Tamako Market

August 25, 2013

At first they made a group of cute girls and formed them into a rock band. After that they made them into soldiers and went to war in a post apocalyptic world. Now, they have become part of the everyday life of a shopping district and one of them is a mochi maker’s daughter! Everyone who has watched Tamako Market would clearly identify at how similar the characters in this series would resemble to those in K-ON! Why not? Both shows were made by Kyoto Animation. Heck, some even joked that Tamako Market is the reason why K-ON! is not getting a third season! A replacement for K-ON! I presume? Besides the very familiar art of the characters, the story differs. In fact, I couldn’t really say there is a definite plot in this show because it focuses on the everyday life of a mochi maker’s daughter, Tamako Kitashirakawa, her friends and those around her. Seems like the usual nothing-much-happens day-to-day in life anime. But wait. There is a talking bird! Say what? Yes, a fat talking bird! How is that to spice things up? K-ON! never did have a talking anime, right? And no, Azunyan is not an animal to begin with! There are happy moments, funny moments and moments that touch the heart as they go about in life. You can find it all here under this anime. Well, most of it.

Episode 1
Tamako makes her round through Usagiyama Shopping District. As she is at the florist, a peculiar flower caught her eye. More precisely, there is a bird wedged between the flowers! She got the scare of the life when the bird jumps out and hugs her face! She sneezes it away. The odd part… The bird is talking! He thinks Tamako is falling for him! Dream on! And so the bird continues to ride on Tamako’s head. Is this some sort of hat? Everyone sure thought she had bought a bird. She returns to her shop and meets her childhood friend, Mochizou Ooji. Seems their dads who are both mochi makers are in yet another petty argument. Mochizou’s dad has just changed his shop’s name and signboard to a more westernized one. While they’re at it, they accidentally knock out the bird. They take him in to treat him and of course they are shock that he can talk. How often do you get to hear a bird talk? No, not parrots. This bird introduces himself as Dera Mochimazui and has crossed oceans, leaving his country to search a bride for his prince. If a bird can talk, what are the chances this tall tale is true too? Dera seems to take a liking for Tamako because in his country, sneezing at somebody shows deep affection. So this so called educated bird is in a dilemma to accept her love or not. Why don’t we throw him out when we’ve still got the chance? However her father is more concerned with Dera’s name because Mochimazui means “yucky mochi”! That night Tamako brings her little sister Anko to the public bath. They meet Mochizou on his way out and Tamako reminds him not to forget to give a present for her birthday this time. Mochizou spots Dera wandering around in the cold and is forced to bring him inside the public bath. Despites his pleas not to talk, Dera isn’t shy in hiding his identity. Yeah, the old bath house owner is impressed with the talking bird. Dera loves the warmth and loves it even more when he sees the women’s section. He flies over but Tamako throws him back. Ouch. And so Dera ends up sleeping with Mochizou in his bed…

Tamako heads off for her club activities and talks to her friends, Midori Tokiwa and Kanna Makino. They discuss what Tamako wants for her birthday and she hints a signboard. Tamako is then slammed in the forehead by something feathery. It’s a shuttlecock. As the other shop owners plan to give Tamako her birthday present, Tamako then visits the records store after that and continues to find the song her mom used to sing to her when she was young. Wouldn’t it be easier to ask her mom? Sure. If she was alive. Dera thinks it’s such a sad tale and wants to comfort Tamako by crying in his chest! His feathers will absorb her tears! Tamako adds her mom loved their store’s mochi so much that she wants everyone in the world to taste it. She is a mochi maker’s daughter after all. New Year’s Eve is the busiest year for the mochi makers but this is also Tamako’s birthday. Her father still continues to pester Dera to change his name to Mochiumai (yummy mochi). Dera has eaten lots of mochi that he is now a fat round bird!!! I wonder if Tamako’s head will break if he rides on it. He needs to fly back home but he’s so heavy, he can’t even lift off! But still, he announces his departure so Tamako feeds him a fresh mochi before he goes. He starts choking. The shop owners and Mochizou are on their way to give Tamako their presents when they hear the commotion. They thought it was Tamako who was choking. Tamako’s father shakes Dera upside down to loosen the mochi. Dera swallows it and finds it delicious! All is well, ends well. Till everyone realizes they forgot to give Tamako her birthday present. Forgotten once more. Try again next year. Tamako receives birthday wishes from her friends. Dera feels he will stay around in this shopping district a little longer. Mmm… He tastes Tamako’s soba noodles and finds it delicious. Perverted bird and now glutton bird…

Episode 2
Dera narrates and thinks it is Tamako who had fallen for him! Valentine’s Day is looming so Tamako comes up with an idea for Valentine’s mochi but her father is against the idea. Old fashioned is the best says he. So how does the bird learn more about this lovely day? Watch TV. In class, Kanna decides to make a chocolate house (she is from a carpenter family to begin with). They tease Midori she gets chocolates from both guys and girls and yet she is still single. Midori asks Tamako who she is going to give her chocolates to. She couldn’t answer after that deep thought. As Tamako makes her rounds through the shopping district, she realizes that the place is void of any Valentine promotions. So she calls Mochizou about her intentions to liven up the shopping district. All the shop owners meet to discuss what they’ll be doing for that day but Tamako’s father won’t participate and leaves. He suddenly realizes he is the only one left behind when the district suddenly pops up with all sorts of promotions. Culture shock, eh? Tamako, Kanna, Midori and Mochizou are helping to film an advertisement for the district’s Valentine promotions. They meet Midori’s grandpa who asks their opinion of his Valentine setup for his toy store. His line of “Everybody loves somebody” catches Midori’s attention. Is there someone she likes? Looking at Mochizou’s way… Dera hogs the camera hoping to do his own advertising to look for a bride. Kanna, who is allergic to birds, sneezes at him. Don’t take it the wrong way, pal. Dera notices Midori’s troubled heart and has her accompany him over a cup of coffee. He knows she is in love with somebody: Him! Dream on! When Tamako reaches home, she is surprised her dad made heart shapes mochi. She can’t help but laugh at how cute it is but has to hold it in if she wants him to continue making these. Once Mochizou is done with the editing, everyone gathers to view the advertisement. The projector is so old that it’s not working. Suddenly Dera hooks himself up to it and wahlah! The film is rolling through the bird’s eyes!!! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS BIRD???!!! It also has additional footage. The one whereby it shows some tanned islanders greeting Dera. So it’s true he is from a faraway country of a prince? On Valentine’s Day, Tamako tells Midori that she gave her chocolates to her dad. Again. As she wonders if she’ll give them to someone she loves, Midori teases her she won’t because she never will! Haha. Tamako and Mochizou’s dads continue to argue that they stole their idea for heart shaped mochis while Dera is devastated nobody gave him chocolates! Who would want to give chocolates to this bird?!

Episode 3
It’s spring time and Dera is already huffing and puffing after flying such a short distance. Why not? This unfit bird gobbled mochis like nobody’s business. Out of steam, he falls from the sky but Shiori Asagiri catches him with her badminton racquet. Still too heavy. Dera falls for her too. The new semester has begun. Midori is sad that she didn’t end up in the same class with Tamako and Kanna. Also in Tamako’s class is Shiori but she seems unfriendly. Even during club practice Shiori seems not to greet her. After school, Dera tries to follow Shiori but ends up getting lost. That’s how unfit he is. He lost a girl at a slow walking pace! He flies up to get a better view but once again his weight pulls his down. To his delight, Shiori catches him. Fate? He tries to persuade her to come to Tamako’s mochi shop under the pretence he doesn’t know his way home. Dera’s PR has him well known among the shop owners as he introduces Shiori to them as well. Shiori needs to go after finding Tamako’s place but Tamako has her stay to taste her sakuramochi. Dera tries to convince her to stay for dinner. So happened Shiori’s mom called that she will be late. Shiori helps out in making dinner and then follow Tamako and Anko to the public bath (since her dad called to say their bath is broken). Dera accompanies Shiori to the train station. He got poetic about wanting to meet her again but she already left. Next day in class, Shiori continues to be unfriendly with Tamako. Actually, she is nervous and went to practise her thank you lines in the toilet. She had that chance during gym but took long as Dera distracted Tamako (why is a bird doing at school?).

Dera takes advantage of Shiori’s kindness by dropping before her so she can take him back to Tamako’s place. He thinks she’s a lovely girl but she disagrees because she has not thanked Tamako for yesterday. Wondering if the bird could do it on her behalf, Dera feels it is better to do it herself. Along the way, Shiori encounters her homeroom teacher, Yagi who is making rounds for his home visits. Yagi is surprised the shop owners are very friendly with him especially thanking him for taking care of Tamako. Tamako’s dad and Yagi are nervous talking to each other when Tamako decides to go out with Shiori. Dera wants to tag along too but Tamako tells him bluntly Shiori wouldn’t want a bird stalking her. Shocking, eh? At the records store, Shiori manages to sum up her courage and thanks Tamako. She had always been watching her and noticed she always have fun with her friends. She is happy to be in the same class with her. With that, they become friends. Shiori is on her way back when Dera stumbles before her again. He feels guilty about the thought of stalking her but she thanks him because it made her closer to Tamako. I think the bird tries to push his luck so he plucks a feather and gives it to her as a sign of love. However Shiori apologizes and says she did not join the badminton club because she likes feathers. I take it as a sign of rejection. Shocking, eh? Tamako talks to Midori on the phone on how she made friends with Shiori. Midori is impressed and tells her she saw Shiori practising to say those lines in front of the toilet mirror. Tamako fully understands Shiori’s behaviour then.

Episode 4
Dera has been eating all the mochis Tamako makes that now he is one heavy fat mother bird!!! He can’t even move! You might mistake him for a fat chicken. Because of this, Anko and Dera quarrel. The bird calls her petite while the little girl calls him obese glutton. I don’t know how he’s going to fly around since the festival will soon be upon them. Tamako and Anko head to school. They meet Midori and Kanna. When Anko’s classmate, Tatsuya and Yuzuki are seen coming, she flusters and hides behind her sister. What’s this? Midori and Kanna can tell what is happening but not Tamako. She’s as dense as ever. Perhaps the same reason why she kept feeding Dera with mochis without realizing anything. In class, Anko’s friends invite her to the museum. Since Tatsuya and Yuzuki are coming with them, Anko agrees to meet them this Sunday. However Anko’s dad disagrees because he wants her to help out with the store since it will be a busy day. Daddy remains steadfast she must work. It sucks being a daughter of a mochi maker. Anko even suggested Mochizou to replace her but daddy remains suspicious he will steal his family’s secrets. Grandpa suggests she wakes up real early and once she is done she can go since her trip is at noon. So come Sunday, Anko is really eager to finish her job. Shiori also arrives to help Tamako out. Meanwhile the Usagiyama shop owners are in quandary. Their golden bird statue’s head for the shrine has chipped off. What will they do? Suddenly a familiar fat bird sits on the shrine. Ooohhh… Catch it! Surprisingly, Dera can fly fast to try and outrun them! I guess Dera has discharged his bowels. Anyway he still gets caught and is being paint gold all over. I think he likes it too. Anko realizes she had fun making mochi that she remembers about her trip. She makes her way through the shopping district only to be ring in by the florist to help put makeup on a girl for the festival. Anko couldn’t leave the girl like that so she cheers for her as the parade gets underway. In the end she couldn’t make it and returns to her store to sell the special mochis. She didn’t expect Tatsuya and Yuzuki to visit her so in her embarrassment she runs and hides inside her closet! Midori and Kanna attempt to flush her out via food. Mochi? She got tired of it. Fermented fish? The whole place stinks. Eventually Yuzuki drops in. Anko is still embarrassed but manages to come out. He passes her the souvenir they got from the museum. Midori and Kanna are surprised this is the boy she likes. No one would’ve guessed it. Tatsuya was way better looking than this specky nerd, right? And Tamako still doesn’t realize what is going on.

Episode 5
Tamako and her friends head to the pool. That’s because she can’t swim so she needs Midori to teach her before their school trip to the beach. No improvement… Mochizou is bumming around in his house. Probably thinking about Tamako… Dera thought the wind chimes were an invitation for him to feast. Apparently he was ‘misled’. Anyway Dera can tell Mochizou is in love. It’s written all over his face. He tries to deny but the bird won’t give up. How ironic. A bird telling him about love. Dera wants to assist him. I don’t know how much he lied about Tamako falling for him but rejected her. So you want his help or not? On the day the students leave for their trip, Mochizou stuffs Dera in his bag. How can a fat bird fit inside there? So obviously when they reach their destination, he got car sick. Do birds get car sick? Birds are meant to fly in the open, silly! Dera has Mochizou practice his letter of confession (I guess the weird dance of attraction won’t do) when Midori stumbles upon what he is doing. Mochizou then forces Dera to take the letter to Tamako since guys are not allowed in the girls’ area. Since Dera is fat and slow, Midori beats him and slams shut the window before Dera could deliver the letter to unsuspecting Tamako. That night when a cat confronts Dera (yummy…), Midori and Mochizou confront each other. Midori wants him to quit stalking Tamako because she doesn’t see him that way. Besides, he won’t get anywhere even if he confesses because of her density. He denies all that and they descend into a petty argument of who knows Tamako more. Dera is seen running for his life from the cat! I nearly thought it would be a Sylvester and Tweety moment. Mochizou ‘saves’ him. The bird can sense the same ‘scent’ between them. Trying to hint something? Midori wants Mochizou to stop using Dera for his confession. With Tamako arriving, Dera goes with her since he is hungry. So fat and still hungry? After all that running… Next morning, Dera is confronted with a seagull. The seagull looks hungry. Here we go again. Tamako and her friends swim out to sea. Despite all the floating devices, she is still struggling. Resting at the halfway mark, Midori asks Tamako her opinion of Mochizou. Her childhood friend. Her mochi making buddy. The conversation is interrupted when Dera is seen flying away from the seagull. It’s mind boggling that after all the running, the bird is still fat. Besides, how can he fly faster than a seagull?! When your life is at stake… That night as everyone watches the fireworks, Midori tells Mochizou if he has something to tell Tamako, just tell her. He assures her he won’t confess to Tamako. He wasn’t planning to. Dera is nicely watching the fireworks too but… This bird must be real popular because now a dog wants a piece of him. Run Dera, run!

Episode 6
Dera learns more weird customaries. The guardian statue and curses. Tamako realizes nobody is around the shopping district and took the liberty to count how many people passed! Her point is, she wants more people to visit and suggests a haunted house. I thought her flyer looked cute rather than scary. With her friends, they discuss what to do for the haunted house. Since Shiori isn’t around (away for her badminton camp), Dera doesn’t seem enthusiastic. He also learns about this haunted house thingy. Scary is fun? He fears Tamako swings that way. Obviously the bird is a chicken when the girls gradually discuss about missing kids. See how hard Dera is shaking his cup? The girls are given an empty lot for their haunted house. When Tamako’s dad left the public bath, he thought he saw 2 disembodied souls. He tells the other shop owners about it and though some of them don’t believe, another one mentions about the bloodied salaryman she saw. The start panicking their peaceful shopping district is cursed. However they don’t have the heart to tell Tamako about it since she is running a haunted house. They vow to protect her their own way. Don’t worry about her figuring it out. She’s dense, remember? So while Tamako and friends setup their haunted house, the shop owners come by and do some ‘great acting’ to ‘purify’ the place. They become paranoid. Anybody mentioning about the haunted house will send them into gloomsville. Then mysterious ‘haunted’ happenings start to occur. Soon word spreads that this place is haunted.

Shiori visits Tamako at the haunted house and Dera is delighted. Learning that the haunted house is a place one ‘gets closer to the other’, Dera volunteers to partner with Shiori to test the haunted house. He is bloody confident his love will not waver. But… We hear his panicky scream and the first one to run out of the haunted house! Shiori is cool. Though she was scared, the scarier fact was Dera’s scream! Haha! Because of that, the passers-by became curious and are interested to take a look. Seeing this, the shop owners decide to tell Tamako the truth before anything bad happens. However Shiori dismisses those mysterious happenings with common sense and logic. All that is left are the disembodied souls and bloodied salaryman. There is a long queue waiting to enter the haunted house. Yagi has brought his wife too. He is also confident he will protect her but the moment he steps in, it’s fear factor all the way. Even though everything and the ghosts like Tamako seem cute, Yagi’s fear overwrites them all. In the end he is the first one out while his wife is just cool. Good job on this haunted house. Everyone celebrates the huge success of the haunted house. Kanna explains that she was the one responsible for the disembodied souls and bloodied salaryman rumour. When everyone left after finishing the haunted house, Kanna had Dera take the paint back to the storeroom for her. She also told him about the haunted house jinx of getting closer to someone and knows he is gunning for Shiori. Dera became so happy that he starts swirling in his flight so fast that it seemed like disembodied souls. The bloodied salaryman stemmed from the broken paint. Dera accidentally dripped it all over and a salaryman thought it was rain. Dera becomes upset he has been used (despite the fact he got to be with Shiori). In his tantrum, a bottle knocks him out and his eyes become a projector to replay those islander scenes. A tanned girl arrives at Usagiyama and recognizes this familiar scent.

Episode 7
When Choi blows her whistle, Dera instantly scrambles to her. He starts apologizing profusely but Choi is not amused he has grown fat! Scathing verbal attack! The bird now cannot be his cheeky self and is made to put on his best behaviour. At first Tamako’s dad is sceptical of her seeing that her surname too is Mochimazui and that is the royal name of her family who has ruled the southern island for many generations. That guy we saw in the projection is the prince. Choi explains she is a fortune teller but she can’t divine anything when the bird is fat! Bird abuse! Choi continues to berate he turned into something like this and wonders if his communication device is broken. She and the prince got so worried since he never replied their calls. What calls? Choi messes with him and the projection starts up. It is then she realizes he is not conscious when this happens. As for why he is loafing in this town, Dera tries to cover his ass by pinpointing Tamako as the source of threatening and tricking him to stay here while putting him to labour slavery. Why is he so fat then? Because of that, Choi becomes suspicious and does not want to be tricked and refuses to accept anything from Tamako. Especially the mochi. Tamako then brings her around the shopping district to meet the owners. They welcome her but she has her reservations and won’t be tricked (Dera sweating in his pants, or feathers). They think she had a rough childhood and assure her they will not judge her. She is forced to demonstrate her fortune telling ability. When it turns out to be true, everyone is impressed. Dera himself is shocked that it actually worked! After that, Choi is brought to the public bath. Dera has to behave himself and not peep (but that doesn’t stop him from eavesdropping). To his horror, Choi accidentally went to the men’s section and passed out after staying too long in the water. Her floating butt looked like a peach? Because of that, Choi blows her top at Dera for this humiliation. The bird is reduced to an apologizing machine. Tamako leaves her dinner at the doorstep and Choi continues to be wary.

Choi puts up a little fortune telling stall outside the mochi shop as repayment for food and lodging. Plus, this is to get Dera back into shape. The shop owners have their go at the fortunes and when it comes to Sayuri’s turn (daughter of the public bath owner), she asks about her fortune of getting married. Everyone is shocked she has decided to settle down. Not as shocked as one of the shop owner afro guy because he has a secret crush on her. His dreams crushed when Choi reads out a good fortune for her. Mochizou wants to hint to Tamako about marriage too but she ignores him. Try harder next time. That night, the public bath is closed and they think the owner is reeling from the shock since Sayuri is his only child. The afro guy thanks Choi for the fortune because it made Sayuri happy. Choi dips into the bathtub and dreams of her prince. She passes out after staying in for too long. She develops a fever as Tamako nurses her. She notices Choi crying and talking in her sleep that she can’t hear the waves. She plays a soothing music she borrowed from the record shop that has the sound of waves. Dera chides Tamako this isn’t their country’s music but the bird becomes a chicken when Choi blows her top at him about being tricked. She scolds him that he got fat himself because everyone here is so nice. In his panic, Dera admits the mochi was too delicious that he couldn’t resist them… So it’s his fault, eh? Choi thanks Tamako for everything as she notices the family making red and white mochi for Sayuri’s wedding. She finally relents and decides to try one and finds it delicious. This makes Dera to go wild in devouring as much free samples he can. Mochi FTW! Everything is out of the bag, right? No more mochi for him! Choi will continue to stay here till she finds a way to fix Dera’s communication function as they need it to search for the prince’s bride. Speaking of which, Choi then smells that familiar scent in Tamako. Is she the one?

Episode 8
Kanna wants to meet Dera. No, she has not fallen for the bird, mind you. She has made a bird house for him. However he is too fat that he can’t fit in! What does this funny scene of his butt sticking out of the hole looks like? They have a hard time taking him out too. Kanna is dismayed that her carpentry skills had gone wrong for wrongly measuring his size but Choi says it is not her fault but Dera for getting fat. Yeah, he ate 2 mochi chestnuts this morning. Dera tries to worm his way out by saying it is not he who loves mochi but the mochi who loves him! How to solve this problem? Diet. Better still. Don’t feed him! And Dera quips… What is worse than a bird that can’t fly? A bird that can’t eat! Choi shuts him up and orders him to do it. No buts about it. We see Dera experiencing mochi withdrawal symptoms and the shopping district owners too are told not to feed the bird. Starving hell… But grandpa sympathizes for it and secretly feeds him because feeling hungry is the most painful thing in the world. Knowing they can’t leave Dera alone, they suggest he follows Tamako to school. Choi will come along too but Dera tries to give excuse she needs to take a test and wear uniform to enter school. Choi doesn’t think the test will be a problem because she’s smart. As for the uniform, she can borrow it. No reprieve for you, birdy. Dera is made to fly all the way to school. Must be feeling the gravity as the real enemy, eh? Choi temporarily becomes the foreign exchange student and Dera is made to become a doll for the entire class duration because Kanna ‘introduced’ the bird to Shiori as Choi’s doll.

During gym class, Dera is going to exercise more. They’re going to throw sticks at him! For real?! Batons actually. Spartan training! Dera must dodge all the sticks they throw and though he is screaming harassment and bully, he seems to be doing fine evading all the easy sticks by a mile. Not even Shiori’s presence could save his grace. Because of him getting tired easily, Choi promises to go even harder on him tomorrow. After school, the girls go out shopping with Choi to pick autumn clothes for her since she comes from a tropical island. Though she tries some out, she didn’t manage to buy one. That night, Dera gets into some serious training on his own. Is this true? That bird finally has the resolve? Suddenly he is stopped dead in his tracks when he gets a projection call from the prince checking up on them. Soon, Dera flies into the shopping district with ease and flaunts his new body shape! Looks like an upside down pear. If you ask me (and everyone else), it looks kinda gross. Yeah, we prefer him when he is all round and fat. The owners think he is somewhat sick and give him foods that are known for sick people. Kanna and Midori arrive to give Choi her first autumn clothes.

Episode 9
A short flashback reveals when Hinako (Tamako’s late mom) entered to store to confess how much she loves this store’s daifuku, Dai (Tamako’s dad) got embarrassed from the misunderstanding (since his full name – Mamedai – is closely similar) and also confessed back. Looks like Dera is back to his fat self. All for nothing. And he’s munching away the mochis. Tamako wants to have a mochi pounding event on Mochi Day. When she starts humming that song, her dad tells her to be quiet as his face starts to blush. Mochizou is worried if Tamako remembers his birthday. On his way he meets Anko. She tells him straight Tamako totally forgot about it because all she has in her head is Mochi Day (apparently that’s Mochizou’s birthday too). However something is bugging Anko. She doesn’t seem her happy self. Not even big sister can cheer her up. Then when Yuzuki visits the shop to get his ordered mochi, Anko doesn’t come down to greet him. On a side note, it was funny how Dera was drooling at Yuzuki’s mochi served by Choi. The kid was willing to share half with him but Choi threw an origami crane into his forehead! He’s bleeding! That night, Tamako talks to Mochizou hoping he could find out what is wrong with Anko. Next day, Mochizou does so and after guessing all the wrong answers, annoyed Anko tells him that Yuzuki is moving away on Mochi Day. Oh. On Mochi Day, the rival mochi guys start pounding away. This act reminds Choi of their earth blessing ceremony and starts dancing away. Anko continues to be gloomy so Mochizou tells her to go see him. What will she say? How about “I love you”. He’s kidding, right? Tamako then has Anko do an errand for her to send some fresh mochi to Yuzuki. Anko takes on the job and rushes her way despite tripping and bruising her knee, she won’t slow down. Yuzuki thanks her and gives her hope that they will see each other again. At the end of the day, Tamako’s dad feeling nostalgic takes out his guitar and starts singing that song. Tamako instantly recognizes it (daddy must have got a heart attack when she barged in like that) and takes him to the records store (with all their friends tagging along in the commotion). The owner easily knows that song. The reason he never recognized it was because Tamako hummed it wrongly! She is tone deaf! Apparently this is the song Dai wrote for Hinako. They were in a band when they were in high school. He even has a video of it and plays it much to Dai’s embarrassment. He remembers those wonderful moments and his younger days with Hinako. Lastly, Tamako didn’t forget Mochizou’s birthday and brought him a little mochi cake. So happy that he cried! “Everybody loves somebody”.

Episode 10
For the cultural festival, lady luck is shinning on Midori as the captain of the Baton Club (which Tamako and Kanna are also part of) as she picks the best stage time for their club’s performance. Everyone is excited to work their part and Midori is confident she’ll come up with the choreography. However with the club members having almost finished their part, Midori is starting to sweat because she cannot come up with any ideas. She had to lie that she is almost done too. Choi learns about this so Tamako shows an album of their performance last year. Since the dress is already picked out, Choi helps in sewing and she is quite good at this. She says it calms her heart. Midori wanders around the shopping district for ideas, even stopping by her grandpa’s toy store and the records store but drew no inspiration. Of course Midori’s actions become more and more suspicious to her friends. At the toilet, she continues to struggle for an idea but Shiori caught her talking to her ownself. Shiori visits Tamako (Dera is one happy bird) and tells her what happened. Next day Midori is missing from class due to fever so they decide to pay her a visit. Midori scrambles to tidy up her place so her friends won’t suspect anything. But she can’t fool Kanna who asks her straight about the toilet incident. She picks out several crumpled papers from the trash supposedly Midori’s ideas. Midori becomes distraught and starts crying. She apologizes she couldn’t come up with an idea. As her friends console her, Dera decides to show off his dance because it’s supposed to be a sign of your thanks and joy to god. However Dera’s dance looks so comical that it causes them to laugh! Fat bird dancing… Funny, no?! At least it made Midori feel better. Everyone will help come up with the choreography. On the festival day, Choi visits the Baton Club at the backstage. But she sees a mole on Tamako’s lower neck and is a little stunned. The Baton Club’s performance went well, even having Dera as the finale (can they toss a fat bird up in the air?). While the girls are happy with their overall performance, suddenly Choi bows down before Tamako and claims she is their prince’s bride. Want to repeat that again?

Episode 11
Before Dera left for his journey to find a bride for his prince as part of their custom, he talked with Dera and Metcha (the prince) for one last time. After a long journey, he stops by a flower field to rest seeing it had the same smell as his prince. Probably that’s how he got harvested and brought to the flower shop. Word gets around the shopping district about Tamako. Dera is bombarded with the same questions though Tamako is just a bride candidate. Tamako of course feels it is all a big mistake but Choi doesn’t think so due to the mole and her deep connection with mochi. The family can’t take this as it is too sudden. I mean Tamako will become part of the royal family and change her name. Remember what their surname was? Ironic, right? The most affected one must be Mochizou as the right or wrong respond can swing his mood high and low. Then Tamako’s princess status also spreads among her friends. Kanna has got the ‘best’ theory. The royal family plans to make mochi a new product on the island. Her friends are so focused on this that they almost ignore Tamako and her intention to get a few more stamps on her shopping district card. Collect 100 and she’ll get a medal. Her friends accompany her around the shopping district as she finally completes her card. The public bath owner gives Tamako the medal (humming his own dramatic medal presentation ceremony). I guess this excites Tamako more than marrying the prince. Choi finally gets instructions to fix the communication device in Dera. I don’t know what she did but Dera’s scream doesn’t sound that horrifying but funny. Like he was enjoying it? Tamako then converses with Metcha but the device shortly breaks down. Choi describes the good qualities of her prince despite still being a child. Tamako feels she isn’t ready to be a bride and apologizes to everyone for this ruckus. Her friends are still reeling from the shock and fantasy of the possibility Tamako is going away but as Midori notes, it is Tamako who is the one who is most scared.

As Choi helps Tamako to make dinner, seems Dera loses his comical relief role and feels like he has matured. When Dai leaves for the shopping district owners meeting, Tamako didn’t know there was one tonight and asks about his favourite dinner she is making now. He claims he never liked it and only ate it because she kept making it. Tamako ‘threatens’ she might just go off and get married. Dera follows Dai to the meeting and tells him this marriage thingy is just the spur of the moment. Everyone at the meeting discuss about Tamako’s future. They want her to be happy and hope Dai will understand that sooner or later he must let her go. But looks like he is not ready yet. He asserts Tamako is his daughter. He drowns his sorrows at the records store. He plays a song that inspired Dai to write a song for Hinako. He comes back drunk and murmurs Tamako will be happy but she didn’t catch that quite right. Tamako even gets a call from Mochizou that he will be happy for her no matter where she goes or who she will be with. Perhaps this is the last straw. Tamako throws a little tantrum herself that everybody keeps acting like this. She calms down when Anko invites her to sleep together. Next morning, Tamako becomes frantic when she realizes her medal is gone. She searches high and low but to no avail. She’s really panicking. Yes, it’s that precious to her. Just then, a guy holds up the medal to her. Is this what she is looking for? Hey wait a minute? Isn’t this guy the prince?! My lord it’s him!

Episode 12
Metcha found the medal lying around. He is glad to see Choi doing well but couldn’t recognize this fat bird! That’s how much you’ve physically change, Dera! The prince is taken back to Tamako’s household, introduced to the family and gets a taste of the mochi. Tamako is visibly annoyed when Mochizou tries to tell her to go with her heart. Cut it out already. More so, her friends are doing the same. Metcha is given the VIP treatment by the other shopping district owners. They also bombard him with questions. Tamako couldn’t concentrate that her baton skills are obviously affected. It is clear her mind is somewhere else. Tamako panics when she sees all the shops in Usagiyama closed. She apologizes to her friends for causing them to worry because it’s that same time of the year that they close. Dera beats Midori in hugging Tamako in her face. Dera then wants to hear her opinion on everything. But first, he recalls that Tamako is in love with him! Can you imagine this kind of love triangle? Not possible. And so Tamako really starts talking about what she thinks. She was born and has been living at this place all her life. Some of the important things that she remembered (even to a point of how the paper cup phone came about) and the good people of the shopping district. Everyone is so lively that’s why she never once felt lonely. This has Dera rush all the way to Metcha. He needs to talk to him to clear this misunderstanding. Although Tamako’s head is nothing but mochi, she is energetic, smart and so trusting that she practically forced him and Choi to live with her. So kind that it made him stay longer than usual. He begs his prince to give up on the girl as she is not worthy of being his bride. Tamako also has a thing to say but she accidentally sneezes so Dera makes it look like she is in love with him. Choi stands up and apologizes for everything. She thought Tamako would be his ideal bride and has not done any fortune telling yet. Metcha knows Tamako cannot be his bride candidate. Because when the florist gave him this flower as gift, there is this scent that they smelled from her. So it’s all a big misunderstanding? A big relief to some. Metcha wants Dera and Choi to come home as it is lonely without them around.

Choi says her goodbye to Tamako and the rest. Although Dera wants to stay till New Year’s Day to help with the mochi, Choi orders him that is a no. Choi and the rest can come back anytime to visit because they are like family now. They give Choi farewell gifts and Tamako is reluctant to give her medal. Choi won’t accept it because it’s her treasure. Instead, Choi gives Tamako her paper crane. When they’re halfway to the airport, Metcha realizes Dera isn’t around. Oh… Sneaky bird didn’t tag along with them back… And so Dera continues to hang around as the days to the end of the year dwindle. Yeah, it causes Kanna to devilishly think how good a crunchy fried chicken full of spices would taste! Life continues as always back in Usagiyama and on New Year’s Day, Dera talks to Dai for one last time. It’s not his policy to make girls cry and will leave without telling them. Unlike his homeland where there are days that will chill you to the bone, this place will always be warm at heart. And in the blink of an eye, Dera’s gone. Tamako could sense something and goes around looking for Dera. That bird goes to the florist and buries himself in the midst of the bouquet of flowers. The florist may not have been looking buy shouldn’t she have felt how awfully heavy the flowers she picked up and packed into the box? That box is given to Mochizou who vows to give his present to Tamako this year. So he didn’t just remember them. He remembered it all along. Tamako opens the box and everyone is surprise to find Dera lying in it. Not as surprised as the bird himself wondering what is going on. Is this some happy reunion? Dera’s communication device activates and Choi is not happy the fat bird isn’t back. When is he going to get his ass back?

Specials
Although there are 6 specials, I only watched the first 4. Thy last around 4 minutes and come with the DVDs you buy. The first 3 is Dera’s Bar. Since it is opened to ladies only, his guests are only Tamako, Shiori, Kanna and Midori. The Special 1 sees the girls ordering food like as though they’re in a cafeteria, Dera obviously having favouritism in treating Shiori, Dera banning mochis from Tamako despite eating them all himself and Dera doing 80% of the talking despite saying his bar is a place for conversation. They also make puns on mochi and hot cakes, in a way toying around with Dera. Special 2 has Dera wanting the girls to give suggestions on how he can be even cuter. Change size? Change colour? I think that is scarier. Dera takes down notes from Shiori and realizes that what she is saying might be insulting to him. It goes something like despite all the negative traits he has, it’s because of that he is cute. Quite the insult, eh? Special 3, after that discussion of Dera being self-centred (of course he is), Dera hints he wants to renovate the place into a maid cafe. So happen he has 4 maid outfits and has the girls put them on. So the customers become the waitresses? No harm since there’s no one else around. Dera tries to be their customer and get some maid service but they each have their scary service. Till he requests Shiori for her lap pillow and she agrees. Then Shiori has decided… She likes… Dera’s feathers! Because she can make them into a shuttlecock and requires 16 of them. That’s an awful lot… Choi is now the focus in Special 4. She and the girls head over to the public bath and is confident that she has become accustomed to this town’s customs. They talk about her island and if she would like to continue to stay here forever. This has her ponder what she will do here and thinks through all the jobs that she could possible do. Doesn’t fit… In the end, she feels she prefers to be by Metcha’s side but she has soaked too long in the bath and she starts feeling dizzy.

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da…
Life goes on… Brah! Lala how the life goes on… Just like Dera said that even though there are things that end, some things never do. You may not see them with your eyes but with your heart. And so the ending may not be much if you just look with your eyes that life continues to carry on for the people at Usagiyama and Dera continue to live with Tamako (heck, he may never want to go back!). But if you look with your heart, you’ll see and feel how fun overall this anime had been. There might not be any specific plot and the one about Dera leaving his homeland to search for his prince’s bride serves as a distraction. With episodes on Valentine’s Day, a school field trip, doing a haunted house and even having the bird go on a diet, it feels like each episode serves as a standalone that you need not crack your brains thinking if there is going to be something that affects something later on. The little bits and pieces of each episode is enough for everyone to enjoy the fun as it is.

Personally I find Dera as the most amusing character in this series. For without the bird, everything would have been tad dull. It’s ironic for a show mascot to hog a lot of screen time. Like as though he is the main star. Usagiyama may have been lively like it always have (from the perspective of the characters especially Tamako) but ever since that bird came into their lives, there is this added oomph and spice, don’t you think? Everybody here is so friendly and accepting because the first thing that anybody would do when they see a talking bird is to probably catch and sell it. Yeah, try to get that 15 minutes of fame. Whether it is the way he talks or his actions which resembles very much like a royal court attendant, there is something about this bird that makes him likeable because he is so full of himself. His rounded physique makes him even cuter and adorable. How not to get fat after getting addicted to the mochi? Try it once and you’ll not regret it! Like drugs, eh? Is it not funny trying to see a fat bird gasping for air when he tries to fly? Yes, it’s funny. A bird that hardly could fly is like a cheetah who can’t run. Okay, there are exceptions like penguins and dodo birds but that is not the point. And a bird addicted to mochi like a glutton is like a lion who loves eating vegetables. When not full of himself, Dera is level headed and would offer his view. Tamako the main heroine is also amusing because she is a simpleton. She may be dense especially when it comes to the topic of love but her airheadness is what makes Tamako, Tamako. It’s what defines who she is. It’s not necessarily a bad thing since she doesn’t need worrying about the complicated stuffs. More importantly she is a very kind and nice person at heart. This is what counts, right? One thing that keeps boggling my mind is the fact that Dera likes perching on Tamako’s head. The bird has gotten fatter, right? Shouldn’t Tamako’s head feel heavier? Unless you’re telling me that there is really nothing but mochi in her head! Haha! Just kidding. Maybe that’s why she is an airhead. So light her head that she can’t feel something heavy sitting on it.

The other side characters too are likeable in their own unique ways. They breathe a little life into this little town. Like Tamako and Mochizou’s dad who is always at each other’s throat in whatever competition concerning mochi. Anko has this tendency of wanting people to call her An instead but she herself calls herself Anko. Ironic isn’t it? How can you expect to treat others like an adult when she acts like a kid? Nobody pays heed to this except Dera. There is Mochizou who keeps trying and vowing to himself that this time would be it for him for Tamako but never gets around in doing successfully since Tamako is quite the airhead we know. The relationship between Choi and Dera is quite amusing. Fat chicken always bows down and overflow with apologies to strict girl’s admonishing. No buts about it. Well, he has his own hand in being guilty. A little thing that bugs me about Metcha and his soft speaking ways is that it makes me feel that the prince is a little sissy. I meant no disrespect and it is great to see the young prince being nice to his subjects and everyone around him including strangers. But it’s just that the way he talks is so gently that to a point I thought it was quite girly. Then you have Kanna’s deadpan humour and she is the character that has the most witty in-your-face lines. She doesn’t hold back on them and is very blunt. Other than that, her fascination on any sort of construction lights her up and this makes her funny. Speaking of conversations, the other characters that have notable lines are Dera and the records store owner. Sometimes you can hear heartfelt words from their narration especially the records store owner who seems to have this knack to say the right things to those in need even if his character is a little stoic.

The interaction between the characters is what makes the comedy part of this series funny. Dera himself is already a riot. Who can’t resist smirking seeing this fat chicken? Getting chased by hungry animals, shaking in fear or in total rejection shock. What about that strange ‘attraction’ dance? No wonder everybody loves this bird. But for the romance side, it leaves much to be desired. I know this series isn’t supposed to be romance genre but I thought it would try its luck and have something worked out. On second thought, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea too. So we have no successful couples made here. Mochizou can forever dream to make Tamako his. As long as she got mochi in her head and heart, there is no room for love anywhere. It’s pretty much one way I guess. Perhaps the same case with Anko and Yuzuki. I’m not sure if Yuzuki realizes about Anko’s feelings since he is always the cool cat and Anko the flustering one. Any hints for long distance relationship? Let’s try and be friends first okay? I’m not sure about Midori’s case. Does she like Mochizou or Tamako? I thought the initial episodes hint the former but after her attempt to stop Mochizou’s failed confession, it seems to point to Tamako. Although it may just be the friends kind of love and nothing yuri. And of course there is Dera and Shiori. Or any other girls who sneeze at him like Tamako and Kanna. Who says birds can’t fall in love too? Just too bad Dera isn’t Shiori’s type. Too bad Tamako and Kanna aren’t bird lovers. Though that doesn’t stop him from trying to get closer to Shiori. I wonder what happened to all that ever since Metcha came into the picture.

The art and drawing as already stated they look very close to K-ON! and have that uncanny resemblance to the cute characters in that series. Like for Tamako, I thought she was a cross between K-ON!’s Mio and Hyouka’s Eru Chitanda. And her airheadness seems to be taken from Yui. Anko and Choi have that similar look to Azusa while I thought Kanna was Yui reincarnated but her liveliness taken away. And Midori is starting to look a little like Ritsu too… Sayuri like Sawako… On a trivial note, the next episode preview is about Tamako ranting away anything about mochi. The types of mochi, how one can make them and several other little bits on it. That’s how much her love for mochi is. The family loves mochi so much that their names are even taken after them or close to it. Speaking of more mochi, you can see the different types of mochi and daifuku designs that creative Tamako comes up with and Mochizou’s family who displays theirs in their shop. It may not be that much but for a person like me who loves sweet things, I’m starting to salivate and feel envy of Dera who gets to sample and eat as much as he wants for free! Not fair!

For the voice acting part, Takumi Yamazaki fits very nicely in his role as Dera. With all the various moods this bird had undergone, he portrayed them fittingly and a reason that makes Dera likeable. His other anime roles include Kayneth in Fate/Zero and Harada in Mezzo. Is Hiro Himono changing the kind of characters he used to voice? The kind that we often here when his character goes into outburst like Tsubaki in Sket Dance or Akihisa in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu. As Metcha, that soft speaking way reminds me of another character in another anime that I recently watched: Kyouya AKA Kyolo in GJ-Bu. Maybe this is just one off thing. Daisuke Ono sounds odd as the florist of Usagiyama. After being so stereotype of his voice suitable for gentleman roles like Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji, it is odd to see hear him take on a feminine role. This is not his first since he did voice the feminine Ushiyama in AKB0048. Other casts include Aya Suzaki as Tamako (Yumi in Little Busters), Yuri Yamaoka as Choi (Chocolat in Yumeiro Patissiere), Atsushi Tamaru as Mochizou (Shiraishi Mikage in Jewelpet Sunshine), Juri Nagatsuma as Kanna (Kozakura of Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge), Yurie Yamashita as Shiori (Yuuka in Shangri-La) and Rina Hidaka as Anko (Mei in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru). Yuki Kaneko makes her debut as Midori.

The opening theme is Dramatic Market Ride by Aya Suzaki. The animation for this anime pop feels like, well, magical. It also feels like Tamako putting up a stage performance through the shopping district. Well, she’s from the Baton Club. Aya Suzaki also sings the ending theme, Neguse. Personally, I feel that this moderate anime pop piece sounds a little weird. I’m not sure how to put it but the best I can describe is that she sings like as though she puts a full stop in almost every syllable. It makes her sound a little like a robot and the music perhaps a little techno in that sense. But at least unlike her character she isn’t tone deaf when singing both the opening and ending songs. There are quite a number of insert songs played in this series. Mainly when the gang visit the records store. The owner would aptly put in those old vinyl LP records and suit the atmosphere. At first I thought those songs were taken from oldies but when I tried checking them over the internet, I can’t really find them and they are only mentioned in the soundtrack of this series. I’m sure that they won’t really just write a short song that sounds from the past era just for this short purpose, right? I could be wrong about this. The only insert song that I identified was Beethoven’s 5th Symphony played during Dera’s incredulous shock that he has to go on diet. The rest of the insert songs seem to be range from retro 60’s American ballad (Girl on the 94 by Cupid’s Toy), a French track (Un Lieu de Rencontre by Marilou) and orchestra symphony pieces (Devata Vlna Tanec by Vladislav Fibich Symfonietta). Unless you’re telling me these songs are the very rare type you can’t find anywhere (at least not over the internet). Koi No Uta, the song that Dai wrote for Hinako in his band Dynamite Beans, I just thought he shouldn’t be singing. He doesn’t have the voice of a rocker (or even as a singer). Well, maybe that’s why Tamako is tone deaf… But if you’re a nervous guy who loves a girl and wants to express your love so much, I guess it can’t be help. It’s the effort that counts.

I read a few comments and review over the internet and generally many felt that this show had some potential but didn’t live up to it. Especially the last few episodes with a sudden ‘twist’ in the story which then fizzles out flat. We could have guessed Tamako would be the bride candidate when Dera stated clear his mission at the beginning. But what are the chances of a girl born and bred from a closely knit community leaving everything behind to join the royal family in some southern islands? In the end, it all amounted to nothing, right? Albeit this series won’t exactly be any top masterpiece, I guess there are expectations to conform when you have a ‘spiritual predecessor’ that was regarded as highly successful. As some put it, it was something that wasn’t really memorable in the long run and doomed to fade into obscurity in the passing seasons. To me, I won’t say it is a bitter disappointment because there are sweet moments like the simple plot, simple heart tugging values-cum-lessons, the cute and simple characters (which many feel have weak characterization) still makes this worth the watch even if it is just for the short term. You can say this series is like mochi itself. Indulging too much may not kill you but may make you overweight. May not be good for your body overall but good for your soul! So remember to slow down and watch those mochi intakes. Because still, too much mochi makes you fat…

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

August 24, 2013

Uhhhhhnnnnn… So lazy… So lethargic… So unmotivated… Ever had days when you just feel like not wanting to do anything? Well, there are those people who somewhat feel like that their entire lives. Not willing to do anything that exerts lots of energy which includes mixing around with society outside, they shut themselves inside and their only connection to the real world would be the computer that they stare into. I guess that is how this gives birth to hikikomoris or shut-ins as we call them. At first I thought Sasami-san@Ganbaranai would be somewhat the life of a shut-in of this girl, Sasami Tsukuyomi. She seems to not have the motivation to do anything and lets her dear brother takes care of everything while she idles away and squanders her life in front of her computer. It would be funny to see her idle around in a dozen episodes and how she goes about in her life but that wasn’t the case. As it turns out, there is something more than meets the eye to her shut-in behaviour and the several oddities that surround her. Something about gods, the super power she possesses and her appeasement that keeps the universe from going crazy. Eh? What? Repeat that again, will you? Too unmotivated to explain it… Just watch it…

Episode 1
Sasami is a lazy girl. And a blessed girl too in that sense. Her brother Kamiomi dotes and loves her so much that he feeds her, bathes her and even clothes her. Literally she doesn’t even need to lift a finger. He obeys every command with all his heart without question. He hopes she would come to school one day because his job as a teacher would be livelier. She’s not even thinking about it. One morning before he leaves for work, Sasami gives him chocolate as lunch. He is unaware it is Valentine’s Day and thinks it is her usual love for big brother. After he leaves, Sasami starts up her PC for her Big Brother Surveillance System! OMG. She’s got a detailed surveillance of Kamiomi wherever he goes! Along the way she sees Kamiomi bumping into Tama who is acting like a frog to catch a frog. Because her stomach growls, Kamiomi gives the chocolates to her. That does it for Sasami. She is not going to let him have his way and dresses up. The moment she steps out from her house, the sun overwhelms her. She goes back in. Not today, huh? Returning to her computer, she sees Kamiomi advising Tsurugi not to play adult games in the staff room. She gives him a chocolate mushroom and considers it his first Valentine chocolates from her. Sasami won’t let that hag have her way and once more makes her way out. Can she stand the sun this time? Nope. Back into the shade… Back to her PC… She now sees Kamiomi interacting with Kagami at the library. He wants to talk nothing but Sasami. She’s not interested. Anyway Tama seems to be flustering (hugging Kagami to death) because she thought Kamiomi’s chocolate was like some sort of proposal. Kamiomi is surprised and even mentions he didn’t get any chocolates from Sasami! Well at least Sasami realizes he doesn’t know much about Valentine’s Day. And he’s hoping Sasami planning will give him inner in a maid outfit and tell him she loves him? Dream on.

Sasami looks around the internet and realizes a new manga. She reads the sudden development in the plot that revolves around chocolate. What happened to the love? And election too. Geddit? Everything is about chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. Chocolatey this, chocolatey that. Everything on the internet is chocolate. A job position pertaining to chocolate and a political party about chocolate? A country named after chocolate? There is a chocolate type weather too? Suddenly Sasami realizes the world is being altered. Like error on her monitor, the world suddenly turns brown like chocolate. The Yagami sisters go into action to contain this chocolatey problem. Tsurugi slashes her way, Tama is eating all the chocolate she wants and every body part of Kagami turns into some mecha part (she even has missile boobs!). The next step is to make their way to Sasami’s house. They dash across the chocolate covered town fighting chocolate monsters. When they arrive, Kagami initiates a programme to return the world back to normal. Kamiomi returns home and sees Sasami covered in chocolate like a statue. He thinks this is her invitation to ‘eat’ her. Before he can do that, the chocolate breaks and Sasami kicks the crap out of him. Then she picks up her bat ready to beat up the Yagami sisters and tell them to get out of her house.

Episode 2
Sasami types her report. There are gods in everything and can be divided into groups based on their divinity. Those with higher divinity can control and change lower ones at will. The highest of them all is Amaterasu. That power was something Sasami once had and now resides in Kamiomi. It is safe to assume he is Amaterasu. So, if he wishes for something happy, the gods will try to make him happy. This was what happened during the Valentine’s Day incident as the gods altered themselves and begged him to eat them. Thankfully the Yagami sisters stopped the alternation. Who they are is a mystery but she suspects they are somebody with high divinity. She will continue to watch them and her brother. Tsurugi and Kamiomi are playing jenga in the middle of class till Kagami informs them lots of students are missing from class. She thinks it’s due to Yamatano Orochi SNS, an online network game that everyone is hooked. Suspiciously, it was a game that was on the verge of shutting down 3 years ago when it suddenly became popular. The only way to find out is to try it themselves. And the best place to do it is at Sasami’s house because she has lots of computers. One for anime, one for music, one for internet, a few for games… Wow. True shut-in. Sasami can’t let them know she plays this game and it is going to be a pain if they suspect something and shut it down. After all she put in all those hours in levelling up like crazy with rare items. As the sisters and Kamiomi start creating their character (delinquent boss is a job? And so is a naked loser?), Sasami tries to sabotage by disconnecting the internet. However Kagami has her own connections. Then she turns on every appliance to cause the power to trip. Till she realizes everyone is on laptop! Sasami is at her wits end as she secretly rebukes the sisters for treating this house as their own. The last straw came when their dirty and oily fingers touch the keyboard. Sasami goes into panic mode trying to clean them (does she know how to operate a vacuum cleaner?). Worse, Tama spilt food and drinks all over hers!!! Sasami going crazy! Even more when Tsurugi nonchalantly touches her manga collection and rips her prized packaging! Oh… More to come. Tama deletes all her saved game data.

So finally when they are ready to play the game, Kamiomi’s character got killed in class. They try to revive him at the infirmary and this excites Tsurugi because she thought this is where the sex part comes in. Sasami can’t stand the in-game lewdness and pops into the game with her avatar. Now the cat is out of the bag. Her insulting curses didn’t reach Kamiomi since that pervert that Sasami wanted to shower him with her love. She accidentally kills him. As Tsurugi take Tama to the toilet, Sasami and Kagami notice light dots representing players’ spirit being absorbed by a giant monster. Before they know it, their consciousness gets absorbed and they find themselves in the game. Another alteration? Kagami notices another odd thing. The monster has insanely high divinity enough to invade the real world and create its own kingdom but yet it is only consuming sacrifices and doing nothing more. Tsurugi points out it just wants to maintain this world. This monster was what Sasami created unconsciously. She checked her profile and noticed some matching coincidences. Three years ago to escape the harsh reality from her strenuous studies, Sasami played this game and made a wish (she had the powers of Amaterasu then). So this game suddenly became popular when it was on the verge of shutting down. The monster has been protecting Sasami’s ‘playground’ from being shut down. There is only one thing left to do. Sasami makes a wish for the monster to rest in peace, assuring she is living a happy life now. Everything in the virtual world disintegrates. When she wakes up, she checks the game down due to system glitches. Then she slips back into bed and continue her slumber.

Episode 3
Sasami writes her own mythical story called the Hare of Inaba whereby she is the hare and her masochistic brother the shark who always gets abused. Yeah, he even gets abused by the gods played by the Yagami sisters. Sasami becomes embarrassed when Kamiomi catches her writing so she throws the mouse at him. Later she continues her report about Amaterasu and her powers that reside in Kamiomi of which he is unaware of. He still thinks she has it. Sasami narrates their history. Their family is the first human beings to obtain such power, Ninigi No Mikoto. They are trained to inherit and protect Amaterasu’s power. Women underwent training to become her vessel so Sasami endured hellish training till she could take it no more and ran away. That’s when she descended upon civilization and was awed with everything. Thank God for internet cafes, animes and manga! She became addicted but the shrine people came and took her back. Soon she frequently ran away and yearning for a normal life, she took Kamiomi with her. Due to some alterations, they are currently hiding under the radar of the shrine family and she knows they won’t let her off the hook just like that. The Valentine’s Day and Yamatano Orochi SNS incidents, it is an indication her peaceful life won’t last long. Suddenly she grows a third hand out from between her breast!!! All Kamiomi can see is her flat boobs! How perverted can he get? Besides, he is not surprised to see a third arm. It’s after all, just an arm. This had Sasami think that this is an alteration as Kamiomi is not of aware of it.

Continuing her report, Sasami narrates how the Tsukuyomi family’s life is short-lived and they resort to incest to maintain optimal bodies for Amaterasu’s power. This causes their bodies to deteriorate. As women become the vessel, men become slaves to assist priestess in risking and protecting their lives for them. They become ultimate tools for impregnation. That’s why Kamiomi hides his face and lives in the shadows, has no qualms of living his life as a robot. Even if Sasami takes advantage of him and becomes the cruellest woman, she knows he will never betray her. He will always protect, support and accept her without question. That’s why she took him when she ran. There was a time she was fed up with the world. Kamiomi, who never spoke before, opened his mouth to assure her everything is alright. He wanted her to be happy and is willing to bear all the pain and suffering for her. Suddenly her third arm starts moving like a mind of its own. It claims it is her split personality and set up by the shrine people. It appears now because her job is over. Her greatest threats are the Tsukuyomi shrine hunters. Once she is caught, it is game over. While Sasami was asleep, the third arm went to show Kamiomi all her reports. In order to protect her, Kamiomi has gone back to the shrine in her place. Because it is Amaterasu’s power they want and not Sasami. Sasami seals the third arm and tries to head outside to rescue her brother. But the glaring sun… Or is it the sun that is weakening her? Just when she cannot stand back up, Tsurugi extends a helping hand. She doesn’t want Sasami to give up. Sasami regrets placing all the burden on Kamiomi’s shoulders and made him live for her. Tsurugi says holding his hand is allowed because she is still a kid. It’s not naive. It is trust. She hopes if she has family problems to feel free and talk to her because they are like family.

Tsurugi then takes Sasami back to the shrine. Tsurugi has been here before. She could’ve destroyed it but just let them be when they said they would manage the gods for her. Long ago the creator gods, Izanagi and Izanami gave her absolute authority to maintain this country. In short, Tsurugi was Amaterasu. Because the other gods did as they please and not listen to her, Tsurugi wanted out but they dragged her back. She got fed up and gave her powers to Ninigi No Mikoto. Tsurugi thought of going back after he died but he passed down the power to his descendant in an unthinkable manner. Because the world humans made wasn’t that bad, she decided to watch over it. If she wants to get her power back, she prefers to have someone much younger to succeed. Someone like Tama. Tsurugi makes an explosive entry into the shrine before Tama comes diving down from the sky to fight whatever shrine familiars thrown her way. Tsurugi explains Tama was originally part of her and that’s why she calls Tama her sister. Kagami also joins the fray fighting the entire army with her in-built weapons. Kagami was created after Tsurugi cut off a cursed part. But an evil person found and raised her with magic and weapons for evil. Not liking that idea, Tsurugi took her back. The Yagami sisters are here to destroy the shrine simply because Sasami wished for them to protect her peaceful everyday life. That’s what they’re going to do after they wreck this place. When the shrine is totally annihilated, they couldn’t find Kamiomi anywhere. A passing priestess tells them he was here a moment ago but was kicked out. He made some crazy claim he had Amaterasu’s power and would gladly take Sasami’s place. They checked him and found he had zero divinity and supernatural power. Sasami realizes she made a huge mistake. Amaterasu’s power had resided in her all along. She wished for Kamiomi to live happily and the gods responded and in turn granted his wish. She thought she had lost her power but in reality wasn’t able to use them to its full potential. It was a pain to go outside the house due to some evil god doing something to her. Now she is alright as Sasami prepares to head to school for the first time.

Episode 4
First day of school over and so tired… So unmotivated… That’s life in society, girl. Back home she finds a top secret DVD believed to be from Kamiomi. Wondering what kind of porn he is watching (though she prefers him not to look at other girls except her), she inserts and watches the film roll. To her surprise, there is Tsurugi appointing herself as the director of this Sasami Watch Project. The goal is to support Sasami since she has returned to society. They will back her in any way while living a life as a normal high school girl with Amaterasu’s powers within. The ultimate point of this project is to record her progress and laugh their ass off for every mistake she makes! And for that moment there she thought she felt touched… The film rolls on as we see Kagami secretly filming Sasami’s journey to do errands proposed by Tsurugi. Like buying condoms at a pharmacy store and her visit to the public bath (perverted Tsurugi wanted Kagami to use her x-rays to peek into her underwear instead of the contents of her bag). Sasami is filled with embarrassment while watching but the bath house trip is cut with another scene. The one whereby Sasami wakes up in the middle of the night to put on a new seal for her third arm. And this was recorded by Kamiomi on the roof as part of his collection of sleeping Sasami faces! Sasami has a bad feeling about this because she doesn’t remember she did all those. Continuing the video, Sasami enters an otaku shop and makes her way to the adult floor. Geez. A little limited figurine can cost so much just because it had an option to be undressed compared to normal ones. The store owner thinks she lost her way to the idol concert and guides her there. Tsurugi is arguing with the cashier about the adult stuffs she bought. Can’t blame him for thinking she’s a kid, right? Sasami dances along with the otaku guys as the idol sings on stage. Kamiomi continues to film but bumps into security. He recognizes her as one of the priestesses back at the shrine. Though she suspiciously denies it, Kamiomi realize that it could only mean one thing if a shrine priestess is here. Suddenly all the guys turn into priests and the idol turns out to be Sasami’s father, Ruza. They put seals all over her and unseal her third arm, taking out that lump of meat which is Amaterasu’s power.

The Yagami sisters barge into the building and I don’t know why Tama brings in a UFO! I guess she was busy distracted with this alien mission of hers. The UFO crashes through the streets and SWAT guys surround it. They order Tama to return the alien which is government property but she vows to let the alien return to its home world. That’s when they throw gas canisters that contain drugs to erase memories. The lump of meat materializes into a familiar looking girl and asserts she will be free. The video ends. Tsurugi pops up behind Sasami and reveals the real Sasami has been taken to hospital and the shrine priests have been dealt by her. This Sasami is that lump of meat and the smoke messed up her memories. She came back home thinking she was the real Sasami. Tsurugi is going to merge them back together because there is no telling when a body part strays too far. Fake Sasami asserts she is a separate personality from her and that she is free. She complains the pain of being stuck in someone’s body and will not trade her freedom. She is going to use Amaterasu’s power to do secure that. However Tsurugi easily contains the power and seals her. The real Sasami wakes up in hospital being told by Sasami that they both wanted the same thing called freedom and caused trouble to those around. They are after all from the same body. However the fake one made a sin and that was to find happiness by sacrificing others. The real Sasami not only refrained from abusing Amaterasu’s power but despise and reject it. That is why Tsurugi could trust her holding the power. I’m not sure if Tsurugi had put back Amaterasu’s power into Sasami because Kagami is holding a pet rabbit in her arms and she wants to call it Meat instead of Sasami even though they are of the same origin. Meanwhile, Tama has left a trail of unconscious SWAT guys in her wake and her mission is complete after she frees the UFO back into space.

Episode 5
Sasami has a request for Kagami. Please be her friend! I think Kagami prefers her sleep. But Sasami continues to bug her. She is in dire need of one because when she transferred in, Kamiomi introduced her as an ex-shut-in which made her look like she had a tragic past. Everyone stayed away from her then. You see, Sasami just wants Kagami to be her stand-in friend so that she could make everyone think she is a happy-go-lucky girl and in no time will be lining up to be her friend. Some friend she is. Kagami agrees to be that as long as she can get her sleep. Not sleeping over that thought? So the first thing Sasami wants her ‘friend’ Kagami is to accompany her to buy food at the canteen. But they see Kamiomi and Tsurugi in an eating competition. I think you’ll lost count of the bowls they’ve eaten. It ended in Tsurugi’s victory and the loser must buy the winner lunch for the rest of the year. Not sick of food yet? Sasami must eat on her own since the cafeteria lady accidentally spilled food over Kagami so she has to go change. Next, Sasami pesters Kagami to accompany her to the toilet. Is this a must? Along the way, it’s like Kagami is experiencing bad luck like thumb tacks on her shoes, a basin dropping over her head and the locker falling over her! Thank God she is a robot and doesn’t feel pain. At the sushi restaurant with Kamiomi, Sasami blabs about Kagami causing Kamiomi to feel left out. Shouldn’t she be blabbing about him? He can’t take it anymore and strips so that she could ‘eat’ her! Don’t ever do that again! On the way back, Sasami is shocked to see Kagami bleeding by the roadside. She refuses any help since this has nothing to do with her. Besides, she only wants them to be friends at school. Even as a stand-in friend, she finds her clingy attitude annoying. Next day Sasami invites Kagami for an outing but she refuses. Wondering if she is annoying, Kagami replies her existence has no effect on her life. This hurts Sasami and doesn’t care about her anymore. To add salt to injuries, Sasami sees Kagami talking casually to other female classmates. She becomes distraught.

While walking home, Sasami sees Tama playing with kids at the park. She is in no mood to play till Tama says it is dangerous for her to be sad because the gods will try to make her happy and mess up the world. If she’s sad, Tama is also sad. She may not be bright but she likes to see Sasami happy. At the end of the day, Sasami still ponders the big question of how to make friends since she has none. Tama thought Kagami was her friend because the latter was always talking about her and praising her. She hopes she can get along with Kagami since everything will be over soon. Kagami said she had something to take care of herself. That is when Sasami realized as she rushes to Kagami at school. Because the gods do whatever they want to make her like them, and her wish for a friend mad the gods jealous and attack Kagami. That explains all the injury she’s got. By becoming her friend, she made the entire world want to attack her. She wanted to be friends at school because that was the limit of her power. Meanwhile Kagami spews up crazy jargons to load up her deadly weapons and fight the gods. She doesn’t care what comes her way as long as it’s her friend’s wish, she will shed blood to protect her normal life. She is happy to have a friend and thus took it upon herself to clean this mess before she noticed. When Sasami arrives at school, she warns the gods not to make her angry and they obediently left. She meets Kagami lying in the classroom in the aftermath. Kagami claims the friends she talked to were gods and purified them. They were using high school girls to get close to her and would’ve been in trouble if Sasami was influenced by them and made bad alterations. From now on, Sasami will have no worries in making friends as she has finished her purification. Sasami emotionally hugs, apologizes and loves Kagami. I’m sure she’d appreciate her snot not to stick all over her. She wants her to be her real friend and not a stand-in. Kagami explains she used to be a doll without emotion and heart. Still, she wanted to be normal like others. If she could have one wish, then it would be to become human. Because even if they are stupid and weak, they are warm. Sasami says she is already a human because she is warm. But Sasami doesn’t want he to be human, but friends.

Episode 6
Sasami writes how she saw the back of her mom, Juju in the streets. She tried calling to her but she didn’t respond. She chases up to her but finds her gone when she turns the corner. Mommy’s presence was flickering on and off as with the streets lights. By the time she looked back, the lights burnt out and she was gone. Sasami thought it couldn’t be her and might mistake her for someone else because she already knew where her real mom was. In class, Sasami bugs Kagami about seeing her mom. I think she is more interested in sleeping. She doesn’t even want to accompany her pick a bicycle. Plus, she had plans to accompany Meat to the vet. Sasami lost to a rabbit… On her way home, Sasami sees her mom once more. This time she responds. Happy Sasami takes her out through the shopping district. Each time Juju had something pessimistic to say about the outing, a little experience causes her to change her mind. Worldly temptations… Whether it’s playing the crane game (using power is forbidden! Better run before the store clerk suspects anything), eating ice cream or going shopping. Finally at the Italian restaurant, Juju wants to discuss something. She noticed Sasami was happy spending time with her, something that mother and daughter never did when they were busy training. Sasami indeed had fun but she too needs to tell her something. Because Juju already died a long time ago due to her frail body and health since birth. Juju knows that fact too and that alternation is preserving her appearance. She shows her real rotting body that scares the hell out of Sasami. Juju continues that everyone including gods only live once and thus there is no such thing as reincarnation. Everyone who dies will go to the underworld. Before she became a resident of the underworld, she negotiated with the underworld king. They had a common interest so he allowed her to return as a mortal till her body completely rots away. The reason she came back is because she saw Sasami leaving the shrine, abandoned the duties and bum around doing nothing with her life. She couldn’t stay dead for Sasami broke her promise about taking care of this world. She won’t blame her for she too had sinned for passing away early before her training could bear fruit. She wants Sasami to return to the shrine and resume her training even if the shrine isn’t there anymore but it is away from the world’s vulgarities and she can train in peace.

Sasami won’t sacrifice herself for mankind’s convenient so Juju tells her no one asked her opinion. Are her happiness, freedom and pleasure worth more than mankind’s future? Don’t be selfish. This goes beyond life. Her existence means nothing if she is not living as a Tsukuyomi priestess. Sasami is slapped to silence when Tsurugi makes her appearance. Juju thinks this evil god is the one who led Sasami astray. Tsurugi denies that and although she is slacking in this world, she cannot ignore severe violations of the rules since Juju returned to the living world which is a big no-no. As for Sasami, she wasn’t led astray and chose it herself. Tsurugi will put things right and doesn’t want Juju to act like a responsible mother after all this time. She prepares to slash her but Juju easily overwhelms her. Reinforcements Kagami and Tama arrive. Juju continues to spout about their guidance is the only reason mankind advances and will be taking Sasami back to train her to fulfil her role. Obstruct and you die. Tsurugi gets up, not wanting to go back to the underworld since there’s someone she hates there. But her sword, Ame No Murakumo has no effect on Juju because even if it’s a powerful divine sword, it is only for protection. Juju’s sword, Ame No Habakiri was reforged in the underworld as the sword of misfortune and was presented by the underworld king to slay gods. She is confident nobody can lay a finger on her as she has this sword and the underworld king’s protection. Not even Kagami’s heavy gunfire can stop her. Juju pierces through her chest to put her out of commission. Then she opens the portal to the underworld and pushes Tsurugi through it. Tama protects Sasami and though she admits she is too dumb to understand what is going on, she sees her as being mean because everyone was happy. This is made possible by Sasami so what Juju is saying now doesn’t make sense to her. Juju is going to make her understand but Sasami couldn’t bear to see anymore hurting so she agrees to go back to the shrine and become a priestess. And in a snap, she’s back in the rotting reality of the human world.

Episode 7
When Sasami was young, she watched her mother practise her Reverse Path spell, a spell that can imprison all sort of oddities. Because she looked like a hero, Sasami considered her as a superhero and even Juju got into the flow of it. Ah, those innocent times when Sasami truly loved her mother. But now, she is back in the destroyed shrine and drugged, unable to move. Meanwhile Tama is making her journey to who knows where. She tells us the sisters never got along till Sasami came. Till then, Tama only knew how to smile and act happy in hopes they would smile. And then this sh*t came and none of that now means anything. Juju wants Sasami to vow never to escape again but Sasami won’t promise. She lied back then just to stop her. She doesn’t want to continue doing a job that got her killed. She finally got out and doesn’t want to come back. She doesn’t want to try harder. Since re-educating her won’t work, Juju has no choice but to stab her stomach so that the drug will hasten its effect. Juju wants her to bear a child and she will educate this child of her duties. She throws him an unconscious priest for her impregnation. Sasami doesn’t want to do it and if so at least with Kamiomi. However speaking of him, earlier he tried to save her so she ‘took care of him’. Sasami ‘dies’ inside but Juju is unfazed so long as her body is in good shape to bear a child. Juju then goes to see Kamiomi locked up and tells him about her talk with Sasami. Kamiomi truly believes Sasami loved her. Juju knows and acknowledges that but being a priestess comes before being a mother and such is just a trivial matter. She calls Kamiomi her brother. Kagami wakes up with just enough strength to send Ame No Murakumo to Kamiomi. He cuts himself loose and goes to rescue Sasami. But the first thing she did was to kick him for being late and throw her usual tantrum. Not the hug and kisses he expected, eh? He calms her down assuring he will always protect her. When they escape, they are confronted with Juju who didn’t expect them to break the barrier when she’s away.

Sasami tells her the Tsukuyomi bloodline and this stupid job dies with her. She has decided. Juju won’t acknowledge her as her daughter anymore since she took the easy way out. Plus, Sasami’s words won’t move the dead. That’s when Tama arrives. She starts throwing her tantrum how she got lost trying to find this place. Tama seems to display teleportation divinity as she teleports Ame No Murakumo and make it appear in the same space as the other sword. Because Ame No Habakiri is weaker, it breaks when Ame No Murakumo is in its close proximity. Tama starts hitting away Juju, causing her flesh and bones to break. Juju realizes she is a new kind of god designed to take over the old ones. Juju cannot move when Sasami does Reverse Path spell on her. Tama pushes into the portal to the underworld and Tsurugi drags her in. She tells Tama she has got things to take care of and won’t be back for a while. Next day, Sasami wakes up in the comfort of her own bed. She gets call from Tsurugi. She’s calling from the underworld. She will be here for a while to beat the crap out of somebody who calls himself her brother and hopes Sasami could take care of her sisters during her absence. As for her mother, she was on the verge of falling apart since Tama took a few ‘bites’ out of her. Although she didn’t get erased completely, she will take some time to return to normal. She has also sent Sasami something Juju dropped along the way down to the underworld. Sasami sees a package outside her door and upon opening, she breaks down to see the tainted stuff doll rabbit they got from the crane game.

Episode 8
Tsukuyomi priestess Micchan writes a log how the family head, Ruza bums around not wanting to do anything. She even recorded his favourite phrases and how many times he said it! “I want to die” is off the scale! As for Sasami, she has barricaded herself in her room and vows not to let anyone in. Kagami and Tama see Kamiomi at the diner. He is sad he hasn’t heard, touch or bathe with Sasami (he keeps count of the number of hours too). Want to die too? So much so his Sasami withdrawal symptom has him harassed Kagami whom he thinks is Sasami. After beating him up, Kagami gets serious with the problem they’re facing. Tsurugi is away and Sasami has secluded herself for unknown reasons with a powerful barrier Ama no Iwato which also rejects all contact the outside world. Kagami wants to break through and find out. As they dive down from the sky, all the building and vehicles turn into gun turrets as Sasami warns them not to get close. She won’t say her problem either so Kagami goes ahead with her infiltration. An aerial battle takes place but it seems Sasami’s missiles are mixed with acid that melts Kagami’s clothes. If this continues, she’ll be stark naked and Sasami plans to upload her nude pics on the internet and turn her into a famous model! I think Tama and especially Kamiomi wants to strip for her but Sasami is not interested. Geez. Some friend she is. Not buying that friendship thingy now. Tsurugi drops out from the sky. Though she explains gods can’t break through Ama No Iwato, new gods can eat it up and has Tama gobble up the barrier. Inside her room, they want to know what’s going on. After removing the blanket, we see a bloody fat Sasami!!! Bloated!!! Apparently this happened after she ate pizza last night. She was surprised at this state and didn’t want to tell or consult them for fear they may hate her. She thought of reorganizing her thoughts first but they had to come see her. Maybe it’s some sort of oddity. Tsurugi thinks that Tsukuyomi priestess didn’t finish her job and brings Sasami along on this one.

Sasami finds herself in a decimated city. She thinks she is in the past because she sees Juju taking out gravekeeper Baron Samedi and his zombies. Sasami can only watch the events unfold. Juju is picked up by Micchan who flies her back to the shrine because Sasami has fallen ill. Though she often falls sick, this time no priests or priestesses could cure it. Juju nurses her and has kind words for Sasami. She hopes she will grow up quickly because the world would be a little better place by then. After she leaves, Juju starts coughing blood and wonders if she will go first or see her daughter grow up. Micchan helps Juju to make dinner for Sasami. Micchan was spirited away by an evil god who wanted her powers because she was born with immense power. She was drained of it all and lost everything. That’s why she understands Sasami’s feeling as their situation is the same. Juju worries a lot about Sasami and this made Sasami feel guilty she worked so hard to make the world a better place and yet she betrayed her. Suddenly they are attacked by a golem who has captured young Sasami. While Juju was away fighting Samedi, Sasami snuck out to town so the golem latched onto her so no one can sense her entering the shrine. Grownup Sasami feels even guiltier she is the cause of this trouble but doesn’t remember this ever happening. But the golem seems to be talking to our Sasami. Introducing herself as an assassin of the Wicked Occult Society Arahabaki, her true form is the spirit of this Sesshou golem, a golden nine tailed fox called Tamamo No Mae. She wants to make a deal. Has she ever wanted to change the past?

Episode 9
Micchan continues her log. Ruza must have gotten worse. He has stripped naked and into this S&M thingy calling Micchan his master. Back to the story proper, Tamamo No Mae grabs Juju (with our Sasami within) and has been waiting for this moment to change history. Of course she needed a great power to do that and since Amaterasu’s power warps through time, the moment Sasami felt regret she betrayed her mom, that is when he alteration of the past begins. Tamamo No Mae will kill Juju, her powers pass down to Sasami who so happens to be in her hands. She rants about Arahabaki growing further in the future and ruling the world. Sasami tells her off she can’t do anything without changing the past and that’s why she can’t rule the world. Before Tamamo No Mae could kill her, Sasami wakes up and finds herself next to her mom’s body. This is on the day she died. To her surprise, Tsurugi pops up and Juju resurrects. Just like waking up from slumber? Seem the drugs that Juju put in her stomach was some sort of totem that serves as her gateway from the underworld. That is what caused Sasami to grow fat since Juju couldn’t control that power. So now the goal is to prevent Tamamo No Mae from taking over the world. To do that, they will have to travel back in time to erase all negative feelings and find its indications. So the trio go back in time. First stop the time right after Sasami escaped from the shrine and was on the verge of breaking down. But with Kamiomi being a total pervert, she had no time to feel down. Then at a time Sasami drew a picture of Juju as present but she ripped it apart calling artful creations as wicked. Though Sasami’s heart broke to pieces, after she left Juju picked it up and stick it back together! After seeing how happy Juju gave birth to Sasami, going back further in time sees Juju ruthlessly chasing down her brother Ruza. When she corners him, she confesses she loves him! Didn’t know mommy was that passionate then, eh? How embarrassing!

Next they see Juju going through intense training. Juju asks Sasami her answer and she remains steadfast she doesn’t want to be a priestess. Juju believes at this changing age, they cannot rely on the whimsical gods for protection and it is necessary that humans guard and oversee the world themselves. Sasami agrees with her but says even if the gods are random and weak, they can only become strong by overcoming that. Since they are only entrusted with Amaterasu’s power, it would be arrogant to say that they can protect it. The age of protection is over. She believes they should trust in the gods more and thus will not put forth anymore effort. Juju replies she always thought her early death was the reason Sasami was spoiled due to lack of proper preparations. However she is now convinced of her well thought out conclusion and doesn’t consider her a traitor anymore. She blames herself for making the mistake but Tsurugi doesn’t think so. She just worked too hard. Tsurugi then transforms into her goddess form and laments all this started because she got tired and threw her power away. She has had enough rest, rested more than she should and depended on them too much. In exchange she ruined humans and many of them died along the way. This shouldn’t have happened in the first place. She wants to know what she did was wrong because she couldn’t figure it out herself. Sasami replies she worked hard after so long, rested and then came back. If she is tired, just pass the torch. With everything resolve, we’re back to where Tamamo No Mae is moments from crushing Juju. A great spirit flows through Juju’s body. She attributes this to Tamamo No Mae’s awakened powers that triggered their desire to change the past. With no more regrets, Juju slays the golem to free Sasami. In normal time, Sasami returns to her normal state when Juju exits her body.

Sasami puts in more effort as she tries to help Kamiomi shovel the snow. They are confronted by the student council president, Jou Edogawa who wants to be friends with her. If she needs any help, feel free to ask. But Kamiomi throws her a caution if she dares use Sasami in her wicked schemes, friend or no friend, he will make her pay. Edogawa returns to her fox girl servant, Foxie who is surprised she took such a direct approach. Edogawa asserts she is really interested in Sasami though she doesn’t have the power of Amaterasu anymore. Such divinity remains even if it’s an empty shell. Edogawa wanted to drain that power but had mistaken her target. Foxie will abide to whatever Edogawa’s wishes are for her happiness. Everything for the sake of her desires and interests. She plans to use Arahabaki to teach those gods who think of themselves so highly a lesson.

Episode 10
Sasami begins her new term as a second year high schooler. However since being friends with Edogawa, that girl hasn’t been friendlier. Maybe she’s shy in opening up? Actually Sasami stumbled upon a deep secret so she understands why she wanted to lie low. At the pool, Sasami saw Edogawa’s ‘elephant’! Holy cow! Is Edogawa a boy?! Well, she claims she her penis grows from time to time. WTF?! Unless she meant ‘grow’ in the sense as in seeing naked girls… So Sasami continues to be over friendly with Kagami (much to her chagrin) to the point her ‘love’ has been misinterpreted that they are pure lesbians. Edogawa then comes in to invite everyone to Kuzuryuu Shrine resort for her vacation. And she’s being tsundere about it too. Sasami is of course invited too but she ends up getting ill. To solve this problem, Sasami uses her power to turn Tama into a splitting image of herself. It’s a win-win situation. Tama gets to go on their trip and Sasami can view and hear everything through Tama. But first, they need to convince Kamiomi to let her go. So with Sasami guiding the words Tama should say to persuade Kamiomi she is well, at first that guy is suspicious (she shouldn’t have said or read everything word for word) and this may not be the Sasami he knows. I mean, she would have beaten him up already and rejected his love but why is she so willing to accept him? Is this a dream?! Hell, no! I think he would love this to be his true ending. I hope he doesn’t take ‘Sasami’ on their own honeymoon. And despite having the approval, the real Sasami feels this is going to get ugly since Tama did say she is willing to marry Kamiomi!

Everyone departs by bus (except for poor Kamiomi who had to peddle all the way since there are no seats for him), Sasami logs on to the tele-divine chatroom and speaks with the Yagami sisters who are connected. Tsurugi hopes she will stay safe since she has passed Amaterasu’s powers to Juju. Kagami is confused the Sasami/Tama treats her like a sister. But I think this is all part of Tsurugi’s harassment plan. Everyone starts thinking they are so deep that their hopes of reaching them are zero. Give up your first love! At the resort after everyone ate their satisfying meal (Tsurugi sexually harassing the other teacher in charge, Youko Kitsunebi), it’s time to head for the baths. Edogawa can’t go for obvious reasons but the girls insist. Oh no. It’s that time when that ‘thing’ starts ‘growing’. She tells them off to leave them alone since she has her own duties and to not get close to her. Sasami via Tama covers for Edogawa that she has to clean up so everyone understands and will help out. ‘Sasami’ brings Edogawa to a hotspring where the water is white so she can ‘hide’ it better. Then comes in Tsurugi who wants to grope big boobs (she must be having withdrawal symptoms if she doesn’t touch them now! Because Tama offered to touch hers after they get home). She’s not interested in flat chests and targets Edogawa (who knows where Youko has gone after enduring her sexual harassment all day). Tama manages to divert Tsurugi’s attention by saying Youko’s breasts has grown 10 times bigger and off the pervert goes to look for her. Edogawa wants to know why she is helping her and even going this far to keep her body a secret from others. Because when she first wanted to be her friend, she felt happy. Friends are there to share each other’s secret and help each other out. However Edogawa doesn’t think this will be possible because one day she will kill her.

Episode 11
Juju and Micchan receive postcards from ‘Sasami’ on her trip. Bad pictures? Thank Tama for that. What the heck is Kamiomi lying on the floor with seaweed over his head? I’m sure he just arrived after a long journey. Sasami (remember, Tama is impersonating as her and Sasami herself interacting via the divine chatroom interface) takes a morning bath only to see Edogawa there. I’m not sure what Edogawa is ranting about her so called evil plans with Babysitter and Foxie over her own chatline. Once everyone realize half sleepy Tsurugi was also on the line, they log out. Despite Sasami want to be genuine friends with her, Edogawa turns into somewhat a tsundere, suspicious at every intention of hers but in the end allows it. Kagami happens to drop in the chatroom and feels irritated that Sasami is making a new friend. Although Sasami views Kagami as her first friend, Kagami denies and claims she is just a stepping stone and mere practice doll for her. Ouch. Even during the beach outing, Sasami wanted to invite Kagami to play beach ball with them but she rather finish her sand castle (and then blast it away with her guns!). Kamiomi must be having the fun of his life when ‘Sasami’ starts loving big brother. Oh Tama… It’s time to head for the festivals so Tsurugi will have Kamiomi become her purse… You know what this means. Sasami wants to invite Edogawa to the festivals but she remains sceptical. First she thought Sasami is her enemy after seeing through her evil plans (what plans?). Sasami thinks she has chuunibyou. Then Edogawa thinks she is flattering her because she wants to be her servant! Because Foxie tells her she wants a deeper and more equal relationship than that, Edogawa thinks Sasami loves her! I think Tsurugi can get the wrong idea about this.

Sure, Sasami loves her but only because she wants to be her friend. Kagami becomes irked at this conversation and leaves for the festivals herself, claiming Sasami will end up relying on her if she is there. Because of that, Sasami went all out to look for Kagami and left Edogawa alone (hey, she said not to come, right?). When Sasami finally meets Kagami, to put a summary in the latter’s long winded explanation, she was jealous when she saw Sasami making a new friend. She should be happy and supporting her but views herself as broken since she is a robot. Sasami dismisses she is one and completely human. In that sense, she got hurt so she apologizes for hurting her. Hugging her, Sasami wants her to stay by her side and doesn’t have to support her. Meanwhile Juju reads Micchan’s log about Ruza’s unruly behaviour. Dog collar? Naked? Pretending to be a dog? Can you blame her for blowing her top? Elsewhere Foxie accompanies Edogawa. Tama reverts to her own appearance and this doesn’t sit well with Kagami because she felt embarrassed over that emotional drama. She treated her so because she thought she was the real Kagami. The fireworks lit up the sky as the real Sasami goes back to sleep since she is spiritually worn out (that’s why Tama came back out).

Episode 12
Going back a little in time when Sasami discovered Edogawa’s true gender, Edogawa’s plan was to perform a ritual to summon a Kuzuryuu dragon. She has this other personality called Awashima (Babysitter) that takes control of this body while her spirit rest. That’s when Sasami unfortunately discovered ‘it’ so he had to cook up some excuse. After that, Edogawa discusses with Awashima and Tamamo No Mae (Foxie) to initiate their plan. All for the sake of her happiness, desire and curiosity. During the festival, Edogawa believed for the moment that Sasami wanted to be her friend till she ditched her to find Kagami. At that same moment, she too wanted to invite Sasami to be her servant but was flat out rejected. This causes Edogawa to rue her disappointment. All expectations result in disappointment especially when it involves humans. That’s why she doesn’t understand and hates them. When she initiates the plan, Kagami leaves Tama because she thought she spotted something strange. Then the crowd turns into water and absorbs Tama. Sasami feels her body being drugged. Tsurugi and Kamiomi are examining destroyed shrines as Kagami faces off with Tamamo No Mae who has set up a barrier around the island. Tamamo No Mae identifies Kagami as the former Lord of Fire, Kagutsuchi. She is confident both her divine swords will cut through her. Tama is taken to Edogawa to a shrine where she is forced to help out re-enact a play how Kuzuryuu was slain. It is a fitting role for Tama because she is the new god while Edogawa is the old forgotten one, Arahabaki the Unworshipped. Edogawa wants Tama to kill her with the sword but she can’t. That’s when Edogawa strikes back. Claiming this ceremony is just history repeating itself, she will use Tamamo No Mae’s power to mislead the world so she’ll change history and make Kuzuryuu defeats the Yamato court. After taking out Tama’s heart, Edogawa claims history will alter and Kuzuryuu victorious. The multi-headed Kuzuryuu emerges and burns down the entire island.

By the time Sasami is able to establish connections with Tama, the latter says she was eaten by a scary god. Edogawa revives in her golem form and has been waiting for her. She opened a little window in the barrier for that. Now that Kuzuryuu has declared war on the world, she wants Sasami to be the new ruler of the world. She will become a priestess to mediate between gods and humans. Sasami admits defeat since many are dead and the innocent involved. Tama begs her not to give in. However all this is just a ploy to buy time. The golem is on fire and it seems Kagami has defeated Tamamo No Mae and took over her body to play possum to her. Sasami apologizes to Tama for keeping a secret. Because she really wanted to go on the trip as soon as she felt better, she moved the entire house inside her body! That’s why at some points it was like Sasami herself controlling her from inside on her driver’s seat. Edogawa’s mistake was thinking that she has defeated the Yagami sisters and opened a little window to communicate with Sasami when she had been inside the barrier all along. This allowed Tsurugi to go outside the barrier and plan something. Kagami then burns the golem and takes over the rock body before reverting to her own original body. Then she uses her Yata Mirror to restore everything back to normal. Sasami’s house is spit out. But the world isn’t destroyed as believed and the island is uninhabited to begin with. Was that an illusion? Apparently Kuzuryuu’s revival wasn’t perfected. But Kuzuryuu breaks free from the ground within. Tsurugi has called her underworld brother, Susanoo as he swings his Ame No Habakiri at Kuzuryuu to destroy it. The great impact causes Sasami to fall into the ocean. She sees Edogawa drowning and pulls her to shore. As the girls lie on the shore, Edogawa explains she was scared that if she got everything and became supreme god of the world, she would be all alone and never have done things with Sasami and the rest. Sasami understands her fear of being alone. Edogawa adds she worked so hard since young as the head of the organization and shouldered huge expectations and yet it all turned out disappointing. Sasami says if she runs away, she loses. Although Edogawa will still kill her one day, Sasami wants them to be friends till that day come. Weird. Kamiomi and the Yagami sisters paddle their way to rescue them while Juju reprimands Micchan for shirking her duties and fall into this outrageous decadence of foolish lifestyle. Micchan got the cheek to say she looks cute when she’s jealous. Sasami and Edogawa frolic together on the beach, vowing not to put anymore effort today.

Sasami-san@Try Harder Please…
Actually everything started out okay in the beginning and it seemed interesting at first. However as we go by, it gets a little complicated. In fact, too complicated for my puny brain to comprehend so the enjoyment decreases with each passing episode. When the story gets a little grimmer with gods in the picture and Sasami’s past unveiled, that’s where my turmoil begins. I’m not a guy who really understands or am interested in gods so that takes a big chunk out of the enjoyment. Some of those terms were a put off too. Who understands God anyway? Well, maybe those who devoted themselves to them. So you have gods who have power to change everything from the setting to the way the world functions just to please the almighty Amaterasu. So what? I still don’t get it. It was okay when it started out with Valentine chocolates, then some network game and the spying over Sasami. Though, these serve as plots and build-up for later stories. Then when you have Sasami making friends with Kagami, meeting and going against her dead mom, travelling back in time to ‘adjust’ history and the final arc of befriending Edogawa and preventing her from carrying out her world conquest. Tell me again, what is this anime about in a nutshell?

Sasami at first seems like a usual shut-in with no motivation to do anything. As bits of her past are revealed, you will clearly understand why she lacks the drive to do what she is supposed to do. After all, she is a human girl. All she wants is to be a normal girl and do what girls her age normally do. When she is finally freed of her spell and duties, she is very much like a normal girl. Or at least trying and yearning to be one by making her first step to make friends. Well, there aren’t an awful lot of characters in this series but having two at the end is already a good start. Sasami is now more open up and has more expression than before and this makes her quite likeable. However I have mixed feelings because I viewed her as funnier when she was in her shut-in mode. No motivation to do anything and such uninspiring attitude is what made her funny. But for the sake of her betterment, I guess you have to lose something to gain something. She could have become the next god like the ever famous Haruhi or even Kamisama Hajimemashita’s Tomoe. However she totally rejects this because she wants to live her own life the way she chooses. It’s pretty ironic because there are lots of other people out there who would die to become God and wield such power. Ah well, humans. Have it, don’t want it. Don’t have it, want it.

The other supporting characters are okay too but the way it seems, they may harbour lots more secrets than they look especially the Yagami sisters. Especially about Tsurugi being an ex-god or something. At first I was interested to know more about their background but then the whole thing about being gods and all made it such a turn off so I just didn’t want to think about it. Especially that Susanoo character that appeared right in the final scene. Who the? What the? By that time I think I couldn’t really care less if more new characters turn up. The Yagami sisters are unique in their own way each with different personalities. Tsurugi’s first love may always be adult porn games (and she isn’t afraid to admit it – God playing human porn?) but when it comes down to putting things right, don’t count her out. She does her best. Kagami has lots of fancy weapons built inside her body that she could put all the Gundam and Macross mechas to shame. It’s mind boggling how everything can fit inside that body of hers. Like as though there is some time-space dimension warp inside. As a robot, she juggles hard with her emotions. Sometimes she is more human than human beings themselves because she does her best to be Sasami’s friend. Evidently, despite being jealous of Sasami trying to make Edogawa her friend, it proves that she has a human heart. Oddly too as a robot, she loves sleeping (don’t you love it when she goes “Funyaa~” when she wakes up?). Doesn’t she have extra recharge batteries? Maybe it’s all those weapons that eat up lots of energy. Tama may not look like an elementary school student because she is the biggest size among the sisters. Her happy, naïve and child-like nature may make her the most light-hearted character in this series. But as we see it is her way of trying to make others happy. If you have sisters who are already gloom and doom, if two wrongs don’t make a right, then a third definitely won’t. She might not be the smartest of all the characters but her simple ways are enough to motivate you to try your best. I know she is.

Kamiomi’s role in the series seems to be like a joker and a comic relief because this guy whose face is always covered by something, usually is at the receiving end of things. Just when you thought you think you might get a glimpse of his face, think again because you will never really get to. He hides it very well. Overall his role in the series I feel doesn’t have an important impact in the storyline. For the final arc, it’s like he became forgettable. He didn’t really do much. Not that I can see. Despite vowing to always protect Sasami, all I can see the most he did was free her from Juju’s imprisonment. Otherwise, many of Sasami’s help relies on the Yagami sisters. His love for Sasami is both good and bad because it shows he cares for her more than anything in the world. Which kind of sister wouldn’t love to have a brother like him who does everything without question? But too much love can be creepy, disgusting and sickening especially when he shamelessly reveals his intention of wanting Sasami’s sisterly love. Something which he doesn’t really often get. I think he is a masochist. Sasami refuses his advances but this doesn’t put him down. Ironically there are some points where I noticed if Sasami or somebody else impersonating as her, Kamiomi may love the idea that his sister has accepted him but if she gets to lovey-dovey, then he starts to freak out. Is this the real Sasami? Is this really the Sasami he knows? Yeah, that. Dilemma, right?

Before Juju accepted Sasami’s decision not to become a Tsukuyomi priestess, it was hard to view whether she was wrong or right. Her ancestors for many generations have practised such ritual only for Sasami to be a combo breaker and put an end to that lineage. Sometimes when you think about it, is it the ultimate fate of mankind or a single person which is more important. Generally, a single person’s sacrifice would have been the reasonable answer seeing it is only an individual compared to the masses. And if you put that individual more important than mankind, what good would it do if only one individual benefits at the expense of the rest? But making somebody to go against her wishes is also pure malicious. Sasami is a human being even if she is some vessel for a god or come from a line of descendants who supports god. She is still human right down to her bones. That’s why it was a tough call for Juju to make. She knew she was torn about her duty and motherhood but had to prioritize. She can only do one at the time because doing both together will cause great conflict. In the end, I’m glad that she accepted Sasami’s arguments and is now holding Amaterasu’s power. Whether or not she intends to relinquish it to Sasami in the future (in the event if she changes her mind) or some other member of the family is yet to be seen. Speaking of family, it got a little confusing when almost everybody starts calling each other their parent or sibling. So who is who? Kamiomi is also Tsurugi’s brother, Juju is also Kamiomi’s brother. Everybody is somewhat related, don’t you think?

Some characters make me wonder what their appearance is for. Like Ruza and Micchan. All we see Ruza do is bum around and degraded himself into some S&M dog. So what is the implication of this? What has it got to do with the storyline? Maybe nothing. Just for a quick laugh and side distraction. It shows that Ruza is also human since he too can’t resist the temptations of worldly desires. Even Juju herself was once like that. See how she confessed to Ruza? Just like a girl in love, no? Yeah. Edogawa coming into the final picture as the antagonist, it made me wonder what she wanted. Sure, it’s about her happiness and such but somehow I just don’t feel that. In the end, her whatever plans to change history and rule the world got stopped and what does she really want then? Whatever she wishes for, let’s hope that being friends with Sasami will bring out the best in her. Her underlings like Awashima and Tamamo No Mae also feel like they didn’t make much of an impact. While foxy girl’s battle with Kagami was just a short bout, after Awashima made his formal introduction to us, he is like forgotten soon after. What happened to him? Did he really matter after that? So is Edogawa really a boy or a girl?

Many things in the anime baffle me especially about the gods and divinity thingy. Ever since their mention, it made me wonder why in the world do they need a human as vessel to house the most powerful god of all? Then the way they want to please Amaterasu is like as though they are trying to please a human since Sasami was the one housing Amaterasu. Doesn’t that make them inferior and cheap? There are good gods and there are bad gods but those trying to fight over Amaterasu only serve to make me think that they are no better than humans themselves. Humans are already flawed so seeing them struggle and trying to improve for their overall happiness is okay. But if you talk about gods… Shouldn’t they be perfect even if some of them ranks lower? And if they have the power to just change the world in the blink of an eye, don’t you think they would have done something for themselves? They are that powerful, no? Another thing that got me baffled is Juju’s return to the human world. It is said that once one enters the underworld, it is forbidden to return anyhow. At least that is what I understand. Then when Juju broke that rule to return and re-educate her daughter, got sent back again and now she’s back once more this time doing her duties in Sasami’s place. Maybe some deal was made but I thought Tsurugi went to whack some sense into that brother of hers? And I thought Tsurugi was the one who said that such rule should be strictly enforced. Unless she changed her mind about it.

Learning that this anime is from SHAFT, my expectations for this series were there and it is safe to say that it didn’t disappoint. There are several SHAFT trademark styles that you will notice (if you have watching a few of their shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Maria+Holic and the ef series). For instance the typical head tilt. I wonder how many times they have shown that here. Then, Sasami’s incredulous or shocking expression that has her facial appearance looking more like a clown is also part of the package. Mainly, somehow I feel that many of the trademarks remind me of Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari. Although there are no words to bombard you and fill up the screen as often as in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. That could be a tad annoying. Make that very annoying.

Since the drawing and art also takes after some of SHAFT’s trademark, I notice that some of the backgrounds and scenery are very water colour-like painting. It’s like as though the artists didn’t have enough motivation to put in more effort. But that is just my speculation and I think it is done on purpose. I mean, if you have a world that can be easily changed by the gods, I won’t even be surprised if the series suddenly undergoes lots of visual changes. Something which did not appear in this series. I guess the lack of such creative and different visuals is also good so it doesn’t distract you from what you see. Or is it what you see are real in the first place? Also, for the end card, I am not sure if they are drawn by the same person because I feel that they are generally the same style. Fanservice wise, there are some but I happen to notice the increase in nakedness. Yes, the characters will be naked and yes, mostly there are no censors. But… when the characters are in their birthday suit, they will usually be at a distance. Far enough for us to identify they are not putting on any clothes but not close enough to warrant any censors over those sensitive areas. Well, Sasami is rather flat, right? So you can’t really see much from that distance. Oops… Even Kamiomi has more ‘censors’ over his face than the fanservice scenes… Heh…

For the voice acting part, Kana Asumi being casted as Sasami, she wasn’t really in her typical lively character type such as Nyaruko in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san or Miya in Amagami SS. Of course when your character is a shut-in and lacks motivation, you don’t expect to pull that kind of crazy voices that you expect her to. But still, she is still identifiably quirky as Sasami. Kana Hanazawa as Kagami does away with voicing retard characters. She also did characters who lack emotions in their speech like Noir in Dog Days and Kuroneko in Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. So if you know how those characters sound, you basically have an idea how Kagami would sound like too. At first I didn’t recognize the voice of Tsurugi. It felt familiar but couldn’t pinpoint who. Then when I get to know it is Chiwa Saito, it suddenly brings back familiar memories. I guess voicing loli genius is her forte. As Tsurugi, it seems like there are traces of Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca and Linebarrels Of Iron’s Rachel within her. I haven’t heard Ai Nonaka in a while so it was a pleasant surprise to hear her voicing Tama. She still got her liveliness there just like her Fuuko in Clannad and Meme in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko. Other casts include Houchu Ootsuka as Kamiomi (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge), Manami Numakura as Edogawa (Arata in Black Rock Shooter), Yuu Asakawa as Juju (Motoko in Love Hina), Erino Hazuki as Micchan (Akari in Aria The Animation) and Rikiya Koyama as Ruza (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero).

The opening theme is Alteration by ZAQ. Nothing memorable about this piece but the animation is filled with lots of circles and funny symbols. Whatever. Not that I understand since I think it has something to do with the Tsukuyomi shrine or priestess. The more memorable and amusing one is the ending theme. For the first time ever (as far as I can remember), we don’t actually hear the real song being sung, Shintou Atsu Symphony. For the first 11 episodes, as the ending credits are being played, we hear the characters ranting away about singing this song. Just like a karaoke session, some really want to have a go at it and others like Sasami are really reluctant to sing it and some encouraging others to just belt it out (like our Kamiomi who keeps pestering our Sasami to do so for the sake of this broadcast). So after halfway through, we hear the characters singing the song and all of them are out of tune! It’s like they didn’t put any effort or too much effort. The cacophony actually makes it sound funny! I also tried joining in and sing with my monotonous lower voice. Of course it sucks. Intentionally. So we have all the characters singing their own version and despite Sasami very reluctant to ‘show’ her voice to the audience she eventually does on a handful of occasions. I think she really wants to sing it, just that she doesn’t want anybody else to hear her (Tama caught her!). And there’s one time the imposter Sasami sang so lively that it made Kamiomi sweat, thinking if this is really the Sasami he knew (see, what did I tell you about him really wanting Sasami to get all lovely like he expects?). So the final episode we get to hear the real song sung by Kana Asumi. However… After hearing so many unmotivated and over-motivated tries, this one doesn’t sound any better at all! Okay, just slightly better since to me it still sounds out of tune. Perhaps the song is like that and Kana Asumi was just in her character singing the song.

Another one of the most amusing sections in this series is just before the next episode preview which I call Unmotivated Segment. In this part, we hear Sasami in her unmotivated voice narrating the various types of unmotivated categories, be it unmotivated fortune telling (such vague and ambiguous predictions… Maybe), unmotivated weather forecast (it doesn’t matter rain or shine because I’m staying home!), unmotivated cooking show (you get someone to buy all the ingredients and cook it for you), unmotivated consultation (since an unmotivated person is writing this letter, it’s like the kettle calling the pot black), unmotivated quiz (what questions will she ask? Whatever that is you answer), unmotivated warm up (Kamiomi is doing all the warm ups while Sasami just sits there unmotivated on her ass), unmotivated ranking (this next episode preview ranks as first because there’s nothing about the next episode!), unmotivated shopping channel (you buy the vacuum to piss yourself), unmotivated pro wrestling (doesn’t all the unmotivated wrestlers feel like Power Rangers spoof?), unmotivated cinema (trying to find some clip to replace this show but eventually gave up) and the ultimate one called unmotivated drama (previous episodes… Stuff happens… Next episode… Stuff happens…), each of her unmotivated narration doesn’t tell you much since it is after all unmotivated. So don’t expect much ;p. Except maybe a few chuckles. Or else you’ll be tad disappointed and ultimately unmotivated. Yeah, Sasami is so infectious here in her unmotivated speech that you might just feel so. Don’t fight it…

The bottom line is, individuals should be free to do whatever they want without pressure as long as it doesn’t give or bring trouble to others. Gods are gods and humans are humans. They are both very different entities. Of course being a shut-in doesn’t seem to benefit much to society because you lock yourself up in your room all day and night. But what else can an otaku do? Besides, being a shut-in is a luxury and a disease as once admitted by another fellow shut-in from NHK Ni Youkoso. I hope this anime serves to give us more motivation to do our best rather than the opposite. Imagine if everyone in the world lacking motivation just for anything. We won’t have such high-tech modern conveniences that we are so comfortable with nowadays. Having said all these, somehow I just can’t find the motivation to take a break from watching anime, get out of my chair and go breath in some fresh air outside. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow. Or next week. Ming@Procrastinating…

Plastic Nee-san (cont.)

August 23, 2013

Apparently Plastic Nee-san wasn’t just released as an ONA back in 2012 but also released as a DVD episode containing all 12 episodes, each lasting about 2 minutes. I remember the wild antics of 3 plastic model club girls with some sort of odd plastic on their heads in their very silly antics and doing anything except making plastic models. It was one of those very random, silly and nonsensical animes that will make you go WTF at every moment. And so, I continued my ‘journey’ with +tic Nee-san or Chikku Nee-san as it is also known for more wild and hysterical laughs. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Unless you are not the kind who likes all this silliness.

Episode 5
Nee-san causes her usual ruckus and demands their completed models to be taken photos. Just as Okappa is going to take them with her expensive dad’s camera, Nee-san changes her mind and wants pictures of her taken instead. Yoga pose? Okappa refuses so Nee-san sulks and wants to get back at her via arm wrestling. Is she sure? Not going to regret this? Despite Nee-san playing cheat using her body strength and both her hands, she still can’t best Okappa. Too great Okappa’s strength that they fists swing into Makimaki’s face! The tank on Makimaki’s head got pissed off and fires at them both. So everyone’s knocked out? At the same time, the baseball team accidentally hit the ball breaking their window. The guy goes to get it and thinks he knocked everyone out. But he is never going to get a chance like this anymore and starts rubbing his face on Okappa’s thigh!

Episode 6
Nee-san hears the incessant banging from the club above their floor. She goes tell off the twins Uno and Sano that their mochi banging is pissing her off. The twins are in a hurry to complete the mochi or else Cindy will be mad. Cindy turns out to be a giant woman and she wants her mochi now! Nee-san tries to tell Cindy off but I don’t think that beast understands. Cindy calms down when the twins give her the mochi. Suddenly she chokes and collapses. The twins revel in happiness as they put sleeping pills in the mochi. Now they take it out by punching her face in her sleep. At least it has gotten a little quieter…

Episode 7
Nee-san enters the club room to see Makimaki sprawled on the floor like as though she’s been raped. Okappa says that the boy she likes has a girlfriend. Nee-san couldn’t contain her laughter! Cruel girl! She finds it funny that her ass is showing!!! She promises not to laugh and goes in. Unfortunately she further mocks Makimaki! However she gets upset since Makimaki is ignoring her and tells her off she was trying to cheer her up. That was cheering her up? Makimaki admits it’s her fault and will look to the future. Then Nee-san lands her a flying kick. WTF?!

Episode 8
The girls see a couple of delinquents cornering the student council members at the alley. Nee-san wants to take on them? Can she? Makimaki thinks of calling the police when baseball guy Kuniki says he will handles this. Have a bad feeling about this? Confronting the delinquents, he tells them to let them go. You think they listen? Then he uses his muscles to rip his shirt! OMG! He’s wearing a black bra underneath!!! Using those muscles once more to rip the bra into one of the delinquents face!!! They see how muscular he is and are thinking twice about messing with him. Kuniki knows they don’t want to resort to violence and so he is willing to give them his love free of charge! Putting both his hands behind his head, he violently shakes his hips as he makes their way towards them! PERVERTED SICKO!!! RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!! Feel the love!!! Of course the police arrests this flasher soon after.

Episode 9
Sanada sees Nee-san stuck high up in the basketball net. Seems she was playing with Okappa and slam dunked on her head. In her fury, she got dunked up here. She deserves it? Well, Okappa has returned with a pole ready to let Nee-san slide down. Well, Nee-san doesn’t sound like she has reflected on her actions but she is eager to get down. Accidentally her shoe falls off and hits Okappa’s face. Oh no… Okappa turns into a demon and violently pokes into Nee-san repetitively. It looks like she’s trying to pluck a fruit from a tree… I wonder if Nee-san will be fine on her wedding day… That’s her delicate zone, you know…

Episode 10
Nee-san and the twins march down to the school nurse’s infirmary. They are acting like delinquents and in a bad mood. They are calling her a liar and show her the poster she made. Is it about dieting? Rather, they are upset that they did not obtain the breasts evolution as stated in the poster since they have passed that age. Yeah, they are so flat… Nurse thinks without them, they will weigh less but they would be happy to have such supporting weight. Nurse then explains how she had those perfect breasts and body but was dumped by her first boyfriend due to her back. The girls are touched by her story but start laughing their ass off when they get to know her back is hairy. They try to strip her and see those hairs!!!

Episode 11
Nee-san and Okappa are playing tennis. So bored the former that she breaks her racquet! Utsukushisa No Hito sees their ‘bad playing’ and decides to teach them. They’re not interested and leave. But she mentions the taboo word of ‘chicken’ and this riles up Nee-san. Utsukushisa No Hito serves but misses! Twice! Double fault! Nee-san serves next and though she is able to hit it, it bounces back on her head. The more Nee-san continues to serve, it gets stuck between Utsukushisa No Hito’s chin! So who is the weak one? She then decides to coach Nee-san to improve her beauty of the game instead of using brute force, blah, blah, blah. Get out of here!

Episode 12
Nee-san is going to teach Okappa and Makimaki on how to get a boyfriend. She uses the example of a zoo gorilla, Hana-chan in doing some butt shaking dance. So they’re gorillas? Anyway Makimaki reluctantly tries it out but was instantly placed a bucket over her head. Okappa asks when they should show this dance and Nee-san replies it to be before the confession. But Okappa thinks it is weird so they try imagining it. Okappa calls out a boy to the roof and strips while doing her butt shaking fanservice dance to him to ask him out. Then Makimaki comes in to challenge her, equally stripping herself to her undies and shakes her butt at him. The boy views the dancing idea as very good but since that they’re both so ugly, it’s not happening. Nee-san thinks there is no meaning to it so Makimaki retorts that she keeps calling them ugly but she herself is not cute.

Ticked Off Nee-san
Haha! Wasn’t it hilarious? Yeah, I did enjoy it and in some cases laughing till my stomach hurts. The jokes were spontaneous since you have only a couple of minutes for it. Maybe some of the jokes were really sick like how Kuniki wears women underwear beneath his clothes and starts acting like an erotic dancer. That was so disgusting but at the same time so funny that I couldn’t stop laughing. Talking about fanservice, I guess there are quite a number of them here but not in every episode. In addition to having your laughs, you’ll have some pleasant ‘visual candy’ to go with.

Nee-san is a very erratic person and if I would describe her in a word, she is an idiot. Troublemaker may sound dark, though. She is the source of many of the funny bits especially when she blows her top ranting like squeaking mouse. This vulgar girl has no qualms giving you the middle finger. I don’t think she will learn from her lesson unless she gets a very good and sound warning. You know Okappa is dangerous when her eyes turn into demon-like. It’s a sign to say that you’ve been screwed. No second chance of making amends because you had wished you were being run over by a bus or dropped off a cliff. Although Utsukushisa No Hito only appears in a couple of episodes, I kinda noticed that Okappa frequently laughs at her no matter what. She’s finding it hard to contain her laughter like as though her presence is one big joke. But that fatty blonde herself is also a joker. Despite being the butt of her own jokes sometimes, she puts on a cool face always. Maybe that’s what makes it funny to Okappa. I feel Makimaki is like the bullied victim. She usually gets tormented by Nee-san. Due to the very short nature of this series, many other side characters only appear once and do not really make a significant impact on the overall series. Some are funny in their own ways and some are just sick. Kuniki…

The opening theme, Plastic Shikou by Ultra-Prism is a very, very, very wacky and wild one. You will see lots of craziness, vulgarness and silliness in every frame. It makes you go WTF. I mean, among others there’s Nee-san doing her stooooopid face, some grandma firing her machine gun and oh, Kuniki ripping off his clothes to unveil… Well, you guessed it. A sign of what to expect and what this series is about? Just see it and you’ll know what I mean. The ending theme, Watashi To Watashi Ga Shitai Koto by Yuka Saotome doesn’t have such craziness. After watching all that gags, I’m sure we need to wind down a bit. I think I will need a lot more time to wind down after seeing the antics of these girls. So are you interested in the plastic models are these girls? Better take the plastic models. They are much a safer bet anytime.

I was once known as the nameless assassin with super powers from the future who travelled back in time to take out evil people and dispense my own sense of dark justice that is considered a heinous crime by many. In a future where evil has spread far and wide, it is only necessary and a desperate attempt for one to venture far back in time to nip the problem in the bud.  And so… The dark vigilante continues his struggle… Seriously… Just kidding! Hah! When we were young, I am very sure that many of us had such elaborated and grand fantasies cooked up in our heads. Be it some super hero or some cool character, there is one time in our young life that we truly believe and acted out such eccentric individuals. Now looking back at it, don’t you just feel embarrassed???!!! So embarrassing that you want to wipe that from your memory as though it has never happened before. You never want to think that you did all that before. Yeah, it might be a natural phase in life but really… Do you really want to remember those embarrassing moments?

Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai is an anime series that has its main theme focused on this chuunibyou syndrome (which is loosely translated as eighth grade syndrome). I’m not going into details of this chuunibyou thingy and types as you can read it up over the internet. Many of us outgrow this chuunibyou thingy when we become adults and we would prefer to very much leave this embarrassing blot in our lives buried very much deeply underneath everything. Yuuta Togashi is one kid who had his experienced with the chuunibyou syndrome. He thinks he look cool as this dark hero character. He even acts the part. Then he had to grow up and suddenly realize it was all one big embarrassing mistake. It would have been easier and smooth sailing had he not meet a girl who is still under her own chuunibyou syndrome! You see, some adults never grow out of it. She is one and really thinks Yuuta is still that old character he used to be and tries to drag him into this delusional world of their own. Can Yuuta return to his path of normal life or will he be sucked back into this delusion and be trapped forever?

Episode 1
Yuuta once believed he was the Dark Flame Master. Now he believes all that was just something embarrassing and wants to lead a normal life. Yeah, trying hard to forget all that. It isn’t going to be easy. One night, a strange girl with an eye-patch, Rikka Takanashi abseils down through his balcony. At the train station, he sees her pulling off weird moves which makes him late for his train. Yuuta has starts his high school days in a faraway school so that he doesn’t have to live with the embarrassment of his previous friends who knew his Dark Flame Master identity. Starting all anew. Till that Rikka girl turns out to be his classmate and knows about his Dark Flame Master personality!!! She starts acting up and this is when Yuuta realizes she too is having chuunibyou. So taking her to the infirmary, she spouts more crap about her Tyrant’s Eye, corruption of darkness, blah, blah, blah. Yuuta is not amused. Apparently she heard him say Dark Flame Master behind the gym (sometimes he can’t help pull off those moves, It’s like a reflex). Then she reveals her eye underneath the eye-patch. Woah… Could it really have powers?! It’s glowing!!! Oh, it’s just eye contacts… In wanting an ordinary life, Yuuta makes friends with Makoto Isshiki who sits behind him. He wanted to follow them on an outing but their homeroom teacher, Nanase Tsukumo calls him. Since Rikka recently moved to this area, she isn’t familiar with the place and wants him to show her around. Just great. He has to put up with more crap jargons. Administration Bureau. Unseen Horizon. Judgment Lucifer technique. Whatever. He learns her sister Touka lives above his unit alone but Rikka recently moved in and is now living with her. I guess Rikka didn’t hire professional movers because they can’t even wait and dump her boxes of belongings at Yuuta’s place! Guess what? They’re all filled with junk. And they’re all very important. Oh God… He is forced to help move them all up to her room. Rikka has dinner with Yuuta’s family. Seems his mother and sisters love playing along with her chuunibyou despite Yuuta trying really hard to forget his. Later he tells Rikka acting like that isn’t cool and such powers do not exist. He feels stupid but Rikka disagrees because such powers do exist. He puts away all his equipment when he was Dark Flame Master. But why doesn’t he have the heart to throw them away for good? Feels like a waste? Going to auction and sell it? That will be the day. At least Rikka is glad he is holding on to them.

Episode 2
Yuuta is dreaming of having pool fun with his class rep, the beautiful and busty Shinka Nibutani. Then he realizes the excessive water spray on his face turns out to be Rikka spraying on him. Wet dream? What a bummer. What’s worse than bringing in a stray cat? Putting pink wings on it. Oh boy. This is going to be another long day. In school, Shinka seeks Yuuta’s help to put away some science equipment. She claims she remembered him from the train station. I guess he must have realized she saw him as Dark Flame Master. Keep cool… Yuuta is given the fright of his life when the anatomy model starts moving. It’s Rikka behind. Here she goes again… Mana… Chimaera… Shinka learns about the cat she picked up and reverts them to Kumin Tsuyuri because she lost her cat with similar traits. Rikka brings them back to her apartment. Inside her room is filled with junk! But Yuuta is impressed that has gun collections too. The Mauser type interests him. Kumin is really impressed with everything but as for the cat, nope it isn’t hers. Suddenly Touka barges in and wants to know whose cat this is. Immediately Rikka escapes through her room with Touka hot on her tail with a ladle. The ‘battle’ resumes in Yuuta’s room but Rikka’s blunder knocking her head on the ceiling knocked herself out. Touka talks to Yuuta and reveals she is allergic to cats and despite Rikka knowing this, she still brings them back. He wants Yuuta to do something about it. Why him? She takes out a tape recorder that replays his chanting of Dark Flame Master!!! HOLY SH*T!!! Blackmail! Guess what? She loves uploading to video sharing websites too. By the time their conversation ends, they realize Rikka has escaped. Reluctant Yuuta goes after her while Kumin is enjoying every bit of this adventure. When he catches up, Rikka explains Rikka is the Administration Bureau’s strongest priestess. Yeah. Whatever. Anyway she’s really mad. How mad? Touka throws her ladle and it hits Kumin in her forehead!!! Rikka then comes out to face off with Touka. What’s this?! Am I seeing this for real? Magic insignia. Magic summonses. Oversized weapons. Power aerial battles. Power effects. Are these for real?! Oh… It’s just in her head. Seems like two girls prancing around in the park. It ends with Touka knocking her head with the ladle. She lets them off the hook this time and wants to keep her delusions in check. I’m sure Rikka’s winning move was all just in her head… Yuuta keeps the cat and shortly Kumin found hers.

Episode 3
Rikka is making excuses the evil demon eggs this red fruit has and therefore can’t eat it. In short, she hates tomatoes. Yuuta reluctantly eats it for her and the class misinterprets the scene of Rikka feeding Yuuta. Makoto wants to join the light music club to flirt with girls when Yuuta gets a message to meet with Rikka. She wants to use this school as her base of operations and wants to form a club. Wait. Did she say the last bit for real? And if so, so? She wants Yuuta to sign up as a member. Forget it. I don’t know why he has to help her out in recruiting members for her Oriental Magick Society. Want to know why nobody’s joining? Look at her intimidating weird ways. What the hell is she spouting about the evil Bureau’s interference? Surprisingly setting up a booth next to them is Kumin. She’s in the napping club that nobody joins. So I suppose they both combine their clubs and it becomes the Oriental Magick Napping Society. I think they just made it harder for others to join. Yuuta and Makoto see Shinka in her cheerleading club. To his dismay, Rikka is trying the club out too! I don’t think she can stand the altitude… Noticing the drama club nearby, Rikka also tries out. Oh God. I think she’s spouting her delusional crap in their log exercises…  At the end of the day, Rikka makes a desperate move and calls her comrade to join. Yuuta finds himself in Shinka’s Heavenly dream only to be awakened by Sanae Dekomori. Who? She claims to be Rikka’s servant. Oh God. Not another weirdo. Not another klutz. If one wasn’t bad enough, here’s another. Guess what? She goes to their same school too.

Rikka hands in her application to Nanase to form this new club. They need 5 members at least (currently it consists of Rikka, Yuuta, Kumin and Sanae). Rikka claims the cat as the fifth member. Nanase not buying it. In another desperate attempt, she summons her other personality called Catherine! She’s speaking English! Nanase is fascinated and speaks back in English but since Rikka can’t understand that much, she returns back to her other self. I guess that means Catherine can’t join too, eh? Nanase will consider it if they clean the room that they will be using for their club. Sanae challenges Rikka to see if she is worthy of being her master. Another delusional power fight. Such vivid imaginations they’ve got. Reality check: Girls swinging broomsticks. Get back to cleaning! Nanase approves of their club’s formation but they still need to find a fifth member. To add to everyone’s dismay, Yuuta drops the bombshell that he never said he wanted to join in the first place. Sanae takes out some (suspicious) magic guidebook called Mabinogion to assure Dark Flame Master will always obey Tyrant’s Eye. Whatever. Shinka watches their revelry from afar. Next day in class, Shinka approaches Yuuta to tell him she has hand in her application to join his club. Is this true? Now do you want to join for real? I guess Makoto is devastated the chicks only flock to him. Rikka has renamed the club Oriental Magick Napping Society In Summer.

Episode 4
Yuuta is seriously wondering why Shinka joined the club. Could it be she seriously is in love with him? Dream on… He later goes to the club room to see Rikka and Sanae in the midst of some Black Mass summoning procedure. Kumin as the ‘sacrifice’? I think she’s enjoying her nap. Great effects. LED lights to light up the magic circle. Fan for windy effects. Flour for explosion. Better clean that up. Shinka arrives in the club room and because Sanae deliberately calls Yuuta the Dark Flame Master, he locks her up in the closet. Yuuta asks why Shinka joined this club. She seems reluctant to say. Wait a minute. She sounds suggestive. Could it be?! Sanae is devastated that her Mabinogion is missing and goes crazy. Yuuta tells her he mistakenly took it back with him when he was cleaning this room. Then Shinka asks if he is free this Sunday and wants to talk to him at his home. Could this really be?! As precaution, he asks Rikka if she has plans and since she doesn’t, he gives her a note containing the location and ritual to visit another world. I guess that Dark Flame Master notes he kept came in handy. As expected, Rikka buys it and off the eager beaver goes with Sanae. Now he can have uninterrupted time with Shinka. When he goes make tea, he hears a loud sound from his room. Checking on her, his room seems to be in a mess and Shinka acting strangely like nothing has happened. He leaves and spies from outside. She is rummaging through his stuffs! When she hits upon his ‘sealed contents’, Yuuta jumps in to stop her from opening. Shinka demands him to give her Mabinogion. He didn’t give it back to her at first and reads several lines from the book from this person called Mori Summer. Suddenly Shinka squirms in embarrassment not to read those lines. She wishes her old self would die! Could she be…?! Yuuta guesses from Shinka’s kanji name translates into Mori Summer. I guess that’s her. Shinka rips it apart and then burns the book outside.

Shinka reveals she can’t believe she wrote something like that years ago and went all the trouble to delete her posts online and didn’t expect somebody to keep them. I guess Yuuta is clear now that the reason she joined this club is to rid of this book. Not for you, boy. Rikka and Sanae appear before them (I guess they couldn’t visit the other world). Sanae learns Mabinogion is burnt right before her eyes but isn’t panicking yet. She kept duplicate copies! When Shinka reveals she is Mori Summer, Sanae doesn’t believe this rotten human to be her. Shinka regresses to her old self to put a curse on Sanae! She needs to recite it 100 times uninterrupted? Doesn’t she feel embarrassed? Yuuta thought he could calm her down by revealing his own embarrassing past. She’s not amused with this loser. Backfired. Woah. Sudden 180 reverse in attitude. Shinka demands Yuuta to tell her another way to rid of Mabinogion since her high school life is at stake. There is one way: Make her believe she is stronger than her in her own delusion. Shinka confronts Sanae at the bridge and their imagination battle begins. Remember, all the effects are in your head. Because Sanae recites Mori Summer’s lines, this causes Shinka to writhe in embarrassment. She lost. And so Shinka continues to stay in this club till she rids of every last trace of Mabinogion. You can tell Shinka and Sanae won’t get along well. Sanae considers Shinka the fake Mori Summer and Shinka mocks Sanae’s petite size. Let the fight begin! Or continue.

Episode 5
Kumin cheers Sanae to drink up a bottle of milk she dreads. Gulping it down, Shinka’s sudden appearance has Sanae spit it all out in her face! Smells like milk… And she thinks she has finally drank it all… But there is trouble brewing elsewhere. It seems Rikka scores a meagre 2 out of 100 in maths! We know the reason why she did so badly, eh? Fooling around in a certain hobby club… Nanase warns her she must pass the next exam or else she has no choice but to disband the club. So back at the club room, it seems Rikka isn’t doing any serious studying. See her drawing insignia in her book for the answer? I don’t think that’s going to solve anything. They take measures to extreme by praying at the shrine. To Shinka and Yuuta’s surprise, Kumin points out Sanae is actually tops in her grade. And she proves it by answering correctly a maths question! No kidding! Kumin gives Rikka her lucky pencil to help with her exams. Upon testing it once, it gave the wrong answer. Back to prayers… Rikka goes back to Nanase and pleads to let the club do something to increase their popularity. It’s an excuse not wanting to study. And so the entire club members are forced to clean the pool. You know, they’re fooling around more than doing their job. Especially Kumin who is sleeping on the job! Yuuta learns Shinka didn’t like the cheerleading club she joins. She joined it and become a class rep to get away from her chuunibyou syndrome. Eventually Sanae and Shinka clash in a water battle. After 3 hours… The pool isn’t any cleaner. The PE teacher is mad. They’ve wasted time. Their reputation down the drain. Yeah. Rikka just dug her own grave because Nanase now says passing maths won’t be enough. She must at least get the class average.

Yuuta coaches Rikka in her room. Even for a simple question, she gets distracted with her own delusions. She can’t answer them, can’t she? He won’t fall for her distractions either. As they take a break, Yuuta learns Touka often comes home very late on weekdays. Rikka wants to exchange electro-protocol codes with him. That’s her term for email. Yuuta accidentally gives his cool email address. The one when he used during his Dark Flame Master days. He won’t allow it nor will Rikka have it so she requests him to choose a name for her. Yuuta wonders the trouble of informing everyone with the change in address. Rikka replies that she only needs to inform Touka and Sanae because they are the only ones who acknowledge her existence. And probably Kumin and Shinka too. Yuuta felt sorry for her and gets serious in tutoring maths to her. Yuuta returns late to his room and is surprised to find Touka hanging out there. Well, she didn’t want to bother them studying so intensely. The odd part is, Touka is playing reality house with Yuuta’s younger sister Yumeha! What the hell is this document they just signed signifying their divorce???!!! So the exam day arrives. Is Rikka all set and prepared? Can she use her powers to see the answer? Didn’t think so… She’s so done for. Results are out and Yuuta realizes he didn’t do much studying and thus the dip in his marks (62 points). Rikka scores 52. Their club days may be over… But the class average is 50. Phew! Safe! On the way back, Rikka is still depressed so Yuuta had to put up his dramatic Dark Flam Master act to give Rikka her new email address: Black Raison D’etre. A black reason for existence. He might be embarrassed with this but Rikka is one very happy girl. Maybe it’s worth it.

Episode 6
Rikka gives Yuuta their club uniform. A black t-shirt with their nicknames on it. Dark Flame Master… No thanks! During art class, the girls are impressed with Yuuta’s drawing. He can’t say he’s good at them due to his Dark Flame Master days. Rikka also has drawn a cool masterpiece: Yuuta as Dark Flame Master! NO WAY!!! During that distraction, Sanae gives Shinka a sliding kick. But Makoto has a big problem. He’s got a love letter! Serious! And he is panicking over it and seeking Yuuta’s advice! So close to Yuuta that everyone may start thinking they are gay. Isn’t this what Makoto always wanted? Yeah, maybe he considered himself as a loser and never really thought he would get one. He is sure it is not a prank letter despite it doesn’t leave a name behind. Makoto doesn’t think it to be one of his classmates but nevertheless feels it could be Shinka. He sings praises of her. If he only knew… Yuuta knows better that it’s not her. In the club room, Yuuta sees Rikka, Sanae and Kumin happily putting on their t-shirts and acting goofy and all. They realize Yuuta is wearing his underneath his shirt. He claims he had nothing else to wear. Really? Shinka then barges in. She is going to exact her revenge by making Sanae drink a full bottle of milk! Sanae resists Shinka’s force when suddenly Makoto comes in looking for Yuuta. Sanae uses this distraction to have Kumin drink it up for her and recite a line from Mabinogion. This causes Shinka to squirm and roll in embarrassment. Makoto saw all that and is later blackmailed to never tell anyone about this or he will be cursed. Later Shinka helps Makoto look over his love letter and can confirm at least the handwriting is from a girl. She advises how this goes is entirely up to him. And she hopes he has already forgotten about today… He sure would. Makoto then leaves to catch his train. Unknown to him, he dropped his notebook.

Next day in class, it seems all the boys are being reprimanded by Shinka and the girls. The notebook contains rankings of the girls in the class based on their looks. Shinka wants the culprit to admit it but the boys are too scared to answer. Makoto knows this is the end of his love life if he admits it since he is the one who started this. However he sums up his courage to confess. Not only that, he tells the class this is entirely his idea and the boys are not involved. Yeah, they are so touched by his ‘bravery’. To atone for this, he will shave his head. Of course later we learn he lied about shaving his head as he just wanted to look cool and thought having the willingness to say it shows his determination. Shinka reminds him the girls did not believe a single word he said and must still shave his hair to show his sincerity or else he will be viewed forever as a coward. Yuuta reluctantly becomes the barber after locking the girls out. Last chance to say no. Makoto of course doesn’t want to do it. But he doesn’t want to apologize and change his punishment or else his confession will have no merit. Especially the secret girl who wrote the love letter might think lesser of him. He resigns to his fate and lets Yuuta know his dad went bald when he was 35 years old. If he got his genes, he has 20 years left. The last 3 years in middle school he went buzzcut and now he has to cut it again after growing it back. Sad, huh? Be a man and let’s get over it! Yuuta finishes his ‘surgery’ and hopes the girls will cheer him up. He wants them not to laugh. Upon seeing his shiny bald head, Shinka and Sanae instantly laugh like mad!!! Rikka gives him her mana. I think the lightning effects only make his head glow brighter! Shinka and Sanae laughing their ass off… The notebook incident draws to a close as Makoto waits for his secret admirer. Unfortunately she never turned up but all the boys did! They love him for standing up for them. Shinka tells Makoto even if he shaved his head to cover for the boys, there might be a girl or two who’d be impressed by that. Kumin seems to be fascinated with his bald head and wants to touch it. I guess all is not lost. That night, Yuuta gets a surprise visit from Touka. She abseils down to his balcony and wants him to come with her and Rikka for summer vacation. They need him.

Episode 7
Seems the other club members and Makoto are tagging along for the trip as well. Sanae fools around too much and got motion sickness on the train. Amidst the ruckus, Yuuta notices Rikka putting up a sombre expression for the entire trip. They are picked up by Touka who brings them back to their grandparents’ place. Grandma might be friendly but not grandpa. Especially he is not fond of Rikka’s chuunibyou. Touka tells Yuuta to go see Rikka in her room. From her usual complicated words, it seems that she was brought here 2 years ago and trying to break through the barrier of Unseen Horizon with her Tyrant’s Eye. The gang goes to the beach. While the rest have fun, Rikka wants Yuuta to meet her. She is going to bring him to Unseen Horizon with this bicycle. However Touka is around so Rikka flees. Touka then has Yuuta come with her to Rikka’s father’s grave. He died 3 years ago and told the rest not to tell Rikka. So when his death reached her ears, it was sudden and she could not accept it. To her, daddy is still alive. As for their mother, she left the family a long time ago. That’s why grandpa hates seeing Rikka like that. Eventually Touka had to leave town for work but 2 years later, Rikka remains unchanged. Makoto, Sanae and Shinka work up a tan. Sanae and Shinka wrote insult names on each other’s back. Sanae didn’t want to eat the salad bowl filled with cheese. Cheese = milk. But Touka’s glaring stare forces her to gulp it all down. Yuuta goes to see Rikka in her room. He wants to help her get to Unseen Horizon. You can see her expression lighting up after a long time. Like as though she longed to hear those words. Rikka wants to sneak out via window but Touka has well placed the traps. A washbasin outside her window? This alerts Rikka as she flips up on to the roof! Touka can’t believe Yuuta is aiding Rikka and considers him a threat. Yuuta jumps off the roof and into the bushes and encourages Rikka to do the same. How far does he have to peddle? 10 kilometres… Rikka explains she saw daddy on the day he died. She saw him over the sea’s horizon and believes he is still there watching over them. When they arrive at what supposedly is Rikka’s original home, she is devastated to see it an empty land for sale. Touka arrives in her car. She tells Rikka this is reality. Their father is gone and must accept it. With tears in Rikka’s eyes, she prepares to face off with Touka.

Episode 8
Amidst the hallucination and fantasy of the fight, Touka tries to make Rikka come to terms with reality. Just when Rikka ‘lost’, Yuuta comes to her defence. He feels Rikka understands what she is saying, the reason why she is acting so. Things happened too fast. She might not want to escape it. She might not want to accept it. Rikka runs away. Yuuta goes back to her home but doesn’t find her. He passes by his friends having fun with the fireworks at the beach but she’s not with them either. Rikka is taking a train home. Yuuta manages to get onboard. Despite how much he despises his Dark Flame Master past, he is forced to tell her how he got the idea to calm her down (it all began when he heard his friends talking about it). Yuuta texts the rest where they are heading so Shinka thinks they duo are going to hit it off. Kumin is oblivious to what she means much to Shinka’s dismay. Shinka sees the insulting nickname on her back in the mirror and goes to give Sanae her payback with the sponge while she is bathing. The sunburn still hurts, right? Since Rikka forgot her keys and can’t enter her room, she has to stay with Yuuta. Plus, his mom and sisters are away. What does this mean? What flag will it open? She rummages through his Dark Flame Master accessories before her stomach starts growling. After treating her to convenience store food, Rikka wants to bathe in the moonlight for a bit. Yuuta gets a call from Makoto asking about his advice on love. He thinks Kumin who asked him to accompany her to watch the moonlight is some sort of confession or something. Not that Yuuta cares anyway but he also dismisses any romance growing between them. How can Rikka be since she’s in her chuunibyou. Since Makoto was too long on the handphone, Kumin already left. Back home, Rikka can’t sleep and watches TV. Yuuta gets worried when she is watching a romance feel and she mentions that her heart is pounding! Plus, she wants him to close his eyes for a second. Can this be true? Is this really happening? Turns out she draws a magic circle on his back hand as a sign of their new contract and enhancement of his magic power. Well, at least she’s back to normal. In bed, Rikka can’t get Yuuta out of her mind and feels her heart still pounding. Next morning, she pats sleeping Yuuta’s head.

Episode 9
Shinka seems to have appointed herself as the boss of the club and is planning what to do for the cultural festival: A flash mob. That’s something unique. But what kind of flash mob? A fight between Tyrant’s Eye and Dark Flame Master. No way! Why not Mori Summer to do it then? Anyway Rikka didn’t elicit the usual response her friends would expect so they think something must have happened during summer vacation. Yuuta did mention about her sleeping at his place but that’s about it. He did not mention about Rikka’s dad, the old home and the likes safe. Even Touka knows something is wrong but why doesn’t she talk to Rikka herself? She says it straight: It’s embarrassing. At school, Rikka talks to Kumin about the something bugging her. We know she’s in love but she’s terming it in such a way that Dark Flame Master has been taken over by some evil being whatsoever and to eliminate it by force. Yeah, Sanae is enlisted to help too. So on the night of the full moon, Rikka calls Yuuta out to the shrine. She and Sanae start their delusional ritual to purge whatever was planted in him. Not working. Then they run around in circles to confuse him. Not working either. When Yuuta stops Rikka dead in her tracks, the moment she looks into his eyes, she emotionally runs away. Elsewhere at Shinka’s place, Shinka tells Kumin that Rikka is in love with Yuuta. In class, Shinka notices Rikka still hasn’t realize that she’s in love. She calls her out to talk and her body reaction is bloody obvious. She tells her straight she is in love with Yuuta and this causes some strange reaction. She tries to give those delusional answers. Shinka manages to get Nanase’s approval for their flash mob and in return will help her with whatever they want. This is part of her scheme to set up Rikka with Yuuta. Of course it won’t go well because Rikka is too stiff and nervous and always resorts to her delusional ways. This is going to be a long day. Shinka better have lots of patience. She’s going to need them. Finally placing them at the school rooftop seems foolproof in making them closer. Yuuta noticing Rikka is still down, gives her some words of encouragement. This brightens her up. However she slips and is hanging on the verge of the roof. Yuuta can’t reach her but Shinka yells out to save her from the floor below. Yuuta makes haste and manages to pull Rikka to safety. Rikka hugs him tightly in tears. Is this out of fear/relieve or love? What the heck. They’re embracing each other like lovers anyway.

Episode 10
Yuuta has never hold a girl like that before in his life. So why is he embracing the curtains like that? Anyway Makoto sees this. Embarrassed? Sanae enters the clubroom and sees Rikka meditating. Then Rikka throws her a surprise statement: She hugged Yuuta and is in love with him. Sanae couldn’t believe it. Is she a fake? Has she been infected? Rikka seeks Sanae’s advice on what to do. Likewise, Yuuta speaks to Makoto that he likes Rikka. Makoto tells him to do his best. It gives him motivation to go confess to Kumin too. So sleepy girl agrees to dance with him at the bonfire? Anyway Shinka isn’t amused with their act (it wasn’t by the way) and wants to start practising for their act. However Sanae is upset. Because Yuuta and Rikka went home together. So the duo want to talk to each other but the words can’t leave their mouth. Can it go on like this? Till the wind blows away Rikka’s umbrella underneath the bridge. She goes pick it up and sees the beautiful city lights. That’s when she confesses she loves him (inclusive of her chuunibyou delusions). So Yuuta had to embarrassingly to his Dark Flame Master act to seal their love contract. When Yuuta returns, he sees Touka still playing that divorce attorney game with Yumeha! WTF?! I guess reality is trying to tell us it’s a long and tiring process. Anyway Touka wants to talk. She brings him to a restaurant since she can’t let Rikka hear this. She shows him a letter of recommendation in which some Italian flagship store wants her to train there. There is no reason to say no. But you know what this means, right? When Touka leaves, Rikka’s mom will come to stay with her since she can’t live alone. About Rikka hating her mother, actually mommy did try to talk and apologize to her on many occasions but it never got through her.

Touka begs for him to tell Rikka to face reality since she will listen to him. Yuuta thinks Rikka is already facing them and understands everything but doesn’t know what to do with her sadness. Her eye-patch serves as a self protection. By acting so, she is holding on to something and if she accepts it all, she fears it might disappear. Touka tells him the reality that Tyrant’s Eye and Unseen Horizon does not exist and she’ll never see their father no matter how hard she looks. What good does it bring for him to let her continue this? Besides, it is irresponsible. The cultural festival is in full swing. Shinka is surprised her old friends, Suzuki and Satou are at the festival and they know about her Mori Summer days. Trying to bring back the embarrassment, eh? She too knows about their past delusions and brings them up. I don’t think we want to be around when they start arguing, eh? Rikka sees Yuuta in the clubroom as they prepare for their act. As Yuuta leaves, Rikka’s mother meets him. Understanding Rikka still isn’t ready to see her, she gives Yuuta her bento for Rikka and hopes he could give it to her. She goes home. Yuuta is left to reflect on Touka’s words. Is he being irresponsible? When the girls go get Yuuta, he wants Rikka to take off her eye-patch. At the end of the festival, a random talent show is hosted on stage. Makoto uses this chance to display his scream. His confession for Kumin, that is. WTF moment because Kumin is sleeping in the middle of the crowd (complete with futon and all!) while rejecting Makoto’s confession! Is she sleep talking? Big time joke? Meanwhile Shinka talks to Yuuta. Seems Shinka and Sanae had to replace Yuuta and Rikka for their act and they managed somehow. She says Yuuta did the right thing. Seems when Yuuta told Rikka, she went into a tantrum and didn’t want to hear about it. Rikka goes on stage to sing a lovely song which was her father’s favourite song. After that, Rikka takes off her eye-patch. No Tyrant’s Eye beneath?

Episode 11
Touka packs her bags ready to leave for Italy. She hands Yuuta back the tape recorder. How kind of her. I guess she can’t blackmail him halfway around the world. However she hugs and thanks him because now she can leave without worries. It seems 3 weeks have passed ever since Rikka stopped wearing her eye-patch and spewing her delusional crap. She’s like a normal girl! Holy sh*t! She cries when Touka leaves and accepts the fact her mom will be living with her. I guess Yumeha has played so many divorce lawyer cases that she is sad and hopes Touka will allow her to see the children! I fear what kind of person she will grow up to be. Of course Sanae still cannot accept this and thinks she is being possessed. She summons her barrier to fight and cleanse her but it’s not working. Rikka has already tossed away that side of hers. Not even Rikka herself could convince Sanae she has changed. She’ll be back. After seeing Rikka acting so weird, to see her trying to interact normally with friends is just, well, weird! But everyone applauds her effort to become friends with them. Now that she’s gotten over her chuunibyou, why isn’t Shinka happy? Sanae tries to convince Rikka again in the clubroom with some magic stones. Despite Rikka trying hard not to use the jargons, she lets everyone know that from today this club is disbanded and everyone is free to do what they want with their lives. That includes Sanae. She still won’t accept this so Shinka takes the tantrum kid out of the room and hugs to comfort her. Shouldn’t Shinka be happy too? She doesn’t look like it. Later Yuuta helps Rikka clean up her messy room and put away all the junk before her mom arrives. She tells him her mom wants her to visit dad’s grave together. They make a pinky promise. On the day Yuuta accompanies Rikka at the train station, here comes Sanae. Oh boy. Here we go again. She continues beating up Rikka in her delusions (with no effect in real life of course). Rikka just stood there and said nothing and left when the train arrives. Sanae is upset and despite speaking in her delusional crap, she is mad that Yuuta didn’t tell her not to go and the fact she was waiting for him to say that and believed in him. Yuuta ‘strikes’ back. He tells her off all those never existed. So what good would it do if he tells her? He even tells her Sanae’s delusions are just that. They don’t exist, damn it! Sanae is reduced to a teary cry-baby. Yuuta feels bad and knows this isn’t what he wanted to say but what can he do?

Episode 12
Rikka helps her mom wash her dad’s grave. Yuuta continues to be gloomy over what he said. He is concerned that Rikka never came back to her home or turn up for school. At the clubroom, he sees a cute girl cleaning up. Who is she? Don’t recognize her without her twintails, eh? OMG! Is that Sanae? She’s talking so normally that it’s just creepily weird! Has she really given up her chuunibyou for good? But there is another trouble brewing. Kumin is wearing an eye-patch and is acting like Tyrant’s Eye!!! People are switching personalities? The world has gone crazy! Even Sane is tempted to go back to her chuunibyou! One day, Yuuta realizes a note on Rikka’s door that she won’t be coming back. She has gone to live back with her grandparents. They seem happy and she thinks it is for the best. Yuuta feels guilty that he was the one who told her to cast away her chuunibyou. He then opens a letter addressed to his name. From Dark Flame Master? The contents state he would be a normal human being by the time he reads this but at the same time he still has the power within him because he was chosen by the Tyrant’s Eye. How the heck did he arrange this letter to be sent to him 2 years ago? But this made up his mind. He is going to cycle to get Rikka back. But along the way he is stopped by Kumin he brings him a message. Actually, a flashback of what actually happened. When Rikka’s dad passed away, she seemed cool although her heart couldn’t accept the situation and everything didn’t feel real. Then he met Yuuta around 2 years ago. She was still a normal girl then but spotted Yuuta acting out his Dark Flame Master alter ego. She watched him every day in that act and felt it was so much more honest and cooler than bottling up her feelings. That’s when she started trying it out. Rikka was saved by chuunibyou. She was drawn to his power and tried to imitate it. That’s why she chose him.

Rikka feels lonely in her room and starts crying when she hears Yuuta trying to get to her from her window. Not Yuuta, but Dark Flame Master. He wants to renew their contract and come with him. Grandpa thought he was a thief and goes to get his gun! Oh sh*t! Better hurry! But can Rikka leave just like that? Does she want to stay in this boring reality? She leaps into his arms. The policeman wanted to arrest them but it seems Shinka forces Makoto to become a molester so the policeman had to go after him! Sanae and Kumin give Rikka her eye-patch and then hold back grandpa so that they could escape. Stopping at the beach, Yuuta initiates his ‘magic’ to summon Unseen Horizon. Bear in mind that this is all their creative imagination. He wants her to say what she needs to say to her father. In tears, she bids farewell. As narrated, chuunibyou might be an embarrassing affair everyone wants to forget. The disease called self conscious may cause one to do so. Others may watch and say certain things but can this chuunibyou really disappear? That’s why people will repeat them, time and again without stopping. It may be sad and embarrassing but yet charming. This is an unavoidable part of life being true to yourself. Everyone has chuunibyou. It’s odd to see the police car chasing after Yuuta and Rikka on the bicycle!!! On a cold freezing night, Yuuta sees Rikka in her usual gothic outfit abseiling down to his balcony. Welcome back.

OVA
It’s time for that Christmas party. Makoto wants to invite the girls but is too afraid and enlists Yuuta to do it instead. Do it yourself. He tries to convince Yuuta this is his chance to go on a date with Rikka. Meanwhile Rikka seeks Shinka’s help to improve her relationship with Yuuta. She is yo-yoing between yes and no so does she really want help or not? Since the school will be closed on Christmas Eve, they can’t use the clubroom. That means they have to hold it in somebody’s house, right? I’m sure Makoto the volunteer is eager but is quickly shot down. Everyone expects it to be Yuuta, right? Well, apparently not. His dad just returned from Jakarta and Rikka’s messy room won’t do. And so they’ll have it at Sanae’s place. Nobody knows the huge mansion she lives in!!! Can you blame Shinka for not wanting to accept this reality? Yeah. She got chased around by her dog. Either dogs really love her or hate her. The guys are amazed with the big hall their party will be set in. The girls are dressed in weird costumes but the one that ‘amazed’ them is Rikka in PE clothes. Not her gothic outfit? Apparently Shinka told her dress like this thinking Yuuta has a thing for this. Says who? Says Touka. Whatever. As the gang play some card game (I don’t want to know the rules), Yuuta realizes Rikka missing and goes to find her. He sees her drunk and sitting on top a beam. She falls down on him. If dealing with a drunk girl is bad enough, dealing with two is worse! Yeah. I don’t know how but Sanae is drunk too. She blames him for always tricking Rikka. Rikka blames him for getting weak. Oh no. Poor guy is going to feel their wrath. And so they are transported to their delusional world. Candy land anyone? How screwed up can it get? The duo try to pound Yuuta with all they’ve got as he escapes by the skin of his teeth. Before they deliver the final blow, they collapse.

Shinka puts Rikka to bed temporarily and laments all she wanted was for them to be alone and somehow she couldn’t find the right time. Shinka knows it is hard for a girl to make the first move and tough to express her feelings so Christmas is the best time for that. Rikka gets embarrassed when Shinka mentions about kissing and holding hands. Rikka didn’t think Yuuta have that kind of thoughts. Yuuta comes in and decides to bring Rikka home. Shinka views this as the perfect chance for them to be together. After they leave, Sanae continues to throw tantrum about Yuuta taking away her master. Shinka holds her back so Sanae blows her top that she’s too close to her lately. She was always chasing after her but now she doesn’t care. Just like her master. This girl is getting too emo. Yuuta and Rikka stop by a docked ship to see the city lights. Yuuta tries to explain their relationship but he himself can’t put it in words. We all know he wants to say “I love you”, right? We hope. If words don’t get through, maybe actions will. They seem to be preparing to kiss each other but back off when the ship’s horn frightens them. They are about to leave but were confronted by Sanae (still drunk). Yeah. The usual grouses about them. In fact, the rest of the gang were spying on them. Disappointed that you didn’t get to see anything? Sanae attacks Yuuta but Rikka defends him. They trip and just when it looked like Yuuta and Rikka’s lips are about to meet, they miss. Though, he catches her. But what was the kiss sound they heard? Sanae and Shinka’s lips met instead. And their first kiss went to each other… And so Christmas party ended with Yuuta x Rikka going nowhere. Makoto x Kumin status quo. Just Shinka x Sanae, their rivalry just gone up. How much more do you think they hate each other guts can go?

Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai Lite

These are actually short random skits that have nothing to do with the TV series. Lasting only 5-6 minutes each, Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai Lite is webcasted on YouTube (so forgive the very bad and grainy video quality) and are good for a few simple laughs. Think of it as something light to go complement with the main course. Enjoy.

Lite 1: Volleyball
Rikka sucks at volleyball because of her depth perception. This is what happens when you wear an eye-patch and play. Because of that, she wants Yuuta to help her ‘power up’. He saw this coming. He has her take off her bandage (that so called seal she used with a permanent marker won’t work on human flesh) but since she insists on her eye-patch, it remains. Rikka seems to be fooling around using her feet and umbrella to spike the volleyball. Of course they practice for real and when the time comes for her to show off what she has learnt, the girls decide to play basketball. Yuuta is needed again…

Lite 2: Tyrant’s Eye – Daybreak
When Rikka was in middle school, she came into class and her friend Tomo notices her left arm covered with bandages. Rikka of course starts acting out her chuunibyou, attributing it as sealing some dark denizens trying to destroy this world and she saved it. It is her destiny and fate. Tomo interpreted that as she hurt her arm at the train station and can’t use it. But during PE change, she nonchalantly takes it off! Getting heavier when it’s wet? Next day, her right arm is now with a bandage sling. The day after that, an eye-patch is added. A week later, her entire head is covered with bandages! The teacher takes her away to the teacher lounge for some serious reprimanding. From then on, Rikka only sealed dark denizens with her eye-patched right eye and left arm.

Lite 3: My Brother
As narrated by Kuzuha, Yuuta’s sister and the middle child, it is a time whereby Yuuta still thinks he is Dark Flame Master. He won’t eat his meals regularly and meditates underneath a makeshift pyramid made out of fluorescent tubes! One night Kuzuha is to do a night errand so mommy has Yuuta accompany her. Not Yuuta. But Dark Flame Master. Yeah. He dressed up the part too and brings along his toy shotgun! Along the way, Kuzuha bumps into her friend Mika. She wanted to get her away before she sees her brother but too late, he already spotted her. As they talk, Mika finds him cool! No way! She follows him too! NO WAY! For that moment, Kuzuha actually thought he was a little cool. But when a policeman passes, Yuuta quickly discards his garb and shotgun and bows at the officer like a normal kid. I guess he still got some sense after all. Dark Flame Master can never beat a police officer, right? Kuzuha takes back what she said and prefers this normal side better.

Lite 4: Let’s Make Beef Stew
Yumeha wants a favour Rikka. No, not world domination or a big pudding. She wants to be a good wife and wants to learn how to cook. Oh boy. Rikka is going to teach her now since she sees that sparkle in her eyes. I hope she won’t teach the wrong things. I know that won’t be possible. Anyway at the store as they pick up the necessary stuffs to make beef stew, Yumeha takes down notes on the seasonings and types of beef. I don’t know it was this complicated. At least Rikka’s chuunibyou makes it sounds complicated. Don’t believe what she says… They got the stock they needed and head home. Rikka gives a grasshopper as present for the cat. Yuuta can’t fathom what they’re making with all these ingredients they got. Rikka herself too isn’t sure…

Life 5: Sleeping After School Beauty
This one is narrated by Kumin. Like how she narrates her name may be written as May (the month) but read differently. Besides, she’s born in October. Just as we know, her favourite hobby is sleeping and she has no qualm taking good naps right in the middle of class. She loves it so much that she created a club (though she claims the original name of Oriental sh*t is way too long). Sleeping is big business to her because she has different pillows for different seasons and weathers! Even the position and the opening of windows are important to determine a good nap! She introduces the members and her views on them. Like Yuuta he contributed the most in forming the club but participates the least. Then there is Sanae who hates milk but she has her drink up so she can grow taller. Shinka may be the popular class rep but here she lets her true colours flow (read: Enemies with Sanae but they ‘get along’ well). Finally, Rikka and her chuunibyou. Kumin feels Yuuta never plays along with her although she believes deep down he wants to. As every day is as lively and fun as it is, Kumin thinks she is the only one doing some real napping. Oh well, back to catch some Zzzs.

Lite 6: Dekomori vs Nibutani
The rivalry continues… As Shinka leaves with a friend, Sanae trips her. She tries to endure all the stuffs Sanae throws at her face while explaining to her friend she doesn’t know who this kid. Apparently her friend knows she’s somebody whom she hangs out with… After her friend leaves, it’s payback time! That must be one powerful kick in her gut!!! And so the duo continue their battle with Sanae throwing water balloons at her. Shinka stopped one by grabbing it and throws it back to Sanae. But it bounces off her forehead and explodes back at her! The chase continues… Shinka finds a super huge water balloon and drops it on Sanae. Sanae won’t run as the impact of hitting the ground will explode and make her wet. So she’s going to catch it. And catch she does. But Shinka pops it with a dart. All wet. Achoo! I don’t know why they even had to take a bath at the same time. And so the rivalry continues… Don’t they sound like having fun splashing at each other?

Depth Of Field – Ai To Nikushimi Gekijo

These are actually short specials bundled together with the DVD releases. There are 7 of such specials. With only 3 minutes or so of running time of each special, there is no plot whatsoever that relates to the TV series. All we see here are Rikka and Sanae battling out in some elaborated Gundam style mecha fight in a post apocalyptic world. Rikka is on the run after betraying the army (she disobeyed a direct order to sacrifice innocent civilians) and Sanae is sent to hunt her best friend down. So expect to see lots of cool weapons preparation and zooming in with the usual mecha missiles flailing and swords clashing. Wow. Such a vivid imagination. It ends with Rikka sacrificing herself and losing the battle. Of course, it turns out to be the duo’s imagination. Girls in card boxes? Wow. Vivid imagination. The final special sees them discussing the possible endings of that imagination of theirs like running away together. Then it turns into a topic of Yuuta turning down making a contract with Rikka and making one with Sanae instead. Rikka took that seriously and won’t forgive Sanae. What is she thinking? Is she that serious?

Escaping The Harsh Facts Of Reality…
While having chuunibyou at such an age would really seem embarrassing in the eyes of society, sometimes there are reasons why one does not act their age. As seen in Rikka’s case it is to cushion the impact of her father’s sudden death. It was the only way she could stay sane. It was the only way she could carry on living. But wait. We saw that she was putting up with life quite well after her father’s funeral, right? Well, that’s what we see through our eyes. What we do not see is how her heart is crumbling with every passing second. It was like a time bomb waiting to explode. The more she holds it in, the more it will blow up and the effects would have been severely irreversible. However acting such delusions forever isn’t really going to help her situation. She would turn into a lunatic if she were to continue playing Tyrant’s Eye. There must be a time when she has to overcome her past and move forward. That’s where Yuuta came in. He was the perfect ‘antidote’ to ‘cure’ her and send her back to reality.

It was really hard for a guy who tries to leave his delusions as far as he could and with a girl like Rikka acting up, his chances of getting his normal life back to normal is pretty slim. But don’t you think he has done a good job holding out this long? Well, not that ignoring her would send her away since she keeps returning to bug him. However she is easily ‘taken care’ of. Notice when she gets too far or crosses the line with her delusions, all he needs to do is say, give a soft chop on her head so that she could return back to reality for a little while. So all is not lost really. That’s why Yuuta need not feel embarrass to relive his delusion days again because this time he helped saved a lost soul. It’s okay to put it up once in a while but not all the time. He plays along and tries his best to get least involved. But can he? Besides, even if Yuuta did say he isn’t going back to his Dark Flam Master days, you can feel that he has some sort of attachment to it. Like how he cannot throw away those accessories. Whatever reason he gives for not disposing them, it is a sign he hasn’t totally abandoned it yet.

The other characters are fun in their own way too. Sanae is the liveliest bratty troublemaker of the group. You can tell you are in for a long ride if you have someone as energetic and idiotic as her. I mean, she has her twintails so long that she can use it as a lasso. She must have such strong hair too for not having it ripped out the way she swings them. It is not known how she got into her chuunibyou or maybe she never outgrown it in the first place, but as Rikka’s partner-in-crime, I can say that despite being the idiotic duo in those chuunibyou heydays (which is probably a major comedy source for this series along with Yuuta’s comebacks too), Sanae’s presence also helps keep Rikka ‘sane’. And when Rikka did finally return to her original sane self, where would the fun be for Sanae anymore? She was happier in this form so why go back to that old self? Then there is Shinka who is like two-faced. Who says popular and pretty girls don’t have their embarrassing delusions? Nice and gentle on the outside but pretty twisted and brute on the inside. Her rivalry with Sanae is one of the amusing highlights of the series. As long as she can never get over her old chuunibyou, she’ll never be able to defeat and convince Sanae. Although entering the club at first to retrieve something embarrassing back, you can feel that she has grown somewhat attached to the club and the rest of its odd members too. She could have walked out when Rikka became ‘normal’ but she didn’t. Maybe she’s waiting for the day she can best Sanae once and for all. That will be the day. But don’t you feel that her relationship between Sanae has grown closer? Yeah. It’s that love-hate relationship. More on the hate side.

I thought Kumin felt like a useless and pointless character in the series. She serves as a little cute side distraction for us to smile a little and get some steam off Rikka’s delusions which may become a bore if you see her play out the same thing over and over again. Who among us doesn’t enjoy watching the face of a cute girl sleeping? Kumin spends so much time sleeping and hardly doing anything that the reason why she is part of the club is so that it could be officially recognized as a club. I know a few anime characters who enjoy sleeping rather than be concerned if the world is going to end but Kumin, so young already so sleepy. Like an old granny. So when she did play a prominent role reversal at the end, it felt like it was just so to make her character a little relevant in some way. And then there is Makoto, the accidental latest member of the club. Also feeling like an excess baggage and my opinion he is there so that Yuuta doesn’t get to hog all the girls. Though, this isn’t a harem anime to begin with. I’m not sure if Touka’s way of putting up with Rikka’s chuunibyou all this while is right. As her big sister, she is definitely worried about Rikka but what can she do to snap her out of her delusions? So being the cold and tough sister perhaps was the best way of how she handled Rikka till Yuuta came along. Of course the way she plays-cum-teaches Yumeha about divorce proceedings, that one was really too much. I hope the next time it won’t be how to take out your spouse! Yikes!

In the romance section, it is clearly that we would have guessed that Yuuta and Rikka would be the ones ending up together. But as normal selves or the ones in their delusion? Even people in delusions have the right to fall in love with those who do not. They are after all humans. They may not but so we think they are too. So the longer Yuuta stays with Rikka and the more he helps her out, it is inevitable that he would soon discover that he would develop feelings for her. He was just unsure if it was okay since was it her chuunibyou side or the true Rikka that he had fallen for. Too bad it’s not the pretty and popular Shinka he one fantasized so in the beginning. But after seeing her true colours, does he really want a girl like her? Better take Rikka over her any time. Rikka also had long developed some liking for Yuuta. Just that she couldn’t identify with it. Makoto can still keep trying to go for Kumin. But I don’t see any bright chances for them. How can you date a girl when she’s always asleep? Want to call her, she’s sleeping. Want to go out with her, she’s sleeping. Want to kiss… She’s sleeping. I wonder if there’s any prince charming she dreams of in her sleep. Yeah, probably one who sleeps too.

The drawing and art of this anime is by Kyoto Animation, the studio that brought to you lots of cute moe animes like K-ON!, Lucky Star, Tamako Market, Air and Clannad. Even weird shows like Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu and Nichijou. So it is no surprise the characters have that cute and moe look and a slight resemblance to the characters in such aforementioned animes. I also like the way they animate those delusional scenes, those grand and exaggerated power battles. It really takes you to a whole new fantasy and world. It’s so real and exciting that you would really believe that you have transported into such world and witnessing their ultimate battle. Although we know this is just in their heads, our heads. Nevertheless this is what makes it fun. Your imagination is the greatest tool for travelling to distant lands and worlds.

At first casting Jun Fukuyama as Yuuta I thought it was a little odd. With his mature voice, casting him as a high school kid like Yuuta’s size seems a mismatch. Although he may have voiced several high school boys role like Kakeru in Akikan and Tarou in MM! But I remember he also voiced Takaaki from ToHeart2. That character as I remember is somewhat the same ‘feel’ as Yuuta. Of course, he sounds most suitable when he enters his Dark Flame Master mode. Maaya Uchida as Rikka also seems fitting as her character role. She once played the zombie girl Rea in Sankarea and the fiery petite biting club president called Mao in GJ-Bu. Now it’s delusional girl, eh? Other casts include Sumire Uesaka as Sanae (Tamaki in GJ-Bu), Chinatsu Akasaki as Shinka (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Azumi Asakura as Kumin (Asia in High School DxD), Souichiro Hoshi as Makoto (Son Goku in Gensoumaden Saiyuki series), Eri Sendai as Touka (Yukari in Rocket Girls) and Kikuko Inoue as Nanase (Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama).

The opening theme is Sparkling Daydream by ZAQ and sounds like your typical anime pop. The one very irritating thing about the opening credits animation is the visuals. The screen is vertically split into half, one for credits and the other for the animation. The annoying thing is how often both of them alternate between each other at an irritating pace. It makes your eyes go left, then right, then left, then right, and so on. You’re going to have a major headache if you have a weak focus. It’s hard to keep your eyes focus on either the left or the right hand side. Either you see the pictures or read the credits, thus the reason why your eyes are swinging from side to side. This is much worse than watching a tennis match. The ending theme is Inside Identity by the Maaya Uchida, Sumire Uesaka, Chinatsu Akasaki and Azumi Asakura. This rock piece is very worthy of being a K-ON! song. In fact, it reminds me very much of their style. In my opinion, I just feel that it sounds somewhat ‘evil’. I can say that this is easily my favourite song for this series. There are other songs? Yeah, if you consider the various insert songs. For Lite, ZAQ sings both the opening and ending themes. The opening piece, Kimi E is a pop ballad while the ending song, Shikkoku Ni Odoru Haou Bushi is a blend of pop and the typical festival beat. Fancy seeing chibi Rikka doing her festival dance while singing about being the strongest, etc? Delusional as always.

There is no need to get all embarrassed if people know about your past delusions, though it is natural one should get embarrassed. But really, every one of us or at least a big majority of us would have such fantasies that we once fancy. After all, there is always a kid inside of us and I don’t think that kid has ever left. Somehow the norm of society represses that so that we would act the way society perceives as acceptable and thus ‘brainwashed’ never to live out those dreams again. I’m not saying being delusional for the rest of your life is okay but to strike a good balance between reality and fantasy. As humans, this is what keeps us sane and living our everyday life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That’s why we have lots of interesting humans on this planet. But some too interesting for their own good… Sometimes when reality is too hard on you, there is no harm in taking a step back and dive into the world where you are free as your imagination can take you. Sometimes too good a delusion that you might not want to wake up to reality. Maybe I should take a little break from reality as well. Erm, I’ve been going on watching animes for many years now so isn’t this my form of delusion? Can I snap out of it? Because I believe me watching animes will never end! And no! I am NOT the nameless assassin with super powers from the future who travelled back in time! I was never that! Really!

Sometimes it is nice to see things that do not work out the first time to make their return and try again. Sometimes not every failure is bad because eventually with perseverance it will lead to success. Or maybe sometimes it is just me who wants to see certain people fail and fail all over again. There is some mysterious attraction to that. Just like a certain squid girl who failed miserably to invade mankind, we have another eternal failure on our hands. Folks, once more let me introduce you to the most adorable bungling detectives ever in the history of detective-ship. With that said, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II might have been long gone over the airwaves more than a year ago but it never hurts for me to start watching this series much later than usual. Saving the best for last?

As those who are familiar with the quartet of prodigy detectives known as Milky Holmes, they have fallen from grace ever since the start of the series. Losing their supernatural powers called Toys in the midst of their battle against arch enemy and super thief Arsene and her gentleman thieves called Phantom Thief Empire. Life has not been the same for Milky Holmes ever since they lost their Toys and they are spiralling downwards into a decaying whirl of decline and uselessness. Even their arch enemy took pity on them and decided to guide them back to the top once more so that beating them at their best would be the best prize ever. How that is not to be and a long and frustrating journey it must have been. This season is no less different as Milky Holmes is struggling with pretty much everything. Who will break first? Milky Holmes? Arsene? Expect lots of nonsensical slapstick idiotic comedy to go with that. Now you know why I keep coming back to watch them fail?

Episode 1
Even right off the bat, we see how deteriorated Milky Holmes have become. Such heavy sleepers that they didn’t even hear the alarm setting off. By the time they wake up, it’s already night. They fall into the lake and so positive these bungling detectives, they think it’s killing 2 birds with 1 stone because they can do laundry too. You can imagine how upset Henriette is. To add salt to injury, Milky Holmes isn’t going to school either. Instead, they are happily frolicking in their own farm! So pissed Henriette/Arsene is that she even chides her own men for not doing their duty to bring Milky Holmes to their senses! They in turn blame Milky Holmes for making Arsene gloomy. Meanwhile Nero makes Hercule take up a job. The kind that has her pose as a model in front of enthusiastic painters. Thank God she didn’t have to do it naked. The gentlemen thieves try to cheer Arsene up in what they do best but she is clearly not in the mood. By now, Milky Holmes has racked up a reputation. The kind where everybody hates them! See them fighting over food in the cafeteria? Shameful. Henriette confronts them and asks them what they want to be. And they even have the cheek to answer like jokers. The gentlemen thieves are going to make their move since they are further causing Arsene mad. First they had to try shooting several letters of challenge because they are too stupid to understand the implications of a letter tied to an arrow! After spelling out the challenge letter, what are they going to do? Sleep over it!

And so… Gentlemen thieves wait at their farm only to be pissed that they aren’t showing up. When Milky Holmes decides to visit their farm, they realize it is destroyed! Can you blame gentlemen thieves for taking out their boredom and frustration? It is then that Milky Holmes turned into vicious bloodthirsty avengers! No, not prideful detectives but the kind that will kill them! Monsters!!! All because of the tomato field is destroyed. So terrible Milky Holmes that the gentlemen thieves start to regret what they do!!! Pleading for mercy???!!! Gentlemen thieves are defeated but tell them off they want to be defeated by detectives. Does that word ring a bell? Apparently Milky Holmes screws up in changing into their correct detective uniform. And they got tired after all that changing… Meanwhile Kokoro, who is running away from pesky Irene, accidentally enters into a cannon. It fires and she crashes into Milky Holmes and gentlemen thieves. Arsene notes that even though Milky Holmes has remembered about being detectives, they are still useless and some shock is needed to wake them up. Gentlemen thieves are thrown into prison and Stone River wants them to stay here till morning as repentance. Next morning, Milky Holmes happily rushes to their farm but their horror it is being burnt down and overrun with heavy machinery.

Episode 2
Gentlemen thieves easily escape their prison come morning. Meanwhile Milky Holmes is enjoying every morsel of their leftover food. Hercule suddenly remembers something familiar about their Toys power. She has a hard time conveying it to the rest. As expected, they are too stupid to get it. They try to do part time jobs but suck at them. The ‘best’ one is Nero, calculating what she can do with the meagre money the rest will earn her. Hercule returns with a ‘superb’ painting as a gift from being a model. Looks horrible. Doesn’t even look like her. Suddenly an old wealthy man, Drill comes running to them and wants that painting. It reminds him of his first love, Higatha Christie. Does her face look like that? Well, since she is a shy girl, she always wore a mask. That’s what this painting resembles that mask. It’s been 80 years since he last saw her. Milky Holmes don’t want to stay and listen to his boring crap but when he mentions about the sickening amount money he will give them, wow, they’re suddenly all ears. He tells them how they were separated on that fateful day when they were touring the Pyramids. He has never seen her since and resigned to himself as a bachelor as he couldn’t find her. He wants to repose himself with that painting but Nero tells him to splash the cash. Does 10 million Yen sound good? OH YEAH!!! Hercule notices in Nero’s happiness, her Toys just went off. Everyone else too dumb to notice, Hercule too shy to speak up. Nero is excited to order 1000 pieces of first class sushi. Then the wind blows the painting away. GET THAT MILLION DOLLAR ART BACK!!!

So we see Milky Holmes, Drill and even the sushi guy chasing after the painting, miraculously evading fatal accidents everywhere they go. It finally leads them to a beached whale. It’s not that they’re so kind in wanting to push the whale back into sea, it’s because it is sitting on the painting! For that moment, Hercule thinks of using her Toys and suddenly she has this great amount of strength to toss the whale into the ocean! Gentlemen thieves who arrived in time also got flung away. The whale crashes into a ship over the horizon. As Milky Holmes savour their sushi and Drill his painting, suddenly Higatha comes to shore riding the whale. They emotionally reunite as Higatha explains she was looking for him all this while too. However she got kidnapped by pirates. A whale crashed into it and saved her. Now that Fatty Holmes has eaten up all the sushi, Hercule forces Nero to give the cheque to the sushi guy to pay for his daughter’s surgery. Gentlemen thieves are once again put behind bars. When Milky Holmes returns to the academy, Henriette confronts them. She is not happy. She tells them the police are doing all the work and this renders detectives virtually useless. As usual, Stupid Holmes is too dumb to understand what she means till she spells out the academy will close down and will be used to erect a pavilion for the upcoming Detective Fair. Back in their room when Hercule finally tells them about Toys, they realize they have forgotten all about it while trying to survive. And Nero had the cheek to blame her for not telling them earlier. They get excited to protect this academy. But first, let’s have sushi for dinner…

Episode 3
Based on Henriette’s words, Milky Holmes is going to Hakkei Island to steal some deed and seal for the academy and prevent the pavilion’s erection. They paddle a boat made out of mud and halfway through, it sinks. When they are washed ashore, they are taken in as prisoners by some Macho S&M Uncle and his henchmen. He tells them this is actually a sea prison and this island is an island of despair! HUAHAHAHA!!! Arsene and her men arrive on the island to steal an ultimate treasure called hope amidst the despair. She is dressed as a guy but I don’t understand why Twenty is part of S&M Uncle’s henchmen while Stone River and Nezu are treated as prisoners. Milky Holmes and the other prisoners pick up sea cucumbers and this scene turns into a musical while Twenty whips everyone into work using his nipples!!! Arsene snoops around and learn from one of the prisoners about some legend. That person who knew the legend thought to have escaped was actually dried up and hardened as some statue. So he didn’t escape, didn’t he? So he tells them about some tacky tapestry he saw that pinpoints the treasure. Milky Holmes and Phantom Thief Empire go into action to obtain the treasure as S&M Uncle initiates traps to separate them all. Cordelia and Twenty are stuck in some dungeon filled with creepy slimy sea cucumbers. While Twenty is having ecstasy, Cordelia goes bonkers. I don’t know what explosive force she used but it made a crater in the room! Twenty is traumatized!!! Hercule uses Nezu as bait for the shark while she escapes! At least she’s not so dumb. Nezu thought her Toys are back in action but all Stone River sees is that she coincidentally presses the stop button on the machine that would have squished them.

Sherlock and Arsene find themselves in a ring against S&M Uncle and his octopus. Arsene wants Sherlock to handle this herself. First she loses hope but after remembering the words of the ‘wise one’, she gets her confidence back and boils the octopus! Her comrades come by to help eat the octopus. Arsene gives directions as where to where Milky Holmes is to stand. Turns out they fulfil the requirements of the tapestry. They transform into their detective outfit and defeat S&M Uncle. Arsene rides up to the top of the tower to get the treasure. It turns out to be a flower that in flower language it means hope. She and her men flee after thinking they’ve wasted their time. Milky Holmes arrives and sees the flower. Sherlock plucks it out and suddenly everything crumbles! The entire island is made out of sea cucumber?! The dried cucumbers are enough to form a land leading back to the main land. Everyone escapes. Back at the academy, Milky Holmes gives Henriette the flower but she is not amused. She shows them the news report that the island they have destroyed is the island prison. You know what this means, right? Runaway prisoners escaped to the city… Yeah. Ironically the detectives let the prisoners escape. It took G4 to put forth all their effort in recapturing them all. By the way, S&M Uncle is a government worker in charge of the prison. Don’t let looks fool you… Milky Holmes is thrown into prison and this only gives Kokoro more ammo to insult and chide them as the most retarded of the retards. Yeah, she’s enjoying her victory. Repent, Stupid Holmes!!!

Episode 4
Cordelia is having the nicest dream when some foot monster stomps on her face. Turns out to be Nero’s bad sleeping posture… Even during the cafeteria, Cordelia and Nero ended up arguing so loudly about it that Henriette had to tell them off about their shouting match in addition to skipping classes. And they had the cheek to blame something else except themselves! Save for Hercule. Back in their room, they think everything will be solved if they fix their sleeping postures. They try to relax by thinking something fun (Hercule’s dream is all mosaic out!!!). Since it’s hard, they decide to play a game. Sherlock sucks at Jenga because she causes the blocks to tumble even at first go. Nero cheats by licking Cordelia’s ear, causing her to lose. She is forced to cosplay as Arsene. Since Kamaboko was impersonating as her boobs, Cordelia and Nero once more ended up arguing about each other’s chest. Elsewhere, G4 are hot on the trail of Phantom Thief Empire as they have stolen a precious vase. Arsene suspiciously gives up the vase and throws it away. Kokoro dives out of the helicopter to save it. She could have been splat had not for her mates holding on to her. Then it is revealed the vase is fake and the real one is kept within her cleavage (how ‘roomy’ is that area?!). Kokoro is left to rue her lost while Phantom Thief Empire makes their clean getaway. Arsene laments that playing with the police doesn’t satisfy her. Because Nero and Cordelia continue to argue that they intrude into each other’s bed space, everyone changes their sleeping position.

Milky Holmes is deep in their sleep and experience some sort of nightmare due to their sleep walking. How worse can it get? Cordelia being faced off with a lion (Kamaboko being pushed in her face), nervous Hercule poses as a model in the painting class, Sherlock eating her fish paste and Nero and Cordelia stomping on each other’s face!!! The ruckus is enough to draw Henriette’s attention as she heads to their room. However she witnesses something. As they are asleep, it seems their Toys power in their eyes momentarily flash. Nero dreams of transforming into a robot to face giant iron Cordelia when in reality her Toys causes the alarm clock to dismantle and combine all over her body like a robot. Cordelia uses a Sherlock as shield from Nero’s pillow attack. Hercule becomes so embarrassed that her model picture has been featured in the magazine, she uprooted the building. Actually, she lifted the bed and causes the trio to fall off. She returns sleeping on the bed. Can you imagine? The trio can have such ‘nice dreams’ while beating up each other in reality. Best in the world. When all has calmed down, Henriette leaves the room with slight hope. Next morning, everyone except Hercule feels their body aching all over and that deprivation of sleep feeling. Though they accuse Hercule of being the one pushing them off, she doesn’t remember anything. They think she is the one with bad sleeping posture and should return back to their original positions. For once, Milky Holmes turns responsible as they rush over to class. Henriette decides to wait a little longer for their revival.

Episode 5
Ishinagare puts up posters in school to warn about a flasher going around. Milky Holmes have degenerated that they are thinking of eating a slug on a leaf!!! They hear about this flasher thingy but don’t know what it means! I think they should eat more brain food. Anyway only Hercule knows what it means and is forced to demonstrate. Ishinagare sees this and thinks Hercule may look innocent on the outside but is actually a pervert. Milky Holmes sees a girl in coat and promptly accuses her as the flasher. Actually she is a detective from the Kansai region, Coron. She also heard about the flasher incident and needs an assistant in catching them. Seriously? Milky Holmes as her assistant? Guess what? They are cocky enough to tell her they have better things to do! Well, they WILL become her assistants because she throws them free fried sticks!!! And free cabbages if they call her Coron-sama!!! Cheap Holmes… Coron has Insight as her Toys. But this baby god of hers keeps smacking her on the head after giving his ‘answer’. They are to search around the academy grounds. As we suspect, Nijuuri might be the culprit, flashing his body while telling the students to beware the flasher. I don’t know how Coron and Nijuuri end up with a fight using fried sticks and nipples. WTF. Milky Holmes feels it’s a shame to waste those sticks!!! So the girls conduct their investigation asking the public. They sound like they eagerly want to meet the flasher… They come into Kokoro and G4 (what the hell is with that bomb disarming robot called Poporo? Is it supposed to take after a certain G4 member?) and seek their help. They think Phantom Thief Empire all fit the description of being flashers. You never know they may have a darker side. Coron thinks they are the culprit.

Arsene and her men have stolen another diamond. They think something is wrong since it’s too quiet. The police aren’t coming. Well, Kokoro and Poporo are fighting each other over the calling of each other’s name. And they’re blocking the door so the rest can’t get to work. WTF. So a bomb disarming robot just went nuts? Arsene thought she heard a genuine challenge from Milky Holmes. Turns out to be another goofy performance. They are wearing coats because Coron told them flashers hate to be imitated and thus this is an attempt to draw the flasher out. They can’t even unbutton… Useless… Twenty is dismayed that they are doing it wrong and shows them how it’s done! Why is Cordelia agreeing with him?! Arsene has had enough of this and whips their coat to pieces. Seems they are wearing clothes underneath, which goes against the being naked underneath thingy. Except for Hercule. Poor girl. Naïve girl. Stone River is going to chop her up for accusing Arsene as the flasher when she herself is the pervert. Coron makes her debut but blunders. Arsene and co retreat. Hercule was running away from Stone River and finds herself lost. Suddenly the flasher appears before her! Coron?! More precisely, she is Po, Coron’s other personality who likes to show off her desires. Coron is a rich kid and her strict life means she isn’t allowed to show herself. She reluctantly covered up herself and this is where Po was born. Po admits she likes being naked and will turn herself in to the police. Sherlock takes everyone to the public bath. They can be naked here for all they want. Yeah, Coron is a rich girl, right? When Coron’s original personality returns, she knows who the real flasher is. Soon, that flasher is caught by G4. Coron did some investigation and concluded she couldn’t be the flasher. Milky Holmes sees off Coron at the train station. She gives them fried sticks as a symbol of their friendship rather than rewards. Whatever. These bird brains find it delicious. Yum!

Episode 6
On board the Eno Express, we suddenly find Milky Holmes and G4 pretty messed up!!! What happened?! We go back 40 minutes earlier. G4 was onboard the train on their way to stop a bomb threat from exploding a giant statue that serves as Detective Fair’s centrepiece. Shortly before the door closes, Milky Holmes made it onboard. Yeah, they’re not here to stop the bomb but to attend the fair. Somehow Kokoro is already beaten up and unconscious so the other G4 members decide to go look for clues themselves. Milky Holmes decides to join them too. Noting that the culprit is the one among the train, the conductor leads them to the rear. I guess they’re going to arrest to most suspicious looking one, eh? Well, we’ve got piggy boy, the flasher, a nervous Irene’s dad, a very build assassin and his foreigner lover. They’re all suspicious! Hercule opens the window only to be bombed with bird’s poo. She is splashed with water. The flasher offers his coat but Hirano takes him out and kicks him out on the next stop. Then the assassin tells Hercule to strip. Actually he wants to give her wear his black coat. Nero accuses piggy boy for being the culprit because he is eating like nobody’s business. How can she say that when her belly is full and burping all the way? The rest tie Nero up. Irene sneaks onboard on the next stop and kidnaps Kokoro. Irene’s dad is so nervous that he blunders saying there is nothing suspicious with his suitcase. Hirano knocks him out and opens it only to have an alien facehugger hugging her face! Is that a horseshoe crab? Something about he found it on some website and wanted to release it in the ocean. Then they find Irene taking pictures of Kokoro in magical girl outfit. After the father and daughter are tossed out on the next stop, Tsugiko thinks how good Kokoro looks good in those clothes so Saku tells her to put it on. Tsugiko gets swayed by everyone’s support and puts it on herself. Cordelia hears a ticking sound in a suitcase. Fearing this will bomb her friends, she jumps out onto the flower field to be a sacrifice. But after hearing how everyone will praying for her to reach heaven, Cordelia isn’t going to die alone and rushes back into the train! Live together, die together! Why the hell did she bring the suitcase back too?

Anyway Poporo Mark II hitches a ride on the train. The bomb disarming robot goes berserk as it starts trashing the suitcase! Then lots of Kokoro memorabilia falls out. The ticking sound is just an alarm clock. They put Kokoro’s blazer on Poporo and the robot continues to beat up unconscious Kokoro. Everyone continues to look for clues and since none are found, the culprit must be among them. Sherlock accuses piggy boy so he has had enough of this and jumps out of the window. Wrong guess, huh? She tries to suspect between the assassin and his lover when the conductor confesses he is the one. He is a big fan of Kokoro and cooked up that threat letter so that he would be able to ride with her. The suitcase filled with her memorabilia belongs to him. However nobody blames him since he came clean. With the case close, that is how we see the gang messed up in weird outfits. Before the conductor is taken away, he hands over the switch for the bomb. By this time Kokoro is awake and learns what happened. She beats up Sherlock because she is mad that Poporo beat the hell out of her during her ‘sleep’. But who knocked her out first? Going back 45 minutes earlier when Milky Holmes just got onboard, Kokoro smacked Sherlock as usual. This causes a chain reaction of the rest bumping into each other. It ends with Sherlock slipping on a banana peel and accidentally punching Kokoro in the face. Not funny! Milky Holmes feel excited of solving this case. They decide to return being great detectives and that being farmers was a mistake. Sherlock accidentally presses the button and this explodes the statue’s head. What a way to make a great return…

Episode 7
Milky Holmes might be in prison for blowing up the statue but they love the prison food! They think it’s heaven! Kokoro is so pissed that she kicks them out! Yeah, they even think Henriette should have been here to get them. Well, it seems she is drowning her sorrows via alcohol. Oolong tea rather. I can understand why she is so frustrated and depressed. Milky Holmes tries to cheer her up and unintentionally makes it worse. Especially when they say that ‘useless’ word back at her. That’s when she snaps. But wait. Did she turn polite? I mean, she is serving a luxurious feast to Milky Holmes and G4. Her men thinks it’s part of her plan to degrade them by giving them a taste of heaven. And then the news report comes in. It is announced that Arsene will destroy Milky Holmes academy tonight. Now we know why she is giving them their last supper. G4 helps out in stationing their men around the academy. Kokoro thinks she can command the crowd but Henriette does it better and naturally. Suddenly lightning strikes over Henriette! Arsene drops in to mock the student council president is no match for her. She uses her Toys of Resplendence to have everyone see each other as Arsene. G4 fighting among themselves! Milky Holmes fighting piggy boy. Can’t they tell Arsene is not that fat???!!! Poporo knocks G4 to their senses. They overcome her illusion and fight her. G4 is eliminated when Saku uses Kokoro as a cannon ball to fire at Arsene. She dodges. A big chunk of the academy gets destroyed. Oh boy.

Stone River cannot understand why she is doing this because she usually steals first before destroying. Arsene claims she wants to crush this academy with her own hands and challenges them to fight her. The gentlemen thieves realize this is not the Arsene they knew and want to open her eyes and stop her. Though they swore their allegiance to her, she announces Phantom Thief Empire will disband tonight and she will leave this place. Despite the trio having improved a lot, the flashy and exaggerated battle with lots of WTF moves ends with Arsene still coming out tops. She has all the power she needs to easily fight back. The sad truth is that she is always stronger. The impact is so great that there’s a crater now!!! Not even Twenty and Stone River homo combo could stop her. Once all her men are down (Stone River’s last pathetic attempt to stop her was futile), she disbands her team. Milky Holmes is pathetically clinging on to her trying to arrest her. The last straw came when Arsene asks Sherlock what she is. Though her reply that she is a detective of this academy isn’t bad, it is the part that she bit her tongue while saying it that made Arsene furious. I don’t know what super power she summoned because it’s like all her anger and rage summed up into one giant punch into Earth!!! Aftermath check: Academy destroyed. All students unconscious. G4 out cold. Gentlemen thieves knocked out. Milky Holmes ‘sleeping’. Arsene the only one left standing. And there were none… Shameful… Is this their determination to protect the academy?

Episode 8
The crushing defeat leaves gentlemen thieves reeling in defeat. They even see the cloud as Arsene! Kokoro becomes such a despicable loli rubbing salt into their wounds and relishing in it! Look at how ecstatic she is running them down in their pitiful state. Who’s the real baddie here? G4 captures them as they don’t even put up any resistance. Milky Holmes is digging to find Henriette. How the hell did Sherlock mistake a camel to be Henriette? Boing-boing… They hit a box and open it. Some dead warrior chase after them (because they insulted him for being poor). Their hide is saved by Abe. He cautions them that there are several Toys buried around. That was Toys? Morning comes and piggy boy delivers several stuffs. Firstly, a sign to confirm the academy’s closure. Then a letter from Henriette saying goodbye. Next, letters to everyone who will be transferred to other better detective academies to improve themselves. They get fired up to do better. What about Milky Holmes? They have a letter too. It’s blank… No hope, eh? Lastly, this land will be a wasteland and some other place has been picked for the pavilion. Totally abandoned, eh? And Kokoro does not waste any chance in running Milky Holmes down too. People, don’t be as shameful as her. Gentlemen thieves are in prison. They lost everything. Even their minds. Even the shadow reminds them of Arsene. How can they heal this hurting? They blame Milky Holmes, the source of why Arsene did all these. It’s time for revenge as they easily do a prison break to go defeat Milky Holmes.

Milky Holmes is at a loss on what to do. They have nothing and lost everything. Henriette isn’t around to tell them what to do. Can’t they think for themselves? Suddenly Cordelia loses it. She escapes reality via her fantasy. Henriette is around! Yes she is! The rest gets absorbed into her fantasy. Gentlemen thieves appear before them to get their revenge but are seriously ignored. No reaction from them. Realizing they are escaping reality, they too get pulled in. Gosh! It’s really Arsene! Yipee! Little do they know, they’re making out with the camel… Don’t ask… Kamaboko bites Stone River as he feels a tingling pain. He realizes this isn’t reality and takes Hercule with him. He shows her the rest in fantasy land and must break free of this spell. He lectures they have been left behind but taking the easy path isn’t what Arsene/Henriette wanted. His face is getting creepy to convince her so Hercule throws him towards Cordelia. He cuts down her delusion to free everyone. Then he lectures about picking themselves up and getting stronger for their future. Everyone ignores him. So both sides part with their own goals to achieve. They still ignore Stone River… Milky Holmes creates their own makeshift home as Sherlock writes on the blank paper about their future. At least they’re being positive why it is left blank for them. They decide to call this the New Milky Holmes Academy. This will be their future and they set the deadline to become splendid detectives before the Detective World Fair in 4 months. Not only Kamaboko joins them but Arty too.

Episode 9
We catch a glimpse of Tsugiko, Hirano and Saku in their daily lives when they suddenly receive a screaming call from Kokoro to get their asses back to work as the paper work is piling up. However they won’t because they submitted their leave form and somehow Kokoro approved it. Meanwhile Milky Holmes is conducting lessons to little kids! Nero even asks them for payment! WTF?! Taking candy from a baby? Anyway their lesson is so disappointing that the kids leave. They can keep the candy for all they care. Then Kokoro butts in and decides to help them become great detectives. But this is a ploy to give trouble to her comrades on her day off. She uses Milky Holmes to rip off all the ingredients and get free food from Tsugiko’s stall, rip apart Hirano’s dojo (Cordelia went berserk like a killing machine when the lights go out) and disrupt Saku’s ultimate mahjong hand at some sailor mahjong club. Yeah, it’s ironic they can be ‘useful’ in this sense. Of course Kokoro’s mates know she is the one behind this and warn her to stop this harassment. They won’t come back to work as long as Phantom Thief Empire isn’t around. They won’t be around anymore, right? This gives Kokoro an idea. She forces Milky Holmes to dress up as Phantom Thief Empire. So weird… So to be a great detective, they need to put themselves in the shoes of the villains? Their first task is to steal and conveniently Kokoro has them steal a suitcase that a group of security men are bringing out. Kokoro becomes implicated in their getaway so not to let her identity bust, she wears a cabbage as a mask. The security men chase them and they pass by Kokoro’s comrades. Thinking Phantom Thief Empire is back, they also join the chase. They assure the security men that they will take it from here but the guys give that dumbfounded look. It is revealed that they are criminals so the trio chase after them. Kokoro and Milky Holmes end up near the Detective Fair. They realize the suitcase is talking and it pops out a woman, Haruko Minami. She is supposed to sing a theme song to open the expo. However she was kidnapped by those guys. G4 has apprehended the criminals and thank Milky Holmes for doing something good for once. As Haruko sings on stage, there is also advertisement to thank Milky Holmes (they’ve become the main guests of the expo) and their desire to request Henriette to come back since they are confident she is watching this somewhere. Meanwhile Arty steals a Shard of Pandora from the expo. But since nothing happens, she notes she needs the power of Milky Holmes’ descendants.

Episode 10
The expo is officially open. Milky Holmes failed to become great detectives as promised themselves. By the way, the kidnapping case they solved was a fluke and doesn’t count. They see a poster of the fair organizing a competition looking for a mascot girl. They would have joined it if not for a tiny requirement: You must have Toys. That’s when Arty butts in. She is looking for Pandora’s Jar and convinces Milky Holmes to help her as it would get their Toys back. Giving Sherlock the Shard of Pandora, it starts reacting so Milky Holmes follows its guide. Meanwhile piggy boy returns from overseas and has lost weight! He looks like a poor version of Buddha! I guess foreign lard won’t do. Yokohama’s lard is the best. However each time he is about to eat his lard-filled food, Milky Holmes bumps into him and spills his food. And those foods are the last piece. Sold out. The hunger lard pangs continue… The Shard of Pandora guides Milky Holmes to their school’s statue of Sherlock Holmes. There is an underground hidden passage which leads them to a jar. Arty is waiting for this moment because this jar contains all the Toys of Phantom Thieves the original Sherlock Holmes sealed within. Finally Sherlock manages to rip off the seal and all the Toys burst out. Piggy boy is digging his final and secret lard treasure. Fate is to be that Milky Holmes once more bumps into him and spilling his lard all over. That’s the last straw. After Arty snatches one of the Toys, she leaves. Piggy boy becomes so angry at Milky Holmes for causing him trouble all the time, he absorbs all the Toys. Powering up, he absorbs the spilled lard and returns back to his fat self. Now do you recognize him? He then attacks Milky Holmes with his lard powers. After that, he drains everyone in Yokohama of their fats. Feeling all the moisture in your skin gone? Sense your hair very dry? Yeah, Twenty must be bloody shock that his nipples cannot erect! Eventually the gentlemen thieves and G4 confront piggy boy but they are no match since they can’t even hold or pick up their weapons (blame electrical charge friction for that). Plus, piggy boy releases the most fearful Toys in history: Toys of Uselessness! Everybody now lacks motivation to do anything or is just totally useless. Milky Holmes is fine since they were covered in lard. When they confront piggy boy, he unleashes the same Toys of Uselessness on them. But why are they still fine? Because they have been useless from the start! They even admit it!!!!!!! SO NOW DO YOU BELIEVE HOW USELESS THEY ARE?! Piggy boy absorbs all the lard power and transforms into… OMG! Is this handsome hunk him?! IS THIS REALLY HIM?! Wow. Lard power.

Episode 11
In the beginning, there was lard. Lard… Lard! LARD!!! Who wants to hear this lard evolution?! Anyway it’s so yucky that it’s causing Milky Holmes to feel disgusting. Why not? If you’re talking about greasy fat lard all the way. So as Lard God (as what this piggy boy villain is now calling himself) brags about all the lard, he plans to steal the legendary lard of Nero Wolfe (Nero’s grandpa) to turn this world into a new age of lard. But Milky Holmes won’t allow that and steal the lard before he could. Then they make a run from his attempts to steal it from them, including running through Arsene’s treasure mansion. Meanwhile Arsene easily steals the Beowulf sword in London. However she is confronted by Sonia who tells her she has walked the wrong path. Instead of facing reality, she took the other path to escape it. She labels Arsene a weak person. But Arsene easily pins her down. Sonia believes Milky Holmes will walk on their own one day even if they’re crawling now, they’ll never forget to move on. The student council can show them back the right path. Arsene views Milky Holmes will always be useless. Lard God initiates his plan to absorb all the lard in the world. Everything in this world is made of lard, eh? Is that lard wine he is drinking? Gross! But Milky Holmes won’t give up yet and cut short his victory. They vow to protect Yokohama and their friends.

Suddenly their Toys return and they use all they’ve got in this power battle to bring him down. Lard God isn’t out yet so he absorbs all the lard to become some giant gladiator with wings. Pigarus? As in Icarus? Milky Holmes is having a tough time fending him off so Hercule suggests the wheat straw she saw in Arsene’s mansion. It is believed to be able to suck out all his powerful Toys. Before Lard God can launch his final attack, Arsene in one strong jump, leaps all the way back from halfway around the world to slash the guardian and turn night into day! The lard wings are melting! While Hercule restrains him, the rest tries to suck his Toys out. This scene might seem gross but somebody has to do it. Sherlock hears an inner voice wanting her to just do it. Forget about saving the world or Yokohama and focus on just putting all her effort into sucking. Sherlock reads closely the label and it says to blow instead of suck. With all their might, the trio blow until all the lard is released and returned to its rightful place. Everything’s back to normal. The inner voice turns out to be the true Lard God. He tells them not to hate the lard because it takes only a little ill will to revive the sealed evil. He’ll be taking it with him. And remember, don’t hate the lard. Love the lard! Then it starts snowing lard. A beautiful sight to behold. Yes, ironically it is. Looks like snow… Gentlemen thieves sense Arsene’s return and pledge their loyalty to her. She’s back. They’re back too. Milky Holmes revels in the beautiful ‘snow’. Merry Lard-mas!

Episode 12
Milky Holmes is reworking on their farm. But this time with their Toys! G4 is busy engaging with the recently returned Phantom Thief Empire. But Arsene has no time to play with them. She is stumped that with their return, Milky Holmes isn’t making their move. Apparently they are handing out flyers for people to join their new school. They aren’t convinced. No doubt they are the heroines but also the culprit who caused the incident. So much for public confidence. Then they see the news of Arsene’s return and Sherlock got so excited to fight her, her Toys destroyed the TV! Stop breaking public property! Arsene in disguise feels the need to send them a challenge letter after finding out they were busy working on their farm and thus didn’t hear about her return. She tries to make coincidental appearance before them as Henriette but their stupidity makes them get distracted by other stuffs. Doesn’t it look bad on Arsene? She’s not giving up yet. The last straw came when Coron shows Milky Holmes the flyer of Detective Fair’s mascot girl contest. Since Milky Holmes has gotten their Toys back, they’re going to enter it. Sounds like a good idea to Arsene too. Due to lack of participants, we see many past minor characters taking part in this contest. Even Kokoro. Arsene impersonates as the mysterious Jermaine in this contest. So… We get clips of interview with the losers like Coron (God wasn’t on her side?), Kokoro (it’s her attitude that made her lost as pointed out by her mates), Hercule (too embarrassed), Nero (where’s her politeness?) and Cordelia (still in her delusions she got chosen). And the final two will be Sherlock and Jermaine. And instead of having some debate, the duo have to dance. What does have to do being a detective?

Sherlock hopes this would get Henriette’s attention. Right under your nose… When they dance, Sherlock felt something familiar with Jermaine. Her hand feels familiar and even though Sherlock slips, Jermaine properly guides her back up to dance. Sherlock then had to screw up by doing some weird solo dance move because she got desperate to bring Henriette back. They both resume their elegant dance and at the end, Jermaine wins the mascot girl contest. I guess the judges love her bouncy boobs… When she gives her winner’s speech, she takes off her mask and everyone is well surprised Henriette has returned! Not as emotional as Milky Holmes who really welcome her return. Henriette acknowledges them as great detectives and just when they are about to hug her, they bounce off her boobs and wash basins drop on them. Guess what? They lost their Toys! So dark! Can’t get out! WTF???!!! Nooo!!! NooOOOooOOooOOOO!!! Not again!!! Such a sorry sight… But this time Henriette doesn’t give up. Back at their new school (I guess the open air is such a refreshing change), Henriette and her gentlemen thieves (in their respective school disguise of course) continue to guide Milky Holmes and will start all over from the beginning again. She is confident they will one day arrest Arsene. Now, read out the meaning of Toys. Slowly the other students who left come back.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Alternative

What’s this?! Wait a minute! Did I believe what I just saw?! Milky Holmes not being the useless and stupid loli detectives we know and the hardworking case solving prodigy detectives that they ought to be?! Is this really true?! And they have their Toys intact too! No Arsene, no gentlemen thieves, no G4 either. That seems to be the case in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Alternative. Ah, yes. That is why the ‘alternative’ word is there. In a different parallel storyline that sees Milky Holmes being useful detectives for once and without any sort of bumbling and slapstick idiotic slip-ups that we used to see. This couple of alternative TV specials are based on the PSP game of the same name whereby Milky Holmes reunite with their teacher, Opera Kobayashi in London as they take up cases and solve their mystery.

Episode 1
Just arriving in London, Milky Holmes relishes the chance to experience all things British when they hear the scream of a girl, Lily Adler who just became a victim to a snatch thief. Milky Holmes get into action effectively using their Toys to stop the petty thief’s menace and return Lily’s bag. They learn Lily is a student of Bond Detective Academy and she has a request of them. Kobayashi is having a hard time paying off his rent to Mrs Hudson. The relatively safe streets of London (*eyes rolling*) seem to have affected his ‘rice bowl’. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, right? No case, no payment. But Milky Holmes is here to save the day as they bring Lily in as their customer. Lily begins that her great grandfather, John Adler’s painting was stolen. He wasn’t a good painter since the painting of her great grandmother was quite amateurish. It went missing from home 6 months ago. Although she reported to the police, no clues were found and she was at her wits end. She views her Toys as useless and hopes they could find her lost painting. The gang gets cracking as they list down several victims who got their paintings stolen. They visit Carl Steirer and despite born a Swiss, he has very much adapted to life as a British. Showing a picture of his father’s group of friends after World War II, in the picture is also John. The painting he received from John was of his final guests. Since they were all acquaintances of John, he gave them each a picture as commemoration. Next they visit Olivia Hunter, the widow of Thomas, one of John’s friends. She pinpoints the other people in the photo that includes Ronald Harker and Major Adair. As they are taking a break, Kobayashi accidentally trips and spills the drink. But Lily’s Toys freezes it. They learn her Toys as freezing liquid into solid objects although she cannot do so over large bodies of water. She does not have confident in her Toys but Sherlock gives her some encouragement that hers too isn’t great but use it when they can in their investigations.

When the gang visit Harker, they see him close to unconscious. Looks like he has been attacked. Before he passes out from sleeping pills, he points out to a book called Invisible Man by R.G. Wells and murmurs the culprit as “Griffin”. Cordelia uses her Toys to smell faint scent of Jasmine when the police inspector Quinn (Kokoro clone?) enters the scene. She does not get along well with Kobayashi and wants him and his amateurs out of the police scene. Milky Holmes are even afraid of her! Noting that Harker’s painting has been stolen, this means there is one more painting left. They visit Mrs Adair but her painting is still intact. Milky Holmes has a strange feeling when she serves them her hospitality. She tells them not to panic and shouldn’t worry about anyone wanting to steal such worthless painting. Back home, Kobayashi knows Milky Holmes has learned something from the investigation. That night as Mrs Adair is seen leaving in haste, Kobayashi and his girls confront her. They know she is the culprit behind the serial thefts and is a con artist. They realize this because the way she serves them wasn’t very British-like. Lemons in tea instead of milk? Raisins in scones instead of sultana? But shouldn’t that boils down to individual taste? Well, Mrs Adair is a very British person, right? Besides, Cordelia picked up the same jasmine scent. Kobayashi has checked the airports and states the real Mrs Adair has left the country a month ago so this one is just an imposter.

True indeed, Phantom Thief Kitty Evans cast away her granny look. This young sexy cat brags about the American art galleries she has robbed and runs away. Catch her if you can. Arriving at Thames River, the gang are surprised they lost sight of her. That’s when they remember Harker’s clues. Since Griffin is the main character in the Invisible Man book, it means Kitty’s Toys is invisibility. Sherlock uses her Toys to pinpoint where Kitty is but it’s not enough to pin her down. Not until Lily freezes the puddle and makes her slip that Milk Holmes is able to arrest her. See? Her Toys came in handy. Before Kitty is taken away, Kobayashi wants to know why she stole those paintings that don’t amount much. She gives out a big laugh and hints about those painting having hidden values. She is after something more valuable than the paintings. Before she could finish her sentence of forever being the best underworld criminal, an air impact knocks her head. Though there is no physical wound, Kitty seems to have lost her memories. Kobayashi types his reports as the serial painting thefts have come to a close, all the paintings were safely recovered and Kitty’s sniper was never found out. Milky Holmes suddenly moves into his home claiming they are bored with the hotel life. Yeah, they’ve got permission from Mrs Hudson and he can sleep in the roof. Plus, Lily will be staying with them till she is able to get back her painting from the police. This is going to be tough…

Episode 2
Mrs Hudson brings her grandson Tommy (Detective Conan dress?) to Kobayashi’s office since afterwards she’ll be bringing him to the Ferris Wheel at Thames River Festival. Among the highlights of the festival is an exhibition of a jet black diamond known as Black Widow once owned by the late Queen Victoria. As Lily prepares to head home with the paintings, upon knowing that her great grandmother’s name is Irene (no connection with the one in the TV series), Kobayashi suddenly sees a connection with the paintings. When Quinn confiscated the paintings there was also an x-ray machine they took in. Putting the paintings under the x-ray, they see haphazard lines. But when put together it looks like some sort of map. The initial letters of the paintings, Irene, Reichenbach Falls, English Channel, Napoleon and Empty House spell IRENE. Putting Irene’s painting as the final piece, there is a raven crest and some sort of message, “The Raven will be hatched from the Black Egg”. Suddenly news just came in that Black Widow has been stolen. The culprit drops in from the ceiling and seemingly fires an invisible gun from his hand. But they don’t have to look far for the culprit because he soon makes an announcement to the detectives. Edgar Moran admits he has the Black Widow in his hand. He explains England used to lurk in London. People were afraid of the darkness. Till electricity and gas came about, London then never slept and filled the streets with constant radiance. With Black Widow, he will suck the country back into the dark ages again. Kobayashi deduces that the Black Widow is the Black Egg as said in the message. Kitty was perhaps under his orders to steal the paintings and when he had no use of her, he eliminated her. London’s route map has been changing ever since the war and the map they’ve got from the painting is the old underground routes of London. The raven crest sits over the British Museum. Probably that was how Moran easily entered and escaped via some secret route.

While Kobayashi and Milky Holmes search the underground routes, Quinn does her research and finds out that Raven was a codename for a virus developed during World War II. Scientists loyal to the Crown reworked on the virus and found it to be very dangerous. Under pressure from ethical researchers, the royal family stopped all research on it and destroy every trace of it. Of course it was impossible to do so with the technology they had. Thus it was sealed underground. One of the scientist’s ancestors must have discovered the secret and drew those pictures as clues for detectives and descendents to destroy it. The virus will remain dormant until a certain light wavelength is shone on it. It is this reason why the Black Widow was stolen. Kobayashi and Milky Holmes manage to find Moran’s underground base. He doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to bring darkness to this world. Why, oh why? Long ago, he fought loyally for his country but a stray comrade’s grenade ‘stole’ his leg. No longer any use to the army, he was discharged. As a handicap, he couldn’t find a decent job or have nowhere to go. In his despair, that’s when his Toys to compress air awaken in him. He vows to use this power to avenge his fallen brethren who died protecting this country. So that’s the reason why he wants to take it out on millions of innocent lives? Milky Holmes sure wouldn’t care about all that but he makes his escape. They have no time to arrest him since he already tells them when Big Ben’s needle reaches eight, the Raven shall rise. Black Widow is sitting atop the Ferris Wheel that Mrs Hudson and Tommy are now in. While the detectives were running about doing their investigation, Moran’s sexy blonde bombshell partner-in-crime coolly planted the egg there.

With time running out, Kobayashi, Sherlock and Lily ‘hijack’ a plane from the museum to get to the Ferris Wheel. Sherlock wants to do a crazy stunt to jump onto it. Of course Lily is afraid but Sherlock wants her to have faith in her telekinetic Toys. See, all safe and sound. Seconds away before the hand strikes eight, Sherlock needs Lily’s power to freeze the egg. As usual, she still doesn’t have much confidence and views Kitty’s arrest as a fluke. Eventually she puts her mind into it and freezes Black Widow just a second before it ends! Hooray! Everyone is saved. Now they get to enjoy the beautiful fireworks as resort. As narrated, Raven is put into eternal slumber (how they do it is a mystery since they did say it was impossible to destroy it). Lily leaves for home while Milky Holmes patron the Sherlock Holmes’ museum. They see a picture of a woman and think it’s his lover. But that great detective was never good with women. Kobayashi points out that woman is Irene, the only woman whom he respected. So, have we seen this woman before? Yeah. Sounds pretty familiar, right? Wait a minute. If Irene is Lily’s great grandma, could it be that she is related to Sherlock Holmes?! Milky Holmes doesn’t think so but back at Lily’s home where she places the painting back in its original place, we see the trademark cap and pipe of that great detective. I presume those aren’t fakes.

Bringing Uselessness To New Heights…
Oh yes! The uselessness is so great that it had to spill over for a third season! Woohoooooooo! Me love Milky Holmes very much! Thanks to their uselessness, this season is once again as enjoyable as the first. I know I was a laughing riot right from the start seeing Milky Holmes in their very deteriorated state and all the silly antics-cum-troubles they get into. I’m guilty in the first degree for harping so much on their uselessness and wanting to see them fail so badly that loli lovers might want to burn me over the stake. Okay, so I do admit that there are times when I felt pity for them. I really wanted them to improve but there is this part of me that says if they do become the great detectives that they are meant to be, they wouldn’t become funny anymore. That takes away a lot of fun. They wouldn’t be the Milky Holmes we know anymore. Being useless is what defines them! But such ‘fear’ is dispelled when I watched Alternative. No doubt that Milky Holmes is much more reliable and there is basically not even a hint of slapstick comedy, the short series itself is enjoyable. Perhaps there are only a couple of them. I’m not sure if I could find that same level of enjoyment if Alternative was extended to a dozen episodes. Anyhow, Alternative is also a good watch but I just feel that Milky Holmes didn’t stand out that much as they did in the TV series. Yeah. Blame the uselessness thingy… Admit it! Who doesn’t love them being so adorable despite being useless?

Once more, Milky Holmes remains the same bunch of useless but lovely loli characters that we know them since the first season. I have said it so many times and I will said it again that we see them from hero to zero to minus negative! You thought they had gone so low that they won’t sink any further. Boy, how wrong we are. They just keep plummeting to all-new record low depths. They forgot about being detectives and went on to play their own Farmville. They even fight for scraps of food! I know it’s not good to waste food but really, they should be using such energy for better things. If I need to point out the worst character among the quartet, it would be Nero. In many instances you can see her scheming and greedy character. She makes others work for her and then takes their compensation. Is this what she has been taught? Even if she has forgotten her Toys or forgotten how to become a detective, she shouldn’t lose touch of her humanity. Of course being the scheming and greedy character is only in the sense of being funny. Hercule is the most decent character. Just that she is just too shy to speak up. She might be the least ‘stupid’ among the quartet as seen in her observation as the first one to notice their faint Toys. I think she really needs to take up some self confidence classes. Sherlock is still that lively detective with some tenacity in her spirit. There’s always sun in her voice despite her overall performance still rates useless. And Cordelia… I think this time she easily sinks into her delusions whenever she wants to escape the harsh reality. The more deluded she is, the more dangerous and berserk she becomes. Ultimately, you shouldn’t mess with Milky Holmes when they are useless too because as proven by the gentlemen thieves, they become ultimate bloodthirsty villains! Holy cow! If not for the comedy genre, it could have turn into a bloody yandere style hack and slash!

Arsene is the most hardworking (and perhaps the coolest) character in the series. For a villain to play the good guy just to get our loli heroines back into shape, she is one to be respected. It is no wonder why the gentlemen thieves will follow her to wherever she goes. However she is also human and every human has their limits. After all that is said and done, Milky Holmes did not improve a single bit and went further down the drain, don’t you think Arsene/Henriette would have had it up to here? I really sympathize with her when she snapped. And when she went on a kill-all spree, I was rooting for her to just beat the crap out of everyone, innocent or not, related or not. Still, she is too strong and even destroying the academy didn’t bring her joy. In her moment of weakness, she ‘ran away’, only to be brought back to her senses. So now that her head is clear, her goal is clear too. She is going to get Milky Holmes back into shape no matter what it takes. Because when she crushes them at their best, all the effort she puts in will be damn worth it. I guarantee you. The gentlemen thieves are still hanging around her. I have nothing much to comment on Stone River or Rat for this season. Stone River is just more fiery and Milky Holmes has trouble remembering Rat’s name. However, the annoying scale of Twenty has shoot through the roof, say by 200%! Yes. For this season, I find sex fiend Twenty more hilariously annoying because his nipples gets more screen time! As much screen time as G4 if I should say. The way he ‘plays’ with his nipples, twisting them, spinning them, elongating them like ropes, its erection sometimes longer than German frankfurters would easily disgust you but at the same time it makes him look so perversely funny. Is this what he calls beautiful? Like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Seriously, you will either laugh or puke when you see Twenty go into ecstasy. So gay. So funny. So revolting. Beauty… Such complicated subject.

This series won’t be complete without G4, though I feel that their presence is particularly lacking with the exception of Kokoro. Tsugiko is still wielding her guns. Hirano still holding on to her lacrosse stick. Saku still typing into the computer with that deadpan look on her face with a lollipop in her mouth. With the decaying of Milky Holmes, G4 has put in more effort to stop Phantom Thief Empire, though the thieves ultimately will get their way in the end. Kokoro has been brattier than ever especially with her favourite sentence of bragging about her IQ intelligence. Each time, it gets more and more zeroes. From 140 to 14,000 to 140,000 to 140,000,000,000,000,000,000~. Ugh… It goes on and on… I don’t think my maths is that good. I don’t even know what a number with 100 zeroes is called Does Kokoro know? Yeah, getting exponential, eh? If she was such a genius, she would have caught Arsene by now. So what does this say? I guess Kokoro and Sherlock are on the same length of stupidity because this has become a running gag for the series. Sherlock calls her “Kokoro-chan” and the loli cop will not hesitate to smash her with her golden mask and retort “Don’t call me that!”. Sherlock never learns her lesson, Kokoro never manages her anger. So they both deserve each other. Heh. Now with Poporo in the picture, are things going to be livelier with this quirky bomb disposal unit in the picture?

As for the other minor characters, those that appear in the previous season, some didn’t appear at all (do you still remember the Kamaboko-abusing Mary and Kate?) and some made very short cameos like Sonia. Irene (the one in the TV series, not the Alternative one) doesn’t feel like she is stalking Kokoro as much before although each time we see her, we can still tell that she is pretty much very obsessed with Kokoro. Kamaboko as the mascot of the series also feels lacking. It’s like I have almost forgotten Milky Holmes have had a pet cat. What can you do when their uselessness is so overwhelming? At least piggy boy has got more screen time and he even gets to play the villain for a single episode. Yeah, how many minor characters can do that? The most baffling character to me is still Arty. She suddenly entered the scene right at the final episode of the first season and in this season, she played a trickster role in tricking Stupid Holmes to do her bidding. After she got what she wanted, she left. You’ll never hear from her ever since. So what was it that she was seeking among the numerous sealed Toys? It’s like her goal never mattered. It’s just a catalyst to drive the story and lead Milky Holmes to the next level in their short-lived evolution. I’m intrigued about her. She doesn’t put on any evil expression and her liveliness is comparable to Sherlock so it is a surprise that when she did this, it never occurred to me that she would be such a character. More than meets the eye, I suppose. I hope the next season will address this. In Alternative, Moran was never captured along with his partner after his plan was foiled. So it’s a sign that it isn’t over yet. The new characters bring fresh quirkiness to the series. Personally the funniest one is still S&M uncle…

Keeping in line with the first season, several ‘traits’ of the series are still present like the mid-intermission which shows Milky Holmes (and sometimes Arsene) in different outfits and poses. There are also the end card drawings and sponsor screen drawings that turn Milky Holmes into chibi characters. My favourite one has got to be chibi Milky Holmes crossing Abbey Road imitating like a certain famous Liverpool rock band. Also, the titles of each episode are based on a detective novel but since I don’t read them, I don’t really recognize them. And as always, the amusing next episode preview in which the narration ends with somebody being accused as the culprit. Do you accuse yourself as the culprit? Except for one next episode preview, the one whereby Arsene is going to slaughter everybody. You can tell the grim tone of it when there is no punch line or joke in there.

The opening theme for the second season is also sung by the quartet seiyuus of Milky Holmes. Entitled Nazo! Nazo? Happiness!!, just like in the first season, it sounds like your typical genki and cheerful anime pop. But unlike in the previous season, we do not have a dark theme that Arsene hogged in the ending credits. Instead, Lovely Girls Anthem by Natsuko Aso is another lively anime disco pop. Although all the girls in this series are the main focus of the ending credits animation (cute girls, cute outfits, cute poses – except maybe for Arsene), notice how Twenty is part of the group?! At least in the final group shot. It just feels funnily odd. So did he really barge in or now not only he considers himself as the most beautiful but the most feminine too? For Alternative, the opening theme is also another lively and cheery piece. Sung by the same Milky Holmes quartet seiyuus, this song was also used as the opening theme for the PSP game. Alternative’s pop rock ending theme is Kimi No Naka No Watashi by Milky Holmes and SV Tribe. At first it was odd to hear a rocker’s voice singing along with such cute loli voices. Then for a while I thought his voice sounded familiar. Hey! Isn’t that Hiroshi Kitadani! The one who sang One Piece’s We Are! I thought he was from JAM Project but recently found out that he was associated with a few other groups like Lapis Lazuli and Stagger, as well as collaborated with other female singers, Masami Okui and Aki Misato.

Watching too much Milky Holmes, laughing at their silly retards and then mocking how dumb they are, has it really made me as stupid as them too? It would have been the case of the pot calling the kettle black and that it takes one to know one. Even being useless, they are still useful because it brings out the best in everybody else. You can only call yourself smart if there are stupid people around, right? Light and shadow must exist together. The question is when are they going to ever get back their Toys. It is not like they have lost it since they have shown signs that it is still there, dormant. Just too dumb to notice it all. Just like me. I’m here sitting and watching Milky Holmes rather than fulfilling my full potential to the company or nation, etc. Wow. If that is what it takes to achieve total bliss and happiness, I think I would want to remain in the comfort zone of being useless for now. Didn’t my father always call me a useless person since young? And I think I’m still on that streak of serial uselessness.

Ariel

August 16, 2013

I didn’t even know that even way back in 1989, there were aliens trying to take over Earth and failed! I thought it was just confined to a certain alien frog and squid girl. Surprise, surprise. Ariel may only be a couple of episodes long but the amusing synopsis was enough to gain my attention and made me curious enough to watch it. As stated, those aliens are still trying to conquer Earth but due to the tight budget and costs of invasion, they have yet to succeed. I guess this tells us that the aliens have been trying but failed all the time. Yeah, money is the determination of success. Even If they have launched some attacks, Earth remains safe only because of the defence by a giant shaped female robot named ARIEL (All Round Intercept and Escort Lady) by Dr Kishida. However our mad doctor too is having problems because the pilots are his granddaughters! Oddly, they are more interested in other aspects in their lives rather than piloting this giant. Can you blame them for girls their age? Aren’t there anyone else interested in piloting ARIEL? I’m not sure if his thinking is that it takes girls to pilot something female. Or maybe he just wants to keep costs low using his own relatives rather than hire other women to do the work.

Ariel Visual

Episode 1: SCEBAI’s Greatest Crisis Part 1
The opening narration narrates how the main casts are just a bunch of unfortunate people. Dr Kishida may have created ARIEL and saved the world from alien invasion but his granddaughters hate him. How unfortunate. Aya wants to go to college and her entrance exam is coming up soon but has to spend her time piloting ARIEL in which she is forced to by grandpa. How unfortunate. Mia the niece of Dr Kishida and leader of ARIEL is an unfortunate college student. Aya’s younger sister, the carefree Kazumi thinks it is fun to hang out with grandpa and loves flying ARIEL. How unfortunate. Albert Houser may be the commander of the spaceship Orcs and in charge of the invasion on Earth but hasn’t made any progress. Very unfortunate of him. Simone Torefan handles the tight budget of the ship with her strict ways but since she is love with Houser, it is very unfortunate. Saber Starblast is an alien who chased Houser to Earth and is veiled in misfortune. There is one final unfortunate guy making his way to Earth right at this moment. And so continues the story of their predictably unfortunate meeting. How unfortunate of me to watch these unfortunate events…

The girls just return from another round of piloting ARIEL. Yeah. It is clear on their face Aya and Mia are NOT happy. The mysterious alien dude, Commander Ragnarok Gilbert Howzen AKA Ragnus from the head office makes his way to Earth. Aya isn’t having enough sleep (due to staying up all night studying to compensate for her flying hours) but still gets up to make her way to school. Dr Kishida wants her to just fly ARIEL and he’ll personally get her into a good college. She blows her top but he remains cool. Dr Kishida is called to SCEBAI since there is an emergency. He heads off in the Harrier jet but it looks like he dropped his wallet. As Mia rides her bike to college, she sees the news reporting of another alien ship spotted closing in. They are not sure if it is connected to Houser and if so, brace yourselves for another invasion. Mia doesn’t care about aliens or what Dr Kishida says and thinks all this isn’t related to her. There is no response from Ragnus’ ship so Houser is left to ponder their purpose of arrival. Is it because of audit? Did they go over the budget as Simone fears? Houser knows they can’t lie to the head office and if this is an audit, they will face it since he is the commander of this fleet and it his responsibility. Ragnus finally makes contact and doesn’t want Houser to use formalities. Aya dreams of running away from her duties of piloting ARIEL. Wherever she goes, she sees Dr Kishida’s face. I know. Hideous.  Turns out she was dreaming right in the middle of a test! How on Earth did this even happen? Even Mia is seeing visions of him that she almost loses control of her bike and crash into the pedestrians! Oh wait. She’s not seeing things! Seems Dr Kishida has modified her helmet’s visor as some sort of an emergency communication device. He hopes she would reconsider her decision to pilot ARIEL but she is adamant she won’t and slams down her helmet.

Houser and Simone meet and talk with Ragnus. He is not here to audit them but is on his way back from an expedition. He knows Houser is having a handful with his invasion especially the robot that is piloted by 3 young maidens. Ragnus thinks they are putting up quite a fight but Houser complains if he had only a larger fleet, etc, so Simone reminds him about the monetary stuffs. Ragnus reminisces their reunion like those days in the academy. They were best friends and Ragnus introduced Simone to him. Feeling that fate has a strange way of reuniting them and for them to be working together, Ragnus wants to join this enterprise. He makes it formal and orders them to put this ship under his command. He will supervise all operations and in 20 hours, they will move to eliminate Earth’s giant weapon. Houser is still worried of that single person. Ragnus doesn’t want him to sweat about Saber and will handle him. Aya slams down another phone call from grandpa. She will not take up his offer to pilot ARIEL. The sisters go hang out at Mia’s place. They can’t really stand him forcing them to pilot ARIEL. Aya sees the picture in Dr Kishida’s dropped wallet. It looks like a woman resembling Mia. As pointed out it is their late grandma, Ayumi. Mia then gets a call from Dr Kishida about you-know-what. At first she is against it but it seems he makes an offer she can’t refuse. Aya warns not to get con again but Mia and Kazumi are ready to head out. Last chance to join them. Aya asserts she will not as she has prep school today. Ragnus and his troops prepare for their assault but it seems Houser still has his doubts. He knows Saber is too much for him to handle and doesn’t know what he is up against. Asserting he is still captain of this ship, he wants his advisor, Demonova to prepare a shuttle despite being ordered to remain in position. He also doesn’t want Simone to find out about this.

Episode 2: SCEBAI’s Greatest Crisis Part 2
Mia and Kazumi arrive at SCEBAI’s headquarters to meet up with Dr Kishida. Seems Mia agreed to do this because grandpa will be paying her rent for the entire year. Nothing like money talks. Dr Kishida is still worried on how to get Aya to cooperate. In great timing, they have detected aliens launching a fighter craft into the atmosphere. Everyone scrambles into action and ARIEL is also deployed. The fighter craft which turns out to be an alien monster crashes into the city and close to where Aya is. The monster rampages through the city but when ARIEL arrives, she starts firing hitting just about everything. Buildings, cars, etc. Thankfully it hit and killed the monster. That easy? Something feels wrong. Yeah. It’s a trap. The main force is dropping at SCEBAI’s base and this one was just a decoy to draw ARIEL away. Tons of monsters drop in the vicinity of the base but Dr Kishida is going to show them who is boss by initiating some barrier. Mia feels she can’t fight that many without Aya. Speaking of which, they spot her and pick her up. She still refuses to pilot but when Mia mentions about grandpa in trouble, I guess family is still family so she agrees to join in. The monsters are relentlessly attacking the barrier and making some breakthrough. SCEBAI needs to hold out until ARIEL arrives. Dr Kishida gets word that Aya has joined in and contacts ARIEL. However Aya is busy studying since her test is coming up. Suddenly the communications get cut. Did the monsters get them? No, just the communications itself that got lost. But at least it made the girls worried enough to focus on the job at hand.

ARIEL arrives in time to engage the monsters. Another full blown destruction. ARIEL is fast running out of ammo and the only weapon left is a sword. Ragnus is piloting one of the monsters and is going to engage ARIEL. Mia has Aya concentrate on ARIEL’s footwork while Kazumi use her tennis timing to strike down the monster. They may seem successful but Ragnus still lives and catches ARIEL from behind. He tears ARIEL apart and tells them they won’t die alone. He has the other monsters destroy SCEBAI’s base as well. Before Ragnus can destroy ARIEL, a boomerang rips off his monster’s arm. Saber is here to save the day. Houser notes the mystery man has shown his face and launches down in his shuttle. Ragnus is confident in taking him on but Saber’s sword easily slices through him. His sword also strikes down and destroys all the other monsters. During this time it gives the girls enough time to recuperate and power back up ARIEL. They are mad that Ragnus has attacked grandpa and go all out to destroy the monster. Ragnus ejects safely as Houser picks him up. In the aftermath, the girls wonder if grandpa is alright. Dr Kishida’s voice is heard coming through the walkie-talkie. He was repairing the communications. That mad scientist won’t go down so easily. Suddenly SCEBAI’s base emerges from the rubble. Seems he has anticipated something like this and has built a second base. And the girls thought their piloting days would be over. Dr Kishida is glad Aya came to help but she says she is here to give back his wallet. He is very grateful for it since he was looking for it. His colleague tells on him that he has a bunch of those photos. The photos of Ayumi look very much like ARIEL. I suppose it was designed with her in mind.

Ariel Deluxe

As stated even in the synopsis, the incompetent aliens are still trying to conquer Earth. I guess there is merit when you don’t give up after failing. But that’s just about it. If you don’t succeed at first… Yeah, how unfortunate. Can they succeed this time? The only thing that seems to stand between their invasion success is ARIEL. Or is it? Wasn’t it Saber that thwarted their invasion? If failure is the only fate for Houser, I can see where this is going… The question is how bad they are going to fail… And we have a couple of more OVAs with extended running time of around 45 minutes each to see all that.

Episode 1: The Beginning
Aliens are attacking Earth and the world has prepared its army to take on them. Everyone except Japan because the government thinks they need a consensus. Dumb ass. Even with photographic proof of monsters, they shrug it off as mere practice. So Dr Kishida has foreseen this and unleashes ARIEL, an ultimate creation of National Science Institute. Look at it as a giant robot lady in leotard fighting aliens. Is she our only hope against alien invasion? Kazumi barely makes it to catch the train and meet up with her friends Emi and Yuki. They talk about last night’s announcement of the invasion in which Kazumi believes it is real since she was riding the robot. She is after all Dr Kishida’s granddaughter. Kazumi discovers some sort of letter in her bag and her friends are very shocked thinking it’s a love letter. In class, her friends are envious because a carefree girl like her got a love letter. For the record, they never got one. Kazumi wonders what to do so they give their opinions. Don’t go. Or maybe Emi could stand in for her. Anyhow, Kazumi seems blissful. Meanwhile Houser is talking to Demonova about his grand plan to invade Japan by launching many battalions. He is soon chided by Simone who reminds him about their very limited budget. Due to that, their supplies are running low. No cash flow means shops are going out of business and unemployment is over 10%! Wow. See? War is just not economical. She wants all plans to be approved in advance before execution. Look at all the other control girls snickering at the captain for being chided… Is it that funny? But Houser wonders if he can secretly launch them.

Kazumi tells her big sister Aya about the love letter she got. Surprise, eh? Kazumi isn’t sure what to do and seeks her advice. Taking a look at the love letter, Aya has her own opinions on it but if Kazumi wants to know who this guy is (there is no name on the letter), it is best to meet up with him. Kazumi is thrilled that she might be going on a date and wants Aya to tag along. I don’t think big sister has got time to babysit. Aya is dumbfounded to learn that the meeting is today at 5pm! And it is already 4pm. Aya believes they still have time and rushes Kazumi. Meanwhile it is more woes for Houser. Because the ship is falling apart! No money for maintenance, huh? Yeah, the engine is going. Some compartment is going. And some drop units are dropping. Houser thinks they can use this accident as an excuse to launch those drop units but Demonova says those are scrap units and have no control devices. Yeah, Simone thinks he purposely released the drop units. Headache, isn’t he? But as they fall into orbit, many burn up into nothing. All the space agencies around the world pick it up as the aliens are launching an invasion. One of them did not burn and is falling towards Tokyo. Dr Kishida is being told by SCEBAI about this so he leaves his geothermal plant to his un-confident scientists to head there. He gives permission to use ARIEL. Mia Kawai is in the middle of her shower when she receives an emergency call. She can’t say no because the pilot is here to pick her up in his Harrier jet. Dry and change in the plane, miss. Is there enough space? Aya helps Kazumi dress her best. But Kazumi now has second thoughts about going. She doesn’t want to go. What?! After all this? Sure, Aya won’t come? She won’t. Now get going to your date! Unfortunately, the helicopter pilot is here to pick them up. Of all times. Kazumi must be happy since she doesn’t have to go on the date now. However Aya learns that since the date is in 5 minutes, they must kill the alien in 3 minutes. Sure that’s enough?

When they rendezvous with Mia inside ARIEL (Mia is wearing a Playboy bunny suit – apparently she thought this was the new uniform), she is also shocked to learn Kazumi has a date. Kazumi doesn’t mind missing this one but Mia insists the first date is always important and calls Dr Kishida directly to complain. This guy wants the girls to blame the aliens for picking such timing. Plus, it is their honourable to defend the Earth from its invasion. Some sacrifice is needed. I guess that’s about it. Better get moving because the alien is approaching. ARIEL flies and launches its missiles but didn’t do any damage to the fast descending alien. So fast that the shockwave caused ARIEL to fall and some operations malfunctioned. On ground, the real battle begins. Because the buildings make it look like they’re playing hide and seek and tag, ARIEL flies off and the alien follows suit. Kazumi does button mashing to fire away to destroy the alien. Nothing happened. And they ran out of ammo. Realizing she really wanted to go to the date, Mia gives her the only weapon left. They only have one shot of this rocket launcher. The alien charges at them and bites the head but ARIEL loses her helmet and crashes to the ground. Just when it looked like victory belonged to the alien, it suddenly ran out of power. Enough time for ARIEL to fire the rocket launcher into its mouth and killing it. Kazumi immediately ejects to make her way to meet her date. But the streets are so devastated she doesn’t know where she is. In the end, she didn’t get to meet this guy but back home she gets a new love letter and is all over the moon. Meanwhile Simone wakes up Houser as something terrible has happened. Washington makes contact with Kremlin as SCEBAI intercepts the call and informs Dr Kishida about it.

Episode 2: Great Fall
On Christmas Eve as Japan is in celebration mood, the military around the world launches a nuclear attack on Orcs. Yeah, it is already ridden with poverty, unemployment rates at 40% and with no spare or maintenance parts to repair the ship. This just adds to their woes, eh? Houser is going to get loads of headache as the parts will only arrive in 6 months. Yeah. They’ll be doing a re-entry by then. Dr Kishida discusses with a SCEBAI scientist about the operation of blasting Orcs out of orbit and its prediction of crashing into Central Europe. However the warheads didn’t exactly destroy Orcs and changes its orbit. Still, it is dropping and it is expected to crash into Japan. Dr Kishida catches Mia eavesdropping and takes her away. On New Year’s Day, Dr Kishida barges into a high profile meeting between the Emperor, Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers. This is an emergency. He shows them SCEBAI’s calculations that Orcs will crash into Tokyo. To prevent this catastrophe, nearby is his geothermal plant. He is planning to convert magma into energy to act as a catapult and push Orcs away. The risky idea may destroy some islands but what choice do they have left? The Emperor gives Dr Kishida full authority. Mia is still suspicious of what Dr Kishida is up to since he is busy working on New Year’s Day. She muscles away to see him on one of the islands and threatens not to leave till she finds out what is happening. He takes her underground just above the Earth’s mantle. She is shocked to see those nuclear signs and realized he is the one causing the frequent earthquakes felt over Japan recently. Dr Kishida plans to drop the nukes here to convert magma into plasma. The lava will be jet propelled straight up like a continual stream of Hiroshima bombs to reach orbit. Not only this island a handful of other islands will be doing this too. Extracting geothermal energy is a long and slow process but this will release all that power in a single burst. Consider it as a controlled nuclear explosion to blast Orcs out of the sky.

Orcs becomes visible in the sky. So there are many theories about it. Some say it’s the weather and some say it’s just a big movie prop. Mia returns to tell Aya what is going on and going to happen. Apparently ‘crash’ is a taboo word for her because she is studying for the entrance exams. No use getting worried about it so Aya continues her studies and takes her entrance exam like normal. But she is still disturbed that Orcs is falling. She then goes to the bookstore to research on the effects of a nuclear fallout. She is devastated to learn of a nuclear winter on Earth. The final hour is at hand as Dr Kishida and SCEBAI prepare to launch their catapult plan. Final checks and systems are in place as everything seems to be running on schedule. However there is a rift in the ocean floor and a fault line is moving in the Fuji volcanic chain. Cursing at the bad luck of such timing, Dr Kishida orders the plant to shut down before every volcano on Fuji chain erupts. He also stops the catapult plan and though they aren’t able to push the target back into orbit, it bought them enough time to begin the trampoline project.

On March 12, there are protests and panic everywhere. The Prime Minister calls Dr Kishida to lambast what he is doing. That’s because he has taken over all the railroad and power companies for this next plan. Dr Kishida can’t give a damn how a hard time the Prime Minister has to prevent panic because he’s got a falling alien ship to worry about. Aya tells Mia about the nuclear winter she read but Mia assures her it won’t happen because they’ll spring Orcs back into orbit. So just study and take her tests like normal. Kazumi sneaks onboard and since they have no time to shoo her away, they bring her along to the lab. Dr Kishida explains the giant barrier he is making. Using some theory, they’re going to place those generators around somewhere and run 200,000 giga watts through them. This will create some force field powerful enough to twist light and gravity. Once at full strength, it will reverse Earth’s gravity and turn it into a giant spring. But it only looks good in theory. It wasn’t meant to handle something this big. They have to try or else they’ll have a huge crater in Tokyo. The only way is to cause a massive blackout over the Kanto area. Houser and Simone are in some sort of argument. Whether it’s about money or not listening to orders. Demonova has come up with a strategy to bounce them back instead of sitting on the surface for months and then crashing. Looks like he has this same idea to use some reverse gravity field to bounce them back but they will need to use the mass of the Earth as a springboard. It will be a close call because they need to be close to the ground before they can activate this reverse gravity thingy.

In the final minutes, Dr Kishida and SCEBAI begin their plan. The blackout of Kanto region begins. However the power is too great as the power system overloaded and short circuited. They need a new power source and it seems ARIEL is their only hope. However they left it parked back at their home. I guess Aya realizes if she doesn’t save the world today, it doesn’t matter if she studies for tomorrow’s test because there won’t be any! She flies ARIEL to the lab and immediately rendezvous with Mia and Kazumi. ARIEL then hooks up to power up the barrier. When Orcs crashes into it, something went wrong. It seems Orcs is not stopping and is sliding off the barrier. That is because their engine is reacting to the barrier (they were trying to put their plan into action too). Because the barrier is too high for Orcs for its optimal height for the reverse gravity, it is causing Orcs to malfunction too. ARIEL is also at its limit and crashes. Orcs breaks through the barrier and crashes into Tokyo. BOOOOOM!!! The land has become a desert wasteland! They failed!!!! Or was it just Aya’s imagination?! Suddenly everyone is shocked to see this scene. What the hell is this?! Is that Superman?! No, it’s Saber! So his role for the entire 2 episodes was just for this short moment? Sure we see him from time to time as somebody watching the sky and doing some training but I guess that’s about it. So full of mystery as always. Anyway, Saber himself is holding up the giant mothership! WTF???!!! He then uses his immense strength to fling it back into orbit! With the world now saved, it’s time to pop the champagne for celebrations! Yahoo! Life returns to normal for everyone. Except for Aya. Because she didn’t study enough… And her worst fear comes true… She didn’t pass the exam… CURSES!!! How unfortunate. The mothership should have fallen over Tokyo, eh?

No Money, No Success
Watching this by itself is rather fun. If you don’t mind the other details or the what-ifs and what-will-happen scenarios. It might not be comparable to today’s standards but back then I guess it feels rather okay since you get to see a giant robot fighting a giant alien while smashing up the city. Reminds you of Ultraman, huh? Even if it doesn’t seem funny but I think they’re trying to make it funny that Houser is always having problems with his budget. He really wants to invade Earth but finds his insufficient funds prevent him from achieving his goal. Especially with Simone by his side, it feels like she is his wife controlling his finances. So it goes to show that even if you are some high end intergalactic alien, without money, you still cannot do a successful conquer even if your target like Earth is such a primitive and backward place compared to their high technology. It is pretty funny to even see how the lack of funds affect the morale and the entire ship. Economics on an intergalactic scale is quite scary. Hey, even aliens need to work for a living and eat, right? They have families to support too. It is mind boggling that the ship has been holding out for so long that it could break into many pieces any time. So why not just retreat for the time being, return to headquarters to repair and fix up everything good and then come back and continue the invasion? Must be some alien pride thingy.

On the other hand, the pilots of ARIEL and Dr Kishida are also another funny bunch. Dr Kishida’s worries is not about defeating the alien and defending Earth (since he is very confident about ARIEL’s abilities) but rather if his granddaughters especially Aya would cooperate. Yeah. That’s how I feel. Kazumi is like the airhead of the pack and while not entirely dumb, she does enjoy piloting ARIEL and nothing more than that. But her happy trigger ways means ARIEL runs out of ammo real fast. Just fire and shoot! Mia also didn’t like doing this job but when grandpa agrees to pay her expenses, look how quick she shifts her allegiance. Aya may be the most stubborn one but you can’t blame her seeing it is her dream of entering a good college. And that means studying hard enough. She knows she can’t juggle both duties. But when the time really calls for it, she will still pilot ARIEL. Too bad her grades had been severely affected. Don’t worry, grandpa will try and use his connections to pull strings so she can get into a good college. But what is the use of that when she doesn’t make it with her own hands? Ah… Girls like them are already in so much dilemma. Often, I think that Earth is very much safe thanks to this Saber guy and not because of ARIEL. Houser has is budget problems, ARIEL and the girls have their own life problems and I also think they aren’t that proficient in piloting ARIEL. Both sides are just trying their luck to wipe each other out. The real turning point comes when Saber intervenes, giving ARIEL the upper hand to finish the job.

Speaking of Saber, as the most mysterious character in the series, it is sad that he is somewhat reduced to some character that only appears in crucial times. Other times, you see him bidding his time waiting for the moment the aliens make their move. I am sure there is more to him than meets the eyes. At first I thought he was some guy who popped out from The Fist Of The North Star. Houser knows him so it is safe to say that they both have had clashed in battlefields many times. I believe that none of the humans or Dr Kishida and SCEBAI know who this dude is nor have contact with him. Seeing how strong Saber is, I am sure he has thwarted Houser many times in the past. Just be glad that this super strong dude is on our side. And then there is Ragnus. What happened to him? Though he just dropped by and had to leave the soonest for another expedition, I’m sure he won’t take this lost very lightly. Maybe another time, eh? He seemed like he had some potential in playing an active role once he took over the command of Orcs but was that just for a short while? Maybe he’ll leave the failures to Houser, eh? To sum up the characters, I would say they are under developed. But how can a handful of OVAs do any justice?

As said the battles are an enjoyable watch. Ariel Deluxe made it even more interesting when Dr Kishida decides to employ his scientific theories to propel Orcs back into space. I know I suck in all those scientific terms but here they are kept to a minimum. At least I understood what they were trying to do even if they added the jargon and all. I think this series is trying to pay tribute to some sci-fi series. Most obvious is Ultraman because of the fights and how some of the monster designs feel like they are worthy of being Ultraman’s monster-of-the-week. I only heard the opening song once and it really feels like those Ultraman themes. Then there is Star Wars. At least the opening narration in the first episode feels like one (“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”). Strangely they are all romanized. Doesn’t Orcs look like some Romulan ship from Star Trek? I may be wrong since I am not a Star Trek fan but I had this feeling it looked like it. Even the background music is very sci-fi-like. Exciting actually. One more thing I need to mention. SCEBAI I noticed is pronounced very closely to that perverted word, ‘sukebe’. Looking at the word, naturally I would have pronounced it as ‘su-ke-bai’. So it really sounds funny to hear people calling this organization ‘sukebe’. What’s so perverted? If you had a mad scientist making a giant female robot in leotards, isn’t that perverted enough?

Well it goes to show that aliens are very much like us human beings too. Sometimes they fail miserably but that won’t stop them from trying to persevere. You can have the best technology and the best army in the entire universe, but all that is for nothing if you don’t have the dough needed to execute everything perfectly. Seriously, a single robot is all that is needed to protect an invasion? Why don’t they make two or three or a dozen just in case? I won’t be surprise if it is money problems. Maybe that’s why they get a little help from one mysterious Superman. Just one super guy to defeat all the hard work that the aliens have been putting in. Very depressing, isn’t it? Does blowing up the planet now sound more enticing and easier? So whether or not you are humans, aliens, primitive or advance, in the end it is money that still reigns supreme. It has already invaded our lives and pretty much how we live, don’t you think?

Cuticle Detective Inaba

August 11, 2013

What happens when you have a detective character who is half-wolf and a mafia head who is in fact a goat? You’re in big time for one crazy nonsensical funny anime series, that’s for sure. In addition, this wolf dude has this strange hair fetish while goat guy eats real money for lunch and spits out counterfeit notes! What’s more, you have other supporting characters like a vengeful cross-dresser who doesn’t hesitate to kill those who gets close enough to his beloved, a loyal subordinate who wears a bag over his head, an sharp shooter assassin lady whose boss ends usually ends up as her target, a super strong cop and a normal cat lover boy whose role seems to be the straight man. This is definitely going to make you laugh a lot. If you are into this kind of genre, that is. The general plot of Cuticle Detective Inaba may seem to be like a wolf chasing a goat (if you really want to summarize it in a nutshell) but each episode brings in such randomness and silliness that you wouldn’t really care about the actual plot or if it ever gets achieved and just start laughing.

Episode 1A: Counterfeit Currency Printing Incident
Detective Kuniharu Ogino goes to see Hiroshi Inaba, the legendary werewolf police dog who can track suspects just by the touch of a single hair. Well, first thing… Hiroshi throws salt at the client and refuses his request before doing his cuticle dance. We are introduced to the weirdoes of this agency. Hiroshi the boss has hair fetish. The self appointed assistant of his, Yuuta Sasaki is a cross-dresser who is always at odds with Ogino (serving tea in a rice cooker pot). Kei Nozaki probably the voice of reasoning nobody listens too and the only one who works. He’s working because he needs the money. He’s a cat person by the way. Ogino explains the criminal Hiroshi is supposed to catch this time. Don Valentino is a skilled counterfeiter in his home country, Italy. His organization was thought to be dissolved when no news of him was heard. Then suddenly he popped up in Japan. Hiroshi agrees to take on this case upon learning Valentino’s hair is white. They arrive at a wooden single storey house. This is where an Italian mafia resides? And the mafia dude himself is a little goat???!!! And he’s got an assistant with a bag on his head in traditional Japanese clothing?! After Ogino falls into a trap and gets sealed underground (Yuuta helps seal it too), Valentino explains how the Japanese Yen tastes better than Euro or other currencies. He eats them and what goes in, comes out as the counterfeit bill with his face. Kei starts beating him up for disrespecting money. Yuuta does some finger technique on Hiroshi’s back to turn him into a wolf. I just thought his hair grow longer. He unleashes some dark aura that has everyone lose their motivation to do anything. In the end, Lorenzo manages to take the Don and flee. In a human carriage. Valentino is going to call his family and vows to crush the wolf at full force. Besides, aren’t wolves extinct in Japan? Oh, they got pulled over for not having a licence for this kind of ‘vehicle’.

Episode 1B: Kidnapping Incident
Valentino has called Gabriella for this job to take out Hiroshi. They also got information about his past that he has a brother that disappeared 2 years ago. That’s when he stopped working for the police to look for him. Gabriella seems to have this height fetish. Anybody between 146 and 162 centimetres is considered her minion! Hiroshi easily gets fooled in a shady letter that states his brother will meet him at a factory. An obvious trap, no? Why, Hiroshi doesn’t suspect a thing because he thinks everybody loves him!!! After a little spat with Kei, Hiroshi rushes out in tears. Of course Kei and Yuuta will be going too despite being ordered to stay back. Yuuta’s plan is to get rid of Kei forever. But the duo are at the factory and nobody is there. Seems Hiroshi got lost and returned to the office. When Gabriella points his gun at Kei, Yuuta escapes faster than the speed of sound. Maybe he got his wish? Valentino doesn’t remember who this kid is! Gabriella totally digs Kei because he is within her height range. She wants him! But her patience is running thin after waiting 6 hours for Hiroshi to show up! She really wants to go home and feed her minions when that wolf comes stumbling in. He is tied up as Valentino makes the call to Ogino to threaten him. However Hiroshi plays dirty and mimics the voice of Ogino’s daughter, Azusa. That detective dotes on his daughter so much that when he thinks Valentino has kidnapped her, he is going to kill that goat!!! Serious! Gabriella is going to kill Hiroshi now when the place is up in fireworks courtesy of Kei and Yuuta. Hiroshi is free as he rants about his love for his brother. Kei thought maybe he ran away. I can see why. Do you want this freak to be your brother? Hiroshi transforms and subdues the Don (after Gabriella puts lots of the goat’s kisses in his face). By the time Ogino arrives, Hiroshi has already got the Don in his hands. Oh wait. Isn’t that a real goat? How did this even happen? Back home, Gabriella tortures Valentino and makes him sing for that rescue.

Episode 2A: The Secret Documents Robbery Case
Valentino sneaks in to steal a secret scroll. Ogino is paired with handsome hunk Yuzuki Ogata to solve the case of the missing secret documents. Note, they are rivals and it’s believed this is a competition to see who solves the case first. And Ogata loves dogs means Hiroshi is going to have a tough time fending off his lewd advances! Hiroshi asserts he won’t be anybody’s partner for this case but he has no choice. Ogino explains from a replica scroll that its contents resemble a board game. WTF. There are spots left blank which is believed when a die is cast, words will appear on it. At the end, the one who reaches the goal gets to rewrite history. Kei knows Valentino did it and whispers to Ogino as he wants to help him with a head start. But Ogino feels he can win this. So they make a trip to Valentino’s hideout and because nobody can agree with anything, Yuuta suggests settling this with a game. They agree to this? So the teams of Valentino-Lorenzo, Hiroshi-Ogata and Ogino-Kei get on the way as they are warped into different time zones of Japan’s history and need to achieve certain goals in order for them to return. Whether it’s getting a king stamp, defeating 6 commanders, petting all the dogs, eating up all the rice or turning a polar bear into a panda, the it is eventually Ogino versus Ogata for the win. Valentino and Lorenzo got hypnotized into a cat. Don’t ask how. Ogata admits defeat when his usual extreme molestation causes Hiroshi to scoff him off and blurt out Ogino is his partner. The way they blush is so creepy…  Now to ring in the Don. The detectives are fooled when the baddies disguised themselves as cats and run away. Ogata thought this is a draw since Ogino won the game but lost the culprits. So everybody abandons the game and goes to find the goat. Nobody reaches the goal, eh? Is anybody interested in retrieving the board game?

Episode 2B: Mother And Child Stalker
Valentino is about to retrieve a key buried in the sands to obtain to most poisonous toxin ever. He is shocked to see Azusa excavating like nobody’s business and taken the key while she’s at it. He confronts her but got buried. Azusa’s mom, Wakaba politely picks him up. The goat is smitten with her. Lorenzo jealous. Ogino brings his daughter and wife to Hiroshi’s office. It seems somebody is stalking them and wants Hiroshi to be their bodyguard for the day. Want to bet it’s that goat? He warns Hiroshi if anything happens to Azusa… He doesn’t even need to finish his sentence to send shivers down his spine. He gives Azusa a goodbye kiss but none to his pretty wife who is looking forward to one! Make do with the octopus then… At the park, Hiroshi gives orders to his assistants on this life-and-death mission. Valentino is nearby and knows he needs to just kidnap Azusa. Ogino will kill off Hiroshi. Azusa is a handful. She brings in all sorts of wildlife from the bushes (where did the gorilla come from?!). The guys can’t match her. Play blocks? She builds a log cabin. Play house? She gave Hiroshi the mama a passionate kiss. Where did she learn that? Valentino drops in to kidnap her but was string in by Azusa instead. With Wakaba in the picture, the goat relates how Azusa stole his key. He gets fed up of them not looking at him as a villain and kidnaps Azusa. However she starts crying and bites Lorenzo’s hands! She even threw the key into Wakaba’s forehead! Lorenzo is forced to apologize to Azusa when Wakaba labels him a bad goat. Wow. That worked. Lorenzo gets jealous so Valentino had to go after him. What about the key? Doesn’t he want it? Ah, whatever.

Episode 3A: The Chocolate Enchantment Case
Yuuta is ready to give her Valentine chocolates to Hiroshi. But wolf boy barges into office and starts sealing off the door. It doesn’t hold back Ogino. What gives?! Seems Azusa made chocolates for Hiroshi. None for daddy. Obviously he is mad. Hiroshi must take it or he’ll die. Try and take it from him and he’ll die. Death in both ways! Valentino too has his Valentine chocolate plans. From his medical family’s division, they have made a chocolate with love potion inside. He plans to make the wolf eat the dark chocolate which causes him to fall in love with the one eating the white chocolate. Valentino will break Hiroshi’s heart by dumping him. Watching his broken heart will be delightful. Lorenzo is tasked with delivering it but Hiroshi and Kei won’t stop since Ogino is chasing after them. Gabriella fires a bazooka but it hits Ogino. This destroys the chocolate. Oh sh*t! Hiroshi switches to Ogino’s side so he can beat up the assassin woman. Gabriella distracts Ogino so she can fire at him. Ogino pushes Hiroshi out of the way (presses him down in the ground actually) and takes the shot. Think he is made out of iron? Well, no. The bullet contains paralysis. Valentino forces the dark chocolate down Hiroshi’s throat. The heartburn scare causes Valentino to lose his white chocolate. Kei ate it. Hiroshi x Kei? Valentino is sure that kid will reject him but since Hiroshi is acting like a cat, it’s lovey-dovey time. Hiroshi wants Yuuta’s help to transform but it seems the cross-dresser is enraged. She powers up to blast everyone but Hiroshi uses Ogino as a shield. They didn’t expect it would be a sword too because Yuuta uses his finger technique on Ogino to turn it into some power spear and turn everyone into charcoal. Jealousy is a deadly weapon. Kei spots Yuuta’s chocolate lying around and gives it to Hiroshi. He eats it and returns to normal since there is hair inside it! GROSS!!!

Episode 3B: The Wolf Girl Assassination Case
Valentino is distressed after learning France’s Secret Doberman Headquarters is sending in another wolf to Japan as part of their police dog training. But after looking at this picture of a timid girl, he thinks there is no reason to panic. Ogata is tasked to be the SP of Stella for today. He’s so into her. She’s not. First stop is Hiroshi’s place to greet her senior. Who doesn’t love a cute little wolf girl? As the gang chill out at a cake shop, Hiroshi explains about a Secret Doberman’s abilities. They aren’t from birth and Stella’s one doesn’t seem to have awakened yet. Data gathering ability is determined by the first medium they gather. Hiroshi got it from hair and that’s how he developed his hair fetish. If it was blood, he would’ve developed blood fetish and would have been taken out. The gang realize it’s a trap when the store shuts down and the chef is no other than Lorenzo. Valentino starts throwing acid pies and deliberately separates them. Kei, Stella and Ogata are faced off with Gabriella. Ogata and Gabriella are evenly matched but she gets the upper hand by showing him a dog badge picture. He got shot. Kei panics and throws the pot to fog up her glasses. Can’t see now, eh? Kei revives and knocks her out. Thanks to his dog encyclopaedia, he survived. How the heck did he hide it in his pocket?! Stella is now mad. She wants to get even with the goat. How? She is going to eat him! Oh no! Better stop her before she develops a fetish for blood! Thankfully Valentino’s skin is elastic. Hiroshi reels in Stella and mocks the Don he has got no chance in beating him if he doesn’t beat Stella. He gets upset, embarrassed and then escapes. Erm… Shouldn’t Hiroshi have arrested him? With Stella continuing to stay in Japan, she now develops an obsession for elasticity…

Episode 4A: Uniformed Police Raid Incident
Kei and Yuuta wants to help Hiroshi look for his long lost brother, Haruka and have prepared posters with proper information to distribute. Meanwhile it seems Haruka is having a meeting with Valentino. Haruka introduces himself and his little sheep, Soumei. NORA, his group’s goal is to eliminate the police. With them gone and disorder and chaos lingering, they will swoop in as heroes. But this still makes Valentino the villain, right? Explaining about light and darkness, a hero needs a charismatic villain and he believes Valentino can play that role to threaten the peace. They’ll work together on the outside and behind the scenes since they can’t confront the police directly. Until the police are overthrown, Valentino can control his group and use it as he likes. Valentino agrees to cooperate but cautions they aren’t that close yet. As Hiroshi and his assistants hand out the flyers, Ogino whisks him away and puts police uniform on him. No, it’s not his cosplay fetish but rather there have been cases of police officers around Japan being attacked. They are to dress up as baits. He thinks Valentino is behind this but why would a goat do something that doesn’t profit himself? Hiroshi and Ogino walk straight into a large roach motel trap courtesy of the Don. Haruka makes his appearance. Valentino is shocked Haruka and Hiroshi are brothers. That means another wolf? Haruka disagrees since his features are more rabbit-like. Plus, they have a sheep and with a goat, they are enemies of the wolf, right? Haruka reveals his grudge towards his brother. He always put his work first instead of playing with him. He felt lonely and now his thoughts are only filled of killing him. Hiroshi punches him and says looking for him was the very reason he left his job and regretted being born a police dog. So the brothers play ‘tag’ as Haruka unleashes Soumei which is somewhat a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Hiroshi wants to show his true powers but jealous Yuuta’s finger technique just made him weaker. Valentino thought this is his chance for victory but forgot Ogino is still around. So they retreat for today. Hiroshi threatens to shoot him (Yuuta supporting him) but it turns out to be a toy gun… Back at the Don’s base, Haruka is being nursed because he exerted himself too much and now has fever.

Episode 4B: Cat Lover Enchantment Case
Haruka introduces Valentino his subordinates: Natsuki and Yataro. Haruka needs advice from the goat. How does one change a cat lover into a dog lover? This is to know how much he can control the hearts of people. If that is successful, in no time he’ll turn Japan into goat lovers. Sounds good, eh? Sure, he has a prototype. Now they need a cat lover. Guess who? Kei is showing off his cat idol (looks scary) when a pair of cats come knocking on their door. Kei doesn’t resist getting kidnapped by the NORA subordinates in disguise. So an abandoned house didn’t exactly turn out to be Kei’s ideal paradise of cat heaven. Haruka tells him he won’t leave till he brainwashes him into a dog lover. Kei thought he could lie but Haruka can read hearts so it is impossible to trick him. They strap him to some dangerous looking brainwashing machine. Haruka reveals his intention to increase their supporters by creating a new police force with Secret Dobermans as the central pillar. But isn’t he a rabbit? What about the goat? He’ll toss him away once he outlived his usefulness. Evil… Hiroshi and Yuuta arrive at the mansion only to see Kei an extreme dog lover. Seems Haruka is regretting it because Kei has become so annoying rubbing himself over any dogs he could find. Not even Hiroshi’s Cuticle Bolt could defeat Kei. Not even Natsuki or Yataro. Kei breaks Natsuki’s sword with a dog nail clipper and sticks beef jerkys into Yataro’s guns. Then Kei puts Haruka into a rabbit cage. Thinking his cat lover still exists in his sub-consciousness, Hiroshi tries to make him remember his cat idol. The shock treatment is enough to return Kei back to normal. Although Yuuta is disappointed he didn’t die…

Episode 5A: The Genius Tag Team Case
Ogino informs Hiroshi of Noah, Valentino’s back alley doctor who specializes in creating anything. All inventions are from this genius and without her, Valentino’s family would be reduced to just goat lovers. That bad, huh? They need to look for her and surprisingly Hiroshi doesn’t object since finding anything to do with Valentino is his only lead to Haruka. Where do you find back alley doctors? In an abandoned hospital. At night! Hiroshi and Kei turn into scaredy cats… They bump into Valentino but he runs away. Security robots capture Hiroshi and bring him into a surgery room whereby Noah examines his fabulous body… I think she has fetish for nice bodies… She won’t kill him like Valentino ordered because wolves are rare creatures and wants to experiment on them till the max! Isn’t that animal abuse? Hiroshi learns Haruka is in this hospital under Noah’s care since his weak body gave way again. That’s why Valentino is here to visit him. When Ogino comes in, Noah takes a liking for his body structure. She wants to kill him! Instantly Yuuta sides with her. Noah unleashes her latest creation, a chimera. Doesn’t it look like a normal goat? Yeah, but its insides are made up of other animals! The chimera beats up Hiroshi. Super powerful hooves! Ogino is on par with the chimera as Noah and Yuuta happily discuss what poison is put inside the chimera. Yuuta then shoots a sleeping medicine into Ogino’s forehead. Hiroshi sacrifices himself and gets bitten by the chimera. Yuuta is devastated and regrets what she did. Hiroshi becomes dramatic because he is happy he made some friends. Yuuta wants Noah to hand over the antidote but she can’t since Valentino will start complaining. In that case, Yuuta holds the goat hostage! Erm… Isn’t that the chimera? But Noah falls for it! Maybe she was just acting but gives Yuuta the antidote anyway. In the aftermath though the baddies escape, Yuuta and Noah exchange handphone numbers. Everyone else teases Noah about it.

Episode 5B: The Pleasure Trip Paradise Case
Valentino and Haruka’s group are at the hotspring for their pleasure trip to strengthen their bonds. Haruka is reeling from the lack of oxygen at this place. Too much energy exerted… In the room, Gabriella and Noah tease Natsuki if she is trying to go after Haruka or Yataro, though they are just going by they own types. She views Yataro as her older brother and Haruka barges in looking so proud because he too has this brother complex thingy. It’s time to head for the hotspring. Haruka didn’t want to join them but when he sees Lorenzo’s bag mask in the basket, he joins in just to take a peep. He’s wearing a towel over his head. Disappointed? Seems this bath is mixed too… Gabriella beats up Yataro till the bath turns red because he has no reaction in looking at her. Valentino is surprised that Hiroshi and his assistants are here too. Too cold to fight… Gabriella continues to pound Yataro when he reacts to Yuuta. Is he into that type? Because both sides are calling a truce with no blood and guts, Lorenzo suggests a ping pong match. So it’s Hiroshi-Kei against Natsuki-Yataro. If Hiroshi wins, Haruka must rejoin them. Otherwise Haruka will have him do what he wants. Like sleeping in the same futon. Either way, this doesn’t sit well with Yuuta. Kei is in a pinch. It starts off with Yataro playing like a pro and raking in the points. Hiroshi notices Kei’s power comes out when he retorts so he has Yuuta play the funny man. With all the jokes and retorting, Hiroshi’s team makes a comeback and both teams are a point away from victory. Yuuta loses motivation to joke. If Haruka comes back, Hiroshi will rejoin the police force. Lose, the brother complex brothers will still be happy. So it’s a lose-lose situation for Yuuta. Haruka doesn’t want anyone to make a sound to give Kei a chance to retort. But Valentino’s accidental assurance of that itself is a joke so Kei smashes the ball at him! Out! Looks like Hiroshi will have to read Haruka a children’s story before bed time. And since they’re coming to their room, which means Gabriella can hog Kei and Noah can talk to Yuuta about killing with poisonous gas. Don’t ask. At night, everyone remains energetic having a pillow fight except for Haruka who is close to dead.

Episode 6A: The Mastermind Black Fang Arrival Case
Soumei breaks out from his sheep doll to possess Yataro since he wants to go for a ‘walk’. First thing, he sexually harasses Natsuki but she fends him off with the smell of garlic since that smell fetish guy can’t stand it. Soumei then decides to visits Hiroshi’s office. But he went too early and falls asleep. So when Hiroshi and his assistants see him sleeping on their couch, Yuuta pressing pushes Soumei out of the body. Yataro is in a daze. Haruka and Natsuki enter to bring him back but Soumei repossesses Yataro. As explained, about 30 years ago there was a police dog who was very dangerous. That would be Soumei, their charismatic boss. On nights of full moon, he can leave his body and take the form of a wolf spirit but needs to return to it or his energy will deplete. Alternatively, he can possess others to do so. However he can’t return to his body because he has been imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. A police officer he didn’t get along with was found dead as he committed suicide and it was suspect this was Soumei’s doing. He was imprisoned but left his body on a full moon night and some of the Secret Dobermans left the police and form NORA. It is believed his body is still around and not disposed otherwise his spirit wouldn’t have lasted this long. Noting Hiroshi was born through artificial insemination, Soumei drops the bombshell that he is his father! As proof, they can use their powers on full moon nights too. Soumei wants Hiroshi to help find his body but he refuses and wants to arrest him instead. Soumei challenges him to a fight and will prove why he is called Black Fang. Is he sure it isn’t because of tooth cavities? Hiroshi’s Cuticle Bolt easily zaps Soumei. Soumei possesses Kei’s body and explains he can do so as long as the victim allows him in. Plus, he won’t die even if the body is harmed. He points a gun to Kei’s head and forces Hiroshi to take up his case. Hiroshi shows him a cat and instantly Kei kicks Soumei out. He thought of possessing Yuuta but was easily spit out and his energy further depleted! Going back into Yataro, they want Hiroshi to take up the case and run away.

Episode 6B: Extra – 5/27
Ogino laments spending his birthday night at office. Not surprisingly, Ogata comes in to celebrate with him. He teases Ogino has reached the big three-o. He brought a cake too. Isn’t that a dynamite? Quick blow it out if he doesn’t want to die. Ogino is confident his iron body can survive the blast but can Ogata’s? Haha! Better beg for him to blow it out. As they talk, Ogino is irritated that Ogata knows more about his parents than he does and treating him better than their own son! Well, he never brought friends back. Ogata was even told his weakness: He sucks at look-over-there game. They give it a try and both sides neither win nor lose for a very long time. Ogata gives him a final present in which is an annoying voice of his each time he gets a text message. Yeah, Ogata is spamming him! Ogino remembers Ogata did something outrageous 10 years ago and wonders if he is going to repeat this harassment every decade. Next day at Hiroshi’s office, everyone laughs at him when he sucks at playing look-over-there game.

Episode 6C: Extra – The Wolf’s House
Papa wolf Soumei had Hiroshi, Haruka, Natsuki, Yataro and Stella as his kids. One day he wants them to follow him to work so that they could be independent. His job is to catch bad wolves. They arrive outside the goat’s house and the kids are bored with daddy’s tactical explanation (they are to guard the exits) till he gives them permission to eat the goats if they resist. The kids see how daddy barge in and round up the little goats. Soumei counts one missing and goes out to look for it. Time passes and he doesn’t return so the little wolves sleep while waiting for him to return. But it’s not papa who returned but mama goat!!! And there’s a bloodied scissors in her hands! Mama goat chases the little wolves around the house. When she has them cornered, Soumei returns to punch her out. His kids are so relieved and emotionally reunite with him. And they lived happily ever after.

Episode 7A: Extra – Acceptance Into Hair Cuticle Academy
This is what happens when you turn this anime into a high school theme. Kei is the new transfer student being introduced by Hiroshi the homeroom teacher. He is made to sit next to the cross-dresser who may turn out to be a sadist. Along the way, Kei meets the other faculty members like Ogata the foreign language teacher, Gabriella the tough PE teacher, Ogino the social studies teacher and Noah the school nurse. Kei is fooled for a second when he thought Yataro is actually a hug pillow! No reaction at all… In no time, Kei gets used to this school. Even if the principal is a goat and the school song is in goat language. Baa baa… Oops! Don’t mix it up with sheep language.

Episode 7B: Cuticle Life – The Idiot Sons, 13 Years Ago
When Hiroshi and Haruka were small, Haruka was crying uncontrollably in a crowd during the sakura blooming season. Soumei sees this and realizes the awakening of his powers and brings them away. He knows Haruka can read hearts of others and reading everyone’s insulting and bad comments about him made him cry. Soumei consoles Haruka and then talks to Hiroshi. He used to be a super hero but not anymore. Super heroes are usually lonely. Now he is a super villain and has more friends. In fact, he was supposed to kidnap somebody today. Is this a joke? Hiroshi doesn’t view him as a bad guy but hopes to catch him one day when he grows up. Back in present, Hiroshi wonders if he has already been caught. Right under your nose…

Episode 7C: Extra – Bar Ragdoll
Valentino and Lorenzo enter Bar Ragdoll to chill out. The bartender, Iyori Hamada keeps making self comments about them. I mean, who wouldn’t if a goat and a guy with a bag over his head starts walking to the bar. He is surprised Valentino orders the king of cocktail, Martini. The last straw came when the goat could even tell the Martini he made wasn’t up to standard. Iyori turns out to be Kei’s roommate and ever since being told by a goat, he is working twice as hard on his cocktail mixing.

Episode 7D: Cuticle Life – The Idiot Sons, 10 Years Ago
Soumei is training Yataro of his smelling ability although the latter may still have a long way ago as he is a bit slow. It is revealed that Yataro’s dad was responsible for the loss of Soumei’s right eye and it is ironic that Soumei is making him take responsibility for it. Yataro promises he won’t betray him like his dad. But he seems rather confused because Yataro knows Soumei picked him as his next vessel but this isn’t confirmed yet as he is slow in learning and yet he still personally trains him.

Episode 7E: Kujou Group Boss Assassination Case
In a time when Valentino looks more of a menacing goat than a short stubby one! OMG! He is perplexed that a Japanese yakuza hired them to assassinate Toukichi Baba, the head of the Kujou group. Aren’t there any Japanese samurais left? Meanwhile Hiroshi smells the hair of Torayasu Kurami, the young head of the Kujou group and instantly knows what is going on. Especially the head who is undergoing surgery which is supposedly a secret. Torayasu wants to know all the information on the Valentino and his family because they are out for the head’s life. Hiroshi wants him to forget about the goat and concentrate on the surgery. Because it’s being done by Noah who is part of Valentino’s family but isn’t completely loyal. So of course Valentino learns the ironic situation he is in. Gabriella is supposed to assassinate him but Noah is to save his life. To put a stop to this, the first one who gets their job done is the winner of this argument. The assassination or the surgery. Noah tells this to Torayasu so he knows what he is up against with. Valentino and Gabriella storm into Hiroshi’s apartment and force him to spill the details on Noah’s whereabouts. Hiroshi then calls Torayasu to warn him but the latter won’t run because he owes the head his life. And it looks like they are short of men because they are away at zoos and farms looking for goats… Don’t even ask. Valentino, Gabriella and Lorenzo barge their way in as Torayasu surprises them with his sneak attack but it wasn’t enough to overcome them. There was a funny part whereby Valentino thought he could fend off Torayasu’s sword slice with his hands. Too bad he had hooves… Thankfully his skull must be thick. Just when Gabriella is seconds from killing him, Valentino sees Noah rushing out so the goat uses his body to protect Torayasu from Gabriella’s bullet. The surgery is successful and she won the bet. As to why Valentino saved him, he views him equivalent to a leader in his family. It would be a shame for him to lose such person. Because that is what being family is. In the aftermath when Hiroshi arrives, Torayasu praises the goat and understands why people flock around him. Not that Hiroshi understands anyway. Torayasu thinks Valentino may be the last samurai. Is this an exaggerated story told by Hiroshi and Yuuta to sick Kei? So he can’t even be sick in peace, eh?

Episode 8A: Yuuta Sasaki Kidnapping Case
Hiroshi is in panic mode because Yuuta has been kidnapped by the Don. Kei smells something fishy because why would that cross-dresser allow himself to get kidnapped? We know how strong he is, right? Plus, this picture was sent to Ogino’s handphone. Definitely a trap. But they have to go save him nevertheless. In reality, Yuuta agreed to get kidnapped as this is part of their scheme to kill Ogino. Valentino has a hard time dodging all the traps in his castle because of Yuuta’s itchy fingers. Yuuta is not happy Noah isn’t here and demands that her presence. Man, the goat just got ordered around. So Noah is thrilled to be part of this mission as they happily discuss how to kill Ogino. So Ogino arrives but as Noah blabs, the entire castle is filled with traps since she was so excited she heard he was coming. However so many traps that those inside cannot get out. That includes the goat and Haruka. Also, there’s a bomb that is timed to go off in an hour. Kei and Noah follow Hiroshi into the castle to save Haruka (he couldn’t care less about the goat). Hiroshi climbs straight up to the tower where Yuuta is, braving all the traps thrown at him. Yuuta is not happy it isn’t Hiroshi who is coming after him. Not even when Ogino says it was Hiroshi’s order that had him come to save him. He throws a tantrum and has the dragon breathe poison gas. Uhm… Don’t you think this tower is too cramped for a big dragon? So Yuuta inhaled some toxic gas and he is still sulking Hiroshi cares for his brother more than his assistant. Ogino had to tell him off that Hiroshi still believes in him. Because he believes Ogino is the only one who can save him. Hiroshi and co have got Haruka (and Valentino too) and are making their scary escape from the three-headed dog. It is taken out by Ogino using the dragon’s tail. Needing to save Yuuta, Hiroshi notes he can’t transform without his finger technique (and the Don somehow gets blamed). Ogino uses some forceful words to wake up Yuuta. The ‘sexual harassment’ worked so Yuuta got enough strength to give Hiroshi the power up he needs. At the end of the day, Yuuta is forced to apologize or thank Ogino. No killing option. Yuuta surprises Ogino by hugging him and saying he loves him before pushing off the ledge. Extreme. Ogino got petrified for the entire day.

Episode 8B: Inaba Family Breakdown Case (Part One)
While Valentino and the rest are trying to discuss a way to kill Ogino, speaking of the devil, here he comes in for the raid. Everyone flees but Soumei (possessing Yataro) will stall them. He learns how tough Ogino is when his bullet doesn’t even make a scratch! When he smells Ogino, he remembers a nostalgic scent. Asking why he has the scent of Kaoru Jojima, the cop who committed suicide 30 years ago, it seems Ogino is his grandson. That’s when Soumei possesses Ogino’s body. Then he calls Natsuki to let them know what is going to happen and wants her to make some poison to kill him (apparently it’s the only way to kill him) while he figures out a place to dump his body. As Soumei and Yataro make the necessary preparations, Soumei gets a little nostalgic. Flashback time. When Soumei and Jojima first met and throughout their 18 years as partners, there were lots of arguments. But thanks to Soumei’s keen sense of smell, lots of cases were solved. Of course some of the wolves in Secret Doberman couldn’t handle their abilities and kept vomiting due to the smell of lies. One night a little wolf made a fatal error by getting her first information via blood. She must now be taken out but she wants Soumei to do it with his hands. The rest are pushing him to do it. He strangled her. As the police force becomes more and more corrupted, Secret Doberman started to become dissatisfied and even had their own white separate uniform and won’t listen to anyone but Soumei. Jojima confronts Soumei about this and the latter tells him that the heart of this problem lies within the police organization. Jojima is thankful he was able to rise up the ranks thanks to his nose so if there is any corruption within, he will be the one who will take care of it. However they levied false charges against him and in the end led him to commit suicide. He believed in the force so much so the shocking truth was unbearable. He even left a suicide note for it. Then Soumei was accused of being Jojima’s killer and the force denied there was any suicide note left. That’s when Soumei began hating the force and vowed to hunt them down like a pack of wolves till they are exhausted and killed off. In reality, Hiroshi in wolf form ambushes the place and bites Yataro’s hand but is kicked away by Soumei.

Episode 9A: Inaba Family Breakdown Case (Part Two)
So when Hiroshi is back to his human form, he becomes devastated of what has been done to Ogino: His bangs were cut. That’s his concern? Now Hiroshi sounds like a villain because he wants to kill Ogino/Soumei! Can he? Well, Yataro is toast from that Cuticle Bolt Max but no scratch on Ogino’s body. So the duo go all out against each other with Hiroshi unleashing his powers using brown hair: Wings. Doesn’t does wings look like cockroach? He targets Yataro when Soumei shoots him as he is wide and clear. Unfortunately it is Haruka who shot the poison into Ogino’s body. What better timing… Soumei possesses Yataro and faces off with Hiroshi. Hiroshi is serious he won’t let Ogino die because he is his partner. Those same words reminded Soumei of Jojima. Ogino manages to regain some strength and fires a shot into Yataro’s arm. Natsuki forces Yataro/Soumei to retreat because at this rate Yataro’s body will die. Hiroshi heals Ogino and vows to track down Soumei as his prey. Ogino seems pretty depressed since he was used by Soumei. Yuuta is down too. Because Ogino didn’t die… Back home, Soumei notes how Jojima’s life is connected to his grandson. He notes he himself couldn’t move on after 30 years.

Episode 9B: Love Flag Jumble Case
Noah seems to take a liking for Yataro when Soumei possesses his body and saves her from an experimental monster gone awry. Of course Haruka lies by saying Yataro has split personality. Soumei has this idea of dating Noah using Yataro’s body and perhaps lure her into NORA. Natsuki objects but Haruka sees no reason to stop them if they both agree. Valentino and the rest are elated to hear Noah going on a date and are supportive. Of course Noah is in a dilemma because she is wondering if Yuuta is a friend but not exactly either because he’s the enemy too. On date day, our concerned busybodies are following the love birds from afar. Natsuki, Haruka, Yuuta and Kei (forced to). They get ideas to get involved by staging several must-have events on dates like getting surrounded by delinquents or a road filled with bananas (WTF?!). Natsuki feels worried when Yataro holds Noah’s hand because it has been a long time they’ve stopped holding theirs. Lonely Natsuki seeks solace in Haruka because she thinks Yataro is going far away so he allows her to hold his hand. At the back alley, Yuuta confronts Yataro. He thinks there is a need for a rival and to reveal his true form. Soumei takes over and they both fight but Yuuta manages to press a pressure point that turns Yataro’s body into a wolf and kick out Soumei. Noah sees this and is devastated. She slaps him. She doesn’t know he is one and now that he is, she is saddened that the Don won’t accept him. Valentino believed him so why did he lie to them? Yataro telepathically tells Haruka to take care of Natsuki for him. He plans on sacrificing himself. For his life, he hopes Noah will not tell Natsuki he is a wolf and to save Soumei. Soumei repossesses Yataro and properly introduces himself. He reveals he got closer to them in hopes she could save him. As his body is somewhere else and has been borrowing Yataro’s for the last odd 30 years, he was even wondering what he would do even if he found his body. Even if he does, he needs her help and gives her permission to use Yataro’s body too. She can study the rare werewolf all she wants. Soumei makes Yuuta to make up to Noah for ruining this date. Good thing. She needs a friend to talk this out. When Soumei returns to his NORA pals, emotional Natsuki immediately hugs Yataro.

Episode 10A: Goat Park Revelry Case
Ogata brings the gang to a goat farm! Serious! He thinks Ogino who has trouble catching a single goat is because he has goat phobia! Serious! So there are lots of weird goats. I mean, a squid goat with 10 legs and spits ink! There is a goat that resembles like that chimera… A cat goat too? Are you sure it isn’t just a cat? Ogino becomes a crazy shutterbug snapping away all the shots with Azusa and Stella. But too many goats cause Ogino to go crazy because he really thinks the Don is among them! He should have some time off from work… Meanwhile Valentino is distressed as he complains to Noah that Ogino and the gang are here. It seems this farm is actually a secret lab created by Noah to look like a goat farm so they won’t suspect a thing. Guess not. Now they are ‘snapping pictures of evidence’ like crazy. Noah is confident that the body doubles created by this farm is to fool them of the real Don. The gang look around and see disturbing bipedal goats with slight variations of the Don. Ogino can tell they are all fake. Plan failed. Suddenly a huge gigantic bipedal goat appears behind Ogino. Could this be the real Don? Looks menacing! Looks like they’ve been fooled that this may be the real deal. Ogino confronts it but on his mind he wants to have this goat lined up with Azusa and take pictures. I think this goat got scared of his scary eyes and immediately obeys his orders to sit! Ogino becomes a happy father snapping shots of Azusa and the goat. Plan failed. But Valentino and Noah are left to ponder what the heck they came here for since everyone has left at the end of the day.

Episode 10B: Don Power Spot Conspiracy Case
After watching a TV report of sites containing power spots, Valentino becomes interested and unleashes his Don power. Lorenzo feels it? Gabriella doesn’t? Gabriella fakes passing out to send the goat into frenzy. Why does he need to call an ambulance when he got Noah? Anyway Noah is sad that they left her out. Hey, even shut-ins need to socialize and have fun once in a while. After learning  this, she suggests that Valentino charge some money for the power spot he is leaking. Soon word gets to Hiroshi about Valentino’s money making power spots. Feels like rip off, eh? Built right in the middle of a forest believed to be a famous suicide spot. Gullible people must have fallen for the stones of guidance left behind at the shrine that is believed to lead the living out of the forest and the dead to heaven. So grateful, they’ll leave lots of donation in the donation box. And yeah, the stones are then sold in online auctions at high price. Ogino wants to ambush Valentino when he comes to retrieve the donation but Hiroshi isn’t interested. Till Ogino convinces him that his homing senses can lead them out. Feeling reliable, isn’t he? When they finally make their way to shrine, it seems it is a trap by Valentino to lure them in with those forest rumours. They have also removed the rope which they used as marker to get out. Now they’re going to leave them stranded forever. But each time Valentino and Lorenzo run away, they end up back at the shrine! Lost too, eh? They are captured and Hiroshi tries to use his homing sense to get out. Since he is desperate, he needs some Don power on his stone of guidance. Valentino and Lorenzo put some fake act but something really did emerge from the stone! Valentino passes out cold and the spirit turns out to be Soumei. He possesses Lorenzo and almost takes off his bag if not for Hiroshi and Ogino putting it back on! Did we catch a little glimpse of his face there? Soumei guides them back to the main road and it seems he is helping them with the idea that now they owe him one. Lorenzo wakes up back in the limo driven by Yataro. Unsure what happened in the forest, he thinks the stone of guidance with Don power must have been a miracle that led them out. But back home, Valentino is reeling scared and wants to seal the Don power forever! Get rid of all the stones forever!

Episode 11: Don Valentino Jailbreak Case
Suddenly… Valentino has been successfully caught! But Hiroshi and Ogino are arguing with the Commissioner because the Don has been sent straight to prison without a fair trial. The Commissioner asserts that the Don is a goat before a villain. So, he’s not put in an ordinary prison? Is there a prison for non-humans? Don’t tell me it’s the zoo… Alcamone reminds us of a certain US island prison. Valentino is being locked up here and admonished by the guard who has a hot water dispenser as a head. Serious. Valentino’s cellmate seems to be a quite human, Akiyoshi. Hey, and I thought there were only animals behind bars here. Valentino and Akiyoshi soon become friends. At the cafeteria, Thomas the big bully koala makes Akiyoshi trips. The guard punishes Akiyoshi instead for wasting food. Valentino wanted to protect him but Akiyoshi protected the Don instead when the guard dispense his hot water. Sent back to their cell with no dinner, it is no surprise that Valentino accidentally ate Akiyoshi’s book during his sleep. He doesn’t mind but Valentino vows to replace it. Valentino views him a good person and wants to make him part of his family. Over the days, they become close and really good friends, doing just about anything together. One day, Thomas rats out on them and tells the guards about the partially eaten book. Akiyoshi quietly takes his punishment up on the rooftop while Valentino is forcefully restrained. As the guard abuses Akiyoshi who is now running high fever, Valentino’s family drops in to rescue their boss in a jailbreak. Nobody is going to stop Lorenzo from reuniting with his boss… Soumei possesses Akiyoshi to knock out the guard. He reminds Yataro and Natsuki that Akiyoshi was his former vessel before Yataro. I see. So those previous episodes were actually Akiyoshi, not Soumei in the flesh as I thought. How could he? He has been locked away for 30 years. Besides, Akiyoshi doesn’t seem to have aged.

Soumei releases himself to give Akiyoshi a chance to talk to the kids. Seems he is Alcamone as he believes Soumei’s body is here though Soumei doesn’t think so and wants him to return. Despite ordering him, Akiyoshi won’t go back so Soumei had to repossess his body again. Gabriella senses Valentino and bursts him out of his cell. Must she shoot and bomb him? Maybe that’s her love for him. But Valentino is distraught and wants to find and bring Akiyoshi with him. Thomas tries to convince him to take him along and accidentally reveals himself as the culprit who rat them out. Valentino is upset. He is going to let him out of his cell alright. It’s the ultimate showdown between the goat and koala. Nobody gets involve in this personal matter. Then the fight turns out to be like cute animals hitting each other. Feel like taping it and uploading it on YouTube? When Akiyoshi and the NORA duo enter the picture, suddenly Akiyoshi’s transformation takes place. He is a wolf. This devastates Valentino. Gabriella is going to shoot Akiyoshi and possibly take out the NORA duo too so Akiyoshi had to feign attacking the kids to let them off the hook. Everyone else busts out but Akiyoshi remains behind. Valentino is saddened that he had been betrayed because he despises wolf very much. Meanwhile, Hiroshi’s office is so peaceful (and they are enjoying every moment of it) when a helicopter hovers by. It’s Valentino and he is here to stick his tongue out at him! WTF?! Ah well, what a short-lived peace. Back in Alcamone, Thomas becomes Akiyoshi’s annoying minion though he laments it will be harder to do his search now. At least it’s must peaceful around here.

Episode 12A: The Cuticle Phantom Thief Appears Case
Hiroshi is in distraught. His precious hair collection is gone! In panic mode, he even calls Ogino to weep about his precious hair he kept. Creepy. Hung up. And we should have known who the culprit is. Hooves all over the place. It’s the goat, damn it! Seems Noah has come up with some invention to turn hair into fine diamonds. Imagine how much it will be worth from hairs of famous people. Before Valentino could make this his business, he gets a threatening challenge card from Hiroshi that he will raid him tonight! The Don panics and even calls Ogino for help! Hiroshi is serious in reclaiming back his hair collection and even rants about hair history and potential, blah, blah, blah. Kei didn’t think Ogino would side with the goat but it seems the reason is to prevent Hiroshi from turning into a criminal. Suddenly everything blacks out. Gabriella fires at the intruder but when the lights come back, she shot the goat!!! Noticing Noah missing, Valentino orders his henchmen to look for her. They split up. Bad move? Slowly, Hiroshi like a pro stalker does in the subordinates one by one with his traps. Don’t ever mess with this guy’s hair. Since Hiroshi is this serious, so will Ogino. Kei doesn’t want them to fight and end in bloodshed but Ogino must do what he has to if it comes down to it. Hiroshi enters the room and for once, captures Valentino and threatens to kill him if Ogino doesn’t hand over the diamonds!!! Oh sh*t! Ogino will give it to him since he wants it so badly. He throws it out the window and Hiroshi like a good dog goes to get it. Before he realizes it, he got caught. With Hiroshi getting his hair collection back, he calms down and everyone realizes the Don and his family have escaped. However Hiroshi notes he did not do in Noah. What happened to her? During the blackout, Yuuta whisks her away to avoid his best friend from getting the wolf’s wrath. Valentino and the family might have escaped with them but they’re still tied up…

Episode 12B: Evil Organization Expansion Case
There is this mysterious dude, Forest Masashi or Mori as we would love to call him, is walking around with a goat skull and cape speaking in great evil lengths. Normally, that would be translated as he is looking for a job and stumbles upon a vacancy ad and goes to Hiroshi’s office for an interview. The wolf instantly rejects him and he leaves. On his way out, he bumps into Ogino. The police dude has info on Valentino’s whereabouts. It seems he has been trying to recruit new members. However Ogino can’t find the flyer Valentino put up for his recruiting but remembers the venue is an interview hall. WTF?! Mori has spotted that flyer and makes his way to the interview. Once more, his grand evil words translate to that of being nervous. Once it is his turn, he talks his usual style but this has Lorenzo suspicious about his intention and position he is aiming for. Lorenzo proceeds to dress down Mori for all his worth and this puts a damper to this goat head’s confidence. I guess his application is rejected. On his way out, Hiroshi and co enter to arrest Valentino. The goat won’t have it and escapes with Lorenzo via window. Hiroshi and Ogino go after him as they pass several other supporting characters in the series. Hey, it’s the last episode so let’s make a last appearance. Kei delivers the final punch line that a random character closed the show when Mori spouts his usual crap lines about the endless battle and the next battlefield.

Playing The Goat Incident & Near-Death By Too Much Laughing Case
Yeah, I almost died laughing with the random jokes and nonsense. Too funny in my case to hold back. Almost on par with that anime series with a squid girl in it. Do I see a certain similarity here? Anime shows with a cute leading animal character-cum-mascot and random standalone funny episodes serve as good comedy animes? Even if it was just coincidence, the overall series is quite a good watch if you want something cute and funny without too much drama and plot to go with. Besides, how often do you have a goat as the main villain? We all hear of wolves being bad guys in children fairytales and goats the victim but in this case, it is pretty much reversed. But be warned, you may either turn into a goat mania or goat phobia. I’ve never seen so many goats (even if it is the same one) in such a short period of time so I think such an impact may be possible. Thankfully I didn’t become either.

All the characters feel like clowns (since half of the show depicts the characters in chibi form when the situation turns funny). The hero isn’t really a true hero and the villain isn’t really a total baddie. It’s good in a way that you know having a mafia head as a goat with bungling schemes to a certain degree, rest assured that you will feel safe from any real threats. Valentino may be the antagonist but he isn’t the coldest and most evil bad guy ever nor will he land in the top 1000 baddest baddies of all time. He has shown importance on what many would take for granted: A family. Even after NORA’s introduction, you’d be thinking if they would be an effective villain since Haruka has a weak body. It looks like their plan to become the country’s hero never took off. With Haruka harbouring so much brother complex, I suppose it’s never going to start. Likewise, sometimes the stupidity of the good guys may be a cause to worry because if they can’t catch a goat or easily fall for its tricks, it’s time to think again the kind of police force that we have. We have easily seen how Hiroshi easily crosses to the dark side whenever his hair collection is in jeopardy. I’m sure that was a hair raising experience for the Don, eh? So the line between good and evil is very much blurred in this anime. But we all know that they are being jokers for the sake of this anime’s comedy. Since it made everyone laugh (at least me), I guess that this is not so bad after all. Though not every scene will make you burst into laughter as there are some touching moments like the one between Yataro and Natsuki. There may be some interesting back story especially about Soumei and his whereabouts of his real body but I guess we’d rather be engrossed by the comedy than something serious.

The most dangerous character I would presume would be Yuuta because that cross-dressing guy can turn yandere in the blink of an eye. And he wants to kill you, he really WILL kill you. It’s like he can cross over to the dark side any time. Just that this anime genre stops him from taking lives. As long as you threaten his position of being close to Hiroshi or get closer to that hair fetish detective, Yuuta will not hesitate to do some serious revenge only to be greatly stopped by Kei. Speaking of that kid, he has done so many retorts and come back lines, it makes you wonder if he is getting tired of it. I know it’s his role in the anime but it also reminded me of how similar his role to Shinpachi of Gintama is. As long as these jokers are around, safe to say he can still keep this ‘job’ of his. The other dangerous character is Ogino but that is only when it involves his precious Azusa. Even Satan would tremble with fear if he messes with his daughter. Otherwise, he is really a tough cookie to kill. Really. You can’t kill him. He could survive a direct nuclear fallout. At least he is made more human when we get to know his weakness as poisoning. But really. Anything else that doesn’t really kill him doesn’t make him human at all. The rest of the casts are amusing in their own way. Like Gabriella who probably have shot the Don more times than her intended target. Yeah, you can say the goat may have been her practice target. Maybe it helps builds resistance since Valentino doesn’t die from all the shots. Unless she is firing blanks. Then there’s the quirky doctor-cum-scientist Noah who can create just about anything. Whether it works the right way or not is a different story. If Yuuta and Noah team up, I think this is where the real danger is. Soumei can be wise sometimes but other times he is also an idiot like how he won’t waste any chance to be perverted on Natsuki. Thankfully she still keeps her guard up around him.

To add to the hilariousness of everything, almost every character in this series has a serious fetish or obsession over something. It makes them look like perverts. Like how this anime is built on Hiroshi’s fetish for human hair. So amazing his fetish for them that he his knowledge on them right down to its cuticle even for different species surpasses all the hair experts put together even if they sound like crap to us. Then we have Kei who obsesses over cats, Ogata over dogs, recently it is elasticity for Stella, anybody with great physical attributes will do for Noah and Gabriella will fawn over anyone who falls under certain heights. The goat loves eating money while Haruka despite playing the so called antagonist role is pretty much having brother complex as much as how Ogino dotes on his daughter. And we all know too well about Yuuta’s extreme admiration for Hiroshi. Can it be considered as unrequited love? Speaking of romance (as in, not extreme affections. There is a big difference in that), I would say there would be close to none but that short dating episode did indicate that Natsuki does have feelings for Yataro. What happened to that development? Like we care…

It is very subtle but there are a few shonen ai or yaoi moments. All for the sake of comedy of course. But mostly they are one way. Like how Ogata annoyingly harasses Hiroshi but I feel that has lessen ever since he has to take care of Stella. The most obvious case is Lorenzo. His loyalty is one thing but his obsession for the Don can be seen to the point that he might be gay for his boss. So much so if there is any indication that somebody else loves the Don more than him, you can see how Lorenzo painfully endures every agony of it till he bleeds from his mouth or eyes! He must have a lot of blood if he is going to do that all the time. Won’t his bag stain with blood already? How about the way he screams out his trademark “DOOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!!!!!”, which I feel accounts for almost half his dialogues in the anime. Yuuta’s obsession for Hiroshi is not as obvious nor does it give rise to any immediate yaoi impact because of his cross-dressing ways. Looks like a girl, sounds like a girl, acts like a girl (sometimes), so it must be a girl, no? We don’t see anything much between Ogino and Ogata but if your imagination is too vivid, you could view their rivalry-cum-friendship as mild yaoi. Maybe Kei has something for Ogino too because he always side him in most cases.

For a comedy genre, it is very rare for such genres to spill out lots of blood (think Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan or Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san). Especially in the case of the goat whenever he gets owned or shot, you can see him bleed ounces or blood gushing out like geyser. However they are done in a cute way so you won’t really throw up even if you are the type of person who cannot stand blood. Unless you are that weak… Then you are even worse than Haruka… On a trivial note, the next episode segment is another funny corner. One of the funniest if I should say. Despite showing clips from the next episode, what makes it funny is how the characters adlib their own fake script to somewhat match the action in those scenes. We definitely know it is not what the characters will be saying in the next episode since it has really nothing to do with what is going on in the series’ plot. For example, watching this series on your handphone, the release of the Blu-ray versions or the fact that this show didn’t win any Academy Awards! Totally hilarious! Of course it wouldn’t be complete without the one breaking the fourth wall about the inevitable final episode and the need to keep it going. How can they when no additional episodes were made?

Toru Ookawa put up a brilliant performance as Valentino to make him sound real hilarious whether he is blowing his top or go into panic mode (which mafia boss often goes into such mode? Well, if your boss is a goat…). It’s funny to hear the goat gloat (I just wanted to say this). His previous anime roles include Taira in BTOOOM and Roy Mustang of Fullmetal Alchemist. Other casts include Junichi Suwabe as Hiroshi (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Ogino (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Miyu Irino as Kei (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Asami Shimoda as Yuuta (Kotomi in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Takehito Koyasu as Soumei (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou), Mitsuki Saiga as Haruka (Phantom in MAR), Youko Hikasa as Gabriella (Mio in K-ON!), Yuiko Tatsumi as Noah (Riko in KissxSis), Juurouta Kosugi as Lorenzo (Kiritsubo in Zettai Karen Children), Asami Seto as Natsuki (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Tomokazu Sugita as Yataro (Gintoki in Gintama), Kousuke Toriumi as Ogata (Kiba in Naruto), Shintarou Asanuma as Akiyoshi (Izayoi in Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo) and Rina Hidaka as Azusa (Niko/Scarlet Rain in Accel World). Ai Fukuda makes her debut as Stella. Jun Fukuyama makes his cameo as Mori and the way he sounds as if he might turn into Code Geass’ Lelouch or Ao No Exorcist’s Yukio any time with that almost serious voice tone. The rock outfit of Haruka, Nichijou No Naka De serves as the opening theme for the series and sung by Junichi Suwabe. If the hero takes the opening, then the ending has to be the villain, right? Toru Ookawa sings the ending theme, Prima Stella and it sounds quite amusing as it feels like a mix between Japanese Enka and Italian love ballad. How often do you see a goat beeeeeh, oops I mean, belting out a song?

It is funny for this anime to turn wolves into good guys and goats into bad guys unlike in many stories when the reverse is true. Still, it is the carnivorous wolf that goes after the herbivorous domestic livestock. Even funny, they can’t catch a stinking little goat… Either the detectives are slacking way too much or the mafia head is a true master of escape. I guess now the perception of being the richest of the richest and maximum filthy rich isn’t measured by the luxurious mansion you have or the fact you use money as toilet paper. You’re so rich that you could even eat your money! Imagine a whole new range of possibilities it can open up and the creativities that celebrity chefs might cook up if money does become edible. Besides, don’t goats have this tendency to eat paper? I wonder how the Malaysian Ringgit will taste like. Sambal belacan mix with char kuey toew and roti canai. Yum! Tastes like indigestion… But with a Don like Valentino who eats money as his regular meal, I can’t say that he will be laughing all the way to the bank when he gets the heist done. Won’t eating money cause heartburn? After all, there is this saying that the best way to spend your money is to put it in your stomach. Literally.

GJ-Bu

August 10, 2013

Is this a club where you can get in all the action? You get to wield cool weapons and call yourself cool nicknames and fight against equally awesome bad guys. Ride cool vehicles, use cool gadgets and experience the fiery explosive battles firsthand. This is the club where you can live out your childhood dream of those American action figures, right? Right???!!! No???!!! Heh… When I first saw the title name GJ-Bu, it resembled so close to GI Joe and thought it was some sort of rip off club for that famous American toy franchise. If you think that there is going to be any sort of similarity between that American cartoon and this Japanese series, then you are wrong because both shows are at total opposite ends of the pole. Besides, how can you think of this of an action genre when the characters here look so cute and kawaii?

This series chronicles about a group of club members in Good Job Club or more popularly known as GJ Club. What exactly is this club’s main purpose is the biggest mystery and anyone’s guess. You see, all we see here are the club members bumming around doing their own fun with their own brand of antics. Over the years of the many animes I’ve watched, there must have been a handful of weird clubs and useless clubs that I’ve come across. So for an anime featuring a club that does nothing sounds kind of amusing. Weird. Interesting? That depends very much on the characters as the setting takes place 95% inside the clubroom. You need the characters to drive the series and make it interesting. Let’s see. We’ve got the petite club president, Mao Amatsuka; her younger sister who is like the tea lady of the club, Megumi; the vice president and ‘genius’ Shion Sumeragi; the meat eater and cat-like Kirara Bernstein that sometimes make me think she is the club’s pet mascot; and Kyouya Shinomiya the only male of the club and newest member. By the way, he was ‘kidnapped’ to join this club. Holy cow! Is that some sort of club tradition?

Episode 1
* Mao tries to change the dead bulb but it’s too high. Even if she’s twice her height I don’t think she would reach it. She insists on doing it herself because of the club president role she’s been entrusted with. Whatever. Kyouya eventually helps her by lifting her up but gets kicked in the gut and then bitten. But Mao is agreeable when she sits on his shoulders to change it.
* Kyouya reads a shoujo manga recommended by Megumi. He finds it good but Mao doesn’t like the genre because it has kissing. She prefers shonen manga because it has none (really?) so Kyouya will bring some next time. So he brings a cupboard worth of it and Mao still has her suspicions and wants to confirm with Kyouya that if most of them do not have any kissing scenes. Does a kiss on a forehead count?
* Kyouya notices Shion playing online chess with the American champion and beats him! Seems she once made a promise with him. If he became a world champion, she would agree to play him one day. Because Kyouya doesn’t know how to play, Shion gives him a book to learn. Did he just get played?
* Learning that Shion comes from a family of genius where every family member is one in their own fields, they are anticipating the great lunch she will bring today. However she brought instant noodles and they are appalled that she tries to eat them raw and without putting hot water! Does she lack such common sense for a genius?
* Everyone freaks out when there is a spider on the table. Mao orders Kyouya to dispose of it. Easier said than done. The only one who isn’t afraid is Megumi as she coolly takes it with her hands and lets it free outside.
* Mao tries to reveal Megumi’s true character behind her back to Kyouya. Because of that, he accidentally breaks a tea cup. Mao tries to make him feel guilty that this is her favourite and got it as birthday present from her late grandpa. She succeeds in that and Kyouya would accept any punishment. Since 30 laps or a thousand squats won’t do, Megumi has him say her name repeatedly a hundred times! After finishing, the rest of the other girls would like to have a go too! His mouth must be getting tired…
* Mao and Kyouya see Kirara eating a meat whose shape that we normally see in mangas or video games. They would like to taste it but they’re too shy to ask. Eventually Mao orders Kyouya to do so. Kirara instantly gives it to him. But when Mao snatches it from him, Kirara takes it back to give it to Kyouya. This process continues till Kyouya suggests Mao be someone Kirara likes. Because he must have insulted her how she looks like an elementary school kid due to her petite size, she bites his hand. So how does this meat taste?
* The girls feel like giving Kyouya a nickname. Something that mix and matches his character. Rice? Plain yoghurt? Tasty rice? Megumi suggest Kyolo, a mix of his name and his personality of always looking around. So do we all agree on that? Kyolo, okay?
* Mao shows off her collections that comprises mainly of cicada skins

Episode 2
* Shion seems stumped. It’s not the chess match she is playing but rather the canned coffee she drinks. It tastes different from the one made by her genius barista brother. Kyolo thought it’s a prank and tastes it. Nothing different. This is how canned coffee is supposed to taste. Shion can’t drink it again because it would seem like an indirect kiss.
* Mao is napping when suddenly she sleep talks in alien language. Based on Shion’s observation, it’s like as though she is changing from a bad dream to a good one. To prove her point, she demonstrates by influencing Mao’s dream. Mao’s cringing in her dream… Shortly, it’s that alien voice again before she calms down. Wow… Speechless…
* Megumi instructs Kyolo how to comb Mao’s tangled hair. He has reservations since he needs to touch it with his hands. Mao likes the way he runs his fingers through her hair but realized that Megumi is watching and becomes ‘hostile’ by biting his hand.
* Megumi points out to Kyolo that Shion is reading his novel, which is of romance genre. Later Shion asks him several questions that she couldn’t understand. Especially those that is related to love. Shion is straight to ask what it is like to be in love because she has never fallen in love before. A sign?
* Shion and Megumi play Twister. Megumi seems to be in a tough position. In a pinch. I wonder how long she can hold out since every inch of her body is twitching. Shion is just cool and is about to do her winning pose on the next move till she realizes how embarrassing it is and gives up, handing the victory to Megumi.
* The girls note Kyolo is a nice guy because he doesn’t get mad when Mao bites him or Shion teases him a lot. Even Kirara seems to be intrigued with him (because he gives her meat). Megumi says she likes it when he’s around because she can brew him tea. But Kyolo has brewed his first tea for them. How does it taste? Terrible! See them vomit back into the cup!
* Mao challenges Kyolo to arm wrestling. Seriously, Mao is so weak that Kyolo didn’t even know that the match has started! Is she even trying?! Without any effort, he easily wins! Pathetic… Next is Shion. Same thing. Weak. Are these girls that feeble? Then he is up against Mao-Megumi combo. May be unfair but at least this one proves to be a little challenging. Kyolo for the first time needs to exert some strength to win this match. Finally it’s their trump card Kirara. Think it will be the same? As soon as the match starts, Kirara’s immense strength not only catches Kyolo off guard but his body is even flung away! He never knew what hit him and even got knocked out with that silly smirk on his face! Maybe it’s thanks to eating all that meat…
* Kirara has eaten the whisky bomb chocolates so she is harassing Megumi by licking all over her. Perhaps even kissing her! Nobody can do anything. After that she pounces on Mao before setting Shion as her target. Total wipe out! Kyolo is the final victim but she fell asleep on his lap. The embarrassed girls want Kyolo to forget this ever happened and such food is banned from the club.

Episode 3
* Mao forces Kyolo to say something interesting. And she’s counting down… Kyolo is taken by surprise though each word he spews seems to be contributing to Mao’s annoyance. In the end, since nothing interesting was said, Mao bites him.
* Mao decides to officially make Kyolo a club member. What was he all the while?! A test member? Well, he never submitted his membership application. Mao gives him a badge and behind there is a button that makes a meow sound. When Megumi points out there is 1% chance it will play a different sound, everyone starts pressing it till Mao’s button ends up with a screaming sound!
* Kyolo praises Shion a genius when she wins another chess match but as pointed out by Mao she doesn’t like to be called that although Shion doesn’t mind. She considers them all her normal friends. Noting about Kyolo’s politeness towards her, Shion says it is because of the misconception of their grade difference.
* It’s so hot in the clubroom. Only Shion is not feeling the heat. Her body has low temperature as she touches Kyolo’s face to prove a point. He likes it… Noticing his stiff shoulders, she massages for him. Then she realizes how close they are and gets embarrassed. Now she’s heating up, eh?
* Talking about Prince Charming, Shion puts it that each girl has their different versions and whether or not true depends on the girl. What about Kirara? Meat Charming?
* Mao ponders if guys believe they are attractive anytime and anywhere. So she starts saying nice things to Kyolo and even hints that she likes him. This causes him to fluster till he realizes he has been tricked. Mao just proved her theory…
* Mao brings up that question again so Kyolo he plays it cool this time. Because he is modest and humble, they think he should be proud of it. As reward, Megumi massages his shoulders and Kirara licks him. Mao joins in the fun while Shion makes it a fivesome. Kyolo thinks this is what it feels like to be loved by many girls. Then he realizes it’s a trick by Mao for that attractive question…
* This causes Kyolo to become depressed sitting alone in the corner. The girls apologize but can he believe them anymore? No answer. This causes Mao to become upset because it’s not like him to become mad. Kyolo gets up from his position and clears himself that he was just sulking and not angry. Mao needs some time to recompose herself. Maybe much longer because she has used the entire box of tissues and it’s still not enough.
* Kyolo sees Kirara talking to a stray cat. Cat language? However he notes she may be good in that instead of Japanese since she is having a tough time stringing her sentence together to explain it to him.
* Mao has Kirara help her bring an old TV to the clubroom since some old guy didn’t want it anymore. At first nothing seems to come up on screen till Mao realizes they cannot move from their weird positions if they want to receive the picture well. Nobody moves! Even if you look silly in that embarrassing pose. Because Kirara wants to watch this baseball match and is a big baseball fan, looks like they won’t be moving until the match ends. How long is a baseball match? 2 hours… That is if they don’t have extra innings…

Episode 4
* Kirara and Kyolo are having a mock marriage. With Mao as the priest, she gives permission for Kirara to carry Kyolo! Apparently this is what the club will be doing for cultural festival: A wedding service.
* The sound of a familiar truck passes by. Mao orders Kirara to get them and she jumps out the window! It’s the second floor, you know. She has bought the baked sweet potatoes that they all love. Then they’re down to the last one. Who is going to eat it? Shion wins since she used the probability of rock-scissors-paper to deduce her victory.
* The gang discuss on how much they can earn for the festival and decide to aim to amass club tickets. Megumi has made a lot of hand knit sweaters but Shion seems interested to sell a new type of cup noodles. Isn’t that just ordinary instant noodles? Never seen one in her life, eh?
* Kyolo is stunned when he sees Megumi dressed as a maid and serving him like one. She borrowed this from Shion since her class did a maid cafe last year. Since Kyolo hints he wants to see Shion in one (and being roundabout about it), Shion tells him to wait for tomorrow. So how beautiful will Shion be in a maid outfit? Actually, she dresses up as a butler! That was her role last year? Disappointed? Mao is a bad girl because she teased Kyolo that she should have measured how long his devastation lasted! Unforgivable! You just broke the heart of a guy who loves maids!
* Mao then dresses up in a hamster outfit. Did Kyolo request her to do it? Just say yes. Seems her class is doing a costume cafe whereby they dress up in animal outfits and eat biscuits like animals to entertain customers. When Mao suggests they get a hamster and Kyolo dismisses they should since they have a ‘big one’ here, Mao gets embarrassed and bites him.
* Mori, the maid of Mao and Megumi comes to the club to give them some tools they forgot for the festival. Wow. Kyolo is amazed. A real maid! He requests her to spin around and she did so. That guy is so happy! Suddenly the girls kick him from the back! He tries to explain that request being a guy’s dream. So which means he can die happy now? Mao is happy to oblige that. Mori amused that Kyolo is the guy the sisters describe him. After she leaves, he is still in awe. I mean, a real maid, right? They tell him to keep his pants on since tomorrow there’ll be lots of maids walking around in the festival. But a real maid…
* At the end of the festival, it seems their wedding service was a hit. Kyolo notes during the dance with each of the girls, he felt how different their hands were. Happy Kirara takes him to dance again but his comments that she is sweaty has her go on the defensive. The rest think he is some wolf in sheep’s clothing because that statement was like sexual harassment.
* Kyolo can’t hold it in anymore and has to excuse himself to toilet. Why? Because he had refills after refills of Megumi’s different teas… Shion kept count the number of cups and types of tea he drank? And Megumi wonders if he still wants another refill…

Episode 5
* Mao suspects something is wrong with Kyolo since he has been staring at Shion. Turns out that her hair is a little frayed. At first Megumi is brushing her hair but after pinpointing Kyolo as a natural, he takes over her. How does it feel? Shion suggests Megumi should get her hair brushed by him too.
* Mao wonders if guys speak in a rowdy manner. But why doesn’t Kyolo? Since he has no reason to do so, they want him to speak rowdy. He has no reason, right? Besides, they think it will be interesting. So Kyolo changes his tone little by little and the girls are excited! They’re squealing in ecstasy the manliness he is. I guess they haven’t seen a real rowdy one, haven’t they?
* Kyolo sees Mao knitting a big Christmas sock. He is about to reveal that Santa is fake but Shion and Megumi try to hint to him to stay quiet. Since he didn’t quite get it, they throw a shoe at him. They tell him Mao really believes in Santa and doesn’t want him to shatter her dream. Mao falls asleep after knitting it so the rest wants Kyolo to carry her to bed. It’s a man’s duty. How does it feel to carry her like a princess?
* Shion joins Kyolo in the kotatsu as the latter notes how she has changed because in the past she was more aloof. She thinks maybe his cognizance has changed. Since Kyolo mentions about her weakness, she hopes he could be more specific. Then the other girls come in and join them. Kyolo can’t stretch his legs since the girls are having some sort of ‘leg war’ underneath and all over the place. Megumi is last to arrive so how can 5 people share a kotatsu with only 4 corners? Kyolo and Megumi become too polite to give way to each other that it annoys Mao. She will not have one to be left out and starts thinking. In the end, Mao sits on Kyolo’s lap. She’s the lightest, right? This will be their positions whenever they want to use the kotatsu.
* Kyolo is acting strange and Mao notices it. Everyone makes a guess but they’re way off. Till he reacts when Megumi mentions about cakes. What special day is today that involves cakes? Mmm… Think harder. Kyolo is saddened that he won’t get any this year except from mom and sister again. Yeah, so it’s Valentine’s Day. The day girls give the guys they love chocolates and confess their love. It has nothing to do with them and they shrug it off! Kyolo is so sad that he is about to cry! Sorry boy, but Shion says they have agreed not to give him chocolates since they thought they must confess to him.
* Kyolo seems to be sulking on their stupid agreement but all is not lost when Mao says they did make one for him. Mori enters and gives hers to him. Wow. From a real maid! He can die happy now. He will definitely return the favour on White Day and asserts he won’t give candies to those who didn’t give him chocolates. Mao views it as discrimination and bites his thigh!!! How does it taste? I bet chocolates are sweeter.

Episode 6
* Mao is bored because Kyolo is not around. Megumi is pushing the panic button since nobody will drink her tea! Mao will drink on Kyolo’s behalf. Seems Kyolo is out doing an errand with his little sister. Speaking of sisters, Kirara notes she has one too. She is Geraldine or Jill for short and is currently making her way from Canada to visit her. Shion loves the thought of having one since she is the only girl in the family. Mao interjects that real little sisters can be scary because they will grow old! Just like how their younger sister, Seira is a millimetre taller than Mao now.
* Once Kyolo is done, Mao forces him to go out with her. Although it is her treat, she acts like a little sister at the restaurant. This is so she can order the Kids Lunch. Well, why not get Megumi or Shion to accompany her? It’s embarrassing says she? So it’s not embarrassing with Kyolo? Because Kyolo is Kyolo. Is that an insult? As for why she likes the Kids Lunch, it hit a nerve so she rants about how sacred this lunch is. Whatever. Then she chows everything down like a monster. Not so little sister-like, eh?
* Since Kyolo has his reservations holding Mao’s hand like a little sister, she argues if he has a problem with it since there are no laws that prevents so and so about little sisters. Then she starts acting like a cute little sister and wants to hug him. Who knows, Kyolo’s real sister, Kasumi sees this and is devastated! What kind of play is this?! Of course she calms down after learning the truth. Well, half truth. Seems Mao wants Kyolo to tell her she is his friend’s little sister. Nobody would believe her height, eh? Kyolo almost let it slip that she is the same grade as him but Kasumi thought she is in fourth grade or something.
* Kyolo bumps into a blonde girl with fairy-like hair (Jill). Seeing she is having trouble with the train ticket counter, he helps her out. Jill then meets up with Kirara. She happily explains how she met a Japanese samurai.
* Kasumi loves hanging out in Kyolo’s room. While admiring Mao’s hair, Kyolo mentions the pain to maintain it. This causes Kasumi to ask if he has brushed her hair. Oops. Kasumi wants him to brush hers. Jealous? Then she makes it his job to brush her hair after she takes a bath.
* Kyolo visits Mao’s home to give candies to Mori for White Day. Mao wants her portion but he isn’t giving any since she did not give him chocolates then. They go through the photo album and see a picture of toddler Mao being carried by Mori. Hey, she looks the same. She never aged! But Mori points out that is her mom who fills her in on weekends. WHAT?! Her mom looks so young and like her exact twin?! Not even the sisters knew about it!!!
* Kyolo is introduced to Seira and he thought he heard some wicked voice scorning him. Must be hearing things. Of course it is obvious that voice seems to come from Seira as Kyolo becomes confused. Mao also can hear that voice. Whether it is ventriloquism or some paranormal activity, she wants Kyolo to keep quiet about it since Megumi can’t hear them.
* Kyolo couldn’t find the manga he wants to rid. Kasumi says she has hid it away because it contains ecchi material. She will return it to him once he becomes a proper brother. It’s her duty to ensure he grows up properly. What now? She’s her mother? But she left a questionable one behind for him to read. Why? Because the heroine is a little sister. She wants him to read it 5 times! I know what she wants to turn him into…

Episode 7
* The new club member, Tamaki Kannadzuki takes a photo of Kyolo sleeping. He hopes she could erase this embarrassing photo that is in demand by the other girls. Only a more embarrassing photo will erase that one. Tamaki then demonstrates how she can hide her camera like a magic trick. Now you see, now you don’t. Like a true magician, it pops up in Megumi’s pocket.
* Tamaki seems to be making this club like her home and conversing casually with her seniors instead of being polite. By the way, she was also ‘kidnapped’ like Kyolo’s case before she joined. Club traditions really die hard. Tamaki demands for her cakes, the reason she joined the club because she was promised that but Megumi had woke up late and no time to do so. She threatens to leave the club if there are none so Mao tells Kyolo to go into that mode. Kyolo acts and speaks like a tough guy (including a badass posing) to put Tamaki in her place. I guess he did well to last this long so it is obvious to see him running out of steam at the end.
* Their snack expenses are increasing ever since Tamaki joined. Yeah, she’s eating nonstop. They try to warn her about fats and calories but it only affects Megumi. The last blow came when Tamaki says that she doesn’t get fat no matter how much she eats. So Megumi treats her to a large serving of cake and ice cream to see if she can stay slim. She gladly eats them… Backfired…
* Mao is light enough to do Thai massage on Kyolo by stepping on his back. Megumi wants to give a try too but she feels more like an ‘elephant’… Sorry. Kyolo’s backbone nearly broke there…
* Kyolo goes to ask Kirara since the meat lover is eating vegetables. Mao and Shion are shocked that he really went to ask her because everyone has been trying to avoid this. Seems Jill got mad she only ate meat and wanted her to eat her vegetables properly. Kirara then offers her big bowl of vegetables to him. Now you know why they don’t ask… Eat your greens!
* Mao decides to have Megumi undergo her grooming punishment. That is, she must let Kyolo brush her hair. Megumi falls into ecstasy when Kyolo weaves his magical fingers. Mao and Shion watch in glee her reaction. I guess everyone seems satisfied.
* When Mao decides to put away the kotatsu, everyone decides to use it for one last time. When Tamaki mocks Mao about her presidency, the latter starts to bite her. But Tamaki won’t take it lying down and also bites back!
* But with Tamaki in the picture, how will their sitting arrangement be like? Since Tamaki is second smallest after Mao, this means she has to sit on somebody’s lap, right? The other girls signal their intention for her to sit on theirs but in the end, it is Shion who got the honours. Is this what it feels to have a little sister? Mao teases Tamaki’s ‘chair’ can only pat her hair unlike hers who can also groom. Tamaki may be regretting it since Shion starts brushing her hair.

Episode 8
* Mao becomes embarrassed when she learns Kyolo has given her a nickname: Maa-chan. Actually, it came from Kasumi. I mean, she gave him that Kyolo nickname, right? She tries to justify his nickname fits him and this leads to her accidentally revealing details of events on that day to the other girls. Though the other girls are fond of little sisters but not Tamaki who views them as annoying. She has got to share her snacks… Kyolo gets bitten when he really thinks Maa-chan fits her.
* So Kasumi is coming to visit to check up on his club. Who wouldn’t be concerned after the bite he got? Kasumi introduces herself and first thing Kirara did was to hug and smell her. Mao dresses up and acts like a little sister. Looks like she has no intention of correcting this misunderstanding. But Kasumi feels odd. Why does Kyolo call her the club president? She likes to be called that. What is an elementary kid doing at high school? To be tutored. Do they teach such hard stuffs in maths these days? Erm… As Kasumi gives it a try, Mao and Kyolo explain to the rest and hope they can play along with this little sister act. Kasumi solves the maths since she is good at it so when Kyolo wonders if Mao can do the same, she bites him! Kasumi also joins in the biting! Double pain! Mao even coaches her how to put all her heart and soul into the bite!
* It is so darn hot and everybody is like a living zombie and yet why doesn’t Mao want to on the fan? To save energy?! Come on… Eventually she can’t stand it and has Kyolo fan her. It doesn’t look like she is going to switch places… But as reward, she’ll invite everyone to the pool tomorrow.
* When Kyolo arrives at the clubroom, he is shocked to see the girls in their swimsuit!!! Why dress in them? Because their uniform will get wet. Duh… Kasumi was also invited and she too invited her friends. Want to guess who they are? It’s a small world after all.
* At first Kyolo couldn’t remember Jill. It boggles me that if Jill is fluent in Japanese, how come she can only write but not speak? He remembers her and to Kasumi’s surprise they are already on good terms. So he’s the ‘handsome samurai’ that Kasumi often hears about. Amazing coincidence, no?
* Then the other friend… Yeah, Seira. Mao forces Seira to shut up and play the big sister part. She’s a smart girl, right? Yup. Kyolo can still hear her sarcastic insults whenever he is too close to Mao.
* Kyolo leaves so the girls could change. Actually Kasumi and her friends changed into their swimsuits. He looks at Mori and she gives him the usual twirl. He loves it! But gets kicked out by Mao.
* The next round of change has the girls in their yukata. After the pools it is always the festivals, right? Did they even go to the pool? As usual, another Mori twirl. Loves it even more. Got kicked out even harder… Tamaki suggests that since he likes spinning, they should spin him too.

Episode 9
* Kyolo is forced to play doctor and he doesn’t look very enthusiastic about it. Mao must be one annoying patient. Seriously, she never played this before? When asked why she is always mad, she turns around the question why he is always calm. He explains he does get mad but doesn’t show it. Otherwise it will lead to an argument. For your information, the last time he got mad when he was forced to play doctor… Mao is worried he might be mad for all those bites but he doesn’t.
* Next patient is Shion and she is seriously depressed. Lack of common sense? Kyolo has his nurse (Tamaki) to assist him. When Tamaki sits on Shion’s lap, she becomes so happy. So it is not common sense deficiency but little sister deficiency.
* Megumi almost gives away her 3 sizes when she is the patient. Asking whether she has been mad, she hints about the time about Tamaki and the fats from the snacks. Is she still mad? Maybe. Scary…
* Kirara’s turn sees her power being measured. So strong that girl is that the dynometer they borrowed breaks!!! Let’s pretend all this never happen.
* Now it’s Kyolo’s turn. The girls tie him up and prepare to remodel him! After putting all the makeup, he looks cute! Now they get excited to take this to the next level. Even suggesting name change and new personality (since it mirrors Mao, she bites him). Introducing… Kyoloko! Dressed up Kyolo fully looks like a cute girl! So cute that he’s scaring the girls. They’ve just created something deadly… Maybe they should forget making him their club idol.
* Mori enters the clubroom as per Mao’s request to face Kyolo in a fight. Eh? Kyolo immediately admits defeat and feels sorry that the girls made her tag along with their antics. Feeling that she should say something too, she twirls for him. I think the kicks he get are much harder this time. And now they won’t let him back out from the match.
* The duel will be brushing Mori’s hair. So that’s why Kyolo is the reigning champion with 3 winning streaks. Kyolo begins his usual as Mori tries to hold it in. The rest are watching with glee and become expert commentators. In the end Mori cannot resist the goodness and lets out a squeal. The girls declare Kyolo as the winner against the boss.
* Kirara seems to be staring up at the corner of the ceiling. Is ‘something’ there? Well, Mao and Kyolo are starting to freak out since a storm is brewing. Any sound would make them jumpy. Everybody else is just cool. Maybe they’re just paranoid. When they refer to Tamaki, she just nonchalantly hints something about it. That means something is really there?! She offers to exorcise since her family runs a shrine. Besides, the duo are being noisy and annoying. But why is Kyolo being tied up?! He is to become to sacrifice?! Mao doesn’t care as long as the club’s peace is preserved! Screw his peace! Kirara then stops staring because it is gone and joins the rest. Frightened Mao still trying to sacrifice Kyolo…

Episode 10
* The girls see Tamaki sleeping soundly in a cardboard box like a cat!
* Mao sees Kyolo drawing and is interested in this cute monster he drew. He even has labelled its anatomy. Wait a minute… This is not a monster… This is Mao!!! WTF???!!! Well, it was her fault to jump to a conclusion it was a monster. Not amused by it, here comes the bite!!!
* Shion takes a look at the next picture and is fascinated with this new species. I’m sure we can tell it is Shion but you know, she lacks common sense. Yeah, even the familiar traits of this ‘species’ is listed down. It took her long enough to realize it is her. For the first time, Shion gets mad and bites him!!!
* Now it’s Megumi’s turn to look. You know who this kind fairy resembles, right? Mao and Shion are interested to see how long it will take for Megumi to realize it is her. Then she starts to realize. Nozzle that forces liquid down her friends’ throat. Depressed fairy on the scale. Megumi accuses this drawing as slanderous and misrepresentative since she is sure her weight isn’t what is written here. Now she is going to bite him! But she’s so cute and her bite lacks any strength. Are you sure she’s really biting him? More like pecking…
* Finally it is Kirara’s turn. You know who this tiger drawing is referring too. Mao and Shion know that Kirara won’t really get it. But then… Kirara gets upset that this is her and not a tiger. Lies! She’s going to bite him and sinks her teeth into his head! OMG! If they don’t do something, Kyolo’s head might come off! Kyolo’s being eaten alive by this carnivorous girl!!! Help!!!
* Kyolo buys a McDonalds’ cheese burger for Shion since she has never tried it out before. Because has never tried autumn foods before, this prompts Tamaki to note that all this food will cause her to go fat. Of course this triggers Megumi’s weight alert and so she challenges Tamaki to eat a huge cake. She must eat it until she gains the same weight as hers. Tamaki is not bothered and continues munching. She finishes the cake and has room for more. This challenge goes on for a week and guess what? Tamaki didn’t gain weight. In fact, she lost weight!!!!! WTF?????!!!!! UNBELIEAVABLE!!!!! Total defeat!
* Despite still early, Kasumi, Seira and Jill enter the clubroom for Trick or Treating. Seems the trio have created their own GJ Club. They hope to get more members next year. Noting the ‘surprise attack’ they did for them, Mao also will ‘surprise attack’ them by bombarding them with tea and cakes. All Tamaki is worried that her portion will be downsized…
* Jill is shy to speak to Kyolo, but when she does (at least she writes it down), the other girls want him to put up his super Japanese male act. And so Kyolo puts on his cool persona and this thrills Jill. Bravo! Till Kyolo hear those insults from Seira that he is gunning other girls in addition to her sisters. He wants to be friends with her and although she seemingly accepts it, her dark voice insults him again that he is now targeting her. Make any funny move and he’ll regret the day he was born!
* Mao then issues a challenge to see which club can get more candy on Halloween. Erm… Isn’t her true cover of her position blown? Who cares. Kasumi can’t believe she is siding with ‘Kyolo’s club’ even though she is ‘younger than her’. She’s their president after all.

Episode 11
* Mao loves eating her mikan after peeling every inch of the white skin off it. Every one of them. Kyolo pesters her to eat some of it and even Shion explains its functions and goodness but Mao remains stubborn.
* Mao has bought a set of cat ears. Tamaki knows what is coming and quickly makes her exit but too late. She isn’t interested in putting them on so Mao forces her to pay her back! Did she ask her to buy it in the first place?! Till Kyolo notes how super cute she will look, so cute that everyone will have a hard time staying alive, that Tamaki decides to try. Did Kyolo’s intention just backfire? However Shion hijacks them. Mao doesn’t think it suits her.
* The girls then decide to cross-dress and dress up as guys. Host club? Delinquents? They even ‘dramatically’ change their name. Noting that Kyolo somewhat enjoyed himself, they are not going to let him go. Oh no. They’re going to dress him up! Quick! Run! Too bad the girls run faster than him. Say hello to his girly side once more.
* Kirara seems to be coughing so Shion does a little checking and thinks she has a little cold. Mao has already informed her sister to come pick her up. Suddenly they feel the ground rumbling. OMG! It’s Jill on her way rushing in! She’s treating this like a life-or-death case and carries her away. I guess excessive strength runs in the family.
* When Kirara is feeling better, it seems now it’s Kyolo’s turn to catch the cold. Kirara feels guilty for passing it to him. Just as he is about to go home, the familiar rumblings from the ground. This time Kasumi and Jill are so worried about him that they want him to pass the cold to them. Seira is even more ‘serious’ because she’s wearing a gas mask and sterilizing the entire room with her whatever gas! Now everybody is coughing. Is she sure that gas is safe on humans?
* Valentine’s Day is near. We remember that incident well, don’t we? So Mao hints to Kyolo if he is interested to know the agreement they had of not giving him any chocolates last year. It is revealed so he won’t get carried away. What? Him? You know what they say about giving an inch and take a yard. So good news, this year they will be voiding that agreement. See how Kyolo’s face lights up.
* So on the much anticipated day, everyone decides to give him chocolates so as not to let sulky boy cry. Haha… Megumi goes first and presents him with a giant chocolate castle cake. Shion gives a high quality chocolate while Mao a tiny chocolate bit. She thinks he got too much from Megumi’s portion. But Tamaki is already eating it and if he doesn’t hurry, it will finish! She’s already eaten half! Oh, Kirara gives him a bone… Does she even know what Valentine’s Day is?
* Mori comes into the clubroom. Her share of chocolates? More precisely, she is here to request for a rematch. Say what? Remember the brushing duel in which he won? That was Mori’s mother he defeated. Say what?! Oh yeah. They look like twins… Seira as the head of the family will not accept losers so if Mori loses this time, she will be fired. Mori will work for Kyolo. Since he isn’t fond of that idea, Seira tells her to commit suicide! Oh sh*t! Not willing to bear the responsibility of this match, Kyolo immediately goes down on his knees, apologizes and forfeits his victory to her. See? Everything solved. Mori thanks him for playing along with Seira’s game. So it was just a prank? But she whispers into his ear the coward he is. He finds her Valentine chocolates in his hands. Could it be that Mori really wanted to experience his brushing?

Episode 12
* Although the gang continue to do what they do, Kyolo seems pretty worried. Why not? Tomorrow is the seniors’ graduation ceremony. So worried that he is the first to arrive at the clubroom at the crack of dawn. And the rest of the girls are acting as though it is no big deal.
* Shion has Kyolo accompany her to the vending machine whereby for the first time she successfully buys a drink. To top it, she became a lucky winner and got a free drink. Shion reveals she always tried to buy drinks from this vending machine but was never successful till Kyolo came along. She thanks him for being her common sense knight. Eh? What?
* Kyolo finds himself alone with Kirara in the clubroom. They’re not sure if this is part of Mao’s plan or not and to show us Kirara isn’t a ditz, she uses her handphone text to effectively communicate with Kyolo! At least she doesn’t stammer this way and her ‘speech’ is more elegant and normal. I know it’s odd seeing 2 people this close texting to each other. Kirara requests that he brushes her hair since she didn’t experience this yet.
* By right, it’s supposed to be Mao’s turn but it seems she’s fine the way she is. Feeling the need to say something, Kyolo gives her a 10 Yen coin he got from the vending machine. She takes it and gives it to him. It’s hers, right? She can do whatever she wants. Besides, it’s no point giving it to her because all goods belong to her. What’s yours is hers!
* Kyolo attends the official graduation ceremony. Back at the clubroom as they hurriedly prepare, Megumi cheers up Kyolo that it’s not that Mao didn’t want to be alone with him. It’s just that she is shy. More of she couldn’t than didn’t want to.
* When the trio seniors return, Kyolo and the rest initiate their own graduating ceremony for them. But first, they would like to change from their hakama into their usual school uniform. Kyolo realizes he has been toyed around when they don’t let him stand outside but turn his back when they start changing. Love seeing his reaction, eh?
* The seniors note that with this high school uniform, it becomes like cosplay as they are no longer high school girls. Kyolo begins handing out their very own high quality graduation certificate they made to them. Then he sums up all his courage to act out his manly version to give his final speech. Though they are stunned, Mao couldn’t hold back and laughed out loud.
* Mao makes Kyolo the next club president. Though she had this in mind since last October, she felt he wasn’t up to it and extended his ‘training’.
* The question that we have all been dying to know: What exactly is GJ Club as asked by Tamaki. Unfortunately no clear answer because the newly elected club president confidently says he too doesn’t know.

A Place Where The Fun Never Ends…
Another nothing much happens ending. Shows like these without any specific plot or goal either tend to be boring or refreshing because of that. It’s like a double edge sword. GJ Club is like those many animes featuring a group of friends hanging out together like Lucky Star to A Channel. You don’t have to worry about any sudden twists in the plot or something sinister brewing or even slapstick laugh-out-loud comedy. That in the case would be good and bad because you can be rest assured that there will be some sort of a ‘good and happy ending’ and at the same time there is nothing really memorable to remember in the long run. So what that the senior trio have graduated? In the end it doesn’t really feel that the club’s existence is being threatened because they have the other half of their younger members to carry on. Kyolo might have been gloomy about his senior’s last day but at least he didn’t really make a big deal like breaking down or cry-mother, cry-father about it. That would be awful seeing the calming pace of the anime only to be ruined with such a scene. So at best this series isn’t that unique nor will it end up as one of the best animes of the year. You just watch this for a little fun, a few chuckles and variety then move on with your life with another anime. In short, it is a very normal show with a dash of moe.

The company of the club members are greatly focused on as we see them bond in unusual ways despite most of the time they will be doing their own thing. Even the name Good Job club is baffling. What are they doing to be considered a good job? Maybe doing what they like in this clubroom is already a good job. You do the things you love or want to do. Isn’t that good enough? They might not be engaging in very physical of activities (I’m not going so far as to suggest that as sex, mind you) but at least their presence in the clubroom feels somewhat like a bonding moment. Don’t you realize that nobody else enters this club? Save for their other sisters and the maid, you don’t even know their club’s advisor! Heck, in almost every animes that I have watched, for a club to continue existing, it always needs a minimum number of members and a teaching staff as an advisor, right? And here we are seeing a bunch of high school kids bumming around without any adult supervision. It makes you feel that this is their second home because we certainly don’t see them going back to their classes.

The characters too are rather okay. Just like any other characters, they have their own quirky and unique personality. Like Kyolo’s kindness may be a good thing but I feel that it makes him a sissy and the source of ‘bullying’ by the other girls especially Mao. Although we learn he too does sulk and get mad, he doesn’t show it and that is also good because we certainly don’t like to see such cute people arguing, right? His best skill is his hair brushing. It’s like sex for the girls, right? Oops! Mao as the spunky girl is ironic she is the most energetic among the lot despite her tiny stature. You could say that she almost fits into the ‘troublemaker’ personality. A little bit crude too, she has make biting Kyolo a habit if he embarrasses or upsets her too much. By the way, I noticed that in the final 2 episodes she has stopped her biting. Because in every other episode Kyolo becomes a biting victim at least once. Has she matured in this sense? Not even Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn’s Kyouya Hibari could have bitten someone like this to death. Haha! Shion the genius is also another amusing one. Because she is a genius, doesn’t necessarily make her street smart. For many things, she lacks common sense in the most simple every day operations whether it is eating instant noodle or operating a vending machine. Even so, do not estimate this cool beauty when it comes to chess. She is truly a genius in this area. I can understand why she wants a sister of her own. She’s the only one in the club without one and the rest of her siblings are all guys. Then there is nice and dreamy girl like Megumi. Her smile could easily melt all the guys’ heart. Just too bad she is averse when it comes to weight issues. That’s something very taboo to her. Kirara may seem like a meat brain and lack anything elegant as a human lady due to her cat-like nature. It’s like you never see her without stuffing her face with meat. She excessively uses full stops in her sentences. One or two words per sentence, I guess. Or try making up a sentence with 10 words and put full stops in between every one of them. But you don’t want to mess with her immense strength which I believe can tear the entire place down! Amazon woman. She is also intellectual but expresses them in a different manner. Finally there is Tamaki, another ‘troublemaker’ and the very big eater. She is every girl’s dream to eat whatever they want and not gain a single gram. Her main concern is how much snacks she can eat. The snack industry will definitely prosper with her around.

The rest of the sisters are okay too and they don’t really make an impact on the overall show or even the GJ Club. Like Kasumi is quite a lively little sister and it is hinted that she may have a big brother complex and obviously that sole manga she left behind is her true intention that she wants him to turn into a siscon. I wonder if she knows about Mao’s true age and identity in the end. Just like how quirky is Kirara in her appearance, Jill too is the same. Her fluency in Japanese is expressed in a different medium instead of her speech as well as that frightening display strength when she easily lifts up her own sister. As for Seira, I wonder if she is tsundere or just two-face. On the outside, she may look like she is nice to Kyolo but her ventriloquism or whatever other reason you call her so called inner voice is her source to vent her displeasure. I sometimes feel that it may not be ventriloquism because if it was so, shouldn’t the other girls hear it instead of just Mao and Kyolo? Or maybe there is really ‘something’ on her… Yikes! Don’t want to even think about it or that episode! Of course there is Mori. Who doesn’t love the maid? Every guys love maids, right? Right!!! So it becomes a natural response for the elegant Mori to twirl whenever she sees Kyolo, much to the ire of the other girls. They think it’s his creepy fetish to make other people’s maid twirl before him. I still can’t believe she and her mother looks very close…

For the romance part, a part of me deep down inside feels that the girls of GJ Club do take a liking for him. The kind where it is more than just being friends. I mean, picking on him and enjoying watching his reaction doesn’t necessarily mean that they have romantic interests in him. But there are a handful of scenes that indicate so. Like when Megumi hints about Mao’s shyness, it’s like she is trying to confess something but stops short of it. Then there is the part whereby Shion wouldn’t want to share the can drink with Kyolo. This shows she is quite conscious of what the implications of an indirect kiss would mean, right? Or what about the time she asks about the meaning of love after reading a novel? But the part whereby she touches his body due to her low body temperature seems bold. Then again, it could be her lack of her common sense. Besides, it would be a bad idea if the girls all start fighting over him. It will turn out to be a bloody harem cat fight. Would we like it if suddenly the final episode has a twist of one of them dramatically blurting out her true feelings? How would that leave the position of the rest? How will it proceed? Where would the peaceful days go then? So that’s why in foresight, the girls even came out with an agreement about the Valentine chocolates part. Sure, it is not to get his hopes up but there is this little issue whereby they might be mistaken for having feelings for him although they can just brush it off as obligatory chocolates.

Hiro Shimono being casted as Kyolo/Kyouya sounds a little odd at first because we are so used to his typical outburst like Keima from The World God Only Knows or Ryousuke from Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai rather than someone who is shy and soft spoken. It feels like he has no energy whatsoever when he talks. He does enter his typical trademark voice but that’s only during his manly act. Recently, I heard him voicing such a similar role of characters. If I’m not mistaken, it would be Tejirof in Aoi Sekai No Chuushin De. The rest of the casts I’m not pretty familiar with and many of them are relatively young unknowns. Some are very different from the roles that I usually hear like Maaya Uchida as Mao doesn’t give the impression she was Rea in Sankarea, Suzuko Mimori as Shion didn’t make me realize this was the voice behind the bratty Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Yume Miyamoto as Megumi was only 16 years old when she took on this role. She had voiced other roles too when she was younger like Ayami Morishita in Ghost Hunt which was way back in 2006/2007. Chika Arakawa makes her debut role as Kirara as well as Wakana Aoi as Jill. Other casts include Sumire Uesaka as Tamaki (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Ibuki Kido as Kasumi (Akiko in OniAi), Sumire Morohoshi as Seira (Clara in Kuragehime) and Ayumi Tsunematsu as Mori (Maiya in Fate/Zero).

The opening theme sounds like typical anime pop. Mousou Koukan Nikki by Otome Shintou (an all-girl J-pop idol group) starts off weirdly because it’s like they are rapping. There is a short skit during the opening anime sequence whereby the GJ Club members are doing a cute little dance of their own. There are several ending themes and they are tailored to the female characters of the club. Starting off as the first one is Tokimeki no Mahou by Maaya Uchida and Yume Miyamoto for the Amakatsu sisters. Sounds like another cheeky lively anime pop. Next is Balance Unbalance Hontou No Watashi by Suzuko Mimori for Shion. The animation for this anime pop ballad piece is quite interesting as it is somewhat abstract (floating furniture like in space and mass balloons) and perhaps reflects the heart of Shion. Then we have Watashi Dake No Sora by Chika Arakawa for Kirara. I thought this pace of this lively piece doesn’t really match Kirara’s character but then again, she might be a totally different character if you get to know her well. After dedicating 2 episodes each for those ending themes, past the halfway mark a ‘permanent’ ending song takes place and features the original quartet of GJ Club females. Hashiridasou probably sounds like another lively anime pop. So no ending theme for Tamaki or the other sisters?

In a club with no particular goals and doing things their pace seems pretty suitable for people who don’t really want to go out there to achieve some target or to proof something that perhaps no one else cares. Here, you can do what you want and at your own pace. Be yourself. Stay true to yourself if that what this club is meant to be. Even if it seems like lazing around and doing nothing productive, I guess in a way it is better than a certain club created to make friends but failed miserably in achieving that goal. Of course they achieved something else more precious than that and that is the bond and friendship among themselves. I suppose I can say the same for this club. At least they seem much better than a certain student council body that has its members chatting away mindlessly about almost everything and get nothing done. If I want to join this club, do I need to wait to be ‘kidnapped’? Hah. Which cute girls would want to whisk away an otaku like me?

Chocotan

August 9, 2013

Rie Kugimiya has always been suited to voice tsundere loli roles. However this doesn’t stop her in voicing other character types like little boys and animals. In the latter category, I have heard her as a cat in Fairy Tail, a penguin in Kampfer and even a cockroach in Gokicha! There are many more other animal characters she has voiced that I have never heard. This includes a goat in Arashi No Yoru Ni: Himitsu No Tomodachi and that weird creature in Tamagotchi. Now in Chocotan, she voices titular character who is a dog. Yes. Rie Kugimiya is a dog. (Though I won’t want to go far to say she is the female term… It’s a joke). This special episode only lasts 10 minutes and my experience in watching single episodes and never had any more after that like Nagareboshi Lens and Hiyokoi, my expectations for this series aren’t high either. But of course, what am I going to lose if I just spend 10 minutes on this?

We are introduced to Chocotan who is the cute daschund doggie and her owner is Nao. Due to some weird plant she ate, Chocotan is able to converse with humans and has intelligence on par with humans too. Wow. Some plant. Must be drugs. Why the heck was this dog trying to eat flowers anyway? Anyway, the ability for Chocotan to talk is a secret just between them. Chocotan knows that Nao has a big crush on this guy called Arima whom she always bumps into at the park while walking her dog. It is no surprise that she is always happy to see him. So on another such meeting, Nao wants to plan a birthday party for Happy, Arima’s daschund pet. Despite sharing the same name as that cat in Fairy Tail, Happy isn’t your fish-loving comic relief joker and has a slight mean and arrogant attitude. Suddenly a couple of girls hijack their conversation so Arima has no choice but to go with their flow. This doesn’t sit well with Nao and since she’s not the kind to tell those b*tches to get the f*ck off, she leaves with a heavy heart. We know she is frustrated since she tells Chocotan to ‘shut up’ when she asks what is happening.

Back home when she has calmed down, Nao apologizes for taking out on her. She explains Arima doesn’t go to the same class with her and thus she doesn’t get much chance to talk to him. They also did not make any promise to walk together or something. But if he’s always at that park, she has a reason to be with him. And those girls must be from his class. She thinks she can’t fit in. Chocotan tries to cheer her up that she is always by her side. Suddenly they can’t understand each other! Oh no! What happened?! Chocotan is just barking in Nao’s ears. Nao sinks into depression and pessimism. It is because of Chocotan that she is able to have a reason to meet and talk to Arima. What’s the difference? Just bring Chocotan along. She just can’t talk anymore, right? Nao realizes Chocotan is sad to and cheers her up with a scarf she just finished. She knows Chocotan is trying to comfort her so she hugs the doggie. Nao is going to try harder next time.

Next time comes but it starts off with a blooper. Nao trips. Arima picks her up and Nao in tears start talking about how she doesn’t get much chance to talk to him but have lots of fun when she does. However he has her think why even though this park is so big and they haven’t made plans to meet each other, yet he stills meet her every day. Yup. His feelings are the same as hers. Today they will be alone together. Those girls won’t be coming back because Happy scared them away with his fierce growling. Nao and Arima have their happy moment together but Happy doesn’t understand why humans can’t be honest with each other. If they like each other, they should just say it. Maybe it’s because he’s not human that’s why he doesn’t understand. Chocotan is happy for Nao and congratulates her. Eh? Suddenly Chocotan can talk and catches everyone by surprise.

Let Talking Dogs Talk
Well, well… So what else should I say? Just like that lah. Nothing very much spectacular. I’m sure if you love dogs, you would love this but since I am not an animal person, I am not really into all those cute puppy close up shots. Besides, I believe this special is adapted from a shoujo romance manga of the same name. You just add a dog into the mix. So I’m more fixated with the pretty people like Nao and Arima instead. You know, shoujo genre. People with big sparkly eyes… Hah… The cutest part is the ending theme because it has Chocotan singing the chorus in a cute way (Rie Kugimiya at her cutely cute best) especially when she goes “Choco, Choco, Chochochoco Chocotan!”. Other than that the lyrics seem to describe her personality. Dog lovers would love their dog to be able to talk to them and even help them out with their romance life. I don’t know how dogs can be good love consultants. Sounds like a crazy idea or reason but hey! It beats eating up your homework, right?

P/S: I don’t mind if I had a dog that sounds like Mamiko Noto! Oh sh*t! That would be just creepy!

Let me remind you that I am not a closet mecha fan. Despite over the years I have been watching a handful of mecha themed series, this doesn’t mean that I am a mecha fan. The reason why I watched Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is because I read despite having mecha elements, it has some romance elements. Besides, it is based on a visual novel and with adult elements. You can see where this is going, right? It is only later that I realized that this anime adaption isn’t really of the original Muv-Luv works but one of its sequels or alternate worlds. A big misconception I had about this being a romance or harem series was my experience with Infinite Stratos. Instead of kids in an academy with mecha for sports, we have young adults from all over the world fighting real menacing aliens with their lives on the line. Amidst the chaos and disorder, romance can still blossom. And so I thought. Romance, yes there is. But it’s not what I hope for it would develop like in Infinite Stratos.

A race of dangerous aliens has drove mankind to the near brink of extinction. To counter these alien threats, giant armed mecha robots have been developed as man’s final defence against them. Of course it isn’t as easy as it seems since you need trained pilots, supplies and lots of other preparations just to go into war. This series focuses on a group of test pilots in a new development project to create the most effective mecha and weapon against the aliens. Their bonds and relationship tested through testing times. Of course the aliens won’t be just the enemy. We all know too well the biggest enemy is our own kind. It’s tough being human…

Episode 1
As narrated, mankind’s first contact with extra-terrestrial beings started in 1967. However they were hostile. Termed as BETA (Being of Extra Terrestrial origin which is an Adversary of the human race), mankind used all they had against BETA but that did not stop them from reaching Earth. Fast forward to 1997 and in the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto, high school girl Yui Takahashi and her friends are budding pilots of Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF) who will one day help defend their nation and the world against the charge of BETA. As students of the Imperial Guard Training Academy, life seems pretty normal for these high school girls. Yui has an uncle in the Imperial Army whom she respects and he has returned shortly for a visit. Eiji Iwaya gives her some advice since she will soon start her live training and to be patient. They need all the good TSF fighters they can get if they are to prevent BETA from overwhelming their beautiful nation. Yui and her friends start practising on how to pilot TSF and she even had a rival-turned-friend. A fatal accident soon demoralizes some of them. Reports come in that BETA have invaded the Korean Peninsula and are on the verge of advancing to the Japanese islets. In a blink of an eye, they came. One of Yui’s friends become devastated when her boyfriend is killed in action. A big evacuation is ordered as Kyoto becomes the final defence line. Yui and her other trainee friends may have no combat experience so they are tasked to defend the temporary supply base. However the BETA scout group are advancing fast and closing in on the base so it’s time to scramble.

Episode 2
The trainees employ what they learn in training but reality is often a different case. You don’t learn it in classes. So when one by one Yui’s friends gradually gets taken out, the situation becomes crazier. They become desperate. Attacks become too great. The base has fallen. It’s no use trying to hold BETA back as their numbers are increasing. As they make a run, they are still not safe because Laser type BETAs are firing at them and they need to hover as close to the ground. The artillery support from the battleships gives them some reprieve. But when their base instructor is taken out, Yui is left to assume control and leadership on what’s left of her teammates. Kyoto has fallen and overrun by BETA. Yui and friends continue their run when their training instructor shows up in response to their SOS signal. He makes his last stand against BETA so that the girls can escape. However they crash into a giant BETA. When Yui regains consciousness, she gets out of her cockpit to see one of her friends being devoured by Soldier type BETAs. Another friend is trapped in a cockpit and the BETAs are trying to pry it open. She yells to Yui to shoot her but she can’t and misses all her shots. Unfortunately her friend got eaten alive. She is about to share the same fate when a Takemikazuchi type TSF flies in to easily destroy all the BETAs around her. She passes out. When she wakes up in a makeshift hospital, the entire surrounding is decimated. She wonders when the living stopped counting the dead. Is the world walking to the path of extinction? But when she sees a newborn baby amidst the countless corpses, she emotionally breaks down and perhaps there is still hope. Three years later, Yui has hardened up and now the rank of lieutenant in the Imperial Army. She is on her way to Alaska and vows to reject extinction, never to cry like that again.

Episode 3
Americans Yuuya Bridges and Vincent Lowell are on their way to Yukon base in Alaska. Along the way, their plane got caught in a mock battle between hot headed TSF pilots. Yuuya’s quick thinking saves the plane from collision. Yuuya meets his other fellow test pilots of Argos Flight. Swedish Stella Bremer, Nepalese Tarisa Manandal and Italian Valerio “VG” Giacosa. Also on this XFJ Project are Yui, Captain Ibrahim Dogulu from Turkey and Professor Frank Heinemann, the technical advisor of Boening Corp. This project is to help improve the Japanese military’s type 94. Yuuya notices the nations involved in this project are all those who had their country lost to BETA. Their first test to get to know each other is a mock combat. Hot headed Tarisa didn’t like Yuuya as the unit’s leader as he has never been in the front lines like the rest. You can see her clashing with him very often. It’s like she has a big problem. Little girl got a set of big egos, I guess. The mock combat begins with Yuuya-Stellar against Tarisa-VG. Tarisa is so bent on teaching Yuuya a lesson that she forgot all about teamwork and her team lost. The test pilots become good friends at the end of the simulation. Yuuya bumps into Yui and he thought she was amazed by his skill. However to his surprise, she calls him a disappointment.

Episode 4
Yuuya has a hard time controlling his Japanese TSF because of the different philosophies between their countries. So it’s like Yuuya and Yui are on an eternal warpath of arguing. In a simulation fighting BETA, Yuuya is still unable to get used to the controls and slows everyone down and even had them come to cover him. Yuuya complains about the toughness to handle the TSF so Yui shoots him down he lacks talent. On his way back, he meets a little Russian girl, Inia Sestina who seems happy to meet him. She brings him back to her base to meet her family member. It’s Misha. Her teddy bear. However Inia’s partner, Cryska Barchenowa and other Russian personal apprehend Yuuya, thinking he is a spy. Yuuya remembers how his maternal grandpa accusing his mom for marrying a Japanese. He believed he used and threw her away but mommy insisted there Japanese have their good points too. Because Yuuya has half Japanese blood, he is shunned by other kids. Yuuya is on the verge of undergoing Russian style interrogation when some higher ups pulled some strings to get him out of his predicament (think Yui). His test pilots friends (since when is Tarisa so friendly with Yuuya?) come to retrieve him. Once again, Yuuya and Yui are in another argument. Yui explains from his painful past about the unpredictability of BETA and thanks to them, they get to ‘play in training exercises’. Meanwhile Inia takes a bath with Cryska who tells her never to meet Yuuya again. Because they both are the only family they need.

Episode 5
Yuuya still isn’t getting much improvement. On another training simulation, Yuuya chances upon Idar Flight’s Scarlet Twins who are made up of Inia and Cryska. Inia is happy to see him though Cryska doesn’t want him to intrude into their practice zone. More clashes between Yuuya and Yui. He brands the Japanese TSF a piece of junk. He accuses her of ignoring the test pilot and refuses to let anyone die in the TSF he tested. Yui advises him with a Japanese saying that a man and his horse should be one. But since anything she says won’t matter to him, she just walks away. The test pilots chill out at a diner. Tarisa is close friends with the waitress Natalie Duclert from France. Natalie forces Tarisa to dress in a cat maid outfit. Yuuya learns everyone here hates BETA because they lost their country or family to those aliens. Who doesn’t? Yuuya thinks harder as Vincent imparts his advice of the differently built TSF from both America and Japan. Vincent also hints Yuuya to hit on Yui. In another mock battle against BETA, Yuuya this time lets his TSF take control instead of forcing to control it. Then a Takemikazuchi type TSF from the Imperial Army appears. They think Yui wants to hog to spotlight. She easily takes everyone out and Yuuya challenges her to a fight if she hates him that much. Then he pulls off a movement that he himself is surprised. Is this what being one with the machine is all about? Yuuya defeats Yui. He now seems to understand his TSF as his partner and feels they can go to greater heights. Yui is also pleased with the outcome.

Episode 6
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So it seems in addition to performing tests in tropical environment, they also have R&R to boost crew morale. Yeah, swimsuit beach episode. Anyway VG wants to go peep on the ladies. Yuuya declines his invitation. Instead, he ‘warns’ the ladies about somebody suspicious. Wise move. VG got busted. Tarisa starts arguing with Inia when the latter comments she is weak. So the instructor decides to settle this fight via competition. Initially Inia and Tarisa got paired together in a boat race. Since Inia is too scared of the ocean (clinging onto a coconut tree?), Cryska agrees to take her place. Similarly, Yui volunteers so Tarisa leaves it to her. What the hell? While paddling, Yuuya spots Cryska unconscious and jumps to their boat. As a storm is approaching, they paddle to the nearest remote island. If Cryska is out cold is already a handful to carry, Yui’s leg is injured but decides to play heroine and suck it up like as though it is nothing. Eventually Yui orders Yuuya to take Cryska to a cave on higher ground and will catch up later. She falls asleep and has a nightmare of her old friends getting devoured by BETA. Yuuya makes it back to pick up Yui (who made no progress in advancing). She continues to put up a tough façade and chides him for abandoning someone unconscious. Just shut up and let him carry you! Maybe it’s just me or do I sense some jealousy when Yui asks why Yuuya calls Cryska by her first name. When he was captured, her comrades addressed her by that name and naturally he calls her that. Yuuya thought she suspects him of leaking info to the Soviets but she denies and declines to further elaborate. When Yuuya goes to check the boat, Cryska wakes up she wants to ask Yui a question. She wants to know about Yuuya because he interests her. Cat fight coming up?

Episode 7
I guess Yui manages to avoid answering by telling Cryska to ask him herself. Yuuya returns to relay the bad news that their boat has been washed away. Yuuya wants to go gather woods and allows Cryska to accompany him thinking this is a chance for her to ask Yuuya privately. She asks about his opinion on Inia because this has never happened before as Inia thinks a lot about him. Cryska couldn’t understand why Yuuya always fights with Yui since they’re both Japanese but Yuuya disagrees and asserts he is American. When Cryska starts to feel pain and collapses, Yuuya catches her. Cryska reveals she is afraid of the sea. Just like Inia, they have never seen a real one up close and it scares them. Ironically when she is piloting inside a TSF, she is fine. Guess what? Yui comes to check on them and sees this ambiguous scene. Not good. Back in the cave, Yuuya is clueless why there is such high tension between the women. After Yui pretends to go to sleep, Yuuya reveals his father left the family before he was born. That’s why his maternal grandpa has a strong distrust for Japanese. Cryska thinks he is lucky to have parents because she herself doesn’t know hers. They are saved when the search party finds them. As penalty, the ladies are to parade in their swimsuit. I don’t know why Inia got it too but the Scarlet Twins are already flaunting in it. Get ready your cameras and camcorders! Yui finally unveils hers. While Yuuya’s teammates wonder if anything happened between them, Inia wonders if Cryska would like to be Yuuya’s friend. Not interested. Maybe lover? Just kidding.

Episode 8
After the sun and sandy beaches, the project now shifts to the cold and icy frontiers of Kamchatka. No fun. The goal of this joint exercise is to test Type 94 and Active Eagle TSFs and also a new prototype weapon developed by Japan called Type 99 EM Radiation Cannon. Later Yui brings Yuuya to see the railgun that he will be testing. Guaranteed to pack enough power. She reveals some dispute before the scheduling exercise. Some international deal being made backdoor and with no chance the trials to be called off, all they can do is make sure the people sent out come back alive. She adds if he thinks the weapon is slowing him down, feel free to discard it. Yuuya notes how she was pressured to reveal her country’s top secret weapon. But if it’s successful and approved, it will be mass produced and standard equipment worldwide. She doesn’t want to lose Type 94 and more importantly him (as a talented test pilot, that is). He assures he trusts her combat data and will bring it back without a scratch. Cryska and Inia are being bullied by their fellow comrades. Cryska doesn’t understand why they are doing this since they are the same. They dismiss that because there is a difference between Soviet and Russians. While Scarlet Twins are the elite of Russia, these kids are from the other conquered nations of Soviet and are usually the ones sent to the front lines of the battlefield. They are going to rape them when Yuuya happens to be nearby and heard the commotion. He comes to their rescue but the kids now resort to weapons. Till their commander Fikatsia Latrova and her adjutant, Nastassja Ivanova enters to tell them to return and do maintenance check. She even tells off Yuuya to know his place. The next wave of BETA is arriving as everyone sits in the briefing for their next mission. Argos Flight will be paired with some aces of Soviet’s Zhar Battalion. Guess who that ace is? Yup. Lieutenant Colonel Latrova.

Episode 9
After Latrova briefs them, she tells the Argos Flight they can do all the live fire they want from the rear as long as they don’t get in their way. Later, the Soviet kids once more surround Cryska and Inia. This time Cryska isn’t weak and is able to turn the tables on them. Because Yuuya happen to pass by again, the kids put off their bullying and run away. Yuuya is surprised with Cryska’s cold behaviour especially when she tells him she doesn’t want his blood to stain their motherland’s soil. All units are on standby to engage the incoming BETA. Yuuya seems to be nervous. This is his first battle. The Soviet kids continue to mock him. When the first wave of BETA hits shore, they realize there aren’t enough tanks in the frontlines. At this rate, too many BETAS will pass through. Yui wants this operation to be called off but Lieutenant Jerzy Sandek refuses viewing that this is their best chance to test their prototype. Even if it means many will die. Latrova and her aces get into the fray and strut their stuff but this isn’t enough as the BETA numbers are increasing and making ground. Yui wants to call from reinforcements but Sandek also refuses. Flashback reveals the Soviet higher ups plan to fail the railgun testing and also sacrifice Latrova’s battalion while at it. Yuuya wants to fire the railgun but notes the friendlies will get hit too. Noticing a BETA wave flanking the mechanized infantry and in danger of getting wiped out, he wants Latrova to fall back. However there is no retreat order. You’re not going to wait for that, aren’t you? Latrova trusts Yuuya’s confidence that he is going to save them and orders her troops to pull out. Once the coast is clear, Yuuya powers up his railgun and that single shot blows every single BETA to smithereens!!! WOAH!!! FANTASTIC!!! It’s a sea of blood!!! No BETA survivors! Super cool!

Episode 10
Yuuya returns to a hero’s welcome but the Soviet kids can still run their mouth despite their TSFs are in bad condition. Yuuya realizes they are right because all he did was fired a shot while they did the fighting upfront. As Yui commends him, Yuuya wants to test Type 94’s melee combat. He wants to improve this TSF and can only do so when he feels his life is on the line. Later Latrova meets Yuuya to give her thanks. Despite Yuuya being humble, Latrova says his immaturity is clouding his eyes from the bigger picture. Yuuya admits he wasn’t a hero and can’t see the big picture but what about her? Had she delayed her decision and wait for orders that will never come, that’s no different, right? She lets him off with an advice: If he can’t take it all, decide what to abandon. That is his fight. Yuuya asks about the discrimination between Soviets and Russians. She explains Cryska and Inia’s position as the privileged so the conquered nations won’t be happy if they just walk around the base like their own. Don’t Americans have their own discrimination too? On a side note, Latrova is Russian. Yui ponders if she had made the right decision of taking Japan’s top secret to Russia and in the end just slowed down Yuuya. Another wave of BETA is coming. However Type 99 TSFs are somehow offline and can’t be rebooted. Others are under maintenance (including the railgun). There is a debate whether to send Yuuya out to test Type 94’s melee combat effectiveness. Yui decides to take over Yuuya in this next battle but since Heinemann is the one sponsoring this and his company building the TSFs, he has the final say and has Yuuya and the rest of Argos Flight get close range data. Latrova is in a briefing with her crew as she worries about her missing son, hoping somebody is training him to keep death away. All units engage in the next wave of BETA and surprisingly this wave, remnants of the previous battle is easier to deal with. Yui gets permission to go do her job so she leaves for the hangar. Suddenly the ground shakes and a large number of BETAs is detected approaching the base via underground.

Episode 11
The other battalions are surprised to receive command from the Soviet counterparts to cease their test and remain on standby. During the standby, the Argos Flight members take a swipe back at Ivanova. Something about the last time BETA attacked this place, they drilled through the ground. So the reason why they suddenly popped up without being detected is because they’ve been using the same holes. Yup. The underground tunnels are not sealed and why was that? Did they screw up or was it left alone deliberately? Sandek agrees for everyone to evacuate and that his Soviet battalion will buy them time. Seems they are going to abandon this base. Because there are no Laser type BETAs this time, they can use the bombers to bomb the large group of BETA once they get deep into the land. Ibrahim wants to save the railgun but Sandek says they have no means to carry something that big out of the base. He reasons once the war is over, he can come back and salvage it. Ibrahim knows something is fishy. Could it be that the Soviet wants to obtain the railgun? Anyhow he orders all the personnel working on the XFJ Project (the railgun) to evacuate and hides a secret code in his order. Yui is on her way to the hangar and picks up Vincent along the way. All communications from the base are cut. Based on Ibrahim’s order via loudspeaker, they also feel something is suspicious. They deduce the Soviets want the railgun because this way, they won’t make enemies out of the UN and how they wanted to send Yuuya away so badly (so he can’t take the railgun with him). So Yui is on her way to make it self destruct as she only knows the code. She drops Vincent off with the classified data.

Several Soviet officers are waiting to escort Yui out. She quickly enters her self destruct code but it was rejected. She tells the officers the self destruction will have a wide 2km radius and it’s best to get away as far as possible. As the helicopter lifts off, Yui jumps off giving excuse she forgot something. I guess she lied. She sees a mechanic, Yamamoto hiding in the place and managed to escape from being evacuated. They work on destroying the railgun manually. Latrova questions the orders of defending an empty base so a higher up commander confirms it as a true order. Of course she also senses something amiss since she knows the BETA is using the same path in their attack. Like as though the Soviets didn’t learn a thing from that battle which took a heavy toll on them. Latrova’s battalion leaves for their coordinates with Argos Flight staying put. Tarisa had the liberty looking through Ivanova’s log and discovered something important that wasn’t briefed during the mission. Stella thinks this entire situation was a setup and was deliberately kept hidden from them. A couple of evacuation helicopters head their way and on board one of them is Vincent as he manages to get through to Yuuya. He tells him everyone has evacuated except for Yui who is still back at the base trying to destroy the railgun before the communications break off. Yui and Yamamoto are still trying to destroy the railgun when a Tank class BETA has arrived at the doorstep.

Episode 12
Yui thinks she can outrun the BETA? Better than standing there and get eaten. Yamamoto rams it with the forklift and Yui finishes it off with a heavy rifle. After making the necessary preparations, Yamamoto continues to work his way to unlock the railgun’s safe so that its core module would be accessible. Yui wants to use the BETA to destroy the railgun and she will be the bait to lure them into the core module. Yamamoto wants to do it instead because of his pride as a man to protect a woman. The Soviet commanders are discussing that their plan is progressing smoothly. As expected, they’re the ones jamming the waves to prevent others from communicating. They put their trust in Zhar Battalion to destroy the BETA and recover the railgun left behind. Yamamoto hears sounds from beneath so he checks it out to see BETAs coming. I bet he has never run and climb back up that fast in his life. Yui has just finished taking out several BETAs prying open the hangar door. She is too late to save Yamamoto as he is surrounded by BETA. This frightening scene brings back haunting memories to her. But she’s not going to make the same mistake and shoots Yamamoto dead before the BETA tears him apart. Then she shoots the explosives to take them all out. Yamamoto has unlocked the safe prior to his demise so Yui tries to climb into the railgun before the other BETA comes. However she is too weak and falls out. She gets injured by the debris the BETA tore the hangar apart. It’s like déjà vu. She’s staring at the face of death (BETA, actually). She regrets that she is unable to finish her mission and can only think about Yuuya. Speaking of which, here he comes to her rescue and take out the BETA. Like déjà vu, eh? Stella takes out other BETAs that come too close to their location. Yuuya lectures her about trying to be a heroine and die. He won’t abandon her and gives her first aid. Yuuya wants to take the railgun with him but Yui says she is adamant to destroy it to minimise the risk and keep him alive. Stella detects all the BETAs are heading towards this hangar.

Episode 13
Flashback to when Yui was part of the Imperial Guard. The battalion is swarmed with incoming BETA. She knew how it’s going to turn out even from what her senior Kyouko said. So when Kyouko died in the front lines, Yui became angered and slaughtered the retreating BETA. Back in present, Yui tells Yuuya how to destroy the railgun. However he purposely misses. Although the railgun is destroyed, the core module is intact. The armour was too thick? At least now he can carry it in his palm. No time for budding romance because BETAs are heading their way. Yuuya accidentally loses the core module and seems the BETAs are attracted to it. Forget it. Let’s ditch this joint. Meanwhile, Soviet’s Sandek wants to send in reinforcements for Zhar Battalion but his commander tells him to send in the bombers and bomb everything and eliminate all traces. Leave NO trace at all… What about the railgun they’ve sacrificed so much for? He thinks they must know when to give up. His plan failed and he doesn’t want his position jeopardized. Yuuya gets knocked out from the sky by a Fort class BETA. Stella snipes it dead. As his 94 Second is badly damaged, Yuuya transfers Yui over to Stella’s TSF. They try to make their escape but the BETAs are increasing. Stella notices the runway clear and could use this chance to jump out. However Yuuya’s engine is malfunctioning and is falling behind. To give Stella a chance to escape, he uses his ammo to shoot off the legs of the Destroyer class BETAs. Stella reluctantly flies out and over the mountains. When Yui sees what Yuuya is doing, she almost becomes emotionally unstable. She had seen so many people died before her while she could only watch. She promised never to cry again but couldn’t help break them. Yuuya tests his melee combat. There are only so many BETAs he can kill. Now he loses his other hand. Look ma. No hands left! His TSF has taken so much damage that it could explode anytime. Is he going to eject? What are you? Crazy? There are more BETAs coming! Not a chance! He’s going to keep his promise to bring back 94 Second with him.

Episode 14
Yuuya makes a last ditch attempt to escape BETA but his engine gives way. If not for Latrova’s Battalion entering the fray, he could’ve been toast. Because she destroyed the jamming tower along the way, communications become clear. BETAs are gathering around the core module when the bomber planes arrive. Everyone thought the backup has arrived but realize something is wrong when the bombs are dropped to early. Suddenly Laser type BETA blasts the bombers out of the sky! Ironically they’re saved by BETA. The Soviet commander rues his plan falling apart and wants Sandek to give the orders to Zhar Battalion to retreat. However since this is his plan, he disagrees and is going to have to stick through it. Right now, USSR needs a hero. Latrova orders a couple of her men to bring Yuuya away while the rest make it priority to wipe out the Laser class. There is an unknown signal detected. It is wiping out BETAs at lightning speed. Latrova will stay behind and deal with this. Once Yuuya is at the safe zone, the Soviet counterparts decide to head back to where Latrova is instead of rendezvous with another Battalion. Disobeying orders? They say what they are protecting is not USSR but their family. Sandek orders Latrova to fight with the intention of killing. Otherwise she will meet her deceased husband soon. The unknown TSF is too fast for Latrova to react. Everyone at the base is worried about Yuuya. It’s getting late and he hasn’t come back yet. Will waiting for him bring him back? Well, it’s not stopping Yui. Suddenly over the horizon, a familiar thumping sound. It’s Yuuya limping in! Later in a joint ceremony by Japan and America, they unveil a new TSF of XFJ-01A, Shiranui Second Phase 2. As Vincent puts it, a reborn and enhanced version of 94 Second. He is surprised Yuuya admired something Japanese. He has begun to realize how naïve he was, seeing only what was convenient to him and the reason he exists now. Seems the Zhar Battalion was wiped out although they managed to destroy the Laser class with supporting fire wiping out the rest of the advancing BETA. The Soviet bestowed the title of hero to everyone in Zhar Battalion. Yuuya vows to protect someone like Latrova did.

Episode 15
Cui Yifei from United Front of China’s Bao Feng Test Flight excels in her simulation fight against her opponents. Seems as part of UN’s plan to test each other’s mettle (they believe closed environments would stifle their development as some countries have been taken over by BETA), Blue Flag Exercise is some sort of mock combat tournament between TSFs. Really. How would this development and data help fight against BETA? Yui talks to her uncle and it seems that the test results this time may cause XFJ Project to be scaled down or worse, cancelled. Yui still can’t fathom why Russia wanted the railgun so bad that they sacrificed a lot. Or is she just getting paranoid. Everyone gathers at the bar to celebrate their safe homecoming party. Yuuya is surprised when Yui serves him nikujaga, a dish he thought his own mother created (I suppose it was a lie). Everyone teases how close Yuuya and Yui are. That is cut short when Cui storms in looking for Yuuya. She may sound intimidating asking his nationality and race, though she is impressed he hasn’t been cocky since setting the record of the most BETA kills without hitting a friendly. Yuuya replies he is Japanese-American. Though Cui and Tarisa can’t get along, she thinks she will with Yuuya because she will get to play with him in their next match. He looks forward to it. Later Yuuya bumps into Cryska looking for Inia. She is surprised he knows what she is thinking? Can he read her mind? Is she trying to make a fool out of him? I don’t know if it’s funny because she says he has been a fool to begin with. Of course she’s always with Cryska so he can tell she’s looking for her when she’s not around, right? Yuuya is surprised to see her smile. Cryska mentions he was her best bet to find her since Inia likes him. He decides to help her find Inia. He is doing it because he wants to. He wants to give back what was given to him. Night fall and they still can’t find her. It’ll be bad if it’s past her curfew. Then Yuuya meets a couple of familiar faces. His old buddies from his previous squad, the 65th Combat Training Battalion, Leon Kuze (also a Japanese-American like him) and Sharon Heim. You can tell Yuuya and Leon hate each other’s guts.

Episode 16
Cui addresses her troops in taking down Argos as their next opponent. They are also to gather as much information from the battle. Meanwhile Leon hints that the Americans are here to show their more superior TSF and make everyone remember play time is over (as in lots of time and money are being put into the research). After they leave, ironically it is Inia who has found them. Inia wonders if Yuuya is going away. Vincent is surprised to see Leon and Sharon at the bar. He notices they’ve been promoted. Vincent explains how Yuuya has changed for the better. He no longer hates the Japs and loves his TSF. Sharon mistakes his ‘girlfriend’ as Cryska but Vincent thought she was talking about Yui. Anyway Leon still doesn’t like one bit of this as he hasn’t forgotten what he did. The current Blue Flag match puts Idar Flight against Slechtvalk Flight of EU’s Benelux Army. Scarlet Twins go in alone and slaughter the enemy singlehandedly in less than 10 minutes. After the match, Sandek notes there was a very miniscule drop in reaction and accuracy. The scientist didn’t find anything wrong. Next up is Argos Flight against Bao Feng Flight. Sandek gets suspicious what may be affecting Cryska when she sees her react as Yuuya and his team go into action. The match begins and it seems Bao Feng is toying around with Argos. Because they could have easily finished them off. Then Cui faces off one on one with Yuuya in a sword duel. Yuuya is confused because Cui is hitting hard from all angles but yet she doesn’t finish him off. Yuuya guesses she might be setting him up to use his ultimate move. He then proceeds to make a comeback move by turning around his blade faster and slashes her TSF in half. After the match as Argos celebrates, Yui commends him and Yuuya sings full praises of the sword. He now understands the sword’s centre of gravity which makes it perfect for multiple attacks and glorifies the genius Japanese engineer who designed this. Just when he was about to ask Yui for a favour, Cui comes in (did she use Tarisa’s head as a launching pad?!). She comes in between Yui and Yuuya and gives Yuuya permission to fall in love with her. WTF?! Meanwhile the scientist still can’t find anything wrong with the TSF so there is only one other possibility on Sandek’s suspicions.

Episode 17
Cryska dreams of her past. The one whereby she was in a research facility alone till she met Inia before Sandek scouted them. Yuuya is eating together with Yui. She’s embarrassed trying to ask him about that favour when Cui butts in trying to kiss her ‘husband’!!! Yui not happy… Oh yeah. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Yuuya wants her to concentrate on her match against Infinities (Leon’s group) but she is confident she’ll beat them in no time and is looking forward to their honeymoon after her victory. On match day, Cui is running for her life and cornered. She and her team never had a fighting chance and were taken out in 4 minutes! So much for being confident. There goes her honeymoon. Later Cryska and Inia meet Yuuya and they want to talk. At the park, Cryska is giving a long winded round about explanation about this prickly feeling she has in her heart. You know. The kind where she can’t concentrate whenever she looks at him. She thinks it’s the same phenomenon that Inia has is happening to her. She wants Yuuya to tell her what it is. Can we viewers guess it? Instead of telling her that four letter “L” word, Yuuya believes it stems from pressure of her higher up. He relates his experience with Yui once tried to pressure him as a test pilot and believes Sandek is also doing the same to outperform him. He understands that’s why she is being impatient and irritated. Man… That’s not what we wanted to hear… Anyhow Cryska feels relieved of his answer. He then buys a bouquet of flowers each for Scarlet Twins. Not because he is doing it for them. But because he wants to. What’s the difference?

Guess what? Cui is there. She’s not happy her ‘husband’ is ‘cheating’ on her and punches him in the gut! She doesn’t want him to think about other woman (tells a lot about her possessive nature, eh?) though she is sorry she couldn’t keep their promise. I think Yuuya would be glad about it. Guess what? Yui is hiding behind a tree, stalking them like a jealous high school girl! Then she runs away. Oh yeah. I really love where this is going… Yui drowns her sorrows… With orange juice. Then here comes Yuuya. About the favour he asked of her, it is actually she wants him to teach him Japanese sword fighting which he feels can have a big effect on the indirect thought control systems of a TSF. Then Leon butts in. Yui commends his splendid performance today. Leon looks forward to fighting the TSF she developed but notes of some handicap. Yuuya wants to leave but Leon won’t let him and mocks him he is trying to play the nice guy when everybody doesn’t know about his past. The guys ended up in a fist fight. Isn’t anybody going to stop them? Well, let the boys flush all their temper out of their system this way. Sharon introduces herself to Yui and the latter is concerned what is her relationship with Yuuya. With the military police busting in (how the heck did they arrive so fast?), everyone makes a run (including Yui). Leon and Yuuya agree to settle this during Blue Flag. Cryska couldn’t sleep. She’s thinking of Yuuya…

Episode 18
When Yuuya was in his old regiment, he was pushing the limits of his TSF while testing with his team. His pals think he is crazy but Lieutenant Rick Sven agrees with his tenacity and continues to chase him. Sadly, Sven was killed and Leon blames Yuuya for his death. The tribunal cleared Yuuya of any wrongdoings because records showed Sven made a piloting error. Leon however will still never forgive Sven’s killer. What happened was when Yuuya even broke some record, he continued to push further. His tremendous speed almost crashed him into the canyon’s wall but is able to swerve away in the nick of time. However the powerful thrust means the rocks around the canyon got loosen and it fell on Sven who unfortunately passed through that exact spot at the wrong time. In present time, Yuuya tells this story to Cryska. Because of people looking down on him, he wanted to prove to others he was a good American citizen and the only way to shut others up who criticized his mom was to rise up in the military. The faster the better. He wasted no time in becoming the nation’s best test pilot when suddenly his mom died. All he had left was his military position. And then that accident happened. Cryska is baffled why he would blame himself for that accident. Because like any other test pilot, they have prepared to lay their lives for their country. She is sure Sven have done the same. Yuuya finally understands Latrova’s words. When they part, it seems Sandek has ordered his men to spy and gather data on them.

Vincent is one happy man. So happy he is buying everyone drinks. That’s because he won a fortune during Argos and Bao Feng’s Blue Flag match. Bao Feng was the favourites to win so you can say he made a killing there. Natalie keeps Yuuya company while the rest get drunk. Natalie tells him though she is from France, she moved to Canada and can’t remember about her original homeland. She hints about moving forward just short of explaining the miserly conditions she was in just to survive. Cui calls out Yui to talk privately about Yuuya. What else? Well, it doesn’t sound like a love rival declaration. Or something like “Stay away from my man, you b*tch!” like I hoped. Cui feels it is impossible for Yui to understand Yuuya. Remember the time Yui first chided him and told him off with harsh words? Was that supposed to make him better? Cui believes the first thing one in love needs to do is accept the other person for who he is. Can’t say anything back, can’t she? Sandek confronts returning Cryska and Inia. Seems he has realized the source of Scarlet Twins’ falling performance. But he isn’t pushing the panic button yet and needs to ‘set another stage for him’.

Episode 19
Lieutenant Orson is addressing his comrades that this Blue Flag exercise has been nations more nationalistic and at each other’s throat, blah, blah, blah. To put an end to these violent impulses, he has Yui leads this next mission. Seems teams are to hike up to Point Alpha in the snowy mountains and woods of Alaska. As Argos team make their way, they think a wild animal has followed them. They receive permission to fire warning shots (no killings are allowed) and eventually bump into Leon’s team. Then they hear eerie giggles. Checking it out, turns out to be Bao Feng frolicking in the hotspring! Here comes Scarlet Twins too. So this is Point Alpha? So this mission is just some fun in the hotspring? I can see where this is going. Fanservice cue! Cui punches Yuuya in the gut for being too friendly with other women. She still thinks he is her husband, eh? Yui lets Yuuya try her nikujaga but Cui wants him to taste her mapo tofu. Everybody loves it so much that they passed out! I think she got the wrong idea… This is lethal weapon! Since jealous Yui gives him permission to try it out (or was it an order), unfortunately Yuuya became a statistic victim. When it’s time to soak in the hotspring, Yui realizes everybody else had brought along swimsuits except herself. Isn’t it natural to soak naked in the hotspring? Cui thought she was getting desperate and strips naked too so as not to lose out. Meanwhile, there are screams coming from the men’s side. VG and Vincent are left standing after a bunch of men have been defeated by muscular Gairos standing between them and paradise (read: women’s section of the hotspring). They lost anyway. You could be forgiven for thinking Yuuya and Leon to be gay because they’re not interested in peeping. A strange sense of ‘peace’ between them as they soak together. Then Inia and Cryska come to join Yuuya. Naked. Cryska felt envy Inia’s naked skin is too close to Yuuya so she gets close to him before realizing what she’s doing and take Inia away to the women’s section. And Cui never thought about doing this, eh? In the end, it seems all this is an elaborate plan to film every inch of the women in the hotspring. Orson must be enjoying the recorded skin time. Ibrahim hopes he will never have to be part of this ‘mission’ again.

Episode 20
This is some sort of a recap episode although they termed it as a pre-climax special. They claim it will make us enjoy the final few episodes 10 times more! Wow! Of course we won’t be seeing cut and paste scenes though they will be jumbled up as part of this show’s presentation. There will be a main narration voicing over the clips and 90% of what the narration says is displayed on screen. It’s like putting up the important points, huh? Of course we learn a new thing or two like how BETA devastated Eurasia and this caused America to share half of Alaska with Russia to operate their base. Others are basically a summary with the first half pertaining to Yuuya’s arrival, his stubbornness with Yui’s ideology, how he changes along the way as he interacts with the rest and yes, the women interested in him. The second half proclaims 2 major points why we will enjoy it 10 times. First: Sandek. He has been secretly moving in the shadows putting his plan forth that has come a long way ever since enlisting Cryska and Inia from the research facility. Like Polnoe Zatmeniya (basically, Scarlet Twins) and the mysterious phenomenon of Prafka that gave Scarlet Twins unmatched abilities but with side effects that mess with their memories and emotions (maybe why Inia could read minds too). Second: The arrival of BETA has ironically destroyed humanity’s unity and bonds. The case of discriminations between Russians and other Soviet nations. There are also refugees from BETA infected countries and this number is growing every day while other countries enjoy economic boom due to the war against BETA. The gap between rich and poor is growing. Those discriminated and feeling unfair and dissatisfied have reached their limit. To top this episode up, the new opening and ending songs are also introduced. So are we really 10 times more excited for the finale?

Episode 21
Argos contemplates their next match against Infinities for Blue Flag. Cui barges in and offers to help them out. But with one condition: Yuuya must date her. I guess Yui is trying hard not to be upset and jealous. Her body reaction seems so obvious. Due to the Blue Flag exercise, there has been an increase in supplies so Coeurl Express is making their deliveries to the base. Seems awful lot of them today, isn’t it? Inside the base, a bunch of test pilots are talking about the terrorist organisation called RLF (Refugee Liberation Front). Because of UN depriving refugees of the basic necessities and prioritizing military units over the refugees’ well-being, the movement was established to improve refugees’ living conditions. Some Coeurl Express men barge in and shoot them dead. Yup. RLF members. One of the test pilots is their commander, Giselle Adjani. RLF begins their operations by gradually taking over the base and killing all the unsuspecting officers. Meanwhile Ibrahim and Sandek meet. The latter points out that Yuuya and Cryska have been seen together too often. Ibrahim gets a call from Yui before the telephone lines are cut off. In fact, all communications are down thanks to RLF. They have also infiltrated a secret laboratory whereby scientists are conducting experiments on BETA bodies preserve in large tanks. Mariem Zerner and her men storm into the base’s main room and hold the higher ups hostage. They claim their goal is true freedom and equality.

Yui senses something wrong when the military police moves in. Her guts tell her to run and she barely escapes by the skin of her teeth before the building is locked down. She could hear people being gunned down. RLF forces are pursuing her till she crashes her jeep. She hides but also encounters Cryska. Yuuya, Cui and Tarisa are driving along when they realize communications are cut. They almost crashed into a Coeurl Express truck and notice Natalie driving in one of them. They turn back but before reaching the base, Natalie and the RLF force shoot their vehicle and turn it turtle. Tarisa confronts Natalie the meaning of this. Natalie tells them they have taken over the base. RLF is going to fix the world and save their comrades in Eurasia since UN is choosing who to save and abandoning the weak. She wants Tarisa to join them. However she can’t. She promised her dead siblings she will avenge them. That’s why she can’t fight humans. I guess negotiations have failed. Yuuya realizes Natalie is being more talkative than usual. It’s like she is trying to hint them their plans. Especially about destroying all the prototype TSFs that costs too much and some top secret American research facility. Before she could divulge further, her own colleague puts a bullet to her brain to stop the leak. Tarisa becomes distraught. Yuuya explodes the vehicle as distraction for them to flee.

Episode 22
Yui reaches the hangar and tells Vincent to start up all the TSFs. Shortly, Yuuya and co arrive. Cui and Cryska request to ride a TSF too despite the ones in the hangar are American property. Yui allows it and will take responsibility. Tarisa is still reeling from Natalie’s death but has no choice but to get over it quick and accept reality. At least she died trying to tell them something. The heroes move out and take out all the autopilot enemy TSFs. They see Sandek in a jeep coming their way and Cryska picks him up. Mariem and Major Christopher take over the communications centre and connect to their master. They detect several issues like Idar Flight fleeing, Infinities going missing and Argos Flight taking out their autopilot TSFs. Mariem knows somebody in this base is sending out communications despite it being cut and goes to track him down. She comes into Ibrahim and realizes he is the hero of Rhodes, the one who defied several orders to save the Turkish refugees. She is among the survivors. She wants to talk to him as there is no reason for them to fight. As Argos Flight and the rest move out, Sandek suggests heading to the USSR base instead of the American Anchorage base. He suspects Americans are behind this attack because for a country that greatly protects itself to let something this big happen, it sounds fishy, right? If they land at Anchorage, they might get arrested and their TSFs confiscated. Inia is running scared and piloting her TSF alone. The enemies chasing her suddenly get destroyed. Unknown to her Leon and his team shot them down. Yui has VG and Stella head to Anchorage to tell somebody about what is happening here and to bring reinforcements since the enemy may have controlled several TSFs. The rest will stay and gather more information. This way, she is betting on both sides. Christopher orders Giselle and her team to engage their enemy counterparts from a distance and slowly tear them apart.

Episode 23
Enemy TSFs are closing and they can’t shake off that many since they are armed with guided rounds. Sandek suggests splitting their group. One to stay back to fight and the rest head to B01 to resupply with live ammo. Yuuya offers to stay back since this is the best chance to demonstrate Shiranui’s abilities. Yui gives him permission. Mariem continues to persuade Ibrahim to join her cause. He won’t negotiate with terrorists and views that even though there is something wrong with the world’s system, it doesn’t give them the right to kill. He once made his men die to save the refugees. Yuuya fights back the enemies but they are just too many. Inia joins the fight and is delighted to reunite with Yuuya. Yui and the rest return to lend a hand. Seems that when they found Inia’s TSF and requested to meet her, they need someone to lead them into USSR territory otherwise they can’t get in. Giselle starts to panic when her men are losing despite all the guided rounds. They ran out of ammo too. Giselle tells them to let her take control of the autopilot TSFs. She’s going to do a suicide mission. She charges at Cui and crashes into the building. She feigns dead so when Cui gets close enough to take her weapon, she grabs her and activates the burner to the max to take them out. Christopher communicates with Mariem that her sister Giselle is dead.  Mariem tells Ibrahim she has found the answer he never got. She is going to avenge her sister by destroying this world. Her men launch a smoke attack but Ibrahim escapes through a nearby hatch. A group of American bombers are on their way to bomb the Yukon base but they are taken out by Laser type BETAs. VG and Stella are shock to see this. Stella heard rumours of a secret research facility here and that the terrorists might have released BETA.

While Inia happily reunites with Cryska and becomes a whole again (Sandek suits up and takes over a TSF), Yui tends to Cui’s wounds. She manages to eject before the explosion and ended up with minimal injuries. Mariem then transmits a video to the entire world. She claims the refugee aid groups are nothing but sloth, corruption and embezzlement. Listing down the atrocities they have made, their demands are simple. Wipe out corruption and guarantee protection for the refugees. She lets everyone know moments ago Americans sent their bombers to wipe them out with neutron bombs. To protect the lives of civilians remaining at the base (seriously? They just slaughtered many a couple of episodes ago), they released Laser type BETAs. However they learn something from a high ranking Soviet officer that there is more to this. America has a defence system that protects itself from BETA invasion, Red Shift. Once a certain number of BETA crosses this line, a series of hydrogen bomb will detonate simultaneously and create an artificial straight as a new line of defence.  This would also mean the slaughter of every Soviet citizen. Maybe that’s why they allowed Russia to station in half of Alaska, eh? Although they did not know this, but the truth is now unmistakable. Cui plans to ride Sandek’s jeep to get her Bao Feng. Yui has her hands full as they need to eliminate BETA in addition to stopping RLF. Sandek says that they have no time to resupply and refuel if they respond immediately. They don’t have enough ammo now. Yuuya suggests doing so at Soviet Patrol hangar. Even though it is enemy ground, that is the reason why they won’t expect them to attack in this situation. Christopher gets ready to launch in his Berkut TSF.

Episode 24
Yuuya and co finish resupplying while Sandek communicates with his Soviet special forces to storm the communications centre. The higher up hostages try to convince Mariem to stop this madness because once Red Shift is activated, millions of lives will be lost and many of those affected will be the poor whom RLF are trying to protect. She is not moved. Sandek explains his plan of the storming into the communications centre before their attempt to delay the BETA attack. The first wave will soon run through the Lilifort city and though there are many civilians there, it is better to sacrifice a few than the whole of Alaska. The team split into groups. Christopher knows this is a feint and orders his men to play along. Christopher tests Yuuya and they’re both evenly matched although Christopher has more experience than him. Once the special forces take over the facility, Yui and Tarisa head off to finish as much BETA they can. Their load is lessen with the arrival of Scarlet Twins. Yui becomes engrossed in eliminating the BETA that she didn’t see the enemy TSFs flanking her side. Her head could have been sliced off if not for Leon and Sharon to the rescue. Previously they were taking out Laser class BETAs and are now joining them. Mariem is in a dilemma over what she has done. She contacts Christopher to call for a ceasefire and to engage the BETA but he claims he is from Allegiance and considers BETA as God’s creatures and won’t kill them. Mariem then tries to contact her master but couldn’t get through. Her team’s morale is running low after realizing they’ve been used and abandoned. Knowing they have failed and to avoid RLF being blamed for mass murder, she wants to show RLF has been used and orders to stop fighting and surrender. However she was shot dead by her comrade who views her actions as treason. Then they start killing each other. The remaining ones claim victory and commit suicide with a bullet through their mouth. Sandek and Scarlet Twins make haste to the border and he plans to activate Prafka and destroy BETA there. Inia asks Cryska what she wants to protect. The party, the country and Inia of course. Anything else? Sure she can’t leave out Yuuya, right? Right. They want to protect the world he lives in. At the border, Sandek wants Scarlet Twins to annihilate the BETA but they request permission to release the Prafka limiters despite knowing the consequences. Sandek gives them permission as long as they prevent Red Shift from all costs. Scarlet Twins power up and probably it’s turning them into crazy demons!

Episode 25
Christopher tries to take control of Scarlet Twins and destroy the world. But their minds go crazy just thinking about Yuuya. They crush Christopher in his cockpit like a tin can! After that, they steal some power in his TSF to power up like crazy and go on a killing spree. Sandek is thrilled that the Nastroyka Effect is taking shape and he was right that Yuuya was the catalyst. However he didn’t see it coming when Scarlet Twins attack him. Leon and his team leave to take out Heavy Laser Class BETA so Yui, Tarisa and Yuuya are stuck with the smaller fries. Scarlet Twins take out every BETA in their way with ease. They have completely lost control of themselves and view everything as their foe. Tarisa got taken out by them. Sandek is still breathing so he is able to communicate to Yuuya and Yui the condition of Scarlet Twins. He guesses that a super drug called MK Ultra is brainwashing them under a powerful hypnosis. Yuuya knows that drug is American. Sandek tells Yuuya he is the only one who can snap them out of it because past observations show that they respond to what he says. Yuuya fights Scarlet Twins and at the same time tries to talk them to their senses. Yui is more pessimistic but Yuuya doesn’t give up. Sandek thinks the shock of killing Yuuya will wake them up. By the time they snap out of it, it is too late as they have stabbed through his TSF. Don’t worry, Yuuya the man is alright. Cryska emotionally breaks down when Inia becomes unconscious and pleads for Yuuya to save her. When American bombers arrive on scene, it is a sign that the world is once more saved because with no more Laser Class, the bombs destroy all the remaining BETA. Ibrahim and the others regain control of the communications centre. Life gradually gets back on track and picking up the pieces. Heinemann and a Russian higher up view this as good advertisement to continue producing TSF. Tarisa and Cui recuperate in hospital but the saddest part is that they heard Yui will be sent back to Japan since this project is scrapped. Ibrahim talks to Yui about it and it seems she’s heading back to give details on the terrorist attack and a public hearing why XFJ Project must continue. She isn’t saying goodbye yet because she will be back. She will fight to keep this project no matter what. Yuuya too is confident she will come back because he is here with her Shiranui. After such a long time hesitating if they should go see each other or talk, Yui and Yuuya just gave each other a final salute. On her way out, she passes Cryska who needs to tell her something. I can guess what that is. Cryska views them as enemies now but Yui considers their position more difficult than an enemy: Love rivals. I guess this is clear now.

War Of The Worlds!
And so the battle at all fronts continues. The battle against BETA. The battle against human terrorists. The political battle. And now battle of the love rivalry has just begun. Wow. So many fights. When will it all end? You don’t expect the anime to have a happy ending by defeating all the BETAs in the universe, right? It would have felt so cheap… Besides, seeing that the fight on those fronts didn’t end, it also means it never got anywhere, right? Anyway, not being a mecha fan I would say that this series is rather okay. There are lots of things still unresolved at the end but like I said, the fight continues. Thank goodness it’s only anime so it ends here. Haha. I don’t know if the mecha fights are what mecha fans would call good or just average but in terms of the action, there is sufficient guns totting and sword slashing from the robots to retain the interest of action junkies (though there are much better action genre animes out there). Lots of blood, gore and deaths too. If you really want to follow this series, there are a bunch of other cool robots, terms and plots going on in this universe that you can get to know but that is it for me. I can’t even tell one mecha from another and to me all the TSFs here look the same. Just put a different paint job. Their names also confuse the hell out of me despite some of them simple enough and do not give you tongue spasms. But that’s just me. My aversion for the mecha genre has got my attitude to end up like that. I don’t think I hate this genre very much otherwise I wouldn’t even watch this. So with the good and the bad, this show won’t end up in my top 100 list but at the same time not the kind of anime that would end up in my have-high-hopes-but-end-up-a-big-disappointment list. Those who have watched mainstream mecha animes like Gundam or Macross would definitely put this one down.

But I have to admit that the ‘exciting’ part for me while watching this series is when the BETA start swarming and attacking the hapless humans. It may look bad on my part that I crave for humanity’s demise but that’s not it. Especially the first couple of episodes as we are introduced to how menacing BETAs are and how useless and fragile we humans are. It is just scary and heart pounding and heart wrenching whenever a human gets devoured by BETA. I still can’t forget that scene Yui’s friend got eaten alive due to her inability to put her friend out of her misery. That was very terrifying. Very sad. One thing about BETA that makes them scary is that we do not know much about them. The fact that there is a lot of mystery to these menacing aliens contributes very much to our fear. They are large in numbers. They are insanely strong (although none of the types I noticed or appear could fly). They do not fear death. So when they swarm you, you know you’ll be meeting your maker very soon. They are like bugs, countless of them and no matter how many you get rid, there is always more to come. It never stops. But unlike bugs whom you can squish, you can’t do that with these giants. Then again, in real life you can squish one or two bugs. See if you have the guts to do so when there are millions of them! Yikes! I hope I don’t have to face that kind of situation. The design of the BETA creatures is also scary to that extent (at least to me). They look quite creepy especially with some of the classes that have those jaws ready to take a bite off you. Yeesh. Stare too long at them and I may have nightmares…

As if BETA wasn’t posing enough problems already, there are opposing humans to content with. In a time when humans should stand unite against such unknown entities, here we are still bickering and divided among each other. I understand what RLF wants but if you think about it that if RLF emerges victorious by eliminating the pilots and whoever they consider as atrocious, who is left to defend humanity at the end? Might as well readily surrender yourself to BETA and get eaten up. So to me RLF doesn’t really see the big overall picture. Yes, there are unfortunate people around the world being mistreated and abused. There are people in better nations taking advantage of this and enjoying things in life at their expense. But does that give them the right to take lives of others? Doing so, they are no different than BETA. In fact, worse because they are of the same species as homo sapiens. Even BETA does not do this to each other. BETA does not even sacrifice others for themselves (although they act very much like mindless creatures). Everyone has their sad and tragic past. Who doesn’t after BETA’s invasion? So deal with it! Even there are people on the same side who aren’t united. Especially being a Russian and a Soviet. There’s a big difference as far as this anime is concerned. Apparently I’m not one so I don’t really understand…

Certainly if you look at it this way, there is more ‘unity’ in BETA as compared to humans, no? What about sick humans who worship BETA? Why not just let themselves be devoured by BETA then? Saves lots of trouble. Then there is of course human politicking. Eurasia has been devastated by BETA. Higher ups and the government are still concerned over the state of their own country. Shouldn’t they be sharing resources and information to defeat BETA? Yuuya showed us how effective the railgun was in eliminating an entire BETA wave with a single shot. So why not use it again? Afraid of other countries stealing their secret? That’s one messed up priority. Instead helping one another, they have laws and other rules to safeguard their interests, which makes life difficult for the pilots of different nations. Breach them and you’ll be persecuted as a spy whatsoever. Maybe humans have this thought that they can defeat BETA so the thought of maintaining their country (politically) all the way led to such. I mean, if the world became one, no more countries and borders, once BETA is defeated, how are we going to govern properly again, right? We’ll be fighting over territorial disputes again. It’s like yesterday once more.

So on to the main characters of the series which is mainly Yuuya and Yui. They both started out as loggerheads always at each other’s throat and disagreeing at almost every idea they had. And then they start to change for the better. Yuuya who doesn’t accept anything Japanese is now more rationale and cool headed. He now knows what to protect and is not as naive as before. That is a very big change for a guy. It’s a good thing since he’s counting his blessings. Yui was once a cold and very strict person but she changes along with Yuuya. She becomes more outgoing and as we know warms up very much to Yuuya. As for the other characters, I would say that they just play enough supporting role to the main duo. Like Argos Flight team of Tarisa, Stella and VG, they don’t really make much impact in the series. They’re just there because they are Yuuya’s teammates. It’s like Yuuya is overshadowing them. Why not? He is the hero of this series. Even Cui and Leon’s American team making their late debut in the anime, I felt that it was just some side distraction. Believe me, if you needed a guy to kick BETA as or in the main action, why not use Yuuya? The rest are given a little spotlight so that it won’t seem the halfie is hogging everything. You got to leave some bits and pieces to your buddies too. Ibrahim is a good captain while Sandek seems to be having two faces. He has his plan of his own and the kind who will cross to any side as long as his plans take shape.

Romance is the biggest anticipation I had for this series and though it does have some of its moments, since it didn’t turn out into some harem catfight thingy like I hoped for (at least based on my experience with Infinite Stratos), in a way it contributed to my disappointment. We’ve got a few ladies from different nations taking interest in Yuuya as he becomes a household name in the military. At the rate it was going, to turn it into a catfight showdown would dissolve the quality of the show. I mean as I have already said, they’re here to fight BETA. With terrorists heaping problems do they really want to add more misery to that? Maybe when everything is peaceful, then they could go for it. For now, the main contenders would be Yui, Cryska and Cui. Many would believe it would be Yuuya x Yui (I don’t know, maybe it’s the gut feeling). You want to scream out for them to just confess and end up together but it did not happen at all. Cui might have been the first to admit and declare Yuuya as her husband but that was before Yui and Cryska realize they had become love rivals. It was pretty obvious that the duo would end up having some sort of feelings. Cryska was such a snob but maybe it was because of her treatment that confused her feelings. Yuuya gradually became Yui’s most concerned thought so much so I could have passed her on as a tsundere if she maintained her cold outlook. As for the rest of the ladies, Inia’s love for Yuuya seems to lean towards admiration since her mentality and personality is still that of a kid. But there is always a chance that this will change, right? So don’t write her off yet. What about Sharon? As I read, she was Yuuya’s ex-girlfriend. Despite going out with Leon now, there is always that little chance your ex-flame can return back into your life. And there is slight indication from her body reaction she still may harbour feelings for Yuuya. Tarisa and Stella don’t seem likely as they are just his teammates but you never know. Noisy little kid may be rowdy but that can be her way of showing her love. The calm blonde doesn’t say much but you know what they say about still waters running deep. So you see, amidst the chaos of everything, love can still blossom, albeit to slow for any progress romance lovers would hope for.

There are many unresolved things or matters that raised questions. For instance, the Destroyer class BETA’s has got armour so thick and tough that it would take an insane amount of ammunition to just destroy it. Or you can take the easy way out by shooting at its unprotected flesh at the back, but that’s not the point. The point is, if that armour is said to have regenerating abilities, shouldn’t they use that to armour up all TSFs? Or even if you can’t coat the entire TSF with it, at least use them as shield when confronting BETA. I know it won’t look cool but that’s not what we’re after, right? Besides, I read that BETAs have this proud record of never hitting a friendly fire. So why not use the corpses of dead BETA as some sort of shield to fool them when charging into battle? You know, like wolf in sheep’s clothing. Other unresolved issues boggling my mind include the TSF that saved Yui after her friends got slaughtered. I kept wondering the identity of that person and perhaps that person would show up somewhere later in the series. Guess not. Just some random pilot who was just lucky to pass by. Who was the mysterious TSF that Latrova faced before her death? Was there some conspiracy to it? The mysterious master of the terrorist isn’t done yet and it seems he too has his own plans. Whatever they are, it is yet to be seen but I’m sure it will be something to throw spanner in the works of our heroes.

The art and drawing are okay with the characters having this bishie look. Almost everybody looks good here despite the irony of the ugly world that we live in. I know, life is already so ugly with all the ugly politicking and ugly dark side of humans. Now you have ugly aliens who just want to tear off our limbs and eat us alive and raw. So that’s why I thought in the midst of all the ugliness, some sort of beauty must shine. Unfortunately, it isn’t the beauty of trust and friendship. It might be so for Yuuya and the few others but in general, those words seem to fail humanity time and time again. The mechas use CGI so their movements look smoother and of course very robotic-like. Then there is some fanservice to give your little worth in addition to violence and mecha action. Why do people who pilot mechas must wear very tight body hugging suits? It is so tight but ironically the women’s boobs can bounce so easily like jelly. Is that the only ‘soft’ part? Then you have that beach episode and even a hotspring episode to see the girls in their bikinis and show some skin. After all, you won’t look so good if you get ripped by BETA. Oops… As for the comedy, there are very few funny moments like Tarisa’s short temper makes her a funny watch. Little girl can really blow her top. Playboy VG might seem like the joker of the group but I suppose he fails in that. Then there’s Yuuya’s penchant for giving others nicknames in the beginning. Okay, maybe not that funny. And then there’s this love rival showdown like the one between Yui and Cryska on the deserted island. It’s funny because they both do not admit they have a thing for Yuuya and yet they’re going the roundabout way on this matter. Yeah, real funny.

In the voice acting department, Mai Nakahara heads the cast as Yui. Her character may be the serious and no-nonsense type but sometimes during those scenes when it concerns about the matters of the heart, I had this impression she might sound like Juvia from Fairy Tail. Didn’t. Daisuke Ono as Yuuya initially sounds like he has got lots of unreleased angst. A bit like Saizou from Brave 10. But he’s not into his gentleman role either like he did as Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji. One little motivation for me to watch this series is Mamiko Noto as Inia. It might be odd for a petite girl to have such a voice but almost anything with Mamiko Noto always sounds good (you’re hearing this from a fan’s biasness). Other casts include Sakura Nogawa as Tarisa (Nemu in Da Capo), Sayaka Ohara as Stella (Erza in Fairy Tail), Kenji Hamada as VG (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Hitomi Nabatame as Cryska (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Kaori Ishihara as Cui (Konoe in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Inouto Ga Iru), Rikiya Komiya as Ibrahim (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Tomokazu Sugita as Vincent (Gintoki in Gintama), Atsushi Ono as Sandek (Giriko in Bleach), Wataru Hatano as Leon (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Rie Tanaka as Sharon (Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden), Ryoko Yuzuki as Natalie (Ino in Naruto), Takako Honda as Latrova (Hone Onna in Jigoku Shoujo), Harumi Sakurai as Mariem (Hayami in H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~) and Tetsu Inada as Christopher (Ioryogi in Kobato).

The first opening theme is Go To The Top by Kumi Koda. At first I thought this hip hop song wasn’t suitable for an action mecha genre since a rock type of music would fare better. After hearing it for some time I soon realized that it is quite apt too. Sometimes it wants to make you get up and do a little jiggy and shuffling with your feet. Or maybe some breakdance move. I didn’t because I wasn’t that fit to twist and turn. The rock theme finally arrives in the second opening theme, Doubt The World by Minami Kuribayashi. By this time, I somehow still prefer the hip hop one because I’ve been so used to listening to it. Besides, the second piece was introduced after 4/5 of the series. Talk about late debut. Perhaps the change of theme was to signify the climax that the series is reaching. Even so, I feel it’s too late. The pop-like first ending theme is Signs – Saku Tsukiichi Yoru by Minami Kuribayashi while the second ending Revise The World by Ayami plays to a slower beat like a pop ballad and the lyrics as hinted is filled with keywords that foretells the future developments of this series. Snow Maiden by Aki Misato is the special ending theme for episode 17. I thought it was rather odd for a slow ballad to be played seeing this episode is one that features Yuuya’s love interests and its potential developments. There are various insert songs especially in the early episodes and as I noticed they are rock based to suit the mecha action.

It’s hard to imagine if menacing aliens would one day threaten our Earth like that. This series just reminded me of Hollywood’s Starship Troopers. Ferocious aliens coming to our planet to wipe everybody out and we have to defend ourselves with cool high technology weaponry. If this is what it means to survive, what would be the meaning of existence then? Despite the dark and grim nature of everything, it tries to tell us that amidst the darkest hour there is still light and hope. That is what made us humans persevere throughout history. We’ve got a long bloody tainted history of bloodshed and fighting so I don’t think this one would be any difference. Just that it will last longer than any other wars and the possibility it will end when humans are totally extinct. It takes us so long to nurture and grow a baby into a proper adult and then in a blink of an eye, he just dies like that. Depressing, isn’t it? So before any aliens can wipe us out, might as well we eliminate ourselves first, eh? I don’t see it as impossible at the rate we are going. Maybe that’s what this series did to itself… How can you have faith in humanity when many of us didn’t have faith in this anime already?

N/B: At least the BETAs are doing a fine job invading humanity compared to a certain frog alien and squid girl…

Senran Kagura

August 3, 2013

If you’re tired of a certain blonde teenage ninja whose name takes after a certain fish paste, then there are other ninja shows around for you to pass the time. If you like ninja themed animes, that is. Me? I’m not trying to be a shinobi (I guess it’s a fancier term for the ubiquitous word of ninja) but I guess the reason why one would watch Senran Kagura is undoubtedly the fanservice. Ah. You can see where this is going. Why else would you have busty girls as shinobis then? There isn’t much plot in this series. A group of girls in a school that has a secret class to train budding shinobis. This is what they go through in their training when they are faced with a bigger threat of an evil shinobi school bent on taking them out and whose goal remains mysterious. I can pretty much guess what that goal is. World domination? Ultimate power? Revenge? What else? Just stay for the fanservice. You’ll be less disappointed that way.

Episode 1
Asuka flees from a group of shinobi babes hot on her trail in the city. She manages to escape by clinging onto the getaway helicopter. Asuka returns to Asakusa after undergoing training at her grandpa’s place. She is a student of Hanzou Academy and despite looking like a normal gigantic school, it also houses a secret shinobi class that Asuka is part of. We are introduced to her other mates: the serious class rep Ikaruga, serial breast molester Katsuragi, clumsy moe blob weakling Hibari and eye-patch prodigy Yagyuu. They assemble when their teacher Kiriya makes his smoky entry (that’s what all ninjas do, right?). He somewhat ‘commends’ Asuka for barely passing her promotion exam. The girls get ready for the first period which is to practice martial arts among each other. After the break, Kiriya announces that the afternoon classes will be a mission outside school. As the police are having a hard time with delinquents running rampant on the streets, their job is to eliminate them. As they split up to look for their targets, Asuka bumps into Homura whom she first met on the ferry on her way back. She claims she got lost on her field trip with her friends so Asuka offers to take her around since she is not familiar with the place. Yagyuu and Hibari come into a group of delinquents. They signal a secret shinobi beacon for the rest to gather. Everyone except Asuka arrives. It seems Homura plans to kill Asuka but the latter’s own blooper by falling into the pond made Homura think twice of pulling that off. Ikaruga and Katsuragi easily finish off the delinquents but they stand back up again after all that beating. They sense they have no emotions, like as though they are being controlled by somebody. They are indeed. They summon Shinobi Barrier, a special battle place that shinobis use when they fight each other, and transform into their battle gear so that they can utilize their strength and skill to the max. They realize the delinquents are made out of wooden dolls and that they were deliberately targeted. Asuka finally manages to leave Homura. Homura notes how she tried showing her killing intent but it seems Asuka never realized it. When she regroups with her pals, they tell her the show is over and that they will report her to Kiriya for reprimanding. Be prepared! Homura regroups with her comrades and it seems they have nothing to fear of Hanzou Academy after putting up that little test. They’ll let them be for now and in time will let them know who the real shinobis are.

Episode 2
Kiriya explains to the girls about Kugutsu, a high level shinobi skill that allows one to control powerful dummies while maintaining a safe distance. The foe they faced is likely a very skilled puppeteer. As for the puppeteer’s objective, he can’t say anything more beyond this point. Ikaruga, Katsuragi and Yagyuu demonstrate their animal summoning technique. They are pros so it is easily done. Hibari summons a… Pink bunny? Destructive anyway. Next is Asuka but no matter how much she concentrates, nothing pops up. Kiriya orders the girls to stay away from outside contact since the puppeteer incident. Of course Asuka is feeling depressed that she’s the only one who can’t summon and seeks Ikaruga’s advice on how she chose hers. She is sure that it will come naturally to her. Asuka is still concerned as she is the daughter of the legendary Hanzou who is the founder of the academy. There is this pressure to live up to his name and not soil it. On their way home, a frog leaps into Asuka’s cleavage! She’s freaking out! To help her out, Katsuragi strips her! I guess that’s killing 2 birds with 1 stone. When the girls patron a sushi bar, they hear a familiar voice. It’s Asuka’s grandpa, Hanzou! What is the legendary shinobi man doing her? It couldn’t be just treating them to sushi, no? Hanzou talks to Asuka and knows about her summoning problem. She is appalled that their lineage summoned frogs. Well, we all know where her phobia started. Grandpa thought of making her comfortable with frogs since young has backfired. As the girls help Asuka to find a frog, Hanzou lends a helping hand to summon them. A bunch of frogs! NOOOO!!! Hanzou talks to Kiriya about the puppeteer incident. It means they have made their first move. As we learn, as there are good shinobis, there are evil ones too. Speaking of which, Homura and her comrades are reporting back to their master, Suzune about the disappointing Hanzou girls. However she cautions not to underestimate them and eliminate them all silently using every method they’ve learnt.  She sends Yomi next for the mission. Asuka is forced into some treatment whereby she has to dip in the same pool filled with frogs! Slimy, creepy! After that, Asuka accompanies Ikaruga on errands as the latter wants to throw a celebration party for Hanzou. Yomi speaks to them but Ikaruga quickly takes Asuka away because of the orders not to contact outsiders. However Yomi fires a warning shot at them.

Episode 3
Ikaruga continues to ignore her so Yomi initiates the Shinobi Barrier. Then she starts targeting Ikaruga and mock her the rich girl she is. Ikaruga orders Asuka to stand back and fights alone. Unfortunately Yomi was too powerful for her to handle to the point she got her transformation clothes blown away. Yomi then lets them live since this is just greeting. Ikaruga wants Kiriya to punish her since she made contact with outside parties even though it’s not her fault. If Kiriya won’t punish her, Hanzou will. Veterans may know what this ambiguous sex scene is. Ikaruga massaging Hanzou’s back. Asuka takes over from her and you can say hers is really bone breaking. I guess this is the only thing that grandpa loses to granddaughter. Later Kiriya speaks with Ikaruga privately if she is aware that her brother back home is missing. She isn’t. Ikaruga remembers how she was brought into the family as an adopted child. Her brother and heir to the family, Murasame will not accept her and remains cocky. Because he lagged in his shinobi training, father gave Ikaruga Hien, the family heirloom sword to her and this doesn’t sit well with Murasame. When Ikaruga returns to her room, she sees Murasame looking through her stuffs to retrieve Hien. Ikaruga tries to avoid any confrontation but Murasame is just mad that someone blood unrelated got Hien. He dares her to snatch it from him and she easily proves so. That’s what you get for not bucking up in your shinobi lessons. Murasame is sent falling down the trapdoor. When he resurfaces from the sewer, Hanzou confronts him and will let this slip if he returns home immediately. He tells Murasame that despite his father knows he isn’t good in shinobi, he still has hope for him. Being shinobi isn’t the only path. While the girls are training, Ikaruga seems edgy and almost got into a full blown argument with Katsuragi. If not for Asuka, it would have. When Hanzou tells Ikaruga that everyone here is like family, she gets motivation to train Asuka to summon her beast. The frog treatment doesn’t bode well as Asuka still freaks out. Till a big rock threatens to fall on a frog that Asuka jump to save it. The rock turns out to be a prop. But her instincts had her touch the frog and all of a sudden, she doesn’t fear it anymore. She even thinks it is cute! Asuka powers up further now she has a beast and excels in her practice. Ikaruga explains to Kiriya how she made Asuka overcome her fear of frogs. She is normally kind to everyone but made a wall in her heart and thought it was scary. So if she holds the frog in her own free will, that wall will crumble. Hanzou is grateful Asuka has a classmate and ‘elder sister’ like her. Meanwhile Hikage and Mirai are next to go into action.

Episode 4
The Hanzou girls are heading to Shinobi Island for their next training. The inn seems run down like a haunted house… Katsuragi wants to go to the beach but Kiriya has them start their first mission: Clean the inn. This is going to take all day. Kiriya and Yagyuu go fishing and the latter fishes out all sorts of fish and sea creatures that would make a great seafood combo. Because Hibari spot a message on a ceiling beam about wanting to become a super ninja, she asks Kiriya what it means. He tries his best to explain though it made him remember a past student of his. That night, the girls enter a pillow fight. Ikaruga is so pissed that they’re noisy and disrupting her studies that when she got hit, she fights back thinking they’re throwing her a challenge. Oops. Her first throw hit Kiriya. They got reprimanded to go to bed or else no breakfast tomorrow. Next day, the girls continue their training in a life-and-death match. From what I understand: Girls fighting in their swimsuits. Fanservice! Then more fanservice when the girls get their much awaited break to frolic on the beach. Train hard, play hard too. Especially with Katsuragi turning into a serial bikini top thief to turn Asuka topless. Kiriya gets a letter by his ex-student Rin to meet at the beach. However he notices something off about her and realizes he has been lured out. Meanwhile Hibari is being attacked by Mirai but Yagyuu comes to her rescue. Mirai and Yagyuu are evenly matched so Mirai calls it quits and flees. I wonder how she kept a mini jet underneath her skirt! Elsewhere Katsuragi faces off with Hikage. Katsuragi thought she could show off her skills but it seems Hikage is much better. By the time Katsuragi gets serious and powers up, Hikage is already gone since she’s just here to play with her and keep her busy. When everyone regroups back at the inn, Kiriya tells them about Hebi All-Girls Academy. As heard from Hanzou, it is an evil shinobi training centre whose teachings are opposite Hanzou’s. It’s safe to say all previous attack encounters were from them. They are not sure what their goal is because each encounter they don’t sense their killing intent and never fought seriously from the start. While the girls loosen up on breakfast or in the case of Katsuragi, Asuka’s boobs, Kiriya can’t help wonder how the enemy got a hold of Rin’s details since the after image of her was like an exact duplicate.

Episode 5
We glimpse the brutal training at Hebi Academy. The elite five are summoned by Suzune for a new mission. In a flash, the quintet have already infiltrated Hanzou Academy and are trying to find the secret facility for the Secret Ninja Technique scroll. All that’s left is a suspicious building that has a prohibited sign. That must be it. Our Hanzou girls are seriously training because they know the next match with their counterparts will be more than just provocation. Especially Katsuragi who cannot accept that insulting defeat. During Kiriya’s lecture, Katsuragi fell asleep and was made to stand in the corridor. She remembers her carefree past. Her parents were shinobis but they failed an important mission and were supposed to commit suicide. However they ran away and to prevent Katsuragi from getting dragged into the mess, they left her. That’s why she always thought if she became an excellent shinobi, her parents’ sin will be forgiven and she will meet them again. The Hebi girls enter the secret facility but Haruka feels the need to eliminate the primary obstacle first. The intruder alert is sounded but when Kiriya goes to check, it’s a couple of delinquent boys hanging out. He confronts them but they attack. He fights back and they turn out to be puppets. He realized too late this is a trap to separate him as the entire school is under Shinobi Barrier. The girls gear up and go in search for the enemies. They are attacked by puppet ninjas. However it is a decoy to separate them into different barriers. Ikaruga faces off with Yomi. I wonder how she keeps her guided bombs under her skirt?! Yagyuu deliberately ignores Mirai to go find Yagyuu, pissing her off. The only time she stops ignoring her is when she has to fight her believing it would destroy the barrier and link to the rest. I wonder how Mirai kept a machine gun underneath her skirt?! Katsuragi relishes her grudge match with Hikage but again fails to get the better of her. Hikage mocks her that her fiery will get her nowhere. Asuka is shocked to learn her opponent is Homura. The latter explains their first meeting was to gauge her abilities as the legendary shinobi’s granddaughter. Asuka gets serious in her fight and just when she thought she defeated Homura by kicking away her sword, she unsheathes another one. Man, how many swords does she carry? Better start worrying… Hibari is very afraid. Because she is confronted with Haruka. The puppeteer. Meanwhile Suzune informs Dougen, Hebi’s founder that this operation this time isn’t really to steal the scroll. As explained, the Super Secret Ninja Technique scroll is divided into two: Yin scroll (handed down to the evil shinobi) and Yang scroll (good shinobi) and of course the baddies’ plan is to obtain both scroll in which Suzune seems to have her own plans about the whole thing.

Episode 6
The power fights continue. So powerful that they had to resort to their Secret Ninja Technique that ends up with them fighting in their undies. Wow! Ahem. Kiriya is being told by a mysterious black cat that some very skilled shinobi is behind the string of assaults. Or at least someone who was a very good ninja. No matter how much Katsuragi powers up, she can’t land a hit on Hikage. But each time she stands back up and doesn’t fear her threat. She manages to land a head butt before passing out. Ikaruga powers up her pride within Hien to pound Yomi. Even so, the damage is minimal. Yagyuu easily defeats Mirai with her squid move. To her dismay, she got kicked out of the barrier instead of moving to the next. She meets up with Kiriya who tells her about the risk of trying to break through the barrier. His student Rin had this idea of connecting several hearts of shinobis together to create a bigger barrier. She experimented on this but it took her life. At least he was sure she died. However Yagyuu is adamant to reach Hibari and tries to break through to reach her. Hibari is in a comical fight with Haruka. Summoning a cute bunny to pound her? She gets beaten up in return and on the verge of passing out, she calls out for Yagyuu’s help. That’s when she rips open the barrier to come through. Yagyuu is weakened from that stint so Haruka doesn’t feel she is worthy of being her doll like Hibari and attacks her. Because Hibari pleads not to kill her, Haruka agrees to save her and wants to be Hibari’s friend. She gives her an ear piercing as proof of their friendship. Homura bests Asuka but the latter is worried about her friends. Homura chides her for being soft because at times like these, she can only rely on herself. Asuka notes this way she will always be lonely.

The barrier starts weakening and it’s a sign to retreat since Mirai has been totally defeated. When the Hanzou girls regroup, they are devastated to see Yagyuu badly injured. She is taken to recuperate in a secret unofficial hospital made by shinobis for shinobis. Hah. Anyway Yagyuu remembers the time she and Hibari first met. It was a rainy day like this during the school entrance ceremony. She saw Hibari playing in the rain. She looked like her sister but knew she couldn’t be her as she died in an accident. While the girls lament being powerless, Hanzou returns as he had heard things from a certain cat. Later talking things out with Kiriya about the extreme training in Hebi whereby there are incidence of deaths, Hanzou thinks it’s time to choose the successor of the Great Secret Ninja Technique. Yeah. Not only it is secret but it’s great as well. Only one can inherit it but as the girls are now, they won’t even get close. Plus, it is the technique that chooses who should inherit it. Suzune is pleased to hear her students have shown their might against their counterparts. Despite not being able to defeat them, Suzune is more than happy that they have achieved their objective. The Hebi girls, some reflect on what was said by their counterparts during their encounter and some can’t wait to get their revenge.

Episode 7
Asuka is reeling from Homura’s words that she won’t accept her as the legendary shinobis granddaughter. Kiriya is writing his report when the cat informs him that the recent incident was perpetrated by someone with detailed knowledge of this school. A traitor? They talk about Rin who has already died though her body was never found. The cat also mentioned she found clothes residing an aura of an evil ninja they’ve never encountered before. And that the techniques used by the Hebi girls were the application of multiple users like a certain person. She wonders if Kiriya is prepared to involve his students. Meanwhile the Hebi girls are undergoing waterfall meditation. They talk about Suzune who is rumoured once from the good ninja’s side. Homura dismisses it but she gets agitated when Mirai points out that many of them like themselves were from the good side too. Kiriya takes the Hanzou girls for their next training. Hiking a mountain? Not exactly. A play on words, it is actually Hai-kin-gu, which means creeping tense fear. They have to traverse obstacles to reach the mountain top to attain a scroll. So the girls become rivals for the day as they compete to the summit. It makes you wonder if this place is Japan because there’s a tropical jungle and even a snow blizzard. A polar bear too?! And you may think some of the animals are perverted because they shred of pieces of the girls’ clothes for fanservice. Like how the leeches fall all over Asuka so she had to strip and dive into the water. Or how the piranhas bite away Yagyuu’s clothes. For once, Hibari doesn’t play damsel in distress and rescues Yagyuu from those carnivorous fish. Katsuragi and Ikaruga bump into each other as they stop for the night in a natural hotspring while Hibari and Yagyuu make their own little hotspring from the ground.

Next day the girls continue their journey. Asuka is trekking through the caves when she is faced with a giant black cat. They fight as the cat taunts Asuka that being related by blood doesn’t necessarily make her strong. Asuka is close to accepting her defeat when she remembers Hanzou telling her how her father’s determination to toss away everything, his dream and career just to be with his loved one. During that time, Hanzou opposed his marriage to his beloved but after seeing how determined he was, he was convinced. Asuka gets the strength to stand back up on her feet to thank her parents for everything. She strikes back at the cat but it turns out to be one big mirage. All the girls reach the top at the same time. Before them is the strongest legendary senior named Daidouji (the cat). Rumour has it that even though she has passed her exams, she continued to repeat the school year many times. Daidouji dares everyone to come at her at once. Even so, nobody could land a hit on her. Till Asuka individually attacks her but instead of charging head on, she uses a decoy. Still it wasn’t enough to beat her. The match ends when Kiriya pops up. He explains this was Daidouji’s idea to train them and volunteered to help them. Daidouji hands the scroll to Asuka. So she’s the winner. Daidouji knows Asuka has potential but just doesn’t realize it. However it can be a double edge sword because she might stray her path and end up like that person. Kiriya assures he won’t let it happen. Asuka opens the scroll and it reads, “Power is both sword and shield”. This is one of the wise words from Hanzou.

Episode 8
Kiriya is stricter with his training for the girls. Ikaruga can’t block all the shurikens, Asuka’s moves are too repetitive and Yagyuu continues to protect Hibari even if she’s not supposed to. Kiriya ends the class and returns to his room where Daidouji is waiting. In this flashback episode, we go back 2 years ago when Ikaruga and Katsuragi were chosen to be students of this shinobi class. Ikaruga was unfriendly and never smiled. This despite Katsuragi trying to be friends with her. Of course Ikaruga excelled in everything. Not even Katsuragi’s sneak attack could do anything. So I guess she resorted to sexual harassment, eh? Then Ikaruga has had it, she summons Shinobi Barrier despite being ordered by Kiriya not to do so. She can get all the attention she wants. They start fighting as Ikaruga tells her off for her insensitive forceful attitude of sneaking into other people’s business. You know, Ikaruga has her own past. So does Katsuragi. Suddenly the barrier is about to collapse and Ikaruga panics she can’t remove it. She fears they’ll forever be stuck here. Katsuragi slaps her to her senses but doesn’t blame her. She feels they are alike. They cooperate to break through the barrier and only got out because Kiriya’s intervention. They are punished but this results Ikaruga to open up more.

A year later, the duo learns how to transform into their battle gear. Asuka becomes their junior but despite being the legendary shinobi’s granddaughter, she is a klutz. I guess that’s how Katsuragi’s serial boobs harassment began. She totally digs those big jugs. Ikaruga feels envy for Asuka because of their different family background. Asuka must have grown up in a loved environment and doesn’t have a shred of talent as opposed to her. But she changes her mind when Asuka unconsciously transforms into her battle gear. Something Ikaruga and Katsuragi took an entire year to master. Then a year later, Yagyuu and Hibari join the team. Yagyuu excels greatly as a prodigy but Hibari is a total opposite. So much so I would say it’s luck that got her this far. Yagyuu reminds us of a certain unfriendly person when she refuses to open up with her seniors and becomes a lone wolf with the exception of Hibari. But soon in time, she too learns to open up. Even Daidouji has her own flashback. There is a reason why she doesn’t graduate. Rin was her senior and Daidouji could never beat her. She vowed never to graduate until she could best her. Unfortunately, Rin died. Kiriya remembers Rin insisted on a national level mission that was too dangerous. He should have stopped her even if he had to resort to force. Her death was what resulted in Daidouji’s indefinite graduate postponement. However she notes that her graduation and journey is near its end. Meanwhile Suzune learns from Dougen that he has sent Haruka on a mission since it is priority to obtain the Super Secret Ninja Technique scroll. Suzune notes it will be useless if the scroll doesn’t choose its successor. Her plan is to wait for Hanzou Academy to choose one and then go in for the ensnarement since their side does not have a chosen one. However Dougen says he wants result and it is already too late. Haruka makes her move and controls Hibari via the ear piercing.

Episode 9
Yagyuu visits Hibari’s room but doesn’t find her anywhere. The window is open. Kiriya checks on the scroll after hearing the intruder alert. Nothing is stolen. The scroll is in place. Well, a trap if I should say. Because it led Hibari to the scroll as she drops the paralysis gas. Next day Kiriya alerts the girls that the scroll is stolen and the culprit is among them (Hibari back to normal but unaware of last night’s actions). They are to standby in their room. Hibari discovers the scroll in underneath her bed. Suddenly Haruka steals it and thanks her for being a good friend. She notes she will now be considered a traitor. Since everybody will eventually view her as a failure, Haruka says she recognizes her strength and tosses her the location of Hebi Academy. She expects her to join. Soon the rest finds an apology letter in Hibari’s room that she’s going to Hebi to take back the scroll. Kiriya realizes too late the ear piercing that has a hidden transmitter that amplifies the mental wave of its user. Like how a puppeteer is able to control her puppets. Yagyuu becomes mad and dives off to find Hibari even if she doesn’t know where she is. Asuka manages to stop her and calm her down. She blames herself for letting this happen. She knew Hibari wasn’t in her room that night but couldn’t bring herself to doubt her. The other girls would have done the same thing if they were in her place. Hibari is outside Hebi and is ambushed by several guards. She is brought to Haruka who really wants Hibari as her own and doesn’t care about the master’s ulterior motive. Can a girl from Hanzou Academy transfer easily to Hebi? Haruka assures she will protect her. Hibari is given a tour on their training grounds. She meet her other friends and is surprised they accept her easily as their comrade. They point out good ninjas are rigid and constrained but evil ninjas are more open and tolerant. They do not reject those who come. If she betrays? Well, Hikage dares her to do it if she can. In this place, you hold yourself responsible for everything. Mirai will be friends with her as long as she is not ignored while Yomi quickly becomes her friend when Hibari doesn’t hate her favourite bean sprout plant.

Hibari is surprised that there are lots of students at Hebi compared to Hanzou Academy which only houses 5 students. Haruka explains each has their own reasons to enter here. Homura would have been Hibari’s classmate at Hanzou Academy if not for a little technicality. A condition to enrol in the good ninja facility is not to have committed an illegal act. Homura stabbed somebody and had no choice but to become an evil ninja. Mirai was a bully victim and decides to bully the world back. Hikage was raised in a battlefield as a killing machine. Yomi was raised in the slums and lost her family due to poverty. They are Hebi Academy’s strongest five. Hibari is introduced to Suzune and the latter leaves it to Haruka to take care of her. When Haruka tells her a top secret info that Suzune was once a good ninja, Hibari remembers that super ninja writing from the inn. That familiar feeling… Suzune reports to Dougen of the new transfer student based on a student’s recommendation. He is happy to have the scroll in his hands despite Suzune voicing her opinion she disagreed to this since it was a foolish move. Dougen reminds her he took her in when she nearly died after failing a mission as a former good ninja. With that opinion, Suzune thinks she no longer needs him and is going to make her move. Back at Hanzou Academy while the other girls are pondering the location of Hebi, Yagyuu apologizes to Kiriya for her rash move. She notes Asuka’s abilities of evading her serious attack then. Kiriya wonders if Asuka has a leap in her development. Kiriya later follows the sound of the bell and comes face to face with Suzune who requests him to a duel. After a strike, they are evenly matched but Kiriya can tell from underneath that mask that Suzune is Rin. He never forgets the way he teaches his students how to wield a sword. She tells him Hibari is now enrolled at Hebi and if he wants to know why she joined the dark side, come to Hebi Academy. Oh, here’s a map to the place too.

Episode 10
Kiriya knows the other girls are eavesdropping and flushes them out. Now that they know where Hebi is, they want to go there. But it won’t be easy. This might escalate into a full blown war between good and evil ninjas that will affect the country. So are they going to just sit around then? Hanzou explains about the existence of Yin and Yang. One cannot exist without the other. He adds if this is confined to an argument between students then it is okay. He will take responsibility of this. Hibari sneaks in to steal the scroll but sees Dougen reprimanding Suzune for giving out Hebi’s location. He considers her actions as betrayal. This is because he obtained both scrolls which she views as foolish. Dougen knows that by inviting a Hanzou Academy student here means she is inviting an assault. He is upset that if the higher ups hear about this, his position will be threatened. Suzune dares him to run away or kill himself since he was the one who broke the rule first. Dougen orders Suzune to be captured. After the Hanzou girls blast off in their modified kits (like Grendizer?), Hanzou could guess Kiriya and Daidouji want to follow them to Hebi too because if Rin acted on her own accord of revealing Hebi, her punishment is inevitable. Daidouji has some disturbing news that Hebi will be using underhanded tactics. Haruka guides Hibari around the training area for ninjas training under the different elements (it’s totally weird to see macho muscled men in female school uniform!). Hibari is shocked that the training is very strict. When one is injured, nobody helps. It’s one way to have them learn from their mistakes. Besides, they don’t view comrades as friends. Just as somebody who aids in missions. As Hibari joins the elite quintet in the bath, she asks their opinion on Suzune. They heap praises of her. Hibari notices how each of them are getting along fine. Maybe they’re not inherently evil. Despite the school’s different methodology, the shinobis here are no different in trying their best.

Hibari once more tries to sneak in to steal the scroll before her friends. Once again she has to eavesdrop and hears Dougen summoning the elite five. He tells them about Suzune’s betrayal and also a former student of Hanzou Academy. They are probably launching an assault since they know this place. He orders them to wipe them out not for Hebi’s sake but for all evil ninjas. In case they lose, he will activate the execution technique. An underhanded tactic that will have their life controlled freely by the caster. Hibari tries to escape but bumps into Haruka. Now that she has heard everything, she is locked up. The rest thinks she’s a spy but even so she can only blame herself for the predicament she is in now. Haruka explains about the execution technique that all students at Hebi were given by Dougen when they enrol here. It is activated when a student gets expelled or tries to expose the school’s secret. However he changed the activation rules. Haruka and the rest don’t fear this kind of death because otherwise it’s like fearing failure in a mission. Hibari notices Suzune locked up next to her. Dougen is worried that if his mistakes get known, he will lose more than his status. He will pay with his life too. It took him lots of time and effort to build this school up and can’t let it go to waste. He wants to complete both Yin and Yang scrolls to gain that power and control the organization. The Hanzou girls begin their assault when night falls. Dispatching wave after wave of shinobis, they still can’t find the entrance to the castle tower top. Why not just climb the tower instead of finding the secret passageway? Anyway Yagyuu uses her incredible sense of Hibari to track her location. They enter the secret passageway and their first obstacle is Yomi.

Episode 11
Suzune warns Haruka not to underestimate Hanzou Academy. Because Kiriya carefully examines his students after their losses and compensates their weaknesses to enhance their potential. So having Hebi girls to fight them was part of her plan to improve them since they are her best students so she needed to match them against equally strong opponents. Hibari is certain that Suzune is that girl who scribbled that super ninja wish on the ceiling beam. Suzune acknowledges her advanced and awakened ability and praises Kiriya for bringing it out. Then she transforms and busts out of her captive. In this episode of rematches, Ikaruga initiates her Shinobi Barrier to fight Yomi so that the rest could advance. Yomi hated Ikaruga since the day she first saw her on TV. Her family’s rich mansion was atop a hill overlooking the filthy slums Yomi was trying to survive. Her father made a pledge to help to poor but it never reached her parents. That’s why she hates rich girls like her. Katsuragi and Yagyuu fell through a trapdoor and face off with Hikage and Mirai respectively (sorry Mirai, you’re still being ignored). Hikage remembers she had negative emotions like sadness and anger. She was told to cast them away and pursue her target calmly if she wants to survive. Hikage sees such determination in Katsuragi’s eyes and was caught off guard for a while. She starts to feel hate. Mirai relates her past as a bully victim. The first people who treated her nice were those in Hebi. Mirai is happy when Yagyuu won’t ignore her anymore because if she does, it’s like ignoring herself. This means they get to fight properly? Up next for Asuka is Homura. Hibari tries to reach the keys to her cell but Haruka returns and snatches it away. Hibari wants to warn everyone that Hebi girls will die if they lose. Haruka is confident they won’t lose. Relating about her past, her father was a hospital director. A notorious scum who used all the money from tax evasion to erase his medical malpractice. Because of that he was rarely home and his wife was left all alone. She took that loneliness out on Haruka and treated her like a doll. Haruka bore her obsession in silence for years till she can’t take it anymore. She wanted to burn down everything but was scouted by Suzune. That’s why the Hebi girls aren’t afraid of death as they have experienced something similar.

Haruka unlocks Hibari’s cell and wants to test it herself. Inside the Shinobi Barrier, Haruka hints that there is a fine line in what the caster would deem as a victory or a loss. Hibari thinks they just need to keep him from triggering that technique. Hibari gets beaten up but stands back up since she doesn’t view this as winning or losing. When Haruka gets knocked out by a distraction from Hibari’s pink bunny’s bomb, Hibari uses her strong telepathy sense to tell her friends to stop fighting their counterparts. They are devastated that the Hebi girls continue to fight despite knowing this. So disgusted at this cowardly method that they power up to defeat their opponent and render them unable to fight. So does this mean it is not considered a loss? A shinobi may put her life on the line in a mission but it’s wrong for another to take over another’s life. Hibari gets knocked out by Haruka when she tries to go defeat the big boss. Yagyuu decides to head to the basement as she senses Hibari there. After Ikaruga defeats Yomi, she reveals their goal is to defeat the evil person that forced them to fight using such underhanded techniques. She explains that the TV programme she saw was when her father adopted her as his daughter and showing it to the world. It was to present himself as a volunteer that would take in an unfortunate child who has lost her relatives. That technique Yomi lost to was supposed to be inherited by his son in order to continue the shinobi family line. Ikaruga says the only thing she has now is her mission as a shinobi. There is no more room to fit in the love and affection of her family. Yomi weeps that she is being told this. Because she can’t hate her now.

Episode 12
Dougen is trying to power up by placing both scrolls together as such vicinity causes them to react. Homura’s fight with Asuka continues as she remembers how her ex-teacher used and betrayed her trust to eliminate good shinobi successors. Probably he was the person she killed but in the name of self defence. Asuka uses some shockwave to kick Homura out of the Shinobi Barrier. Kiriya confronts with Suzune as she explains her intention. When she almost died during her failed mission, she realizes real power resided within the evil side. She wants to prove that by having his students suffer defeat here. That’s the purpose of her previous assaults. When both successors of the scrolls confront each other and with her students victory, it is only then she can be a super ninja. However with one of the scrolls ending up here courtesy of Dougen’s perpetration, she is unwilling to accept the situation that led to this but will be able to settle the score. One of their students will be the scroll’s successor and fight each other. Kiriya wants to stop his students but Suzune prevented him going any further. This is just an argument between kids, right? No adult intervention. Ikaruga and Katsuragi meet up and make their way to the tower top. Before this could be another rematch between Yomi and Hikage, Katsuragi lets loose a smoke screen bomb to escape. Yagyuu drills in from above to Hibari’s rescue before she could be Haruka’s whipping toy. Again, before we can say that rematch revisited word, Hibari and Yagyuu summon their animals for a clean getaway. Pink bunny and squid riding combo? And yeah. Looks like another rematch between Asuka and Homura is on the cards. Can’t blame Asuka for getting too long to get to the top because she doesn’t know the place. Dougen appears before them and wants Homura to bring Asuka with her to him as they have been chosen by the scroll. Homura is devastated to learn she has been used so that Dougen could use the scrolls’ power. That dude went a step further to reveal his true ambition in taking over the organization. All their other friends arrive and learn about his ultimate betrayal but Homura and Asuka are sucked into his Shinobi Barrier to face his snake monster, Orochi. The rest have to be content to fight mechanical ninjas. But they are pitch perfect cooperating to bring the marionettes down.

Dougen says Homura has only herself to blame for being used so Homura plans to take him out with her life. Asuka doesn’t want her to simply throw away her life and to believe in her friends. The rest have finished disposing the dolls and they need to find a way to break into the barrier. This is where Hibari comes in. Everyone joins forces to channel their power through her so that Hibari can send their message to their friends. Their voices reach them as they power up and break free from Orochi’s clutches. They could feel their warmth overflowing within their body. Asuka understands the meaning of the sword and shield power proverb. Both unleash their Super Secret Ninja Technique to slay the beast and break free from the barrier. While the girls are happy to reunite with each other, Dougen makes his escape. They’re not going to let him run that easy and corner him on the rooftop. Suzune is surprised to see the girls cooperating with each other and wonders if she was wrong. Kiriya explains it is not his guidance that made them strong but rather their feelings for their friends became strong. Now it’s time for the adults to get involve since well, there was an adult meddling in the kids’ affair, right? Dougen activates his final desperate move by self destructing the academy. There are students in the place so the girls want to help go save them. However the Hebi girls only know the convoluted structure inside the place and want their Hanzou counterparts to stay out. They hope they’ll meet and fight again someday. Dougen continues to play dirty that they have no choice but to let him go or else he will initiate the execution technique implanted in all the Hebi girls. Suzune feels ashamed to be thought by these girls that real strength isn’t about being good or evil. She sacrifices herself and jumps into the flames with Dougen. Gone for real this time? In the aftermath, Asuka passes her promotion exam and is now the same rank with Yagyuu. Kiriya returns with the investigation report on Hebi Academy. After searching every nook and corner (hidden ones too, I guess), they found no traces of any Hebi students. Could they all have escaped? The girls would like to believe so that they will come back and fight them again.

Shino-boobs…
Everything seems average. The fights, the characters and the fanservice. As we can tell despite the big baddie of the series being taken care of, it is not over by a long shot. Well, if we assume that Dougen has actually died. But then again, the reports said that no traces of students were found, I also take that no traces of their bodies were found. So I would say that Suzune/Rin and Dougen are pretty much alive despite that shed-a-tear-goodbye look at the end. After all, she pulled this once before, what makes you think she can’t pull it off again? And where do you think the Hebi girls are now? We can speculate anywhere in the world and not just Japan. Underwater, flying fortress or even the same mountainous regions trick. After all, they managed to keep themselves hidden for so long and it took the good guys to be guided and shown the direction to their location.

I can’t say much about everything else. I was just entertained, that’s all. Nothing so great about this series that would make me hard up to look forward or even petition for a second season. Like the characters, each of them has their own sad and tragic past (maybe with the exception of Hibari) and it’s nice that we are shown short flashbacks of it. However somehow it feels shallow and it doesn’t connect. Ikaruga’s desire to be part of the family, Katsuragi’s parents’ abandonment and Yagyuu’s loss of her beloved sister might be seen as their motivation to strive and be good ninjas but that’s about it. Perhaps the main thing is that everyone now is here together as a family. The present is all that matters and the most important even though they cannot forget their past. Their bond is the greatest weapon against any adversaries. The fight scenes seem rather okay too. Sure, we have some super power exaggerated moves like Katsuragi’s spindle kick or something that starts off like some breakdance move or Ikaruga’s use of her Hien as well as Yagyuu’s skilful handling of her umbrella as well as Asuka’s twin swords. But in a genre that involves ninjas and shinobis, such never-seen-before moves or unbelievable jaw dropping techniques that are seemingly impossible to pull off in the real world is somewhat a must. Otherwise, why call yourself a ninja, right?

The characters are amusing themselves with each of them having their own peculiar traits like Katsuragi’s persistent perversion on Asuka, Yagyuu’s stoic appearance and Hibari’s penchant for becoming a damsel in distress. But that’s just about it. Hibari may have her little important role in the group but being constantly be in the need for Yagyuu to always save her seems annoying. I guess she exudes too much moe blob that you won’t feel irritated. The Hebi girls are amusing too. Like Yomi’s obsession about bean sprouts and Mirai’s obsession to get noticed. They are just like their Hanzou counterparts if not for the different schools they attend. I swore I could have guessed Suzune was Rin as early as possible. The hints were there. It was hanging so obviously. So when it was confirmed that they are the same person, I wasn’t really surprised. Well, at least she has woken up to the true meaning about real power. Is that what she wanted as a super ninja? Too bad, Daidouji may have to postpone her graduation again seeing Rin has once again died or gone missing. After her help to train the girls at the haikingu mountain, I feel her presence was somewhat redundant. Hanzou’s presence also from time to time seems redundant. He just probably drops by once in a while to see how his granddaughter is doing. Otherwise, how can you explain this legendary shinobi turned into some sort of little pervert who loves gawking at the girls while they eat his signature futomaki dish?

I’m not too turned on by the fanservice either. Maybe it’s the unappealing and unattractive pantsu they wear. Haha. I’m not really into shima pantsu like Asuka and Katsuragi’s trademark or pink polka dots that is of Yagyuu. Maybe it’s the art too. I don’t really find the girls thaaaaaaat cuuuuuuuute either. Sure, they look like your standard Japanese anime girls but something about them makes them look simpler and lacking some details. With many of the girls in this series so busty, it makes you wonder if they are using some sort of ninjutsu to turn off gravity and defy physics. Besides, their boobs are a great place to conceal items like scroll. Haha! Probably it’s like a different time dimension zone inside there if you stick your hand in between the cleavage and don’t be surprised if you find it very ‘roomy’. A big part of the fanservice comes from the action too. In most fights when the girls clash, the force of the impact will have their clothes shred to bits, if not reveal some skin. I wonder who does the sewing. Or is there a ninjutsu that can fix it in an instant? Which reminds me, their battle gear resembles more like cosplay than proper fighting outfits. The most mind boggling one has got to be Katsuragi. Her nature is already perverted and her battle gear is skimpier than her usual clothes. It’s like she is this close of being a slut. And when she fights, it is as though she is purposely giving her high kicks to show off her pantsu. I mean, her loose clothes allow her to move easily but really, I thought she would be turning into a stripper any moment. Or maybe her little clothes serve as distraction. Who am I kidding? All the opponents are females. It’s not that anybody is turned on by her anyway. Speaking of outfits, I also find it mind boggling that some of the girls can keep huge equipment underneath their skirt! I know ninjas are skilled in hidden weapons technique but the way they pull it out seems too much like a joke. Maybe it is.

When I first watched the series, I thought that being the good ninja sucks and that being evil was more fun. You see, I noticed that the good girls weren’t on par in terms of fighting abilities with their evil counterparts. You see how the Hebi girls get to kick their ass without breaking into a sweat and even mock them for being weak. Though, this won’t stop the Hanzou girls from getting stronger and not giving up easily. Not only have the students experienced this, but their teacher too. There is not once but several times whereby he couldn’t actually sense their aura or gets tricked to be separated from the girls (the Shinobi Island training and facility infiltration incidents come to mind). So what does this tell you? Are the good guys really slacking? It’s like making a fool out of them. The ultimate one must be when Kiriya went to check on the scroll not realizing the enemy was watching him to lead him to it. Yeah. He took it out just to check if it’s safe. Didn’t think twice about this being a trap, eh? Being good feels like so restrictive as compared to being evil. There are so many rules. You can’t do this, you can’t illegally do that. But if you join the evil camp, anything goes. But remember, you live by the sword, you also die by the sword. So in the end, the one who is truly evil is Dougen himself. That’s what all evil people should be, right? Using others for their own benefit. That’s why I thought trying to make the Hebi girls as enemies wouldn’t really cut it somehow. They’re just too cute to be real baddies. After getting to know them, they are not so bad and rotten. Their school of methodology may differ but deep down, the girls are all the same. They just want to have friends and do what girls their age do. So the thought of whether evil schools like these should exist or not, just like Hanzou said, it is the balance of life and one cannot exist without the other.

For the voice acting part, Yu Kobayashi runs riot with her crazy voice like I am familiar with as Katsuragi (think Kaere from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Lia from World Destruction). But she’s not going loud and crazy all the time. When she is in a perverted chipmunk mode, it’s like sounding between goofy and creepy. Yuka Iguchi has Hibari exudes lots of moeness as her character but I still can’t help she is the less annoying version of To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Index or Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai’s Maria. Ryoko Shiraishi plays Hikage and her Kansai accent is still recognizable albeit her character lacks any emotions so it’s like hearing a deadpan Himeko from Sket Dance or Aoi of Zettai Karen Children with no enthusiasm. Other casts include Hitomi Harada as Asuka (Nori in Hidamari Sketch, Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Asami Imai as Ikaruga (Chelsea in Shukufuku No Campanella), Eri Kitamura as Homura (Cana in Fairy Tail), Ai Kayano as Yomi (Inori in Guilty Crown), Megumi Toyoguchi as Haruka (Sola-Ui in Fate/Zero), Saori Goto as Mirai (Kukuru in Joshiraku), Keiji Fujiwara as Kiriya (Sven in Black Cat), Suzuko Mimori as Suzune/Rin (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Himiko in BTOOOM), Yuu Asakawa as Daidouji (Motoko in Love Hina), Juurouta Kosugi as Dougen (Alan in MAR) and Kanehira Yamamoto as Hanzou.

The opening theme is Break Your Sword by Sayaka Sasaki and sounds like your usual anime pop rock. There are several ending themes. The first one being Fighting Dreamer by the voices of the five Hanzou Academy girls. Feels like an all-girl pop group. Why, the ending credits animation shows them forming a band playing instruments like in a rock group. Who says ninjas can’t sing? The second ending theme is Yamiyo Wa Otome Wo Hana Ni Suru, this time sung by the voices of the five Hebi Academy girls. I guess it’s only right that they have their own song too seeing that they are as equal and popular as their Hanzou Academy counterparts. Despite having a darker theme, we don’t see them forming a band here but rather testing out their cooking. Hikage only so eager to eat? Anyway you can guess what the taste is like when all of them show us their ‘dead face’ at the end. I guess being a skilful ninja doesn’t necessarily mean you have good cooking skills. The third ending piece is Shissouron by Hitomi Harada. A solo piece that seems to dedicate to her character of Asuka. So if you are an Asuka fan, you can glimpse some Asuka poses and her cosplay outfits, not to mention a few obligatory panty shots.

This series won’t likely be as famous as its other flashier ninja themed counterparts and won’t turn into mainstream as well. Many would pass this series off as some cheap entertainment thrill that fulfilled its intended goal of fanservice. What is there to complain? After all, how much can a group of busty shinobi babes get? After a while, you get tired of more or less the same thing. I wonder why it’s not the same for Naruto. Maybe people are being brainwashed to think it’s so damn good when it’s not. They’re just ‘watching it’. Haha. I’m not the one to say since I haven’t been watching that since ages. I wonder what’s next. They’ve turned samurais into girls, historical figures into girls and though turning ninjas into girls isn’t something new, heck, it is still mainly female dominated in this sense. Where are all the ninja guys anyway? Shouldn’t ninja girls be termed as kunoichi? Oddly, the girls here don’t seem to be bothered about boyfriend or love at their age. I know a ninja’s existence should be shrouded in secrecy but they’re living in modern times and currently living close to normal girls save for their abnormal ninja training. Maybe it’s a good thing too that they don’t have any love problems. Less one problem (but may give rise to yuri relationship as almost seen in Haruka towards Hibari). I can guess the guy’s reaction if they find out their girlfriend is a ninja. In that case I wouldn’t want to have one and take it at the risk of my life.

Ishida To Asakura

August 2, 2013

This is another one of those very short animes. So short that it leaves you no room to go “What the hell just happened?”. Yeah. That. The plot of Ishida To Asakura may be about the former’s intention to open a flower shop with the latter but as seen in this anime, it hardly goes anywhere near that except as stated in their intentions. Instead, you get random nonsensical bizarre exaggerated and outrageous gag comedy and nonsense packed into a dozen episodes in 2 minutes of air time each. Yeah. That. Never mind the mind boggling fact that a stoic delinquent-looking high school kid wants to open a flower shop with his perverted boobs-FTW afro pal. Don’t even ask how this is his dream that makes it feels so gay. Just sit back and relax, watch the mindless haphazard slapstick antics this short anime has to offer. You’ll end up a laughing riot or just having your jaws drop wide open and aghast. Or both.

Episode 1
Asakura’s request: He wants to teach in an all-girls high school and surround himself with girls with big boobs. That’s why he wants Ishida to call him Natural Perm sensei. Ishida’s reply: No can do because he plans to run a flower shop with him in the future. The busty homeroom teacher, Kinoshita wants to class to express what they want to do after they graduate. Yamada isn’t shy to reveal he wants to run a bookstore with Asakura. This causes Ishida to become mad and shoots his eraser at him, breaking his overly long front teeth! Satou wants to marry Asakura, the person she loves. But the class teases her she should be a porn star due to her boobs. However Asakura stands up for her. He will accept that they insult her but not her boobs!!! Ishida’s fury on boobs has him stab his pencil through Yamada’s forehead!

Episode 2
Asakura’s question: Why does Ishida want to run a flower shop with him when his dream is to be surrounded by busty girls? Ishida’s reply: Because he is going to run a flower shop of them, by them and for them! Though Ishida is tops in the exam, Asakura is in last place with only a meagre point. Do you think it’s okay since they’re going to open a flower shop? Till Kinoshita notes that he will be held back a year at this rate! Horror! Time to do some serious training. But all the training doesn’t seem to have any relation with exams. Why the heck do you need underwater training for? And boobs are all on Asakura’s mind. In the end, Asakura fails miserably because all he could write on the answer sheet is boobs! When Yamada insists his special training, Ishida slams the fire extinguisher over his head.

Episode 3
Asakura’s request: He was so taken by Kinoshita’s boobs that he forgot to go to the toilet. He wants Ishida to stand at the urinal next to him: Ishida’s reply: No can’t do because he too needs to take a leak. As Asakura takes a leak, he is surprised Kinoshita enters the men’s toilet and does her business standing up! Oh sh*t! Kinoshita is a guy????!!!!! NO WAAAAAAAAY!!! Back home Kinoshita greets her little sister, Nanako. But Nanako isn’t amused because Kinoshita is supposed to be her father!!! HOLY SH************T!!!  NO WAAAAAAAAY!!!

Episode 4
Asakura’s question: If they’re going to open a flower shop, how much will it cost? Ishida’s reply: Don’t worry, a cool ten million yen will suffice. Asakura doesn’t have that much… Asakura gets a call from Ishida saying that if he doesn’t come up with 10 million yen, he’ll die! Ishida then gets a call from Yamada. Before he could finish his sentence, Ishida is over at his place to kill him!!! Ishida is then surprised to see Asakura naked. Because he wanted to raise 10 million yen, he sold off everything and only got 980 yen… That’s a long way more to go… And Yamada’s ‘death’ has a flower stalk sticking out from his butt…

Episode 5
Asakura’s request: Since he wants to be surrounded by busty girls and teach, he needs to go to college. Will he help him out with his studies? Ishida’s options: Sit-ups, winter mountain climbing or space walk. Asakura’s choice: None of the above. The passionate Yamaguchi teaches the class maths. Did he purposely forget to zip up his pants or purposely letting his fly show? When Yamada makes Asakura part of his equation, enraged Ishida kills him off with his book. Yamaguchi has Asakura solve a simple equation but his answer is boobs! Feeling sad he is not teaching him right, he wants Asakura to jump into his arms to take away his sadness. Satou suddenly interjects and teaches him how to simply solve it. Since Asakura praises her, Yamaguchi makes her stand outside the hallway.

Episode 6
Asakura’s request: He thinks since Kinoshita has a daughter, she must have huge boobs too. He can’t stop thinking about it and wants Ishida to accompany him to see her. Ishida’s reply: No can’t do because Kinoshita has got an ‘elephant’… Remember the trauma? Somehow Asakura saves Nanako from a truck (Yamada got killed instead) and she instantly takes a liking for him. When Kinoshita finds out, she arranges them for them to be together and gives Nanako to him! However Asakura is disappointed that Nanako is flat! When they sleep together, Asakura falls dead asleep while Nanako tries to seduce him with her various cosplays. In the end, Asakura is prompted to ask where are her boobs! Such a sad story…

Episode 7
Asakura’s request: He knows Ishida’s dream to open a flower shop with him as well as Yamada’s to open a bookstore. Because of his own dream to be a teacher of busty babes, he wants him to run a flower shop with Yamada. Ishida’s reply: Negative because he is going to kill Yamada for good! Yamada creates a robot version of himself and programmes him to kill Ishida, the most evil man in the world. However Robo Yamada destroys Yamada instead. When confronting Ishida, he doesn’t view him as bad and presents a flower as their friendship. Because of that, they get along pretty fine. Till the real Yamada shows up and threatens to blow up everything by self destructing the robot. Robo Yamada sacrifices himself by blowing up with Yamada in the sky. YAMADAAAAA…!!!

Episode 8
Asakura’s question: How can Ishida cough up 10 million yen to open a flower shop since Asakura is going to be teacher? Ishida’s reply: He’ll work himself to death. Yeah, you do that… As part of his plan to ‘work to death’, Ishida sees a job vacancy hiring maids for a maid cafe. Do they hire guys? The manager allows it. Man, Ishida looks pretty as a maid!!! OMFG!!! Call him Alice too! His first customer is Yamada who wants to make Alice his concubine but he got killed by the plate. The manager tells him off to act the true way of the maid, treat everyone equally without prejudice. So happens the next customer is Asakura and Ishida goes all out to treat him very nice including writing his name on his omelette rice. Just that Asakura is baffled how this maid knows his name.

Episode 9
Asakura’s request: Learning Ishida has a part time job, he wants to visit him. Ishida’s reply: He would love to but he can’t because it is a job maid in hell. Get it? Made in hell… Yamada confronts Ishida and vows revenge and his total destruction. He heard he was at the maid cafe and must have done something hideous to Alice and will protect her! Ishida must be embarrassed and denies he had anything to do with that maid cafe or been there before. Yamada attacks but is knocked out with a single punch. Back at the cafe, Yamada apologizes to Alice he couldn’t protect her but Alice writes an encouraging message for him to do his best (Ishida must be improving as a true maid). Yamada is so touched that he wants to screw her now! Alice stabs him in the eye…

Episode 10
Asakura’s request: He saw Yamada with a girl and thinks it’s his sister. He wonders if Ishida can go ask the size of her boobs. Ishida’s reply: No can do because if she is his sister, she must be as evil as him! Ishida is just fresh of killing Yamada. Yamada’s sister is horrified to see him in this state and vows revenge on Ishida. She tries to attack him but Ishida throws Yamada her way. She dodges and he crashes into a truck that could have rammed into her.  Yamada’s sister couldn’t believe he saved her and falls for him. Before she could finish her sentence if he wants to exchange diaries, he refuses. I guess now that she is broken hearted, she thinks she’ll kill him after all.

Episode 11
Asakura’s question: He might not have given up on his dream to be a teacher of busty girls but in the event he opens a flower shop with him, can he fondle customer’s boobs? Ishida’s reply: Of course he can’t because they’re opening a flower shop and not a boobs fondling shop. Kinoshita wonders if Ishida can open a flower shop since she has never seen him smiling. Satou and Asakura help coach him to smile but either he looks goofy or scary. Noting the need for a new image, they make him dress up like a prince. That’s when Yamada barges in to settle their score. He got scared by this new image and runs away. Ishida beats him up but when he sends Yamada flying, it’s towards Asakura’s direction. Ishida swiftly uses his body as shield to protect him. Is he okay? With the nicest smile ever, Ishida assures he is okay. I wonder how Yamada’s head ended up inside Ishida’s butt hole!!!!!!! Is that the nicest feeling he has ever had?

Episode 12
Asakura’s request: He wants to live for the boobs and loves boobs a lot. Ishida’s question: Which does he like more: Him or boobs? Asakura: No reply… Ishida is trying to pull up Asakura hanging on the edge of the bridge. He won’t let go of his hand as he vowed to be stronger. Summoning up all his strength, he must have pulled Asakura up too hard and sends him flying into space and crashing into a UFO before his slamming re-entry kills Yamada by piercing through his head!!!! Amazingly Asakura is alright although butt naked. The re-entry burnt up his clothes but not him? Then the rest of the other characters relay the big news that somebody shot down a UFO. The girls are embarrassed he is naked while Yamaguchi takes off his pants for him to wear (I think he just wants to exhibit his lower anatomy). Ishida notes they are saved and that they can start a flower shop but Asakura refuses. A month later, some alien is blaming Kinoshita on ruining their boobs invasion of Earth. She can’t hold it in anymore and really needs to go. She does it right here standing and this blasts the alien away. Was it the shock or her call of nature? Anyway, that was how Earth and the boobs were saved. I don’t even know what to say… By the way, Yamada remains dead.

Bloom Or Wither The Flower?
Certainly I had my fair share of laughs with all the slapstick nonsense. So if you can stomach the little violence of Yamada dying a violent death in almost every episode or the boobs jokes that Asakura shamelessly express, then you should have no issues in laughing out loud in these episodes. Don’t put up too much high hopes for where the plot of this anime is going because there is never going to be one. Especially the garbage final scene about some alien trying to invade Earth. How the heck did it happen in the first place? How the heck did it end like that? And it didn’t even let the leading duo be the hero. For all you know, they might be happily operating a flower shop that doubles as a school to teach busty women on how to become a florist. I would say then that Asakura would really teach them how to ‘bloom’ into ‘fine’ ladies. Haha!

The characters are so odd that they feel unreal. In a funny sense of course. Like Asakura, if his perm doesn’t raise your eyebrow, how about his speech which sounds like a robot? Ishida and Yamada will forever be enemies over Asakura due to the different shops they want to open with him. Ishida always wins and Yamada is turned into some whipping boy that gets violently beaten up and torn to pieces but illogically brought back to life without any sort of scars from the previous hammering. Reminds me of a certain character’s fate in that American cartoon South Park… But for a delinquent to cross-dress as a maid, wow man, that is one heck of a beautiful transformation. A person like me who loves maids can’t even resist despite knowing well that’s a trap. Speaking of trap, I still can’t believe Kinoshita is really a guy… No wonder those humongous boobs look fake. I’m sure Asakura would have gotten his hands on it had not for that traumatic experience in seeing the ‘elephant’. Although this anime is about the titular characters, I thought Satou would play a little more role instead of being reduced to a sweet girl who is infatuated with Asakura. I guess weirdoes flock together. Same case with Nanako and Yamaguchi. Their appearance feels like cameo and don’t really impact the series that much. Yamada’s sister made her appearance a little too late to do anything.

The drawing and art hovers between weird and bishoujo. The guys will usually look have this weird look. Especially Yamada’s front teeth which I say can surpass a beaver’s record and Asakura’s ‘dead eyes’ making him look like a robot. Ishida looks like a delinquent and he really gets fiery when he gets upset especially when it involves his beloved Asakura. Yeah, it makes him gay… Except for Yamaguchi who looks like a hottie but even so he is a pervert and exhibitionist. Surprisingly the girls here have this bishoujo look. Really. All of them look pretty enough for me to consider them in my top 10 bishoujos of the year! Not kidding. That’s why I’m in a dilemma with Kinoshita as a trap. Oh no! Please don’t say my inner gay has awakened! Never! Surprisingly, the rock pop opening theme, Doki Doki Doku by Rayli sounds good despite lasting for just half a minute.

Male partnerships opening shops may sound very gay and unthinkable but think about the many popular brands that started out by a male combo. Take a look at Hewlett-Packard,  Barnes & Noble, Baskin-Robbins and Rolls-Royce. There are many other multi-national companies too that started out humbly from scratch. So don’t laugh (ironically you’re supposed to laugh at everything in this anime) at the dream of a couple of boys wanting to open a flower shop although this is the desire of just one of them. Who knows, they may become the world’s best flower suppliers. Or their venture may just fail and go bust because of too many customer harassments and thus sexual harassment lawsuits. Maybe running a pimp house would have been better. Oops! But does it really cost that much start-up capital to run a flower shop? Maybe. Costs of buying flowers, costs for equipment to maintain them, costs for equipment to arrange them. Then there are operational costs like rental, electricity and water, not to mention advertising. Wow. If running a flower shop already costs this much, I don’t think 10 million yen would even be enough. The pimp house option is sounding to be a much cheaper alternative already…