters are what make this series work. In fact, you can draw lots of inspiration from listening to what they say. Especially when Sister Maid impersonated as Demon King and addressed the people not to follow blindly but to believe in their hearts and never stop believing. She might sound repetitive in drilling to our heads, reminding us that we are humans but she is trying to drive a point: We are humans. Not insects. Unless you choose to be one. There are lots of lessons you can learn just by watching the characters interact as they eke out their simple lives just to live a simple everyday living. You learn about humility and from being simple, you can see the most from the commoners that they are the happiest people on the land despite being poor and in poverty. Poor in material wealth but they are rich in other areas. You also learn not to judge a cover by its book and sometimes it is hard not to do so because of the stereotype information that we have been fed ever since we are born. If you think about it, how different are humans and demons? The only big difference that I can see is their outer physical appearance. Otherwise, both humans and demons are basically the same. There are good humans. There are good demons. There are also bad humans and demons. They also eat. They also breathe. They also need to make a living. See, how close we all are to each other? Next, we can say we are really related to the ape. Haha! Or even the Martians.

The simple economic strategies as well as war tactics are also an interesting topic. You can say that they are quite educational. I have said that I am not that smart but I do not find their explanations to be a big bore. It is because perhaps the development of the plot in the background that gives it an interesting twist. For had not the countries face such problems, these people would not have come up with such ‘brilliant’ solutions to counter and protect their own. That’s why they say necessity is the mother of inventions. One thing I like to point out is the inventions that Demon King creates. Now, many of us may laugh it off and say that she might have ripped it off from this real world of ours. Many would also shrug off those simple inventions because the way the people sees them for the first time, it is like a big deal. Yes, it is a big deal. For don’t you realize that even though such inventions are such a rarity in our world this days, it shows that we have taken such simple inventions for granted. We would not have the GPS if not for the compass. We would not have computers or iPads had not been the advent of the printing press. What about simple potatoes? You think having fine Wagyuu beef steak is the best, eh? People here have barely enough to eat! So I think that the inventions Demon King introduced to the humans may feel like she is taking them from the future but can you see how grateful and happy the people are and how it lightens their burden? It’s a gift.

The characters are another amazing set that makes the impossible possible. While many series focuses on the main protagonist, this one I feel has everyone equally playing their part. This show isn’t really all about Demon King or Hero and the actions they take. We also see other characters like King, Sister Maid, Knight and Merchant A doing their best in making Demon King and Hero’s dream come true. If they are going to change the word, it isn’t going to take just the two of them and everyone else, if not a big part from both sides of the divide need to pitch in. It is definitely odd for a demon king to wish for peace but thankfully this Demon King was brave enough to have a different vision. She was bold enough to go where no men and demons dared to go. Call her a pioneer or a visionary, but it is her first step that makes it possible and allows others to follow. Throughout the series, Demon King never loses sight of her main mission though at times she may feel depressed just not being close to Hero (the bit she got possessed is a different story). Hero too is another commendable dude. He has changed from one who is good in using his sword to fight and destroy into someone who does not wish for war. Despite either way he wishes for peace. Just the method of achieving it is now different. So you see, there are other ways to make peace instead of turning to violence. Demon King and Hero’s support each other provide the ‘battery’ and energy for them to keep going. Ironically, I feel that as they spend half their time away from each other in carrying out their task. But if that is needed to be done, so be it. In the end, they’re still together, right?

The other characters are admirable too and some of them have undergone lots of change for the better. Primarily King and Sister Maid. King stepped out from his father’s shadows to take command of his nation. Although he still has some improvements to go, he is making headway progress as a true ruler of his country. That is the best way to earn the people’s respect and love. Sister Maid has turned from a person who has very low confidence into someone who can even contribute laudable ideas during discussion. Even Little Maid who once used to hide behind her sister’s skirt is now much livelier and comes up with her own recipes. Demon King’s lessons must have borne fruit as the years passed because all the nobles’ son are now making use of her teachings in the very positions that they sit. They may not be the main characters but their little role helps in achieving the big dream. Then there is Merchant A. His fateful meeting with Demon King has made him changed his views. Sometimes it isn’t about gaining or losing. There are things that can’t be expressed through that. If he becomes part of the council of Alliance or be the next head, I can foresee that he will come up with more ‘terrifying’ negotiating methods and trade tricks. Knight’s loyalty to Hero is laudable and perhaps only as her knight role. As a woman, she may have lost that out to Demon King ;p. Speaking of an amusing person, I find Head Maid so since she smoothly traverses between her serious no nonsense mode and the one that teases Demon King. Although in both modes, her emotion does not flutter very much. After all, she does what she does to give encouragement (like Sister Maid) and that little push when one is being indecisive (like Demon King). Just like any other characters in this series, I find her likeable even if her actions may seem cold. Hey, nobody hates maids, right?

The only character I find a little redundant is Mage. Even with Dragon Princess’ role of ‘bumming’ around with Merchant A in the later part of the series or perverted Gramps just standing by King’s side seem to have more role impact than Mage in this sense. Mage appeared so late when the series is about to end, it’s like her role is just to help Hero for that brief moment. Even had she not introduced the cure to smallpox, I think that scene could have been omitted and not bear any significant impact on the plot. But Mage is amusing. I think she has split personalities. One that is a sleepyhead and the other is just a crude foul mouth witch. Due to her lack of appearance, lots of things about her is a mystery so questions like why she left and where she had been all this time remains unanswered. Unless I wasn’t paying attention. Besides, I think Demon King met her briefly during his search and that Demon King also the same when she made her way back to the palace. Why was Mage hanging around Outer Library anyway?

Apart from the common people as we know, the church and those in the high positions are the main culprits in making the people suffer. They have the power to turn your life hell in a blink of an eye if they don’t like you. They can pluck anything out from the air without proof to turn you into a heretic, a reason for them to execute somebody and make a fearful example to others. Is this the teachings of God or Light Spirit in this anime’s case? Ordinary people have no means or power to stand up to them. That is why it takes just a little someone who has went through pain and suffering to break out from that stranglehold and give everyone hope. As far as this anime is concern, the church doesn’t look like it is going to be shattered any time soon, although there are some ripples here and there. Something that big and being around for a long time won’t crumble that easy. True evil, huh? But that is just my view point as we have seen how the church operates here. With the developments at the end and their goal to take everything and destroy those that stand in their way, it is not really the end yet. Same case I feel for White Night King. Commander may be dead by I don’t think that fallen and disgraced king will give up his revenge that easily too.

Which brings us to this next topic of war. Ironic as seen in this anime as in the real world, war is very much necessary to facilitate economic boom. At the expense of lives of poorer nations, richer nations get richer from the trades of war. That is why there is this dilemma whether if war is stopped, will it be a good thing. People will be out of jobs and turn to their instincts to fight for survival. After all, fighting is in our blood and genes. It is a proven track record throughout the centuries. The good point about this is that this is what makes us humans. Imagine the entire world living in peace. No wars. No fighting. Boring, isn’t it? Thus the irony that war is necessary both have its good and bad points. And also depends very much on which end of the war you are.

Another ‘unique’ aspect of this anime is the name of the characters. While many series with fantasy setting try to have unique fantasy-like names (the ones from Zero No Tsukaima gave me a tough time with the tongue twister names), this one rarely had names for all the characters. Each character is identified by his/her title or description. While this is refreshing and good for those who are bad with names, sometimes it is hard to identify a certain character. For example, we know Demon King here is the only role for this show. But what happens if you need to make a reference to the past demon kings? It may get confusing in this sense. There are many other generals and soldiers too, right? So which one are we referring? It’s a good thing that they manage to keep such names for positions and titles to just a single person. Or else such minor and extra characters I don’t think they are even named. It also gives rise to different naming sense. What I mean is that unless you use the original Japanese words like Maou (Demon King) and Yuusha (Hero), translating them to English like what I did in my blog may bring about different name of the characters and may differ from the original version. Thus my Merchant A here as I later found out would be identified by others as Young Merchant and Gramps is actually Archer if going by his official name in the credits but he is often addressed as the former. Since I’m so used in using my own names (or as translated in the anime) so I’ve decided to stick with it instead of changing and following the rest.

The drawing and art seems okay but just that I noticed the scenery and background sometimes feel like water colour painting. It might be a little odd but I find it effective in a way to portray the deprived and poor setting of this world. Lives were much simpler then and the people’s needs aren’t that many. As for the writing that I find this series, I find them like wormy scribbles… Somewhat horrible doodles. The action part is also okay but nothing really flashy except maybe Hero overdoing it with his super power or teleporting skill. It provides a nice variety and diversion to the main drama and dialogue but it is not the main focus and not something you should hope for. Consider them as bonus. Like the final surprise attack scenes, they are exciting itself because of the tactics used to explain and employing them. For fanservice, just a handful and most of them coming from Demon King’s ‘useless flesh’ (that’s how she terms it) and a scene of Knight in wet clothes while bathing with Hero. Also not something that you should keep your hopes up in this series and serves as a little distraction. The little comedy bits come mainly from Demon King when she is worried about Hero. Which demon would ever sleep with a big hugging pillow of her hero?! And you thought otakus only do that, huh?

Another reason why this anime series reminded me of Spice And Wolf is because of the two lead seiyuus, Ami Koshimizu and Jun Fukuyama. As Demon King and Hero respectively, they also played the leading roles in Spice and Wolf as Horo the wolf harvest deity and Lawrence the travelling merchant. It’s like this anime is a demon version of Spice And Wolf! Just that Ami Koshimizu doesn’t go “Tawake!” (“You fool!”) this instance and is more polite and little goofy compared to that wolf character. Jun Fukuyama is more toned down in his Hero role here. Miyuki Sawashiro (Shinku in Rozen Maiden) and Hiroshi Kamiya (Nozomu in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) are still identifiable in their roles as Knight and Merchant A respectively. But I still couldn’t recognize Chiwa Saito (Kirie in Girls Bravo) as Head Maid and Haruka Tomatsu (Lala in To Love-Ru) as Sister Maid after all these years in hearing their voices. Other casts include Nao Tooyama as Little Maid (Kanon in The World God Only Knows), Daisuke Hirakawa as King/Prince (Makoto in School Days), Banjou Ginga as Gramps (Babbo in MAR), Misato Fukuen as Mage (Even in Black Cat), Shizuka Itou as Dragon Princess (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Houchuu Otsuka as Commander (Jiraiya in Naruto) and Hiroki Touchi as White Night King (Lily in Fairy Tail). The opening theme song is Mukaikaze by Yohko. Despite being a lively pop, somehow I feel the singer’s voice a little flat. The ending theme is Unknown Vision by Akino Arai. The song feels a little creepy because the singer’s voice sounded a little like a ghost! Like a whispering spirit singing this slow piece.

The bottom line of this anime is to give peace a chance. War and fighting may seem like the norm only because it is familiar territory and lack of empowering education. Demon King and Hero took the first brave step to change to mind-set of the people and the world and although it is not a walk in the park with lots of sacrifice and anguish along the way, at least they are working towards a new hope, future and peace. Whether it really works out in the long run is a different story. If it does, then it’s good. If it doesn’t, then hopefully this will inspire future generations to undertake and continue the struggle with better preparations. So next time when you meet a demon, cast away your stereotypes that all demons are evil beings out to destroy mankind and the world. After all, aren’t we all still the same? I wouldn’t mind jumping into a deal with a demon just to ensure peace on Earth. Unless of course the demon had me fooled into such fake deal and turned me into a pawn for his/her own nefarious ends. You can blame me for being human. Now that we have seen it is possible for humans and demons to live and work together, how about we do the same for humans and vampires then?

Sukitte Iinayo

July 27, 2013

Have I seen this somewhere before? Let’s see. Unpopular girl and very popular boy fall in love and become a couple. Doesn’t this sound familiar? If you thought that this sounds very much like Kimi Ni Todoke, then you are right. On the surface. Sukitte Iinayo is another one of those shoujo genres in which the hot looking guy whom every other girl would dream and die for to be his girlfriend, takes an uncanny interest with a girl whom almost everybody shuns. I know. You’re going to tell me either opposite attracts or the power of love or something like that. I mean, it would be so boring to see two popular and pretty people become couples and fall in love, right? But out unpopular girl here doesn’t look like she came out from a popular Japanese horror movie. She looks like any normal girl. Due to her bad experience with friends, she vows never to have one as she believes they will only betray her. All that is about to change when this guy takes an interest in her. From there, we see their relationship changing and love blossoming as she gives life and love another chance.

Episode 1
Mei Tachibana never believed in having friends. Not after her traumatic experience how she was blamed for the class’ pet rabbit’s death during her elementary school days. She ignores all the b*tchy remarks by other girls that she is on a streak of being boyfriendless. At Tomei High, Yamato Kurosawa is probably the most popular guy around. Kenji Nakanishi is his close friend but is a pervert. Asami Oikawa, those humungous boobs define her. That’s what everybody does. Asami prefers to run into arms of Yamato instead of Nakanishi. She invites him to go on a karaoke outing. Yamato accidentally bumps into Mei but she gives him the cold shoulder and walks off. Later while the other girls are busy gathering around Yamato about a mixer, Nakanishi feels naughty and starts flipping short skirts. Little did he know, he flipped Mei’s. She gives him a roundhouse kick but kicked Yamato instead. He blocks it with his palm. She gives her piece of mind before leaving. Yamato despite shocked at first, bursts into laughter. After school, Mei discovers lots of pins in her shoes and an angry note wanting her to apologize to Yamato. Yamato apologizes for Nakanishi’s behaviour but she’s not interested. However admits he is interested in her. She doesn’t care. He wants to trade handphones. Numbers, that is. Think she would just give it to him like that? He gives her a piece of paper containing his and is expecting her to call. She passes him a band aid for his palm. After Mei finishes her part time job at the bakery, she goes home and starts pondering about Yamato’s gesture. She believes he will betray her. Next day in school, Yamato pesters Mei about last night. He was really waiting for her call. She shows him her handphone has only 2 numbers: Her home and bakery store. She reveals her distrust in others and how they would find a scapegoat and look things the other way for their convenience. Mei leaves the bakery late that night and she realizes somebody stalking her. She panics and runs into a convenience store to hide. She calls home but her widowed mom isn’t home. Which number is left? Reluctantly, she calls Yamato. And thankfully he picks up because it was just about his turn to sing in the karaoke. He rushes to her side and learns that stalker is still out there waiting! 35 minutes… The stalker is a regular customer of the bakery. Yamato buys an ice cream and leaves with her like as though they’re a couple. When the stalker confronts them and asks Mei who this guy is, Yamato confesses he loves her and kisses her! Enough for the stalker to lose interest and walk away. Mei just stood there stunned. Her first kiss…

Episode 2
Mei joins Yamato and his friends in the karaoke. She doesn’t want to sing and causes a scene. She leaves. Yamato goes after her. Mei remembers she was surprised he came to her rescue because she never expected him to come but he was happy to be of her assistance. Mei thinks it is okay to trust him a little and that kiss was just a reason to get her out of the sticky situation. In class, Asami quickly becomes Mei’s friend and gives her a matching furball handphone strap as token of friendship. In the toilet, Asami can tell that Yamato kissed Mei. She’s cute so it’s no wonder. What does that mean? Asami has kissed Yamato before too. A couple of bullies walk in and tease Asami of her huge melons. She just ignores them and leaves. Mei admires Asami that she could shrug something like that off. Of course she doesn’t particularly enjoy it. Guys used to tease her a lot about her boobs to a point she wanted to stop going to school. However Yamato told them off how disgusting they were staring at every girl’s breast despite there’s nothing wrong in liking big boobs. That’s her first meeting with Yamato. He always worries about others before himself. She likes him but they’re over. She asked for a kiss and he did it. Probably he was nervous. There’s also this rumour he kissed every girl in school except for one: Miki Arai, Yamato’s first love. Back home, Mei’s thought is heavily clouded with this Arai girl. Yamato calls to ask her to come with his friends to the karaoke. She asks about Arai and the rumour. They’re just that: Rumours. Since Arai is coming, Mei doesn’t want to go. At school, Mei looks a bit like a stalker, stealing glances whenever she can when she sees Arai. At the toilet, she hears the bullies badmouthing Asami and tells them off.

Yamato wants to know how Mei got that hideous bruise on her cheek and who did this to her but she says she fell down from the stairs. Asami accompanies Mei to the infirmary and so happens the bullies decide to play hooky here. They start badmouthing Asami about her boobs. Nakanishi happened to walk by jump to Asami’s defence. He goes on ranting about his love for big boobs and got stimulated. Unintentionally he hurt Asami’s feelings despite he didn’t actually mean what he said. Mei says that even though he thinks big boobs are great, it’s still his opinion. Doing whatever he wants will eventually end up hurting someone. Thinking he has a special place in Asami’s heart since he is more open about his feelings, she advises him to be honest with her. Nakanishi meets Asami and apologizes. He cares for her. He loves her. He loves everything about her and the things she does. It makes him happy for the rest of the day and wants to be the first person to see it than anyone else. With that, the duo become a couple. Yamato is at the karaoke with his friends. Arai heard that rumour of his and tries to convince him to give her one because it’s not fair everybody got one except her. Yamato takes a breather outside and what a pleasant surprise, Mei is there. Like a stalker. What’s with the getup? So she’s concern he would leave with Arai? I guess he’s more interested in her. Yamato didn’t like Mei talking about Arai the whole time and kisses her. This only upsets Mei. What reason does he have this time? Does he go around kissing everyone? A kiss can hurt a girl. A kiss without feeling doesn’t make anyone happy. Then here comes a barrage of kisses. This one is for greeting. This one is for a cute girl. This one is for wanting to go further with her. And lastly, this one is for the girl he has feelings for. He asks if she loves him and will give her a serious kiss if she doesn’t answer. Mei is confused. Her heart races each time she thinks of him. That means she loves him, right? Yamato gives her a serious kiss. Mmm… Tastes like chicken… Karaoke food…

Episode 3
Yamato wants to accompany Mei to go cut her hair. He calls it a date. She doesn’t. But why did she spend a long time to pick a dress to wear? Is she really going to a haircut? Even her mom thinks it’s a date and wishes her good luck. Along the way, Mei notices lots of girls fawning at Yamato’s handsomeness. Even some scouting agency approached him but he declined. Mei feels inferior and thinks it’s an embarrassment for him to hang around someone as cool as him. She doesn’t know him well enough so he holds her hand and suggests they start acting like a couple. Didn’t know how warm his hands are, eh? Yamato comes across his old friend, Masashi Tachikawa and Aiko Mutou. They are going bowling and Aiko seeing her ex-crush is with a plain girl, insists they come along. Think Mei is going to suck in bowling? She scores a strike on her first try! Apparently she tried it before when she was young. She’s a natural talent. Of course Aiko has been putting up a sulking mood ever since so on the pretence of buying drinks, she goes talk to Mei. Because Mei isn’t sure if she’s in love with Yamato, Aiko tells her off that so many girls are after him and yet she is so half hearted. She can’t even fathom why Yamato chose Mei over her when they had sex. She tells him to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t love him. That statement dealt a heavy blow to Mei. Her next bowl ended in the gutter and she calls it quits. Aiko tries to stop Yamato from following her but I guess he’s with Mei today. Aiko continues to ponder what is so good about Mei because she would have done anything for the man she loves. Flashback reveals she bought lots of make-ups and accessories to beautify herself for her ex-boyfriend even if it ruined her skin. Till the first time she met Yamato and he pointed out she looked cute even without all those make-up. That was the first time anybody said that to her. When she found out her ex was cheating of her, she broke down and sought Yamato for comfort. She took advantage of his kindness and ended up having sex. She even went on a diet for Yamato’s sake and would do anything to be beautiful.

Yamato finds Mei sitting in the rain and knows Aiko has said something to her. He brings her to show her a wooden wall being patched up. He once punched and made a hole here. Back in those wild days, his school had lots of bullies and fights. Yamato blended into his surroundings so as not to be targeted. One day his best friend became a bully victim and soon everyone shunned him including Yamato. When nobody was around, Yamato finally talked to him but it was too late because he transferred the next day even though he was happy that he did. He felt stupid and got so upset he couldn’t do anything and punched that wall. He hated himself. Mei claims she wasn’t good enough for him but in actual fact, Yamato feels he is not good enough for her. Mei is the one to say because she talks about friendship above looks and should trust people more. Did she look in the mirror recently? Well, she claims Yamato made her that way and she wants to try trusting others. Yamato admits he fell in love with her kick. Seriously? What? Noting that this is terrible timing, he asks her permission to kiss. Okay. They walk back hand in hand. Too late for a haircut now. Yamato thinks long hair suits her. Mei realizes that when she’s with people, there are some things that aren’t the same when she was alone. Just like herself, Yamato too had his own scars. It’s time she stands up and faces them.

Episode 4
Yamato gives Mei a bracelet as symbol of their love. Mei’s popularity seems to have skyrocketed in school as rumours of her dating Yamato are going around. Yamato’s friend, Kakeru Hayakawa wants to treat them for lunch simply because he wants to see his girlfriend. Mei treasures her bracelet so much that when the teacher tried to confiscate it, she hit his head with the world map and run away! But she’s glad he didn’t take it. Yamato kisses her hand but it makes Mei feel bothersome to do such things easily. Yamato tells Mei about his friend who wants to meet her and thinks it’s nice if she has more friends. Hayakawa and Aiko chat. Aiko remembers when she was dumped by her ex, Yamato told her not to waste the effort she put in to attract him. If that’s the case, she wants him to sleep with her and since she insists on it as it will make her feel better, one thing led to another. Of course she didn’t intend to make it a one night stand. She tried to confess her feelings to him but this Mei problem cropped up. Yamato tells Hayakawa that Mei is only free on Saturdays. Hayakawa agrees to meet on that day as he deletes a date he got set on that day. Irresponsible jerk… So Hayakawa treats them to quite a meal. Mei wants to pay her share and Yamato wants to help chip in but Hayakawa insists guys should always be the ones who pay. Yamato explains Mei is nervous around new people but has gotten better in making friends. Hayakawa offers to exchange numbers and that he could have Mei make more friends via his connection of his. When Yamato leaves to answer a call, Hayakawa tries to flirt with her and suggests getting closer with him. Though he says he doesn’t intend to destroy her relationship, he thinks some guy friends for her will be good. That’s when Mei deletes his number from her handphone, pays her share of the food and leaves for home. She doesn’t need friends like him and feels disgusted being alone with him. Yamato returns and finds Mei gone. Attempts to call her turn futile. When he learns what Hayakawa said, he punches him. He won’t let his comment that Mei is just another girl slip. Mei is his! He tells him off she isn’t the kind of girl that would fall for a scumbag like him.

In school, Hayakawa talks to Aiko on what happened. He thinks the weird ones attract each other and that Yamato must have gotten weirder ever since meeting Mei. Aiko tells him off that he doesn’t understand. He gets upset everyone only cares about Yamato so Aiko says Yamato doesn’t make shallow friends like him. Hayakawa brings up the topic that Aiko was once fat and disgusting. She hurt herself just to lose weight and Yamato won’t even look at her hideous body. Mei overheard it all and reveals about Hayakawa’s bad eating habits. She adds he is much more pitiful than her. Hayakawa pushes her and leaves. Mei reveals she doesn’t like people badmouthing others. She understands the problem Aiko went through losing weight but she isn’t going to get friendly yet. It’s not like she knows exactly the pain she went through. Mei is thankful that Yamato gave her a chance. She feels human now rather than her lonely pitiful life before. Now that she has deeper feelings for him, she doesn’t want to lose those feelings to her. Aiko brushes this so called declaration of war because Yamato dumped her a long time ago and she is free to do whatever she wants. Later Mei talks to Yamato who regrets letting her meet Hayakawa. Mei asks if he really had sex with Aiko. He affirms it because he can’t leave her alone then. She would’ve gone crazy then. Also, he wants to be honest with Mei. He promises he won’t do it with anyone anymore. Except her. Nothing his bandaged hand, she kisses it to make it feel better. That’s because even though everyone has their own scars, his was the scar that protected her. This scar was for her. She won’t forget these emotions and will not be afraid to get hurt. They both huddle close to each other.

Episode 5
Mei sees an abandoned cat but she can’t take it home since she already has one, Marshmallow. Yamato is confident somebody will pick it up but Mei tells him not to take this lightly because it is life and death situation for the kitten. Seems Yamato adopts the cat and that night he is having trouble with it so he calls Mei for help in his panic. Mei was a big help and Yamato is very much relieved. Now that his family has accepted Kuro (the cat’s new name), Yamato is really going to take care of it and not giving it back to its original owner if he/she has a change of mind. He suggests Mei to come to his house with Marshmallow so that their cats can play house. Mei meet Yamato’s little sister, Nagi. But she doesn’t like Mei and doesn’t think she is worthy to be his girlfriend. Does she have brother complex? Inside his room, Yamato hugs Mei from behind and wants to stay like this for a while. He hopes she can address him by his first name but she can’t. Not just yet. That will do for now but one day he’d like to hear her say “I love you”. Nagi comes in and sees them. She misinterprets Mei is assaulting Yamato and freaks out! Yamato explains to her but she still isn’t convinced. She throws her stuffed bunny at him and locks herself in her room. Yamato apologizes for Nagi’s behaviour and mentions she used to be nicer. She started acting weird about half a year ago and even stopped inviting her friends. Flashback reveals Nagi happily used to have her friends over. She enjoyed their company. One day she can’t let them come over because relatives were visiting. Then she heard them say that if they can’t come over to eat free snacks and play all the games they want, there’s no use in becoming her friend anymore. She started making excuses to skip school and Yamato really wanted to help her out. He gave to her a stuffed bunny and told her she can talk to him if anything was bothering her. The bunny she named Yamato #2 became her best friend.

Mei notices the delicious cake Nagi made. Yamato explains this isn’t the only thing she is good at. In fact she is good in making lots of things. Just then Yamato gets an urgent call from Nakanishi to pick up something. Since he can’t say no, he promises to be back in a jiffy. Mei waits in his room, noticing Marshmallow and Kuro are in some standoff. Mei goes to give Yamato #2 back to Nagi. She praises her baking so Nagi lets her into her room and shows her all the stuffs animals she made. Mei is impressed but also gives her account of the first cookies she baked that turned into a ‘weapon’. Weapon? It broke her father’s teeth… Learning Yamato #2 is her best friend, Mei says that she too is trying to make more friends. She used to be alone and hated others. But after meeting Yamato, she realizes that the most important thing is not to reject people because one day you can share your troubles with them. Mei realizes she left the cats alone and rushes back. To her relief, they are sleeping comfortably by each other. Nagi gives her a stuffed bear. Mei is confident she can make friends again. When Yamato rushes back he sees not only the cats sleeping together but the girls snuggled closely to each other. Wow. What happened? Whatever it was, he has Mei to be thankful for.

Episode 6
Nagi teaches Mei how to bake cookies. She won’t forgive her if she fails to impress Yamato. Even Mei’s mother can tell she is doing it for her boyfriend although Mei tries to cover it up. Megumi Kitawa, the famous model from Dessert Magazine makes a surprise debut at Tomei High. Can she waltz in just like that? Well, everybody is too stunned to say anything but stare at her. Isn’t that what models are for? To look at. Seems she will be transferring to this school. Nakanishi takes Yamato to have a look at her. Yeah, she’s like some big deal. But guess what? When Megumi and Yamato meet, seems they know each other. After school, Megumi waits for Yamato outside the gates. She is straight to tell him she fell in love with him at first sight and wants to be by his side. She doesn’t care if he has a girlfriend or not. Huh? She thinks they’ll be super hot. Well, this is what Yamato thinks. He too gets straight with her that he has no interest in shallow girls and leaves with Mei. Next day, Megumi profusely apologizes to Yamato for stepping over her line. Yamato also apologizes that he said too much. She wants to be his friend and he sees no harm in treating her like his other normal classmates. Yamato and Mei walk home and though Mei didn’t ask about his past with her, Yamato thinks she should be more sceptical. Of course by looking at Mei’s body reaction, we can tell that she’s not that happy to see Yamato and Megumi interact with each other. Mei bakes her cookies and the first thing she did was to strike it with her hammer! It crumbles! At least it proves it isn’t hard as rock. But what about the taste? Nothing?! Back to the drawing board. One day, Megumi tells Yamato that her agency is looking for a male model and since they are short of one, she hopes Yamato could help fill out temporarily. At first he wasn’t interested but after so much pleading, he can’t say no to a friend in need, can’t he? So just this once. Megumi invites his friends to come over and watch them. Well, we know Mei doesn’t really like it but can she say otherwise? On the day of the photo shoot, Megumi and Yamato dress up and had their makeup on. Mei, Nakanishi and Asami are amazed at how pretty Megumi is. Now here comes the true star Yamato! He’s so dazzling so do you need sunglasses? The shooting begins and the theme is for them to act like couples. The staffs are pretty excited they look good together and the shots are wonderful. They are just natural. Like as though a real couple. But Mei is feeling otherwise. Despite the happy atmosphere around him, she feels lonely, inferior, that Yamato is moving away from her as tears stat welling in her eyes.

Episode 7
Yamato is getting popular ever since he debuted as a model. But that’s going to be just one off, right? Apparently it doesn’t seem like it. Megumi begs to Yamato that her chief really liked him and wants him to consider continuing working for the agency and will be paid like other models. Though reluctant, he asks Mei’s opinion. Despite her encouraging words to give it a shot for the exposure, her tone of her voice doesn’t seem convincing. Before Yamato goes off with Megumi for work, he cheers Mei up that he will text her. Mei becomes anxious girl awaiting his text. Any call or mail that comes in, she jumps in hoping it is Yamato. And disappointed when it is not. Yamato had wanted to text her but Megumi kept distracting him. She even invited him home to her house for dinner. He agrees to come for dinner each time they finish work. Is it to keep her company since she says her mom works late and nobody is around? So when Mei gets Yamato’s first text of the day, she became so happy. This trend continues and Mei accepts it since it is part of his job. But slowly it is starting to get to her as Yamato and Megumi are suspiciously too close together. It’s like he isn’t defensive of her anymore. Then Mei heard rumours that Yamato is seen coming out from Megumi’s house. It causes her on the verge of tears. Asami knows something is wrong but Mei won’t say. Till Aiko tells her off Asami was just trying to help her and if she wanted to just cry it was nothing, she’d be better crying alone. Asami apologizes for being pushy because she too sensed that Mei had something wrong when Yamato first modelled with Megumi. She wants to return the favour and help her back. Mei relents and tells about the rumour. Asami gives her advice while Aiko speaks from her own experience. In short, it is ultimately Mei who has to take action because she is the one who is in love with Yamato. Mei realizes she really loves him and soon walks up to Yamato and kisses him! She didn’t say anything! Don’t need to state her reason? Did she catch this from him?

Episode 8
With tears in her eyes, even the densest guy should know something is wrong. So he walks home with her today and they stop by the park. Mei really wanted to know what is going on with Yamato at Megumi’s place but she couldn’t ask. Yamato says Megumi wanted him to continue modelling and since he looked good in it, he asks her opinion. I suppose it was her chance to tell him to stop. But she couldn’t. An ambiguous answer that it’s his choice. Yeah. Maybe he thought if he continues, he would get a surprise kiss from her like that. She asserts she is not that kind of person. Of course it’s not what he is expecting. Mei notices that Yamato for the first time lets go of her hand when he got up to leave. She sinks into further depression that it is so obvious. Asami gives Mei a limited edition key chain from Nyako Sama Land and says Yamato has one too (was given by Nakanishi). Just when Mei is settling down to believe in Yamato, then those rumours surface again. This time the magazine prints the interview with Megumi and she states that she is in love with a guy. The one who is modelling with her. Guess who? Back to depression zone. Asami wants to help but Aiko says Mei will come to them when she needs help. Otherwise, it’s better to leave her alone. Later Aiko talks to Yamato to show him Megumi’s interview. The rumours has spread in school and reached Mei. Though Yamato asserts they had nothing going on, Aiko tells him to put himself in Mei’s shoes. What if she goes to another guy’s house without telling him? How would he feel? Mei has been worried about him since he started modelling. She’s been keeping it to herself all this time. Yamato rushes off to clarify this to Mei in person. But she’s not picking up her phone so he goes to her home. However her mom says she has not returned from school yet. He calls Megumi that he can’t attend today’s photo shoot due to an emergency. Oh dear. See that unhappy face she puts on.

Seems Mei went to her bakery part time job instead. A young punk walks in. After making his selection and is about to pay at the counter, he catches sight of Mei’s key chain. Instantly he grabs her hand and squeals in delight the limited edition key chain she has. He goes on ranting on how he loves Nyako, blah, blah, blah. He hopes she could give it to him. However she can’t because it is important to her. He apologizes for his rudeness. As he leaves, he introduces himself as Kai Takemura and will be transferring to Tomei next week. Oh. Why do I have a feeling how this will turn out? When Mei leaves, she can’t help think about Yamato. She is so in love with him and breaks down she doesn’t know what to do. It gets worse when the bracelet breaks. Did she rub her tears away too hard? That’s when Yamato finds her. He sees her sad face. Her dead face. Instantly he hugs her and apologizes. Mei tells him she loves him and is always on her mind. He is the only thing she cares about. She blames herself for making her friends worry and becoming worse by the minute. He blames himself for making her feel this way. Then he tells her everything. From his pit stop at Megumi’s place and to how Aiko opened his eyes. He asserts there is nothing going on between them. He sees the broken bracelet and picks them up. Mei helps him as she realizes they are both amateurs in love when he hugs her in tears.

Episode 9
Yamato tells Megumi he is quitting this modelling job because he doesn’t want to make Mei feel isolated anymore. Megumi feels devastated but nothing can change his mind on his number one priority. Asami and Aiko can see Mei is feeling much better than before. When Asami turns down Megumi’s offer to follow her to the shoot today, Aiko can tell she is still baiting people and completely ignoring Mei. Mei realizes Megumi still has feelings for Yamato. Yamato goes to buy a gift while Mei goes to work at the bakery. Kai makes his visit again. Care to give that Nyako Sama Land key chain again? You better be kidding. He tells her about a rumour that if she writes a wish on a yellow ribbon and tie it to that key chain, if her lover has a matching one, their love will come true. From Mei’s reaction, he can tell she has a boyfriend. Even the bakery manager is surprised to hear this. Yamato picks Mei up after work. She notices his consideration when his shoulder gets wet while he holds the umbrella for her. She offers him to dry back at her place. After he gives her a gift, a matching set of rings, things could have gotten steamier if not for Mei’s mom returning home. So they both get to know each other and mommy is quite delighted. So happy that Mei met such wonderful person that she starts crying. No kidding. Asami and Aiko continue to tease Mei of this ‘engagement ring’ and feel happy for her. The only one not happy is of course Megumi. As Yamato and Mei talk, they are surprised when Kai walks up to them. It seems Kai and Yamato know each other. Upon seeing their Nyako Sama Land key chain, he realizes Mei’s girlfriend is Yamato. Later Yamato explains who Kai is. They were once in middle school together but transferred away. He can’t believe he has returned. Remember Yamato’s friend who got bullied real bad back then? Yup. That’s him. Kai visits Mei at the bakery once more. Noting that Yamato has told him about his bully case, he reveals his goal of returning: To get revenge on the bullies. He has toughen up and even held back a year at school. Mei feels revenge won’t settle anything. Relating herself as a bully victim, she recently made friends. Even if it takes a long time, she wants to make the bully see who she is. Kai is adamant he will change things his way. Kai nervously waits for the bully and manages to identify him. When he bumps into him, the bully seems panicky and rushes away. Kai is left in shock wondering if he had forgotten all about him. Was he an insignificant victim? Then he starts thinking about Mei’s words and it opened his eyes. When Kai bumps into Yamato along the way, despite knowing he is going out with Mei, Kai says he likes her. He can say that with a smile to his (ex) best friend? Well, Yamato pulled out a shocker face indeed.

Episode 10
Asami is surprised that Mei hasn’t told anybody that Yamato is her boyfriend. When Kai comes into the picture, Asami asks if he would tell the world if he has a girlfriend. He asks back a question that if she would rather go to Nyako Sama Land with friends or her lover. Kai sees Megumi receiving Nyako Sama Land gifts from her admirers. Apparently they know each other. Does he want those gifts? Well, Megumi is willing to give it to him but he won’t accept since they’re given by her fans. She iterates she doesn’t like that place although she lied in her interview she loved it. She then gives him tickets to Nyako Sama Land. She got it from her agency. She thought she’d be able to get close to Yamato if she gets close to him but she changes her mind and will do it on her own. Later Megumi tells Yamato she overheard Kai inviting Mei to Nyako Land Sama. Yamato thinks she has misheard but how come he looks worried? Megumi continues to get praised by her friends, fans and fellow models. Clearly we can see she’s putting up a façade to be happy. She remembers hurtful comments on how her friends said she had to stand at the back of the group in a photo shoot not because she is tall but rather she is the ugliest. When Mei walks back with Yamato, suddenly that guy seems angry. He asks if she has confessed or hang out with any other guys. And if she talks such things to anybody else other than him. Woah. What did she do? Mei is left bewildered. It’s like role reversal. When Mei sees her friends talking to Megumi, she decides not to join them despite they invited her. Plus, I think Megumi is giving her that “Get the f*ck off, b*tch” stare. She becomes disheartened to think that she is back to where she was. She feels lonely again and this time she is scared if everybody starts going away.

Kai passes by her and is shocked to see her crying. Initially she brushes it off as nothing but he isn’t going to let her go if she doesn’t speak up. She tells him about trying to distance herself from everyone so he advises her to take a step forward if she is determined not to lose somebody. Mei manages to speak to Yamato although he is reluctant to walk back with her, he eventually agrees. Another day, Kai walks together with Mei after her work. She thanks him for the advice as it gave her confidence. Kai hints there is a girl he likes. She changed him. Does the personality he described about her sound like Mei? Finally he lets her know that girl he likes is Mei. Yamato heard rumours in school about Kai giving Mei tickets to Nyako Sama Land. As Kai apologizes to Mei for doing that, Yamato confronts them and is upset that Mei is going to Nyako Sama Land with him. Kai explains Mei was feeling sad and wanted to cheer her up. How could Yamato not realize she is feeling sad? He thinks he has never changed at all. Though he is thankful for what he did but his hypocrisy drove him away. He was jealous of him. Like as though he fitted perfectly with the bullies and it pisses him off. Yamato wanted to punch him but Kai got a clean hit on his face instead. Kai says he is much stronger than before and although he is happy in a way Yamato didn’t change, he can now stand up to him. He understands what Mei went through and won’t expect him to know how it feels since he had never gone through any trouble. Yamato counters that if this is his goal to get better than him and getting close to Mei so that he could beat him, it is all the reason why he won’t hand Mei over to anybody. He might not know what Mei went through but he wants to show her the wonderful things she missed and share those experiences with her. Kai relents that if he loves her than he should just say so and not make her worry like that. He explains he likes Mei as a person and apologizes for punching him. If it had not been Yamato, he wouldn’t have returned. After Kai leaves, Yamato apologizes for making Mei feel lonely. She too does the same for hurting his feelings without realizing. Yamato invites her to go to Nyako Sama Land together as he pulls her hand to hug her. She can’t wait for that day.

Episode 11
Mei and Yamato are planning to spend a night at a hotel at Nyako Sama Land. Meanwhile Kai confronts Megumi and chides her for bullying Mei. She tells him off he is the one to say especially confessing to his friend’s girl. He would rather be honest than lie because if their friendship falls apart because of that, it wasn’t worth anything to begin with. He wonders if she really likes Yamato as she is doing things roundabout instead of straightforward. Maybe she doesn’t like him. Maybe she doesn’t like anyone. All she cares about is being popular. He doesn’t like people who use excuses to put others down and should put in this much effort into her job. Asami and Aiko are trying to decide what gift to give to Mei and Yamato for their trip. I guess Aiko was being practically. Just get them a condom! Megumi butts in to invite them to an after-fashion event party. Since Aiko turns her down, Asami follows. In Megumi’s mind, she’s narrating how she puts up a different mask all the time even if she doesn’t want to. Megumi is still persistent in asking them to come so Aiko tells her off they are not her pets. So when Megumi is in a karaoke party with some of her other friends, she spoils the mood when an uninvited girl turns up. Apparently one of the guys invited her. Everyone then leaves because she invited them and wanted to treat them. Yeah. They’re not even friends. While Megumi is in her backstage room, she reads spiteful comments from Dessert Magazine fans about her. She leaves without notice and goes to the convenience store to buy all the snacks. She wonders what it will take to be happy.

Megumi remembers a boy telling her how pretty she is even without makeup but she didn’t believe him. She thought it’s his ‘job’ to say how cute she is in this situation and bets he never thought so. So why is she working so hard to put on this act to make everyone happy and protect her image when everybody isn’t? Mei meets Yamato at the train station before they set off to Nyako Sama Land. Yamato seems to be enjoying the rides but Mei is terrified but holds it in. I wonder how many has she gone through. She wants to do things he enjoys with him. Halfway through, they come into Nagi. She is so happy to see Mei that she ditches her other older brother and tells him to go home! She’s got Mei and she’s happy with that. I’m sure she doesn’t want Yamato to hog Mei. Look who is talking? Mei is happy that someone looks forward to see her. The trio continue their outing. Megumi’s friend, Momoko Sasano is outside her home and tries to talk to her. But Megumi has shut herself in and tells her to go away. She’s in a mess. Yamato and Mei retire to their hotel room. Nagi is dead tired and a heavy sleeper so rest assured they can get a little naughty. To most they’ll go is hugging each other closely on the couch. I guess Mei was so tired that she knocked out soon after. Next morning she finds herself in bed and Yamato cheekily said he did something naughty to her. What was it? Hugging her tummy. Suddenly Yamato gets a call from the editorial department of Dessert Magazine. They can’t seem to contact Megumi who is missing.

Episode 12
After leaving Nagi in Mei’s care, Yamato rushes down to Megumi’s place. Not even he can change Megumi’s mind. Megumi lashes out that everyone wants to take advantage of her and not care about her. So stop acting like her friend if you’re going to betray her in the end. Doesn’t she sound like a certain person before? Yamato hints that certain person he knew was once like that and believes there are others who really want to help her. Nothing will change if she locks up herself. Finally Momoko’s words got through her. It doesn’t matter if nobody looks at her after putting so much effort, to her she is always the best and always looked up to her. Megumi remembers Momoko has always been by her side. She finally gets herself out and hugs her friend. All’s well, ends well. However it isn’t happy ending yet because Megumi becomes the target of indirect bullying. A price to pay for what she has done to others. Megumi makes up with Asami and apologizes for lying to her for her own benefit. Asami knew it all along and does not hate her because her invitations and all made her happy. Megumi promises to stop pretending to be someone else as she has learnt lying only hurts herself and others. She won’t try to make others happy and be herself. She cuts her hair to make a fresh start and stops reading comments on her fan’s website. She’ll ignore anyone who wants to stab her in the back and move forward. Mei and Yamato meet up with their friends early for the festival. Mei wonders if she should have worn her yukata but Yamato views her as cute enough as she is. Because Asami overate and has stomach discomfort, the friends disband and call it early for tonight. When Mei returns home, her mom is frantic because she had tried to contact her. Seems she has taken leave early so she can help Mei put on her yukata. But didn’t she come back from the festival? Then go again. I suppose putting on a yukata is tough because the fireworks are already starting. By the time the yukata is done, Mei texts Yamato to meet again and rushes to the festival grounds. Can she make it? Too bad everything is already over. But the good news is that Yamato is there waiting for her. Surprise to see her in that lovely yukata? I guess this was all worth it, eh? Better than the fireworks. They both hug and share a kiss.

Episode 13
Yamato is absent from school as he catches a cold. Mei starts feeling guilty that it is her fault for making him wait too long during the festival night. Nagi is giving Yamato lots of heavy stuffs to eat. It’s her way of letting him recover back his nutrition. Plus, after hogging Mei the other night, it’s now her turn to hog him. I guess she isn’t going to let go of big brother yet. Mei’s friends can see how gloomy she is and encourages her to go visit Yamato. Even her mom does the same. Nervous Mei texts to Yamato but Nagi confiscates his handphone and calls her. She tells Mei that Yamato doesn’t want to see her. Mei truly believes that and her guilt meter increases further thinking she is the cause of it. Whenever Yamato wanted to get closer to her, she shoved him away. Is it any wonder he is upset? Or so she thinks. She prepares to return home. Asami knows Mei has cold feet and calls her to check up on her. So when the friends learn what happen, each have their turn to say why she should go back and visit him. The stinging one is from Kai. Even though he doesn’t know what is going on, he tells her she should know well by now Yamato won’t really say that. Mei makes a u-turn. As Yamato laments what Nagi said to Mei, suddenly his handphone rings. He quickly snatches it from her hands but to his disappointment it is Hayakawa. He is calling him because he wants to tell Yamato something important. He is seriously in love and is done hopping from one girl to another. Wow. He really changed. And that girl he loves works at the bakery. Oh wait. Doesn’t Mei work at the bakery too? Yamato starts to panic that it makes this scene freaking hilarious! The suspense music only serves to enhance the funniness! Yamato is freaking out all the what ifs. Well, he even thought the girl Hayakawa liked is the bakery manager! Not possible, right? So it has to be Mei! He thinks she is done with him for being a pervert on several occasions. Calm down dude!

Mei is outside Yamato’s home and is still contemplating whether to push the button. She hides behind the pillar and sees a boy with flowers in his hand. Seems he is here to see Nagi and worried about her for skipping class. Just like Mei, he too is nervous and wonders if Nagi would consider him a bother. Mei tells him only he knows Nagi’s feelings. He gets the confidence to ring the bell and Nagi happily greets him. In that instance, Yamato takes this chance to sneak out to go see Mei. And they missed each other! She was hiding behind the pillar and he just rushed straight without looking anywhere else! So close… At the bakery, he is relieved to see Hayakawa with his girlfriend who works at the bakery and Mei’s colleague. I saw this coming. The bakery manager is fascinated to see Yamato since she recognizes him from the magazine. She wants to give him freebies and is told to wait. Then Kai comes into the picture and will help cover for him. Yamato is surprised he knows what is happening and thinks he is stalking Mei! Haha, very funny. The cold must be getting to his head. He heard everything from Asami lah. After Mei witnesses the beauty of love between Nagi and that kid, she calls Yamato. Unfortunately, his handphone ran out of batteries. Oh God. So precise timing. This causes Mei to think he really hates her. Feeling down, she goes away and happens to wander into town, the place where Yamato first met her on their first outing. And finally! The duo meet! They both emotionally hug each other and apologize. We see snippets of everyone’s successful love life and it ends with Yamato and Mei kissing at the bridge.

A Reason To Live, A Reason To Love
Seems like there is a happy ending for everyone in this show. Almost everybody we see ended up being a couple except for Kai and Megumi. Maybe these two should pair up too, eh? They even throw in a surprise for Nagi’s case too. I know. I won’t like it if it suddenly ends hanging or the couple splitting up. So the safest route is a happy ending despite being boring and plain. Overall I guess everything is pretty fine for a shoujo genre. The powerful and universal theme of love conquers it all. As seen how it changes everyone involved for the better. Mei who started out as anti-social quickly changes into someone who seeks the warmth and company of others especially in Yamato. Although she is still nervous about making new friends and new people, at least it is better off than before. She doesn’t seem to have much trauma about her past anymore. Just that she fears of slipping back into it. Otherwise, I could say that Mei is on the right track of fitting back into society. Although there will be lots of room for improvements. We can attribute Yamato in helping Mei come out of her shell but that is only half of the credit. The other credit goes to herself. For had she not summon her own courage and will to do it, she wouldn’t have experienced such new things as she did right now.

Yamato is an amazing guy. Despite his popularity, he doesn’t seem to drown in it and maintains a cool head. Falling for Mei not only changed her but it changed him as well. Even so, he wasn’t that all perfect. When Mei started to improve and open up, Yamato started getting a little insecure when Kai turned up in their lives. He too has his own scar of the past. He too makes mistakes. But he learns from them and grows stronger. You can say that Yamato and Mei perfectly fit each other and with each other’s support, they’ll grow stronger and love each other more and more as the days pass. Sometimes I find the pair of Yamato and Mei a little funny. Maybe it is because they are amateurs in love so it is amusing to see them interact. Especially Mei who is still shy and blushes whenever cool Yamato tries to get closer to her. But that’s good experience, right? And then the last episode shows us that Yamato too can be a joker when he somewhat goes crazy thinking that Mei doesn’t like him anymore. Real funny pair. But being amateurs in love there’s no need for them to rush into love. Take their time, one step at a time. That way, they’ll enjoy every bit of their romance.

I just thought that the flow of the story towards the end, especially the appearance of Kai and Megumi felt like little side distractions. Their arrival puts Mei and Yamato’s relationship to the test but somehow I just don’t feel the pressure and tension on it. Maybe for a while but after that it was like nothing. Kai’s confession to Mei was just admiring her as a person and nothing more. No love triangle ever formed in the first place. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Megumi has been using indirect tactics to break up Yamato and Mei so it doesn’t feel like she is obviously directly involved in plotting their breakup although she is the responsible one behind it. She realizes her wiles aren’t going to make her happy. She punishes herself. Friend comes to talk her out of it. She opens her eyes. Decides to live her own way. Indirect love triangle ends. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Asami and Aiko seem to be getting along with their respective boyfriends as well so nothing alarming happening from their side. In short, the side characters seem not to have a major impact on Yamato and Mei. Once their issue is over, they become friends and hang out. Besides, you can pretty much guess the typical shoujo pattern and outcome. Girl or boy enters into the main protagonists’ lives. Tries to win over his/her affections. They fail. The end. Seems stereotypical, eh?

Everyone has their own tragic past and problems of their own. I suppose this series is trying to highlight the fact that bullying still exists even as young as kids. That’s why when you get traumatized, discriminated or ostracized at such an early age, you tend to grow up with some sort of disturbing mentality. Good case as seen was in Mei. However even if everyone had their own issues, it felt like they were somewhat easily solved. Though I have said Mei doesn’t seem to be that traumatic of her past, it is yet to be certain whether she has overcome it totally. Besides, how can a guy she just met at school and interact a little more than others suddenly change her mentality about not wanting friends in her life? Yeah. Thank the power of love. Asami also had her own issues being teased by bullies but after Nakanishi steps up for her and everything, you won’t really hear her experiencing such problems again. It was like she wasn’t really that bothered with the teasing. Or maybe it’s a good thing she shouldn’t be at all and let the past get to her head. Aiko too did what it takes to get the guy she loves to love her back. After she realized Yamato won’t love her back the same way he does for Mei, it’s time to move on. After years of trying to make Yamato hers and she easily gives up after Mei’s arrival? Well, she already knows it is futile, right? There is also the issue of trying to impress others. In the case of Megumi, she had been lying to herself and acting what others would love to see in search for ultimate happiness. Did that work? She realized too late and somewhat exploded into meltdown mode. She suffered this long and it took a few minutes of her friends’ words to convince her to change? Too easy, don’t you think? Well, Megumi is a smart girl and she knows sulking won’t do anything but give her enemies more salvos to put her down. Why bother to listen to her haters in the first place?

Kai was bullied so bad that he had to transfer out and Yamato felt guilty he couldn’t do anything about it. Then Kai came back after so long just to get one stinking revenge on this big bully. In the end, the bully doesn’t even recognize him or at least acknowledge him. Heck, you don’t even see that bully anymore after that. Like he never mattered at all. Well, he never really did anyway. Whatever happened along the way to that bully to make him change doesn’t really matter but at least we know he wasn’t that big bully he was before. At least this shows he has a conscious. Back to Kai, when they bully ignored him, so where has all that preparations ended up as? Can he so easily forget the grudge by just remembering what Mei’s words? Too easy, no? Despite Kai playing it cool, the revenge has been building up inside his heart so when he’s got that chance, it doesn’t seem realistic that he would throw it away just like that. But it proves that Kai is a good guy and deep down, he perhaps doesn’t wish for revenge and just some sort of trial to overcome himself. Even Nagi had her own problems regarding friends and ended up not going to school. She relied so much on Yamato that if this was a love comedy, you can picture how extreme her brother complex will turn out. Even at the end despite accepting Mei, she still wants a piece of her onii-chan. So does that tell us she still has brother complex? You thought you had seen the last of Hayakawa and then suddenly that guy pops up in the final episode just to tell us he has changed over a new leaf. Wow. Truly the power of love working its magic. A guy who had been flirting around his entire life suddenly finds the true love of his life. So you see, whether it is bully victim or trying to put up a facade for others, it can lead to lots of problems. But do not fear because love will save the day. At least for this anime. Say, what happened to Arai? You know, Yamato’s supposed first love? I don’t remember seeing them break up. Wasn’t she trying so hard to get him to kiss her? After that karaoke outing, she’s never heard of again. Like she really does not matter anymore, huh? I thought girls like her wouldn’t give up so easily especially when you’ve got the most popular and good looking guy as your boyfriend. Boyfriend? Well, maybe those were just rumours. First love doesn’t necessarily translate into being lovers.

Just like in any other shoujo genres (or most of them), the drawing and art of the characters make them look really gorgeous. Beautiful people. Heck, almost everyone including the extra minor characters can be good enough to be models. However I just thought that the round doe-like eyes of some of the girls are slightly a little bigger. I know animes’ trademark have their characters with wide sparkling eyes but this one I feel is slightly larger than the average. Just short of that sparkling effect. This show isn’t for kiddies so you won’t see the chibi and cute drawing, thus the art of the characters are a little more realistic. I won’t say it really bothers me but it so happens that this is what I felt when I first glimpsed at the art and drawing. Zexcs is the studio production behind this anime and they also made several animes with good looking people in it such as Fortune Arterial, Da Capo, Chrome Shelled Regios, Legend Of The Legendary Heroes, Sister Princess Repure and Umi Monogatari.

Ai Kayano as Mei seems perfectly casted for her character. There is this shakiness in her voice which indicates to us that she is still vulnerable despite slowly getting her confidence back in society. Her soft spoken nature sounds a bit like her role as Kikaijima in Medaka Box and Inori in Guilty Crown. When she flusters or panics, she sounded like Mayaka from Hyouka. Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Yamato (Suzaku in Code Geass), Minako Kotobuki as Megumi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Risa Taneda as Asami (Kaoru in OreShura), Yumi Uchiyama as Aiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Tomoaki Maeno as Kai (Fujimoto in Kobato), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Nakanishi (Taichi in Tari Tari) and Mariya Ise as Nagi (Levy in Fairy Tail). For a shoujo genre filled with drama, I noticed that there are a lot more other casts playing various minor roles or extra background characters throughout the series. Normally people won’t really notice if you used the same seiyuus for such multiple roles and though some of them do that, the rest I saw were just one off unimportant characters that probably had no significant impact on the show or the kind that are memorable. I mean, would you believe me that there are around 40 seiyuus just for this part?

At first I thought Mei’s seiyuu was the one who is singing the opening theme song, Friendship ~for Sukitte Iinayo. You know that soft spoken voice just like the protagonist. It turns out to be Ritsuko Okazaki instead. That was the same voice who sang the opening for the anime series Fruits Basket. Now I remember. Then by accident I stumbled upon something on her. Ritsuko Okazaki had already passed on a long time ago back in 2004! That’s almost a decade ago! How did they record this song then? As I found out, Friendship was one of the songs released under the anime Love Hina original soundtrack. Why do I suddenly feel so sad? Sure, the slow and calming ballad and her sweet voice may bring tears to anyone’s eyes upon hearing this piece but just knowing that the singer is no longer around perhaps enhanced that sadness effect despite I won’t consider the lyrics to be that sad. Similarly I thought the ending theme, Slow Dance was sung by Yamato’s seiyuu. Once again I am proven wrong as this pop rock outfit is sung by Suneohair. Their trademark drowsy voice somewhat reminds me of their ending theme they sung in Honey And Clover.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview isn’t exactly a next episode preview. Well, you can see a big red ‘X’ crossing out those words on the top. It feels like Mei’s personal space to rant about her feelings, worries and the issues she is facing currently. I guess it is that age where teenagers go through such teen troubling moments. This segment also serves as Marshmallow’s come back lines on Mei. Sometimes it sounds protective over Mei (not wanting to hand her over to Yamato), sometimes it sounds selfish (it wants its food! Now!) and sometimes it is just bumming around, lying here and there, walking across with nothing much ado. I suppose Mei can’t really hear the thoughts of her cat so you can consider Marshmallow’s wishes ignored. Mei and Marshmallow’s movements in this segment feels like computer generated so it is a little odd to see the way they move. A little stiff and unrealistic. Who cares about that as long as their feelings are real.

Watching this had me thinking if I would find someone like that who could change me from an otaku into a more responsible person. I’m still waiting… If only I had the guts to get out of my room and start living the real life. Looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. It would take a miracle for me to do that. Still prefer 2D girls over 3D ones. Haha! In the event if I do ever get my first girlfriend, I would definitely want to bring her to a candy store or chocolate station during one of the dates. Because if I am going to get my very first kiss, it will taste as sweet as honey or with that chocolaty flavour. Because I don’t want it to taste like chicken…

It’s been a long time since I have done another versus blog. I really wanted to do one between the ecchi themed animes of High School DxD (DxD) and Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai (Boku H) for a long time since I spotted several similarities but kept dragging my feet and that procrastination got the better of me. So one day I decided whether or not I have all the details I need to do this versus, I better do it now before I forget them. And so, not one of my best versus anyway but here goes.

School attended
DxD: Kuou Academy.
Boku H: Momozono Academy.

The main hero
They’re both perverted too…
DxD: Issei Hyoudo.
Boku H: Ryousuke Kaga.

The main heroine
They are both red heads and whom the hero is contracted to. Oh, they end up living in his place too.
DxD: Rias Gremory.
Boku H: Lisara Restall.

How the hero and heroine met
DxD: Issei noticed Rias looking at him from her club room after he got beaten up by girls accusing him of peeping.
Boku H: Ryousuke sees Lisara standing outside his house under the rain and offers her to come in and dry.

The hero almost died
DxD: Issei got killed on his first date by his first girlfriend but was revived by Rias.
Boku H: Lisara stabs him with a broken sword in his heart to take his energy. Later, Ryousuke learns he has got 3 months to live unless they find the special specimen to save his life.

Hidden power within him
DxD: A Sacred Gear called Boosted Gear in which he wears on his left arm.
Boku H: Half of a broken sword called Gram.

His expanding power
DxD: As the lowest ranking chess piece, pawn, his position’s specialty is Promotion whereby he can gain abilities of other pieces/opponents if he gets behind enemy lines.
Boku H: As long as he has got his perverted power, this will provide Lisara with the source of energy needed. Horniness = Love = Justice!

His pervertness
DxD: Wants to create his own harem by becoming the Harem King.
Boku H: His energy is derived from his ‘kingdom’, his ‘Cosmos’.

Her pedigree
DxD: Rias is from one the highest ranking families in the demon world, Gremory.
Boku H: Lisara is from the heiress of the highest esteemed family of Grimworld.

The club
The one that our hero joined.
DxD: Occult Club.
Boku H: I’m not sure what the official name of Ryousuke’s club is but he seems to be the emperor of this perverted club.

Other supporting friends
DxD: Akeno Himejima, Koneko Toujou, Yuuto Kiba and Asia Argento.
Boku H: Mina Okura, Quele Zeria and Iria Fukumune.

The classmate
Supposedly the hero’s friend or classmate.
DxD: Matsuda and Motohama. Perverted partners in crime with Issei.
Boku H: Ohira. Not much is known about him due to his short cameo appearance.

Main antagonist
DxD: Initially Reinare then Raiser Phenex.
Boku H: Galdarblog.

Antagonist’s plan
DxD: To marry Rias and attain ultimate control.
Boku H: To destroy the border between Grimworld and Earth so as to lengthen the lifespan of both sides.

Enemy types
DxD: Demons, angels and fallen angels.
Boku H: Grim Reapers and monsters.

The maid
DxD: Grayfia.
Boku H: Hild and Urs.

Emotionless girl
DxD: Koneko.
Boku H: Dalnia Earheart.

DxD: Ravel.
Boku H: Lisara.

DxD: Raiser.
Boku H: Hikaru Tamano.

DxD: Asia has a little dragon familiar called Rassei. It always zaps Issei if he gets too close to her.
Boku H: Ryousuke has a German shepherd dog named Caesar.

Hero’s parents
DxD: Issei’s parents know about his perverted nature seemed to have given up on him having to find a wife. Imagine their happiness when there is a girl they think ‘dumb enough’ to stay with him.
Boku H: Ryousuke’s single mother, Satomi is currently working away at Germany. His father has the same name as him and somewhat disappeared when Satomi was carrying her unborn son.

The big war
DxD: A three-way war between demons, angels and fallen angels that seemed to last for eternity ended with no clear winner and all sides suffering heavy casualties.
Boku H: A war breaks out between rival factions in Grimworld to take control of the Tuleslay tower that gathers and stores energy from humans and also the gate that links Grimworld to Earth.

Rescue mission
DxD: Issei and co go all out to save Asia when she is kidnapped by Reinare who wants her Sacred Gear.
Boku H: Ryousuke and the girls dive into Grimworld to rescue Mina after being kidnapped by Galdarblog. They might have saved her but it causes both worlds to fuse.

More rescue mission
DxD: Issei goes to confront Raiser in a one on one match at his engagement party to rescue Rias from being forever his wife.
Boku H: After Ryousuke goes into comatose state, Lisara has to separate her soul from her body and dive into Ryousuke’s mind to bring his soul back.

Games people play
DxD: Rias and her team play the Rating Game with Raiser and his chess pieces over their engagement. Rias surrenders and concedes defeat just to have Issei’s life spared.
Boku H: In order to keep Ryousuke from leaving home and to prevent him from finding out the truth of the world’s merger, they play a game of cards in which the loser stripes a piece of clothing. Guess who cheated and ended up getting busted with all the cards up his sleeve?

Training day
DxD: To prepare for the Rating Game, the 10 day period will be used to strengthen Issei for the game with the other friends giving him one-on-one lessons.
Boku H: Ryousuke does his training with an invisible dictionary! It replenishes his ‘kingdom’ power by associating perverted words and visualizes them.

Studio production
DxD:  TNK.
Boku H: feel.

Number of episodes
DxD: 12 episodes + 2 OVAs and 6 specials from the DVD. A second season started its run in mid 2013.
Boku H: 12 episodes + 1 recap episode and 1 OVA. No sequel has been announced yet.

Opening theme
DxD: Trip -Innocent of D- by Larval Stage Planning.
Boku H: Reason why XXX by Sayaka Sasaki.

Ending theme
DxD: STUDYxSTUDY by StylipS (consists of the seiyuus of the female members of Occult Club).
Boku H: Platinum 17 by Yozuca.

In many ways, I still prefer High School DxD as compared to Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai since the former has lots of potential in terms of character development and plot despite the various terms and many other characters that have yet to come in the fray. Just to cut a long story short, both animes have its own share of fanservice, action and romance but of course like I have said I still favour the former to be better in many areas than the latter. It goes to show that even being perverts, you can end up from being ero to hero and then maybe back to ero again. Haha! Once a pervert, always a pervert.

Kamisama Hajimemashita

July 21, 2013

Quick. Name a high school girl who became God. If you answered Haruhi then you must be one of those fanatics under the religion called Haruhiism. I guess it can’t be help since Haruhi has a cult following and is quite popular among many otaku who may or may not be her fan/admirer/worshipper. Can you name another girl who became God? For those who have watched an earlier anime called Kamichu, yeah maybe. But recently did you know that there is another ordinary high school girl who became God? Well, sort of. Not the kind that you might think He is the Almighty. Somewhat a bit lower than that. How does a deity sound? Close enough to be God, no? If you are guessing Kamisama Hajimemashita is that said girl then you are absolutely right.

Our main heroine who would soon find herself as a deity would be Nanami Momozono. She has a father who is very much like Hayate Ayasaki’s parents. Deep in debts due to gambling and one day he decided to become Houdini and pull a disappearing act by vanishing from his daughter’s life. The sad part is that he didn’t take everything with him and what he left behind are 2 things: His daughter and his debts. With the debts piling up, she is forced to be evicted from her home and becomes a homeless girl. No home, no vigour, no life. By the way, this is not a tragic sad drama story. It is supposed to be a romantic love comedy. Yes, you read that right. She meets a man who offers her a ‘house’ that turns out to be a shrine that houses a familiar. The only catch to stay in this house is that she must become an Earth deity. And so begins a new chapter in Nanami’s life and you could have very much guessed it that a mortal human girl like her would fall in love with her handsome fox familiar who doesn’t really trust humans. You know that ever-taboo thing about humans and demons falling in love. Yeah, right. Stories like these always break through such barriers because we all love a good romance fairytale despite knowing that it’s near to impossible in the real world.

Episode 1
Nanami was once a lively school girl till her father’s addiction to gambling rack up the debts. This is followed by a farewell letter and it all ends with the debtors taking away the house. In addition to poor, now she’s homeless. At the park, she sees a man hiding up the tree because of his phobia of dogs. After shooing the dog away, Mikage is grateful for what she has done. He has returned to this land after a long time and learns how Nanami recently lost her home. Mikage knows he can’t come back to his home after a long absence and strikes a deal with Nanami to give her his house. He kisses her forehead and gives directions to his place. Isn’t this an abandoned shrine? Nanami is scared out of her wits when an angry voice lashes out at Nanami, thinking she is Mikage who left him for 20 years to watch over the house. Tomoe is going to kill this Mikage dude! Till he realizes she is not. But her spirit feels like Mikage’s because of the kiss mark on her forehead. Learning of her predicament, Tomoe explains Mikage was the local Earth deity. The fact he gave her this shrine means she has also inherited his role as the Earth deity. The shrine familiars-cum-attendants, Onikiri and Kotetsu welcome her but she is not going to accept all this yet. The feeling is mutual for Tomoe. Because they can’t get along, Tomoe notes it is either she goes or he goes because he has no intentions of serving her. Then he disappears. Anyway with no place to go, Nanami sleeps here. Morning arrives and she thinks last night’s episode was just a dream. Apparently not. Onikiri and Kotetsu are here to greet her and make her do house chores! Wow. Being an Earth deity is hard work. Scrub the floors and walls, pull out weeds… Feels like being used, eh? Nanami learns a little about Tomoe from them. This shrine used to house a dog deity but due to Mikage’s fear of dogs, a fox demon was chosen instead. Later, Nanami could hear the inner voice of an old woman who came to pray. She is able to hear because it’s an Earth deity’s job to hear prayers of people who make offerings. They shove to her a stack of prayers made from the last 20 years!!! Holy sh*t! Tomoe diligently wrote each one down so that Mikage could look through upon his return. He also helped look after the shrine that’s why there are still a few faithful believers. Touching? Nanami’s conclusion? She’s not cut out to be an Earth deity because she’s just a normal high school girl. Taking the easy way out, eh? She wants to set things straight and has the duo take her to the other world where demons roam freely.

They find him frolicking and drinking. Onikiri and Kotetsu try to convince him to return but he doesn’t’ care anymore about the shrine. He is glad he is free and doesn’t need to be a divine messenger. Nanami didn’t like his words and confronts him. She tells him off he has a home to return and that’s how he treats it? She goes off alone in a huff and bumps into several demons who want to eat her. Because the demons are fighting over her, Onikiri and Kotetsu manage to rescue her and escape. Tomoe beats up the demons since he is in a bad mood. The familiars try to convince Nanami to make Tomoe her divine messenger. Once she seals a contract with him, he will obey her every word. All she has to do is kiss. Eh? What? Not up to it? In her panic, she leaves but encounters an old woman needing help. It’s a demon in disguise and Nanami could’ve been toast if not for Onikiri and Kotetsu once more. Another round of chase as Onikiri passes Nanami several warding talisman. Whatever she writes in them becomes true. However the charm can’t be more powerful than she is. That makes it practically useless, right? Well, at least she could do body substitution. Tomoe decides to go see Nanami’s crying face. She’s climbing up a tree to escape. The demon grabs her leg and Tomoe enjoys watching her struggle from above. The familiars want Nanami to seek Tomoe’s help but her pride won’t allow her. In that case, she drags Tomoe down with her. Then she kisses him. With the contract sealed, she obeys him to save her. In the aftermath, Tomoe takes out his frustration on the demon because thanks to her, he is now a divine messenger again. There goes his freedom. Nanami thanks him for saving her and they return to the shrine.

Episode 2
Think all what has happened is still a dream? Nope. Welcome to reality. At least now the shrine is liveable as Tomoe has gathered some decent furniture. It just sinks in to Nanami that she kissed Tomoe last night. Despite Tomoe putting up a polite expression, underneath it all he is still upset. Needing to gauge how powerful Nanami is, he wants her to turn a tub of water into sake using her talisman. Tastes like water… Don’t give up just yet Tomoe! He continues to do the chores when Nanami sees the TV news that a popular idol, Shinjirou Kurama is attending her school, Uchigami High. She remembers she needs to go to school and is over the moon that an idol is schooling there. Hanging out with celebrities and gossiping is what a high school girl should be doing. Tomoe forbids her to go out because she will be a target of demons. And since she is a powerless girl, going out alone is akin to be begged to be eaten. If she still insists, there is one condition: She has to wear a cat ear hood. Standing out like a sore thumb. Everybody’s laughing. So embarrassed… Classmate Isobe can’t get enough of teasing her. All is not lost when suddenly Kurama becomes the new transfer student in her class! Dream come true! She thought he was approaching her. Till he tells her to get off his seat. Double embarrassing. Nanami cries at the toilet so Tomoe comes to check on her and tries to convince her that because of this, she has no reason to come to school anymore. She isn’t going to listen to him and leaves. Kurama waits outside and apologizes for his behaviour for taking out his frustration on her. It’s because everyone looks at him like an exotic animal. In that case, Nanami admits she is the same too and won’t look at him again. Bye. Isobe teases Nanami what cheap food she brought today. She thinks of buying bread when she realizes she’s got 30,000 Yen in her pocket. Similarly, Kurama notes he is missing that same amount. The other girls accuse Nanami of stealing it but Kurama remembers he gave it to her. Nanami knows he is lying when Tomoe comes in to prepare a feast for her as she is the Earth deity. He also lets everyone know that he will not tolerate any slander to his master and points out Kurama’s money on the floor beside him. Strange, because Kurama remembered he put that cash in her pocket. Nanami is grateful despite everything that has happened, he always put her first.

Next day, she ditches the hood to walk to school. Because of that, Tomoe has to secretly follow her around so that he could protect her if trouble comes knocking on her door. Her classmates want to know more about Tomoe and if he is coming today. Upon learning he won’t since she brought her own lunch, they become uninterested and ditch her. We know who her real friends are. Kurama offers to give Nanami a ride but she refuses, pissing off the other fan girls. Later at the rooftop, Kurama confronts Nanami and wants to know why she hates him when most girls would die to be with him. He becomes arrogant and offers to be her boyfriend but she tells him off that if he keeps talking down to people, he won’t even make friends. That’s when Kurama reveals his true form. A black pair of crow wings. He doesn’t care for any other people because all she wants is Nanami. Nanami the Earth deity. However he is pinned down by Tomoe. He recognizes Kurama as the crow goblin from Mt Kura. Kurama tries to persuade Tomoe to be his familiar if he becomes an Earth deity. All he needs to do is bite Nanami’s heart. Offer refused. Tomoe turns Kurama into an ostrich! Guess what? Tomoe is going to cook him for dinner and when Nanami eats him, he can become one with her as meat on her butt! Oh, Tomoe. You make me laugh yet so scary. So the students are surprised to see an ostrich running around being chased by a blue fireball. The chase ends when the ostrich bumps into a girl. Nanami recognizes the ostrich’s pendant belonging to Kurama and knows Tomoe is behind this. She wants Tomoe to turn him back this instant and learns about Kurama’s real identity (too bad he wasn’t really a fallen angel from hell). She will let Kurama off the hook if he doesn’t cause her any more trouble. Also don’t be mean to her. He becomes touched with her kindness. And perhaps even more when Nanami tends to his bruised face. She may not like him but there are others who do so he has to take care of that pretty face of his. Tomoe is not too fond he got lectured while the culprit gets tended. Jealous?

Episode 3
The Priestess of the Lake, Isara will visit Nanami to pay her respect to the new Earth deity. Tomoe wants Nanami to stay in her room instead while he handles everything. The reason being he won’t allow Nanami the rookie to blunder and spoil everything. Under the pretence that Nanami is ill, Isara’s attendant, Aotake thinks she is being rude or feigning something and wants him to show her. Tomoe and Aotake continue to trade barb wires. Nanami who has been eavesdropping makes her entry. Tomoe couldn’t understand why she had to appear because now he has to protect her. The guys still want to fight and clearly Tomoe is superior as he turns Aotake into a fish! That’s Nanami’s breakfast. How does grilled fish sound? Nanami orders Tomoe to put down the fish and reconcile with it. Isara finally breaks her silence and apologizes for Aotake’s rudeness. She gets down to the point. She has come here to tie her fate with another. Ten years ago she fell in love with a boy, Kotarou Urashima. He was 8 years old then and notes he must have grown into a fine man. Their fates were torn apart and she wants to be reunited. However she can’t meet him like this because of her true form. Tomoe doesn’t want Nanami to accept this but she does. You got to help those in love, right? The problem is that there is rule that forbids love between demons and humans. Nanami has a feeling their love won’t work out but there is no harm trying. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be asking a deity’s help, right? Next morning, Tomoe wants Nanami to reconsider her decision and is willing to call it off with Isara. Nanami is adamant and will head to town to search for Kotarou. That’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. Tomoe fears if Nanami leaves, it will be like Mikage’s case in the sense she will not return and agrees to follow her.

They end up eating at an ice cream parlour and Isobe is the last person Nanami wants to bump into. Isobe is being annoying so Tomoe is about to do something to him. He didn’t get a chance since Nanami orders him to stop. The employee tries to calm them down when they realize this guy is Kotarou. Are they lucky or what? That night Nanami meets up with Kotarou at the park and the guy seems to be quite timid. He doesn’t remember about Isara and keeps fidgeting with his Rubik’s Cube. She manages to get Kotarou to promise to meet Isara. Nanami lends Isara her school uniform and with Tomoe’s disguising power, she looks more human than a fish. Isara and Kotarou meet. She is happy to see him but he is panicking. He doesn’t remember her. She confesses to him but he doesn’t know how to react. She is intrigued by his Rubik’s Cube and he teaches her he puzzle. He leaves to get drinks and realizes his heart couldn’t stop pounding. However Isara is in trouble when a couple of ruffians start to pick on her. Nanami wants to help but Tomoe stops her. From this part on, it is up to Kotarou. He needs to have the slightest will to make this work. If it does, it will turn out for the better. Her job is to give him that slightest push that will make him change. Kotarou wants to save Isara but is scared that his legs won’t move. Then he felt a little push and his legs start moving as he makes his way to Isara. Nanami uses her talisman to help give that little nudge.

Episode 4
A white snake is crawling in school so Nanami rescues it from the others who want to harm it. Little did she know that a snake mark has curled around her right arm. Tomoe learns about this and explains it is a mark that she will be betrothed. She can be picked up by it anytime… Because of this, Tomoe becomes the new transfer student in her class to protect her. Annoying fan girls… They can’t get enough of good looking guys, can’t they? Because he remembers all her classmates’ name, Nanami makes it clear to him that their relationship is that he is the son of the family who has taken her in. It’ll be odd if they go by that ‘master’ and ‘servant’ thingy. Tomoe seems to be tired and dozes off in class. Nanami wanders off on her own and got kidnapped by Mizuki Suenagaku, that white snake in human form. It was when Tomoe realizes Nanami is gone and in his rage throws his blue fireballs to go look for her! I think in the process he freaked out some fan girls. Mizuki is awakened by a couple of Mizuki’s umbrella demon familiars in his home. Mizuki wants to marry her but she refuses and goes off. Mizuki doesn’t seem worried. After walking on the same path for a long time, to Nanami’s horror she has returned to wear she has started. Mizuki notices Nanami’s bruised knee and immediately treats it. He promises to treat her better than Tomoe. She is in a dilemma because Tomoe promised to protect her and yet he isn’t here. Nanami watches the plum buds blossom even though it’s not in season. Of course this isn’t part of the real world. Mizuki says his master, Yonomori always loved them. Nanami retires to her room. Next morning, she notices the unappetizing breakfast she is served. Frog in a bowl? Tomoe cooks way better than this. Noting something amiss, Nanami opens the curtains to where Yonomori is sitting. The seat is empty. She realizes this shrine has no deity and thus nobody has come here for a long time. Meanwhile Tomoe has located Mizuki’s shrine. Right at the bottom of the dam. Time to go barging in.

Mizuki explains to Nanami how the townspeople used to think this river was cursed because kids often drown in them and built this shrine. Yomonori was a deity of this shrine then and like other deities, she cannot survive without worshippers. When the people abandoned this shrine, Yonomori went missing (she died actually). Mizuki promised to stay here and protect the shrine with Yonomori. Nanami understands how he is feeling because Tomoe had somewhat undergo the same thing. Mizuki says if she really wants to comfort him, she should stay here with him forever. She can’t because there are people waiting for her to come back. Mizuki gets desperate and tries to hug her. That’s when Tomoe’s perfect timing comes breaking in. He’s one mad fox. Tomoe hugs Nanami after freeing her from Mizuki’s clutches. Then he sets the place with his blue flames. Mizuki’s water powers aren’t enough to douse the flames. He remembers Yonomori telling him that she was merely returning to the earth and isn’t really dying. She made him promised this plum tree that he won’t cry even if he is alone. This tree is the only thing Mizuki has left that connects him to Yonomori. It is precious. But Tomoe couldn’t care less and is going to burn it to ashes! Atone for your sins for abducting Nanami! Nanami stops Tomoe. She talks to Mizuki and apologizes she can’t stay with him. But she promises she will come watch the buds with him if he ever feels lonely. Tomoe is not impressed she made such a promise in front of him because it made him feel he was like a tool. I guess he’s just jealous she was awfully close to that snake. Then noticing her bruised knee, it made him realize how fragile she is and that she could just die from a tree fall. He must make sure she doesn’t break and that he doesn’t break her.

Episode 5
The deity of thunder, Narukami learns Tomoe has a new master. Didn’t she know Mikage ran away 20 years ago? And since she can’t have Tomoe, she is going to challenge Nanami to see whether she is worthy of her deity title. Tomoe can feel Narukami getting closer due to her incessant lightning flashes closing in from a distance. Since he knows she will visit, he can’t follow Nanami to school. He has Kotetsu and Onikiri accompany her instead. As he waits, the sky turns clear and wonders if he had made a mistake. He realizes the storm headed towards Uchigami and Nanami is being targeted. Narukami barges into class and transports Nanami into another dimension so they can have their showdown. She persuades Nanami to give up her deity title to end her suffering. However Nanami believes she isn’t having a hard time thanks to Tomoe and his familiars’ kindness. Narukami will not have that. Tomoe arrives in time so Narukami thinks he has grown weak as he accepted her as his master. It pains her to see him subservient to a human. She takes out a hammer and whacks him. This turns Tomoe into a little kid. Kawaii! Then she steals the Earth deity mark on Nanami’s forehead. Because Tomoe is still loyal to Nanami, Narukami makes them an offer. If Tomoe wants to return to normal, he must visit his shrine she has taken over and Nanami must become her servant. Kotetsu and Onikiri are forced to follow Narukami since they have to be loyal to masters of the shrine. So now… Lost her home, no money and worse, stuck with a kid. Things get from bad to worse when Tomoe gets a fever. No ordinary hospital can help. Luckily Kurama was passing by and takes them in. As explained, Tomoe’s body is rejecting the change which is causing him fever. He must return to his original form or else the fever won’t stop. Nanami nurses him as he dreams of a nice lady, Yukiji. Despite being the same cold Tomoe inside, at least he can still say thank you.

Narukami tires of waiting for Tomoe to return. Especially when the shrine is so run down. She orders her dog familiars, Koume and Kotake to get Tomoe back. Kurama continues to pass sneaky hints to Tomoe that he is useless. Next day when Tomoe accompanies Nanami out, he hints that she should be taking care of herself instead of thinking about others. Then he collapses again. Koume and Kotake arrive to retrieve him but Nanami vows she will find a way to save him herself. Tomoe shoots her down and doesn’t want to live on her pity. He decides to go back to the shrine because it there is nothing she can do. Actually, it pains him to let her see him in this form. Narukami dotes on Tomoe but he isn’t too fond of her. She wants him to swear loyalty to her forever but runs away and goes into hiding somewhere in the shrine. Nanami sits dejectedly when a butterfly sits on her shoulder. Kurama passes by and is told what happened. He passes to her a feather of his that enables her to see the supernatural. Nanami could feel Kotetsu and Onikiri clinging on to her and pleading for help as Tomoe has gone missing and to save the shrine. Narukami can’t find him so what makes Nanami think she can? She is confident and makes a deal if she does, Narukami must return him. After 1 hour… No Tomoe in sight. The butterfly leads her to a pocket mirror that once belonged to Mikage. She picks it up and feels Tomoe’s warmth. He is sleeping inside. She reaches for him. Narukami notes that if Tomoe refuses to be hers, she won’t need him. So she sends her familiars to return Nanami’s Earth deity mark as well as the hammer to return Tomoe back to size. But hey. He’s looking pretty hottie with flowing long hair. Is Nanami smitten with him? As gratitude, Tomoe kisses her! A new contract to be her shrine familiar, that is.

Episode 6
Nanami can’t get that kiss out of her mind. So much so she gets a high fever. She doesn’t want to skip school since she has missed too many classes. Otherwise she may have to repeat another year. Kotetsu and Onikiri suggest Tomoe disguise himself as Nanami and attend class on her behalf. Nanami: Great idea. Tomoe: Sh*t. So when ‘Nanami’ enters class, woah, let’s just say she doesn’t have that goofy look and is more pensive. Since when did she look this cool? Kurama finally returns from his weeklong idol job. Tomoe’s disguise must be perfect since Kurama can’t even tell. Kurama is disheartened to learn Tomoe has become a transfer student in this class. He intended to get closer to Nanami while he is away but know feels he must move faster. As the class progresses, Kurama thought of helping out ‘Nanami’ in every way but she just looked back with that piercing stare that screams ‘what the f*ck did you do that for’. ‘Nanami’ tells persistent Kurama to stay away thinking that he is only after her heart as an Earth deity. However Kurama is serious that he wants to capture her heart (fan girls faint like crazy). She punches him and warns never to touch her again. Kurama then advises the miasma level has gotten thick in school and to stay away from dark places. Nanami’s classmate, Ami Nekoto suddenly finds the changing room all darkened. Some perverted demon is out to get her when ‘Nanami’ comes in. She tells Ami to run along. But when Ami realizes she can’t leave her friend behind, she turns back. Tomoe is about to teach this perverted demon a lesson when he gets distracted with Ami’s return. The demon gives Tomoe the slip and is about to pound on Ami but was kicked by Kurama. Angry Tomoe takes the demon behind doors and… You don’t want to know what happens to him. In order to make Ami shut her mouth, Kurama pecks her cheek and hopes this will be their secret. Works like a charm. Kurama ‘advises’ Nanami that he can’t be around like Tomoe to protect and to be careful. ‘Nanami’ says Tomoe will be coming to school from tomorrow then.

Mizuki pays Nanami a visit and is he going to cook that soft shell turtle for her meal? He better not! Taking advantage when the fox is away, huh? Mizuki is trying to speak ill of Tomoe and Nanami doesn’t like that a bit as she doesn’t want to judge him on his looks or he used to be. Mizuki then lets Nanami breath some incense so that her soul can travel to the past to see the real Tomoe. The Tomoe that she won’t even recognize. Next thing Nanami knows, she is in a different land and a different person. She meets an injured boy who warns the Bloodthirsty King is looking for her. As she nurses him in a shelter, the boy turns into a demon and it is a ploy just to eat her. Before he can do that, Tomoe’s blue flames burn him to ashes. But Tomoe gets rough with her and sizes her up how splendid she is. Nanami feels this isn’t the Tomoe she knows. Tomoe goes away when he hears his acquaintance calling him. Nanami uses this chance to slip out and run away. Tomoe’s acquaintance seems to be the Bloodthirsty King and he is somewhat disappointed the village has only old women and children. The pretty ones may have gotten away. Asking if he has seen a lady named Yukiji around, Tomoe says he did not. Nanami tumbles and the next thing she knows, she is back to her normal self and is relieved that was just a nightmare. Mizuki asks if she has met Tomoe. She replies she didn’t. Tomoe then comes back and is furious this snake guy is here and kicks him out. When Tomoe pets her head to feel her fever, Nanami recognizes this warmth and knows this is the Tomoe she is familiar with. In her relief, she starts crying.

Episode 7
Now that Tomoe is coming to school frequently, more and more girls are attracted to this handsome heartthrob. And there’s Kurama too… Nanami notices timid Ami hiding nearby and when confronted, she reveals she wanted to thank Kurama for his help the other day but because girls are always around her, she feels hard to approach. Because Nanami would help get her to talk to him, Ami wonders if she is some kind of deity exorcising demons (Tomoe disguised as Nanami back then). Nanami figures she’s more of a person who answers prayers. Kurama is at his usual self, rejecting girls fawning over him. But when Nanami places a talisman that hides his presence, Kurama starts to get pretty annoyed that none of the girls are realizing how hot he is! This setup is to allow Ami to meet Kurama and thank him. However he doesn’t remember her. Devastated Ami trips and reveals her strawberry print panties. Isobe sees this and teases her but Kurama tells them off about getting excited about just one peek. After Isobe runs away in fear, Kurama talks normally with Ami. Nanami is happy with the outcome but Tomoe isn’t. He cautions her that what she is doing is trying to tie the fate of a demon and a human together. Imagine if Ami finds out Kurama’s true identity, she won’t be thanking her anymore. Nanami still in denial thinks Tomoe is just mean because a human rejected him. She thinks it’ll be great if humans and demons can get along and feels there is at least a human he wants to be friends with. He says as long as he can protect her, it’s more than enough. Yumi Sakurada approaches Nanami to admit she likes Tomoe. Because she is always with him, she wants to know if they’re going out. Nanami denies and Yumi feels relieved, hoping she would set them up to walk home together. Nanami agrees despite feeling uncomfortable. Later as she studies by herself regretting her actions, she is surprised that Tomoe is still around. He chides her for trying to hook him up with a human and reminds her she is his highest priority. That’s when Nanami realizes she is in love with him.

Kurama talks to Tomoe and warns that Nanami is at puberty age whereby she could easily fall in love. He hints he Tomoe should’ve selected him as his master but Tomoe scoffs it off and doesn’t want him to lump Nanami together with the other girls. When 2 hot guys come out of a dark room together, what do you think a couple of girls will misinterpret this as? It better not be true… Nanami seems to be bothered about the word boyfriend and despite being close to Tomoe, it’s not that they’re that close enough to do stuffs that couples do. Her friend, Kei Ueshima thinks she is confused about the relationship and advises to do something different like dressing up cute. Because if guys think she’s cute, they’ll come to her naturally. They know she likes Tomoe. So Nanami after school tries to do something different with Tomoe by having him take her to the aquarium. However he doesn’t seemed too thrilled like as though she is forcing him to come along. Her last ditch attempt has her bringing him up the building to watch the night view. Still no change in feelings? Suspicious Tomoe then gets straight with her. Noticing her unusual behaviour today, he spills it that she better not be falling in love with him and reiterates those words Kurama said. Because if he doesn’t watch her, then she might fall for him. Nanami surprises him and admits she loves him. Tomoe asserts he won’t fall for a human girl and hangs her precariously on the building edge till she changes her mind. Nanami becomes distressed that he never loved her back or said she was cute. The surprise causes Tomoe to let go of Nanami. Free fall. He dives to save her but she won’t allow him to touch her since she feels she has been rejected. Tomoe begs to save her this once even if it means not touching her ever again. They land softly as he hugs her. Nanami realizes she can’t stop loving him. Strong, warm and kind, she’s falling in love with him even more.

Episode 8
Nanami is depressed that she doesn’t even touch her food. Can you blame her after being rejected? Tomoe tries to force feed her but stops. That’s when Nanami observes he has stopped touching her ever since. Ami suggests going to the beach to cheer her up. Of course she would love to but Tomoe disapproves. He can’t enter the sea and touch the water, thus he won’t be able to save her. She is confident she has her friends. Plus, Mizuki says he can take her. So Tomoe ends up going with Nanami and her friends. Kei is not happy since they can’t be picked up by other guys! Tomoe knows Mizuki is trying to get to him because he nonchalantly touches Nanami when he knows he couldn’t. Somewhere on the beach are Mikage and Otohiko the wind god. Mikage continues his watch over Tomoe while Otohiko goes for a swim. He sees Ami and Nanami swimming and decides to pull a prank. He pulls Ami down under. Nanami becomes frantic when she doesn’t resurface and rushes back to shore to beg Tomoe for help. Tomoe couldn’t refuse his master’s order so he enters the sea to pull Ami out. Once she is safe, suddenly the Dragon King Sukuna emerges from the sea. Everyone is put under a sleeping spell. Sukuna has finally found Tomoe. Touching the ocean made him able to trace where he was. He claims Tomoe owes him a big amount of debt. 526 years ago, he killed many great sea creature guardians, destroyed the entire North Gate and gorge out his left eye. He kidnaps Tomoe into his clam and heads back to his undersea palace. Nanami feels guilty for letting Tomoe get into this predicament and holds onto the clam to follow Sukuna all the way down. However she can’t hold her breathe any longer.

Sukuna rescues her and drops her off a rock. He gives her a bill to pay later but Nanami wants Tomoe back. No way. He owes him lots of debt. Since she is persistent, he tells her of a way. If she can get his left eye back which is said to contain tremendous powers when eaten, he will do so. But he is not confident she can do it since it happened 526 years ago. Don’t underestimate her. She will get it back so he better keeps his end of the promise. She goes back to Mizuki and wants his help to send her back in time. At first he was reluctant because he felt jealous of Tomoe who had a very caring master. He hates him. But he can’t refuse her still. He uses his incense to bring her back to the past. Last time he only sent her soul, now he will send her body too. He can help as her guide. Nanami arrives in the midst of a snow blizzard and a strange woman asking her to trade something warm for the Dragon King’s eye. But upon hearing Mizuki’s voice, she scrams. Mizuki explains she is a mermaid demon called Isohime and it’s dangerous for her to wander around alone. But Nanami can save the trouble of finding Tomoe because there he is now. The dark, evil, bloodthirsty Tomoe in the midst of killing a sea creature guardian, fresh off from stealing the Dragon King’s eye.

Episode 9
Tomoe quickly leaves the scene so Nanami rides Mizuki’s snake and tail him. She spies on him giving the Dragon King’s eye as medicine to his beloved Yukiji. She is very ill. When he goes to fetch water, Yukiji collapses. Mizuki thought this is a good chance for her to snatch the eye but to his surprise, Nanami helps her to swallow it. Won’t she regret it? True she wants to save Tomoe but she can’t sit by and watch a person suffer either. Yukiji seems better now so Mizuki notes it is time to leave. Nanami says she can’t pay for Tomoe’s dues from the past and needs to do so with something from the present. When she wakes up, she wants to know if Mizuki could help trace Isohime. Back then, she wanted to trade something for her Dragon King’s eye. It means she has it inside her body. Isohime now runs some shady trading business in a cave underneath a cliff. She is happy to hear Nanami wanting to trade the eye. Her clairvoyance confirms Nanami has it in her body but in exchange of extracting it out, she wants 30 years of her life. Mizuki thought she won’t accept it but she surprises him once more and accepts. Well, she’s young and 30 years is nothing compared to Tomoe who has only a day. Isohime not only extracts the eye but her Earth deity mark. Of course she is stopped dead in her tracks by Mizuki. Though he doesn’t really understand Nanami, he decides to help her once more because with her he can be herself. He kisses her to be her familiar. With new powers, Mizuki takes back the mark. Nanami is shocked to learn she has a new familiar. She orders Mizuki not to kill Isohime and let her go. He can’t defy her orders and feels a nice sensation to it. Is he turning into a masochist? The Dragon King’s eye turns out to be a little round ball the size of a pachinko ball. What… The… Well, shape and size doesn’t matter. Before Isohime escaped, she gave them tickets to the undersea palace. Nanami is glad Mizuki didn’t kill her but he says he was joking and even if he was serious, he won’t do it in front of his master. That includes Tomoe.

While Sukuna is balancing his books, Tomoe breaks free from his clam imprisonment and goes on a rampage. So he was just suppressing his power because he doesn’t want to get gory in front of Nanami. Now it’s free for all. Mizuki and Nanami are on their way to the undersea palace in a turtle taxi. Nanami suddenly can’t help think about Yukiji and feels gloomy she is nothing compared to her. She feels scared to meet him now. So will they turn back? No way. The turtle picks up another passenger, Kamehime. She shows them a very beautiful kimono she made for 7 days. It is for her husband waiting at the undersea palace. Suddenly a turbulence causes her to lose the kimono. Nanami wanted to retrieve it but was stopped by Mizuki. She can’t be out of her mind, is she? What about her kimono she worked so hard on? She can do it again and the days she spent, she enjoyed making them. This made Nanami feel embarrassed about herself because she was preoccupied of how her feelings weren’t being reciprocated. When they arrive at the palace, they see Tomoe fighting Sukuna. The palace will be destroyed at this rate. When Tomoe sees Nanami, he quickly hides back inside the clam! Nanami tells him everything and what she had done to take him back. She says she doesn’t care if he doesn’t share her feelings or love somebody else. When he comes out, she immediately hugs her. She continues that her feelings for him won’t change no matter what even if he doesn’t look her way. Kamehime turns out to be Sukuna’s wife and she isn’t pleased on what is happening. She lectures him of not learning his lesson after losing his eye to Tomoe. When Nanami shows the Dragon King’s eye, Sukuna dismisses it is his. Has she been scammed? He’s not taking that back. Mizuki, who has been missing since their arrival, returns with the kimono and hopes he would accept this in exchange for Tomoe. Sukuna won’t accept such rag. Oh no. What did he say? So it was made by Kamehime? He’ll gladly accept it. While Kamehime slaps Sukuna about, Tomoe is disheartened to learn that Mizuki has become his junior. Can they really work together?

Episode 10
We go back several hundred years in time when Mikage first met Tomoe. The fox is on the verge of death when Mikage picked him up. He sees an enchantment mark cast around his body casted by a fiend who was once a deity. Tomoe promised to spend the rest of his life with a human girl but she died. Even if he dies, he can’t be with her since he is not human. He loved her so much and would have traded the world to be by her side. Mikage decides to grant him power. When the sun rises, his wounds will slowly heal and his memories gradually fade. This is the gift of oblivion. Tomoe wakes up from this dream and thought he sees Mikage. Oh. It’s Mizuki. He kicks that snake to go back to work. Wasn’t he slacking too? Mizuki hears more of Tomoe’s past from Onikiri. When Tomoe first came to the shrine, Mikage made him his familiar. One night, Tomoe saves a girl from being devoured by a demon at the bridge. However in her panic, she touches him and this causes him to go berserk. He got so wrapped up in dealing with her that he let the demon get away. Mikage lectures him. Boy, it took the whole night. He forbids him to use violence. Onikiri wonders why Mikage took him in and he replies he had that death shadow on his face then. Had he not taken him in, he would have died like a poor rabbit. Next day, Tomoe is at the bridge and the girl waits for him there to thank him. She is about to touch him and this almost made Tomoe go on the offensive had not Mikage stop him. Noting that he hates humans and asking him why, Tomoe replies he doesn’t want to have anything to do with the weak. Mikage tells him he is the one who is weak and should get stronger. While Mikage regrets of saying such harsh words, Tomoe reflected the truth in his words and soon matured into a fine familiar over the next several hundred years. Till the day Mikage left home and never returned. With Nanami arriving, Onikiri notes that he has having more fun. But Tomoe beats up Mizuki back to work while he lectures Nanami to get her lazy ass off from bed. It’s Sunday. Onikiri thinks Tomoe has become such a fine familiar. Is it?

Because there aren’t enough girls for the mixer, Kei forces Nanami and Ami to tag along. She wants a boyfriend. No buts about it. Nanami knows she only wants Tomoe but she can’t say no now. So she stays quiet from Tomoe when he asks about the party she is going to. So as the mixer gets underway, in the next room are Tomoe, Mizuki and Kurama. Eavesdropping. Well, it’s not that they’re jealous because Tomoe doesn’t even know what a mixer is! Leave it to Mizuki to explain it. The indecent way… Because a white snake suddenly came out from Ami’s handbag, Nanami takes Mizuki away to the toilet. Maybe he doesn’t want to get left out from the fun? Tomoe snatches Mizuki away and tells Nanami to continue her fun. Nanami thought she’s a goner now the cat is out of the bag but he seems pretty cool with it. Nanami realizes that it doesn’t matter to him if she hangs out with other guys. One of the guys, Kohiruimaki sees Nanami down and goes to talk to her. He seems nice till he gets too close to her. That’s when Tomoe kicks him away and tells him to scram. And he blames the snake for it too. Nanami thought he had already left but apparently although he gave her permission to have fun, he didn’t give any to flirt with idiots like that. Nanami sees sadness in his eyes as he takes her away by force. She notices his grip to be tight and asks if he is jealous that she was with another guy. Surprisingly, he admits he is. Just as the mood between them was about to get romantic, they realize Mizuki had been staring at them the entire time. Nanami nearly died of a heart attack and is left wondering if Tomoe really likes her. Meanwhile Kurama has taken centre stage entertaining her friends. They totally dig him!

Episode 11
Mizuki feels bored for being stuck at home. Kotetsu suggests learning about human culture before roaming around. He turns on the TV and they see Kurama’s concert. Upon learning Nanami and her friends like this idol, Mizuki wants to see how well he stacks up against him. However he becomes afraid of the Tokyo city. So big. So crowded. So polluted. Yeah, he even get conned by a weirdo into buying some sticker. A deity afraid of a pesky saleswoman? Mizuki continues to get into lots of trouble. Whether it’s asking for directions or being chased by police. Is he serious in using the sticker to pay for his taxi fare?! Luckily Kurama is there and so Mizuki gets it to pay him for it. Then Kurama’s manager thinks Mizuki is his classmate and invites him to some promotion party, much to Kurama’s dismay. The food doesn’t taste good as Mizuki wonders how Kurama can get used to such life. Kurama tells him to go back home. Mizuki tastes human liquor and passes out. A girl finds him and brings him to the rooftop. When he comes to, she talks to him that she is from the countryside and an actress wannabe and is totally inexperienced (she was just fresh off from a scolding by her manager). Mizuki feels the same that she is having trouble fitting here and shouldn’t force herself. On the contrary even if it seems tough, she still loves this place and won’t give up yet. It makes Mizuki realize as he heads home. Even though he won’t call this city his home, there are others who do and manage to prosper. This is where they call home and their life. He gives her his sake as thanks. Drink it herself and she will purify. Give others to drink and it will bring great fortune. When she hands her manager to drink this sake, she becomes a politer person.

Nanami is all dressed up ready to go to the Ferris wheel with Tomoe. But why the heck is he still in bed?! Don’t remember?! She kicks a fuss till she discovers a hairpin. Tomoe quickly takes it away from her and agrees to go with her. She becomes suspicious on who this hairpin belongs to and he dodges every question on it. Nanami can’t help think it belongs to Yukiji but tells herself not to think too much and enjoy herself. Nanami gets upset when Tomoe touches a girl to correct her hat. I guess he doesn’t know about fashion as much about girls. Tomoe hears people ‘screaming’ nearby. It’s the roller coaster ride. He is interested. But Nanami isn’t. She’s scared. I suppose she is infatuated with him and decided to go. Till she realizes too late. Wait for the drop… After that, Tomoe helps fix her hair. When she goes to get refreshments, the stall lady compliments Nanami’s ‘boyfriend’ because she heard lots of other girls talking about this handsome hunk. Nanami denies they are dating but hopes that will come true some day. However that happy mood turns sour when she sees Tomoe touching other girls. Upset mood again. So what that girl tripped and he helped her out? Nanami runs her mouth saying he used to like a human girl named Yukiji. Tomoe denies ever knowing such person. Nanami calls him a liar and runs away in tears. She feels guilty and hangs around thinking back. Then she rides the Ferris wheel alone and realizes she really wanted to ride it with him. Then her hair comes undone and realizes it was that hairpin that held it together. Tomoe has finally found her and joins her. He reveals that she has never tied her hair before and bought that hairpin. However he ended up never using it and held on to it. Now that she has gotten to ride this, he wants her to smile like this afternoon. She feels happy and thanks him, thinking if Tomoe has decided to live in the present, then she has found true happiness.

Episode 12
Nanami hears rumours that her shrine is haunted. She tells off those wives that Tomoe cleans it. I guess they don’t know who Tomoe is. I guess that’s why there are no visitors. She feels the need to do something to attract people and decides to hold a fall festival. Of course Tomoe pours cold water and doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. This doesn’t deter Nanami as she gets to work by cleaning up the portable shrine even if it’s still broken. Nanami wants people to see the hard work Tomoe put in to make the shrine clean and she wants to do her best. Tomoe tells her that it is because she is the Earth deity, the air here is clean and free of miasma. Abandoned shrines attract miasma and something even Tomoe can’t cleanse. Remember the first time she got here? Nanami continues to work hard in creating a poster and distributing them. Mizuki and Tomoe give their ideas for the activities but they seem impossible. Till Kurama comes in with his own like kagura dance and fortune drawing (Nanami invited him). Tomoe says their shrine once did kagura dance but never told Nanami because he didn’t think she was ready. He takes out the kimono and lets her try. She looks great in it. Tomoe proceeds to train her to dance and becomes very strict. Spartan fox! As for the music, Mizuki is learning to play the flute. No sound… Keep practising… During the break, Tomoe notes Nanami was nervous in wanting to be perfect but it is that same nervousness that is causing her to make mistakes. He tells her a method to calm down by writing ‘human’ on her palm and swallowing it. Tomoe becomes Spartan fox once more when he learns she did this a lot when she was young. Back to training!

Otohiko observes Nanami and finds her an average human and doesn’t understand why Mikage chose her. Was he mistaken? Mikage disagrees and notes there is a reason why he chose her. Oddly, she has passed all the tests Otohiko put her through like Narukami and Sukuna’s case. Otohiko is going to make one final exam for her. That night when Nanami continues practising her kagura dance, Otohiko pays her a visit and tells her he is here to test her if she is worthy of being an Earth deity. Next morning, he releases a bottle that contains thick miasma upon the shrine. Nanami becomes devastated that everything has become corrupted. She uses her talisman to cleanse everything but they just burn away with no effect. Tomoe and Mizuki become alarmed at the thick miasma. Tomoe rushes to find Nanami. He brings her to bed and wants her to rest but she feels responsible as an Earth deity and wants to do something about the miasma. However Tomoe says she is not needed and he will do something about it. Those words hurt Nanami very deeply. She thinks she failed to live up to his expectations and can’t do anything without his help. At the lowest point in her life, she packs up her bags and leaves the shrine in tears. Tomoe senses Nanami is gone and looks for her. She is nowhere in the shrine. Traumatic memories of how Mikage left him resurface. Could Nanami have pulled the same trick on him?

Episode 13
Tomoe goes all out to look for Nanami, not caring about the state of the shrine. Mizuki too. Looks like Onikiri and Kotetsu are left to handle the miasma. Tomoe even heads to Uchigami. He didn’t find Nanami but all the boys and girls are glad this hottie is back. Oh, Kurama is so ignored by his rival… Tomoe’s flames can’t find her or sense her presence. Well, keep looking. You see that upset face on Tomoe? Apparently Nanami has used a talisman on herself to become invisible like the air. She’s sitting on the bench alone. Like deja vu. Like yesterday once more. Short snippets from the first episodes as flashback. It hit her that she just left the place she calls home. Then when she hears a couple of girls looking forward to the festival, she rushes back to the shrine to save it. By this time, a more dangerous miasma has appeared. It’s not part of Otohiko’s plan and this effeminate guy panics that he can’t undo it all. Time to flee. This miasma releases the earth spider. Anything it touches rots away. So dangerous that Mikage was the only one who sealed away many centuries ago. Nanami reaches back in time before Kotetsu and Onikiri fell victim. They tell her this miasma can’t reach town or else. The only thing left to do is for Nanami to do her kagura dance. At first she’s nervous seeing the enormous spider but eases up after hearing Tomoe’s voice and using his method to calm down. She surprises everyone watching with her flawless and elegant dance moves and is repelling the spider back. All she needs to do now is not falter on the last step and trip. Oops. Spoke too soon. Tomoe protects her from the spider’s crush and kisses her hand. He tells her he chose her as his master so don’t be afraid. Mizuki wanted to help out with his flute but I guess he still sucks. Don’t get in the way.

Nanami gets up and continues her dance. Mikage is captivated by it and sends his butterflies to her. Her kimono’s motif changes into them. Otohiko wonders if has planned all this from the start. Nanami successfully drives the spider back and restores order. Tired but happy Nanami collapses onto Tomoe’s lap. During the night of the festival, it is crowded with people. Thanks to Tomoe helping out in the flyers’ distribution. But where did they get all the manpower to man the stalls? She can thank Isara and Sukuna employing their men (or fish, rather) in helping out with the stalls. It is even hotter with Kurama around and drawing the crowd. He didn’t even do anything… Otohiko gives Nanami some gifts he bought for her to make amends. He believes she can do her kagura dance which is the climax of this festival. As expected, everyone is enthralled watching her flawless performance. I guess it wasn’t a fluke against the spider since she gets to replicate it here. The festival is a huge success and Nanami hopes this would help dispel the bad rumours about the shrine. Tomoe praises Nanami’s dance as the most beautiful thing ever in the world and Nanami feels very happy. Then he wants to make a contract as her familiar. Didn’t they already? Well yeah. One from his heart. He kisses her. Man, this one is a loooooooong kiss… I think it lasted over 20 seconds! No, I don’t think the screen froze.

Do You Believe In Miracles?
So another series ends… Just like that. I can’t say that I am disappointed but to say that I am very happy isn’t very accurate either. It’s not so much of how it ended. Basically this shoujo type anime is quite light-hearted compared to the other kinds of shoujo animes that I have seen. Please don’t get the wrong idea that I am a shoujo genre expert and lover but comparing this show to the likes of say Full Moon Wo Sagashite or even Kimi Ni Todoke, the level of drama on the love wasn’t that intense. Not very deep. Because of the comedy elements that they blend into the show, even when Nanami did confess straight her feelings to Tomoe, I didn’t feel that OMG impact. The kind where my heart would leap out of my throat. Maybe it is because I have come to expect it that in this kind of genre, the human girl and demon boy would eventually fall in love with each other. It would be tad annoying if they didn’t right? It seemed like their romance was going nowhere with Nanami having to save her town from a gigantic disaster and ultimately her own festival. Love had taken a backseat because these are more important matters to attend to. Then as the series draws to a close, suddenly out of the blue, a very long chuu~. Do you call this a miracle? Or a last ditch attempt for some saving grace of the show?

Nanami just like any other characters grows a lot and because of her cheerful and never give up attitude, you’ll find her cute and supportive in the things she do. Just like any other characters who put others first before herself, it is those admirable traits and more on why others are attracted to her. At least for most of the characters that we see in this anime. Life may not be perfect but she is much better when she started out as homeless and penniless. She has a place to call home and familiars whom she can call friends. Except maybe Tomoe would be much more than that one day. From zero to hero. A normal high school girl to an Earth deity. Is this a miracle? Or is it fate? So Tomoe too isn’t perfect. He might be strict about lots of things and seems like he doesn’t give a damn. But every decision and action he makes are for Nanami’s sake. Perhaps he was just playing stubborn fox and not open up her heart entirely to her but if they are going to be a powerful master-familiar pair, trust is a vital component. Something which I think Tomoe realized and approved of in the end. Both of them can be funny at times. Especially when Nanami puts on her incredulous and over-reacting reactions and Tomoe he goes into sarcastic or beat-the-crap-out-of-you-because-I-am-stronger-than-thou mode. We have a peek into his past but nothing much is revealed. Especially about his connection with the Bloodthirsty King and if his memories of Yukiji are completely forgotten. Maybe next time. Personally, I feel that Nanami may be the reincarnation of Yukiji. They look pretty similar, right? That’s one reason why Tomoe is attracted to her. And of course, the same voice… Heh…

Mizuki tries his best to be helpful but his easygoing and carefree nature isn’t going to sit well with Tomoe. It is a good thing snake boy met Nanami for he is able to move on from his old master and serve a new one. Nanami’s personality also helps him open his eyes that everything doesn’t necessary need to be vicious or selfish. Or maybe Nanami is just an exception. Kotetsu and Onikiri feel like mascots of the series and their main purpose to provide comic relief (and some minor back up here and there). I’m guessing that they don’t have faces, that’s why they always put on that mask, right? You could make a guess when you see Tomoe lifting off their mask one time and his reaction of I-think-it’s-better-to-leave-it-on. Ever since Nanami ‘tamed’ Kurama, it felt like this crow goblin has been reduced to a secondary role. I thought I was expecting to see some serious showdown between him and Tomoe but it never gets that serious and at times their confrontation just feels comical. I suppose Tomoe doesn’t want to waste his energy fighting with some demon he knows he will best in the end. After getting all the attention he wants for years, he finds Nanami attractive because she doesn’t give in easily to her charms. There’s always something more worth it when it is harder to take, right? And I believe that Kurama is interested in Nanami no longer because of her Earth deity mark but as someone who genuinely likes her for who she is.

Mikage is still the mysterious person in the end. For I am pretty sure he has plans in the bigger picture. It feels like he is taking his time setting up the pieces for who knows what. From Tomoe’s departure and even to perhaps selecting Nanami as an Earth deity. One thing is for sure, he’ll continue to keep watch on both of them from the shadows. Or a butterfly at least. The other minor characters are amusing but aren’t memorable in the long run as far as this anime is concerned. Ami and Kei are just sticking around Nanami just to show us Nanami has some real human girl friends. I’m not sure but based on Ami’s body reaction, she may have a crush on Kurama. Not like normal (if that is the correct word) fan girls but more than that. Whatever happened to Narukami after she gave up Tomoe? Did she find someone new to go after? Isara’s love with Kotarou seems to be going well so there is no need to bother with them. Money minded Sukuna may look tough and menacing but he is under queen control from his wife. Isohime? Still in the trading business isn’t she? Otohiko? Is this really a man or a woman? Is he foe or friend? Most likely the latter since he sticks around Mikage.

Perhaps what this series is trying to subtly tell us is about abandonment. We see Tomoe becoming a very traumatic fox whenever the thought of someone abandoning him comes to mind. He still has not gotten over it and thus you can explain this is one reason why he seems possessive and controlling over Nanami at first. Just like in real life, when someone whom we put our trust and faith in suddenly walks out, the shock becomes a scar and fear imbued deep within our heart, mind and soul. Of course Nanami’s cheerful and helpful personality is another lesson that most of us should heed. Then there’s that love transcends time and race too. How often have we heard in stories about forbidden love, especially the ones that pits lovers between different species? Can it work out? A human and a demon falling in love and living life like a normal family? Only Nanami and Tomoe can make that happen. It’s all in their hands to show us that this is possible.

TMS Entertainment helms the production of this series and they are more famously known in producing animes like Hamtaro, Lupin III and Detective Conan. Though the art and drawing seems light, nevertheless with the characters like Nanami having round doe-like eyes, Tomoe and Kurama having the bishonen look, our main characters here look good enough for eye candy for the shoujo genre. Something close to Itazura Na Kiss, another romance themed anime that this production studio produced. This series also lacks the fanservice that you see in many animes today. Except maybe for that beach episode but that doesn’t amount to anything much.

Nothing really spectacular about the voice acting. Shinnosuke Tachibana (Taito in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi) as Tomoe is rather okay playing a fox familiar. Feels like his range of emotions are limited seeing Tomoe doesn’t show many emotions and even if he did it was probably for a short while. Even if he did get upset or going to get back at you, it feels a little ‘flat’. Suzuko Mimori as Nanami didn’t sound as bratty as her role as Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes or the men-sceptical Himiko in BTOOOM. She also doubles as the voice of Yukiji. Other casts include Nobuhiko Okamoto as Mizuki (Niizuma in Bakuman), Daisuke Kishio as Kurama (Suginami in Da Capo series), Akira Ishida as Mikage (Gaara in Naruto), Daisuke Namikawa as Sukuna (Waver in Fate/Zero), Hiroki Takahashi as Otohiko (Eiji in Prince Of Tennis), Akemi Okamura as Kamehime (Nami in One Piece), Hyousei as Narukami (Superbia in 11eyes), Satomi Satou as Ami (Wendy in Fairy Tail) and Kaori Shimizu as Kei (Akira in School Rumble). Popular veteran seiyuus making their cameos include Yui Horie as Isara, Mamiko Noto as Yonomori and Yu Kobayasahi as Isohime. The opening theme is the same name as this series and is sung by Hanae. I thought for this anime pop, the singer’s voice was somewhat between whispering and singing. You know, when you’re trying not to sing aloud and make that softer voice when singing? Yeah. That. Hanae also sings the ending theme, Kamisama Onegai. Once again, she sounded like she was whispering her words. Like as though it’s her singing style. Maybe she was trying to make it sound breathy and sultry (what do you expect when you have the opening lines that go “Ah, ah, ah, ah~…”). Hmm… A bit echo-y too. There is a Kurama version of this ending piece but it doesn’t fare any better. Although the style is rock music, the way he goes “Ah, ah, ah, ah~…” felt funny. Really.

You don’t have to be a very firm believer in any religion to believe in miracles. And most miracles happen not because you pray so hard to God but rather you put in your own effort in the first place. Because you have taken the first step, getting momentum and picking up pace after that is easier. Though, the outcome isn’t really guaranteed and despite there is a slim chance it will happen, when it does, that is why it is called a miracle. Being appointed as a deity may seem cool but there are lots of other responsibilities that go with it. You know what they say about great powers, right? That’s why I have to decline if somebody wants to pass the baton in becoming the next toilet deity or the god of poverty (haha!). My life would stink then. Haha. So the next time you are feeling so poor and pray to God real hard to strike a lottery, don’t just pray and wait for the newspapers to announce your name as the multi-million dollar winner. Go buy a lottery ticket. Simple as that. Because money don’t grow on trees and fall into your palms. Simple as that.

Will they still be able to make friends? But more importantly, which of the girls will get to be with the main guy in the end?! I guess this is what we are interested about in the next season of the series called Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai NEXT. After a group of ‘unpopular’ people formed a club called Neighbours Club to make friends, things have been going stagnant in their goal ever since the last season. But heck, they had a great time among themselves so doesn’t that count? So I suppose the ‘NEXT’ is to see where this club will head to or bring to the next level. Or maybe it hints something more about our sole guy, Kodaka. With a bevy of beauties around him in the club, is he going to take this mere ‘friendship’ to the next level or play status quo? Maybe he can’t make such big decision himself. That’s why there are friends around to help him. But that is going to take a little while seeing how quirky everyone is and how everyone is just having fun at the moment. Do we want to spoil that ‘peace’?

Episode 1
Sena is wearing a bald wig. This is her idea of making people laugh so that she could make friends? Oh, here comes Yozora in a blonde wig. See looks like Sena… Acts like her… Isn’t that very insulting? After all, watching Sena get angry and cry makes Yozora very happy! After being made to realize by Kodaka how embarrassing they look, he is going to demonstrate what a true comedian has to make people laugh: Talk. Anyway, they don’t get his joke and find it very lame. Later when Yozora talks about the current hairstyle trend called heaping (you heap and decorate your hair with things), she and Rika are trying to bait Sena in trying out this hairstyle. The simpleton easily gets tricked and wants that hairstyle. And off Rika goes to bring her equipment. Thinking they need a summer theme to it, they even get Yukimura to go buy the stuffs. Let’s say it is an abomination once their work ends. There’s a bikini, watermelon, melon bread and cuttlefish among many other things hanging on her hair. How the heck can she keep balance? Worse part, Sena thinks it’s cool! Kodaka knows this is going to be a disaster but doesn’t have the heart to hurt her. Next day, she comes crying to Kodaka because her father spanked her after seeing such abomination. Rika and Yozora apologize (not sure if it’s genuine) but Sena chides them that the leas they could do is let her laugh it off with them. Eh? What?

Later Kodaka is studying at the library as Sena texts to pester him to come to the club room with him. When he finally relents, she doesn’t need him anymore since Kobato is here. Suddenly Kodaka gets a distress call from Kobato to save her from maniacal Sena!!! The scream… Sounds like a kidnap case! Kodaka agrees to study with Sena at her home and since Kobato is still traumatized over that incident, I guess it is just him. Upon entering her room, Kodaka is shocked to see photos of Yozora paste on her ceiling! Is she a stalker?! It’s part of her plan to revitalize her revenge for Yozora. You know how seeing the person you hate more makes you want to get revenge even more? She got that blonde wig too. As they are studying, Stella comes to bring in refreshments. She hands to Kodaka… Condom!!! Oh no!!! Luckily his iron grip means Sena can’t see what is in his palm. Then she decides to take a break and play a video game. Kurogane No Necromancer is a game based on the anime Kobato loves. Yeah. It’s her ploy to get close to Kobato. She sounds like a pervert. Good thing he didn’t bring Kobato along. They played too long and he realizes it’s already evening. He is forced to stay for dinner and then forced to stay for the night. He takes a bath and is surprised when Pegasus comes to bath with him! We didn’t watch this show for the male skinship! Damn it! Pegasus washes his back because he wants to know if Sena is being bullied. Remember that dreadful hairstyle? He thinks Sena is being bullied so much that she has been convincing herself that she did it herself. Kodaka wanted to tell him his daughter had turned into a perverted stalker (since Pegasus didn’t step in to her daughter room) but I guess he had got no balls. Kodaka assures that if Sena is being bullied, he will protect her. Happy Pegasus leaves it to him. Did he just got himself into trouble? No turning back…

Episode 2
Rika lets loose her hair and tosses away her glasses for an image change. I think she looks pretty. Even Kodaka thinks so. Thing is, he said his passionate metaphor of her beauty out loud! The other girls must be jealous and embarrassed. Rika tries to be elegant but can’t help revert back to her perverted self. Since Kodaka is ignoring her, she decides to console her broken heart with a BL anime called Homo Game Club. Oh… Yozora didn’t like how lewd it sounds but when Kodaka agrees with Rika about judging a book by its cover, Yozora is forced to watch its contents first before commenting. And so everyone begins watching the anime in which Rika says have been re-edited so first time viewers won’t have any problems. As the show progresses, Rika and Sena got emotional and cried!!! Is it that good?! Till the last shocking scene whereby the 2 main guys kiss!!! Yozora feels embarrassed and asks Rika the expert if it’s okay if such a kiss is made by friends. To Rika it doesn’t matter who you kiss. You kiss and go to bed with anyone you like!!! Yozora seems to be happy. I don’t know. It’s hinting towards Kodaka… Anyway Yozora passes this show but Sena is not happy. How can she approve Rika’s taste when she doesn’t do the same for Sena’s galges? Yozora points out the perverted dialogues in it. To prove it, she has no problems reading out loud any scenes from Homo Game Club. She memorizes all the lines and perfectly utters them out loud. It makes her look so cool. Now it’s Sena’s turn. She can’t… Yeah. Too many lewd lines, right? So when she finally gets around to it, after all that stammering and soft voice, I think she really said that ‘P’ word. It causes everyone to go in shock because they didn’t realize how much of a pervert she was. They apologize (not sure genuine or not) and Sena is left running away in tears for the embarrassment she has gotten into.

A drunk nun, Kate Takayama pulls over Kodaka in hopes of solving his problems. I don’t think he has any problems. Then he realizes how familiar she looks. I guess he understands now when Maria comes hugging him. It seems Maria doesn’t like this elder sister of hers and continues to spout vulgarities like nobody’s business!!! Even after that painful noogie, Maria can still insult her! Anyway Kate is grateful to Neighbours Club because Maria has been livelier since. Hasn’t she always been like that? Kate explains before this, all Maria did was study. She became full of herself and looked down on everyone else and this worsened when she skipped grades. So apart from him, she also has Yozora to thank. Because she is the first girl that Maria could never stand up against. Someone who is ‘smarter’ than her. Yeah, she met her match. Remember how she was made to run around school naked? Yeah… Since Kate is only 15 years old, she calls Kodaka her onii-chan too. Later Kodaka and Yozora meet and the latter wants to compare answers from their recent exams. I don’t know. They’re just talking instead of using their test papers to compare? A history question that has Yozora perplexed because she doesn’t remember if she had written the kanji name correctly. Both kanjis are very similar and it is often easy to miswrite them. This even made cock sure Kodaka unsure. Sena wants to join in comparing answers. I don’t know how they’re able to do it by just mentioning the question numbers only. Since Sena’s answers are all correct, sore loser Yozora wants to stop comparing answers with her. And since Sena is being persistent, Yozora mocks her she would rather compare her answers with her air friend. Remember Tomo-chan?

Episode 3
Kobato seems to be shooing someone away from the door. Is it the newspaper? No. It’s Maria! Why is she here? She ran away from home. Why? She didn’t like how Kate made her work and complained Kodaka will never do such a thing and was told if that’s the case to go live with him. And she did. How did she know his place? She had Kate bring her here. Some running away… Of course this means Maria and Kobato would be bickering at just about anything. From saying grace to dinner and playing video games. Man, it’s sure ‘lively’. After every few minutes, Kate will annoying call Kodaka to check up on Maria. Is she that worried? But more importantly, is she a siscon?! Maria has no qualms stripping naked and run to the bath. Treating this like her own home, eh? The final insult for Kobato came when Maria wears her pyjamas but finds the chest area too tight. She blows her top. Maria wears Kodaka’s loose t-shirt and as the lolis continue their video game, Maria dozes off. Kobato decides to tug in too when Kodaka mentions sleep helps in growing up. Wow. Kodaka must be a patient guy because even if Maria is a sleepy head, he still brushes her teeth for her. Next morning, Kate comes to pick Maria up and Kodaka gives her the green light to come back again. I’m sure Kobato isn’t going to like this. So she goes to play her video games as preparation when Maria visits next time. Kodaka is glad because it shows Kobato is expecting her company despite being enemies.

The Neighbours Club throw a party to celebrate the end of their exams. As they drink to a toast, Yukimura can’t handle carbonated drinks well but drinks up anyway so that she could match with Kodaka. Since she can’t finish, Kodaka does it for her and prompts Rika to tease their indirect kiss. Then they decide to play King Game. Because the rivalry between Yozora and Sena are heating up with absolutely humiliating orders, Kodaka proposes a rule change. Everyone is to write their orders and the king picks the order from the box. Sena becomes the first king and gloats-cum-insults the poor victim who will wear a swimsuit. The one who will be doing it is Kobato. Oh no! King’s orders are absolute. No turning back! No nullification. Since they don’t have a swimsuit, Rika has a very revealing cosplay outfit close to that. Kobato… Hates… Sena… I think she ‘levelled ‘up a lot on that ‘point’ there… We have a glimpse of all the sick orders the rest wrote like Rika’s orgasm cry and one that has Sena going to a supermarket to make a Lupin face to the cashier. Yeah. Really WTF. And we have Kodaka showing his chest to everyone! The flattest of them all… When Sena becomes the king for the final game, she notices a paper stuck in the sides and decides to pull this one out, much to Yozora’s dismay. The order is for the king to kiss somebody. That somebody is Kodaka! They’re going to really do it but panicky Yozora stops them. I guess her plan backfired, huh? To solve this, Kodaka drinks from Sena’s cup for an indirect kiss. Aren’t we all relieved or disappointed? Late that night, Kodaka’s dad makes a surprise call. He asks if Kodaka is getting married to Sena. EEEEEHHHH???!!!

Episode 4
It seems Pegasus called him drunk and blab about fixing a date for their wedding. So a drunk man’s talk? Daddy is interested if Kodaka has a girlfriend or two but when Kodaka mentions Kobato has a boyfriend, the overprotective father is going to kill that boyfriend! Gotcha! Just kidding! Sena hopes to get into Kobato’s good books by inviting her to Yokoshima Wonderland whereby there will be a special event for Kurogane No Necromancer. Since Kodaka wanted to go with friends, Yozora decides that everyone should go. Besides, a ticket can admit 6 adults. Who is the kid? Maria. Later Kodaka asks Sena if Pegasus was acting strange. She tells him he was just drunk and rambled about something and gave her tickets to this Wonderland. When they arrive, everyone is so eager to ride the scariest ride: Black Dragon. As the roller coaster ascends, everyone seems pretty confident. But as it inches to the top, they start to panic. Maybe this isn’t what they expect it to be. And when it finally descends at full speed… All hell breaks loose! I tell you this scene is hilarious! Everyone is spouting out vulgarities while dropping! Rika said the ‘F’ word!!! The only calm one is Yukimura who is coolly chanting her meditation lines! Kodaka could have been cool too if not he had to witness the horror of Rika in the midst of breaking down!!! At the end when everyone is recovering from it, Maria had the cheek to say it was fun. Hmm… Did she recover fast? Kodaka and Sena accompany Kobato to the special event. Sena tries to appeal to her with her little knowledge on the show but is scorned by Kobato as she spills out the exact details and episodes of everything! She lost points instead of gaining them. So the typical stuff. Hostess goes on stage. Bad guys come out to take hostage. Sena wants to become to hostage to get the prize at the end but they don’t want the ‘mother’ and will take their ‘daughter’ Kobato. While Sena and Kodaka fluster at becoming Kobato’s parents, I guess Kobato couldn’t be bothered with all that and just went on stage. Kobato gets the director’s autograph and likes it very much. Though reluctant, she thanks Sena and this causes the stalker pervert to be turn on.

As everyone eats lunch, Maria expresses her desire to ride Black Dragon again. What? Serious? This has Yozora and Sena challenging each other to ride again after insulting each other how scared they were previously (Sena wet her pants by the way). So while the duo ride it again, Kodaka and the rest ride the other attractions. When they meet up, they see the duo all messed up! What happened?! It looked like as though they’ve been raped! And turned into a zombie! Apparently since they’re both stubborn and refuse to give up, they ride it 8 times!!! They’re going for a ninth one when they can’t hold it in anymore and vomit on Kodaka. So a good time to take a bath. Since Maria is a little girl, Kodaka and Yukimura allow her to follow them into the men’s section. Yukimura scrubs Kodaka’s back and the latter tries to reason that she’s a boy. Cheeky Maria points out at Kodaka’s dick. She is fascinated with this weird thing. It’s something every guy has, Kodaka explains. Really? So why doesn’t Yukimura have them? Say what? Kodaka accidentally looks back and realizes she doesn’t have one! I guess this really confirms it. YUKIMURA IS A GIRL! When he tells this to the others, Rika uses her molestation skill to ascertain that (doesn’t that look stimulating?). Because Yukimura will not believe Kodaka’s words that she is a girl, Rika is made to do so and I don’t know what she said but Yukimura is convinced. However she is saddened and on the verge of tears she can’t be a great man like Kodaka. Due to family issues, she always thought she was a man. There were people who pointed it out but she just ignored them. Kodaka assures her even if she can’t be a man like him, she can still be his underling. Now that Yukimura is a girl, Sena thinks she is pretty cute… Oh God. Yozora is left to rue her carelessness and laments things don’t go as plan and have the worst luck. Wait a minute. This Yukimura-is-a-boy thingy was a setup-cum-lie by her? Yozora, maybe.

Episode 5
Yukimura is now dressed as a butler. Well, all part of Yozora’s plan as she somehow convinced him that she’ll become a man. A true man transcends the concept of gender. Whatever. Kodaka notices Rika playing her game and not all of them are BL. In fact, this one GirlSuku is an otome game. It is galge for girls. GirlSuku has the characters turned to boys. It’s like a reverse harem thingy. Yozora didn’t like it but as usual, she is told about judging a book by its cover so she agrees to try it out first and then bash it up. At first she is unsure to put in her name so Sena hijacks and inputs a real funny name and laughs her ass off. But this doesn’t sit well with Rika so Sena got scared by her scary looks and returns the controller to Yozora. She decides to put in her own name and starts the game. The dialogue of the protagonist girl has Sena laughing her head off because it doesn’t match Yozora’s personality. Yozora plays the game and is annoyed by the guys that she is supposed to end up sleeping with and the best friend b*tch who is eager to befriend her (she believes she will betray her in the end). And so, Yozora increases all her stats without dating. What a poor soul. Till a character saves her from bullies did Yozora take interest in this badass dude. Maybe it reminds her of a certain person, eh? Since this dude is a charmer too, the girls sidetracked talking about change of hairstyle. It is when Kodaka compliments Rika’s change in hairstyle too. This surprises and upsets Rika because she thought he didn’t notice because he never said a word. Kodaka admits he always pays attention to her but stops short to say it’s to keep up with whatever she’s planning. She throws a tantrum and hints about increasing their love points together but since he is so dense, she falls into some depression and decides to ‘do a quickie by herself’ in her science lab.

Yozora continues the game and even gets emotional when this guy doesn’t want to see her anymore to avoid her reputation being tarnished. She ends her game graduating at the top of her grades but a lonely girl that has never made friends. How did this happen? Rika points out she may have missed an important flag in the game but failure is all part of parcel of such dating games. Yozora resigns to this fate if this is what is in store for her and hints of a particular delinquent with no friends in reality. She feels the game is not bad. Rika has changed her hairstyle and hair colour so I guess Kodaka somewhat learnt his lesson and makes a comment but she hints of something more. When she introduces some hair dye solution, he realizes the inventions she made are boring. Say what? They’re practical but lack some sort of romance. He suggests several big inventions that could only be possible in sci-fi shows. A giant robot? A flashlight that changes one’s size? Or even a time machine. Rika did make a time machine and though it won’t send your physical body back in time but just your consciousness. Don’t believe it? Try it out. Kodaka has to think of the time he wants to go back to and before he knows it, he goes back 10 years ago to that fateful day he had to part with Yozora. This time he breaks his silence and tells her he will be going away and never see each other for a decade but will still be friends. Suddenly Yozora turns into a horse monster and beats him up and won’t forgive him. Kodaka wakes up and Rika apologizes. This isn’t a time machine but a sleep assistant with hypnosis feature. She wanted to play a prank on him but it turned out he had quite a nightmare. Kodaka apologizes for calling her inventions boring and that this one was crazy because he felt he really went back in time. But the rest are not thrilled. Because if he was dreaming something 10 years ago, why is Yozora in his dreams? Remember, the others do not know of Kodaka and Yozora’s past connection.

Episode 6
Yozora explains to everyone Kodaka is he childhood friend. Because they were friends in the past, there is no reason for her to go round spreading it. With the mood of everyone back to normal, Kodaka asks what they are to do about the upcoming school cultural festival. Yozora puts his idea down because it’s a popular event made by popular people for popular people. I guess loners like them don’t need it, right? Sena disagrees because last she was a hit with the students. Whether it’s her participation in sports or play, she aces in them all! Rika remembers her too but points out the boys were totally into her because they enjoyed watching her boobs bounce in sports and during the play, her panties were visible the entire time. Bummer. Yozora’s real intention is to tour the festival grounds with Kodaka alone but since Sena wants Neighbours Club to be in it and Kodaka agrees as part of their plan to make more friends, Yozora has no choice but to join in. Now the question is what to do for the festival. Sena’s suggestion of a maid cafe is shot down quickly because Yozora can’t wait tables. Everyone teases Kodaka if he becomes a waiter, the customer will run away due to his scary looks. Kodaka wonder if Rika can wait so she gives a demonstration by borrowing Yukimura’s maid outfit. She looks great but Kodaka is not having any reaction. She is even disappointed that he didn’t peek at her while she was changing! Then she demonstrates her tsundere maid but she is physically abusive and foul mouthed! I think customers will never want to come back! Yeah, it’s breaking Kodaka’s heart. It’s Sena’s turn to demonstrate and she seems pretty good in it. Not to mention her well-endowed body has the girls green with envy because it makes her look like some western porn flick! When Sena casts her moe magical spell to make Kodaka’s tea better, Yozora becomes suspicious. Her scary stare has Sena run away in tears and in a way she admits something about going to maid cafes on weekends. Maybe that’s why she is a pro. So I guess they’re not doing a maid cafe. When everyone leaves for the day, Kodaka turns back into the club room. He is surprised to see Yozora dressing up as a maid! Not what he thinks? Slowly back out…

Having a fortune telling booth is what Yozora have in mind for the festival. It’s not that she is into fortune telling or believes them (despite doing her own research of reading every horoscope and comparing it with its outcome – which makes her seem like a horoscope freak, right?), she plans to make money by tempting brainless people who believe in them and spew random crap. Evil… To demonstrate, she decides to do fortune telling on Sena. Yozora effectively uses the Barnum Effect to convince Sena what she is saying is true. I mean, she knows her personality, right? And that gullible blonde actually believes what she said! True enough, she waltzes right into her palm. To ‘improve’ her life, she suggests a very embarrassing act. At midnight, stand on the rooftop with a basin of water on your head and shout out loud “Sexy Beam!” three times! Sena really believes her and will do it and I’m sure Yozora is finding it hard to contain her laughter and looks forward to seeing how silly she is. Late that night, Kodaka gets mail from Sena saying she got spanked by her father… Not again. He replies her to Google up on Barnum Effect. Next morning, Sena is really one pissed girl as she confronts Yozora who pretends she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But Sena is really upset. Genuine. It is not the fact she got spanked by her father but rather she felt so happy when Yozora told her about it. Yozora feels guilty and the mood between them becomes awkward. But since Kobato is in the club room, all the gloom from Sena vanishes as she starts hounding that poor girl. Is it true that her fortune came true? Did Yozora’s magic crap really work? Actually Kodaka points out Kobato has finished her remedial classes and is able to come to the club again. Sena forgives Yozora this time. Rika has brought several books on fortune telling just in case and Kodaka picks up one on birthdays. This reminds him that Kobato’s birthday is next week. Happy Sena wants to throw her a birthday party. I think Kobato is starting to freak out.

Episode 7
After Kodaka gets mail from Sena to accompany her to go shopping for Kobato’s present, he gets similar mails but with a twist from the rest. A hidden message in Rika’s very perverted message, Yukimura’s ‘short’ message that turns out to be very long winded and Yozora’s beating-around-the-bush message. So, it’s like a situation when the harem guy agrees to all of them and all his harem girls meet right at the same place. Yeah. Annoyed. Disappointing, no? Kodaka comments Rika putting so much effort in her hairstyle but rarely changes her clothes. Well, because he’d just ignore it, right? Kodaka didn’t realize he said out loud that he would find Rika in cute girls more appealing. Really? Rika thinks of expanding her wardrobe and looks up to Sena. Too bad all her clothes and make-up are taken care of by Stella. As for Yozora, she depends on the internet site and wears what is fashionable. She didn’t realize the meaning of boyish because until she is told it is just a term to up one’s feminine’s charm. Now she feels embarrassed with those exposed belly and thighs. Yozora wants to go shop something else first so Yukimura and Rika accompany her. This leaves Kodaka and Sena to shop together. Sena wants to know what will make Kobato really happy. Don’t even think about giving yourself. Sena became happy for a second when Kodaka mentions meat will make Kobato happy. No, not you. The kind where you eat them, silly. In the end, Kodaka became fascinated with some high end frying pan and buys it. As they rest, Sena asks his opinion about the other girls. Nothing much. Does he want a girlfriend? It’s not that he doesn’t want, how can a boring guy like him have a girlfriend when he doesn’t have friends? Sena doesn’t think he is boring. As for Kodaka’s question about his past with Yozora, Sena panicked at first but realized there is no need to because the present is more important and doesn’t want to lose to her. She hints that if she likes someone, she won’t find them boring. When everyone regroups, Rika looks cute in a girly dress, Yukimura is hot wearing Yozora’s hand-me-downs and Yozora… Don’t even ask how she ended up in a tracksuit.

Kobato’s party gets underway and I think she could have enjoyed it better if not for Sena’s creepy presence. Yeah, there’s a little doll of Sena and Kobato on the cake… Everyone gives their present and guess what is Sena’s present to Kobato? Meat… She really bought it… But Kobato is one happy girl since with this meat, she can eat her favourite sukiyaki tonight. Kodaka spots Kate trying to peek into his home! Well, Maria is here. Siscon… And so, Kobato’s day is ruined with the sisters. When Kate talks to her about calling Kodaka her onii-chan and all, Kobato becomes mad that big brother had to add more sisters!!! Since Maria is dragging her feet, Kate explains they are here because Maria has a present to give to Kobato. It’s a key charm. Charming. But you know how this will end. Little girls’ fight… The girls sure can eat and wallop the entire sukiyaki. Feel bad for Kodaka. He did most of the work and only ate 2 pieces. Kate shows him a locket Maria got for her. There’s a cicada shell encased inside… But that’s her way of showing her love I guess. As they’ll be staying here tonight, Kate takes Maria to bath. Kodaka gets them spare clothes when he sees Kobato running out from the bathroom in tears. She must have been terrified by Kate’s superb proportions. Kodaka accidentally sees this and runs out. He apologizes and she forgives him since it wasn’t on purpose. Kodaka learns Kate and Pegasus are fishing buddies as they love fishing salmon. When Kate and Maria leaves, the former wished he was really their brother. But she doesn’t discount if he was something else it would be nice too. Hint, hint. However she notes he’s already got Sena. Big hint, hint. I’m sure Kodaka may not understand what she means now but he’ll soon find out.

Episode 8
Kodaka thanks the girls from the bottom of his heart because Kobato had a good time. Everyone gets excited to celebrate each other’s birthday but Rika is not amused. Getting back to the discussion for the festival, they wonder what Kobato’s class is doing. She is reluctant to say but after Kodaka ‘threatens’ with meat and games, she relents. She is to play a lead role in a play. So what is the leading lady doing here? Ran away, huh? Kodaka gives her words of encouragement to do her best and it doesn’t take long before she makes her way back to her class. This prompts Yozora to do a movie too but when she nominates herself as the scriptwriter, Sena objects. She has a bad feeling if she’s the one behind the pen. Anyway she has everyone contribute what they want to see in the movie. Kodaka: No rape! Yeah. I remember that relay novel and how terrible it went. I guess everybody else has their weird ideas. Back home, Kodaka receives mail from Yozora to accompany her to get ideas for the movies. This time she was a little prepared because she tells him the company of others are not needed. First, they stop by a cinema to watch what it seems to be a harmless French romance movie. Then… OMG! French porn! C’est si bon! That won’t do for their movie, no? Next, they stop by the cat shop and Yozora loves frolicking with the cats. She can’t have one since she lives in an apartment. Even if she did not, she can’t have one because of Night. Ten years ago, they both found an abandoned cat at a shrine. They used their pocket money to care for it and one day, it vanished. I guess this is where her trauma of somebody vanishing without notice started. If she is going to get hurt again, she doesn’t want to form any bonds. In the club room, Sena can tell this Kobato is fake! Yeah, it’s Rika dressing up as her. Anyway, Yozora has done the script and it looks good. She already has done to casting too. It’s about the main student (Yozora) who is old friends with the new transfer student (Kodaka) and the class boss who is against them till the end (Sena). Then there’ll be a girl who keeps pulling pranks on them (Rika), a boy who secretly admires transfer student from afar (Yukimura) and the transfer student’s sister (Maria). Doesn’t this feel familiar?

Sena objects since she is playing the villain but Yozora manages to put it in a way that she’ll accept it: She gets more screen time and attention. Rika too objects because based on Kodaka’s character, he has qualities that the real Kodaka doesn’t have! And Kodaka himself really thinks he is such a cool guy?! Such shocking truth, eh? Maybe this is what Yozora really wishes in him. She is basing all this based on her relationship with him as childhood friends. Since nobody agrees, everyone decides to vote which character they’ll play. It turns out to be messed up… Yukimura now the leading role and the worst one: Kodaka the little sister! WTF?! Can he play that role? Blame Sena and Maria for that vote. I don’t know why they can’t do a re-vote (probably the results will be the same) so Yozora rewrites the story to change Kodaka’s role as a little brother. However when she rewrites the script, it becomes worse than before. The best friends are no more friends. A friend of a friend is not a best friend? Because Yozora used her childhood friend basis for the change, Sena tells her off ancient history like that isn’t important. This riles Yozora up. She’s scary. For once, Sena isn’t daunted and reminds her that her job is to fix the script. Like a role reversal, this causes Yozora to cry and wish that Sena never existed before running away. When everyone leaves, Yozora returns to the room to get her bag but Kodaka spots her. She asks if the past or present is more important. He can’t choose and asks her the same. She views the past is more important but does that mean the present isn’t as important? Yozora fixes the script and this time it is much better and wins everyone’s approval. Now to start filming on it.

Episode 9
Filming gets underway and since Kodaka’s role doesn’t have much appearance, he is rather free. He goes to see the exam results on the billboard. As usual, Sena is tops. 895 out of 900 points! How the hell does she do it? But a petite girl, Aoi Yusa seems to not like the results. From the way she says things, this student council treasure who is in the same class as Sena is somewhat jealous of her success in every area. To add salt to injury, she thinks Sena has snagged a boyfriend for herself too. That’s you, Kodaka. He dismisses it but she doesn’t believe. But the thing that catches his attention is how she describes him as a cool person. He likes that, doesn’t he? Nobody ever said that to him before. He returns to the club room only to see Sena in. The rest are out scouting for a suitable location for their next scene. He talks to her about Aoi. She doesn’t recognize her. WTF. Doesn’t she even bother to learn her classmates’ name? Remember the previous ‘wise’ words of Sena: 2 types of girls in this world: Those who love her and the rest are all b*tches!!! So why bother to learn names of retarded b*tches? Kodaka is amazed that she barely puts in any effort in studying and yet comes out tops. Their study session together was her first time. Is it a wonder why many girls envy her? After filming, Kodaka passes Pegasus who asks him about his progress with Sena. When Kodaka mentions they’re not dating, this causes Pegasus to panic and flee. WTF moment. Next day, Sena ‘borrows’ Kodaka to talk about this dating incident. Seems Pegasus got the wrong idea. When he gave her tickets to Yokoshima Wonderland, Sena was infatuated that this is her ticket in making Kobato her sister. What is the fastest and legal way of doing that? Get married. Sena agreed to it all without thinking of the consequences. She talked to daddy about this misunderstanding.

Now that’s out of the way, here’s the real bombshell. No, not the blonde. Their engagement. SAY WHAT?! Apparently there is a photo of them playing when they’re toddlers and their arranged marriage was decided by their dads then. They don’t remember but it is claimed there is a document with their thumbprints to seal such agreement. They think they should forget about it since it is long story and Kodaka believes his dad might have forgotten about it (Sena seems to find it regrettable it had to end this way). Sena is worried about Yozora but Kodaka says there is no need to tell her since this doesn’t involve her. When they return to the club room and about to resume filming, Maria’s arrival has Kodaka remembering Kate’s words. Suddenly happy Maria asks Kodaka if he is getting married because she heard all about it from Kate. The secret is out. So Kodaka and Sena explain everything. Man, Yozora must be hard hit and in total shock. Really. So much so this annoys Sena as she takes her fly swatter and swats her face! The past doesn’t matter! All that matters is now! Still no reaction. She is devastated being a fiancée has a deeper relationship than a childhood friend. In Sena’s case, it makes her a childhood friend too. The filming continues and Yozora is in serious depression. No motivation at all… After finishing up, Kodaka passes by Kate and blames her for the tons of trouble. Though she apologizes, she mentions the teachers, nuns and some students already know of this because Pegasus likes to tell people whenever he gets the chance. But Kate feels somewhat relieved that Pegasus was just getting ahead of himself. Learning about the film he made, Kate recommends him to watch an old teen masterpiece movie that resembles closely to theirs. Guess what? Kodaka is absolutely pissed that this show is exactly the same as the one they are doing! The scenes, lines and all! Yozora ripped it off! Plagiarism!!!

Episode 10
Yozora is made to reflect on her actions. Repent! Sena wants to redo everything again but do they have time for an original movie? Thankfully she wrote one in case Yozora screws up. Now it’s Sena’s turn to bully Yozora and the latter can’t fight back! How does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine? She is forced to wear an embarrassing witch outfit as Sena takes over the directing role. This movie has everything cramped in it. School, friendship, singing, magic, super power, samurai, robots, space war, love between men, etc. WTF. I’m thinking how screwed up this is going to get. Kodaka accompanies Rika back to her science lab. Amazing she remembers the number of days it has passed since he last set foot here. 122 days… She shows him the special effects she put in and it’s amazing. She shows him photographs of Neighbours Club that she keeps in several albums. It may look like she’s a stalker taking photos of them secretly but it was as modelling reference when she first made the game for the club. Kodaka notes how she might be the one who is trying hardest to make new friends. Neighbours Club visit Kobato’s school to view her class’ movie. Although it turns out to be a retro silent black and white movie with no special effects and resembles closely to Princess Kaguya story, nevertheless it is amazing. Of course Sena is the one cheering the loudest while Maria fell asleep throughout. Sena adds to Kobato’s trauma after the show by hugging her (almost suffocating her to death with her boobs). Kobato is very embarrassed since they came and goes into hiding. Kodaka learns from her friend that Kobato is very popular and even has her own fan club. However she doesn’t seem interested in making friends despite others trying hard to be friends with her. Rika quips how similar Kodaka and Kobato are. It runs in the blood. Maria suddenly feels depress and it’s like all her excitement as a loudmouth carefree loli just evaporated. Totally different.

When they return to their club, Kobato makes her entry. Suddenly Maria is back to her lively self as the lolis argue. But notice how happy and smiling all the way when they ‘fight’? Sena is going to complete the final scenes and replace Kodaka’s scenes with Kobato. So he’s an extra all the while? After the opening speech by the student council president, Hinata Hidaka, it seems Yozora feels disgusted in hearing her. They don’t even know each other nor have they spoken so why all the hate? Hinata is like Sena who is good at studies, athletics and helping out others. Only difference is that she is a popular girl with friends. She wants her to become like Shakespeare’s King Lear and have a bad end! How deep can her grudge go? Kodaka notices Rika looking forlornly on the rooftop and goes to talk to her. Just wanted fresh air? He notices the bags under her eyes as she stayed awake all night to complete her work. Rika gets embarrassed when Kodaka praises her. Then it’s time she gets serious. She asks about his feelings for Sena. Nothing. Just club mates. She points out that is not how Sena sees it and adds he doesn’t like being lonely but is afraid of people expressing their affection towards him. He pretends not to see or notice and runs away or covers up. Even to the point of lying to himself to convince no one has any feelings for him. No, she is not talking about Kobato you dimwit. If he wants, she can always stay the same but she thinks it is time he takes a step forward. Kodaka tells her to stop it. She says something inaudible about them all for him. Kodaka whether or not really hears it, he somewhat knew the words she said. He had known it for a long time.

Episode 11
Rika isn’t here for the screening so Kodaka goes to see what’s up with her at her science lab. She’s collapsed on the floor! Thankfully it’s just a cold. Yozora will have the screening cancelled since there won’t be any meaning of the 7 of them don’t watch it together. As the gang goes around putting up the cancellation notice, Kodaka bumps into Aoi again. He still likes how she showers him with those cool words. Aoi is surprised that Sena has joined a club and way back in June. Kodaka goes to visit Rika in the infirmary and she’s doing fine. Though saddened the movie is completed, she is touched of what Yozora said. She feels sleepy and wants Kodaka to rape her!!! WTF?! If not, read her a book till she sleeps. Okay. It’s BL… Oh sh*t. Wish you had taken up the rape offer, eh? Just like Sena, he can’t really read it straight. What’s a yaoi hole? Don’t know? Neither do I but I can vaguely guess what it is. Rika is disappointed when Kodaka tells her guys don’t have that! She might want to ascertain if that’s true on him. No way. Can you blame her for never having a friend to tell her? Once Rika recovers and finishes the movie, everyone watches it together. Hmm… Lots of extravagant special effects. Lots of everything. So much so I don’t know what’s going on. One day, Aoi barges into the club room but once again, Sena doesn’t recognize her. Felt insulted, eh? Anyway she is here to chide this club for doing nothing but play around. Because she was interested in what club Kodaka and Sena’s joined, she did a little investigation. Yozora is back to her holier-than-thou attitude as she counters every damn slander or accusation Aoi throws at them. Even if Aoi quotes from her handbook, Yozora coolly counters that with another article. Give it up. You can’t beat her. Besides, everything she sees about them doing nothing is only her opinion, right? She even defends Kobato’s presence as a club member and that this church is on both school and public grounds and thus her membership is valid and not an outsider. Aoi is left retreating like a loser dog she is.

Unfortunately she came back soon and this time she has found something that will render the club illegitimate. Based on a rule that all clubs need some teacher or sister as moderator, the problem is that Maria is not really a sister as her name is not on the register. In other words, just a loli hanging around the chapel. Kodaka calls Kate to confirm and she bluntly admits Maria is not a sister! About calling herself a teacher? She made that up. About wearing the nun outfit? She thinks it’s cute. Damn. Aoi thinks she’s on the winning track when Sena stands up this time. She makes her move to call her father. Everything will be alright if she becomes an official moderator, right? Shortly, Sena returns to relay the good news Maria has become a special part time instructor. It’s something close to being a teacher. Aoi still isn’t happy despite it’s the chairman’s decision. Still got problem? Sena tells her off she could easily destroy the student council and have Aoi expelled from school if she wanted to. Neighbours Club is hers and if she keeps barking up her garden, she will crush her like a bug. See Sena’s scary face? You better give up. Hope you learn your lesson. And don’t come back! And so Neighbours Club is safe as long as Yozora and Sena are around. She may be misusing her power and acting like the villain but if anybody can be rid of by her power, she doesn’t really give a damn about that person. But Sena seems to shoo Aoi away in a hurry because she wants to continue her game? Suddenly Sena just pops the question to Kodaka. He should just marry her. Shocking! Though the engagement promise is a thing of the past, when they found out about it, it sounded they would never going to get married. She really wants to marry him because she loves him. Kodaka pretends he couldn’t hear her and before anything else could develop, Kodaka excuses himself out of the room. So typical of him.

Episode 12
Kodaka bumps into Aoi and helps her out putting away stuffs from the festival. He asks why she was so adamant in disbanding Neighbours Club. Her reply was she didn’t want a talented person like Sena to waste her time doing nothing. Thinking that she was doing it for her sake, Kodaka contemplates that everyone else are popular and smart too and there’s no need for them to be in Neighbours Club. Aoi admits the real reason is that she was jealous because Sena had everything. When Kodaka points out Sena doesn’t have friends, Aoi laughed so hard and thinks it’s a joke to cheer her up. Kodaka meets Hinata and she takes a liking for him (as a person). After finishing their task, Hinata offers him to join the student council since they could use a guy (the student council only have females). Despite Aoi commending Kodaka’s cool traits, he won’t take up the offer since it’s a heavy responsibility. However he agrees to help them out whenever he can. So for 1 week Kodaka helps them out as part of his excuse not to return to Neighbours Club. He thinks he can’t face his mates after running away. One day Yukimura finds him to bring him back since she heard rumours he has been ‘enslaved’. Because Aoi’s words are somewhat pissing Yukimura off, Kodaka tells her to go ahead first. Kodaka talks with Yukimura to find out the latest happenings in the club. Only Sena and Yukimura come in every day. Yozora and Rika stopped doing so while Maria only comes in to sleep (what else?). He asks why she continues to be an underling despite knowing his true face as a weakling. Simply because she wants to. Even if the club gets disbanded, she will still stand by his side and serve him. He feels unworthy of those words. Suddenly Yukimura’s chest tightens and quipped if she was a strong man, she would’ve plunged herself into his yaoi hole!!! Where did she learn this?! Remember how Rika convinced her she was a girl? Sad… Then Kodaka gets mail from Rika telling him to come to the rooftop immediately or else she will play that secret recording of him reading her that BL book over the PA system! Better get moving!

So what does Rika want? She’s upset (despite being cool). She wants to teach a sad delinquent for turning tail and fleeing the club. A lesson to make him realize the coward and hypocrite he is for even mumbling how much treasures the club. Kodaka allows her to beat him up so she uses brain controlled iron balls to toss into him! Yikes! He has to avoid it because it really will break your bones! See the marks it left on the wall! She’s serious. She understands how he feels after Sena’s surprise confession but what he did after that is unforgivable. She thinks he betrayed the club by helping the student council and let himself to be led away by Hinata’s beauty. Kodaka admits he likes her personality but that only means he respects her as a human being. Rika had asked Sena when she fell in love with him. It was when he saved her from delinquents at the pool (from the first season). The things they did seem to be heading towards a direction that they’ll be a couple. It felt like some sort of cheat code when Sena suddenly becomes his fiancée and childhood friend. This caused Yozora to lose all her nerve. She chides him for being a main character of some romantic comedy trying to get all the girls by being nice. Kodaka dismisses that. He loves to be one and give them all a happy ending. However he is not the main character as he doesn’t know what to do now. He has never gone through this and forming this club was a miracle because it’s a place for outcasts like them to be themselves. Rika accuses him of being a thick headed bystander. There is no point of protecting something if he is not going to be there. She doesn’t want this kind of cheap freak. He tells her back she is the one to say. She acts the lively pervert but slaves away behind the scenes for their sake. Even now she is playing the villain for their sake. So what is it that she wants? Rika says out loud that all she wants are friends. After Kodaka takes that final beating, they reconcile. Rika hopes he could rely on her. She is a genius and can make the impossible possible if he wants. Kodaka wants her to be his friend. But she dismisses that because they are all already friends. Kodaka requests for Rika’s help in which she will gladly provide. He records into the club’s logbook that he finally has made friends. Just as he goes back to the club room to make himself clear to Sena, all the Neighbours Club members suddenly get a message from Yozora. She has left on a journey and doesn’t’ want them to come look for her. Trouble is brewing on her side…

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
Oh my. This series could have been great if not for such an unsatisfied ending. Why are we forced to be left hanging at the end? Feels like there may be a third season but I’m just speculating. Things aren’t really finished yet the way the relationship between Kodaka and Yozora has been going. Don’t you feel that it has been going on a downward trend? I guess there is so much a girl can do and take and when she finally snaps, maybe she needs some time by herself to think and chill out. Overall, this sequel still lives up to its zaniness with the peculiar bunch of characters. It also had some development to go with and it was going great guns in the last episode as well with all that build up. Just sad that it had to end this way. They should have made a thirteenth episode, damn it. Ah well, maybe a single episode is not enough to solve Yozora’s woes because that girl seems to be holding on to her precious past and the thing that prevents her from moving forward.

The main development is of course the romance part. We all want to know which girl Kodaka would choose even though we know he won’t make a decision. Yozora and Sena seem to be leading the scoreboard and they are probably on level with each other as favourites to end up with him. However a series of blunders have caused Yozora to lose confidence and gradually I could feel that she no longer has that oomph anymore and just doesn’t really give a damn. Then suddenly comes Sena’s surprise childhood friend revelation and the shocking confession she wants to marry him. That was a real put off for Sena. Clearly there were many moments that hint the duo really like Kodaka. Especially Yozora mumbling to herself if it should have turned out the other way. I remember one of her mumblings after that French porn movie that she suggests to do that c’est si bon thingy too. If she had only said that louder. But in this romance segment, this season isn’t just about a two-horse race. Rika seems to be creeping up as a formidable contender too with hints thrown at us along the way (there are quite a few scenes that focus solely in Kodaka and Rika alone). Sometimes it feels that she might just come up from behind and snatch Kodaka away. That’s why she isn’t one to be dismissed yet. However if you think the girls interested in him are just confined to Neighbours Club, then take note that there are a couple of ‘outsiders’ that I would consider a worthy challenger to the race for Kodaka. 1) Kate – notice some of her words sound ambiguous like as though she hopes of wanting him as her boyfriend? 2) Hinata – she might say she likes him as a person but notice her body reaction when she said that? Her limited appearance doesn’t do justice but it was enough to tell us that it is more than just liking him as a person. It’s going to be a crowded field if Kodaka doesn’t make up his mind soon.

As for the other girls, I won’t say they won’t really fall in love with Kodaka as a woman but for now they don’t seem to be indicating or doing proactive things to make us believe they are so. Yukimura happens to me utmost admiration despite the last bit there may indicate she really wanted to do in his yaoi hole. Whatever. Same case with Aoi. Her interactions with him feel that she looks up to him as a cool person. Oddly, she is the first person to be considered by Kodaka to think how cool he is. Then what were Yukimura’s praises for? Sure, she never spouted the cool character he is and her speeches are like so samurai-like but they are still worthy admiration, right? As for Maria, this carefree loli nun just views him as a big brother and nothing more. With her around, you don’t feel that she is really interested about the subject of romantic love and is just glad Kodaka is someone she can call her onii-chan. As for Kobato, I know she likes her brother very much but I don’t see it to a point that she has extreme brother complex. The kind whereby she obsessively fawns over him (like Sena does towards Kobato) and worse, the kind of sister who wants to keep her brother all to herself and marry him! Don’t see it in Kobato, do we? So she’s just an ordinary girl living out as her favourite anime character. Besides, she obediently obeys what Kodaka says like a good girl even if she doesn’t want to at first.

One of the reason why this series is funny and it still is because of Yozora’s holier-than-thou attitude and the way she bullies Sena. In the first season, she was invincible and you can predict the outcome each time when the duo get involved in a spat. I know bullying isn’t good but the way she does it is amusing since Sena is partly to be blamed for being gullible. But hey, in a way if you think about it, that is because Sena considers her as a friend and shouldn’t friend trust and believe each other? But after so many times being conned, don’t you think she should have guessed her game by now? Ah well, Sena may be stubborn but in that sense she keeps her faith in Yozora. However this time around, no doubt Yozora dominated in the first half of the show with her bullying tactics, ever since her nerve starts breaking down, she seems to kinda lost that touch and surprisingly Sena could give her a taste of her own medicine. It felt the almighty sadistic queen’s rule has come to an end. And when Sena became assertive about her love with Kodaka, it felt like woah. She’s a totally different person. Like a role reversal. Sena improves while Yozora declines. Rika is still the horny pervert this season but she plays more important roles this time. As seen, she purposely became a villain just to open Kodaka’s eyes. This season, I feel Rika is more foul mouthed, bold and assertive than the last season too. Ah well, genius people are equally crazy. Rika too seems to be having the most changes in terms of appearance because I notice she experiments with different hairstyles and colours in some of the episode. In addition to that, she sometimes cast away her lab coat and wears other clothes. This is my personal opinion even though I feel Rika is cute whether she lets her hair down or ties them up like her usual pony tail, however I can’t say the same for Yozora. Even after a season, I still can’t get used to her short hairstyle although it is her boyish fashion theme. I still prefer Yozora when she had longer hair.

Yukimura is still the soft spoken one. So in this season it is really confirmed that Yukimura is indeed a girl. No more doubts about that. I have always had my reservations about her being a boy and now it all comes true. However I would have preferred her to stay in her maid outfit instead of a butler. You know how much I love maids ;p. If it is true that Yukimura one day can turn into a true man, then we will really be able to see a real yaoi hole! Get what I mean? No kidding! Maria and Kobato’s loli fight is still amusing. Maria the lively foul mouthed sister as always without a care while Kobato and her “Kukuku” trademark laughter. Of course if you realize, their last fight seems to be more amicable than their previous despite the vivacity of the argument is still there. Is it a sign that they have accepted each other as friends? Actually, fighting for a long time like that shows that they are friends in a way but now that they are smiling, it proves that they really enjoy each other’s company. Too bad Kobato is still doesn’t like Sena much. Either she hates her (hear her catty snarl) or she gets traumatized. There is no escape. Lastly about Kodaka, at first he seems like the guy caught in between everything and doesn’t bother to get involve in Yozora and Sena’s spat. So in truth he is just turning a blind eye and pretending everything had not happened so that things can be the same. I know it must be devastating to step out of one’s comfort zone since this club is a dream come true for its members. Since Kodaka has known this problem for a very long time, can I say that each time the girls whisper something about their feelings and he can’t catch what they say, is it he is just pretending not to hear? Seems like it. And he’s good at it. So I assume he clearly hears what they mumble but as Rika pointed out, just coolly pretends and ignores them. I’m guessing he heard Yozora saying about that c’est si bon too… Now everyone is at the crossroads. A decision needs to be made. Gosh. If only the series didn’t end like that…

I’m not sure about that Pegasus guy but although he didn’t seem to make much impact as he did in the previous season, I feel there is something fishy going on in him wanting to wed his daughter off with Kodaka. Maybe he is waiting for the day that they will be married just like how they made a pact in the past. Even that one seems fishy. Maybe there is no such document at all and just made up. I find this Pegasus guy to be somewhat a little gay. Notice the way how he talks and approaches Kodaka? Perhaps Kodaka’s dad has been overseas for too long and doesn’t come back frequently so he lacks the need of a male companionship. I don’t want to imagine the kind of route that will make Rika happy. Yeah, Kodaka ends up with Pegasus instead of one of the pretty girls!!! NO WAY! I don’t even want this to happen! Stella is still as quirky but too bad she just made only one appearance in this season. Who knows what kind of kinky tricks she will pull had Kodaka stayed longer. New characters like Kate provide something extra to the show. Just like how wanting to be friends but avoiding getting close runs in the blood of Kodaka and Kobato, I could think of the same thing between Kate and Maria. Because they are so uncouth and unrefined as ladies. Worse, they are shameful as sisters. Just that Kate is a siscon. Kate isn’t ashamed of drinking in the middle of the day (I’m not sure sitting on the bench outside is the result of some hangover), she also isn’t embarrassed about farting, burping and scratching her butt in public! It’s like being a sister is just a job and not her life’s devotion. Aoi and Hinata are great too but their late appearance in this season doesn’t do much justice.

For the fanservice part, I have a feeling Sena exudes most of the fanservice scenes due to her well-endowed body. I noticed it is usually by the way she sits because it’s like she is close to revealing her butt (oh, those sexy thighs!) but we won’t see anything up further and everything is just a teaser. On a trivial note, this time the mid-intermission doesn’t have any more fanservice. The one whereby a girl in a random sexy pose with the word “Haganai” printed somewhere on their body. This season’s mid-intermission is a little strange. It feels like those marshmallow/paper people skipping across the screen. I suppose they are the Neighbours Club members because each of them had some sort of ornament on their head that identifies them. But I’m baffled, is the one with pudding supposed to be Kodaka? Maybe they’re referring to his delinquent coloured hair. You know how Ten Little Indians song goes? Yeah. Seems like one by one they’re being picked off by something vicious. Whether it is getting chased by bees or getting devoured by sharks or getting snagged by a dog. But after reaching halfway and having only the last one left (guess who?), this restarts again by having a new line of marshmallow/paper people but this time they don’t get taken out but go away after being distracted with something else or help the previous fallen ones. And the last person got a basin dropped over his head…

More trivial notes: I observed that the episode titles parody some animes especially those with long winded names involving sisters. Like one that parodies a certain sister that can’t be cute, a sister among a group of ‘sisters’, one that has too much fighting between a girlfriend and a childhood friend, and the one about a sister who as long as she has love it doesn’t matter if it’s her brother. There’s one that parodies newer animes about a perverted prince and a stoic cat, and that SNAFU love comedy life being screwed up. I’m sure you know what anime titles I’m talking about. Of course there are those parodying short ones like Mayoi Neko Overrun or Mayo Chiki. At the end of each episode, there is the usual end card illustration by different people. I don’t know, the styles of all of them look somewhat the same. This season’s opening and ending theme are sung by the 6 girls of Neighbours Club. The opening theme, Be My Friend sounds very much like last season’s opening theme and of course about wanting to make friends. As usual the opening animation is as crazy but this time you see them dressed in costumes for their movie. And perhaps the craziness can be credited to Rika’s amazing special effects skill, no? This time the ending theme isn’t like last season’s rock outfit sung only by Yozora’s seiyuu, but Bokura No Tsubasa is more of an anime pop group. So no more air guitar this time and replaced with red strings.

A tinsy little bit still bugs me. In the final episode when Kodaka and Rika became friends, it made me wonder had not they been friends since they joined? Even when I briefly browse through Wikipedia, it stated that Rika became Kodaka’s first friend. So all this while what do the Neighbours Club members consider each other? Club mates? Maybe. Well, as far as I can remember, no one really said anything about each other as friends. Even if it seems that they are getting along fine (fighting and arguing are part and parcel of friendship), perhaps it is this perception that I thought that they had been friends since the formation of the club. They even do things and go on many outings together, right? With Rika and Kodaka saying it, I guess it is now official that they are friends. But who will turn out to be his lover is another story and might need to wait excruciatingly for a long time. Even if Neighbours Club has yet to fulfil its original goal of making more friends from outside, I think having close knit members within a club is enough for the time being. I mean, how many friends do you want? Of course as many as possible but there is a limit to how many friends you could actually have. Think Facebook and Twitter. Yeah. How many of them are real friends?

As you can see all those who like or admire Kodaka is because of what is inside him. Yes, the all important lesson of never judging a book by its cover. They know he is a good guy deep down inside despite his delinquent looks that they have all gotten used to. Besides, this season you don’t really see him ‘scaring’ people with his looks except for the opening scene in the first episode. That’s about it. Thus this club isn’t just slacking off doing nothing although it may seem so on the outside. Did you not notice that Yozora doesn’t speak to her air friend anymore? Had she not mention that little bit in one of the episodes, I would have totally forgotten that she had one in the first place. But now another problem has crept up on her and that will be a different story altogether. The bottom line of this story is to treasure your friends because nobody could live all by himself/herself in this world. There are times when you have to rely on others (but don’t do it too often). Then if you’re lucky enough, you can ‘upgrade’ to be more than just friends. Being childhood friends or having arranged marriage prerequisite is an added advantage. Or you could just be friends with benefits. Ooohh lala… That will be c’est si bon!

I have always wanted to see an epic fight between the two mega mascots of the famous video game consoles, Sega’s Sonic and Nintendo’s Mario. And now it seems that I have finally got that wish. Well, almost. Aoi Sekai No Chuushin De may look like your typical action, adventure and fantasy anime with hot looking guys and sexy scantily clad babes but there is one thing that interests me on this anime. Sonic, Mario and other popular characters of the Sega and Nintendo games have been given the anime treatment. Yup. How do you like your hedgehog and Italian plumber to have that bishie feel? Exciting, isn’t it? Of course the names of the characters have been slightly modified but you can still identify them based on that and some of their stand-out traits. Isn’t that spiky haired guy who moves faster than the blink of an eye Sonic? Doesn’t the big bad moustachioed guy look like Mario? Ah yes. All too familiar.

As the story goes, the blue eyed Segua Kingdom (Sega) has always been at war with the red eyed Ninteldo Empire (Nintendo) over the Consume Continent (I bet they wanted something to sound as close to console). But with Emperor Marcus (that’s Mario, snigger, snigger) and his forces rapidly grew in power, they and their allies control 90% of the continent. Segua is on a losing streak and fast losing the war. But do not fear for the advent of a hero named Gear who will rise as the new hope of Segua to turn the tables on the Ninteldo Empire. Gear? You thought it was going to be something close like Sanik or Sonique, no?

Episode 1
Gear is forced to use his speed and beat up the guards when they attack him, Til and Nel. Although he wins at the end, it came with a great cost: Til’s life. That’s when Gear decided never to run away anymore. He’ll keep running forward till the centre of the world. Vice General Ramses hears Gear and Nel wanting to join the Segua army. She has him prove his strength right now. He must defeat 50 men in this dojo. Using his incredible speed, Gear beats them all in a blink of an eye! Ramses is impressed but it’s not over yet. The captain of defences, Harris wants to test his real strength. Gear blocks his heavy iron rod and knocks him out. I guess he passes the test. Ramses is impressed and feels with Gear in the army, Segua will have a new era. Ramses quickly puts Gear in charge of her special forces. His first mission is to retrieve General Alex who has been captured by one of Ninteldo’s allied countries, Tatoland. Then Opal drops in. Ramses introduces Gear and Nel to her but Opal doesn’t seem happy to be their friend. As Gear and Nel rest in their room, Gear notices a letter on his side. It is a challenge letter by Opal to fight her. Meeting up with her that night at the beach, Opal tells him straight she doesn’t like him. If he wins, he can order her to do anything but if she wins, he must leave. Gear takes up the challenge as Opal chides him for the kind of guy who gets his kicks beating up people weaker than he is.  She shows her power of excellent marksmanship that she never misses her target. She isn’t stupid to kill a fellow Segua and the first one to land a solid hit on the other wins. Opal is confident she will win and predicts the move Gear will make. But I guess her split second thinking was considered too long because Gear in a flash charges straight at her and punches her out in the gut! When Opal wakes up, she is surprised to see him carrying her back. How can he leave a lady lying on the beach alone? Gear explains people may think he is full of himself but he wants to help Segua and for them to accept him for who he is. Opal feels bad for looking down on him. So the thing that he will have her do is to fight alongside him in the special forces. Not something pervy like she imagined.

Can you imagine Ramses disbelief that Gear and Opal are good friends? Well, as long as it works out. She has called them because there will be another member who will be joining them. He is a mercenary and not a Segua. Tejirof is his name and was her senior at Puzzle Magic Academy. In short, he is a genius at theory. The gang are eager to see him. What supposed to be a wait for 5 minutes turned into an hour. And here comes in this good looking guy. The first thing he did was to grope Ramses’ boobs and telling some dirty joke of plugging his stick in the hole left by their general. He is briefed on what is happening and will train the trio till the start of the operation. That’s in 4 days, right? Tejirof will make Gear realize that there are others who are stronger than him. As Gear makes his speedy move, Tejirof notes his impressive speed but he saw it coming and initiates a barrier to block his attack. Then he strikes Gear and beats him in one move. Tejirof advices him he wasn’t running at his best technique and to toss away the feeling of feeling good while running at that speed because fighting on the battlefield means to kill. Gear admits his defeat but vows to go all the way despite being told there are many more others who are stronger than him. Tejirof could tell a friend of his died. Otherwise, why would a coward who had been hiding in the mountains suddenly move forward? Tejirof doesn’t view Gear’s idea of walking his own path as wrong. He thinks he should go as deep as he can because it doesn’t feel good unless he sticks it straight in. He’ll find his real answer there. Is that a dirty joke? Gear wants Tejirof to train him but he wants Gear to rest first. He tosses him the blueprint of the fortress they’re supposed to counterattack. He got it on his way here. That’s why he was an hour late. And nobody told him to do so and was just doing it to pleasure himself.

Episode 2
Gear doesn’t remember his past but remembers his dad telling him that the world is unfair and accepting them is all part of life. He never understood what it meant. Tejirof is training Gear well. He is a fast learner of course. Because Gear is termed as a Killer, Tejirof tells him a little history. The Great Atarika Empire was on the verge of conquering every land on Consume. However they fell apart because they would gather as much soldiers from anywhere no matter what. This includes bandits and thugs. Doing so causes a decrease in the troop’s quality and people’s trust. In the end, a coup d’etat brought them down. This incident was known as Atarika Shock. To prevent such incident ever happening again, nations made their individual soldiers stronger. In other words, quality over quantity. Thus a race of people with power greater than the average are called Killers were born. Gear is one since being a Killer is genetically hereditary. Tejirof goes to train Opal. Though her arrow skills are impressive, he advises her he can put something better than an arrow into her open hole. WTF. As every Killer has their own style like in Gear’s case the ability to change life energy in power called Action, Ramses and Tejirof’s Puzzle ability to rearrange life energy into other kinds of energy, Opal has Shooting. This will enable her to fight long range and at the same time take advantage of her skill with a bow. Then he powers up her finger. She can’t hold it in and feels like it is going to explode. Before she knows it, she lets loose a powerful blast. Opal is interested in mastering this new power of hers. Nel sees Tejirof and is looking for him since Gear is requesting that guy for more training. How did she find him? She followed his voice. Tejirof realizes she may have a Killer power sleeping within. He uses a group of archers to fire at her and she amazingly dodges them all. He explains she has Online ability and is able to attune her senses to the surrounding area. She can be useful in combat but he won’t force her. Nel wants to fight alongside them.

Later Tejirof talks to Ramses if Gear knows the whole truth. Ramses knew Gear will be the one when she first laid eyes on him. She knows it is cruel but Segua can’t lose all of its generals. Even if Gear is the son of Alex. Tejirof quips as long as he gets paid, he doesn’t mind doing anything dirty. Because he’s a dirty guy to begin with. Gear wants to know how many Killers are there, at least the strong ones. Well, there is Marcus from Ninteldo and his second in command, Zelig. Others include a princess from Ninteldo’s allied nation, Slovia who specializes in Crystal, Kichou the samurai CEO of Havid Republic, Tofig the martial artist of Ganp Federation and Myouto of Elil Republic as the only hero known throughout the continent that Marcus won’t even dare touch. Of course the operation they’ll be participating will have strong Killers too. A big guy named D. Fisher and a pair of brothers Boys and Bays with the latter believed to be the strongest Killer in Tatoland. Tejirof wonders why Gear joined the military. Maybe it was because his dad was a soldier. He once saw him defeating a bunch of soldiers in a practice match and was awed. Perhaps that was the reason. So he joined to see if he could see him again but since nobody looked like him, he thought he already died. Well, he’ll get a reunion soon enough. Segua army prepare their invasion of the fortress as Tejirof runs through their plan to save Alex in the underground cell. As they advance, Nel senses a scout nearby. He is badly injured as he reports that Bays is waiting for them at the rear. He knows he will not survive and wants the Killers to absorb him. But Tejirof says it is impossible since he is weak. He is sad he is not strong enough and the most wishes for them to take revenge. Then he kicks the bucket.

Gear doesn’t know this absorption thingy so Opal explains Killers become strong because of this method of absorbing lives of others. However there is a limit of how many a Killer can absorb. The markings on Gear’s forehead indicate how many he can absorb: Two. Tejirof advises he should only absorb someone when it is more effective. Talk time is cut short when Bays comes looking for them. I guess he got bored. Gear wants to show his strength but realizes he can’t move forward. Tejirof praises his maturity that he is able to judge things. Had he entered the fight, he would have died since Bays is very much stronger. Since they have no time to loose, Tejirof will handle him. He unleashes a light barrier onto him. The barrier lasts for 20 minutes so they have to make every second count while Bays plays with himself for that duration. Inside the underground passage, Nel senses someone big. Like a fish. It must be D. Fisher. Who else? Tejirof needs somebody to distract him since his light barrier is not a power he can often use. Gear wants to be the decoy but Tejirof has other roles for him. He has Opal to be the decoy. D. Fisher jumps into fighting Opal since he is bored of waiting. This allows the trio to sneak in. Gear opens the door holding Alex captive. He is shocked to see it is his father. Wait a minute. This suddenly incurs to me. Doesn’t he know his own father’s name? Unless he goes by a different name or Alex is just a bloody common name.

Episode 3
Gear remembers the last time he saw his father was before the war. Alex sent him away and by the time he grows up the war will be over because Alex is confident he will end it. Opal’s fight with D. Fisher continues. Since her arrow won’t work on him (his skin is as hard as rock), she powers up her Shooting and fires at him. She is surprised that he blocks her shot and also has Shooting ability. He uses Force Field to block all her other Shooting shots and hammers right into Opal’s stomach. Opal hides while contemplating to beat this guy. She thinks if she can hit him many times simultaneously, it would work. She charges up all her power into her finger. Although it is painful, she tries to hold it in so as not to give herself away. It pays off when she fires her 7-way Shot to kill him. Back to Alex and Gear’s reunion, Alex is glad his son is alive because he has always thought he died during the attack. Tejirof hates to interrupt them but they have to move on with the plan. The plan to absorb him. Say what? It was decided by Ramses if Alex was too weak to fight, he would be absorbed instead of being saved. Gear protests but Alex views himself as pathetic. He can’t even move from this spot or he will die. Tejirof adds he absorbs Alex for Segua. He dies now, he leaves nothing. It his son’s job to prevent his meaningless death. Reluctantly, Gear goes up to Alex and prepares to absorb him. All he needs to do is to wish of doing that. The one being absorbed must also wish to do so and with a mere touch, it can be done. While absorbing, Alex tells him that long ago Segua had 2 main Killers always on the frontlines. One day they were both badly injured and the plan to survive was awful. One to absorb the other. Because they couldn’t decide who to absorb, the crazy game of rock-scissors-paper was used to decide. In the end, Alex absorbed his beloved wife. That’s why when he sent Gear away, he wanted to ensure his loved ones were never caught in the fight again. Alex apologizes for everything but Gear is glad to have reunited with him and been given the greatest power in the Segua army.

Opal is weakened from her victory. Boys enter the fray and begins raping her. Before he can get to the juicy part, Gear swiftly snatches Opal from his hands. Boys could tell Alex has been absorbed and proceeds to brag how he was the one who defeated Alex and tortured him to such state although he never spilled anything. Before he could say another word, Gear beats him up. He didn’t know what hit him. And since the mission is over, Gear can go all out and beat the crap out of everyone in the fortress this he takes over it. Tejirof goes back to see how Bays is doing. He is out of the barrier. Tejirof feels the need to prevent Bays from preventing Gear in achieving his goal despite wanting to avoid this fight. Because Gear is trying his best, he too feels the need to do so. Bays seeing his determination decides to surrender and have his men retreat. He asks about the light barrier which he used on him so Tejirof says he learnt all the techniques from the Puzzle Magic Academy and should drop by if he wants to. Alex reunites with his wife in the stars. They decide to leave Segua to their son since their time is over. As narrated, Segua achieved its first major victory after a long time. Despite losing Alex, they gained a new hero whom everyone nicknames as Blue Sonic. The fall of the fortress soon spreads to other nations. We see the various Killers either interested with this new and rising kid or just couldn’t care less about him. At least they take note. Of course back in Ninteldo, Zelig rejoins his other generals to prepare for another war. Tejirof talks to Gear. The latter doesn’t seem as depressed as he should. In fact, he is happier than anything. Fighting and winning for made someone he knew happy although he still doesn’t know a lot of things. Tejirof advises him that people won’t respect him because he is strong but because he chooses the difficult path even though he is weak. This has Gear remember what Til told him. He admired everything he had and could never be like him. But he doesn’t respect him. That’s why Gear will keep on running even if it is to the centre of the world.

“It’s A Man’s Job To Thrust Into Any Hole He Finds”
That’ it???!!! I can’t believe this! This series had so much potential and it had to end with just a meagre 3 episodes? Where is the ultimate fight between Sonic and Mario, oops I mean Gear and Marcus that I was expecting? Besides, they don’t even meet! Not even any of the Ninteldo sides. I thought at least hey, even if they don’t get to face off with the big boss, at least maybe the crazy second in command Zelig would have a part to play. But nooooo… All we see is the Ninteldo side bumming around and their presence for 3 episodes is somewhat redundant. It’s like as though they are showing them so that we don’t forget there is Ninteldo Empire that Segua Kingdom has to deal with. Sure, they’ll lock horns eventually. But not now here.

As usual, the hero protagonist who once secluded himself now comes out to the fore. He needs to lose something important and close to him if he is ever going to move forward and gain more power. Gear should be advancing along nicely as long as Tejirof is by his side guiding him. Speaking of which, that guy is the coolest character in the series. Besides his dirty jokes, he gives the best advices and does not panic or let his emotions sway. He is the perfect teacher for anybody who is willing to learn. I believe despite he is doing this job for the money, he is doing it from the bottom of his heart. You can say he has been paid handsomely and thus the need to do a proper job but that’s just an excuse on the outside. Notice he takes the initiative to do things that I feel his payment doesn’t cover? While Opal provides a good support for the team, I feel Nel didn’t have much impact in her presence. It feels like she is excess baggage tagging along since she possesses no fighting abilities and the use of her Online power feels like as though it is to remind us she is useful to the group.

You might call me bias since I am always a Sega and Sonic fan as compared to being a Nintendo or Mario enthusiast. That’s why I was cheering all the way for Gear and his gang to beat up his enemies. But I can’t say much for the action since they’re just pretty okay and not that they really unleash any flashy moves. Gear is so fast that you probably won’t be able to catch his special technique. Opal’s 7-way Shot feels like a continuous rapid firing of her usual Shooting and nothing that unique. In addition to the action, there are bits of fanservice too. Mostly from Opal. I don’t know. Most scenes that involve her feel ambiguous and sometimes show her like as though she is close to orgasm. Whether it is training or powering up. She makes it close to look like porn. Heh… Is that pain or pleasure she is feeling? Maybe she’s got a dirty mind herself… Of course, Tejirof’s dirty jokes that include his finger gesture will make you either roll your eyes or snicker in glee. Remember, don’t ever attempt to use them as pick up lines! You might get a very harsh slap (or slaps) across your face, a kick in your crotch and worse still, a sexual harassment lawsuit to follow.

I know that all, if not most of the characters are based on some console video game as mentioned. But because I am not an avid gamer even during my younger days, there are many that I have failed to identify. Of course Gear and Marcus as the main ones are identifiable. The only other character identifiable to me was Til and Zelig. That’s Tails, right? Sonic’s best friend and helper. That’s Link from The Legend Of Zelda, right? Only looking much crazier like a cold blooded killer. Isn’t one of Ninteldo’s generals, Guliji resembling Luigi? Must be. I have this feeling that I might have seen Tejirof somewhere but after I couldn’t pinpoint it and gave up guessing to do some research, I realized he is supposed to take after that once popular block game of Tetris. Now I know why his powers are ‘blocky’. Yeah, his earring that resembles that distinctive ‘L’ shape Tetris block should have given me a hint. And his dirty jokes of ‘putting it in’ feel somewhat close to the Tetris objective of filling the holes with the correct blocks to clear the lines, eh? Besides, as a mercenary in this anime, Tetris didn’t come from Sega or Nintendo, right? Which reminds me, when they mentioned the old empire of Atarika, I had a good laugh at how that the old video game console that I once played too, Atari has declined into oblivion. I glimpsed Wikipedia and noticed that there are other video game characters that do not appear in the anime (yet) like Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox and even Pokemon.

I remember Nintendo had a game called Super Smash Bros whereby the famous characters of Nintendo games are all under one cartridge in a melee battle like Street Fighter. I don’t recall one for Sega, though. Maybe it’s because that company stopped producing consoles since 2001 and went from hardware to software. Now with many other nations in Consume Continent, I thought of hoping to see Playstation and Xbox in the fray of the console game wars too but I suppose that will be a different story. It will be fun if they ever make this into a full-fledge TV series and I will definitely be looking forward to it. Right now, I would just have to satiate my dream of Sonic pounding Mario in my head. Heh. Sonic FTW!!!

Initially when I jumped into watching Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon (Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere), I was confident that I would somehow understand things along the way. Based on my past experience in watching animes that I have no idea what it is about at the beginning. I guess you could say that I was very wrong in that assumption of mine because after watching several episodes, I still did not understand what the heck is going on in every aspect. To me, watching each episode was like watching something random or watching a show in French without any subtitles (even if the Japanese audio didn’t have any subtitles, I would still be lost. But that’s not the point). Then I got tired of trying of being in the dark and decided to go read up a bit on Wikipedia, even if it spoils me to a certain degree. Guess what? I was still lost. That bad, huh?

The main gripe that I have about this anime which made me unable to understand the big picture is that there are too many characters and worse still, the countless terminologies and jargons. If you think the current generation of writing really short forms on the internet is bad, here the lingo sounded like a totally new language, despite Japanese being spoken. That was already enough to put me off and each time the dialogue adds a new term, my mind would be going “What the heck does that mean?”. Then there’s the dialogue. To further complicate things with the terms, the way they sounded seems real complicated. Maybe the subs I read were complicated. Is my English that bad? Furthermore, as I said there are lots of characters so much so I don’t think I remembered some of their names even when we’re halfway through the series. It’s even worse if the character doesn’t appear much. The best I could do is to remember the characters based on their most visible physical appearance. You know for example, that girl with very humongous boobs (don’t many of them have this?) or that big guy. Worst case scenario is that I may not even recognize if a certain character had appeared before or not.

Of course there is this Wikia site that explains a lot more in detail about everything about the series and thank goodness even though I did not grasp everything well, at least I had an idea of what is going on. I think. To sum up what I understand from this series, the basic setting in this futuristic future has mankind fallen from heaven. I’m taking that as mankind has managed to venture into space. However due to some unknown reason, they couldn’t but when they return to Earth, they find this planet uninhabitable except for Japan. Yeah. It’s Japan that gets involved again. So in order to find a way to go back to heaven, they began re-enacting history according to the Holy Book called Testament. Oh sure. That seems pretty foolproof. Why not just let history repeat itself so we can somehow get back up to the stars. Couldn’t they just emulate the final years in how they got up to space instead of the entire history? How many thousands of years will they have to re-enact? Great idea whoever came up with this crap. So of course with all the other nations invading and conquering Japan, dividing the land into feudal territories, Japanese natives are now reduced into living in a giant floating ship called Musashi. Then there’s the case of rumours of Apocalypse coming because Testament suddenly stops revealing what happens next after a couple of hundred years later. Just great. So why not walk and find your own path instead of relying on some record?

So the basic story is about a group of students led by a goofy leader using this opportunity to regain their homeland and to also save the girl he loves held captive in the hands of the enemy. At least he is not afraid to change history. Due to the complexity of this series (read: I can’t really follow each episode without having headache problems), I prefer to keep my blog pretty brief. You can find a very detailed episode summary at Wikia, which I often refer to after watching every episode. But that would be long winded as I would prefer to read the Q&A style of the episode summary from Infodump. I love the way it simply answers us in a simplistic way for us layman and dumb people to at least understand what is going on. Sometimes it is sarcastic too. It also has a glossary to define the many terms used. Your one stop info for anything you need to know related to this series. Thanks for the much needed help. Now, let me try to understand what is going on again…

Episode 1
The students of 3-Plum from Musashi Ariadust Academy are lining up before Makiko Oriotorai has her class chase her throughout the streets as part of PE lessons. All they need to do is to land a hit on her before she arrives at some mafia office at the other end (I guess it’s for some revenge thingy for kicking her out of her home). Those who succeed will get 5 free absences. So we got all the freaky freaks from class 3-Plum racing down the ship using whatever tricks, magic or technology to bring her down. Unfortunately, nobody came close in touching her and they’re all pooped once they reach the end. Then Oriotorai shows her chops by defeating the Archdevil mafia who is much bigger and stronger than her by landing a direct blow to his head. Then here comes their goofy leader, Toori Aoi who is also Ariadust’s student council president and Musashi’s Chancellor. Apparently he skipped class just to get his hands on some tear-jerking erotic game. He shocks everybody by landing his hands on Oriotorai’s boobs. So technically he wins the challenge because he touched her. Toori announces that he is going to ask the girl he loves out tomorrow. Which girl? Horizon Ariadust, the girl who died 10 years ago on the road he hates so much, Remorse Way. How is he going to propose to a dead girl? He doesn’t care if this means picking a fight with the rest of the world because he is done with running away. And since Toori continues to be his usual silly way, Oriotorai beats him up.

Episode 2
Vice president Masazumi Honda drops into Blue Thunder since she is hungry and learns about the amnesic automated doll named P-01S and also to look into Remorse Way if she wants to get closer to everyone. Oriotorai’s class explains the history of this Testament thingy (not that I care to understand in the end – I just couldn’t). Toori continues being the idiot when he strips naked in class as punishment! He has no qualms doing it… Masazumi who is cleaning her mother’s grave speaks to P-01S about the former’s family history. Her father failed to inherit some name so that had her undergo sex change to a boy. However halfway through the Matsudaira family suddenly dismissed their vassals and entrusted everything to automated dolls. Masazumi not only lost her boobs but became a lost noble. The lord of Mikawa, Motonobu Matsudaira announces he will be putting up an exciting fireworks display later. Toori’s friends are giving him advice on how to convey his feelings. How did it get so perverted in groping boobs? I don’t know how they convinced Neito Mitotsudaira to lend her boobs for Toori to try out. He got beaten up anyway. Masazumi talks to Tadatsugu Sakai, the president of Ariadust Academy about the 8 Divine Armaments taken from the 7 Deadly Sins concept. They control the world’s power balance and one is enough to flatten a city.

Episode 3
Tadatsugu meets Yasumasa Sakakibara, Tadakatsu Honda and his daughter Futayo. Tadatsugu and Futayo briefly fought before he ends it by groping her butt. Toori’s friends prepare for the party he suggested for tomorrow tonight while Toori tries to overcome his fear of walking through Remorse Way. Masazumi stumbles onto Remorse Way and happens to encounter her father passing by in a carriage. Toori also happened to be running by. He looks terrible. I guess the trauma is still there. Masazumi learns there is a grave nearby. A girl died in an accident 10 years ago around here. Ariadust’s name came to be when Motonobu became head of Mikawa 30 years ago. He took the first syllable and flipped the Matsudaira name backwards, it became Ariadust to show his allegiance to the Testament Union. When they recognized his loyalty, he changed it back but some kept that name. Some of them being his wife and her child Horizon. She died in an accident involving Motonobu’s carriage when he was heading for a function. Tomorrow will be the tenth anniversary. Remorse Way is a play on Toori’s name. Despite Toori and Horizon got injured in that incident, only Toori came back alive. The party begins at the academy and it seems like a ghost hunt!

Episode 4
Tadatsugu has a meal and little chat with the rest. That night, several automated dolls begin to make their move by taking out several guards from Tres Espana. Tadatsugu goes to Sakakibara’s manor but didn’t see him anywhere. He has a bad feeling about this and sees a paper containing secret words about a secret operation. He makes haste but comes into Tadakatsu. The ground starts shaking and it seems the platonic plate reactor has been activated. Tadakatsu reveals that with Motonobu, they are going to start a meltdown. They talk about loyalty but he has no time to play with Tadatsugu since he is going to intercept the Testament Union bastards. The reactor is starting to get destructive so Tres Espana sends several of its God of Wars and army to attack. Tadakatsu’s automated doll wife, Kazuno fights the army. Futayo discusses with her ship’s troops about the rebellion her father is involved. She decides to stay neutral for Musashi’s sake even if it means betraying what is in her heart. Because if the meltdown was intentional, the Testament Union may revoke its position and lay claim to Musashi.

Episode 5
Tadakatsu assists Kazuno but soon meet their match with Tres Espana’s Muneshige Tachibana. He wields one of the Deadly Sins Armaments, Lype Katarripsi. Both of them fight it out as Motonobu makes his announcement. The reactor has been activated and they’ve got only 5 minutes left to stop them before the complete meltdown. From what I understand, he is doing this because for the sake of entertainment for Armageddon. Everyone will enter a new apocalyptic world with no future. There is only one way of preventing this: Those who possess the Deadly Sins Armaments. But doesn’t that look like a ploy to gather the possessors and to fight each other? Motonobu that despite the 8 temptations, there is actually a ninth. All sins are born from jealousy. All of the Deadly Sins Armaments came from the emotion of a single girl: Horizon. A decade ago he ran over her and turned her into that. She has also been turned into an automated doll known as P-01S. Her soul is the Deadly Sins Armament called Oros Phthonos. The world would fall into chaos and the Far East could fall under totalitarian rule. But wouldn’t it be great to see a world not mentioned in the Testament? Muneshige needs to stop this madness but has to deal with Tadakatsu and his Tonbokiri weapon (Slicing Dragonfly). Muneshige has speed on his side and though he manages to overcome Tonbokiri and set his Lype Katarripsi towards the reactor (Muneshige has passed out after purposely letting himself get stabbed by Tonbokiri), Tadakatsu has his final moments with Kazuno and deflects the blast away from it. Muneshige’s wife, Gin arrives to retrieve him and wants to avoid a fight at all cost. Believing they will eventually have a rematch, Tadakatsu tosses his Tonbokiri to her and hopes she could pass it to Futayo if they desire a rematch. KPA Italia army drops in, beats up and restrains Toori and co to arrest P-01S and declares the area under their jurisdiction under some Testament decree. P-01S willingly goes with them since she can’t save herself. Masazumi knocks out Toori to keep his mouth shut. The reactor blows up and only Motonobu, Tadakatsu perish in the meltdown. The Testament Union acknowledges P-01S alias Horizon as the official ruler of Mikawa, thus sentencing her to commit suicide over the charge of the loss of Mikawa incident.

Episode 6
The Pope of KPA Italia, Innocentius and his vice, Galileo visit Tadatsugu. Innocentius vows to take back what KPA Italia had lost even if it means costing a life. Class 3-Plum discuss their next action whether to save Horizon or not. Shirojiro Bertoni wasn’t really interested till this money minded merchant was persuaded to believe there would be a business opportunity to make money from it. He argues about the consequences if they defy the Testament Union due to cut off of supplies. But to gain supplies while defying the Union, they must force Masazumi to side them. And to do that, they need to do something about Toori who has been moping ever since. Oriotorai wants her class to write an essay on what they would do but has them watch a video of Muneshige handing back Tonbokiri to Futayo. Oriotorai wants Suzu Mukai to read her essay but since she is blind, she has Tomo Asama to read it. It narrates how she first met Toori and he helped gave her self confidence and became friends. She loves Toori and Horizon. She loves it more when they’re together. She pleads to Toori to save Horizon. Toori then revives (like as though his sulking was fake) and assures that is what he intend to do. Then he gropes her boobs! Don’t kill the mood! And what seemingly was his ‘moping’ was him actually reading porn magazines to recharge his manliness gauge. Oriotorai beats him up so hard that he crashes into next door’s class. Back to business, Shirojiro thinks of holding a special student council meeting. The only time they can hold one held by normal students is to pass a motion of no confidence. Whether Masazumi turns up or not (the latter would mean she would be dismissed of her position), they can discuss and decide what to do.

Episode 7
Masazumi attends the special meeting. She along with Neito and Naomasa are against the idea of saving Horizon. Masazumi’s side will represent the Testament Union while Ariadust will represent Musashi. Each side gets 3 representatives and whoever wins 2 rounds will be the overall winner of this negotiation. The first round puts Naomasa and her God of War Jizuri Suzaku against Shirojiro (Toori commands the merchant to do it because he hates him!). So as they battle it out, from what I understand from Shirojiro’s money talk is that the more money he offers to the Gods, the more divine power he will get! Woah! Don’t tell me Gods are easily bribed with money too?! And that my man, is the reason why Shirojiro emerges victorious in the end. Yeah, it’s all about money talk. See the power of money? Next up is Neito and because she is a knight who will protect her people and land, the rest are having an emergency discussion who to send against her. Well, they got Suzu to do it. However Suzu is about to win this match when the rest realize something. From what I understand, if Neito loses to a commoner, she will also lose her knight status and thus their ability to be armed. This means they lose their combat effectiveness and Musashi will lose its knights. They tell Suzu to stop her and she accidentally trips, causing Neito to save her and win the match. With the match tied and Naomasa and Neito joining Ariadust’s side, the final match pits Masazumi against Toori. Oh boy. Idiotic Toori wants to go first in the debate. After all that build up, he drops the biggest bombshell shocking everyone who is watching: Why don’t they just give up on saving Horizon? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT???!!!

Episode 8
Due to some loophole, Toori took advantage of it that’s why he wanted to go first. So now that Toori is against saving Horizon, this forces Masazumi to take the side of saving her and she argues several reasons why they should. However she has brought a cheat sheet to state her answer to save Horizon but this would end her aspiration to be a politician and turn Testament Union against them. Toori rips the paper because he wants her to state her own answer. Then some black algae that look pretty much like Clannad’s dango kazoku convince her to decide. She argues Horizon is not related to Motonobu and cannot be related to the destruction of Mikawa. She views this suicide as an abuse to recreate history. So who is to take the blame? No one. Mikawa is living off Musashi’s infrastructure so they can be attached to it to keep running. Innocentius interrupts the debate and enters one with Masazumi. However he applies a dirty tactic of denying and dismissing her arguments so that she will run out of arguments and concede defeat. Then using some parallel strategy that Testament Union doesn’t want to fight them and will turn a blind eye if she concedes defeat and about Masazumi’s failed sex change and thus hiding something to seize power. Idiotic Toori pulls down her pants just to check this out!!! Toori interjects he couldn’t understand a damn thing Innocentius said (so do I) and he understood was to kill Horizon. Masazumi was able to give him answers and will thus support answer. She justifies rescuing Horizon because the Deadly Sins Armaments originally belong to her. Plus, they will gather them to avoid Apocalypse. So she decrees that she wants his help to collect the Armaments to save the world. Otherwise they will mobilize with what they have to fight against him. Since they can’t see eye to eye now, Innocentius sends Galileo to get her. Noriki and Kiyonari Ulquiaga AKA Ukki jump into her defence but got their ass whipped since Galileo has got a Deadly Sin Armament, Staseis Porneia. Galileo is about to get Masazumi. Toori protects her. But the real protection comes in the form of Futayo who fends off Galileo.

Episode 9
With the king of Musashi, Yoshinao stepping in, Innocentius is forced to pull back and withdraw Galileo since he intruded on the students’ debate. A win, a lost and a draw for each side, they need a tiebreaker. Somebody needs to go up against Futayo and Toori’s sister, Kimi takes this one. Toori wants Yoshinao to make him king if Kimi wins. The match pits Futayo’s Tonbokiri and speed against Kimi’s erotic dance powers. From what I understand, her dance power only allows people she accepts to touch her so Futayo’s attacks cannot hit her. Flashback reveals that after Horizon’s death, Toori became lifeless. To a point that Kimi couldn’t stand it and gets rough with him to make him remember his emotions. She was successful and hopes he could laugh or get angry as he wants and help those who can’t do that or retrieve what they have lost. Futayo thought she had Kimi in Tonbokiri’s grasp but its ultimate technique didn’t work due to some mumbo-jumbo about Kimi had a host of different names which renders Tonbokiri’s cutting ability futile. Then Kimi slaps her coupled in with lots of lecture about Futayo’s mistake on crossing her and her duty to serve her lord as a samurai, thus she should be trying to save Horizon. Immediately Futayo admits defeat and bows to her. With Ariadust victorious, Yoshinao hands his authority to the student council but wants to keep his kingship even if Horizon returns. But he shall appoint 2 viceroys as assistants: Horizon and Toori. He also splits their power with a special privilege each. If Innocentius doesn’t agree, he can bring it up at the next Testament Union Conference of Representatives if he deems their actions as harmful. Innocentius notes something like this wasn’t mentioned in Testament. Masazumi says it does under the Peace of Westphalia. But this means it will be war till the conference. Masazumi declares their job is to retrieve the Deadly Sins Armaments to return them to its rightful owner. Innocentius still feels this is dangerous and will proceed with plans to extract the armour from Horizon after her suicide. Toori accuses him of wanting to do dirty things to the girl he wants to confess when Oriotorai declares Ariadust side as victorious and thus they will go save Horizon. Toori thanks his friends and will take it from alone here. They taught him they had a chance to rescue Horizon. But everyone follows Toori on his quest. He makes Toussaint Neshinbara to come up with a strategy and wants Futayo to enrol in their school as temporary vice chancellor. Tadatsugu hands Toori a letter of recommendation and wants everyone including Horizon to come back. Toori remembers his dream of becoming king of a country so that Horizon could live out her dreams.

Episode 10
Horizon is imprisoned and she can’t touch the walls because it will kill her. It will replay your biggest regret and if you can’t deny it, you die. No one can deny their sin, right? The mission to rescue Horizon begins with Toori, Noriki, Tenzo Crossunite, Persona, Adele Balfette (in a heavy old fashioned God of War) and a group of Ariadust students leading the main breakthrough ground force. Tres Espana and KPA Italia join forces to keep them at bay with their strategic formation. They do not need to win this war. Only just to keep them from rescuing Horizon. Because of Adele’s God of War is not easily damaged, Persona uses her as a shield to guide as safe passage through. It must hurt like hell, eh? Tres Espana’s battleships begin firing at Musashi. Asama uses her shrine maiden power to sink a ship. A God of War is launched so this is where the witches Margot Naito and Malga Naruze come into play. The God of War seems to have the upper hand and the witches look like they have exhausted their magic to defend the skies. But they receive a morale booster from an ex-Tres Espana admiral so they revive and activate some strong magic spell to blast the God of War out of the sky. The ground troops separate Toori’s group to weaken their defence. Yeah well, Toori is like having so much fun and at the same time being a coward hiding up a tree. Neshinbara gives the cue for Naomasa and Neito to launch into action with Jizuri Suzaku.

Episode 11
Neito and Naomasa make their impact in wiping out the ground forces to meet up with Toori. The guys are moments away from Horizon’s imprisonment when Innocentius uses his Staseis Porneia to nullify all enemy weapons within a 3km radius. That also means the rescuers’ punches and kicks have no oomph. The guys are losing morale fast but they are adamant to save Horizon. Since this is the case, Toori wants Asama to sanction his contract. From what I understand, Toori is transferring his powers to his mates. Despite being useless, that is only in the sense of combat effectiveness. As his is viceroy, he has a certain unlimited power from Musashi in which he can send to his allies anytime. But to continue this, he must maintain his happiness. If he becomes sad, he will die. He needs someone to take care of Innocentius’ Armament so Masazumi offers to do it. She challenges him to a one on one duel and he has to accept since he is a representative of Testament Union. Masazumi wants to move to a better place to fight but Innocentius won’t budge and wants her to come. Alright. She’s taking her slow sweet time! One foot at a time! This pisses Innocentius off so he rushes to where she is. This means his Armament loses its activation. Galileo steps up and has a rematch against Noriki. From the punches Noriki pulls, it may seem ineffective but this leads to a charging up that allows him to nullify whatever powers Galileo had on the third punch. When Innocentius arrive, Masazumi admits defeat as part of a distraction. She even has to listen to Innocentius’ lectures and his morale boosting speech to his troops. Futayo prepares to battle Muneshige. He has learnt his lesson fighting against Tadakatsu so Tonbokiri isn’t effective on him. Futayo is knocked out and Muneshige uses his Armament to ready to fire at a Musashi ship. Even if they rescue Horizon, they can’t leave the port. He wants the people on board Musashi to evacuate.

Episode 12
Futayo gets up after some flashback training with her dad. The rematch begins and this time Futayo emerges victorious. Because Muneshige spared her life earlier, she shall do the same. He admits her victory and passes out. Now that Muneshige has fallen, Tres Espana pulls out. A barrier separates Toori from Horizon. He’s still an idiot. She tells him to scram. He wants to rescue her and will become king of the world to do so. She thinks she would rather die for the benefit of the world. Toori starts ranting the craziest and longest line that includes all religion, professions, positions, subjects, countries, races, gender, dead or alive, etc. Wow. I think he was pretty flawless in naming every one of them without leaving out a category. And thus begins one of the most confusing debates that I will never understand. What the heck is this parallel argument thingy? First they started off that they are inversely parallel before Toori twists it to some way to make them parallel. After all that reading, my tiny little brain understands that because she is both P-01S and Horizon, an automated doll and the human girl, they have opposing views, thus P-01S’ decision making supersedes Horizon’s. So one Toori manages to make Horizon hold parallel views with her (for the sake of the world thingy), now he must give a better decision from a perspective that is different from what Horizon perceives to be the best. Geddit? So once Horizon says she wants to be saved instead of committing suicide, now they are parallel, where could they possibly intersect? Where all parallel lines meet: Above the horizon. Innocentius wants to interfere but Futayo comes in between. He wants a showdown with Toori but the idiot accidentally touches the barrier. Whoops! So now they’re in some flashback space. You deny your sin, you die. That day when Horizon died, she made breakfast but Toori thought it was horrible. She ran off in tears only to meet that tragic fate. He blamed himself for letting her die and thought she hated him. She denies this. She ran away because she didn’t want him to see her crying. So to deny the sin and meet above the horizon, Toori says it is dangerous over there and will head there to save her but wants her to come here too. Horizon accepts this, he is able to deny his regret and they break free from the barrier, returning in one piece.

Episode 13
Horizon accepts the letter of recommendation to enrol in Ariadust Academy. With this, they can resolve all conflicts at the Peace of Westphalia. Musashi grabs all its forces to retreat but Innocentius won’t let them leave yet because her acceptance only takes effect until they’re on Musashi. Some of the KPA Italia warships start chasing after Musashi, some ramming into them. Horizon and Toori activate Lype Katarripsi (I guess they got it after Muneshige’s defeat) but I suppose they could’ve used it more effectively if Toori would stop groping Horizon’s butt! More accurately, Horizon has no emotions so she doesn’t know how to use her soul to activate it. She is made to remember Motonobu and Toori’s suffering. A barrage of emotions overcomes her. Toori assures he will always be by her side. When she starts singing, Lype Katarripsi fires a powerful blast to destroy all the KPA Italia warships. Horizon can’t understand the pain of these emotions. Toori wants her to cry all she wants so there will be nothing but fun left once she gets everything back. Oriotorai and Tadatsugu chat when the ship of PDA Oda passes over them with the Six Demon Army watching over. They figure it’s their way of greeting over them and to prove they could see through their stealth. Then they see blood writing on the ground that says “Please kill me all”. Elsewhere Masazumi talks to Neito about her plans to head to England to form connections while Musashi undergoes repairs. They stumble upon the gang partying but Horizon and Toori sleeping comfortably, leaning on each other inside Blue Thunder. Next morning, Horizon makes breakfast for Toori but we can see how much she still sucks… At least she didn’t run away. Back over at Tres Espana, their supreme council and student council revoke Muneshige’s First Special Agent title due to his loss. Gin wants to enter the battlefront to prove she is strong to defeat Ariadust. Tres Espana detects Musashi in the sky and immediately sends its team for a full assault while our Musashi heroes get into the groove to defend and fend off the attackers. As usual, Toori is absolutely blur on what’s happening. And naked too…

Episode 14
So we’ve got a baseball team from Tres Espana hitting the shots. Naomasa and her Jizuri Suzaku up against Fusae Era and her Byakko the Pathfinder. Naomasa’s fight was just to buy time for Masazumi to make a truce since both sides gain nothing from this assault. But Gin drops down into the fray and vows to reclaim what she has lost. Futayo becomes her opponent. On a side note, there is this comical conversation whereby Malga talked to the Crown Prince of the Divine States, Azuma (he was introduced in the earlier episodes by making his entry living in a dorm room alongside a wheelchair ridden girl, Miriam Poqou). Azuma didn’t understand what sex is so Malga had a tough time trying to explain it to him. She puts it as something you do after having a fight, kiss and make up over a night. I think he got the wrong idea. So when he goes back to Miriam and propose to have sex (even rushing her into it), he got kicked out! Tres Espana’s student council president, Juana activates her Deadly Sins Armament, Akidia Katarripsi that is believed to bind the enemy who finds a part of themselves they are disgusted with or didn’t like. She is about to fire something when she accidentally touches Toori’s crotch!!!! How the hell did he get up there?! She got so freaked out that she beat him up and away. He landed into the arms of Tenzo who just stole Tres Espana’s secret data. Too bad that got ripped when Toori landed. Horizon fires Lype Katarripsi at Tres Espana. Gin and Byakko did a last ditch attempt to block the shot and though they sustained damage, the distraction allowed Musashi to escape in hyper drive. Musashi enters the territory of England and because they did not stop as ordered, England launches its assault (England does not affiliate itself with Testament Union or the conflict it has with Musashi). So Oxford Academy’s student council lead the attack and all Musashi needs to do is to prevent them from doing so in 3 minutes. Four Oxford’s 10 Trumps include Robert Dudley (a hagged woman with a man’s name?), William Cecil (Humpty Dumpty is a girl?), Ben Johnson (no, the poet and author from the Renaissance era and not the Canadian sprinter of the same name despite the one portrayed here is a black and is also an athlete) and Thomas Shakespeare (you know that famous playwright?). They fight against Malga, Asama, Noriki, Ukki, Persona (holding up Adele in her God of War as usual) and subsequently Neshinbara. Hmm… Author versus author. Are they going to use words to fight it out?

Episode 15
I’m not sure about Shakespeare using Macbeth to try and pull Neshinbara down. But it seems she hints to him that he was the 13th member of Mutsugorei Academy and part of a group of children rebelled and destroyed a secret facility under Tres Espana. She felt hurt over that incident. She also possesses a Deadly Sin Armament, Aspida Phylargia. The Oxford quartet pull back seeing they have run out of time. Musashi starts encircling England at high speed when a hidden enemy fires at them. Masazumi wants Futayo to cut the ropes tying down the cargo ship (because the rope is also hanging round a certain idiot’s neck). The cargo ship is about to crash on a group of children. A hooded guy named Scarred can’t make it to save them and plans to alter the path of the ship. Tenzo stops him and also shields him from the crash’s impact. The children are saved by Neito and Futayo. England has blocked all communications and Musashi have to keep circling since they have no permission to dock. I guess this means Toori can’t see Horizon since she has fallen into a comatose state on that ship. The 10 Trumps meet Elizabeth, the queen of England and Oxford’s chancellor about Musashi. She thinks of using this to their advantage against Tres Espana. Futayo, Neito, Masazumi and Tenzo take turns guarding Horizon inside the crashed ship. Neshinbara and Malga talk. Because he lost the fight, he got cursed and it won’t disappear till the play is over. That’s why he is staying as far as possible away from Toori for fear he might kill him. Felipe Segundo, the chancellor of Tres Espana academy goes to see Juana but she is sleeping. He tries to clean up the letters in her possession but she keeps them in unusual places! Between her legs? So can you blame Gin for misunderstanding this perverted situation when she sees this? Oh, there’s one important one stuck in her cleavage. It’s really stuck! I’m sure Gin has something to say about this too, right? Later he reads that letter about a kid who was once saved by him. The kid wonders if Felipe will come to rescue if war ever breaks out again. Of course he would. Next morning, Toori is hyped to go get his Horizon. Why not? Last night he’s been making a ruckus and a loud announcement enough to wake up those English people from their slumber!

Episode 16
Toori goes to greet his beloved but was punched in the crotch! She goes back to sleep to refine some essentials. Tenzo is tasked to help Scarred relocate the graveyard (it was affected during the crash). Because he could easily pull out the swords from the grave easily, Scarred thinks he can draw Excalibur Caliburn. Tenzo denies since Queen Mary couldn’t even draw it. Scarred says she was a failure as a woman, be it Mary Stuart or Mary Tudor. Thus she wasn’t’ fit to be king. Currently she is locked away in London Tower. Tenzo’s comforting words why she is holing up so that others won’t suffer touches Scarred’s heart. Scarred trips and the cloak comes off to reveal a busty blonde babe! Ben Johnson comes onboard Musashi with fellow Trump, Charles Howard the treasurer. He quickly prostrates himself before them to save England. It’s negotiation time. And when it involves money faced Shirojiro, it’s going to be bloody confusing as both sides try to get the best deal and compromise. This is what I understand. England is going to war with the Spanish armada in 2 weeks. They need to buy one month’s worth of meat. Musashi have meat but will expire in 2 weeks. If that’s the case, Howard wants to buy at dirt cheap price. Shirojiro knows they have processes to preserve meat to last longer and wants to sell at full price. So to double to consumption rate, it is agreed both sides will hold a joint cultural festival. Now, the negotiation is about how many days to hold them because the more days shortened, the more discount. Howard is adamant they want 3 days but to break even, Shirojiro needs 11 days. After more negotiation, Howard goes up to only 8 days. That is when Shirojiro does his perfect Triple Axel Dogeza including a confectionery gift to make Howard reconsider his decision and not lose face. He also throws in Suzu, Adele and Futayo to England as Musashi official ambassadors. This political move not only opens diplomatic relations, it also allows England to hold them as political hostages because they are Musashi’s best defence and offence.  In the end, it is settled it will be held for 13 days (7 days festival, 1 day rest and 5 days preparation) at minimum discount. The deal is sealed, the contract signed and may both sides have lucrative business and good sales.

Episode 17
The Musashi gang celebrate before the preparations get underway. Shirojiro must be toasting to his fat wallet… Horizon feeds Neito, Scarred’s crow familiar, Milton makes his escape when he learns Asama is around (I think it was odd the bird ate chicken meat…). On the topic of Nikyou Crest, Scarred only mentions they tend to appear when someone is spirited away and becomes a Lost One. Toori suggests Scarred and Tenzo to go bath together. Azuma still can’t comprehend the meaning of sex so Malga pushes it to Masazumi to explain. Futayo also wants to know. Horizon too wants to know! “It’s a proper way to mutually deepen your bonds with another”. Boring answer… Horizon starts crying when she and Toori talks about retrieving other Deadly Sins Armaments because she doesn’t want others to fight. She feels it’s an excuse and perhaps Toori doesn’t need her. Because Toori kept staring at her boobs and pesters her to go on a date, she punches him. He wants to test if she has interest in emotions. She thinks he is suggesting to start a world war to get her emotions back. He claims world domination is his job and since they’re parallel, she should come up with something else. Adele reports that Lype Katarripsi has gone missing. Tenzo discovers Scarred has lots of scars on her body. She realizes Tenzo’s action in stopping her because had she used her magic, it would have bounced off the cargo ship and hit the children. To help heal his wounds, she licks them! Masazumi needs a mouse (their term for some familiar). Because she is poor and needs functions, Asama got her a divine blessing and her random mouse turns out to be an anteater. The joint cultural festival begins. Toori and Horizon patron the festival grounds as Tres Espana’s ship hovers over England. Scarred shows Tenzo the Tower of London’s chapel. A woman appears from the windows and she is Mary Stuart who will be executed for a failed attempt on Queen Elizabeth’s life. Because she is Catholic (most English are Protestants), her execution is what will trigger Anglo-Spanish war, which is at the festival’s end. Despite calling it an execution, they won’t really take her life. Shakespeare sits next to Neshinbara in a convention hall and activates the stage for Musashi and England’s Oxford Trumps to fight since he is cursed with her Macbeth.

Episode 18
From what I understand, the fights will enable England to challenge Toori and they only need to win against Musashi in any one of their hidden fights. If they fail, they can pass it off as entertainment.

Ukki versus Nicholas Bacon: Nicholas tries to smash Ukki with his hammer. He reveals he is the keeper of England’s seal so he is some sort of fairy. Noriki notices lolicon Ginji Ohiroshiki getting caught up in the match and punches him to his senses. This snaps Nicholas’ spell and break the barrier free. Nicolas calls it a wrap.

Neito versus F. Walsingham: Because Walsingham’s body is an automated doll, her joints aren’t really joined and she can move freely. Plus, Neito is backed to her corner when she is attacked by her relentless shower of metal blades.

Shirojiro versus Howard: As Howard lacks any fighting abilities, his only way to stall for time is to have Shirojiro confirm each paper content with his stamp and seal. There’s a heap of them he must go through thoroughly.

Margot versus John Hawkins and Thomas Cavendish: In some underwater sphere match, Margot utilizes the small air jet left behind by Hawkins to chant her spells and sends an obelisk tumbling onto him and free herself from this barrier.

Malga versus Francis Drake: Big bad wolf wants to eat fallen angel? He ate his wife anyway. Also, Drake wants to find out more about Neito because her mom is some half werewolf thingy. Whatever. Due to Drake’s Armament, Brachium Justitia, whatever England calls it justice, Malga can never land a clean hit. The justice also memorizes the intentions of whoever means it harm. Malga uses a spell that puts heavy strain on his body to send him bleeding all over. But it’s not enough to knock him out. Just before he delivers the final blow, Gin joins the fray. She insists Tres Espana is the one with rights to wage war against Musashi. But Malga doesn’t want to be ruled out yet.

Futayo versus Walter Raleigh: Swordsman versus Swordsman. Walter is a man of few words. In fact, I don’t think I hear him speak. But the fight ends after Walter fends off Futayo’s attack and after receiving a message from Masamitsu Yokomichi. But Futayo is left to deal with the England guards.

Masazumi versus Christopher Hatton: Skeleton dude’s favourite word is “Death!” and is probably using whatever questions he had for her just to execute her. He pins her down with his fake body as a horde of skeleton armies are charging to pierce her. “Have a nice death!”.

Adele and Suzu versus England guards: I guess the guards must be perverts. They hear the girls undressing and when they realize something amiss, they rush in only to realize they have sought shelter in Adele’s robot. At least it is big enough for them to hang out till this blows over. So the guards eavesdrop some more and hear really ambiguous stuffs they are doing. Are they having fun by themselves in that enclosure? Loud music and heavy breathing? Let your imaginations run wild!

Horizon though senses some of their comrades in danger, Toori is confident they’re okay. It’s because they haven’t contacted them. It means they can deal the problem themselves. So let’s just enjoy the date. Scarred and Tenzo tour the festival grounds but he notices the lack of liveliness around. She then takes him somewhere as the festival is probably the last chance she gets to show it to him.

Episode 19
Scarred takes Tenzo into the Tower of London and explains England’s re-enactment of history. Something about Queen Catherine is supposed to give birth to Bloody Mary in the history book but the one in this world couldn’t give birth and Bloody Mary was ‘hidden by fairies’. Henry VIII was spirited away as a Lost Noble and thus left behind a crest that says “Long time my friend”. I guess Tenzo seems to be trying hard to control his lust looking at Scarred’s butt! Shakespeare is trying to play some guilty mind games with Neshinbara. She recounts all the achievement he got but failed to release a proper book. Flashback reveals Neshinbara, Shakespeare and another girl made a promise to become writers. That girl died so Shakespeare wants to know if he can tell which one of them is her. Masazumi gets out of her sticky situation by slipping out of her jacket. She is saved by Asama but her mouse is injured in which Asama heals it. Neito is having a tough time with Walsingham. After getting pierced with those knives hidden in lemons, she did some chain bondage thingy to tie her them together and sink to the bottom of the lake to draw the match. Gin cuts off both of Drake’s arms and both their aides stop them seeing their fight is futile now that Malga is gone (rescued by Kimi). Toori and Horizon continue their date-cum-talk. She is still baffled about his goal to obtain the Deadly Sins Armaments as it only gives her negative emotions. If it gives her sadness, she doesn’t want it. After letting her eat some apples, he points out she is not sad now and that is a happy thing. It proves she has positive emotions to fight off the negative ones. So gathering the Armaments will save even more people. He is going to war even if she ends up hating her because it’ll be right back at the starting line. He’ll keep thinking how much fun he had and move on. Horizon wants to go save the rest but Asama, Masazumi and Kimi carrying unconscious Malga pop up. Neshinbara wonders if she’ll forgive him for guessing the right one. No. It would make her happy. Shakespeare packs up and leaves. It’s become clear Suzu and Adele were playing some music rhythm game. Eavesdropping outside that Dudley is going to pry them open, Adele activates the robot and blasts away. Futayo spots the robot and follows it. But the robot crashes into the execution centre and a pillar threatens to fall on several kids. Tenzo swiftly saves them. Scarred hugs him knowing he is safe but Tenzo realizes this is not the same Scarred he knew. She is Elizabeth as the real Scarred pops up behind him. Twins? They look the same. Very much alike. Elizabeth points out Scarred as her sister, the Double Bloody Mary fated to be executed.

Episode 20
Scarred leaves with Elizabeth and her Trumps for her execution for the sake of history’s re-enactment. Adele tells Tenzo that the execution is for real and is something similar to what Horizon went through in Mikawa. Tenzo tries to stop them but was knocked out by Walter. What follows next later is some political negotiation between Elizabeth and Masazumi. If you’re hoping that the mysterious babe from Musashi is a new character, be prepared to be disappointed because it is Toori cross-dressing! First nakedness, now this?! England guys so disappointed… As Masazumi and Elizabeth’s debate have too many words and jargons in it that it confuses the hell out of me. From what I understand (this is inclusive of Q&A summary read from Infodump)…

Masazumi: We need to prevent Apocalypse via collecting Deadly Sins Armament and thus we need for England’s permission to leave port.
Elizabeth: Disagreed because based on history re-enactment, you should get it back during Peace of Westphalia conference and stay under ‘England’s protection’.
Masazumi: We can’t expect to wait for the Armaments to be given back to them as we need to get it back themselves and also to restore our independence.
Elizabeth: That will mess up the balance of the world power.
Masazumi: Then let’s form an alliance.
Elizabeth: No-go because all other countries will have to leave the Divine States and live in uninhabitable wastelands. Resist and we’ll destroy you right where you stand.
Masazumi: Then we’ll ally with someone else.
Elizabeth: Try it and we’ll destroy you with all our resources at hand.
Masazumi: You can’t do that. We know you can’t because of the impending battle with Tres Espana, your forces are spread out thin and since some are on their way towards Tres Espana, they won’t make it back in time if they u-turn now. Even if you do defeat Musashi, you must still reserve enough forces against Tres Espana. As for calling the Dutch ally to do the dirty work for them, it means relinquishing their military power. For the sake of history re-enactment to execute Bloody Mary, Excalibur Caliburn is to be used and to use it on Musashi means it would not serve its purpose for the re-enactment. So the only choice left for both sides to benefit is to be allies.
Elizabeth: How shall England benefit from this alliance?
Masazumi: We’ll turn England into a base of commerce and trading hub and make lots of profit.
Elizabeth: Considering it since it would preserve their own domestic affairs via exportation, stand above other nations and pioneer into the new world so they don’t have to stay at the Far East… (Even watching Innocentius wants to jump on board this good deal and make an alliance).

And suddenly here comes in Gin and student council secretary Diego Velazquez to object to everything in this meeting. Sighs… If they only cut the chatter and made the decision quicker…

Episode 21
So Velazquez argues it isn’t fair that Musashi went to war with them to save Horizon. So why aren’t they going to war with England to rescue Mary from execution? Then Toshiie Maeda from PA ODA walks in. He also doesn’t approve Musashi’s alliance with England because it will turn European flight paths into hell. He wants to destroy Musashi right now since they’re going to be enemies anyway and fight at the Battle of Sekigahara.  To show how serious he is, he summons his armies of the undead from hell. Toori crashes in. At least he is not naked but he’s wearing Masazumi’s shirt! Because he is bragging how he tried Asama’s too, she tries to shoot him with her arrow. Elizabeth thinks she was bold enough to bring weapons into the court. Things get worse when Horizon drops her Lype Katarripsi (from what I understand, she keeps it in her butt in some space dimension rift). Asama is tasked to clear this misunderstanding up and in the end embarrasses herself claiming the Armament is a huge hug pillow. Back to business, Toori asks Horizon’s opinion on this affair since she was once in this position. There is something she couldn’t understand. If somebody is willing to die for the sake of history re-enactment, will it mean misusing of Testament if they execute someone? What is the basis of right or wrong in the recreation? If someone wants to save Mary, Horizon is prepared to fight England. Gin understands since the execution is unavoidable, the war shall proceed. Toshiie wants orders from Elizabeth to crush Musashi now so Masazumi withdraws her suggestion of the trade pact since it is harder for Elizabeth to accept now. In exchange, she wants her to cancel her mercenary pact with Toshiie and hire Musashi as replacement (Toshiie’s army is helping England against Tres Espana in the upcoming war). This would also instantly resolve issues between Musashi and England as Musashi can obtain weaponry as business necessity because they are seen as England’s navy. Toshiie can’t offer a better deal for England so he asks Masazumi has he seen Avalon. She heard about it but has not seen it so he notes she doesn’t know everything yet and leaves.

Later Elizabeth takes Masazumi and shows her Avalon. It is a space that her father made to escape his cramped Tower of London. This space also re-enacts the past between Elizabeth and Mary. However Elizabeth can’t remember which of the twins she is. Meanwhile Howard tells Shirojiro about changling. Something about Elizabeth and Mary were swapped by fairies during the process of enthronement since Mary was never shown to the public during the re-enactment. However Mary executed 300 Anglican Church members and leave scars on her body to establish she is Mary before being locked up in the Tower of London and Elizabeth took the throne. There is a mini black hole in Avalon which Elizabeth believes is Apocalypse. Demonstration reveals that whatever is thrown inside it becomes nothing. This is probably what the world will be facing. As I understand, England is conducting research on this black hole (as it’s going to be the world’s problem) that’s why it’s ‘forcing’ this mini black hole to stay open and officially send and receive data to and from other countries. Meanwhile Toori is causing his mischief. He is trying to pull out Excalibur but it looks like he is pole dancing with the sword to me! Why the heck are the Trumps just sitting there watching him?! Anyway he sends Mary a message that he may not be able to pull the sword out but is confident one of his members will. He flees when Elizabeth is seen rushing in. Neito visits Naomasa and hopes to get some training since she isn’t satisfied with her fight results with Walsingham. Naomasa introduces Hiro Mishina, the specialist sent to fix Jizuri Suzaku. Tenzo is seen getting reprimanded by Yoshinao about his manners. He notices a map of England in Tenzo’s possession. Because silly Toori blurts out those spots he marked as guard stations en route to the Tower of London and how he is going to attack it (which will cause an international problem), Yoshinao cleverly disguises it as booth stands Tenzo is going to visit on his date. He also marks additional ‘high end booths’ Tenzo missed out. Toori sees a scar on Tenzo’s back and thought Scarred had healed it. Seems like she left one behind. Tenzo remembers how Scarred said that if she would fall for someone, she would like to be a woman who can give her man a scar. Tenzo says he will make a big announcement on the final day of the festival and goes off to complete his mission with Scarred only on his mind.

Episode 22
The joint festival comes to a close. Neshinbara opts out of the battle with Tres Espana to keep his Macbeth curse in check. Because he is still down from Shakespeare’s earful, Asama gives him some book he first debut with. Toori has read it too and his comments were his work is crazier than Shakespeare. Malga is not pleased that Margot is leaving her out for the battle so Kimi super slaps and then bites-kisses her lips to tell her that with the wounds she sustained, she’d end up dying. What’s the point in that? Before Musashi sets sail, they see Tenzo’s goodbye letter. They rendezvous with him and they learn his big announcement is that he wants to confess his feelings to someone he loves. She has scarred him so he wants her to leave a deeper scar. Everyone supports his decision and so Horizon explains that parallel argument thingy again that she will save the world from Apocalypse and begin her happy life without using her negative emotions. Masazumi contacts Elizabeth that they are going to war with England. This pisses her off. Don’t worry. They’ll still be their mercenary for Tres Espana. Those staying behind with Tenzo include Neito, Ukki, Malga, Masazumi and Neshinbara. Adele takes command and briefs her mates of their battle plan. When the battle is about to start, Tres Espana’s armada surprisingly draws out. Felipe is the one ordering this but it is not a pullout. Suddenly many smaller Tres Espana ships hiding in the waves start to show on the radar. As history dictates, Tres Espana will lose to Musashi but their naval powers will remain unscathed. Felipe calls himself a coward and plans to die in this battle. Juana disapproves all this. She doesn’t want him to leave her alone and admits her lie. She was the kid Felipe rescued. Because she is a half elf, she is discriminated and born out of wedlock, she hid her trauma by claiming to be a full elf. However to save Juana, Felipe tells her to stop putting up this act and even has Fusae lie to confirm she is a full elf. The battle begins with Tres Espana firing the shots in their formation but Musashi is able to break their firing formation after analyzing their attack pattern. Meanwhile the rematches are underway. Neito against Walsingham, Ukki against Nicholas and Masazumi continues to run from Hatton and his deathly skeletons. Tenzo and Malga got passed several English guards as Neshinbara meets up with Shakespeare for their rematch.

Episode 23
Neshinbara couldn’t guess which of the girls was Shakespeare because she was the only one there then. If Shakespeare wins, she will have him stay in England to figure out which one is her. She uses her Deadly Sin Armament to summon her Birnam army. After that, Shakespeare summons the character from most tragic play of all, King Lear to fight against Neshinabara’s Heavenly Deity Michizane in a giant sword fight. Malga takes in Cecil and Dudley’s gravity attack to let Tenzo head on first. Kimi who surprisingly stayed back negates the gravity and helps Malga fight the duo. The battle between Musashi and Tres Espana resumes. In what it looks like Tres Espana pulling back to resupply, Musashi advances forward but entered their trap because Tres Espana sacrifices several ships loaded with explosions to heavily damage Musashi. Even all the automated dolls of offline. Adele is in a pinch and panics. Till Toori comes in and blurts out about their doom. He is happy about it? What he is trying to tell Adele is to twist history a little. With that, she gets her confidence back and yells for help. The automated dolls reboot and get back online to do counter attack and Shirojiro and his money thingy to play his part that I don’t really understand, and Margot giving air support. The anteater is lost and wants to help Masazumi. It encounters the black algae who send data about Masazumi’s personality (a bad comedian?). Once they finish, Asama transports the anteater to Masazumi who is a moment away from being Hatton’s death. The anteater is armed with explosive spells and turns on the tables on Hatton. Happy death! Neito finishes her match with Walsingham by using the power of the moon to enhance her power and some Jeanne d’Arc chanting. Walsingham’s true form is a tiny mouse. Though King Lear defeats Michizane, Neshinbara did some editing to summon Macbeth and put King Lear out of his misery and end the play in his victory. Shakespeare wonders who she is and Neshinbara replies why not be the one who likes him. She gives him her Armament since she doesn’t need it anymore but he steals it from her. She hints she wants to stay with him. Lastly, Elizabeth confronts Mary in her room and wants to play a game they used to play with their father. Only this time it will be with a certain fool who may come to her side. If Tenzo could get past Walter, that is.

Episode 24
Milton distracts Walter so Tenzo could slip pass him and head straight to the execution grounds. At first the Mary at the execution grounds seems to be Elizabeth in disguise but Tenzo knows better it’s a bluff. Why? Because Mary’s boobs are bigger! Mary is Mary and Elizabeth is Elizabeth sitting at her throne. Because Mary won the ‘bet’, Elizabeth allows her 5 minutes to wrap things up with him. From what I understand, Tenzo doesn’t care all the scars and impurity Mary has. If she tries to resist, he’ll steal her away. Mary is upset that he didn’t kiss her back then. So Tenzo had to come up with something creative like he wasn’t sure if she was the right match then. To prove she is now, he has her take a deep breath and then squeezes her boobs! He has decided. She’s the one. He loves her. She loves him too and they kiss. But show time is over and Elizabeth is going to pull Excalibur out. Tenzo wants Mary to do it too and surprisingly they both pull out Excalibur. Elizabeth has Excalibur Caliburn while Mary has Excalibur Collbrande (some history sh*t that I couldn’t understand). What does this mean? How will England respond in having 2 women fit to be king? Masazumi interjects and suggests a truce. Based on Testament, Elizabeth will designate her nephew as her heir. This means, Tenzo and Mary’s child. She wants Mary to seek refuge in Musashi and is willing to accept her transfer. Mary parts from Elizabeth vowing to protect her dream as a fairy who is living in the human world. Musashi continues its battle with Tres Espana. Felipe plans to die by setting his ship on fire but Juana jumps onboard to rescue him. She got desperate enough to make out with him. As usual, Gin always had to come in at the right timing. The second wave of attack continues with Margot’s witches easily pummelling Tres Espana’s God of Wars. But Tres Espana manages to dock Musashi and they are racing to take control of the bridge. Adele realizes there is more than one Tres Espana battleship because one is in stealth mode. Because of this one firing from the opposite direction, it is throwing Musashi into confusion. Suzu recognizes the sound of another ship. The hidden one that attacked Musashi when they first arrived at England. Musashi has no defence at where this hidden battleship is aiming but thanks to Grace O’Malley returning the favour (something to do when Musashi deflected the debris of the cargo ship back then), she blocks their shot. Softball siblings Pedro and Flores Valdez face off with Noriki while Futayo takes on Gin. Futayo feels grateful for Muneshige tutelage and tries to express it via English term: “It’s like we had sex together”. I guess she misunderstood what sex is. Shocking no, Gin?

Episode 25
It doesn’t help when Futayo uses ambiguous words. There was blood. He penetrated her. They did it 50 times. Still remember the fight between Futayo and Muneshige way back then? Poor Gin misunderstood so much that she’s going to chop her up and clear her husband’s name. Noriki has analyzed the Valdez siblings’ vanishing magic pitch and punches it back to them. It was going to hit Flores’ face but Pedro uses his hand to defend it. It is Noriki’s loss due to some baseball rule thingy. Meanwhile Takakane Hironaka and his big baseball bat fights Shirojiro and his power of money. Literally. He is using coins and commissions to fight! Naomasa pilots Jizuri Suzaku for another rematch with Fusae and her Byakko. Asama fires naked male succubus Kenji Itou and slime spirit Nenji into one of the Tres Espana battleships. I don’t know what ‘activity’ they did so it causes the other surrounding battleships to go out of formation. Musashi’s foot soldiers are losing confidence and wondering what they are fighting for because their victory means making an enemy out of Testament. Till Toori makes an announcement that he will rush over to whoever is feeling down and give his love! No way! Toori adds that they should leave the impossible to him and in exchange believe themselves that they can do it. I guess this fires them up to fight back. Elizabeth and England now joins Musashi against Tres Espana. I don’t understand this ‘battle’ between Velazquez and Hassan. The former materializes what he paints and the latter serves curry instead of fried rice as he ordered? I don’t know. I think the old dude lost and retreats. Takakane puts in his last spurt to defeat Shirojiro and his bountiful of coins (it’s raining money!). Plus, Shirojiro is wearing armour made out of coins! Takakane refuses to admit game over and charges for him but his underlings push him away and retreat while he rues their side lost. Fusae is shocked to see a body within Jizuri Suzaku. Naomasa explains it is her sister who is powering it. Back then when the machine wasn’t moving, she wanted Naomasa to use her life to activate it and it saved them. Once more, she does so and they defeat Fusae and Byakko, blowing them out of the sky. Lastly, Futayo and Gin continue their fight. Gin now wields double twin swords after Futayo cuts off her prosthetic arms. But Futayo pulls off the same moves that Muneshige did to defeat her and break her swords. To avoid making Futayo the same level as her husband, she concedes defeat and Futayo stops short of cutting her down.

Episode 26
Malga reunites with Margot to transform into some powerful unit and take out the lesser Tres Espana ships. Adele is in a pinch because Tres Espana has destroyed their condition in history recreation to win the battle. Can’t depend on Toori for ideas, can’t she? Then she gets this crazy idea to turn stealth. This alerts Tres Espana and when they come back on radar, they fire at first sight. However this is only a decoy (the cargo ship) and the real Musashi is doing the seemingly impossible vertical loop to get behind them. Horizon and Toori use their Lype Katarripsi to fire back at Tres Espana but Juana counters it with hers. She is joined by her fellow comrades to push back Lype Katarripsi’s firepower. Horizon then whips out Aspida Phylargia serving as extra battery power. However in order to activate it, it needs some soul activation that will cause Horizon to turn into a different woman of what Toori wants. He is okay with it because he will always be by her side. She sings her song as tears stream down her cheeks. The shot was powerful enough to destroy a Tres Espana’s big battleship. Felipe is going all for broke to win and targets Musashi. However the shot is deflected and Musashi protected by Mary using her Excalibur Collbrande with Tenzo backing her up. In the end, Musashi and England wins the battle and the re-enactment Masazumi declares the battle over. Felipe and Juana return to their Tres Espana troops who welcome them back. Musashi has a bonfire party with Kimi, Asama and Neito putting up some rock group performance. I wonder if this kind of offering is appropriate. Everyone else celebrates Ukki’s birthday and he gets several boxes of big sister eroges as present! He must really love those types. It seems Gin has been left behind on Musashi. She is surprised to be reunited with Muneshige whom she wanted to see so much. As they hug, Muneshige suggests they throw away their inherited names to be together and become transfer students at Musashi. Mary is officially transferred to Musashi and shares the same room with Tenzo. She strips naked so she can sleep better and wants to share many more happiness with him. Horizon and Toori talk about that parallel thingy again to retrieve her emotions while avoiding Apocalypse. Toori is cool with it as long as she comes out smiling in the end. Musashi enters Izumo for repairs and everyone rest up for their next long journey.

Lost Somewhere Over The Horizon…
Urm… Eh… What… To pretty sum it all up, I didn’t really understand what is happening most of the time. I am like Toori, if not worse than him in every aspect since from start till finish my head is still empty on what is going on. So blur. The talking and the dialogue was the main turn off. Heavy and just loaded with terms that my brain refuses to understand. Apparently the story isn’t done yet and those who are really interested in continuing this can read up on the novels. I on the other hand would like to spare myself from all the headaches I have gotten. Save the world? Yeah, I think they can do a better job without me interfering. From the final episode, you can glimpse a lot of weird people which I believe are from different student council bodies of different countries. Yes. It feels like it is going to be a pain going around trying to collect the Deadly Sins Armaments to prevent Apocalypse and retrieve Horizon’s emotions. Well, if they don’t, who will? So for the first half of the series it was about Musashi embarking on a mission to save Horizon from KPA Italia. The second half has Musashi locking horns with England before joining forces with them against Tres Espana. With many other countries spread out, I think it’s going to be a very long and colourful battle. So in a way, it’s not really ‘fair’ that such a handful of countries just make their appearance but putting in anymore countries means more characters, terms, plots and other stuffs that will make my head explode. So I’m cool with how it all ‘ends’.

The only thing that I enjoyed most (Toori’s silly antics are an entirely different case) is the battles. They never cease to amaze me because of the awesome firepower and magic that makes it so exaggerated, over the top and epic enough. Whether they make sense or not it doesn’t matter (are they supposed to?). Even though I do not really understand the explanations of certain moves or why the fight is done so in this way, trying to understand it would just diminish my enjoyment of the action. I knew the dialogue was going to be a pain just like the rest of the talking in this series. So I would first switch off my brain and enjoy the superb action unfolding with all the mega explosions and ka-pow impact when projectiles crash and collide into magical defence barriers. After the action ends (or rather the end of the episode), I would just rewind to the scene and try to make sense of the workings. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. But I do enjoy the fights and especially when Musashi was up against the Trumps. What the f*ck was Shakespeare and Neshinabara’s Macbeth fight all about? Screw that! Just get your kings and chop each other up. Shirojiro against Naomasa? Screw your money talk and let the action do the talking. Shirojiro and Takakane? Money everywhere! Gin versus Drake? All I know is somebody’s arms got chopped off. Muneshige went up against Tadatsugu? I don’t know what they said but their weapons pack a lethal badass punch. Get hit, you die. Futayo x Gin? Slice! Slice! Bang! Bang! Chop! Chop! Pew! Pew!

After coming this far and due to my inability to comprehend things on the bigger picture, I feel that this history re-enactment thingy didn’t have any major influence on the show. Not that I realize since my history is that bad. Like the final battle between Musashi and Tres Espana, both sides were trying to fulfil the conditions of the battle. So they re-enacted the battle. So what? Do they feel closer to their original goal of reaching the heavens? Maybe not in this generation. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. Besides, it feels like an excuse for everyone to pursue their own agenda so that’s why in a way I believe it is just an excuse and a loophole to get things done their way. You can blame my misunderstanding or lack of comprehension on the story overall. Nobody said this series was easy.

For Toori as the main guy, he might seem like a useless dud who is just carefree, having fun without a care. And for the second half of the season, he spends most of his time naked! I read it was some sort of ritual of paying tribute to the Gods or something. Despite his goofy looks and his inability to do anything, he is actually the backbone of his class. You know chess pieces? The king is the most important piece despite being the one with the least power. That is what I feel Toori is. I mean, why would he need to have some sort of power himself when he has his reliable Musashi friends to do it for him? That’s why he believes in them. That’s why they believe in him. It’s probably the same reason why in some shows the leader seems like less capable than his crew but they still follow him around (think One Piece). Toori is always positive and says what is on his mind. He doesn’t beat around the bush and in a way is straight to the point. You got to love some of the speeches he makes. Inspiring? Motivating? A way to hit on chicks? If your dialogue is that sophisticated. So sometimes it is hard to call whether he is someone to be admired and looked up upon or not. Okay, so maybe take note of his good qualities. Well, at least this proves he is not perfect. The original Horizon might be dead but she lives on in the heart of others. Though the current automated doll is still trying to understand about human emotions, sometimes it is comical to see her put Toori in his place. It’s like they’re a stand up comedian.

After Toori and Horizon’s love hogging the first half, it is Tenzo’s turn to take the spotlight in the second and I’m glad that he and Mary finally found true love. The other characters in Musashi seem pretty okay too. They all show their mettle and strength for their love for Musashi, there’s no doubt about that. Adele proves that she can take the lead, Futayo an excellent lancer with her Tonbokiri while Margot and Malga work best when they’re together. It’s always money, money and more money for Shirojiro and Masazumi is blooming as a future politician. Asama provides spiritual backup while Kimi does the same but mostly for her brother. The Musashi family seems to be growing with Mary, Muneshige and Gin joining in. The funny thing about Gin is that she always has this habit of walking in the wrong time that causes her to misinterpret things in a sexually ambiguous way. I bet she hasn’t done anything like that with Muneshige before. Due to the large amount of cast, it’s hard for them all to get enough screen time. For instance, Azuma and Miriam. Their appearance anime wise seem redundant and can be done away. All you see them here is bumming around especially Miriam who is holed up in her room. And they both have a ‘child’ not from sex but from that ghost girl that was discovered during Toori’s ghost hunt. Perhaps they would have played a bigger role in some other parts of the story and novel. As for the other characters from other nations, again too many of them. Like Innocentius and Galileo were antagonists in the first half of the series but after their defeat they become mere spectators in the second. England and Tres Espana had many colourful characters but the most amusing one (and probably my favourite) is Hatton because ironically as a skeleton, he is very lively with his “death” lines. Some of the rest make a little impact, some were just forgettable, some just made you go “What happened to him/her?”. Some felt like foreboding of things to come like Toshiie and the host of new characters’ cameo in the final.

Sunrise is the studio production for this anime. They produced many hit animes like Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, Gintama, Inu Yasha, Keroro Gunsou, Mai-HiME and Mobile Suit Gundam series. So when I first saw Horizon who has this very uncanny resemblance to Clannad’s Tomoyo and the black algae that reminds me of dango kazoku, I thought the characters were also Key designed characters. Despite the futuristic setting, I find it really strange at first that some characters have odd body parts. From huge boobs (Kimi and Asama) to very large oversized prosthetic arms (Gin and Juana) and large plumes of hair (Kimi and Neito). And then with the myriad of different races, it felt like a futuristic version of RPG! I mean, in addition to human beings, you have beasts like dragons and wolves, fairies, elves and lots of little cute animals that could serve as mascots or familiars. Take a look at Toori’s class. It can be a good example of an RPG party. From the character race, he’s got a half dragon, a male succubus, some slime and a big mute guy who wears a bucket on his head! Is this some freak class or something? In terms of class, there’s a ninja, a shrine priestess who is more of an archer, swords(wo)men, mechanic, dancer, strategists, politician, almost everyone is there. May not be the most complete RPG group (if they ever turn into one) without the typical class but I think they still cover the basic and if not a wide areas of a party, right? Also, look at Elizabeth’s Trumps. They are another bunch of weird looking characters, no? A wolf, fairy and Humpty Dumpty aside, she’s got a skeleton undead in her group! Maybe she was influenced by One Piece’s Luffy’s Brook, eh? Besides the characters, I give them points for the creative designs of the ships, weapons and other equipment. It really gives a futuristic look despite there are some old and traditional designs and workings the technology and model it is based on.

Jun Fukuyama as Toori is a riot with the character. He sounds like he is having fun all the way despite being in constant danger. I mean, you expect a guy who runs around naked for a big majority for the second half of the series to put on a serious expression? Can you take such joker seriously then? I guess Jun Fukuyama being casted as Toori is very suitable as he also played such ‘joker’ characters such as Kakeru in Akikan and Grell in Kuroshitsuji. Recently I have been hearing a glut of monotonous, expressionless ladies by Minori Chihara. As Horizon, she reminded me of her other roles like Anastasia from Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai Yo Ne, Hina in Busou Shinki and Teresa in Seikon No Qwaser. Yup. She goes a long way back from her days as Chiaki in Minami-ke and Nagato of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Now do you see the resemblance? I’m starting to think that Yui Horie and Yukari Tamura are beginning to play ‘anime sisters’. As Scarred/Mary and Elizabeth respectively, don’t their roles remind you of Ben-To’s Kyou sisters and Busou Shinki’s Ach and Yda? Strange? Coincidence? The rest of the extensive cast include Daisuke Ono as Tenzo (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Miyuki Sawashiro as Masazumi (Shinku in Rozen Maiden), Yu Kobayashi as Futayo (Mariya in Maria+Holic), Marina Inoue as Neito (Kyoko in Skip Beat), Chiwa Saito as Kimi (Kirie in Girls Brave), Emi Nitta as Malga (Ricca in Da Capo III), Nao Tooyama as Margot (Kanon in The World God Only Knows), Takehito Koyasu as Shirojiro (Ryousuke in Initial D), Mutsumi Tamura as Neshinbara (Sonya in Baby Please Kill Me), Minako Kotobuki as Gin (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Tomokazu Sugita as Muneshige (Gintoki in Gintama), Daisuke Hirakawa as Noriki (Makoto in School Days), Aoi Yuuki as Suzu (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Ami Koshimizu as Asama (Horo in Spice And Wolf), Kei Shindou as Naomasa (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Ayuru Oohashi as Adele (Ayumu in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi), Ryoko Shiraishi as Oriotorai (Himeko in Sket Dance), Jouji Nakata as Innocentius (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Momoko Saito as Shakespeare (Nazuna in Working!) and Rie Tanaka as Juana (Maria in Hayate No Gotoku). Phew. I think I missed out a lot but I might go crazy if I’m going to list down everybody since some of them do play multiple roles.

I did mention that Minori Chihara has a ‘knack’ in voicing monotonous, expressionless characters. However she sings both the opening themes and they are both are upbeat anime pop beat. Well, she is quite an accomplished singer herself and as several albums and singles under her name. I guess there is a big difference between voice acting and singing. The first opening theme is Terminated while the second one is Zone // Alone. There are 4 ending themes. Half is the typical ‘happy’ anime pop and the other half has a darker and grimmer tune. Somehow I very much prefer the latter. Like Stardust Melodia by Ceui is my favourite as it brings back memories of her other song, Mellow Melodies from Sola. Although Kanashimi Wa Dare No Negai Demonai by Aira Yuki doesn’t sound as dark and grim, it has a little disco beat to it but at least it isn’t as ‘happy’ as Pieces by Airi or -Side Sunrise- Sora No Uta by Masami Okui. Even the ending credits animation match the feel of the song because if it is the ‘happy’ kind you can see the characters in chibi form doing fun things. Some of the background music are quite okay as they range from techno rock mix to even epic orchestra pieces.

I don’t know what else to say since I think I am done saying what I want to say about the stuffs that I understand, those that I don’t and the things that amused me. There are so many things going on in this series and so many potentials and back stories to tell that perhaps it would all really flesh out well throughout several seasons. Would I still be a loyal follower if there are ever sequels? Maybe for the action and Toori’s joker antics. Otherwise I would just say instead of recreating history to achieve glory like we did in the past, isn’t it much better to chart our own futures and walk our own paths? Isn’t that how the people in the past used to do it? Not knowing what the future holds is pretty scary but aren’t those who make the first bold step the ones who write history? We all winners only do that. If you ask me if I would start a world war and make enemies out of everyone just to save my girlfriend, I think it would be very much easier just to break up with her. Then let her get absorbed in her fury and destroy the world. Haha! Oh shiiii…!!! See me get blown across the horizon~…

If you have a chance to experience a different kind of fun and excitement in another world, would you take that chance and throw away everything you have and take up that challenge? When I first heard that Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo is about a group of teenagers whisked away to another world to help and fight on behalf for a group that has fallen in games, I thought it was going to be something like Dog Days. You know, kids with athletic abilities higher than the average and a world whereby entertainment is defined by games called ‘war’. Well, close enough but not exactly the same. There are many differences and one of them include that although they are athletic, these kids possess supernatural powers so they are much more stronger than the Dog Days’ counterparts who just possess enhanced talented athletic skills. Also, the inhabitants of this alternate world include various races and not just cats and dogs (and squirrels). So don’t expect to see almost everyone having animal ears and tails…

Episode 1
Izayoi Sakamaki is one bored kid. He wishes something interesting would happen now. Oh look. There’s a group of delinquents bullying a weakling. He wants in too and starts throwing rocks into the river. It causes a great tidal impact! Everybody starts running. A letter falls from the sky into his hands. Elsewhere, Asuka Kudou questions her maid if somebody has entered her room. Obviously nobody but Asuka has the key. Then how come there’s a strange letter on her table? She feels this is going to be fun. The cat of You Kasukabe brings to her a letter and before she knows it, she is falling from the sky into another world along with Izayoi and Asuka. They get to know each other but Izayoi and Asuka are being sarcastic with each other. They can sense somebody watching them all this time and flush bunny girl out from behind the tree with their super powers. Aren’t they bullying her? Yeah, they even pull her bunny ears out of curiosity. When everything’s settled down, Black Bunny welcomes them to Little Garden. She is giving them a chance to participate in Gift Games because they possess supernatural powers which are called blessings. Gift Games are competitive games using blessings as bets. Of course the higher the chips bet the higher the rewards. This is if you win the game hosted by the host (people who preside and administer over the games). Anybody can be a host as long as they can prepare a prize. Black Bunny decides to have them try a simple game while continuing to explain about communities in which residents of this world must be part of. It would be difficult to survive without joining one. She provokes them into playing the game but deep down inside she is scared sh*t because she knows they might just get angry and leave. However they agree and if they win, they get to do anything to her. Anything but sexual.

After signing the T&C contract and taking a look at the cards, Izayoi starts off by slamming the table and causes some of the cards to turn face up. The girls pick the cards and win. They mention they’re still within the rules. As for Izayoi, despite his hand on a faced down card, he still wins because he memorized all the cards’ position. The first thing he wants to do is to ask if this world is interesting. Without hesitation, she says yes. Black Bunny brings them back to Master Jin Russell but is disheartened to learn that Izayoi has gone off on his own to see the edge of the world. Not that the other 2 girls could care about him. Black Bunny changes hair colour and leaps in great speed to find him while Jin takes the girls into Little Garden as he explains the races and community living in this area. Black Bunny needs to find Izayoi quick as she fears he might get tricked by gods into playing one of their games. Oops. Hear that crashing sound? Too late. Looks like he has challenged a god to a Gift Game. The water dragon is already so pissed… Izayoi remains cocky and arrogant that he can defeat this god so the god sets his simple rule to win. So cocky Izayoi is that he tells the dragon off that games end not when a winner is decided but when someone loses. The angry dragon charges but Izayoi dispels its force and knocks it out with one flying kick to the head! Meanwhile Asuka is impressed that You is able to communicate with animals. Their chat is interrupted by Galdo Gasper, leader of the Fores Garo community who claims Jin, the leader of the no names as the weakest community on the East Side. Black Bunny is so happy to receive a large water tree sapling as reward. Now she doesn’t have to buy water from other communities. Izayoi asks her if she is hiding some deal breaking thingy the whole time. Otherwise, what is the point of her calling them out to this world?

Episode 2
Izayoi doesn’t buy her answer that she summoned them here to have fun. He can tell something dire has happened to her community and that they’re on a decline. Black Rabbit explains communities are like countries and each of them has their own banners (like country flags). Up till a few years ago, theirs could be found all the way till the end of East Side. However they were targeted by an enemy and were wiped out in a single night. Only one creature can do that: Demon Lords. You cannot turn down their invitation for Gift Games. When they lost, their community was stripped of its name and banner. Only Jin the current leader and Black Bunny can participate. The rest are all children aged 10 and below. Why don’t they just disband and join another community? She wants to protect the home of their friends and get back their name and banner from the Demon Lord one day. That’s why she has no choice but to depend on them. Izayoi finds it interesting to take down the Demon Lord and will help her. Galdo wants the ladies to join his group seeing Jin’s group has no merit. He boasts about his community that has won every battle that placed their banner at stake. However they refuse. Surprise? You is here to make friends while Asuka who hails from a privileged family threw away all that to come to this world. Surely she doesn’t want to go back to such environment again. Galdo is pissed but Asuka tells him to shut up and sit down. It seems the powers of her words bind that person into full obedience. She makes him reveal the truth how he could emerge 100% victorious when banner matches are rare. He kidnaps the community’s women and children and uses them as blackmail to participate. Then once the community is absorbed, he kills the children! Asuka is disgusted with him and frees him from her spell. Galdo is enraged and wants to get back at her but is easily pinned down by You. Asuka gives him 2 options. Kill them all to eliminate all witnesses or run as far as he could. Or he could play a Gift Game with them. Of course Black Bunny is devastated to learn things had turned this serious but is confident she’ll win if she sends Izayoi. Guess what? He refuses. The girls picked the fight and he won’t try to get a piece of that pie. He’s staying out.

Black Bunny takes them to see Shiroyasha of Thousand Eyes to appraise their gifts. First thing this Japanese loli did was to smother her face all over Black Bunny’s boobs! The trio learn more stuff especially about gates. There are 7 of them and the lower your number, the closer you are to the centre, which indicates how strong you are. No names live at the outer edges. Shiroyasha brags she made that water dragon a god. Izayoi thinks she is stronger than that serpent and wants to challenge her. Shiroyasha takes them to her ‘board game’ in another different dimension. The game is that one of them needs to ride a griffon without falling off as he flies around the lake once. You steps up to this. The griffin will bet his pride and You will bet her life. The griffin accepts her challenge seeing that she is willing to become his dinner if she remains alive after falling off. The ride begins and though You is amazed with the griffin, the chilling speed and sub-zero temperatures of the altitude could have made any normal person lose. Plus, it seems You can withstand the G-force the griffin is giving her. You remembers her father always telling her stories when she was in hospital. He gave her a wooden medal and it enabled her to walk. You is determined to win this game and become the griffin’s friend. The griffin finishes his round and is congratulates You’s victory but she faints and falls off. Her medal activates her back to consciousness as she floats down to safety. Izayoi thinks her other ability is to take abilities of other creatures and make them her own though she dismisses it as proof of being friends. Shiroyasha hands the trio each Gift Cards. It has capabilities to store their gifts. Izayoi notices his reads as ‘unknown’. They head to no name’s community destroyed by the Demon Lord. It is barren, annihilated and in ruins. Though it was only 3 years ago, it felt like 200 years have passed. Izayoi is now more excited to fight this Demon Lord. Galdo gets his neck bitten by a vampire loli. She claims he has been given the gift of the beast.

Episode 3
The water tree floods the entire are with water. Things are starting to look good, eh? Enough for the girls to even take a nice bath. Several messengers under Galdo are forced to sneak in but Izayoi has been waiting for them and ambushes them first. Noting his true power, they beg him to destroy Galdo’s community and set them free. However Izayoi refuses. He also tells them about the hostages Galdo killed. Then he points to Jin as the man who will defeat every single Demon Lord out there and take revenge on their behalf. Later, Jin is not pleased Izayoi has made things complicated because it would attract the attention of Demon Lords. Izayoi tells him to look at the bigger picture. They have nothing to symbolize their community and need to surpass those who came before him. They have no choice but to use their leader’s name to make themselves known. This is to market themselves and not only the Demon Lords will take notice but all those bent on taking them down. Those who at least have a fraction of Izayoi’s powers and have backbone unlike deserters. Jin notes not all have deserted his community. He had a member now working under and owned by a high ranking official of Thousand Eyes though it’s pretty much like a slave and used to be considered a Demon Lord.  So the plan now is to have Jin win his Gift Game if this strategy is going to take off. Lose and Izayoi will leave his community. The gang arrive at Galdo’s mansion, the place of the Gift Game and the place has been overrun by trees (due to Galdo’s power activation). The rule states that to win, Galdo must be defeated and that the girls cannot use their gifts but a certain weapon. Jin and the girls enter the mansion and find Galdo, now turned into a white tiger beast. He attacks and Asuka’s word power doesn’t have any effect. You blocks it and wants them to leave. She takes the sword on the wall to fight it. Asuka orders Jin to leave but she should have been more specific because he took her and run too.

Once outside, Jin explains Galdo is a tiger who learnt magic to take a human form and became a demon via Demon Lord’s power. He believes a vampire has turned him into a beast with vampiric abilities (the reason why the sword is laced with silver). You returns but is all bloodied and soon falls unconscious. Asuka takes the sword and goes back into the mansion and wants Jin to look after You. Asuka remembers Black Bunny’s words about her words of authority gift. If she refines it, she will be able to control. Asuka burns the mansion to flush out Galdo into the woods. As her gift has the ability to control numerous gifts that exists, this brings about miracles. She powers up the sword and stabs Galdo in the forehead. The game is won. His death returns the place to normal and frees the people. Black Bunny takes You to the community studio for healing. Jin laments he didn’t do anything so Izayoi wonders if he still wants to go ahead with the plan. He does because even if the worst happens, with his name upfront he could reduce harm done to everyone. Izayoi announces to everyone about Jin, the man who defeated Galdo. He has him return their community names and banners. After that, he proceeds to tell them to remember 2 things: This kid whose name is Jin (that’s one way of drilling it into your head with this repetitive advertising) and the fact he pledges the take down the Demon Lords. Everyone believes in him and throws their support behind Jin.

Episode 4
As You is recuperating, You learns from Black Rabbit their former Demon Lord friend. She is called Leticia and is an intelligent person. When their community lost and fell into ruin, she was taken by a Demon Lord and ever since been offered as prize in various Gift Games. Like a property. Black Rabbit is confident they can win her back in the next Gift Game. After she leaves, Izayoi tells the eavesdropping intruder to show herself. The vampire loli makes no haste in attacking him. Black Bunny stops Izayoi before he gets serious. This is Leticia. As they talk, Asuka wants to know why she helped Galdo. She wanted to see if they’re worthy of protecting this community and notes their gifts are somewhat unpolished. Initially she wanted to see Black Rabbit to disband this community but learnt she has summoned the trio. Now that Izayoi has put Jin’s name out, it’s harder for her to do so. Black Bunny notes she could return to them if they win the next Gift Game but Leticia points out that it is cancelled. Meanwhile Leticia’s owner, Luios is talking to Shiroyasha who is infuriated that he just cancelled the Gift Game. Seems he has found a buyer for Leticia. He purposely provokes her. Leticia still wants to test how strong Izayoi is. They will be tossing a spear and the one who gets hits first loses. Leticia starts off but Izayoi throws it back with all the power he’s got. Leticia is relieved he is strong and is willing to take the hit but Black Rabbit pushes her away. She notices her Gift Card. She used to have such a great gift as the Lord of Vampire but now has lost her divinity. Suddenly the Eye of Gorgon inches closer to them and Asuka is about to fall victim. Leticia pushes her away and takes a direct hit and turns into stone. The Perseus community army take back their property and since they’re being rude with Black Bunny, she blows her top and summons her Spear of Indra. However she misses when Izayoi pulls her ears. He is holding himself back not to fight so what gives her the right to go on a rampage? WTF. Izayoi says that the person they need to talk to is Perseus leader.

Meeting him at Shiroyasha’s place, Luios is awed with Black Rabbit and wonders if she wants to join him. The rest refuse since her sexy legs belong to her! Yeah, they’re purposely making her mad. Anyway Luios won’t change his mind about the game’s cancellation. Black Rabbit accuses his army for intruding but he says she lacks proof. Plus, he throws the accusation back at them saying that they might be the ones who stole Leticia. All the reason he won’t undo her petrifying to prevent her from running away before the sale. He continues to mock Leticia and Black Rabbit couldn’t take this anymore. However he proposes a trade. He will give Leticia back if Black Rabbit is willing to become his vassal forever. Black Rabbit is in a dilemma. Asuka uses her authority to make him kneel before him. He becomes mad, breaks free and is going to use his scythe to hit her when Izayoi stops it with his finger tip. Shiroyasha stops them before it gets out of hand. Black Rabbit will think of his offer so he gives her a week. Asuka tries to drill it to Black Rabbit’s head that nothing good comes out from being with this scumbag even if her noble intention is to save Leticia. You is now fully healed and joins the conversation. There is another way to save Leticia without Black Rabbit sacrificing herself. It’s some Gift Game corresponding to that legend of Perseus slaying Gorgon. However several conditions must be met before that and it could take years. Izayoi breaks down the door (even if it wasn’t locked) and is confident he can get it done. Luios is surprised Black Rabbit comes to see him. Is she here to be his? Nope. She wants to challenge Perseus. She shows them gifts that display the authority to challenge a legend. He can’t back out no. How the heck did she obtained the eye of Kraken and Graeae so easily? You know Izayoi’s power, right? Yeah, he thought the water dragon was tougher…

Episode 5
The gang are outside Perseus’ base. In order for them to get the right to challenge Luios, they must not be spotted by the guards stationed throughout the base. Even so, they make their noisy and grand entrance with a big bang. The guards go into full alert mode. Asuka makes herself visible and loses her right to challenge Luios to fend them off. This is part of their plan to make somebody as a decoy. You uses her senses to detect a guard wearing an invisibility helmet. She gives it to You to be invisible so he could take out the other guards. You gets hit by a guard whom she cannot sense his presence. Izayoi also cannot find him. You then uses her medal and finds his position via ultrasonic wave. She informs Izayoi of his position and he instantly knocks him out. He takes his helmet and gives it to Jin so that they could enter the top floor where Luios is waiting. Luios is amazed that they manage to reach him and berates his useless guards. But as the leader of Perseus he is not going to fight them and summons his former Demon Lord called Algol. Algol’s scream turned everyone, friend and foe and the other surroundings into stone. He gets cocky in ordering Algol to crush the humans. Jin wants Izayoi to show his true strength and this is where the party just gets starting. Despite Algol unleashing all its power and strength on Izayoi, the kid is unfazed and even breaks out from it. In addition, he carries and slams Algol despite the Demon Lord being bigger and heavier many times fold than him. Agitated Luios attacks but got kicked by Izayoi. Had enough of this, Luios orders Algol to end everything with her Eternal Prison that could stone the entire world. Izayoi pulls off a surprise by destroying that scream power and a finishing blow right in Algol’s forehead. Black Rabbit realizes he has both the gift to destroy heaven and earth as well as the power to destroy gifts.

Black Rabbit is about to announce no names as the winner but Izayoi doesn’t want it to end yet. He tells Luios the implication if he loses this game especially when he loses the banner. Are no names not here to retrieve Leticia? Izayoi says they can take her back anytime. He is going the bet his banner in their next little game and will take the name Perseus. That way he will destroy the community and make sure they’ll never operate again forever. That’s what you get for going up against no names. Luios is at a loss so Izayoi throws him another option: Come and fight him. Safe to say that we know the outcome despite Luios going all out on him. Leticia wakes up in the aftermath safe in the no name’s territory. The first thing the heroes want her to do is be their maid. Well, I guess this is the least she could do for saving her. Everyone celebrates their victory underneath the stars. This is because Black Rabbit wants to show them the meteor shower. Since their victory over Perseus, their constellation and flag have been removed from the sky. Perseus is also dismissed from Thousand Eyes. Izayoi feels excited that he has a new goal to look forward to. He wants to put their flag among the stars.

Episode 6
Asuka shows Izayoi a letter about a festival to celebrate the birth of the Fire Dragon. You found it by accident and it seems they are not happy Black Rabbit kept something this fun hidden from them. Feigning crocodile tears, they are going to ‘punish’ her. So they write her back a letter that they intend to participate in this festival being held on the border wall between East and North Side. If she cannot catch them at the end of the day, they’ll leave the community. Black Rabbit is so furious that she is going to catch those problematic kids and lecture them. Jin tells the kids the enormous size and distance between the gates in hopes that they’ll give up. They’re not. Not after they’ve sent that challenge letter to Black Rabbit. So they head to Shiroyasha and request her to teleport them to North Side. But first, she confirms with them that they are the community who wants to do take out the Demon Lords. She explains Floor Masters who are governors of various layers in Little Garden in ensuring peace and since they are entrusted with leading the charge against Demon Lords, they are given several privileges for this responsibility. Shiroyasha is a Floor Master and was asked to participate in this festival too. This joint festival is because the Floor Master of the North Side, Salamandra is handing his authority to the next generation who is his daughter, Sandora. She is around the same age as Jin and because she is too young to be holding such an important position, there are some parties who do not favour this. In exchange for helping the trio, she hopes they can take up a job. Since this story will take another hour, they have to beat it since Black Rabbit is coming after them. And just with the clap of Shiroyasha’s hands, they are transported to the North Side. Didn’t feel a thing, didn’t they? However Black Rabbit has caught up to them too. She’s one mad bunny. She captures You and puts her in Shiroyasha’s care while she goes after the remaining duo. Shiroyasha hopes You can enter one of the Gift Game called Duel of the Creators since she possesses that medal which is a creation type gift.

Izayoi and Asuka walk around the community and stumble upon an exhibit by Salamandra community. It led them to talk about the Halloween’s origins. We learn Asuka and Izayoi come from different times and the former just slightly after the war. Asuka explains her privileged life and was kept isolated in boarding school. So when she came to Little Garden and got to experience so many wonderful experiences, she felt very happy. They plan to make their own Halloween back at their own base but I guess they must have talked too long that Black Rabbit has caught up with them. Leticia catches Asuka as Black Rabbit is left to chase after Izayoi. He challenges her to a Gift Game. If she catches him, she can order him to do anything once. As apology she doesn’t have to wager anything. However Black Rabbit wants to be on equal terms. So the game begins and the first one to touch the other’s palm wins. Leticia and Lili bring Asuka around the community. Asuka becomes interested in seeing a little fairy and follows it. Leticia tells Lili to return to Jin for she will bring Asuka back. Izayoi and Black Rabbit’s battle heats up and even draws spectators. Izayoi is annoyed because he can’t look up her skirt despite the numerous chances! Just when Black Rabbit is about to go in for the win, Izayoi destroys a tower and sends it crumbling. WTF?! Now that it is threatening the safety of the spectators, they cooperate to break it down into smaller pieces. That’s when they grab each other’s palm. The result is a draw but Izayoi is not happy despite that it means both of them can order each a command. Just then, the Salamandra community’s military police led by Mandora arrives on scene. Had fun going on a rampage in public, did they?

Episode 7
You defeats a golem and advances to the finals tomorrow. Izayoi, Black Rabbit, Jin and Lili are brought before Sandora. Because nobody was injured and Shiroyasha has agreed to repair the building, she lets them off. After her servants leave, Sandora is happy to reunite with Jin and Lili. She wanted to come see them in their fight against a Demon Lord but her father fell ill. Her bother Mandora seriously draws his sword at Jin because he doesn’t like the idea of being friends with no names. He feels inviting them here will tarnish Salamandra’s reputation. When Mandora mentions some ongoing rumours, Shiroyasha explains a prophecy is said that a Demon Lord will attack the festival (the reason she asked Izayoi and co’s help). Though Shiroyasha won’t mention any names, she dare say the culprit who will call the Demon Lord here is known. Izayoi deduces that seeing they can’t name the person, this means there might be another Floor Master who is conspiring with a Demon Lord. It is true to a point that some Floor Masters were uncooperative with regards to this festival. Shiroyasha wants to bring justice to this person and Sandora hopes Jin and his community will help defeat the Demon Lord in his game. Izayoi hints and gets permission that somebody may so happen take down the Demon Lord before anybody else does. Asuka has made friends with the fairy though she has trouble deciphering what she says. They are at the exhibition exhibiting different works of communities. The fairy points out to a large armour named Deen, supposedly created by her community called Rattenfanger. Suddenly the place turns dark and a bunch of rats start attacking Asuka. A voice claims to have found the one who dares lie about the Rattenfanger name. Asuka’s words of authority have no effect so she is forced to flee while fending off the attacking rats who seem to be after the fairy. She is saved by Leticia (in grownup form – she was an ex-Demon Lord and full blooded vampire) but the culprit has gotten away.

Asuka soaks in Thousand Eyes’ hotspring and it heals her wounds. She ponders if her gift had any effect. She deduces if it doesn’t even work on lower level beasts like rats, it could only mean they are under influence of someone stronger than her. She compares her gifts with Izayoi and You as she can’t run around and fight head on like them. She is determined not to become a witch who manipulates others and will control this gift. Black Rabbit comes in and is worried about Asuka. After Shiroyasha’s perverted follies, they seriously get down to tomorrow’s Demon Lord business. First thing, she wants to decide on a sexy refereeing outfit Black Rabbit will wear! Serious! Okay, down to serious business. Shiroyasha wants her to referee the finals that You will be participating. Thanks to her earlier commotion, her presence in this area is now common knowledge. You wants to know who she will be fighting. Shiroyasha can’t give out names but only the community. Other than no name and Salamandra, the other 2 will be Will-O-Wisp and Rattenfanger. Izayoi could guess from the latter’s name that since it is German, it would mean the opponent would be Piper of Hamelin, a community that once served a certain Demon Lord. This Demon Lord summoned demons from over 200 different grimoires and led the community called Grim Grimoire. But it is believed to have been defeated in a Gift Game against a certain community. Piper of Hamelin should have lost its power as well. So how are the Piper and Rattenfanger connected? Jin explains that story is part of Grimms’ Fairytales. The Piper was the one who lured the children away with his pipe and disappeared without a trace. He is also known as a rat catcher who controls rats. It is not sure if he will be the one in the prophecy but it proves that there are still remnants of Grim Grimoire. Shiroyasha will have guards standby at Sandora’s festival and worse come to worse, the kids will have to do their part. Asuka is left wondering if the fairy works for a Demon Lord.

Episode 8
Izayoi and Shiroyasha sure can be perverted idiots. The latter is explaining about Black Rabbit’s skirt and the true meaning of true art and the universe within. Something about imagining the unknown and what you can’t see is art! WTF?! I’m sure Izayoi is very enlightened. You is up against Will-O-Wisp’s Ayesha Ignis Fatuus and her giant gift monster, Jack-O-Lantern. They are whisked to an Underwood Maze within some tree and they win either by finding their way out or destroy their opponent’s gift. You distracts Ayesha with a praise that she’s the ‘leader’ of her community (which she isn’t but nevertheless takes the praise). Till she realizes she made a head start. You knows where the exit is because she is following the flow of the air. Ayesha orders Jack to play with You while she makes headway for the exit. Jack explains about his origins and their community as he corners You. She realizes no matter how strong she is, she cannot defeat an immortal opponent. She surrenders. Ayesha is declared the winner as Jack ponders why You didn’t get a partner to help her in this game. She had this loneliness in her eyes and living in a community, she should learn to rely on others. Suddenly black letters are seen floating down not only in the arena but the entire area. It is the rules for another Gift Game to begin. It states Shiroyasha will be the host master and all the players will consists of the communities in this area. For the host master to win, all players must be massacred or subdued. For players to win, they must shatter the false legend and make the true legend known. I guess the Demon Lord is here. The town panics so Black Rabbit and Salamandra are tasked in evacuating the people safely.

Izayoi goes to ‘meet’ the Demon Lord and purposely crashes into one of the pair, Weser. Weser tells his partner, Ratten to go along first since any delays will make their master angry. Izayoi deduces that their names are taken from the Hamelin legend and they are demons born from it. Because there are different theories as to how the children were being abducted and ended up killed, one needs to figure out the true cause of the incident in Hamelin to win this game. Weser tells Izayoi that he is only a low level demon. Leticia is fighting a plague loli, Pest and her giant natural disaster demon called Sturm. Leticia isn’t able to beat her and Sandora whom Pest is expecting confronts her. Pest dismisses she is the Demon Lord of Hamelin. Her gift name is Demon Lord of Black Death, the Black Percher. Several lizard guards of Salamandra are hypnotized and turn against the crowd. Ayesha and Jack help disarm them. Shiroyasha trapped in a barrier explains to Jin, Asuka and You that based on the rules of this game, this game may not be winnable. She also thinks that the Demon Lord is part of a new community. Ratten appears and blows her flute. You who has super senses is the one deeply affected so Asuka orders Jin to take her and run. Ratten overpowers Asuka and knocks her out. Then she continues blowing her flute to control all the people in the area.

Episode 9
Everyone is fighting each other so Black Rabbit uses her authority to stop the game and head for the negotiation table immediately. Black Rabbit wants to find if there is any misconduct in which Pest replies they’re falsely accused of. She finds no illegality or misconduct and even the seal on Shiroyasha is legal. Pest now wants to know how the game will resume. The maximum amount of time allowed is 1 month. Jin deduces Pest’s name from the Black Death, the greatest pandemic in human history. Because she already has infected lots of people with her plague before the game, their lives are in her hands. She throws them a deal. Everyone in this room as well as Shiroyasha and Asuka to join them in exchange for everyone’s life. Otherwise she’ll just kill off everyone. Izayoi guesses that they’re a new community, that’s why they’re looking for talented members. Since the plague has infected everyone, they will die in a month and she won’t get what she wants. Pest will allow the reduction of days to 20 but Mandora insists he will kill anyone who shows the symptoms including themselves. Izayoi negotiates to discuss the change of rules to prevent suicide and killing of allies and in return she will reduce it to 5 days. No go. 20 days. Izayoi will add Black Rabbit to the list so Pest brings it down to 10 days as her best. Jin adds that the game will resume in 7 days on a 24 hour period. If they cannot end it within that period, the host will automatically win. He thinks a week is a reasonable maximum amount of time before the casualties will begin. Given that, players would be willing to accept unconditional surrender. Jin is confident he can win against her too. Pest agrees to it and the rules are settled. You and Ayesha are attending to the injured. Ayesha notes she can’t find Asuka’s location. You collapses from fatigue. Asuka finds herself inside the exhibition cave with Deen before her. A flock of fairies appear before her and wants her to put an end to this. They shall tell her the truth of what happened at Hamelin and offer her their greatest work created if she accepts their Gift Game of bringing Deen under her submission using her gift.

Four days have passed and some people are showing symptoms of the plague. Ratten and Weser discuss how Pest started a Gift Game as a Demon Lord and will be targeted from now on by communities. She will continue to fight and fight till she dies. Despite this is how the system for Demon Lords in Little Garden works, Ratten and Weser pledge their loyalty to her to the end seeing she carries the Grim Grimoire name. You wakes up with Izayoi by her side. They discuss about Black Rabbit’s Parallel World Intersection Theory on how different events occur on parallel timelines. There are points when they all converge into a single point. This time it resulted in the 130 deaths as inscribed in Hamelin. Pest, Ratten, Weser and Sturm are the players and one of them isn’t connected to this death and thus the false legend. That will be Pest. It might seem they just need to take her out but it overlaps with another victory condition to take out the game master which is Shiroyasha. Thinking about ‘shattering the false legend’ line, Izayoi deduces it means breaking the stained glasses of the legend. There are so many around town so it might be a pain to break them all. Then they discuss the mysterious thing that is sealing Shiroyasha. It leads them to talk about her original powers and that she is a follower of Buddhism, thus stripping her divine status. When Izayoi notes she governs the sun of Little Garden, it hit him the truth behind the rule that sealed Shiroyasha (something about the Black Death period when the sun entered an ice age causing the Earth to enter a period of cooling). Even if they’re the Piper of Hamelin from Grimms’ Fairytales, they are not the real Piper of Hamelin. A week has passed and the game resumes. Every able bodied person runs around town to shatter the stained glass. Pest is not bothered they’ve discovered the answer to their riddle because if it comes down to it, they’ll just have to kill everyone. She has given Weser divinity to do that. Pest then turns the entire town into that of the Hamelin town. The people now do not know where the stained glasses her but Jin tells them to find the churches because that is where they should be hidden. Weser fights Izayoi in a grudge match while Sandora and Black Rabbit flank and attack Pest. Leticia has her hands full with Ratten but the latter summons several Sturms. One of them is going to smash Jin but is knocked away by Deen. There’s Asuka controlling it.

Episode 10
Weser continues to dominate Izayoi and the latter notes that he is the real Piper of Hamelin. That is because the rest are ‘fakes’ who came later and are modelled after the Black Plague. Weser hopes he can join their community but Izayoi declines since he has another goal. Their power fight continues. But Izayoi is upset that Weser threatens to use his trump card on him but never do so. He gives in to his provocation and charges up. The power clash results in a crater. Izayoi can still stand up but Weser is at his limit since his staff is broken. Izayoi commends him for being able to fight him head on. Weser disappears as a sign he has lost. Asuka easily commands Deen to take out all the Sturms and even defeats Ratten. She feels it is too easy so she offers to play a little game. She is to play her last song and enchant Deen under her control. Although Ratten plays a beautiful piece, she fails to put Deen under her control. Her lost means Ratten disappears. Pest admits to Black Rabbit and Sandora that as the Black Death, she was responsible for the deaths of 80 million people. She also represents and is the embodiment of their resentment and malice. When the sun went into cooling period, the plague spread and so did poverty and starvation. She claims she has the right for vengeance on it. When Pest senses the defeat of her comrades, it’s time to put play time aside and get serious. She is going to take Shiroyasha and sends out a wave of pandemic. This time anybody who touches it dies. The Salamandra guards rush to get the people safe inside the buildings and unfortunately some of them perished. Black Rabbit couldn’t reach in time to save a kid. You did but is still injured and can’t get away. Till Asuka’s Deen blocks the path of the pandemic to give them a chance. Black Rabbit has a plan so Izayoi fights Pest and despite having his right arm injured, he is okay with this handicap. Then Black Rabbit summons them to the moon palace, Chandra Mahal. This way, the effects of Hamelin won’t reach them. Black Rabbit uses her Gift Card to summon the sun because if the sun is invigorated, Pest loses her power. Asuka who was earlier given the Spear of Indra by Black Rabbit, has Deen summon it and throws it at Pest (pinned down by Sandora’s flames). With Pest’s defeat, the game is declared over and victory to them all.

Asuka sees off the fairies in the cave. They tell her the other possibility for the Piper of Hamelin. When the children left and followed the Piper, they wanted to create their own town and community. Therefore they must return to their second homeland they created. They leave Deen and their 131st friend (the fairy) in her care. The fairy serves as their final record of their lives in Little Garden. Asuka calls it Melun and offers her to join their community. Izayoi confronts Mandora that it was Salamandra themselves who invited the Demon Lord to the festival. They bought over 100 pieces of stained glass mixed in with the art display. It’d be weird if the hosts weren’t intentionally ignoring it. This festival was to pit a rookie Demon Lord against a rookie Floor Master. If Sandora took out the Demon Lord, she would be seen in the eyes of public as coming of age. Seems that only people from Salamandra have died but Izayoi warns if his friends were to perish, he would have killed Sandora. Mandora tells him Sandora is the only one who doesn’t know and has nothing to do with it. They knew about it and still gave their lives. So if Izayoi wants revenge, he hopes he could just limit it to his life. Izayoi won’t do it since if his men died knowing what they’re getting into, there is no reason for him to get involved. Since his community is going to continue fighting Demon Lords, if something should happen to them by any chance, he hopes Mandora and his community will be the first ones rushing to their aid. Mandora swears that on his flag. Asuka asks Melun if she can return the barren land of no names back to normal. Apparently not. Sorry for getting everyone’s hopes up. Izayoi suggests if she has something that would work as fertilizer for the soil and break that down and restore the land. Maybe. It’s worth trying. So everybody and the kids in no name work hard to plough the fields with Deen.

Don’t Mess With The Problem Children…
I guess this series is quite okay and I did enjoy it if not for the little terminologies that put me off. You know me and jargons. The more there are, the more complicated it seems and the more turn off I become. At least they are not as a bad as Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon (that one is a major headache!) and I can still get by. As in every world have their own peculiar customs and rules, it is no surprise that Little Garden has their own set. From what we have seen and been introduced, I am sure that this is just the gist of it and the basics. If our heroes of no names are going all out to regain their lost name and banner, I’m sure they’ll get into more complicated games and the different levels and Floor Masters along the way. It will be interesting to see what kind of games they play because they don’t really seem to be the run-of-the-mill kinds. As long as the rules are adhered to, everything is fair play.

Our protagonist trio may have personality problems and being cast off as problematic children. While that is a fact, the way they selflessly act for Jin and his community makes you want to support them even more. Perhaps their problematic nature only stems from when they are bullying Black Rabbit or teasing her. After all, they really love see her reactions when they do so. Doesn’t she look cute? Even when she starts swatting them with her harisen on their idiotic antics. Izayoi, if I may put him is arrogant and cocky, even himself admitting that he is the dangerous type. Lots of people may be pissed with his attitude but he is one of the few people who can run his mouth because he can walk the talk. I bet he won’t be this arrogant and cocky had he not possess such incredible strength. He can just shut you up with a few slaps (one might be already too much and enough for normal people). So you can say that he is the strongest of the lot. So strong that maybe this is why he has become bored that nobody is able to face him head on at his level. Despite this attitude, he still deeply cares for his community. Just like the others, he is not attractive to stronger ones because he is already so strong. Where is the challenge in that? With Jin’s community just struggling to make a decent living, this is where he finds his challenge to bring this community back up to where it was. You can say Izayoi almost got it all. He’s got the strength, the power, the brains, the ‘charm’ and even the attitude to go with it. But he isn’t perfect. If he was, he would’ve been God, which he isn’t.

Asuka and You too are perfect recruitments for Jin’s community. Unlike many others who would have joined better communities, they either had it all or just want something specific. In Asuka’s case as someone privileged, she had everything under her control. Nobody stood up to her. No fun. So do you not think that Jin’s community in the doldrums is the perfect opportunity for her to prove that she hasn’t been spoon fed and take for granted what she has? And I think that Asuka has proven herself in many battles that she is able to stand up for herself and others as well. You seems like she is the one more susceptible among the trio because in most cases she gets injured or is taken out. Is it because of her inability to put her faith in relying in friends? Her goal is to make friends and I think she is doing fine making friends within the no name community but sometimes as friends, you need to rely on one another. That’s what friends are for, right? Even if Ayesha doesn’t admit it, I think she considers You her friend. I think Ayesha might be tsundere too… As for Black Rabbit, like I said it is amusing to see her get teased by the gang. As a referee, she has to be impartial and I think she does that part of hers quite well. Jin is growing at a steady pace as the community’s leader thanks to Izayoi and the rest. Keep this up and in no time he will be able to lead not only his own but other communities during times of grave crisis. Shiroyasha besides her wisdom is an amusing character because of her perverted tendencies she tends to show on Black Rabbit whenever she gets the chance. Along with Izayoi, they could have been the most perverted schemers in Little Garden and I can see poor Black Rabbit being the ultimate victim if this ever happens. So those sexy legs belong to whom again? Basically it is the bond and relationship among the no name community that bonds them together. You can say it is as tight as glue and it is going to be even tighter.

I am not very well read in my children fairytales (I guess this is what happens when you don’t read even from a very young age) so when the final arc was about the Piper of Hamelin, I couldn’t help wonder if some of the elements brought into this anime was made up or based on certain facts. Like how it was associated with the Black Death (which was something real that occurred back in the 14th century).  Even the Perseus legend that was brought up, it made me wonder how much of it was true. I figure that not 100% would be because if it was, it would be difficult to adapt it into a story that fits into this anime. Maybe. I could have just easily put this to rest by doing a little research on the ever convenient internet and Wikipedia. But I’m feeling very laze these days. Nothing more to be said… Thus it made me wonder if the communities and games here are based on fables, fairytales and legends. If so, then every story has its own ending and a way to be ‘defeated’ in that sense, right? Therefore if a Gift Game is based on some Chinese legend, all you need to do is look it up in the library and do some connect-the-dots before arriving at a conclusion to defeat it. Sounds pretty easy? Maybe to brainy people like Izayoi but not dumb ones like me :’(.

Because of the supernatural powers these problem kids posses, sometimes the power fights may seem all too exaggerated. You know, when you see the power impact upon contact. Seeing that this is a fantasy setting, I suppose it is okay. Even if Izayoi and You only use their bare hands to fight and do not use weapon (who needs weapons when your own bare hands and legs will suffice), it is still great to see them go into action. It is fun to see the reaction of adversaries who think they are all high and mighty before watching in disbelief with their own eyes how much more powerful (and cool) Izayoi is. He doesn’t even need to break a sweat when putting up a fight. It’s like he has got his cheat code of God mode on forever. Or maybe everyone here is so weak that it is not much of a challenge to him. As the anime is a fantasy setting, some of the scenery and backdrops are gorgeous. I’m saying this in the sense that the world is beautiful only because I lack seeing them in the real world or in many of the recent animes that I have seen. It is nice once in a while to whisk away to another land and dream up of another adventure in exotic locations.

On a trivial note, some of the next episode titles seem cheeky and naughty (in addition to being long and in the form of a question). For instance, “Sounds Like We’re Doing All Sorts Of Stuff In The Bath Together?”, “It Seems Some Pervert Is After Black Rabbit?” and “Someone Might Get All Kissy With Asuka In The Dark?”. The next episode preview is also amusing because most of the time we get to hear Izayoi spouting his amusing and witty lines because of his ‘dangerous’ ideas. Especially the ones that he has no shame in admitting he would love to violate Black Rabbit’s chastity that she has protected for hundreds of years or preferring her sexy legs. I can imagine all that gone within seconds if he is allowed to do so. Yeah, he might even get lucky with Leticia if not for Black Rabbit slamming the harisen into his head. Not forgetting the part how he suggested to used Thousand Eyes’ gate portals (since it is connected to almost everywhere in Little Garden) to peep at men and women’s bath for all he wants, earning the praise of Shiroyasha – seriously, this perverted one never thought about it? The only time we won’t get Izayoi featured here is when Melun decides to hide in You’s flat chest instead of Asuka’s because it is ‘much cooler’. Can’t blame her, right? After all, Asuka always puts Melun in her cleavage when she’s on the run or has her hands busy.

When I first hear Black Rabbit’s voice, I thought it sounded familiar but couldn’t put my finger on it. Learning that it is Iori Nomizu who voices her, I remember she was the voice of Nymph in Sora No Otoshimono and Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka. However as Black Rabbit, she sounds a little mature instead of being bratty. Sure, her role here isn’t as bratty as the ones mentioned but her voice also sounded a little bit lower. Shintarou Asanuma really makes Izayoi sound like an arrogant brat and one who can live up to its power. He was the voice of Takeru in Minami-ke and Yoshiyuki in Da Capo II. Emi Sarah Bridcut voices Asuka and this is her debut in voice acting. At this point, her only other role is Honoka Jean Kisaragi of RDG Red Data Girl. Satomi Arai’s cheeky voice as Shiroyasha is still identifiable. It’s like she is this anime’s version of To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Kuroko Shirai. I thought Kana Asumi was the voice behind Ayesha but it turned out to be Kayoko Tsumita instead. Her only other roles in anime were Ran in R-15 and Gosan in Upotte. Other casts include Megumi Nakajima as You (Ruri in Sacred Seven), Hiromi Igarashi as Jin (Aoi in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Kaori Sadohara as Sandora (Shigu in Upotte), Katsuyuki Konishi as Mandora (Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), Yuiko Tatsumi as Leticia (Riko in KissxSis), Chiwa Saito as Pest (Kirie in Girls Bravo), Yuuka Nanri as Ratten (Saori in Hourou Musuko), Go Inoue as Luios (Keith/Sky High in Tiger & Bunny) and Hiroki Yasumoto as Galdo (Sado in Bleach). I remember how Iori Nomizu was just terrible singing the opening themes in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka. She doesn’t fare any better here. The opening theme, Black + White may start off creepy but gradually turns into a rock piece and I find that her voice isn’t really suitable to sing this piece. Or any other kind. The ending theme is To Be Continued by Kaori Sadohara and sounds like your typical happy anime pop. The amusing thing in the ending credits animation is we see the chibi versions of the girls dancing before Izayoi finishes off with his cool and slick breakdance move.

The next time you have problematic kids or children who are restless, too active to sit still, maybe you can just send them to another world where they can tire themselves out with challenges and have fun at the same time. Then they can learn a thing or two about communities and how winning games earns you commodities and other amenities. Just like playing an RPG game, huh? Maybe they’ll have so much fun that they don’t even want to come back. If you ask me if I would drop everything I have now to take up the chance of another exciting life in another world just like this one, then the answer is no. I’m not ready to give up my animes. They are my only gateway of escapism to other worlds thanks to the harsh facts of reality. But if you throw in a bunny girl in maid outfit with sexy legs, I might consider. No, not the one from Playboy, please.


July 12, 2013

You would be forgiven if you are guessing from the title that this anime is about a cross-dressing character or a weird person who has both genders. Or maybe a man who acts like a girl. Yeah. Misleading, isn’t it? Mangirl is actually the shortened form of manga girl and this again feels a little misleading. It is not a girl who is going to do what the famous pair of Ashirogi Muto is going to do in Bakuman. Instead, this short anime that lasts 3.5 minutes is about a group of girls working as an amateur editorial department for a manga magazine. In the highly competitive world of manga and anime, it is a wonder to see how these girls are going to survive their jobs seeing that they have zero experience. These are the trial and tribulations of the girls as they work through in what they love most, meeting deadlines and participating in promotional activities while learning the tricks of the trade to achieve their goal of making the biggest manga magazine in Japan. Sounds like fun? Not if you’re the one who is doing all the hectic work.

Episode 1
Hana Sasayama despite not knowing much about storyboards, becomes an editor of a new manga magazine company, Comic Earth Star. She enlists her friend, Aki Torii to be the vice editor but she declines no matter what. Till Hana threatens to spread rumours about White Autumn. Sudden change of heart, eh? And the rest of the quirky staffs come streaming in. Tsugumi Haraki who found her way here by following the trail of snacks and manga lover Ringo Nishijima who despite is pessimistic this company will last, still agrees to work with them. Because they can’t secure some trademark, their magazine will be called Monthly Comic Earth Star. They discuss the revenues and costs. And though it may seem they are making millions by selling cheap and in large quantity, be reminded that the other distribution costs and other expenses will eat them all up and it will cause them to be in the red. Hana thinks the thick pages of the magazines can be used as pillow and paperweight after that. Not even funny… They need to start off with 15 series and start looking around for 15 manga artists. No such luck. Many declined and some even though showed their storyboard decided to go with the more established company. Thankfully they manage to secure artists for the series. Don’t go into celebration mode just yet till you release your first issue.

Episode 2
Is Hana slacking in her job by reading manga instead? She says it’s part of her research… But she isn’t the boss since she has a supervisor too. The staffs are shocked when they learn Hana decides to serialize a manga by Shinobu Fujimori without even looking through her storyboard. Eventually she meets up with her and she already took the liberty in drawing the storyboard. Hana is impressed with her work but she is being more like a reader instead of an editor who gives advice on what to change or add. It’s more like the artist is telling the editor what to do… Hana did come up with some suggestions but they seem to be from pretty familiar mainstream anime traits. I’m sure you know about the guy who has limbs that stretch like rubber and a kid who keeps mascots as weapons in his pocket. Eventually Hana gets into the groove of being an editor and her research on reading manga has paid off. Finally she has a request of Shinobu before she begins her manuscript: Name the main character as her! Rejected!

Episode 3
Hana is excited for headlining the gravure shoot tomorrow. She thinks of camping in office. Rejected! Come tomorrow, Hana is not around. Did she oversleep? Apparently she waited at the wrong place. She even forgot her handphone and business card. What a way to make a first impression. But the gravure model, Kiiro Sakuradai and her staff are quite friendly. Hana is more of a nuisance than helping around. She fools around, accidentally falling within the range of the photo and even tries to add more light to the model (but via blinding her?). At the end of the day when the photos are released, the girls edit the photo to make it look good like eliminating stray hair. One of the photos has Hana’s face caught in the mirror. It’s like a ghost! Hana even suggests treating readers to some nude photos. Of herself? Photoshop effects? Rejected!

Episode 4
Shinobu’s assistant is out with a cold so her manuscript will be delayed. Hana is excited to pitch in. Only God knows what will happen with this idiot helping out. When the girls arrive, they are greeted by mountains of garbage bag! Can you imagine this piled up in only a day without her assistant?! And the assistant even cooks for her and all… Lucky the girls brought doughnuts to fill her stomach. Realizing about the deadline, Shinobu pressures herself to finish it and will not leave this room till it finishes. The rest of the girls start cleaning up and order food. Aki helps out with the inking since she has experienced drawing manga during her college days. However she doesn’t want to be reminded of that. Wonder what kind of manga she drew. Everyone takes a break with their food and the editorial department girls realize the hard job that assistants have to do. Yeah. A certain manga magazine editor is like that too…

Episode 5
The girls are now typesetting by putting in the right font and size before sending it to the printers. We learn the different types of fonts are used in different types of genres and they can basically influence the mood and flow of the story. That’s why it is important to select the correct fonts for the scenes. The girls work overtime and it is already way past midnight. Hana remains energetic since she gets to dress everyone up in cute animal pyjamas. Even so, they are still behind schedule. Suddenly Sayuri Misono (tsundere?) and Hikari Ayano (tomboyish?) from the anime division offer their help. After dividing the tasks (no Hana, setting the futon is not considered an important task), they manage to finish it in time and send it to the printers. Hana is excited this is their first step to get an anime. And they have not published their first issue yet…

Episode 6
The girls visit the printing factory to edit and proofread any mistakes. They are given a list of how to mark and correct the mistakes. Once done, amendments can be immediate and they can start printing the final copy. The girls find too many mistakes and don’t know the proper way to indicate corrections so they start to bug Aki for answers. She too panics that she didn’t know she had to indicate corrections. Everyone descends into panic mode that their first issue will be a disaster so Hana offers them to calm down over a warm cup of noodles. Now that they are calmer, they get back to work and in no time their first issue is released. The greatest reward is to see a reader’s smile while reading it. Hana had to ruin the moment with her embarrassing plea to beg to that reader to buy the magazine instead of reading it for free! Later while going through their first issue, Hana spots that ‘ghost in the mirror’ in that gravure shot. I guess they forgot to edit that one out.

Episode 7
The editorial department with Shinobu are going on a research field trip. Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima, Nagasaki. Can they see everything in 3 days? Well, if Hana becomes a strict tour guide, yeah, maybe. Ridiculously tight schedule they’re running. While visiting a temple, the monk is glad that young girls like them appreciate visiting the shrine. Till he hears them using it as their manga reference to explode and burn it down!!! The girls are down to their last destination although they are tired after the hectic trips. They soak in the hotspring of the inn and Hana sees a shooting star. She makes a wish for Shinobu to stay healthy to continue working in good health.

Episode 8
The girls will be participating in Comic Supermarket, a large convention for doujinshi to help advertise themselves and sell their first issue. Aki has prepared lots of fluid for hydration, cool packs and pickled plums for the 3 hectic days. As they are manning their booth, a customer recognizes Aki as White Autumn. Before her past can be further revealed to Tsugumi and Ringo, Aki tells them to go look around. The duo are swept away by the pace of the crowd and they start feeling scared after seeing those ‘hunter eyes’ in the otakus. Aki also goes around and ends up buying lots of her yaoi doujinshi stuffs. When she sees a magical girl cosplayer complaining instead of helping others, she decides to go into action. Tsugumi and Ringo are tired and sought a magical girl’s help for water. They are shocked to see Aki cosplaying as the legendary Magical Girl White Autumn! Busted… All the fan boys love her when she tries to cast a cute spell to make her colleagues forget what they saw. Not working… But moe sugiru!!! When the trio return to their booth, the good news is that all their issues have been sold out. But Hana is close to being zombie after singlehandedly selling them all. I hope they had their fun…

Episode 9
The girls learn that all manga artists are unique in their own way. Hana laments Ekoda sensei still hasn’t submit his manuscript today. And today can mean just before the stroke of midnight. Ringo goes off for a night meeting with Kiyose sensei since this artist is a night person. Ooizumi sensei went on a trip so Tsugumi is tasked to look after the pets. She brought them to office? Not only had it become a zoo but a jungle since Akitsu sensei’s plants need to be taken care off as he is on a trip as well. Ringo comes back with Kiyose sensei’s cosplay outfits since his parents are in town and need a place to sleep. Aki spoke too soon when she thought her client isn’t that needy. Suddenly she gets a call by Hibari sensei who wants to personally see a nurse, soldier, priestess and other references. Like a cosplay, eh? The rest think Aki should cosplay with the costumes here. At first she is reluctant but the animals convince her (Aki is an animal lover and she can’t say no to those puppy dog eyes).

Episode 10
Hana and Aki are visiting bookstores in Akihabara to check out their magazine on sale. Hana tries to hint that her magazine is the best and even directly solicits to a customer to buy them! When they see another customer contemplating whether to buy their magazine or not, it turns out he just wanted a better copy. The duo then head to the nearby store to eat and surprised to see Shinobu, Tsugumi and Ringo working as maids. Hana is devastated that Shinobu has quit her day job to be a maid! Actually her friend who owns a maid cafe suddenly had all her workers falling sick so they’re just filling in for the day. I guess this means Hana and Aki have to chip in too. Aki is a natural as a maid that it is making the maid cafe owner drooling and nose bleeding! Tsugumi and Ringo remember they have to meet their customers tonight. So they call their clients to the maid cafe. Killing 2 birds with a stone. Despite their ‘criticism’, they enjoy the moe-ness of the girls in maid outfit.

Episode 11
Tsugumi may sound like she’s reviewing an artist’s manga but… She’s actually tasting her homemade cookies!!! Anyway the girls receive a manuscript from a newbie and it is very promising. It’s got great art and an interesting story. They think of submitting for the newcomer award. This elderly office guy who is that newbie becomes excited that this is his change to be a manga artist. He is going to hand in his resignation immediately! Not so fast dude! It took the entire day for Aki to convince him to rethink his decision. Just then, they get another walk-in submission. This time a middle school student, Ann Abe who inspires to be a manga artist and Shinobu is her inspiration. Her manga, Attack on Final Dragon Shippuden may sound like it has lots of other manga references but don’t you think her drawing is too cute to be a serious battle mange? They think it’s more suitable if she pulls it off as a comedy with a twist in the plot. Ann agrees and though the story seems horrible but the girls think the plot twist could be interesting. Ann gets excited and hugs Tsugumi, calling her as her master. Now Hana wants an apprentice of her own too.

Episode 12
Comic Earth Star will be releasing collected volumes of Shinobu’s popular manga series. To get started, they must put together all the manuscripts from the serial and proofread them. They notice some pages are missing or got switched around. To avoid any ordering mistakes, they use page numbers when it’s printed. As for the colour picture for the cover, Shinobu should have finished it today but… The girls are outside her doorstep and fear a repeat of déjà vu. Yeah, that load of garbage bags just keep flowing… Her assistant is out with a cold again but don’t worry, Shinobu has just finished it in time before collapsing. As they put her back to sleep properly, Hana suggests writing lyrics for a character song for the inside page cover. She starts doing so and the rest thinks this might work. It becomes a success as Shinobu attends a signing session of her book. Hana waits in line to get an autograph…

Episode 13
Comic Earth Star celebrates their first anniversary. You thought they’re never going to make it, eh? Aki wonders what to do for their anniversary issue but Hana says she has as plan. They’ll celebrate while thinking about it. Aki felt like an idiot for getting her hopes up. Sayuri suddenly barges in to tell them that they have received an anime adaptation offer (and not because she wants to scold Hana!). Shinobu’s manga is well received and there are plans to animate it. The girls get carried away in thinking all the preparations and promotions needed to announce the manga. Especially Hana who is already thinking about releasing CDs, debuting as an idol and even building a theme park amusement to conquer the world! Suddenly she just turned evil. Yeah, she continues dreaming about the fancy and luxurious life being served by a butler. Keep dreaming… Well, Hana will just have to do that seeing that a few days later, the anime offer is cancelled as the producers want the manga to progress further first. Now here is where they break the fourth wall. All is not lost because Sayuri points out they will be animated. Yes. Mangirl will be adapted into anime. Aki isn’t happy about this because Hana the slacker will be the main protagonist. But ever positive Hana says this way they can show people the hard work they do and proof how much they love manga. A year later after lots of hard work and promotion, Mangirl finally becomes the anime that we just saw.

Mango… Bakugirls?
Manga girls go!!! That’s what I wanted to say… It’s amazing that they have survived the first year. More problems to come… So are they ready to take on the big boys like Shogakukan, Kodansha, Shueisha and Kadokawa Shoten? Let’s hope they won’t be ‘eaten’ alive. Anyway, I suppose for a short series, everything is pretty much okay. Nothing much except that we learn a thing or two that editors go through every day just to ensure that we manga lovers and casual readers will have our weekly or monthly dose of manga series all nicely done in a volume. So now you know all that glossy and nice stuffs are actually thanks to the hard work and dedication of the editors and staffs putting in their heart, soul, time, energy and every other sacrifice to make it happen.  You better be thankful for it. Of course we have glimpsed a little on the workings and what their job involves but I think this is just the very basics. I don’t think this anime intends to scare you if they go into more details about the scary about when working under pressure to meet deadlines and such. Even if they’re making it in a comedy style.

So I thought this show was somewhat a little familiar to Bakuman but instead of focusing on manga artists, we focus on the editors and their hectic schedule.  Because I have watched Bakuman which is more realistic, this one seems more like painting the editorial job a little rosier. I don’t know. Can you have an editor in chief who is an idiot and goofy? Because in the real world, if any such editors are like Hana, they’ll be fired. See how easygoing and relaxed she is? While this may be a good indication that she is stressed free and happy with what she does, it doesn’t entirely mean that it is effective. Thankfully she has her little staff to buck her up and get what needs to be done. Aki is the main voice of reasoning of the group and the more serious one in putting Hana back in her place. Her experience as a doujinshi must have helped, eh? Though, she may have a quirk or two but that’s okay. Nobody is perfect. Same goes with Tsugumi who seems to be more infatuated with food. Because she can even drool while listening to Shinobu when she dreams about food! How nerdy can this foodie get? As for Ringo, I guess she is one who doesn’t mince her words though she won’t say bad things. Just that she is perhaps being honest. Shinobu is like your typical manga otaku that we all have been stereotype with. They’re good in what they do but fail when it comes to simple household chores and needs somebody to do it for them. Otherwise they can go berserk with an assistant’s absence in one day! Dangerous creatures… Sayuri and Hikari are just side extras and don’t matter much. Sayuri’s couple of appearance was perhaps to show her tsundere attitude that such genres are obligated to have. I think she is tsundere for Hana…

Remember even if you love manga, do take a moment to appreciate everything else that goes behind it from the artist to the editors and even the printers. For without them, you wouldn’t have such a ‘highly sophisticated’ entertainment material. Hmm… Why do I get a feeling that this anime, putting a bunch of girls as editorial department staffs serves to motivate males in doing their job better? I mean, where in the world can you find a group of cute girls doing such a stressful job and still stay very happy in the end? That’s why you need to have passion if you want to go on in this industry. Lots of them. In some ways, I am thankful that I am not having such a hectic editor job. Because my tastes would have killed the manga industry. Haha! Oh wait. I don’t even read manga! I guess I am ‘unique’ in my own way, huh?

Shikabane Hime

July 7, 2013

If you are going to fight a bunch of ghosts, spirits, zombies or the undead, what better way than to use an equivalent corpse to do just that, right? But wait. If both sides are already dead, how do you kill them off for good? Just destroy the brains! And so one reason why I decided to watch Shikabane Hime was because I was attracted to the fact that there is this female protagonist who whips out a pair of Uzis and shoot her way through her enemies. Yeah. Girls with guns each in her hands are always cool and kick butt. Lara Croft. “Two Hand” Revy. Aria Kanzaki. Jo. Scanty. Ah yeah. Bang! Bang!

Before I get carried away, the basic premise of this series is about a dead girl. Well, more accurately, she has been brought back to life to fight evil corpses or people who turn into one with a priest partner. You see, when we die, we have regrets and it is this lingering attachment that causes us to turn into one upon our death. So only corpses can kill corpses and this is where she comes in to play a role in turning back those corpses to what they really are. Dead and never to move ever again. She has to kill 108 of them in order for her to ascend to Heaven. Why such a number? Couldn’t they just round it to a hundred? Well, that is the number of sins or defilements in the Buddhism. I’m sure 108 isn’t a hard number to achieve if you diligently do you duty to kill one every day or two. Hey, people die every day, right? It’s not like you have to kill a million just to reach Heaven. That would totally be a total de-motivation. Of course it would be boring if you would just see her shoot down corpses called Shikabane. Along the way, she learns of the ones who killed her and goes on a quest for vengeance. And you thought being the undead was just mindless zombies, eh?

Shikabane Hime: Aka

Episode 1
A mysterious cat enters the temple-cum-orphanage, Dairinkan where Ouri Kagami is sleeping. I suppose he was awakened by the cat’s voice and decides to take a midnight leak or something. He passes by a room and to his shock, sees a corpse of a girl. He hides behind the Buddha statue when he hears people coming in. Among them is his brother, Keisei Tagami and several other Buddhist Priests. The cat seems to be telepathically telling Ouri that he is being shown a Shikabane. Though Keisei is injured, he starts his ritual on the corpse while scoffing off fellow priest that she is not an object. Keisei hugs her and the next thing we know, she comes back alive. Elsewhere the police raid an apartment belonging to Hagino. They have found 7 female bodies in his residence. Hagino tells them he was just getting rid of them because they disobeyed orders. He shocks the cops by leaping out of the window. Keisei may be a priest but he doesn’t seem to be setting a good example by stealing the orphans’ breakfast! The caretaker of the place, Riko puts him in order and let the kids share his food. Today is also the day that Ouri will be moving out to live on his own. Something that the other kids aren’t happy about. Riko thinks this started when Ouri saw Keisei injured that night. He always disappeared and came back with wounds. Riko may have gotten used to it but perhaps it was too much for Ouri. In class, Ouri’s classmate, Mizuki Inuhiko warns him about the harem criminal case. That guy seems to be lurking around the area and to be extra careful since Ouri is moving to his new place. Keisei is seen discussing with Makina Hoshimura about Hagino’s case. Apparently he leapt from the twentieth floor and survived. It’s because he is a Shikabane and revived. He is a Shikabane that kills and one that is a felon usually acquires strange powers. Makina will help do the investigation. When she finds him, she will kill him.

Makino infiltrates a building where Hagino is believed to be. She sees him sucking the blood of 4 of his harem women. He thinks he is a vampire, an immortal. But Makina knows that he is just a Shikabane. However she wonders if the other women were infected in becoming a Shikabane. She whips out her double Uzis and fires away but Hagino turns into his true demonic form, grabs all the women (including Makina) and flies away. Makina struggles to break free and when she does, she falls straight down to the ground. Ouri happen to walk pass and sees a corpse nearby. He is shocked to see it’s that same corpse he saw the other night. He thinks of doing what Keisei did to bring her back alive. Makina wakes up from a nightmare from being devoured by demons. Though she doesn’t know who he is, Ouri seems not to be afraid of her despite knowing her heart isn’t beating. She slaps him to get away and rendezvous with Keisei on his scooter. Keisei tells her that a Shikabane cannot infect others. The other women may have been hypnotized under his spell. Therefore, she can’t touch and hurt those women. Makina faces Hagino at the building top and narrates how a Shikabane Hime was created to annihilate other evil Shikabane. Makina has it tough with the harem women coming in between her but thanks to Keisei’s help, she is able to dive straight and attack Hagino. She blasts her Uzis away and Ouri happen to be right below when the building debris start falling. Makina becomes dangerously reckless as she continues shooting Hagino. She’s got nothing to fear, right? She’s dead. Knowing a way to kill a Shikabane is to destroy its brain, it’s game over for Hagino when she fires at point blank. Finally Ouri reaches his new place by night fall. He is surprised to see his friends asleep. I guess they wanted to throw a surprise welcome party and waited too long.

Episode 2
Ouri continues to visit Dairinkan. He learns that one of the girls who used to come by often, Hikaru was killed in an accident. One of the orphans who is close to her, Shouta seems to be a little devastated. He can’t go to her funeral because she is the daughter of some big shot and there will be media everywhere. He feels sorry for Hikaru of the others knew she hung out with orphans like them. But during the funeral, Hikaru revives and climbs out of her coffin!!! Shocking, no? Ouri works part time in a bar run by Sadahiro Mibu. Sadahiro explains to another part time worker, Akira Touka that Ouri is Keisei’s little brother. They aren’t blood related because Keisei took him in when he was young. Ouri wasn’t given the Tagami name so his fate wouldn’t have the burden of the Kougon Cult. For now, his job is to look after him. Ouri on his way home passes by a hospital. He sees a commotion and the black cat leads him in. Then he sees Makina sneaking through the window. She is going to destroy Hikaru who is now a Shikabane but got distracted by a decoy and got deeply stabbed. The hideous Shikabane transforms into cute Hikaru when Ouri comes in and pleads for help. He takes her away and Makina is too weak to follow up. Her wounds soon heal and she tracks them down. Keisei calls her and informs that there are other 2 kids too that turned into Shikabane. Makina assures she will finish her part and not to worry.

Hikaru brings Ouri to the playground. He realizes something is wrong when he sees the 2 other dead kids playing there. He doesn’t want Hikaru to go but she throws him back. Makina is on scene as she explains the goal of Shikabane of bringing death to humans and herself as the Shikabane Hime to exterminate those undead. Yes, she’s a monster like them. Probably she could have ended it faster if she did not stop and tell the Shikabane she was going to kill it! She got beaten up as the 3 Shikabane combine into one giant monster to further toy around with Makina. Ouri gets sick when he sees a dismembered human nearby. He calls out Hikaru’s name as he wants to give her something and this causes the monster to go berserk. Is it reacting to his voice? Makina shoots it as it breaks up. While Makina destroys one, fellow Shikabane Hime, Minai Ruo gets another. Hikaru lies in the arms of Ouri. Reluctantly he gives Hikaru to Makina as she shoots it dead. Ouri then hands over the drawing of Dairinkan family to Makina, the thing he wanted to give to Hikaru. After Ouri leaves, Minai’s contractor, Shuuji Isaki wants her to keep an eye on him because he has witnessed too much. Keisei says it is unnecessary because he is his brother. When Makina wonders why Ouri told her the same thing after she disposed the corpse, he explains because Makina drew her gun, he was able to let go of Hikaru. If she didn’t, he wouldn’t have done so even knowing if Hikaru is a monster. Since she killed it, it’s his way of saying thanks. Ouri breaks down when he returns to his home.

Episode 3
A young couple walks through a dark path when they hear a baby’s cry. They look back and see a hideous Shikabane! Run! Luckily Makina is on scene but by the time she confronts the Shikabane, it is already gone and there has been a victim claimed. On another day, Makina swiftly goes into action in a similar case but once more she only finds the victim’s corpse and no Shikabane around. Keisei and the other priests are discussing the possibility of an invisible Shikabane. They realize all victims were young women who have visited a particular gynaecologist. One of them was pregnant and could it be her baby was stillborn at birth and turned into a Shikabane? Keisei dismisses that since a being with no attachment in this world can’t turn into a Shikabane. Ouri is sick and stays home. But the cat pays him a visit and tells him he is being called. He follows it to outside a clinic where he collapses. The doctor takes him in. Next morning he is feeling better but is surprised to see Makina pulling a bluff on the doctor that she is pregnant and her boyfriend left her. After the doctor leaves, Makina confronts Ouri. She is not amused that this is the third time he has appeared in her Shikabane hunt and wonders who sent him. But she has no time to play with him as she starts looking around. They wander into a room with a baby whom she believes is a Shikabane because a baby’s voice is heard each time a young woman died. Ouri doesn’t think so. She adds this baby is too old to be kept in this place and believes the doctor is being used by a Shikabane. As Ouri tries to stop her, he smelled her rotting flesh. She wants him to smell the baby too. Smells like milk? The doctor comes in and tells her the baby is not a Shikabane. Makina doesn’t listen to him and takes the baby with her. However she is attacked by a Shikabane who knocks her out while leaving the baby unharmed. The doctor knocks Ouri out from behind.

Keisei is doing his research with Rika Aragami. They find out cells that can give birth to a Shikabane in the victim’s body. So did somebody planted parts of Shikabane into human to turn them into one? Keisei deduces somebody is trying to increase the number of Shikabane or doing some experiment. Makina and Ouri wake up, tied up in a room. The doctor explains the baby belongs to this Shikabane mother who died while giving birth. She turned into a Shikabane and because nobody else looked after her baby but him, that is why she obeys him. The doctor is also doing experiments to bring back the dead as heard from rumours. He takes a skin sample from the Shikabane and mixes it in a potion. He was the one who did this to all the woman victims. He injects a sample into her but nothing happens and wonders if the dosage was enough. He’ll keep trying till he succeeds. Learning Makina’s name, he remembers a family in that name died when their house burnt down. Makina manages to break free and turn the tables on the doctor. She admits she is from that family. But she says the fire didn’t kill her. She died once so a corpse’s flesh won’t do anything to her. Since she has become one, she thought it would be better to lose all her humanity. She destroys the Shikabane while stating that trying to become human again isn’t any different from being a monster. And him helping humans turn into Shikabane, he is already one. Makina is about to kill the doctor for turning humans into Shikabane. Ouri tries to stop her that he is human. Well, she doesn’t consider herself as one. Keisei then barges in but Ouri’s head goes heavy and passes out. He wakes up back in Dairinkan and learns the doctor was arrested. As for the mother and baby, Keisei dismisses he was just imagining things. Later Makina asks Keisei why Ouri is always around when she’s on the case. He cheekily replies he is stalking her. She is worried he’ll find out about him but he assures that’s why he won’t fire her. Keisei goes to the hospital to talk to the doctor who is by his ailing wife’s side. He knows he is conducting experiments using a Shikabane’s cell to prolong his wife’s life. Somebody with vast knowledge on Shikabane must have put him up to this and wants a name. However, the doctor is already dead as a dagger is seen stabbed in his chest.

Episode 4
Kun Osaki is an idol. Not just an ordinary idol because she can still play her piano while a bloodied corpse is hanging on the ceiling! Yup, she’s a Shikabane and she wants to sing. Her song is much more important so if you want to live, you better listen to her. Her manager who is connected with the yakuza has arranged her to perform in a concert. He gets a call from a mysterious guy, Akasha Shishou who warns her that Shikabane Hime is targeting them. Ouri is at the library trying to look for articles about a fire incident 10 years ago that killed the Hoshimura family when his friend, Hiroshige Ushijima comes in to invite him to Kun’s concert. Keisei is listening to Kun’s music and gets kicked by Makina for being disgusting. There’s a reason he is doing this. Kun is going to release her second album this week. But that’s not possible because she’s already dead. He heard she had health problems and collapsed. The hospital didn’t say anything because her manager has connections with the yakuza and is hiding the fact she is a Shikabane. Though Kun is making a comeback, several people have gone missing. She has never made an appearance since her launch of her new album and suddenly she wants to hold a concert. They need to get to her and dispose of her quickly. Makina disguises as a pizza delivery to enter Kun’s room. But she blows her away with her supersonic voice. The yakuza surround her. Though she threatens them with her Uzis, she can’t harm the living. She fires her shots at Kun but she disintegrates her bullets with her voice. Battered and cornered, Makina dives out the building and escapes.

Riko tells Ouri what she has found out about the Hoshimura. They were connected to the Kougon cult and Makina did come over to say hello shortly after her father died. Makina is Keisei’s senior but Riko has heard nothing about their house being burnt down. Ouri follows the cat to a temple and sees the entire place charred. He gets a call from Ushijima that something big has happened at Kun’s concert. Seems she was attacked by the yakuza as believed and one of them is a girl. The police are there arresting the yakuza members. Ouri sees the grave of the Hoshimura family and Makina’s name is on it. Makina happens to be there and confirms it. She reveals her family was murdered and her house burnt down. However only she was resurrected as Shikabane Hime. Ouri wants to know more about her but she won’t have him come closer because they are already dead. Makina gets a call from Keisei. Keisei’s hears Ouri’s voice in the background and is shocked. Makina hangs up. Ouri can’t leave her alone since she is hurt. He wants to help her. Kun is angry that she can’t sing and throws a tantrum when Makina and Ouri burst in. She can sing in hell for all she likes. Kun transforms into her demonic form and attacks Makina but Kun is too strong for her and takes a beating. Ouri notices her wounds heavier than before. Keisei enters the scene to explain that as Shikabane Hime, she is connected to a specific person. If that person is close to her, she can absorb his life energy, restore her body and gain new skills or knowledge. Such a person is called Contracted Priest and Keisei is Makina’s Contracted Priest. He hugs her and heals all her damage. Makina returns to fight Kun as Keisei plays a song from her CD. Kun turns crazy as Keisei lectures her that even though she wanted to sing, she can’t because she threw away her humanity. She can’t touch people’s hearts anymore and now her song is a sad song filled with death. He sticks a plant grown in holy water in her before Makina finishes her off.

Episode 5
Makina walks off on her own while Keisei returns to Ouri’s place to explain. He asks if he ever wonders what happens after death. Since there is meaning to everyone’s death, one should not have attachment to this world. Those who do and not accept their death will become Shikabane. Much research is done but the answer remains elusive on why this occurs. Therefore the purpose of Kougon Cult is to save the living from their pangs of death and revert Shikabane to what they are in the first place: Corpses. Ouri is upset that Keisei is saying he has nothing to do with this. Now that he knows his injuries are mainly from this, he can’t help worry. What if he really dies? What will happen to Dairinkan? What would happen to all those left behind? Keisei can’t quit and Makina is the reason why he became a Contracted Priest. Several kids sneak into an unlicensed car rental’s SUV to go for a night drive. Rumours have it you can ride it for free and just leave the cash in the compartment. Of course they won’t do that and are going to drive it for free. Suddenly the SUV starts moving on its own. Before they know it, the passengers all start drying. The SUV returns to the car wash where Akasha collects their blood. Ouri’s class receives a new classmate. A cutie, Itsuki Yamagami. It’s suddenly Kun’s demise was gotten over with for those fans of hers… But when she starts waving at Ouri, the guys become jealous. Why him? On the other hand, the girls are more infatuated with a new PE teacher, Takamasa Sougi. He’s wearing a lab coat doing archery? Meanwhile Keisei gets a call from his father and fellow Contracted Priest, Bishop Sougen Takamine. Because he has let Ouri know about Shikabane Hime, he must be eliminated. It was the deal that no other family members must know this. Until this case settles, Keisei is suspended. It seems Inspector Honda was the one who reported this because he believes teachings against the Kougon Cult must not be tolerated. He seems not to like it when Keisei treats Makina more than a tool. Since Keisei is suspended, Sougen hopes no Shikabane will appear in his area. His Shikabane Hime, Kamika Todoroki offers to go but Honda doesn’t want to send their strongest Shikabane Hime to get hurt. Besides, he has already sent one.

Makina has already done her research on the unlicensed car rental and knows that all those who rented with them never came back. Knowing it is a Shikabane’s trap, Keisei is told not to take action. Well, nobody said Makina couldn’t, right? Itsuki manages to use her charms to persuade Ouri to come join her for the free SUV ride. Ouri was undecided till the cat showed up and told him that he is already involved too deep and it does concern him. So when he meets up with Itsuki, there is also Makina. Itsuki starts driving. I don’t know if she has a valid licence or not. Seems Ouri tagged along because he had a hunch Makina would turn up. Makina tells him about Keisei’s suspension. Just when Itsuki’s driving is getting bad, she points out the SUV is moving on its own. Then an onscreen message tells them this SUV can only fit 1 passenger and to reduce the other numbers. Weapons come out from its compartment. Itsuki becomes scared and takes the gun. She doesn’t want to die like this. Makina tells her to come down and takes out her Uzis and starts shooting the SUV. This vehicle is definitely a Shikabane. After blasting the door off, Makina kicks Ouri out. She then realizes Itsuki is missing. After the SUV crashes, Makina and the SUV get involved in a Mexican showdown. Ouri is awakened by the cat. It starts to snarl when Akasha pops up. Then it flees. He refers to himself as betrayer monk as what other calls him because he is disobeying the Kougon Cult. He is trying to destroy all dolls that they created. Because Ouri say he met a good Shikabane Hime, he tells him all Shikabane Himes have a contract. They must kill 108 Shikabanes to enter Heaven. They are no different from Shikabane and don’t know how to die so the Kougon Cult uses them. Before he can say more, Itsuki fires her warning shot and accuses him of trying to make new Shikabanes. He admits that is his first step in his plan. I guess Itsuki is a Shikabane Hime too and coming to her aid is her Contracted Priest… Takamasa!

Episode 6
Honda and Rinsen Shirae are at Sadahiro’s bar. They talk about several things and Sadahiro knows they’ve been keeping an eye on Ouri as he was spotted too many times with a Shikabane Hime. They fear he may have connections with Akasha. Sadahiro will eliminate Ouri and Keisei if they are found to be connected with Akasha since he is his prey. Besides, Sadahiro’s Shikabane Hime, Akira is the only one who can kill humans. Ouri is told to get out of here since he is only in the way. Maybe Itsuki hurt his heart too in addition to his face. Itsuki questions Akasha, Kougon Cult’s former first ranked priest on why he killed his own Shikabane Hime. He doesn’t answer her and knows she can’t kill him. But they can hurt him, right? Because he doesn’t like her touching him, he punishes her by using his powerful Zadan technique via the box of blood of the victims he collected. Ouri is so upset that he is useless, he runs into Makina’s fight with the SUV. He even wants answers if his existence is in the way of Keisei’s work. She puts it this way. Some grow stronger when they protect others. Then there are those who get killed just because they stand in their way. Is Ouri the latter? He knows about her mission to go to Heaven and views that as selfish. What good would Heaven do then? If she wants to die, then die alone and not involve Keisei. I guess their talk was long enough for the SUV to grab Makina as it tries to devour her. In great timing, Keisei enters the scene. No choice, in order to free Makina from being devoured, he cuts off her hand. Ouri doesn’t want Keisei to endure such things because it won’t bring him any good but he says he made a promise. When Makina died, she had 2 choices. Become a Shikabane and kill humans or turn into a Shikabane Hime and kill those monsters. Either way both are hell. She chose. And he promised to always be by her side. Makina manages to find the SUV’s brain when it transforms into its true monster form. She fires at it and kills it for good.

When Ouri mentions about the betrayer priest, Keisei make haste to where he is. Ouri wants Keisei to promise he won’t die. Sorry brother, he can’t do that. Upon meeting Akasha, it seems he and Keisei know each other. Akasha is using Itsuki’s body for the Zadan technique that is believed to summon some power of the stars and Gods. Well, they look like Shikabanes to me. Akasha says he and Sadahiro were the first ones to discover this 5 years ago. Akasha is using those who died in the SUV and their attachment to this world as a weapon. He doesn’t view Kougon Cult very much different than what he is doing. Just that, he maintains their heart and use their force to bring less suffering to them. Keisei dismisses it because he murdered them twice. Once when they kill each other to be created Shikabanes and then again as ingredients for his Zadan. Akasha mocks Keisei he loves his doll so much that he might even love it. Makina gets upset and shoots the monster to free Itsuki. Why was Akasha just standing there doing nothing? Sure, the monster protects him. So? When the Shikabane Himes fire enough to reveal the blood box, Keisei grabs it. But because it contains 108 Shikabanes inside, Keisei is starting to lose consciousness. Akasha says he should know this because he had attachments for his doll. Keisei throws him back that same line because wasn’t it him who loved his Shikabane Hime the most? Was it the reason he betrayed Kougon Cult. Akasha relies it was the other way. They betrayed him. Akasha is about to strike him when Keisei uses the box as shield. They thought he was paralyzed but prior to this, he drank Kougon Cult’s painkiller. There is risk of them dying if they get spiritually damage if the blood of 108 Shikabane covers them. The box bursts and covers the duo in blood. Keisei starts reacting to it. A long range snipes almost hits Akasha. He knows it is Sadahiro and Akira and that bullet contains Zadan. He makes his escape and hopes Keisei could one day see his Shikabane destroy Kougon Cult. Keisei’s act has proven he is not a betrayer priest so Sougen reinstates his position. Makina rushes to Keisei’s side. With tears streaming down her eyes, she says she won’t let him die and protect him. She’ll have Ouri take his place instead.

Episode 7
Some guy called Mitsuyoshi observes a bunch of delinquents causing trouble on the train. After they get off on the next station, he confronts them. Because they get cocky and think they can beat this guy, they attack. However Mitsuyoshi has a Shikabane protecting him. Their punch deflected and he throws one of them into the path of an oncoming train. What a way to die. Meanwhile Takamasa sees Rika and is told Keisei s recuperating. He wants her to strengthen his bow weapon and plans on using Zadan. He blames his weakness as the cause of Keisei and Itsuki getting hurt. Sadahiro explains to Akira about Akasha’s past. He was one of the priests in an expedition to rid a powerful Shikabane running rampage. Sadahiro was the backup priest and when he arrived on site, he saw everyone dead except for Akasha. He was holding his Shikabane Hime in his arms and his eyes were bloodshot. A week later, he infiltrated Kougon Cult’s headquarters, stole the sutra and killed his own Shikabane Hime. Ouri’s friend, Sumitori shows him a blog that belonged to his senior, Mitsuyoshi. They were once in the kendo club. His blog used to be about video games but it recently turned into an ominous diary as his mission as a hero of justice, birth, death and torment. Sumitori also mentions that recently a fellow kendo club member died in a train accident. Coincidence? He tried to contact Mitsuyoshi but couldn’t get through. He is telling Ouri this because Mizuki did warn them about those Shikabane rumours. Ouri quickly brushes them off and lies he doesn’t know about it. Later he goes to see Makina. She corrects his belief that she wants to go to Heaven. Her goal is to find the Shikabanes responsible for her family’s murder and kill them. That’s why she doesn’t want him to misunderstand and that they are no hero of justice. If he continues to stay with them, Keisei might die. When Ouri asks if they were lovers, she starts flustering and beats him up. Hey, at least she knows how to feel embarrassed.

Isaki and Minai are going around looking for clues on Mitsuyoshi. Isaki doesn’t hesitate to abuse Minai if she’s not doing her job the way he expects it. He thinks with Keisei out of the picture, it is their chance to get promoted. He force kisses her but finds it horrible. She’s a corpse, remember? Ouri manages to contact and meet up with Mitsuyoshi. Despite getting beaten up, he tries to persuade him that Sumitori is worried and that if he is a hero, he should find another way of doing things. This causes Mitsuyoshi to go berserk and transform into his hideous Shikabane form. Isaki and Minai happen to pass by and recognize Ouri whom the temple head is still suspicious of. He thinks this is great opportunity. Minai saves Ouri from being minced meat but she goes into shock when Mitsuyoshi calls her the evil one instead. Isaki abuses her to get the job done much to Ouri’s dismay. He explains some Shikabanes are powerful that they obtain special ability. In this case, the curse enables Mitsuyoshi to have telekinesis. He chides Ouri for getting in the way and orders Minai to stop ‘sleeping’ and get the job done. Minai only runs from Mitsuyoshi so Isaki butts in by stabbing its hand. He got hurt instead. Ouri realizes Mitsuyoshi can reflect the damage he got on the same place of his opponent’s body. Ouri then pushes Mitsuyoshi off the cliff. Minai dives in to save him. Resting in the cave, Ouri isn’t happy she obeys that heartless Isaki. Because he is her Contracted Priest, duh. She says she killed a man and was supposed to die together with him. However she didn’t and she became a Shikabane Hime as penalty. That’s why she felt there were some truths when Mitsuyoshi accused her of being evil. Ouri disagrees because she saved him. Mitsuyoshi revives and attacks. Minai is too weak and before Ouri could use his body to protect her, Makina comes into the picture firing at the Shikabane with her Uzi (remember, she still has a hand missing). She notes it didn’t receive any damage when he attacked the right arm. She is glad she lost hers.

Episode 8
Makina is about to land the finishing blow on Mitsuyoshi. However Isaki wants Minai to do it because it will be an insult for a regenerating Shikabane Hime to help her. Besides, he’ll get scolded by the head priest. He warns Makina it is illegal to distance herself from her Contracted Priest and fight alone. She backs off to let Minai do the honours but Mitsuyoshi stabs his neck to transfer that wound to hers. Ouri calls Sumitori and puts his voice on the loud speaker. He is worried about Mitsuyoshi and this causes the guy to stop dead in his tracks and reminisce that someone cared for him. With that, Minai finishes him off. Isaki is still not happy and orders Minai to leave. She is glad she doesn’t consider these wounds as punishment anymore. Because she is not human, as Shikabane Hime she can continue fighting and get wounded to protect them. Rika and her Shikabane Hime, Saki Amase sees Keisei. Seems he is doing fine because for some perverted reason, he wants to lick Rika’s feet!!! Minai sees Ouri in his school. Because he used his handphone to access Mitsuyoshi’s blog, it is evidence relating to him so she must confiscate it. As compensation she will accompany him to buy a new one and bear the cost. After that when they trade numbers, she realizes 20 miss calls from Isaki. Man, that priest is going to be mad. However he won’t get to because he has been taken by a couple of punks he earlier beat up into the alley. Suddenly Minai goes into shock. What’s wrong? Word goes around that Isaki has been stabbed to death in the alley. The other priests arrive to pick up his body. Saki bolts out of the door with her giant hammer. Keisei explains that a Shikabane Hime and her Contracted Priest have a very strong link and bond. That is what keeps a Shikabane Hime human. If she outlives her Contracted Priest, she becomes just another Shikabane. That’s why sometimes another Shikabane Hime has to kill another of her kind. Makina goes off to watch how a Shikabane is being killed. I guess this is for educational purpose instead of being blood thirsty or whatsoever.

Minai becomes edgy, filled with regret and is losing her humanity. She is attacked by Saki. Ouri wanted to help but Itsuki restrains him. Saki lectures her about just becoming another corpse after her Contracted Priest died. She strikes but Minai is able to block. She doesn’t want to die and live because she has been thanked (by Ouri). Aren’t they already dead? Though Minai gets hammered, Saki was hesitant in killing her. This allowed Minai to retaliate as Ouri takes her and run. Sadahiro and Akira discuss about Isaki and his Shikabane Hime’s case. He doesn’t want to get involved too much as much as possible since it doesn’t concern him. Then Ouri comes in and hopes he could hide Minai temporarily while he goes to distract the rest. I guess he has to get involved after all. Later Makina confronts Ouri and wants him to tell her where he is hiding Minai. He won’t say. She chides him that Minai wanting to protect and fight for justice is the same as having attachment in this world which makes her no difference than a Shikabane. Although there is no wrong in her part in wanting justice. I find it odd that Makina says if Shikabane can sense each other, then why ask him in the first place? Sadahiro tells Minai that there is a secret procedure that can reverse her process. She has to break her link with Isaki and make another contract immediately. The tough part is finding a suitable one as she already has established a strong connection with Isaki. He thinks Ouri is suitable but Akira disagrees since he isn’t a priest. Ouri passes by a crowd that includes his friends. The police have taken custody of the punks who stabbed Isaki. When his friends tell him about it, Ouri goes crazy, screaming out his frustration like a mad man. Is he trying to kill those punks?! Of course his friends hold him back. Unfortunately, Minai is already shot dead in Sadahiro’s bar. She didn’t want Ouri to be subjected to such fate and allowed herself to be killed. Honda and Rinsen are there to pick up her body. Ouri calls Sadahiro but he is not picking up.

Episode 9
Nozomi Kasuga is among a group of students entering an abandoned building as part of the ghost spotting site. It is believed that robbers were trapped here before one of them set the place on fire. It spread so quickly that innocent people got engulfed. After that, people who entered the building never came out. This building soon became known as the man-devouring building. Nozomi thought she spot a corpse but it turns out to be one made of paper money. But when it starts moving and accusing them of stealing its money, you know it’s a ghost or rather Shikabane for real. Makina is also part of the group and tells them to scram while she gets into action. Nozomi is too scared to run so Makina helps her. However Makina got hit and loses an arm. Nozomi is shocked that she is dead. She tries to run but gets paper cut. Before the Shikabane could kill her, Makina revives and pumps her bullets to kill the Shikabane. It is then that Nozomi saw the beauty of death in her. She tries to search for her but to no avail. Till she sees her coming out from Dairinkan with Ouri. Ouri wants answers about Minai and doesn’t buy Makina’s answer that she has gone away or something. Ouri and Sumitori are somewhat depressed. Ushijima tries to cheer them up by showing them some boobs. Real boobs of their classmate. Hey… Isn’t that Nozomi? She remembers him. Hey… Aren’t they classmates? Shouldn’t she have recognized him when she first saw him then? To Ushijima’s dismay, Nozomi wants him to set up a meeting with Ouri. Why do girls only flock to him? Nozomi lights up in delight upon knowing Makina’s name but Ouri thinks she better stays away from her. The cat is taunting Ouri that he attracts Shikabane Hime as he is drawn to death as it climbs around Nozomi. It tells Ouri that only he can see it and that the cat is him. Ouri tries to get the feline but ends up grabbing Nozomi’s boobs! I wonder how many times he got slapped. Or wasn’t that just the replay? Nozomi tells him off he doesn’t even know Makina and that she will protect her from him.

Makina talks to Keisei on who Ouri is because she knows he isn’t any ordinary human as he wasn’t afraid of her being dead when they first met and also he treated Minai like a human being despite knowing she’s dead. Keisei explains he first found him when Ouri was 3 years old. He had no social skills and doesn’t even know how to feed or put on clothes himself. So much so the other kids stayed away from him. One day he brought back a cat and although he sucked in taking care of it, for someone who showed no interest in others and began taking care of a living thing, that’s quite an achievement. Unfortunately the cat died in an accident. Ouri stood there staring at it before taking it to the river bank, the place where he first picked it up. He thought it would cry again as it would but Keisei starts burying it. He tells Ouri the only thing they can do for the dead is to remember their death and cry. Priests aren’t here for the dead but for the living who are drowning in sadness. That’s why he must cry. For the first time, Ouri felt feelings and cried his heart out. As people easily forget about death, it isn’t so for Ouri. He thinks it’s something that can’t be forgotten. Nozomi meets Makina outside Dairinkan. Though she is happy to see her, Makina wants her to forget everything she saw on that day including her for her own sake. Nozomi gets desperate. She says Ouri knows nothing about her or her death, something that she views as eternal and beautiful. Makina replies death is just death. She questions her back how much she knows about Ouri because he understands death much more than her. This breaks he heart so Nozomi runs away in tears. Ouri happen to be around so he thought he was the source of their misunderstanding. To his surprise, Makina can see the cat and she thinks it’s the one with him from time to time. Ouri wants to know more about Minai since he knows nothing about her. Since the only thing to do for the dead is to remember them and cry, if he doesn’t know anything on her, he can’t remember her well.

Episode 10
Keisei is making a fuss in hospital. He is serious. He learns about what happened to Minai and is surprised that the auditor has rid of Minai’s body. Not even Sougen can stop him. Despite Ouri wasn’t hurt, Keisei knows his feelings were and if Sougen doesn’t know, he’ll ask somebody who does. He barges into the Kougon Cult and it may seem he is disrespectful trying to get some answers from Bishop Gon, the second highest in command in the cult. He won’t say anything. Then Bishop Geika walks in. You know he is the one on the highest order when everyone bows down to him. He has also heard what happened and hopes Keisei will continue to serve them. Nozomi wants Ouri to come with him (reducing Ushijima into a jealous asshole). She shows him a magazine whereby a mysterious cult has recently attracted some attention because the cult leader believes in attaining immortality after stepping through fire. Shikabane? Why is she showing him this? Nozomi thinks she could become like Makina if she joins this cult and hopes Ouri will join too. He’ll pass. She notes that they can be dead anytime so Ouri makes this comment that she’s too cute to die. What? Seriously? He said that? But Ouri thinks of checking this out to learn if there is a way to save Shikabane Hime. Keisei is seen talking to Takamasa. The latter thinks of retiring to some mountain with monks. Keisei shows him several sutras he had stolen from Sougen’s place because he thinks it’s the time to learn Zadan technique. He believes the betrayer monk will return as the mass outbreak of Shikabane is his first step. Keisei plans to go to Ouri’s part time job. He smells something fishy because it is the only place he could hide Minai as this is the only place he knows in town. Yet how could the auditor have gotten there? Keeping an eye on him?

Ouri is in the midst of screening how great this cult leader is. Yeah, the couple of elderly ladies flanking him are in full praise and even persuades Ouri to join. See how his sweat turns to gold? Well, at least he knows it’s a sham. Why wouldn’t such a great leader come out in the open himself? On his way out, he sees a weird girl, Hokuto who soon goes off. Speaking of the cult leader, he is being confronted by several Shichisei (Seven Stars) members, Hazama, Ena and Kowaku. They want to end his show but he puts on a little flashy show just to warn them he has powers. Oh, did he just mention he is also a Shikabane and wants to con the living out of their wealth? Well, he had always been a liar and deceiver when he was alive. Then when they display their overwhelming power, he realizes they are also Shikabanes. Before he could escape, Hokuto appears before him and kills him. Keisei is outside Sadahiro’s bar. He won’t let him in but Keisei recognizes his voice. He thought he was working for an information bureau overseas. Before he goes away, he tells Sadahiro about his 2 goals: To fight together with his Shikabane Hime and not get Ouri involved. Sadahiro wants Akira to pack up this instant. They’re going into hiding for a while since no Contracted Priest must know about them. They’re also going to track down the betrayer monk and hunt down the target. What about Ouri? So sorry he had to work for free this month. Yeah. And today is payday… Akasha meets Shichisei and wants to cooperate to erase Shikabane Himes in this world. They view it as a common goal to destroy Kougon Cult. Hazama introduces Hokuto as the strongest Shikabane around as she represents all the world’s evil. That’s why she is their leader. Keisei gets word from his colleague about the cult leader’s death. The security camera footage catches Shichisei in the picture. He thinks they have begun to move. And yeah, Shichisei was the one responsible in murdering Makina and her family.

Episode 11
Sougen discusses with Rika the appearance of Shichisei, a group of Shikabanes working together for a common girl to massacre the living. Akasha lets Shichisei know that Kougon Cult is now split into 2 factions. The one headed by Gon, Shuhouha is against the way Shikabanes are used now. Put this faction out of the picture, the other side, Shujouha takes over and Shikabane Hime will ceased to be used. That’s why they must make Contracted Priest and Shikabane Himes their target and damage Shuhouha. Because Akasha is still human they want him to proof he is serious and throw away his human heart completely. Ouri visits Dairinkan and thinks the kids hate him since they’re avoiding him. But Riko hints that they are secretly preparing his surprise birthday party tomorrow. Keisei shows the improvised robe with sutras underneath it for his Zadan technique. They get down to business and the moment Shichisei’s pictures are taken out, Makina becomes agitated. Their next job? She can’t wait to have her revenge. So when Makina learns Ouri had seen one of the members, she gets rough with him to spill the details and what he was doing at that phony cult. He thought he’d find another way to help Kougon Cult as he thinks she became a Shikabane Hime without a choice and it’s like punishment. She dismisses it and says she wanted to become one. Later Keisei comes to explain to Ouri. Since he lost his parents when he was young, the one who took care of him was the priest of the Hoshimura family and grew up with Makina. One day he left to train at Honzan and hardly came back. He stumbled upon Dairinkan and met Riko. Since it was in a mess, he was employed and they took their time and lots of money to restore it. Ten years later, he heard the Hoshimura family being burnt down by a group of Shikabane called Shichisei. He arrived on scene and was being told by Sougen to be Makina’s Contracted Priest. He must do it now to avoid her from becoming a Shikabane. He is the only one who can do so as they share a bond. Makina told him to make a contract with her because she wanted to become a Shikabane Hime to hunt her family’s murderers.

Ouri is on his way back and he returns the lost ball to a kid, not knowing she is Ena. She touches his hand as part of her plan to create a connection. Then she vanishes. That night, everyone in Dairinkan turns in early. Not because they’re tired but a Shikabane curse, a heavy fog is set upon the place. Except for Keisei and Makina as they know their enemies are coming. They prepare sealing the place with talisman. Ouri is about to leave his room when he notices the bruise on his arm. Suddenly that arm gains a mind of his own and starts strangling himself. Looks like he has become Ena’s puppet. Keisei and Makina wait for their enemies to show up. Guess who? Akasha and Kowaku. Keisei wants to know what happened to Akasha on that day because they along with Sadahiro used to train together. He admits all that and has no grudge against him. Because he trusted him and looked up to him, when he learnt the ugly truth on that day, he couldn’t handle it anymore. Therefore killing him here is necessary for him to be reborn. Makina fights Kowaku as Keisei notices Akasha still using the blood box as his medium but it’s not as powerful since it doesn’t contain 108 souls. Akasha teases him why would the enemy come to a place that they would have advantage of? Akasha then runs off and Keisei rushes back to the room where the others are sleeping to check on them. The seals have not been broken. Then he is surprised to see Ouri. What is he doing here? Can’t sleep? Next thing he knows, Ouri (under Ena’s hypnotism) stabs Keisei.

Episode 12
Kougon Cult’s headquarters is being surrounded by a barrier created by Hazama and Isaka. They know it’s a weak barrier but it’s just to buy time. I guess it’s also partly to show other Shikabane Himes to strut their stuff. Like Saki hammering around (like a clown) and Kamika why she is the strongest Shikabane Hime, living up to her nickname as Tsurugi Hime. Twin blades of awesome fire power! Keisei is still strong enough to use his own blood to push Ena’s control out of Ouri for good. Ouri is devastated he stabbed his brother. Akasha then attacks Ouri before knocking Keisei out. This is so that he could extract his left eye filled with despair believed to be 10 times more powerful than the dead. Makina is having a tough time handling Kowaku because he has no solid body and can turn into inflammable gas. I guess Akasha let his guard down and wanted to help finish Makina off. Keisei restrains him from behind. Then he jumps to Makina’s aid in and spits some holy leaves around. The poison causes Kowaku’s body to solidify. However, this also causes his own body to be poisoned. Keisei uses the sutra to do damage on Shikabane but in return also damages his own. Akasha panics and sees the eyes of a man who has accepted death. Keisei prepares to deal the finishing blow. Akasha becomes terrified. Is he not afraid of death? Doesn’t he want to live to know the truth? Keisei tells him if it is the kind of truth that will make him kill his own Shikabane Hime, then he doesn’t want to know at all! He blows Akasha and Kowaku outside the building. The cat worsens Ouri’s psychological state, blaming him for everything. But Makina tells Ouri off that it is not his fault because Keisei protected his family and beliefs. Keisei has a request of Ouri. He wants him to save Makina and the rest in his place. What does this mean? He wants to pass the contract to him. He knows he can’t make it in this state. Makina disagrees. She only wants him. How did Keisei get Ouri to accept the contract? Remember Minai? Know what happened to her? It’ll be the same for Makina too if they don’t do anything about it.

Ouri falls unconscious after Keisei passes the contract. The ritual is over once he wakes up. He Makina to bring Ouri to a safe place at that time and begs her to be with him and not drag this wounded ex-Contracted Priest to a hospital. He wants to see her smiling face one last time and proof he saved her from this living hell. Makina agrees to show it because she doesn’t want him to have attachment to this world and turn into a Shikabane. With that, Keisei leaves this world with a peaceful expression on his face. Kowaku forces Akasha to give him more power and it turns him into a hideous monster. He is mad and going to kill that Shikabane Hime b*tch. But not as mad as Makina is. Because now she is on a rampage and so mad this girl is, she got the strength to beat the crap out of this Shichisei dude. However she is overdoing it and is causing bruises all over Ouri as he takes in all her wounds. Akasha fears this curse makes her stronger than a Shikabane Hime can really be. Because Ouri has no training, the way Makina is being reckless extracting strength from her new Contracted Priest will kill Ouri. In the end, Makina kills Kowaku. Pretty ironic for a corpse pleading for his life and wanting to live, eh? Yeah, what right has he got to beg for mercy when he didn’t show Makina the same several years ago? As Akasha leaves the scene, he remembers Keisei wanted to run an orphanage and introduced Ouri to him. Keisei’s goal was to see this kid smile. Akasha uses his talisman to completely heal Ouri of his wounds. He notes this is his last attachment to this boy. Ouri sees Makina screaming and crying her heart over the horizon. So on his sixteenth birthday, becoming a Contracted Priest must be the worst present anyone could get, eh? What’s more, he lost a figure he admired as a father, brother and friend…

Episode 13
A funeral for Keisei is being held. Everyone at Dairinkan is deeply affected by his loss. Ouri meets Rinsen and learns he is the Kougon’s Cult auditor for this area. They are those who support all fighting priests and also arrange their funeral. He confirms Keisei’s death which means he went straight to Heaven instead of becoming a Shikabane. Then he takes Ouri to Sougen who feels the need to explain things to him. Take it as basic FAQs of what this series is about. The meaning of Shikabane, Shikabane Hime, Contracted Priests, death and attachment that could turn one into a Shikabane. Because Shikabane Himes are lingering between life and death, they need to eliminate 108 Shikabanes in order to go to Heaven. It is only then they are freed so it is not like Kougon Cult is using them as they please. We also learn additional stuffs like traits that identify a Shikabane. Two major traits: 1) Regeneration ability that makes them immortal and change them into a monstrous form; 2) They believe they are still human and alive but at the same time harbour hatred against the living. Others include En (bond that connects Shikabane to her Contracted Priest to stay human while continue fighting), Shugo (Contracted Priest of an area – approximately over 100 over the country and Keisei was the Shugo of this area) and the hierarchy of Kougon Cult. Dai Soujo ranks the highest followed by Shiou Gon Dai Soujo. Under him are 6 Priests in which Sougen is one of them.  As there are a few more classes below that, Keisei was the lowest priest but his death in duty promoted him to a higher rank of Gon Soujo. Sougen was Keisei’s former mentor and thus he considers Keisei like a son. Now that Ouri has a better understanding of the whole thing, at least he doesn’t think the society treated Shikabane Himes in a bad way.

Later Rinsen tells Ouri that they would find a new Contracted Priest for Makina. Ouri wants to remain as her Contracted Priest since it was something that Keisei passed down to him. But Rinsen notes that he is not a trained priest and at this rate, he will die. He almost did when Makina zapped his life energy. He will gain nothing if he continues to be her Contracted Priest. Speaking of her, she is staying at their head temple for now as all those tainted cannot attend the funeral. Ouri realizes that’s why all the other Shikabane Himes were waiting outside the temple. Now it’s time for Ouri to do a little reminiscing flashback. Take it as a very short summary of how he met Keisei and got involved in this Shikabane Hime business. Ouri had no memories of being taken in by Keisei and only remembered the cat’s death. Ever since, his mind is only filled with death. He can’t fear death and sometimes feels very close to it. His life changed 2 years ago when Keisei returned home always with bruises because he became Makina’s Contracted Priest. Even if Shikabanes are dead, they look like normal girls to him. He thought Makina was just Keisei’s soldier. But when he died, he realized he was someone very special to her. They both lost someone irreplaceable that day. Then we have short flashbacks of all the fun, irritating, teasing, annoying times and serious moments Ouri had with Keisei. I guess when there’s no big brother to bug or take care of you, you really feel the emptiness. When Sadahiro comes by the night wake, Ouri learns he is a Contracted Priest and Akira his Shikabane Hime. He knows Keisei because they trained together. Ouri wants to train and become a worthy priest and won’t give Makina to anyone else. Sadahiro reluctantly tells him the mountains called Goryouzan. It’s a place where all the priests had their training.

Shikabane Hime: Kuro

I do not understand why they had to split this into 2 seasons since the anime ran continuously back to back without any break of a season or more between them. It had the same opening theme and there was an obvious next episode preview at the end of the last episode. So much so you may not even think that this is the second season. Maybe it is just the naming sense. After red, it turns black. What do I mean? After spilling lots of blood, it is time for the corpse to rot and decay. So now that Makina has identified her true enemy and her family’s murderers, the hunt is on to take down the Shichisei no matter what it takes. She’s been to hell and back, right? Now she’s going to bring hell to them.

Episode 1
Six months down the road, Honda meets with Sadahiro and Akira. He wants them to take out sick Makina who is still quarantined whom Sougen is reluctant to do so. Akasha is in an argument with Shichisei because they want to go see Makina. After all, they created her as a Shikabane, right? Hokuto sees tears from his eyes and gets curious. But just as he is about to touch her, she swiftly breaks his arm. Hizuchi tells him Hokuto was born as a sacrifice and died without committing any sins. Everything in this world is a foreign substance so everything that touches her is like a blade trying to take her life. Rika and Saki go to see Makina at the quarantine but the priest appointed to guard her, Kurai won’t allow her. Till Saki tells him off of being afraid to get tainted by a cursed Shikabane Hime as it will affect his enlightenment. When they head in, they see evil spirits around her. Apparently those who can’t turn into Shikabane will turn into this. The spirits are trying to eat Makina and trying to form a body. Kamika saves everyone in time as Sougen puts a seal on the door. He explains the spirits were feeding of Makina’s Run. Life energy that flows through Shikabane Himes and gives them strength. It is given by the Contracted Priest and is purity itself. However if it settles too long it will rot. Old Runs will rot and attract spirits. Since Makina unconsciously kept Keisei’s Run as part of her attachment to him, it was left to rot. Even if Ouri is her new Contracted Priest, as long she is not willing to accept it, it changes nothing. At this rate all her Run will be eaten and she will die. Close by, a Shikabane, Flesh Backbone spies on them and learns about this juicy bit. Nozomi visits Ouri’s apartment but as usual notices he has never come back since he left for a journey after his brother’s death 6 months ago.

Ouri is training in the mountains. Wait… Did he just lose to a rabbit?! Takamasa is also there training him with Kanechika Umehara. He might look sloppy and a worse pervert than Keisei, but he is quite a good teacher. Umehara teaches Ouri how to bond with the rabbit and find its light. Takamasa wonders if Ouri will be better since there has no improvement for the last 6 months. Umehara puts it this way. This boy was so blessed that he doesn’t even need the light. Ouri chases the rabbit but bumps into Flesh, Umehara’s Shikabane. She’s an otaku pervert and gets into some silly otaku argument with Umehara. I guess this is what happens when you contract with a Shikabane who died at Akihabara! She threatens to tell Touma if he continues to be mean. Touma who? Umehara’s other Shikabane Hime. This guy has two? As Takamasa explains, this means double the Run. For Umehara to do so shows he is well trained. Yeah, Ouri almost died when Makina zapped his, right? Of course, Flesh has information about Makina. Night fall, Akasha ambushes the quarantine area and kills all the priest including Kurai. He turns into a Shikabane. I guess he needed more training if he transformed this easy. However Akasha is stopped by Sadahiro and Akira as their suspicions of him siding with Shichisei are confirmed. Sadahiro wants to know why he is doing this since Hazama was the one who killed his Shikabane Hime. Akasha asserts he killed her himself. Kurai breaks into the quarantine to attack Makina. Luckily Ouri is back and to restrain him. Kurai’s attachment stems from hi fear of being impure and wants to rid of Makina. Just to attain his own enlightenment, that’s plain selfish, right? Ouri braves through the spirits to hug Makina. Their bond was created when they first met. They can’t forget someone important to them and it became their regret. If this means she is impure, then he is impure too. Makina accepts him. His Run runs through him as she breaks free and kills Kurai in one strike. She then apologizes for not being able to protect Keisei.

Episode 2
Makina slaps Ouri after learning what he is doing. She didn’t like the idea he became her Contracted Priest because Keisei told him to. The Honda and the other priests come in and misinterpret they have killed Kurai. Sadahiro and Akira continue their fight with Akasha. However he summons a horde of Shikabane to swallow them. Soon after, Shichisei (personally, I think they should rename themselves to Rokusei – Six Stars after the loss of a member) makes their appearance. Sadahiro emerges from the ground to counter attack but Isaka teleports them away. Makina is restrained and Honda wants to dispose of her. They don’t believe Ouri’s words that Kurai turned into a Shikabane since all Kougon Cult priests have thrown away their attachments and regrets and train towards enlightenment. Thus they won’t turn into Shikabane. Ouri thinks he plans to make this look like it never happened. Itsuki and Takamasa enter the scene and they hope Honda could free his disciple. Suddenly they are thrown into Isaka’s barrier except for Itsuki and Takamasa who are kept out. Now that Makina has come face to face with Shichisei, she starts charging at them. Unfortunately her blind rage means she gets trapped within Hazama’s centipedes. He thinks her attachment for revenge is a weak one and it won’t be enough to kill them. Even though Shichisei are Shikabanes, they become one not because of attachment but nature. As attachments are feelings of regret slightly before death, nature is one that is born with and grows in time. Humans live by suppressing and rejecting their true nature. Since Shichisei is able to live by their true nature, they consider themselves as true human beings. Ouri won’t let them touch Makina and will protect her. Hazama finds it interesting that he has feelings for a Shikabane and will fight for her with no reason. He thinks it is his instinct and therefore his nature. He suggests if he would like to be a Shikabane with that nature of his.

Sougen senses Shichisei nearby the quarantine and wants to head there but Gon tells him there is no need because they need to be here to protect Geika. Suddenly Umehara and Flesh make their flashy entry by doing something perverted on Kamika! WTF?! Flesh claims she was made to do this or else Umehara will force her to eat frogs. WTF?! On to serious business, he is here to see Shichisei but wants to borrow something first. Something about some Choufuku guy that Geika sealed once (I think it’s a sword). Gon refuses but Umehara says he is the only who can use it anyway. Makina, after thinking back about Keisei (and lots of it), she breaks free from her trap and surprises Hazama with some unpredictable movement. He is saved from death at close range when Hokuto comes to play with her. Makina is no match for her strength and tossed around like a ball. The other Shichisei guys comment this is her way of interacting with others and getting to know things. Hokuto sees Makina as a broken mirror and continues to ‘play’ with it. But play time is over when Umehara breaks through the barrier. And with the other Contracted Priests and their Shikabane Hime in the picture, Akasha knows they have no chance if they to fight the powerful bunch. While the rest are surprised in seeing Sadahiro (they’re not supposed to know he exist), Akasha and Shichisei make their teleport escape. Hazama leaves some parting words for Makina. Shichisei acknowledges her as their worthy enemy. However this is also part of their plan (including her existence). Makina couldn’t care about all that because all she cares is that she will kill them all as a Shikabane Hime.

Episode 3
Sougen and the other priests are in some meeting. They are blaming him for letting impurities into the shrine and Shichisei getting away. As they debate about Shikabane Hime, Geika intervenes about Makina’s case. Whether she returns to Kougon Cult or strengthen her bond with her current Contracted Priest, he has tasked Umehara to confirm that. If so, he will acknowledge Ouri as Kougon Cult’s Contracted Priest. Meanwhile Ena has been given the green light to fight Makina first. Akasha thinks she shouldn’t just go alone as Makina is viewed as their greatest enemy. They remind him about their nature and that Ena’s is beauty. She will stop at nothing for beauty. That’s why they don’t care if she dies. They’re just following their nature. If Akasha thinks of interfering, they will kill him. Hazama wants Akasha to lure Makina out. Akasha agrees and will use a special Shikabane he kept for this. Ouri continues his training under Takamasa while Makina undergoes a different one. She is to perform Enkiri, a ritual to cut off her previous ties with Keisei. Because Ouri is her current Contracted Priest, other connections may become a hindrance. But the severing of Keisei ties doesn’t mean she will totally forget about him. Inside a cave, Makina begins Enkiri and she is confronted with an illusion of herself. Her illusion tries to convince her not to sever her ties with Keisei because he is everything to her. Makina realizes it is not the world or Shichisei that she hates but herself. At the end of the ritual, it looks like it wasn’t a success. Makina is still attached to him. Saki and Rika try to stop her but she’s too powerful. Saki got a little wounded as she was hesitant in taking out Makina. She is also worried that she might end up like Makina if Rika dies first.

Itsuki talks to Flesh on how she as a normal high school girl died in an accident. Her regret was probably she never did anything. No boyfriends, never went on field trip with friends, never did anything girly. So when she first became a Shikabane Hime, she was scared and requested to contract with the strongest priest. Takamasa is the successor of the title of Genpaku as the strongest fighter. She made a pact with him but is shocked to hear soon after that he doesn’t even know what Shikabane Hime and Contracted Priest. Bummer. I guess his father never said anything to him when he got that title. He was just a normal high school student who had never even fought once. Ouri talks to Takamasa. Even though he knows he can never be near like Keisei, when he heard Makina will undergo Enkiri, somewhere in his heart he felt relived. Takamasa says he is forgetting something important. He must understand Shikabane Hime is no longer human but an abnormality used to kill Shikabanes. He speaks from his personal experience and shows the scar over his body. It is price he paid for not knowing this. He lost many important things before he noticed Shikabane Himes are abnormalities and obtain their powers through death. It also means they became a non-human abnormality. He needs to throw what he has in his heart now if he is to gain the power of his Shikabane Hime. Takamasa leaves to save Umehara getting cornered in one of his perverted schemes. The cat appears before Ouri and teases him further that he should quickly remember what he truly is. Then comes in Makina. She wants him to quit being her Contracted Priest because he is weak. The only one for her is Keisei. Ouri can prove he can fight but she says he is only in the way. Because he won’t give up, Makina is going to kill him. Ouri is saved when Rika and Saki put the brakes on her. She is then restrained inside the building. As long as she remains cursed, she’ll be useless. Takamasa gets a call from Rinsen and several other priests in a pinch against a Shikabane. He takes Ouri along. Ouri wants to stay by Makina’s side but Takamasa tells him he already saw Makina’s abnormality. He reveals his ability to recognize a Shikabane Hime’s abnormality and is going to fight to prove it.

Episode 4
Makina is out of her confinement only because she agreed that killing everyone would just make Keisei sad and will cooperate. However her freedom is short-lived as Honda and the other priests come in to put Makina under quarantine again as ordered by Gon. Takamasa relates his flashback story to Ouri. Itsuki lamented she thought she could go to Heaven faster if she contracted with the strongest Genpaku but unfortunately got a raw kid who knew nothing. It was also because there wasn’t enough time to find her another Contracted Priest. So when they were tossed into battle with a Shikabane for the first time, Takamasa got wounded. Takamasa learnt about Itsuki’s death and regret after she became a Shikabane Hime. Itsuki felt sorry for dragging him into this fight of hers and went to finish off the Shikabane. She could have died if not for Takamasa summing up his courage to help her. Even though she is dead, he couldn’t let her die because to him, he looked like a normal girl. Soon Itsuki is transferred into his class and her reason was so that she could be close to her Contracted Priest and strengthen their En. Takamasa underwent lots of training as they became a formidable team taking down Shikabanes and living together (Itsuki as a freeloader of course). Itsuki ironically felt that though she wanted to go to Heaven quick, now she feels she wants to stay on Earth by his side a little longer. It might look like a simple love story but that is when tragedy starts to unfold. As Takamasa was training under Umehara’s guidance in the mountains, the master told him to stop treating Itsuki as a human because she is a Shikabane Hime. Takamasa didn’t listen because to him, Itsuki is a normal girl.

Takamasa’s best friend, Tomoharu Kishibe (self proclaimed romance master) even gives him the push to confess to Itsuki and some other positive words like how Itsuki only had eyes on him since the day she transferred in. That was the last time Takamasa would see his best friend. His family died in a car accident on their way back to their homeland. Their bodies were found beyond recognition. Back to present, Takamasa meets up with Rinsen. This Shikabane is the same one 4 years ago and is able to control cars. Guess what? That Shikabane is Tomoharu. When he turned into one 4 years ago, he killed youngsters by making their car go out of control or crashing into each other for fun. His regret was that his family were killed by reckless illegal street racers. His father swerved the car out of the way and they end up falling off the cliff. So he killed anybody associated with street racing including those who watch. Itsuki wanted Takamasa to give her the orders like he usually do. The one that has her kill Shikabanes. However he couldn’t bring himself to do it because he couldn’t send his lover to kill his best friend. In that dilemma, Tomoharu tries to kill them but Itsuki pushes Takamasa out of harm’s way. As a result, Itsuki got injured and turned into her true violent and hideous form. She attacked Takamasa and left a deep wound and now a scar on his body. He has learnt from his lesson since and is able to give the orders to Itsuki to kill Tomoharu. Honda and the priests who are transporting Makina back stop dead in their tracks because they see Keisei standing before them! Is this a dream?!

Episode 5
Nozomi makes her way to Goryouzan. It’s not Ouri she has on her mind but Makina and the beauty of death. Tomoharu holds Itsuki hostage and throws Takamasa several questions. Since Itsuki and Tomoharu died in a car accident, why didn’t he get to be a Shikabane Hime? Duh, you’re not a girl. What about Shikabane Ouji then? Well, as Takamasa puts it, they only know a spell to turn girls of certain age group into one. Tomoharu goes on ranting about his heart’s nature and just responding to it. By killing people? He has more right to judge others since is closer to human (he claims Takamasa like the rest hides his desires). Takamasa replies he too had strong desires. He wanted to be with Itsuki but he suppressed those feelings. There were so many times he wanted to do what his heart told him but he lived on and hid it. That is what he meant by living. Now that Tomoharu has lost his nature, he is no longer human. Takamasa gives another order to Itsuki to kill him and she manages to make that corpse stay as one this time. Rika and Saki rush into the scene to inform Ouri that Makina has been taken back to the main temple. But that’s not it. There is sighting of Keisei too. Takamasa advises Ouri one last time that Makina isn’t human anymore. The priests have been knocked out as Keisei claims he is here to rescue her. Makina doesn’t believe it is him and runs. Despite knowing he isn’t the real Keisei, she can’t bring herself to harm him. She becomes confused when he says he came back due to his regret that he wanted to see her. He loves her. Don’t give her that crap. Ouri arrives on scene only to see Sadahiro and Akira. Sadahiro gives him one last chance to give up Makina and return to his normal life. Even if he can’t forget about it, he has too because people go through life with one or two hardships. Rika and Saki stall them so Ouri can go to Makina. Sadahiro learns from Rika that Gon is trying to gain all authority by getting rid of all Shikabane Himes. Rather than doing that directly, he is secretly using a Shikabane Hime to kill humans. Their fight is cut short when balloons are floating in the air. It’s a Shichisei curse because touching it means it will attach to you and grows by absorbing your pleasure. You die after that.

I guess Nozomi is lost. So she is happy when she sees Ouri running past but he had no time to even notice her and ran straight deep into the woods. Keisei and Makina are playing hide and seek? Makina is turning herself psycho that this isn’t the real Keisei. When Keisei finds her, he’s about to kill her but is stabbed by Ouri. Keisei trudges away with his wound to a lake. Then he switches bodies and spawns into several Keisei clones. Makina thought he is still trying to be her Contracted Priest and tells him that before Keisei died, she felt his regret. Had she not smiled for him, he would have turned into a Shikabane. Therefore she killed him (for not letting even live as a Shikabane). Ouri is fine with that because it shows she likes Keisei a lot. She admits she loves Keisei even now. That’s why she couldn’t forgive herself if she were to forget him by taking on a new Contracted Priest. Ouri replies she won’t forget. He was told one can’t live without their desires and to live is to hide their true desires. He wants her to make a contract with him and keep her ties with Keisei. He won’t tell anyone and hide her heart. So sorry that Sadahiro had to disrupt and say it’s impossible because the corrupted Run in her body if she doesn’t cut her ties soon. It will be a curse and cause her torment. Ouri disagrees it is a curse because it is a bond between them. It is their strength. He believes they can use this to defeat Shichisei. Keisei comes into the picture as Sadahiro explains this is Ena in disguise. It’s her power to switch bodies as she believes in evolving beautifully like that. Ouri wants to handles this case. After all, he stabbed his brother before, right? Wasn’t that under Ena’s control? He can’t stand somebody sharing the same face with Keisei and doesn’t want Makina and Sadahiro to feel this horrible feeling. Since he likes Keisei’s face so much, here are more of them. He can pick which brother he likes best.

Episode 6
Ouri is able to cancel out Keisei’s power and stab him in the throat. Seems he used Zadan technique and as explained it isn’t how much he trained or the strength a priest has. Rather, a priest borrows Buddha’s strength and is protected. Since there are many Keisei clones, the rest hurry to dispose of them till the last one. Keisei calls for Touya’s help in which Ena returns to her original form. Makina seems to have acknowledged Ouri as her Contracted Priest and will take it from here. She clashes with Ena but is at risk of having her fingers and wrist shaved off by her bell spinning in high revolution. This recklessness is also causing her to drain Run from Ouri. I guess he needs more training. Ena notices this isn’t slowing down Makina and realizes her curse may be super regeneration. Makina uses both her hands to stop the revolution and destroy the bell. Ena loses control of herself. Flashback reveals that in order to attain perfect beauty, she tossed away her own body and took somebody else’s. While Ena drowns in this remorse, Makina borrows Akira’s rifle and blows her away. That’s another Shichisei down for the count. Just when Nozomi has found Ouri, he sees her collapsing into Makina’s arms. She becomes devastated. Then Touya appears before her and senses they both share the same view about death, beauty and ultimate happiness. He gives her a balloon which wraps around her neck. Ouri has been admitted into Kougon Cult and is in a meeting with other priests before Geika and Gon. Gon announces the need to prepare for battle against Shichisei and it may be a good thing or bad because Ouri the new kid stands up and asks questions as he feels Shichisei isn’t just targeting Kougon Cult. Though he isn’t sure what their objective is, he agrees that they must be destroyed because it is their wish. Later Rika gives Ouri the improvised robe Keisei laced with sutras. Not that Rika has gotten over Keisei, but if Ouri is going to learn Zadan techniques, he needs proper equipment. He also learns that Geika is the closest to God and thus he is the only one who can create Shikabane Himes. Nozomi returns to school and everyone can’t take their eyes off her. Has she changed? Indeed she did but she changed so much that Ushijima smells something fishy. It’s not like the Nozomi he knows. In school, Nozomi tries to pass on her ‘happiness’ to the other students by giving them balloons. It causes them to experience happiness and at its peak, they die and become balloons. Woah. Like some sort of evil drugs, don’t you think? After Ouri drops Makina off back at her place, he returns to his own after a long absence. To his surprise, Nozomi is there and pushes herself on top of him. She wants him to kill her.

Episode 7
Ouri pushes away as Nozomi states she just wants to be happy. Holes start appearing in his apartment and with the help of the cat, Ouri is able to see a big balloon attached to Nozomi’s neck. It contains her happiness. The bigger, the happier. That’s why she wants him to make her feel more happiness. Mizuki waltzes in to slap her. She tries to bring her to her senses because of what she did in school, everyone is in a panic. Nozomi makes her escape as Mizuki explains Nozomi was always worried about him when he was gone. Ouri dismisses they had nothing going on but soon realizes the similarity of Nozomi’s one sided love with Makina’s. He goes after her. Makina gets a call from Takamasa about a Shichisei spotted at school. Makina heads there alone but doesn’t need reinforcements. Kamika agrees to that since they need all the personnel they can get protecting the head temple as other Shichisei members may attack anytime. Meanwhile Akasha and Hazama talk. Seems Shichisei killed the Hoshimura family to obtain a book on how to create Shikabane Hime. The other reason was to create a Shikabane Hime out of Makina to give Hokuto an enemy. Makina sees Nozomi outside the school gates. Nozomi prises Makina’s beauty and wants to be like her. Dead. She thinks it’s the reason why Ouri likes her. She then attaches a balloon over Makina’s neck. Ouri arrives and although he wants to help Makina, she wants him to go after Nozomi. Ouri tries to wake Nozomi up from her delusion but she’s too caught up in her happiness. Ouri sees his friends knocked out. In their own world of happiness? He sees her balloon at its biggest and tries to smash it but Nozomi’s scream stops him. Suddenly she doesn’t want to die. Why? Because she’s so happy being with him. She wants to be with him forever and doesn’t want to die.

Makina faces off with Touya instead. He shows her the other students with balloons in the midst of their happiness. Makina can’t break them free because if she destroys the balloon, their happiness in it will turn into a monster and devour them. Touya also notices Makina’s balloon getting bigger and wants her to grow her happy monster. Touya is about to go see Nozomi sensing her ‘happiness’ has weakened. However Makina won’t let him go and shoots her own balloon. The monster turns into herself as a little girl. Touya thinks she can play all she wants like before without worrying a thing. That’s her happiness, right? Wrong. She’ll be happy when she kills Shichisei! Makina leaps and is about to destroy Touya. To her surprise, her true form is a little girl. She asks if happiness is the same as death. Hizuchi explains Touya was born in a very poor family who didn’t even have enough to eat. One day her parents brought her to the amusement park. She was very happy and had lots of fun. At the peak of their happiness, all of them died in the Ferris wheel (I suppose the family committed suicide by poisoning themselves). Touya died happier than she was and didn’t even realize she was dead. Makina disagrees death is happiness but Hizuchi tells her off she can fight them because she became a Shikabane Hime. That’s her happiness, right? Makina got distracted by Touya’s balloon so Hizuchi stabs her. He wants Touya to bring her back to Hazama while he cleans up this mess. Nozomi starts crying, thinking she could be with Ouri if she turns into a Shikabane Hime. She thought he might pay attention to her if she died. Of course now she realizes she doesn’t want to. Her balloon bursts and the monster is going to eat her. Ouri tries to use Zadan to stop it but it was futile. Hizuchi easily destroys it and mocks Ouri he can’t do it because he is a child of a Shikabane. Since the balloon is destroyed, Nozomi’s last words were to make her into a Shikabane Hime. He couldn’t. She’s gone. Ouri goes hysterical.

Episode 8
Ouri becomes devastated when Rika confirms Nozomi has died and has no qualities in becoming a Shikabane Hime. Makina wakes up at Shichisei’s base. As pointed out by Hazama, the important thing isn’t what they have in mind because she should take this chance to kill them without hesitation. But of course. She might not get this chance again. Makina sees Hokuto and charges straight at her. However Hokuto is equally strong and keeps seeing Makina as a shining light and wonders who the hell she is. Hazama thinks Akasha has failed to decipher the scripture but he replies there is nothing stated in it about turning an aged Shikabane like Hokuto into a Shikabane Hime. Is there anything to gain for a greater being like Hokuto to fight a mere Shikabane Hime? Hazama scoffs off Makina as ordinary because her blood is stained black. Ouri is reeling from Makina’s curse. He wants to go to her aid but Gon won’t allow it. He has always viewed him as impure and wants him to perform Enkiri. Is he a Shikabane? Actually, he was given birth by a Shikabane. Gasp! You heard that right. Ever since he was born, Kougon Cult never decided to get rid of him but now that the battle with Shichisei is coming closer, they will rid of any dangerous elements and will have Ouri sever his ties with Makina. Gon leaves the job to Takamasa. But on the way out, Takamasa and Itsuki defect and help Ouri to escape. They are stopped by Rika and Saki. Their reason being if Ouri could find the answer of whether a human and Shikabane understand each other. Something that they didn’t know. Their fight is comically stopped by Flesh’s comical ninja attack. Umehara feels disappointed that Takamasa made the Shikabane Himes fight each other inside the main temple. Geika says that Ouri wasn’t among their numbers to begin with and is just a small matter. Umehara hands Takamasa a special mission. They are going all-out to destroy Shichisei.

Hazama puts his plan into motion and gives Hizuchi the green light to kill Ouri. With Makina losing her Contracted Priest, she will lose her mind and become a corpse that fights. A corpse worthy of Hokuto. Part of their plan includes defiling this city with Shikabanes and this will awaken Hokuto to run through Kougon Cult’s main temple until it is destroyed. It will be the beginning of the dead massacring the living. Akasha suddenly feels he can’t help worry about Hokuto. Makina’s raw power battle with Hokuto continues. She thinks Hokuto wants to know about herself so she declares herself as her enemy. Ouri is back at Dairinkan and gets smacked by Riko. That’s for returning from training and not stopping by here. He is back to look for something that Keisei might have left behind. He wants to know why he was brought here. Riko may not know the details but around that time, there were cases of children went missing. The suspect was never found so Keisei never said anything about it. She feels it is strange because normally he would have taken Ouri back to his parents. Suddenly news that one of the orphanage kids got kidnapped. Ouri rushes out and sees the cat. It says their brother is calling them. At the river bank, Ouri sees several kids around Hizuchi. Calling Ouri his brother, he thought he would remember something if he did something similar back then. The time when they were all killed by Ouri’s mother. Visions of many dead children around a Shikabane. Hizuchi is mad that everyone died except him.

Episode 9
Hizuchi starts throwing and piling cars, equipment and everything in his rage to make Ouri remember. And yes he does remember his mother, a Shikabane. As explained, Keisei, Sadahiro and Akasha defeated Ouri’s mom and Keisei found him the only survivor among the dead children. Even if Ouri was born from a Shikabane, he wasn’t one. His mom was 9 months pregnant with him and died in an accident. When she turned into a Shikabane, she couldn’t understand Ouri. Her regret was that she couldn’t hold her own child in her arms. She went on a kidnapping spree but no matter how many children she kidnapped, she couldn’t find her son. All the kidnapped children died without food. However there was one among the dead kids who became a Shikabane: Hizuchi. He was so hungry that he ate everything. From rodents to insects and those dead children. Eating became his regret and nature. Hizuchi says that he isn’t the only one who returned as a Shikabane. Those murdered children too. They came back as a mass of souls and followed him around. It’s the cat. That’s what its real form is. Hizuchi throws the cat at Ouri so that it could devour his body. But he isn’t going to let him die so easily and will make him experience the same hell he went through. Meanwhile Makina finds it hard to believe she can’t win against super powerful Hokuto. Akasha was kind enough to explain the reason. As Hokuto has no regret or nature, Hokuto unlike other people who lived and experienced life and a variety of emotion, she was bred to be a human sacrifice. When she died, she became free and killed everybody in the village. It was her first ‘touching’ experience. In short, Hokuto is death herself and is the top of all Shikabanes. Makina can somehow see visions of her memories. Why is this so? Hazama explains the mother of all revelations. The family that carried out the sacrifice and found out the method in creating Shikabane Hime and eventually became the Kougon Cult was no other than Hoshimura.

In other words, Hokuto and Makina are blood related. That is why Hokuto became her enemy. A meaning was finally given to her. She became Kougon Cult’s enemy and with her strength she will destroy it. Hazama’s plan to use Makina was so that he could control her strength. Now he has no use for her. Hokuto is about to deal the finishing blow but Makina is so weak that she just tossed her away into the pool. Makina is running low on self esteem. Can she really win? Until thoughts of Ouri crept into her mind. She suddenly receives an enormous amount of strength and returns the favour to Hokuto. It’s payback time. The wall collapses and the priests from Kougon Cult are here. Seems Makina became their bait so they could find Shichisei’s base. The priests go after fleeing Shichisei but Makina won’t join them. She’s going to Ouri. Hizuchi forces the monster in Ouri to devour the children. But Ouri fights back and tells the monster to eat him instead. They agree and turn against Hizuchi. They vow to always protect Ouri because they’re always with him. They always watched to see if he would become a human or corpse. Hizuchi blames Ouri for their deaths but they say they are siblings and are crying because they wanted to be loved. Hizuchi disagrees with it all and tears the monster apart. But here comes Makina into the scene. She asks if this is Ouri’s true form. He doesn’t know. In that case, she’ll tell him. She throws his robes as the monster absorbs into it and Ouri reverts back to his human form. She reminds him he is her Contracted Priest. Hizuchi still disagrees that he is supposed to be a corpse just like him. Even so, Ouri will continue to live as a human. Ouri and Makina cooperate to kill off Hizuchi. When it’s over, Makina sounded a little like a tsundere because she tells Ouri not to die without her permission as she needs him. Suddenly a commercial plane crashes into the oil refinery. A couple more follow suit. It is part of Shichisei’s plan in motion. Guess how many Shikabanes can be made out of that? Tens of thousands…

Episode 10
All the priests and Shikabane Himes converge back at the Kougon Cult headquarters. The city is now like a zombie movie. Moving corpses all around. But Fresh seems to be happy about it. Because there are enough Shikabanes to kill and send them all free to Heaven. Geika gives the order to wipe out the Shikabanes even if it means leaving the headquarters vulnerable to attacks because as Kougon Cult, their mission is to return Shikabanes into their original state. Ouri and Makina make their first stop at Dairinkan, disposing off the zombies Shikabanes trying to eat the brains get the kids. After Riko and the kids are driven away to safety, Makina senses Hokuto heading towards the mountains where she was quarantined, Joubu. Ouri wants to head there but what about the Shikabanes in the city? Not their problem says he? Shichisei is an enemy that they and their brethren must defeat. Gon and Honda are inside Joubu. They seem to be in cohorts as they explain this place is the most impure of all Kougon Cult’s abodes since it discards impurities of Shikabane Himes. But there is also a secret reason why Joubu exists. Ah… A secret underground passageway… Hokuto, Hazama and Akasha are on their way to Joubu but are ambushed by Sadahiro and Akira. Hazama bears the most brunt of their attack. Akasha mentions Sadahiro is not his enemy by Kougon Cult. He knows Sadahiro has saw what happened on that day to his Shikabane Hime, Hibiki Shijou. He knew it was a trap as more than hundred abnormal Shikabanes gathered. Despite Hibiki was strong, she kept on fighting Shikabanes and Hazama’s bugs until she defeated more than 108 of them. He knows Sadahiro and Akira understand this too. Sadahiro hints that’s why they were allowed to kill humans.

Ironically when Shichisei passed them to enter Joubu, Sadahiro and Akira are faced with Makina and Ouri. They won’t let them pass but allowed Shichisei? They had orders not to let anyone in and will go after them once the duo are defeated. Sadahiro tries to convince them to leave as he explains they haven’t been killing just Shikabanes but humans who tried to unveil what Shikabanes are. They had to otherwise they would’ve gone insane. Makina tells them off that they are not the only ones who experienced hell. Makina herself have gone through hell so many times and hasn’t given up yet. Akira fires at her but Ouri’s Zadan technique stops it. He then knocks Sadahiro out and follows Makina in. Akasha and co confront Gon and Honda deep underneath Joubu. Gon creates a purity barrier that purifies and kills all those who enter it. Hokuto just jumps through and nothing happens. She stabs Gon. Honda sees her wearing the most sacred and important sutras of Kougon Cult that once belonged to from the Hoshimura family. She’s like wearing the purest shield and nobody can stop her. Hokuto breaks the coffin before her and when the corpse awakens, all the Shikabane Himes start to become weak. They feel they are losing their En connecting them to their Contracted Priest.

Episode 11
Akasha explains the reason why only young girls can become Shikabane Hime. Kougon Cult’s founder discovered a method to bring back his dead daughter and inscribed it as such. Not only that, Kougon Cult has also kept the Shikabane Hime created by him thereby using her spiritual power to connect Contracted Priests and their Shikabane Himes. Now that this catalyst has been destroyed, the Shikabane Himes will lose their En. Akasha views this that they have been released and Kougon Cult won’t use them as a tool anymore. There is also another reason why he is down here. A sutra owned by Hoshimura was a mere copy. This place lies the original. Akasha wraps that around Hokuto and uses his blood box to turn Hokuto into his Shikabane Hime. Then he orders her to kill Hazama. He killed his own Shikabane Hime so why this? It’s his atonement. Makina and Ouri enter the area and they square off with Hokuto. Akasha is impressed with his progress in using Zadan technique. It’s the power he got from all those that Akasha killed. When Ouri says he won’t understand it since he killed his own Shikabane Hime, this prompts Akasha to explain the truth. Hibiki was his lover and loved her very much. They were very close together since young and had only each other to support since they had no other relatives. Naturally they fall in love but she died due to a terminal illness. On her death bed, she wanted him to make her his Shikabane Hime. Akasha desperately begged to Geika and he allowed it seeing Hibiki had a gift and if she didn’t become Akasha’s Shikabane Hime, somebody else might use her. So the pair became a formidable team and was even believed to be stronger than Sougen-Kamika pair. Then that fateful day came. Akasha and a handful of other priests walked into a trap set by Hazama. Although taking care of the Shikabanes was easy, just as Akasha confronted Hazama, Hibiki counted she had already killed 108 Shikabanes. So did she go to Heaven? She turned crazy, injured Akasha and killed all the other priests and Shikabane Himes. Akasha couldn’t bear to see this and killed her.

In short, Shikabane Himes who have killed 108 corpses will ascend to Heaven is just a lie. They will turn into a Shikabane who only wishes to kill. When Akasha was grieving at Hibiki’s body at Joubu, he was told by Gon and Honda about this lie. That’s why they have observers who secretly bring Shikabane Himes like her down to Joubu and tell their Contracted Priest they have ascended to Heaven. Otherwise Shikabane Himes wouldn’t have fought so diligently for their Contract Priest. Now that Hibiki has reached this state, she is known as Breaker. She cannot be killed at this stage and will live for eternity. To prevent that, she will have her En cut and sealed in this place which contains all those Shikabane Himes turned into Breakers. The founder’s power keeps them sealed within. Akasha becomes upset about the truth of the eternal hell Hibiki will go through forever. He becomes disappointed and disillusioned with the Kougon Cult whom he had devoted. Gon uses his blood and sacrifice his life to blow up the place and let his fellow comrades escape. Too bad it’s in vain because Hokuto and Akasha are unscathed due to the former’s protection. Honda understands if Ouri and Makina hate him. But that is the reason why Gon had always been trying to avoid using Shikabane Himes as much as possible. Not only they become mindless killing corpses but wander in sadness through eternal hell. Even if Kougon Cult has manipulated them, this doesn’t discount the fact that Akasha killed Keisei. Hokuto attacks but Makina protects Ouri. But to Akasha’s surprise, her wounds start healing. Didn’t their En get cut off? Likewise with all the other fighting Shikabane Himes in the city, they still have the strength to fight back. They don’t need some catalyst to depend for power. They are friends before Contractor Priest-Shikabane Hime relationship and as long their hearts and mind are connected, they can produce as many En they want. That is their true bond.

Episode 12
The other Shikabane Himes realize their precious memories with their Contracted Priests, blah, blah, blah. Cut the chatter and finish off Isaka and Touya. Touya starts pondering about her happiness and death and can’t go any further. The Shikabane Himes realize that after their death, they realize and found happiness. Touya’s own balloon becomes a monster and devours her. The Contracted Priests destroy it. While Isaka laments he wants to continue existing, the Shikabane Himes blast him with all they’ve got. Makina and Hokuto clash once more. Hokuto remains stronger. Akira fires warning shots at them. Akira notes her regret is to kill more bad guys like the one who killed her. That’s why despite knowing the fate of Shikabane Himes, they’ve decided to kill humans. Akira destroys Joubu to reveal an area of coffins that Breakers lie. Akasha becomes emotional when he sees the coffin of Hibiki. He starts reminiscing the past as he realizes he she is the only one for her. Hokuto is even worried about him? She is easier to ‘beat up’ now that Akasha is all over Hibiki. Like yesterday once more. I guess Hokuto got jealous and kills him. Rejected… She reverts back to a Shikabane. Surprisingly that Hazama guy isn’t dead. He whisks Hokuto away. In the aftermath, the Shikabanes in the city are greatly reduced. With Shichisei gone, the remaining Shikabanes will soon lose their power. Honda and Sadahiro make an announcement that since Gon has died, Sadahiro will take over his place and look after Shikabane Himes who have killed 108 corpses and assist in their ascension to Heaven. The rest are to assume that Makina and Ouri went ‘missing’.

Seems now that the truth is out, Makina has no reason to continue killing but has no place to go. Ouri brings her Dairinkan and hopes she will continue to live here as a normal girl. They are surprised to see Ouri’s friends there. They are worried about him ever since the incident at school. Which reminds them about Nozomi’s case. Ouri will explain it all to them later. This prompts Makina to leave because she remembers to do something. Because Nozomi viewed beauty in death and wanted to die, she realizes she was about to do that. She doesn’t want that and wants to live on. When she was alive, she didn’t know about her reason for living and only realized it when she fought with Keisei against other Shikabanes. As for Hokuto, she is not death itself but a corpse. She just forgot about it and will have her remember what it means to live and die. Although humans cannot escape the clutches of death, they can struggle against it. She wants to fight against death because that’s the reason they live. She wants Ouri to come along with her. Makina is able to locate where Hokuto and Hazama are hiding because Hazama is holding a blood box that contains a part of Keisei. Hokuto also senses her and excitedly goes to greet her. As Ouri and Makina make their way into the building, Ouri borrows Keisei’s lines about priests being here for those grieving instead of the dead. He views Makina as alive and not dead because she is truly trying to live. That’s why she is alive. Hokuto ambushes them and the power fight begins. If her Uzis don’t work, Makina uses her fists to punch her. She will beat it into her to make her come to her senses on what it means to be human. Feel the pain! Feel the sadness! Feel that they are alive!

Episode 13 (OVA)
What’s this? A back story on Minai and Isaki? Why go all the way back to tell a story on characters that are long gone? It begins with Minai killing her boyfriend. I guess he was abusive. He even spelled it out right in her face that this will continue till the day she dies. Good thing he died first. Minai stabbed him. Then she committed suicide by jumping down the building. However she wakes up to find herself sprawling in her own blood. Her arm is broken but no pain? Keisei is called by Sougen and the other priests to see Minai. What has he got to do with her? Kamika found a name card bearing his name and she works in a cosplay club. Was Keisei misusing the name of the temple? Sougen thinks it is high time Keisei get his own Shikabane Hime to fight effectively but he doesn’t want to. I guess this leaves them no choice but to kill Minai. However Isaki says to make Minai his. Does he have a bond? He once met her in the streets and she confided in him about her problems. Minai undergoes a ceremony to become Isaki’s Shikabane Hime. Isaki wants her to pick a weapon seeing she needs them to fight Shikabanes. Since she took boxing before, she is confident in her punches. Isaki wants her to demonstrate. She punches him! He flies back! Oh sh*t! How is that for demonstration? On her first job fighting a Shikabane, she hesitated since she still thinks a Shikabane as human. The Shikabane attacks Isaki and he could have died if Keisei and the other priests didn’t come to his rescue. Isaki continues to look down and use Minai as a tool. Keisei tries to explain about En and Run to Minai but Isaki scoffs her off as dumb. Besides, she is already dead, does she need food although her stomach is growling? Meanwhile Honda and Sadahiro discuss about Minai. Honda does not feel any En between Minai and Isaki. There is only one possibility: Minai is not a Shikabane Hime and just a mere Shikabane, a quiet corpse that’s hanging around Isaki. One night, Minai senses a Shikabane and Isaki orders her to go after it. When she finally corners it, the Shikabane turns out to be Akira in disguise. She has just proven that Minai is just a Shikabane because her injuries do not heal even if her Contracted Priest is close by. She is about to take her out to prevent her from turning into a Shikabane when Isaki comes looking for her. Minai’s wound suddenly heals. This catches Akira off guard so she backs out and would like to hold her termination for a while.

When Minai tells Isaki about Akira, he tells her that what Akira said was a lie. Then she starts questioning if they have ever really met because she doesn’t remember meeting him. Isaki hints that he made up that story and wants her to keep quiet about it. Because if the higher ups know about this, they will be separated. In view of this, he needs her help. They sneak into a house whom Isaki believes a Shikabane stops by the Kougon Cult’s temple and takes the form of one of the head priests. There is no one inside the supposed room but when a guy comes out from the toilet behind, Isaki panics! That’s his brother?! He’s scared of big bro? Later Isaki explains that he wanted her to kill him. He considers his brother a trash because the only thing he cares about is sucking up to their parents and get more money. The last straw came when they gave all the inheritance to him. After their dad died, he decided to create a silly temple for Kougon Cult. In order to silence Isaki, he used his contacts and forced him into becoming a priest in Kougon Cult. So he thought he would just claim him as a Shikabane and use Minai to kill him. Therefore, they had no En and never knew each other before she turned into a Shikabane. However at that time he needed one. He wanted to climb the ranks of Kougon Cult and beat his brother. He realized it was impossible with her so he thought he would just at least do in his brother. He tells her to go away and do anything she wishes as she was never his Shikabane Hime to begin with. But she won’t because she is still not done with her punishment. She murdered someone. Then she sees his aura lighting so brightly in the dark and could feel them coming into her. Is this En? She says since she is allowed to go wherever she wants, she wants to be beside him because he too is a sinner like her. Back home, Minai is thrilled that he knows how to make her favourite okonomiyaki food. Honda tells Keisei about Sadahiro’s investigation on Isaki. Because he used to fight a lot with his brother when they’re young, their parents often put Isaki under Sadahiro’s care to separate them. Isaki learnt how the make okonomiyaki from Sadahiro’s bar then. At that time, Minai was also living around the area and as her parents were often busy working, she came by here frequently to have okonomiyaki, in which Isaki cooked for her. Since it happened so long ago, they wouldn’t remember but this is definitely their En and what connects them. Their destiny has been entwined since childhood. Minai and Isaki become a pair as they go around fighting taking out other Shikabanes and Minai is confident to proclaim herself as Isaki’s Shikabane Hime.

A Good Corpse Is A Dead Corpse!
Oh dear. Not one of those crappy endings again. So Makina couldn’t finish off every single one of Shichisei and ends up having a fist fight with Hokuto. Is that a good way to end things? To me, it isn’t. Personally, if they had killed off the remaining Shichisei duo, I would have felt that the ending didn’t suck as much. Why the need to bring Hazama back from the dead (okay, so he is already dead from a technical point of view)? Had he not done so, Makina probably would have finished Hokuto right where she was standing as she was at the transition of her weakest point. My guess is that it is so that Makina would still have some sort of mission to carry on and reason to live. I mean, if all the Shichisei members are dead, where else would she go, right? Her goal fulfilled and she can already go to Heaven. Oh wait. That’s not possible in her case either. So from the way I see it, she will not kill Hokuto and keeps on punching her to keep her realize what it means to be a human being. I thought that too would be futile seeing she is already dead. With Hazama too weak to do anything, I think it is safe to say that Shichisei won’t become a major threat to Kougon Cult in the future. Now that there are only a couple of them left, I think they should consider renaming themselves to Futasei (Twin Stars).

The revelation of the truth about killing 108 corpses to ascend to Heaven brings about more questions than answers. I knew there was going to be some twist somewhere in the series since killing 108 corpses itself sounds very fishy. Thus when it is revealed that Shikabane Himes who achieved this feat do not go to Heaven and turn into a berserk Shikabane itself, it made me think that Shikabane Himes would have it better if they just turned into a Shikabane before that and get killed. Besides, becoming a Breaker means becoming immortal. That’s like becoming God, no? I’m not sure but I feel that this is why many Shikabane Himes die before reaching this number. You may ask if this is the cruel fate of Shikabane Hime, why not do away with this Contracted Priest and Shikabane Hime combo? I somewhat agree too because before making a contract and turning them into corpse killers, just blow their brains and return them to their maker like what they do with ordinary Shikabanes. Doesn’t that solve the problem? Ah, you may think that they need some undead to fight and protect the priest from other rampaging Shikabanes. After all, Shikabane Himes are always at the front lines and taking in whatever damage. So if it was the ordinary priest instead, he would have died. But still, I think turning such girls into Shikabane Hime and do the dirty fighting is still a much crueller deed. I mean, killing every Shikabane is the same, right? Just like zombies, destroy their brains! That can’t be too hard, no? Unless their brains are somewhere hidden in their monstrous deformity. Yeah. Like they would sit still and let you whack their brains, eh? Considering that if this 108 corpses kill lie becomes known, what would become of the existing Shikabane Himes in contract? Would they go on vacation? There is no more motivation to kill anymore. There is no point in racking up the body count if they know what they’re going to end up as. As long as their Contracted Priest is by their side, they’ll retain their humanity. Another mind boggling thing is if Ouri was born from a Shikabane, how come he doesn’t look at all like a toddler? He was 3 years old when Keisei found him and just fresh from putting an end to his mother’s kidnapping spree. Assuming she gave birth to him and died soon after, how did Ouri survived those 3 years then? It can’t be since it’s already mentioned that Ouri was born right after her death.

Each of the Shikabane Himes that we know is unique in their own characteristic and behaviour. Some of them are fun. Like Flesh. Naturally she is an otaku Shikabane Hime so she is always with that carefree attitude even during times of danger. Saki is cheeky, bratty and she loves teasing Rika. Whenever she’s not in action or talking, she can be seen eating tremendous amount of snacks. I’m not sure if she is hungry or just likes to stuff f her mouth. Saki sometimes can be scornful but hesitates to live up to whatever she said. Especially about the part she was talking big about putting Minai out of her misery. Then she hesitated and lost. What does this show? She talks big for a little girl. Oops… Akira is also amusing because of her cynical behaviour. As the only Shikabane Hime allowed to kill humans, I think she is the only one who would punish her master if he steps out of line. Kamika’s seriousness and no-nonsense attitude shows that she is the strongest Shikabane Hime around and not to be messed with. Her few scenes in action are enough to just show us how cool she was. Say, if she really is the strongest one out there, does this mean she will also be the strongest Breaker? I shiver to think about it.

Over the series, we get to see the main relationship between Keisei, Makina and Ouri. Keisei is perhaps the most sporting character because even as a priest, he knows when to be serious and has a comical side. Ouri is lucky to have someone like him being his big brother although the little annoyance of having to put up with porn magazines and posters he offers. Keisei’s pervertness is only second to Umehara. There is this very deep bond and trust between Makina and Keisei. So it is natural when the latter died, Makina finds it hard to trust anyone else. It is no doubt that nobody could ever replace Keisei because Keisei is Keisei for who himself. But Makina found it hard to accept Ouri was perhaps she was afraid that if she did make a new contract with him, she would totally forget about Keisei. This is what makes her stuck in her past and unable to move forward. Once that is gotten over with, everything else just falls into place. Ouri the reluctant kid to have got into it all finally decides not to turn a blind eye and run. He may not be perfect and he has a long way to go in his training but at least he makes an effort in doing his best.

The other side characters are rather okay and I can’t comment on them much either. Like Isaki is somebody you would love to hate for treating Minai like a tool. But he is not that all bad because that is perhaps is his way he shows he cares for her (notice how often he keeps looking for her?). What’s the use of hanging around him if you don’t live up to your usefulness? Sougen, Takamasa and Umehara don’t play very much role but they provide essential support to their organization and the protagonists when needed. I heard Umehara had another Shikabane Hime. Touma was her name, right? Where was she? I read she was on vacation… I guess corpses even need to take some time off. I thought Honda and Gon were conspiring and like some shows, the real bad guys are the ones at the top. Fortunately, they were just trying to protect a secret even though it may make them seem like they are lying, think about when if the truth goes out, havoc will reign because you might have some Shikabane Himes going crazy thinking about the prospect of becoming a Breaker forever and some who wouldn’t give a damn and abandon everything since there is nothing in it for them anymore. Who will be there to assist the priests in fighting Shikabanes then? Akasha became an antagonist because of his method of wanting to free the Shikabane Himes from their curse. Would there have been a better alternative? What else would you have done if you ran out of options? The black cat’s mysterious appearance serves as a teaser to make viewers keep guessing who the hell is this feline and how is it connected to Ouri. Once its true form is revealed, you’ll never see it ever again. What happened to it? They didn’t move on to Heaven, right? From what I understand and saw, they absorbed themselves into Ouri (or his robes) but after that, I don’t see them playing any sort of role or make a whisker of appearance anymore.

One of my little complaints is that the action sometimes doesn’t feel convincing. It looked a little lame. Especially when Makina fires her pair of Uzis away, it felt as though she is firing a paper gun. I am not sure if Uzis are light but the way she wastes bullets on her enemies is like she doesn’t need to expend any effort. And also it feels like she activated some sort of cheat code because her bullets are unlimited and keep flowing forever.  Oddly, I feel that if she had just fired directly at the brains instead of everywhere else over the body (perhaps to weaken the Shikabane, I guess), she wouldn’t have took so long to dispose of one. But of course, if she knows where the brains are in the first place. This shouldn’t be too hard for Shikabanes taking a human form. Otherwise the action is rather decent but there are lots of blood and gory effects. Since you’re dealing with corpses, expect to see some limbs coming off. There are quite a number of deaths too whether unimportant extra characters or some of the supporting characters. Like Keisei’s shocking death is the pivotal one to Isaki’s ‘pathetic’ murder (it’s a shame this guy got easily killed by gangsters rather than die in the line of duty) to poor Nozomi who never got her wished fulfilled (now considering the real truth behind the Shikabane Himes, I think she got lucky going out straight with death) and other personalities that turned into Shikabanes for the first half of the series to give us an idea what we’re going to expect out from this anime. It’s like they’re trying to hint that death is inevitable and part of life’s cycle, which is true. Some of the Shikabanes in their true form are hideous and it gives off that horror feeling. Also when the black cat was around, it’s mysterious presence and subsequently the appearance of eyes all over its body did give me the creeps. Even the next episode preview is narrated by the black cat. So creepy and teasing that I feel if I let my guard down I would be frightened out of my daylights. Thankfully, I didn’t.

Being mainly an action and horror genre, I guess there is no time for some romance. If you are hoping for Makina and Ouri to become a couple in the end, then you better stop dreaming. Don’t even dream. I know love transcends age, race, nationality, etc. But loving the undead? Don’t brush it off yet because even if it is not obviously stated, you can just feel that Ouri may have feelings for Makina. Otherwise why is he so concerned with her? It can’t be just because she was Keisei’s Shikabane Hime and wants to take responsibility for her for partly causing his death. But if Ouri does turn out to like a dead corpse, then I won’t be surprised. After all, I have already seen it all in Sankarea… You thought that with Nozomi admitting her feelings for Ouri, it would go somewhere but too bad she died. I may be paranoid starting to think that Mizuki may harbour feelings for Ouri. But that is totally unwarranted for. They’re just classmates and best friends. That’s it. Perhaps the closest love romance came in the form of Itsuki and Takamasa. Their little flashback was a nice little distraction from our main protagonists. Akasha too loved his Shikabane Hime very much but his flashback was so fast and too short that I only felt his disillusion. So that dude only realized his wrong after he sees her real body? In that case he should’ve kept her corpse with him all the time. I guess his wasn’t a happy ending because when he died, he won’t be reunited with her in Heaven. She’s not there. She’s a cursed immortal. Though comedy isn’t a main factor, it is very minimal just to break the gloominess whether it is Keisei’s perversion, Umehara and Flesh in some useless argument or Saki’s teasing.

The art and drawing are rather okay too. Not that good but it isn’t that bad either. Maybe it is because I have seen too many animes, I thought I started seeing shades of other anime characters in some of them here. For instance, when I first looked at Keisei, I thought he was the more casual version of Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki! No kidding! At a certain angle, he really looks like one. Just that he doesn’t go into angst mode. For Ouri, I thought he was a feebler version of Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn’s Tsuna! Not joking either! At least Tsuna shows more emotions because he panics most of the time but Ouri is short of that. He only blows his top when Keisei forces his perverted materials on him or when the orphanage kids mispronounce and tease his name. Another thing I want to point out is some of the other priests in Kougon Cult especially those bald headed ones. I don’t know, they all look the same to me! I mean, I couldn’t really tell the difference between Gon and Isaki or some other baldy priests except for their voice or some marking on their face (probably this was also done to differentiate them). That’s why I thought characters with hair on their head like Keisei, Sougen, Sadahiro and even Rinsen are identifiable because of the hair on their head. I guess this goes to show the importance of having a hairstyle. Hehehe…

I think I am also paranoid because sometimes I noticed that Makina doesn’t wear any pantsu! Is there any reason for a corpse to be wearing one? Is ‘down there’ rotten? Haha! Just joking. But she does wear bra… What I’m saying is that there are times when the wind precariously blows up her skirt and if you are quick enough, you can see her butt line… What does this tell us? She’s not wearing underneath, right? Even there are a few comments about it that she doesn’t wear any pantsu. Just watch the opening credits animation and spot several of this instances. Because Shikabane Himes look like normal girls, it’s such a waste if you don’t have some fanservice. Whether it is Minai’s tight body suit or the Shikabane Hime’s clothes getting torn during the midst of a fight. Even Rika despite not a Shikabane Hime is here to give us some fanservice. I notice that she is the only female to appear in Kougon Cult and I’m not sure if her lab coat is too tight that it makes her unable to button her dress and leaves her baring her big boobs. I know she’s the medical division but can she walk around like that in such a holy place? Well, maybe the priests here have casted away all their desires… I feel the ending credits animations is also a place for Shikabane Hime fanservice. No wonder Minai who has been gone for so long is even featured here.

I also have a little bit of grouse on the voice acting. I find that Makina and Ouri sound pretty much like dead. Sure, Makina with her character as a corpse but knowing that she isn’t void of emotions, sometimes I feel her speeches lack the emotions to fit that scene. Same case with Ouri. Sure, he was born out from a Shikabane and void of emotions in his early part of his life till get to know death. In both characters, they sounded quite flat in their speeches. Maybe it is because both their seiyuus Nana Akiyama (voice of Makina) and Tatsuya Hasome (Ouri) do not have much voice acting experience or roles. Nana Akiyama’s only other anime role is Ageha in Viper Creed and for Tatsuya Hasome it is only Jou Yokosuka in Rainbow – Nisha Rokubou No Shichirin. I thought Mamiko Noto was the voice behind Minai. They sound close and had this feeling that this wasn’t my favourite seiyuu. Minai is voiced by Yuka Hirata who also doesn’t have a long list of anime roles to her name. The only other anime role I heard her was as Masamune Date in Sengoku Otome Momoiro Paradox. It was really amusing to hear and spot Yui Horie voicing 3 different characters! Yes, 3 of them. As the black cat, she sounded very creepy (kudos to especially how she narrated the next episode preview using this eerie voice). As Kamika she was in serious and no-nonsense mode. As Riko she was the caring big sister. Other casts include Keiji Fujiwara as Keisei (Sven in Black Cat), Chise Nakamura as Itsuki (Megumi in Dragonaut The Resonance), Tokuyoshi Kawashima as Takamasa (William Jones in Emma: A Victorian Romance), Junichi Suwabe as Sadahiro (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Mika Kikuchi as Saki (Mokona in Tsubasa Chronicle), Saeko Chiba as Rika (Natsuki in Mai-HiME), Aoi Yuuki as Saki (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Aya Endou as Flesh (Lisara in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Masaki Terasoma as Umehara (Kanbei in Samurai 7), Tomokazu Sugita as Isaki (Gintoki in Gintama), Hidetoshi Nakamura as Sougen (Gid in To Love-Ru), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Akasha (Ayame in Fruits Basket), Chika Fujimura as Hokuto (Sora in Oh Edo Rocket), Miki Maruyama as Nozomi (Miki in Lemon Angel Project) and Toru Ohkawa as Hazama (Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist).

All the opening and ending themes are sung by Angela. The only opening theme that starts off like a Halloween song, Beautiful Fighter is a rock outfit that befits the action and horror pace of this anime. There are several ending themes. My Story by Angela is the main ending theme for the first half of the season and this moderate rock piece doesn’t sound all too bad. For the second half of the anime, it is Hikari, Sagase Naku Tomo and resembles more of a slow rock. Beginning is a slow piece and has this sad and ominous feel in it and is only played for a couple of episodes in the middle of the series. The only song that is not sung by Angela is The Pale Sands of the Sleeping Star which is sung by Mayumi Iizuka who is the voice of Kun. Also another slow piece filled with sadness in its tune, this is the special ending song for episode 4 of the first season to reflect the sad end that befell on her unfortunate character.

Ironically from this anime’s view, a Shikabane Hime is more alive when she is revived after death than when she was alive. Unfortunately that is only temporary because now we know what really happens when they kill 108 corpses. In that case, why not be like Akira and kill humans too? I mean, humans are the worst sort of creature around, right? Sometimes even worse than Shikabane. Oh, I remember, they can’t kill humans as per their contract. Ever consider changing the contract terms? Besides, maybe Akira herself isn’t excluded from this condition in the first place. Instead of killing Shikabanes, she went round killing humans so this keeps her Shikabane count really low despite being around as a Shikabane Hime for quite some time.

At this rate with the human population already breaching the 7 billion barrier and is expected to rise rapidly in the coming years, I fear that with the technological advances, modern conveniences and materialistic wealth would only cause more Shikabanes to emerge. People these days too tend to be short tempered, greedy and apathetic to others so if the human race was massacred, it will spawn a new huge wave of Shikabanes. Even though that already is the end of humanity itself. The way I see it, to prevent humans from turning into one, there are only 2 options: 1) Throw away all your worldly desires and live life to the fullest without regret; 2) Live forever. I guess both are impossible to do, eh? That’s why for now I want to watch as many animes as I want before leaving this world so as not to have any sort of otaku regret. But just in case a Shikabane comes knocking on my door and I have no hot Shikabane Hime to rescue me, I am thinking of practising playing Resident Evil games to blow off zombies’ brain. I have also taken the liberty to prepare a garlic garland, a sharp wooden stake, a cross, some silver bullets and holy water. Oh… I think those are weaknesses for vampires. Oh shiiiii…!!!

Finally after all these years of waiting, the end has finally come. Or at least that is what the name in the title suggests. When Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu ~Finale~ came out late in 2012, I guess I was in a way relieved to see that they would be bringing a close to another one of those animes that spanned a couple of seasons but left hanging as to whether our main couple would officially end up together or not. Don’t worry. This finale will answer that question. Instead of turning it into a TV series, the finale is made into a 4 episode OVA. I suppose this cuts out all the unnecessary fillers and get to things as we hit the final stretch.

For the uninitiated, this series is about this guy, Yuuto Ayase who meets Haruka Nogizaka. A seemingly perfect lady-like girl from his school harbours a deep secret: She is into the otaku culture of anime, manga and games. If anyone finds out about it, you can imagine the scandal and how bad the family name is tarnished. So Haruka relies on Yuuto help out with her secret hobby as they grow closer to each other. Of course with other characters like Haruka’s cheeky little sister Mika and her personal maids always spying on her and a love triangle threatening to throw their delicate relationship into chaos, is it all worth it to keep something like this a secret? For Yuuto and Haruka, I think they know what is more important to them.

Episode 1
Shiina waits with baited breath near the school gates. She tells herself this is the day she will do it. This is where their future begins. Just when she is about to speak to her wanted man, to her dismay she sees Yuuto walking in and talking with Haruka. He didn’t even see her. I guess the plan is yet again postponed. Back at Yuuto’s home, he was expecting everyone to discuss about their upcoming field trip at Hokkaido. What he didn’t expect was that it turned out to be a party! He’s the only guy. The rest are all girls. Haruka, little sister Mika, Shiina and her friends, the maids, big sister and the drunkard teacher. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? True enough, they start fooling around instead of discussing the necessary. Haruka gives him her guidebook (horrible drawing still, eh?) to him but Shiina doesn’t feel comfortable seeing how close those 2 are. The highlight of the night is King Game. Somehow, God must be cruel because for almost every turn, Yuuto’s number gets called. He has to do ambiguously perverted looking acts on the girls. Shiina lamenting when she will be called finally gets her turn. It might be the best one yet because the king’s order was to play newlyweds. While Yuuto is totally embarrassed, Shiina seems to be enjoying it. I think Haruka is worried too. The final King Game is the ultimate one. A steamy kiss. Guess who is the lucky guy? Oh heck. Yuuto is the only guy! So who is going to be the lucky girl? Drum roll please… It’s… YUKARI! Oh sh*t! Drunk teacher tries to seduce him into giving her a kiss. I don’t know how but perhaps out of desperation, Yuuto slips out with some body substitution technique and let her kiss a frog doll. It won’t turn into a prince, I guarantee. Everybody else teases Haruka and Shiina because before Yukari was going in for the kill, they screamed out for this kissing act to stop.

The gang are enjoying their Hokkaido trip. As usual the Baka Trio are trying to flirt around with local busty babes. Shiina wanted to be with Yuuto but it’s not her day as her friends forcefully take her along. So it’s Yuuto x Haruka time. They spend time at the cookie factory and the pastures while Mika and the maids spy on them. Since they’re being found out (that cow suit was a dead giveaway) they do not hesitate that they will always follow them wherever they go. Because they are ‘worried’. Can you say ‘worried’ with a smile on your face? There are close moments between Yuuto and Haruka (wiping off cream from their face) and accidental perverted situations (Yuuto was riding a horse with Haruka, she rode faster and he had to grab on to her boobs!). At the end of the day, Haruka hopes they can go out like this again (after a lot of flustering). Shiina waits for Yuuto to return at the hotel’s lobby. I guess it’s really not her day. She waited for a long time and what does she get? Yuuto walking in with Haruka? Is she going to postpone it again? While soaking in the public bath, she remembers all the times and close encounters with Yuuto (past season scenes to jog your memory). After that, she has finally decided. She calls Yuuto out to talk to him. She finally confesses she loves him. Oh! How long has it been? Two seasons? Several years later? Guess what? Haruka who was looking for Shiina to return her handphone she left behind at the bath heard everything. No use hiding it now. Shiina respects her as a friend but she can no longer run away and lie to herself anymore. She can’t back down now and refuse to lose. Shiina doesn’t expect Yuuto to answer soon but hopes he will consider about it. Poor Haruka. Teary eyed, broken hearted.

Episode 2
The trio can’t sleep. For different reasons of course. Shiina is so happy she got that off her chest. Haruka and Yuuto probably still reeling from that shock confession. The Baka Trio watching porn… It becomes awkward between Haruka and Yuuto the next day at the zoo (Yukari: “Don’t go disturb the monkeys and capybaras mating”). Mika and the maids know something is wrong because Haruka hasn’t been smiling and kidnap Yuuto to make him spill the beans! Hazuki wants to use her chainsaw to cut it out from him if he doesn’t speak! Though Yuuto didn’t clearly go into specifics, they know it is him to blame. But they realize he is serious when he wants to be left alone for now. They go bug Haruka and she tells them everything. Haruka doesn’t know what to do and her dilemma is whether Shiina’s feelings for Yuuto are the same as hers. Hazuki advises her that only she can solve this one herself. Haruka tries to talk to Yuuto but he always ‘disappears’. Till she receives encouragement of a video promo of her favourite Nocturne Lacrosse anime that she decides to do her best. Just when she is about this close to talk to Yuuto, here comes Shiina. She offers to take him on a tour of the place since this is her hometown. It’s better than some guidebook. Oh dear. Looks like it’s not Haruka’s day. Shiina’s revenge. Haruka becomes distraught and realizes she wants Yuuto to always be by her side (flashback of important scenes together with him to jog your memory). Mika and the maids spy on Yuuto the traitor with Shiina. Hazuki wants to cut Yuuto up. Mika gives her permission. But it’s not so fast from Nanami. It isn’t certain Yuuto has already decided so let’s have faith in them. Otherwise, she already has Alice stationed at the rooftop ready to snipe and take out Yuuto! Holy sh*t!!! At the end of the day, Yuuto sees Haruka’s guidebook and reads her heartfelt comments in it. Then he realizes and needs to tell Shiina something. Oh no. She knows that look on his face. She knows what is coming. I guess her joy was short-lived.

Yuuto rushes off to find Haruka and when he does, he tells her he already gave Shiina his reply. Then he goes on telling her that there is this someone he always wanted to be with from the very first day they met. Yuuto confesses he loves Haruka. That’s good news, right? Haruka is so happy that she replies him that she loves him and always wants to be with him from now on. Yuuto suggests that they keep this a secret since everyone will make a big fuss about it. Haruka agrees since it will be their exclusive secret. It could have ended with a kiss if not for the magnificent fireworks disrupting. When they have returned home, Mika and the maids have a big smirk on their faces. They know what has happened and no use trying to hide it. I guess Yuuto and Haruka aren’t good liars to begin with. See their body action? Mika wants them to spill out what they have already done. None? She thinks Yuuto is old fashioned for not having hug or kiss Haruka yet. Then she asks what does big sister want from him? There is one thing she always wanted. After all that flustering and stammering, she finally reveals she has always wanted to make babies with Yuuto! OMG! Did we hear that right? Does she understand what she just said? Even cheeky Mika is so shocked? Does this mean they’re going to jump into sex?! Well… Apparently what Haruka meant was she wanted to start a doujin circle with Yuuto. Doujin creations = babies. Oh… Are you relieved or disappointed? This year’s summer Comiket is in August and she thought they could participate in this one together. Yuuto agrees to help. And she should stop referring to it as making babies…

Episode 3
Haruka wants to make a game for the Comiket. Yuuto seeks Nobunaga’s help so he gives him all the easy software for first time programmers. Yuuto and Haruka get to work on their scenario. Mika and the maids eavesdrop outside and they hear ambiguous lines such as “Don’t stare at it too much”, “This is embarrassing” and “Don’t hide it. Let me look closely”. Enough to make your mind run wild. So when the busybodies barge in, it seems they’re just discussing their script. Disappointed? Mika is here to give Haruka her mail. Seems she is eligible to participate in Comiket. One day as Haruka and Yuuto are walking together, Haruka suddenly is stricken in fear when she sees the girls from her previous school, Seijukan Girls Academy coming from the opposite direction. She had a torrid time back then because she was shunned by everyone when her hobby was discovered. Though she still feels sad about that incident, she is glad now that she can be proud of her hobbies. The duo finally finish their game. Yuuto accidentally trip and falls over Haruka on her bed. Mika and the maids waltz in. She really thinks Haruka wants to make real babies. At Comiket, Yuuto and Haruka’s booth doesn’t have many customers. At least an old fan still stops by to check out her work. Yuuto goes to thank Nobunaga for helping out and it seems there are several girls who were looking for Haruka’s circle so he thought Yuuto could bring them back to her. When Yuuto brings them to Haruka, she once more becomes stricken with fear. She starts crying and runs away with Yuuto close behind. As Yuuto finds out, those were her best friends at Seijukan and were always together. But when her secret was out, they stopped befriending her and she was devastated. Yuuto says that this is only something she can solve on her own though he will always be supporting her. He believes in her so she should believe in herself.

Haruka gets the confidence to resolve her past and face those girls. The girls admit though they were shocked to learn about Haruka’s hobbies at first, that was just it and didn’t really want to isolate her. Because Setsugetsuka Tennouji told them and everyone else not mix with her. Since everybody was afraid of that Empress, they had no choice but to abide by it no matter how much they didn’t want to. She also made others do terrible things to her. They want to apologize although it has taken this long. Haruka is sad that she felt hurt and lonely through those years. But because of that, she found something irreplaceable and someone who is more precious than anything (hinting Yuuto). That’s why she forgives them. The girls emotionally hug each other and bury the hatchet. With them helping out her booth and Nobunaga’s advertising, their game was sold out. Haruka shouts out towards the sea of all the things she loves. Anime. Manga. Games. Mamiko Noto (WTF – but me too!). And of course, Yuuto. He too reciprocates by shouting out he loves her. She accidentally trips, which is pretty convenient because he gets to catch her and they both hug. Not knowing the usual suspects are spying and enjoying their lovey-dovey moment. Yuuto is resting back home when he is alerted by his handphone tone! The one whereby he shouted out loud he loves Haruka! Gosh. How the heck did Mika rig it?! More importantly, Mika is in a panic because Haruka is missing. The maids are looking for her but to no avail. Yuuto is about to leave when he gets a call from Haruka’s mom, Akiho. She knows about Haruka’s whereabouts because she is going to be married off soon. Say what? She is grateful for him being friends with her but now wants him to forget Haruka. She gets straight with him. What can he do for her? As a member of the Nogizaka family, they are aiming to insure her future. Can he provide the life she deserves? Can he protect her when he doesn’t have the power to do so? Since he is speechless, it’s goodbye for good then. Click. No…

Episode 4
Akiho is in cohorts with Setsugetsuka. Haruka will be married to Tennouji’s second eldest son, Rodriguez.  With this, Setsugetsuka assures that victory is hers. Morning comes. Yuuto decides to go see Haruka to ascertain her feelings. But he is not going alone because he’s got the support of Mika and the entire Nogizaka household maids to tag along. And off they go to Happy Spring Island. Once more, Yuuto can’t understand why the heck should Shiina, her friends, his friends, his sister and Yukari tag along!!! The more the merrier?! So as everyone parachutes down the island, they know they’re going to be met with resistance from the Hellhound SPs. As they make their way to the chapel where Haruka is waiting, the enemies come in waves so Yuuto’s group gets thinned out as everyone plays their part to stop the Hellhounds and make way for Yuuto to advance. Even the Baka Trio and Nobunaga offer to fight them! Seriously?! They want to show that they are not useless after all? Well, we don’t get to see how they fight but if the SPs do lose to them, it just either shows they’re a useless bunch of personnel or that the friends were just hiding their martial arts talent. Finally it is only Yuuto and Mika left and the final obstacle preventing him from reaching Haruka just over the other side is Gentou. He is serious in wanting to see Yuuto’s resolve that he doesn’t hold back his punches! Can this weak kid really stand up to this big and strong daddy? So serious that Mika can’t even butt in and was made to shut up and watch. If he really wants to see Haruka, he must get through him first. Haruka isn’t going to be a sitting duck and wait for her prince to rescue because she too fights the personnel guarding her to go meet Yuuto. However she too is faced with a trial: Akiho. She wants Haruka to show her resolve.

Gentou dominates the fist fight as he mocks Yuuto the weakling he is and he can’t believe this kind of power he has will protect Haruka. Till he starts badmouthing Haruka that she is a disgrace to the family. This works Yuuto up and he gets enough strength to stand up despite being beaten up so badly. His punches are still weak but he won’t back down. Here are more punches from Gentou then. Oddly for Mika despite watching in tears, she can’t help feel that somehow the guys are having fun punching each other. The only downside is that age may be catching up with the old guy so he is starting to tire out. Gentou asks what Haruka is to him. Yuuto’s answer is that she is everything. There is nothing left to be said and wants him to give him all he’s got. Yuuto hits him with all he’s got (including his love for Haruka) and despite this just cracks Gentou’s sunglasses, he admits defeat and praises a beautiful punch he has thrown. He allows him to pass. Over to the other side, Haruka has also won her match against Akiho. For the first time (at least in this episode), Yuuto and Haruka emotionally reunite and hug each other. What’s this?! Suddenly everybody, friend and foe start applauding our lovebird’s heroic efforts?! Is this all a show?! But the only one not laughing is Setsugetsuka. She wants to know the meaning of this. Akiho apologizes for the inconvenience and explains all this was just to test the bond between Haruka and Yuuto as this is part of the Nogizaka family tradition. But Setsugetsuka is still not pleased. Because it ruined her plans to take over as the head of the Tennouji family by expelling a certain annoying girl with the backing of Nogizaka family’s power. She orders her premier security Cereberus to the fore but nobody responds. Then come forth Touka! She claims her subordinates have already taken care of them. Touka is going to grill Setsugetsuka, the former family head for this secrecy in becoming the next family head. Wow. Setsugetsuka is so panicky right now. She’s done for. In the final scenes, Yuuto and Haruka get married. Clumsy Haruka slips so Yuuto ends up grabbing her boobs. This made Gentou lose his temper and wants to chop him up! I guess daddy still can’t let go of his girl… Lastly, it’s all not lost for Shiina because I think she found a new love… I think it’s that guy from Comiket who sat next to Haruka’s booth. Yuuto and Haruka kiss and promise to have more secrets together.

It’s No Longer A Secret!
The end for good? Seems like it. After coming a long way it is good to see that Yuuto and Haruka will finally be together forever. After all, those who have been watching the previous seasons (like yours truly) must be waiting excruciatingly because for all the close hinting-hinting moments together and if they don’t end up married or at least an official couple, we’re going to scream that we’ve been ripped off. Their marriage finally seals it. Although the final wedding scene seems to be rushed but I feel that it is good since you don’t want to spend another episode just to watch all the drama in preparations for their wedding, right? Besides, didn’t many viewers of some American reality star celebrity complain about how they were ‘forced’ to sit through some wedding preparations that unfortunately ended up in the couple in divorce? The one whereby everybody was saying the wedding ceremony was longer than the days they stayed together. You know what I mean.

As said, the OVAs don’t stall in trying to reach this conclusion so for most scenes you see, it might feel a little too fast. Like when Shiina got her turn in ‘dating’ Yuuto, it didn’t even last an entire episode. Just half. It was like they wanted to get her out of the way as soon as possible so that we can continue focusing on the relationship between Yuuto and Haruka. That is what this show is all about, right? Then the final ‘battle’ scene that felt like bringing together all the other side supporting characters in the series to show their few seconds worth of screen time also felt a bit in a hurry. Who wants to see maids, high school boys and young woman fight a bunch of useless SPs when you know the outcome is already so obvious. Thus it is all about the showdown between Yuuto and his future father-in-law and his resolve over Haruka. I think that the last bit of setup was necessary because knowing Yuuto and Haruka, they would have been dragging their feet on their relationship without making much headway. Therefore this fake marriage setup was to give them the extra push and make the all important decision. Thankfully, it worked.

Besides Yuuto and Haruka, the other characters are fun and amusing in their own way as always. Mika and her maids always have fun in teasing them. If Mika can’t have Yuuto as her boyfriend, at least she is now related to him as her brother-in-law. It’s amusing to see Nanami, Hazuki and Alice pull out weapons bigger than they can hide from wherever they conceal them. Nanami’s hammer, Hazuki’s chainsaw and Alice’s sword perhaps serve as just a warning as I have yet to see them really use it on somebody ;p. We know Shiina didn’t get the happy ending she wanted although in the end she has found her own new love. At least she had some precious moments with Yuuto and I wouldn’t consider all those moments they had were in vain because it made Yuuto finally realize whom he loves more and wants to be with. At least he is better than some male protagonists who remain undecided. Worst than those even aiming for a harem ending. Haha! Yuuto’s sister and Yukari continue to be drunkards but they can get their job done when the time calls for it. Just that Yukari is still the same perverted teacher and I worry if she’s teaching her class the right things. The Baka Trio surprisingly show us that they aren’t just useless perverts in the end. All their unimportant appearance in the past just to build up for this important friendship thingy? I doubt it.

When they introduced Setsugetsuka which I believe I have never heard of her, she looked so familiar at first. Then I remembered her surname. Sounded like somebody familiar. It hit me. Where the heck is that tsundere Touka girl anyway? It’s a small world after all. Who would know that they’re sisters? I guess Touka’s final appearance was just to get this b*tch ff Yuuto and Haruka for good. I figure that Yuuto’s feelings for Haruka now burning stronger than ever, even Touka must give up her love for him. Hey, she’s tsundere so she has never admitted her love to him and there’s nothing to worry about. I don’t know why Setsugetsuka hates Haruka so much even till today she couldn’t get over it. Did Haruka do something bad then? Not that I care now that Setsugetsuka has been put away for good. I was even wondering about Gentou and Akiho’s appearance. If they would even appear at all. True enough, they became ‘final stage bosses’ for Yuuto and Haruka to clear. Now that they have cleared the final stage, they’ve been rightfully rewarded with each other, eh? The only character that didn’t appear in here is that idol, Milan.

The OVA still maintains a little fanservice and jokes that we are familiar with during the TV series and not lose sight of its main focus. There are even a handful of anime trivia for us to spot especially the one at Comiket whereby Mika, Nanami and Hazuki were dressed as anime characters from Accel World, Sword Art Online and To Aru Majutsu No Index. Even the next episode preview, hosted by Mika and Nanami, they are dressed in some anime costume. I could only guess Detective Conan… So with the chapter on this series having coming to a close, we see Haruka not embarrassed to hide her otaku hobbies anymore. She has accepted to embrace it and not fear if someone would judge her for who she is based on that. Besides, it is her hobby and not that person’s, right? Say anything you want, she does what she wants as long as she’s happy with it. Now she has moved on with more embarrassing secrets to hide with Yuuto. Want to make a guess what they will be? Maybe this time she’ll be making babies with Yuuto for real. Shhhh! That’s a secret ;p.

Ai Mai Mi

July 5, 2013

Drugs. I have never touched one in my entire life nor will I plan to take them. As I understand, drugs make you go high, that very happy delusional feeling, see illusions, lose sense and touch of reality and each intake you take you crave for more dosage in the next till it kills you. Before you start wondering what the hell this anime blog has to do with drugs, just to let you know that Ai Mai Mi although is a very short anime lasting only 3 minutes per episode, each episode feels like it is on drugs. Silly. Fun. Nonsense. Happy. WTF moments. Mmmm… Need more… But wouldn’t it be detrimental for your health the more you want to see this?

I don’t even know what the main plot of this anime is except that it involves 3 protagonist girls whose names are already in the title. What they do or will be doing is anyone’s guess. Everything here is just weird. Even that feels like an understatement. Each episode sees the girl in something random. So random and nonsensical that even though this may be the series’ funny points, it feels like anime on drugs. Watch another short anime series, Teekyuu if you want to know what I mean. Also, you can also guess how ‘sick’ this anime is going to be when the opening narration gives a very long winded excuse-cum-complaint that nobody will ever care about why this anime was made. I don’t know there were 13 silly excuses for this show to be made. In fact, maybe everything is to be blamed for making this series. In addition, in the first half of that you see a girl vomiting and blood spilling out of her holes and for the second half, that girl crazily licks a salamander!!!!!!!!!! FFFFUUUUUUU!!!!! Funny? Disgusting? Crazy? Sick? Go watch and decide.

Episode 1
Mi throws a cucumber at a kappa but it accidentally breaks its head! Mai complains she can’t concentrate on her manga work so Ai tells them they’ll be dirt rich when their manga sells. They pour cold water on that idea and think they should be more realistic. To Ai’s horror, they take out her notebook where she drew mages and knights as reference. They start reading that fantasy world aloud much to Ai’s embarrassment. Mai and Mi discuss and laugh about ‘swinging’ in a party. Ai thought they don’t even know what it means. They do. It’s some strange animal from South Africa, right? How about a sexually transmitted disease? Ai explains to them that it means the height of the party. However their senior Ponoka is devastated because she always thought it is some legendary comedian named Enmo Takenawa who sucked his partner’s nipple until they died on 24-hour TV. WTF?! Anyway that guy doesn’t exist…

Episode 2
Yamu the forest dweller gives the girls money to buy drinks. How kind. Till the policeman takes this fish sh*t away thinking it belongs to the girls and they illegally parked it. That’s the last and only time they encounter this magical creature. Mai and Mi seem to be cursing Ai who is hard at work finishing her manuscript. Suddenly Mai collapses because someone nearby is hardworking. This causes Mi to violently react to Ai that drawing manga is equivalent to being a murderer. Ai is unfazed while continuing to do her work as Mi beats her up to the point of pouring mayonnaise over her body!!! Mai can’t bear to see Mi turn into the killer and gives in. Mai… NOOOOOO!!!!! Ai finishes her manga and sells them at the doujinshi fair while Mai died. Mai… NOOOOOO!!!!!

Episode 3
Mai revives in this episode because now she has turned into a cyborg! A drawing cyborg. Yesterday when she was on her way home, she bumped into a girl named Alyssa London who challenged her to a manga battle. Mai ran away since she didn’t have a pen but since she doesn’t want to lose, she turned into a cyborg. The trio go to meet Alyssa. Mai and Mi think she did not notice them and spring a surprise attack only to be swiftly taken out in a blow. Alyssa notices Ai’s pen callous on her fingers. She recognizes her talents and will give her half the world if she works for her. But before that she will test her. Alyssa lunges at Ai but before she could beat her up, some weird dude named Nakanishi offers to get himself beaten up since he is a masochist. Ai takes her friends and escape while Nakanishi is beaten to a pulp till he turns into mochi.

Episode 4
Mi will demonstrate turning her left arm into steel. Mi hits it with a baseball bat as hard as she could. Her arm is broken… Oh sh*t! Mi talks to Mai about courage and since she has so much of them, she can never get scared. Life has become so boring that she wants to feel scared. Mai offers to test her courage but since breaking her arm won’t proof anything, Mi will jump in front of a car and then jump away the last minute. Mai supports her. You mean she’s not going to stop her? Mi hides behind the bushes before popping up in front of a car and dives away at the last second. All goes well but she didn’t take into account that there is a truck coming from the other direction! Bam! Since the driver is asleep, Mi stretches her limbs to serve as break. Now they are elongated. Dhalsim? Mai is terrified Mi has turned into some reptile.

Episode 5
Mai and Mi feel lethargic so Ponoka injects some pendrive booster in their brain. It’s getting error messages! Mai restrains Ai while Mi is going to whack her with a bat. But smart Ai flips over and lets Mai get hit in the gut. Ouch… No time for fighting since Ponoka points out their class is in some time warp. The only way out is through a pot and it only fits 1 person. So as the selfish girls fight over it, Ai sneakily sneaks into the pot herself. She ends up in a wrong world whereby her friends destroy the planet with their super power. Just as she thought she returned to her original world with her friends getting along, in actual fact she is trapped in some weird dimension. Ai hasn’t come home since…

Episode 6
Mi sings some delusional song… Don’t ever try this out. It looks and sounds stupid!!! Ponoka learns that Mi is so addicted to online games that she hasn’t been attending school. They visit her house to see her stuck to the screen. Her place is in a mess. Since she won’t respond to them, they decide to go online to search for her. It seems everybody is excluding themselves from Mi. She won’t leave till she has her pervy chat with the female middle school elf. When she is told about the exclusion, Mi collapses from shock. Since her face is turning blue like an eggplant, Ponoka puts her into a pot (like a pickle?) and then dries her. She returned to normal. WTF…

Episode 7
The girls see an abandoned cat. Evil Mai and Mi think of abusing it???!!! Anyway they take a liking for it and start playing with it. Ai is worried if they’ll be able to take care of it properly so they tell Ai to adopt it. However Ai prefers dog so this prompts them to suggest shoving the cat down the river! Then they blame Ai for being heartless!!! Ai punches them good. In the end, Mai and Mi take good care of it. After they buy cat food for it, Mi tricks Ai and Mai that Ponoka wants to talk to them. Then the evil glare in her eye… Oh no… Ai realizes she has been tricked when Ponoka isn’t around. She returns to see… Mi eating the cat food! She loves cat food?! This takes care of her snacks?! Mi is sent flowing down the river… Sicko…

Episode 8
Ponoka introduces Mai to a comfortable pot she can sit in. It costs 800 Yen. Mai rolls away in it! Mi thinks Ai has been acting all high and mighty and stabs her with a knife!!! OMG! Turns out to be a toy knife. Ai then locks them in a cage but the duo ignore her. Mi is eating her snacks so Ai tries to vacuum it away. Mi uses her mouth to block but ends up getting all her guts sucked out!!! Gross!!! When Ponoka comes in, it seems the duo in the cage still refuse to draw manga. Ponoka uses her zapping stick to zap Mi to make her draw. However she remains stubborn. In the end, they relent and Mi is turned into some unrecognizable burnt charcoal crisp. Anyway not a single manuscript was finished.

Episode 9
The trio tail Ponoka to find out her secret. At a field, she makes a handstand and starts spinning like a water sprinkler! The wilted flowers came back to life and it attracted animals!!! Ai is discussing their duties for the doujinshi fair but all Mai can think is to attend FX live. Actually, she wants to see faces of people who sank all their money into FX. Then Ponoka comes in. That’s a weird face she is putting up. Could it be she spent all her money on FX? Mai’s ‘radar’ detects it is so and thinks she liquidated quite a lot. Mai and Mi do funny faces at her but no reaction. Ai feels sorry for her and even sorrier when Mi asks the question directly to her. Then Ponoka starts spewing foam and bubble before passing out. Since it looks fluffy and comfortable, Mai and Mi jump in and enjoy the cushion. Ai wanted to join in too but is trying hard to restrain herself…

Episode 10
A dog suddenly pops up in class. Mai thinks the dog’s purpose is to relieve those who are heartbroken or in tears from overwhelming debt. Using it this way they could rid the world of sadness! And so Mai and Mi gather up lots of dogs. Make that mad dogs… They order them to enter everyone’s house and break the chains of despair! Of course we know it’ll turn out to be one big carnage. And the duo think they’re doing a good job. Then the duo walk their dog across several landmarks. Ai gets a distressed call from Mi. It seems they have been walking the dog for 3 consecutive days! Mai is not giving up. Where are they? New Jersey, USA. How did they cross the Pacific Ocean anyway?

Episode 11
A kappa beats up Mai to a pulp. Why? Because Mai poured cement into the river! We turn to a folktale called Butter Trance Hermit. Long ago there lived a useless girl named Mi. Spoilt girl. She believes there will be a time for her to go on a trip so her happy parents gave her cash and let her go. Mi thought they never loved her so she waited for them to sleep before coating their house with butter so that the bugs will eat them. Once done, she started dancing in a trance for 30 minutes, happy that her revenge is exacted. A horse came by and wanted to join the fun but since Mi didn’t excel in communicating with others, she shoos the horse away. With that, Mi lives in the forest and lives the rest of her miserable life by threatening those who dump their porn at the mountains.

Episode 12
Mi burns Ai’s pamphlet that she put her heart and soul in it! Mai thought this contraption that made Mi look like a monster, is cool. Ai wanted to rubbish her but Mi tells her monsters are like Santa Claus to Mai and not to crush her dream. Ai is forced to make up a story of a monster she saw. What the heck is this Bankegon? It goes “Moboo…”??? Yeah, Mai and Mi are curious to see this monster. Ai takes them down to the river bank to show them. The monster turns out to be Ponoka in a suit. But then the real monster grabs and devours her!!! OMG! Bloody death!!! Mai is in awe (taking photos), Mi is scared stiff (wet her pants) and Ai is trying to convince them to save Ponoka (why not do it herself?). Ponoka in her last ditch attempt throws a jar to them to destroy the monster but Mai won’t do it because she loves Bankegon! Ultimately the monster grabs and eats all of them! Bloody death!!! Now you wish somebody killed this thing, eh? Moboo~

Episode 13
Mi wakes up to find human-faced dogs inviting her to cross a river to eat nagashi somen. In actual fact, Mi is in comatose state and is on life support!!! NO!!! Mi! Come back!!! It all began when Mi was doing something stupid on world class level with a double tuna sandwich on her face. Don’t even ask. Shorty, she collapses and ever since has been in this state. Ai and Mai are devastated by her side, pleading her to come back. Even some weird called Lucas Akimoto is here. I don’t know who the heck he is but is somebody whom Mi admires. ‘Moonwalking’ isn’t he? Ai is so desperate that she allows Mi to get mean on her. And then… The heart beat stops… NOOOOO!!! MI!!!! Suddenly Ponoka comes in and has a remedy. She throws Mi into a pot. A few seconds later, Mi revives and running around healthily!!! WTF???!!! Don’t care! Don’t ask! She’s back and that is all that matters! Amazing…

No, that wasn’t a typo error. By the time I finished 40 minutes of my life on this anime, I have already become as silly as the protagonists in this anime. See? How terrible drugs are? But thankfully I don’t crave for anymore episodes nor have I become an addict to such silliness. Leaving out the drugs part, if you ask me, I feel that this series is rather okay if you want some random nonsense to laugh about after a stressful day. No convoluted plots, no deep characters, no sophisticated art or music or anything else. You just leave your brains safe somewhere, watch and enjoy this, laugh like an idiot, bring your brain back and forget about the whole thing. Yeah. Don’t you feel wonderful now? Thank goodness I still have my sanity and haven’t fallen into delusion.

There is nothing much to be said about the characters as they are just as they are. Mai and Mi are the main troublemakers of the pack although Mi is the more mischievous one followed by Mai. They are crazy in just doing about anything and sometimes you feel sorry for Ai who gets dragged into their pace and tries hard not to be absorbed by them. I guess she is sanest of them all but it is hard to keep your sanity when you have a couple of wackos as friends. Ponoka could have been a great addition to the insane friends and upgrade the Baka Trio nickname that I have given to the Fab Four. Oops. Ponoka’s pot I feel is the most useful and nonsensical item in the series. It can do anything. Seriously. Bring some online addict back to reality? Time travel? Best of all, bring the dead back! All the other side characters don’t matter. Really. Do you care about what happened to Yamu? Or Alyssa? Or who the heck is that Lucas dude? His Moonwalk sucks by the way. Bankegon is the coolest character because he ate up our main girls without mercy. Haha!

The drawing and art may be simple, cute and at points crazy and exaggerating but I guess this is what this anime is all about. With drugs enhanced… The ending credits feels like video game retro as we see the animation in frenzy. Everything so fast. Too fast. The pixelated animation really does bring back that retro video game feel. So Game over, eh? So do you really want to continue? Players are given 3 lives every time they start playing a game. I wonder why… Maybe that is why Mi came back to life. Maybe that is why when the girls die, they somehow comeback alive in the next episode like as though their previous death did not have any bearing at all. I will believe that cheat codes will resurrect a dead person back to life. But not pots!

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