Sword Art Online

October 27, 2013

If you have a chance to play a real fantasy RPG game, and I mean a real virtual experience of an RPG game, would you do so? You get to fight epic battles against powerful mythical creatures. You get to visit exotic places and explore the mystical lands. You get to meet different characters of different classes and races. You get to purchase and earn rare items. Sell them. Exchange them. You get to increase your skills and other statistics that will increase your overall aptitude. Wow. And you get to do all of it not by just dreaming and confined in your little head. Sounds like a dream too good to be true at least in the real world for now. If Sword Art Online ever existed, I would really like to try my hands at it.

I may not be obsessed with the fantasy genre but it is still one of my favourites because of the hectic and mundane routines of the real world, it is like another world that I can escape to. I would love to spend some time exploring another world or even an alternate universe but let’s not get so deep into this far-fetched dream of mine. Before I start realizing the harsh reality and disappointment start hitting me, let me be thankful that at least an anime is being made about this. At least I get to watch it. And then continue dreaming… Of course there are lots of other fantasy anime genres out there and also those that have RPG elements. But unlike the rest, this one gives the impression that you (at least for the characters in the anime), as an ordinary gamer can delve into such world and setting. All you need to do is have lots of free time and just put on some helmet to take you to this exotic world.

All may seem cool for this experience but there is seems to be a catch. What happens when you suddenly find yourself unable to leave? You are playing this dangerous RPG game with your real life! If you die in this world, you die for real. Well, games are supposed to relieve you from stress and make you feel good but I think people would take things more seriously if they have to put their life on the line. No second chance. Think before you act or death awaits you. That is what Sword Art Online has become and has caught many by surprise when it is first released. The unfortunate gamers will have to fight their way through several floors and defeat the big bosses if they want to free themselves. Otherwise, you are either stuck in here for a very long time till somebody wins the game or you die. Now do you take this game seriously?

Episode 1
A long queue is seen as eager fans are lining up (even to days prior) to buy the internationally renowned SAO game, a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Kirito isn’t one of those in line but because he was a Beta tester of this game, he hooks up to SAO in the comfort of his home. Many players too have already hooked up in this virtual world. Kirito meets a newbie, Klein who can tell he is a Beta and hopes he could teach him the basics. Despite this game is RPG, there is no magic involved and fights are based on weapons. Klein learns Kirito despite being a Beta only managed to reach the eighth floor (out of hundred) and it took him 2 months to do so. Plus, there are only a thousand people invited to play SAO. When Klein wants to log out, he couldn’t find that button. Could this be a bug? Kirito can’t find his too. Kirito could wait till someone pulls the NerveGear helmet (the helmet that sends them into this virtual world) off. However Klein lives alone… Or they could wait till someone forcibly reboots the system and disconnects everyone. Suddenly everyone is transported to the main square. A cloak figure hovers from above identifying himself as Akihiko Kayaba. He is this game’s creator. He tells them they can’t log out and any forcible removal of the helmet will send some microwave radar to the brain. In short, you die. As proof there has been 200 over players in the real world falling victim to this and news around the world are being spread. From now on, resurrection is no longer possible. When your health points reaches zero, you die for real. They are now at the lowest floor (the first) and can move on to the next once they defeat the floor’s boss. Once they reach the hundredth and defeat the final boss, the game is considered cleared. He then turns everyone’s avatar as their true selves. Holy sh*t! Lots of men impersonating as girls! I guess that’s what MMORPG stands for: Many Men Online Role Playing as Girls! Haha! Now that the tutorial for SAO has been completed, please enjoy the game. Hell no! The crowd starts panicking. Kirito remembers Kayaba the person he admired once announced that SAO’s world won’t be all fun and games and will be a reality. I guess he wasn’t lying. Kirito wants to head to the next town and gather as much resources available. He hopes Klein would come with him as a group. However he is worried about his other friends who stood in line to buy SAO and wants to go look for them. Kirito goes off alone. After a month, the first floor isn’t cleared and 2000 deaths have already occurred.

Episode 2
Kirito attends a conference led by Diabel who claims his party has found the room containing the first floor’s boss. He wants people to gather into groups of six. Kirito makes a pact with a hooded loner, Asuna. A player, Kibaou jumps on stage to accuse Beta players for abandoning players like them by monopolizing stuffs and prioritizing themselves. He won’t trust such people. Andrew Gilbert “Agil” Mills stands up to explain that everybody was given a guidebook on the world. Yet many died. Kibaou takes a backseat. The book also contains information of the first floor’s boss, Kobold. That night Kirito talks to Asuna. She feels joining a party and doing something is better than doing nothing and rotting away at this starting point. The next day everyone marches to Kobold’s lair. As per in their guidebook, the kangaroo boss moves in the way as they expected. Diabel is going in for the kill when Kirito realizes Kobold is making a move not stated in the book. Diabel takes a massive blow. Kirito wanted to heal him but he refuses and hopes he will defeat the boss for everyone. Diabel dies and everyone else is in disarray. Kirito and Asuna team up to fight Kobold and finally finish the big bad boss. Everyone celebrate and praises Kirito. Till Kibaou blames him for letting Diabel die. Had he shared what he knew beforehand, he wouldn’t have died. He accuses Kirito for knowing Kobold’s patterns and yet he didn’t tell them. This means he is a Beta. Fearing this would lead to another discrimination, Kirito starts laughing that he isn’t on that same level with those amateurs who don’t even know how to level up. He claims he has fought lots more enemies in the higher floors and knows a lot more. Kibaou labels him as a cheater. Kirito thinks it’s a nice name for being called a Beater (Beta + cheater). He goes alone to the next floor and dissolves his partnership with Asuna but tells her to join a guild if someone trustworthy invites her.

Episode 3
Several months later, Kirito finds himself joining a group called Black Cats. They are grateful for him for saving them. Kirito bonds with the members as they go hunting and gaining experience points through the floors. Kirito manages to see Klein in a guild but they didn’t say much. One night, a member of Black Cats, Sachi is missing. Kirito finds her sitting alone in the sewer. She is scared of dying. Kirito calms her down and promises to protect her and Black Cats. The group’s leader, Keita decides to go buy house with the amount of money they made. So the rest decide to go earn more money. Trekking through the dungeons, they find a secret door containing a treasure chest. But it is all a trap and they become locked in and surrounded by monsters. Slowly each of them got killed including Sachi. Kirito was the only survivor. When he tells Keita about it, he became so devastated that he committed suicide!!! Kirito becomes withdrawn, guilt-ridden and seeks out a boss called Nicholas the Renegade believed to possess a miracle item that could resurrect others. Had he not lied about his level to Black Cats, it could have been avoided. He could have heard Sachi’s last words. As he is seeking Nicholas, Klein and his guild followed him and he hopes Kirito would join them. They realize the Divine Dragon Alliance guild has followed them as they seek that item too so Klein and co stave them off so Kirito could search for Nicholas. Finally there is this giant Santa dude. Kirito becomes a bloodthirsty berserker in killing him. When Kirito returns to Klein, he seems disappointed. Worse, disillusioned, disheartened and lifeless. Apparently the resurrection item must be used on the dead within the next 10 seconds otherwise it is just another piece of junk. Could you not understand his frustration? As Kirito wallows in guilt on Christmas Eve, a message from Sachi pops up. If he is reading this message it means she has already died. She knows she will die one day but doesn’t want Kirito to lose hope and blame himself for her death. She knew his true level and was glad to know how strong he was. She hopes he would live on to find the meaning of the creation of this game and even perhaps her own weak existence. She sings the Rudolph song as her final present (only tear eyes, no red nose). Her final words were thank you and goodbye.

Episode 4
Rosalia demands Silica to hand over her healing potion. She caves in to her provocation and then leaves her party. But she’s having it tough going solo. She ran out of healing potion and her familiar, Pina died. She was about to meet the same fate too but was saved by Kirito. He tells her a flower in the upper floors that can resurrect Pina. However it must be done within 3 days of the familiar’s death and that the flower only appears before a beast tamer (Silica’s class). Kirito agrees to help her get it. Why? Because he looks like his sister. Don’t laugh… In town, they come across Rosalia and her men. She continues to mock Silica but Kirito snubs her. Kirito later explains that some people in RPG find their thrill in becoming villains. Good players have green indicators, orange for those who committed crimes and red for murder. Back at the inn as they discuss their plan to get the flower, Kirito senses someone eavesdropping on them but the culprit fled before Kirito could take action. Next day as they set out to get the flower, Silica wants to know more about his sister. Apparently they are cousins but lived together. Their grandpa was strict and when Kirito quit kendo, he was beaten up. But his sister vowed to practice hard for his share and advanced through the levels. Kirito felt guilty for taking away her freedom and thought helping her out was like some sort of atonement.

After they retrieve the flower and return to town, Kirito senses someone following them. Turns out to be Rosalia. She wants Silica to hand over the flower. Kirito knows her as the leader of the orange guild, Titan’s Hand. Her indicator is green because she leads her prey to orange indicator members. It was one of them who eavesdropped on them yesterday. Silica realized Rosalia was accessing her when she partied with her. Kirito’s real mission is to look for Rosalia. Days ago he heard her guild had killed members of another guild but left the leader alive. He overheard the leader pleading to others to avenge his friends. Not by killing them but to throw them into prison. Rosalia doesn’t care and sets her men upon them. When they realize they are up against Kirito, they know him as the Black Swordsman and part of the clearing group. Rosalia doesn’t believe and orders them to attack. However despite all them attacking at once and at full force, they couldn’t leave a scratch on him because his life bar replenishes. Kirito reveals he is level 78, has health regeneration doing battle and HP of 14,500!!! Woah! So their 400 damage per every 10 seconds is nothing. He shows a warp crystal his client bought down to his last penny that will take them all to prison. Rosalia is not cowed but Kirito’s speed ambushes her and points his sword at her neck. As a solo player, he doesn’t mind having an orange indicator for a day or two. Later Kirito apologizes to Silica that he used her as bait to lure Rosalia. He thought she would be scared if he told her. She notes him as a good and amazing person but to him levels are just numbers and strength here is only an illusion. He hopes they can meet in the real world next time. Silica resurrects Pina and hopes to tell her amazing adventure with Kirito to it.

Episode 5
Asuna is part of the strongest guilds Knights of Blood and is the vice commander. I don’t think Kirito is part of the group because he is also in her guild’s meeting for some mission. They share opposing views in taking down NPCs. Kirito still views them of having lives but Asuna doesn’t. Later Kirito relaxes in the meadows seeing it’s a nice weather. Asuna listens to his advice and sleeps next to him. Nice nap she had, didn’t she? She wakes up and feels embarrassed he was watching over her and forces him to make up by treating her to a meal. She thanks him for guarding her because even though they are in safe zones, there are cases where players can be killed. Though players can fight each other through a duel, one can take advantage of the other who is sleeping by using the other’s finger to accept the duel request and then strike them till their life points reach zero. Suddenly they hear a scream. They see a guy being hung through a church window and a spear impaled deep in his chest. Before they can save him, he dies. They look around and couldn’t find the culprit. There is no winner notification and everyone’s indicator is green. They step up to ask if anyone around have any details. Yoruko, the girl who screamed earlier tells them that she was supposed to meet up with the killed guy, Kains. They were once in the same guild and supposed to meet for dinner when they got separated before this happened. She thought she saw someone behind him before his death but didn’t look familiar. Kirito asks if anybody would want Kains dead and she hesitated in answering. Kirito and Asuna lack the Appraisal skill so they go see Agil who runs a merchant sword to analyze the spear. Seems it is made by a player named Grimrock and there is nothing strange about this Guilty Thorn. Kirito wanted to stab his own hand to test but Asuna stops him. Somebody just died with that and feels it is better to leave it in Agil’s hands.

The duo go talk to Yoruko once more and tells her about Guilty Thorn. She decides to explain the possible reason behind this. She didn’t yesterday as she doesn’t want to relive the trauma. She was from a guild called Golden Apple. They defeated a rare boss and earned a ring that could increase their agility. The members were divided in using it or to sell it. In the end, they voted and the outcome was 5-3 in favour of selling. The guild’s leader, Griselda took the ring to town to sell but never returned. It is found out she was killed. Grimrock is her husband. They are only married in-game. Learning that Yoruko and Kains voted against selling, they think if Grimrock is the murder, he must be out to avenge Griselda’s death. The other person who voted against selling is Schmidt who is now part of Divine Dragon Alliance. Soon they bring Schmidt to talk to Yoruko. He is clearly troubled that Griselda’s death happened 6 months ago and it is only now that Kains got murdered. Yoruko had done some thinking. She thinks Griselda is taking revenge. Since killing in a safe area is not possible, she must have returned as a ghost! Is she serious? We can see she’s going mad about it. She feels guilty that they should not have voted. They should have let Griselda made the decision and Grimrock was the only one who thought of that. She feels everyone is responsible for her death and that’s why Grimrock is out to avenge her. Suddenly a dagger stabs Yoruko from behind.

Episode 6
Kirito goes after the caped assassin but he disappears via teleport. When he returns, Schmitt goes crazy thinking Griselda is back as a ghost for revenge. Kirito doesn’t think so because if she was really a ghost, why the need to teleport? Schmitt seeks forgiveness at Griselda’s grave when he is surprised to see Griselda and Grimrock before him. They make him reveal what he did on the day they auctioned the ring. He found a crystal and memo in his pouch with instructions to get access to Griselda’s room. He doesn’t know whom the instructions are from. Griselda and Grimrock reveal their faces and they turn out to be Yoruko and Kains. Kirito talks to Asuna and realizes that deaths in safe areas are not possible. They have been seeing things. He observes that only objects expire. When Kains’ armour was impaled, it was his armour that is fading away. When its durability reaches to zero, he teleport away to make it look like he died. As for Yoruko, she had a dagger stabbed on her back all the time. She never showed them her back. When the dagger is about to expire, she made it as though she was stabbed. The caped assassin was probably Kains. By making rumours of deaths in safe areas, they hope to find the culprit behind the ring incident. Yoruko has recorded Schmitt’s statement when they are attacked by a guild called Laughing Coffin. They are about to kill them but Kirito arrives in time. They retreat when Kirito calls a bluff that reinforcements will arrive. Yoruko apologizes for lying as Kirito explains that Grimrock reluctantly made them weapons not for Griselda’s sake but the thought that if they staged something outrageous and attracted attention of many, someone would eventually figure things out.

He only realized something like that while talking to Asuna about in-game marriages. This allows their storage compartment items to be viewable by both married players. Thus with Griselda’s death, the ring is in Grimrock’s storage instead of the murderer. Grimrock didn’t murder Griselda himself and probably hired a red player to do it. Because Yoruko and Kains explained their plan to him, he used their plan to bury them forever by eliminating them when they’re together. Asuna brings Grimrock to them. He admits he killed her not for the money. They are married in real life. She was an ideal wife. When they entered the game, she changed. While he became panicky and cowardly, she turned the opposite by becoming lively and energetic. He didn’t want his ideal perception of her to shatter and thus killed her to preserve that. Grimrock doesn’t expect Kirito to understand but he will one day when he’s about to lose the love he just obtained. Asuna dismisses that he loves Griselda because he merely treasures her as his possession. This made Grimrock realize his mistake. His friends take him away and they’ll handle it from here. Before Asuna and Kirito leave, they thought they saw Griselda standing by her grave. Asuna suggests that they add each other to their friend’s contact list although this is technically not forming a party with each other.

Episode 7
Lizbeth or Liz for short runs a blacksmith shop. She just finished forging Asuna’s sword and thinks she is off to meet her special someone. She hopes she too will find that special someone of hers. Soon Kirito comes in and wants to request a custom made sword on par with Elucidator, a sword so good that it can be considered as a cursed sword. She gives him her best sword so he tests it out and it broke! This upsets Liz. Furthermore she thinks Kirito insulted her skills when he thought the sword was weak. She has him to go gather a rare metal to build the sword he wants. He wanted to do this himself (because she might slow him down) but she insists on tagging along. On the frozen level with crystals, Kirito fights a dragon while Liz is ordered to stay hidden. She accidentally steps out and the dragon blows her away. She falls into a deep hole. Kirito dives down to save her. Thankfully they are still breathing at the bottom. Teleport crystals won’t work so Kirito runs up the walls! If it wasn’t this slippery, he might have got out. They spend the night down in the hole as Liz holds his hands and notices how warm it is. Next morning, she sees him digging out a metal ingot, the material they’re supposed to get. She realizes the ingot is dragon poo because they eat crystals, which gets processed in its stomach and then comes out as excretion. So which means they’re in a dragon’s den, right? Dragons are nocturnal. Look who is coming back?

Kirito in his superb acrobatic manoeuvres grabs Liz with one hand and rides the dragon till it reaches high up in the sky. Liz is so amazed at this and the beautiful sight that she confesses she loves him. But the wind made it hard for him to hear. A happy hug will do. Liz forges the strongest sword with her heart for him. She hopes she will confess to him when it’s done. Kirito is satisfied with it. Liz wants him to make her his exclusive blacksmith. He should come back here every day to maintain his equipment. I think Kirito gets what she is trying to say. Before the big confession, Asuna leaps in as she was worried about Liz after hearing about her crazy adventure. When Liz learns they both know each other and that Asuna was the one who recommended Kirito her shop, she felt devastated. I guess she can see it. We can see it too. She puts up a strong front and hints she will support Asuna. Then she bolts out of the door. Kirito finds her crying alone by the bridge. He thanks her for making him realize that everyone in this world is trying to live (he commented on her question before on why he saved her: It was better to die together than die alone). Liz hopes Kirito can bring an end to this world, though she wants his warmth to remain just a little longer.

Episode 8
It has been 2 years since people playing SAO are trapped. Kirito finds a rare S-class rabbit meat in the forest. He takes it back to Agil to appraise it and it seems Kirito has got himself a very prized rabbit meat. Care to sell or share it? Kirito needs somebody to cook it. Then comes in Asuna. Chef problem solved. Learning he has this meat, Asuna wants half of it! Sorry, Agil. Kirito will write him an 800-word essay on how good it tastes. The best place to do it is at her home but Asuna’s comrade, Kuradeel doesn’t approve of it and is suspicious. Besides, Asuna notes Kirito’s level is 10 times higher than his. Kuradeel realizes Kirito is the Beater and tries to run him down as untrustworthy and dangerous. However Asuna dismisses him for today. Back at home, Asuna cooks the meat. If only cooking was this easy. It turns out the way you want at just the tip of your fingers. The meat doesn’t disappoint as they talk about the passing years. Everyone has gotten used to this world and probably don’t care about the real one anymore. Lesser and lesser people in the clearing group is proof of this. Still, Asuna wants to return to reality since she has things to do. Asuna worries for Kirito since he is a solo player. Her experience tells her that recently higher level bosses are increasing in irregular behaviour. She invites him to join her. He is forced to since she is pointing the knife at him. Next morning, Kirito waits for her and Asuna comes crashing onto him via portal. She is running away from Kuradeel who seems to have taken the responsibility to watch her outside her home. Like a stalker. He thinks it’s his duty to protect her? Can’t he tell she finds it creepy? He tries to take her back with him to their headquarters but Kirito lays his hands off her and says Asuna will be accompanying him today and will assure her safety. Kuradeel doesn’t trust him and challenges him to a duel to prove his skill. In their first strike, Kirito breaks his sword upon contact. I guess the winner is clear. Kuradeel won’t accept this and chooses another weapon but is stopped by Asuna this time. She uses her position to order him to head back to headquarters alone. Despite not happy about this humiliation, he is forced to do so. The duo then go dungeon hunting and end up before a boss room. Knowing boss monsters don’t leave the room they guard, they are just going to take a peek and get their teleport crystal ready just in case. Upon opening the door, they see the demonic Gleam Eyes.

Episode 9
The duo make a mad dash for the exit. Don’t rush in without proper preparations. They stop and take a break as Kirito tastes her awesome lunch. She must have improved in her cooking a lot. Asuna is suspicious of Kirito’s skill because he only uses a sword in his fight. People have 2 hands, right? Shouldn’t he be using a shield in the other? Besides, he hasn’t been using Liz’s sword either. They are surprised to see Klein and his guild. They are surprised to see a lone player with Asuna. Are they big fans of Asuna? Klein is trying to hint he is looking for a girlfriend, only to be punched in the gut by Kirito. The Aincrad Freedom Army approaches them. They are the reigning guild of the 1st floor but suffered massive losses on the 25th and went on to strengthen the guild instead of clearing floors. The leader Kovats asks them for the floor’s mapping for free since it is their goal to distribute to all resources equally to players. Kirito will not kick up a fuss since he intends to do that later and doesn’t do his profiting from map data. But he warns not to fight this floor’s boss. Numbers will not do and his tired men are in no shape to fight. Hope he listens. As they continue fighting lower floor monsters, they start to hear screams from the boss room. I guess the Army got hasty and went to fight Gleam Eyes. They get pulverized. So when Kovats dies, Asuna couldn’t take it anymore when Gleam Eyes is going to start killing the weakened men. She charges in only to receive a serious blow. Kirito runs in to cover for her. When he realizes the Army can’t escape because they can’t use their teleport crystal, it brings back haunting memories of Sachi and her guild’s death. He hesitates but needs to buck up. So after Klein and Asuna give him the much needed distraction, Kirito unleashes his skill, this time using Liz’s sword to power up greatly and slash Gleam Eyes with great speed. Both sides take enormous damage slashing one another but in the end, Kirito emerges victorious. His life is bloody close to danger that I think the next slight hit, he will die!

When Kirito comes to, emotional Asuna hugs him. Klein asks him about that superb skill. It seems he has this unique skill that nobody has and that is wielding 2 swords at once. He never said a thing because there will be other players who will be jealous. And after a long time, Asuna continues to cling on to him. She was scared he was going to die. She doesn’t know what to do if that happens. She tells him she is taking a temporary leave from her guild to party with him. Can’t say no. Don’t want to put her through another emotional ride. Kirito talks to Agil and he notes how news of his heroic skills has spread. Yeah, he has no more peace because everyone seems to be bugging him for info on it. But there is more bad news. Asuna takes Kirito to her guild’s headquarters. The commander, Heathcliff has high regards of Kirito ever since their boss raid on the 67th floor that nearly caused them to suffer casualties. He doesn’t like the idea that Kirito is ‘stealing’ Asuna who is a vital member away although Kirito points out he should have taken care in selecting better escorts for her. Heathcliff challenges Kirito to a duel and wants him to use his dual wielding. If Kirito wins, they will relinquish Asuna to him. Otherwise he must join Knights of Blood.

Episode 10
Asuna didn’t like how Kirito jump into a duel without thinking. Heathcliff has his own special skill too and some invincibility that breaks the game’s balance. Before the sell-out crowd, Kirito and Heathcliff clash swords at amazing speed. Heathcliff’s shield acts as an offensive too. Just when Kirito thought Heathcliff is wide open, then some accelerated time stopping effect has Heathcliff dodging it and pounce Kirito from the back. Heathcliff wins. So after all this while having Kirito dressed in black, it is odd to see him dress in white. Asuna wants to know why he became a solo player so he explains his experience with Black Cats and how he was responsible for their deaths. Asuna hugs him and promises she won’t die and will protect him. Asuna’s comrade, Godfree takes Kirito on a training stint to assess his skills. The other comrade is Kuradeel who seems to regret what he has done and promise never to do it again. At the canyon as they are taking a break, Kirito suddenly realizes something wrong with the rations. Godfree and Kirito became paralyzed from the water’s poison. Kuradeel reveals his evil façade and starts killing Godfree. Now he turns his attention to kill Kirito. He is a point away from permanent death when Asuna blasts Kuradeel away. Phew. In the nick of time. She was monitoring them when she noticed Godfree’s signal marker vanished and knew was something wrong. Asuna then slices and dices Kuradeel. He begs for his life but it was just a feint. When she lets her guard down, he knocks away her sword and prepares to kill her. Kirito has been freed from his paralysis and blocks the attack at the expense of losing his left hand. Then he stabs Kuradeel to kill him for good. Asuna becomes emotional but he calms her down with a kiss. They promise to be together till the end. After having dinner at Asuna’s place, she turns off the lights and starts stripping!!! Is there a skill for sex too?! Kirito clears up the misunderstanding this is not what he meant when he said he wanted to spend the night with her. Asuna got so embarrassed that she knocks him out. Hope he didn’t lose lots of health points for that. The duo want to stay away from the battle lines for the time being because they’re scared something will happen again if they head straight back. Kirito suggests living in a small picturesque village at the 22nd floor and proposes they get married.

Episode 11
Heathcliff is told what happened so he grants Asuna temporary leave from the guild. But he cautions they can’t stay away from the battle lines for long. The duo live out their dream life. Nice house. Nice scenery. Man, they get to play family in this virtual world. When Kirito wonders if their relationship is limited to this world, Asuna tells him everything they learnt and experienced here were real. Even if they return to their real world, she will come look for him. To prove that, she kisses him. The duo continue to have fun and as Kirito gives her ride on his shoulder, he tries to scare her with a ghost rumour in the woods. So happens Asuna saw that ghostly figure before her (because she is high up)! Upon closer inspection, this isn’t a ghost but a little girl who soon collapses. They bring her back to their home as they ponder her identity. Due to circumstances, she can’t be a NPC and the most possible explanation is that she may be a lost player (unlike other players, she lacks a cursor). Next morning, she opens her eyes. Although amnesiac, she remembers her name as Yui. Since she is having a hard time pronouncing Kirito and Asuna’s name, she calls them papa and mama respectively. Great. Now they are like a real family. And so the trio play family and Asuna is in a dilemma because she wants to protect her till her memories return. The fastest way to do that is to rejoin the battle and clear the floors. They will do what they can for now and head back to the first floor. It is much deserted and only a big chunk of the Army remains. Along the way, they hear a commotion. The Army is harassing Sasha and a group of children to pay up taxes. With Kirito and Asuna jumping in, Asuna slashes the leader to put some fear in him. In safe zones, one’s life points don’t get depleted. They flee like cowards once they realize her superior skills. Just when they thought everything is over, Yui starts spouting something about everybody’s heart. She begins to shiver in fear that this is not where she is supposed to be. She was always alone in a dark place. Some sort of noise disturbance rocks the place temporarily before Yui falls unconscious.

Episode 12
Though Yui is back to normal, Sasha doesn’t recognize Yui as she doesn’t live in this part in town. When SAO first started, there were many traumatized kids so Sasha can’t abandon them and took them in to this church. Yuriel from the Army then comes in looking for them. She’s not here to reprimand them but to seek their help. She explains their leader Thinker never wanted the guild to turn oppressive but it was inevitable as it grew larger. Amidst the internal struggle, Kibaou rose to power and his faction began monopolizing hunting grounds and such. But when people start noticing he was neglecting clearing the floors, he dispatched a group to the front lines (Kovats’ group). The failure causes him to be reprimanded and to be exiled but desperate Kibaou lured Thinker into a trap and is now trapped deep within the dungeons on this floor without any teleport crystal. Yuriel is sad that as Thinker’s aide she couldn’t do anything. She doesn’t have the power to save him. Asking the Army would be impossible due to Kibaou’s influence so when she heard Kirito and Asuna turning up here, she immediately went to seek their help. Yui can tell she is not lying so Kirito and Asuna agree to assist her. But Yui wants to come along despite being told to stay back at the church. Trekking through the underground dungeon that Kirito never knew existed even during his beta testing, it might have become available when higher floors were cleared. When they nearly arrive at a safe zone where Thinker is taking refuge, happy Yuriel rushes to meet him, not noticing calls from all sides to stay back. She was almost beheaded by a monster grim reaper’s scythe. Thank God for Kirito’s swift action. Kirito wants to be a hero and tells everyone else to teleport out but I guess Asuna wants to share the limelight of being the hero. This monster’s power is unknown and so crazily high his power that a single blow sends the duo flying away and taking lots of damage. Yui suddenly gets in front of the monster and her strong barrier makes him unable to cut Yui down. She summons a flaming sword to destroy him in one fell swoop.

Now that her memories have returned, it’s time to explain. SAO is controlled by a massive system that was designed to function without human maintenance. This system is called Cardinal. Everything from AIs to NPCs are managed by Cardinal. Including mental health counselling programme. Yui is the code name for that programme. She’s just an AI. In order to effectively interact with players, she was given the emotion ability. But 2 years ago when the game started, Cardinal ordered her not to interact with any players. She was reduced to just monitoring players’ health. She saw lots of people devastated to the point of being driven to insanity when they learn the game was life and death. This caused Yui to accumulate errors until she broke down. One day she noticed 2 exceptional people with exceptional mental health and wanted to go see them. They are Kirito and Asuna. That’s how she ended up there. Asuna says her actions make her human but Yui insists everything about her is fake. Although her wish is to forever be with them, she can’t now. In this safe zone, there is this console that allows GMs emergency access to the system. She used this to destroy the monster. Since she disobeyed Cardinal’s order, she is considered a foreign object and will be deleted. Asuna becomes emotional trying to cling on to the very last bit of her. Yui accepts her fate and wants them to save everyone in their stead. Yui is gone. Asuna is heartbroken. Kirito is mad. He hacks into the console but was thrown away. He gives Asuna a little tear shaped item. Before Yui’s admin authority was disabled, he managed to free her from the main programme and converted her into an object. That item is Yui’s heart. Asuna wears it as a necklace and is confident she will see Yui again. After all, Yui’s data is stored in Kirito’s NerveGear and although it will be hard to render it properly in the real world, he is sure something will work out.

Episode 13
While fishing, Kirito meets an old guy named Nishida. He is an expert fisher though his real job in the real world is IT security director for this game. Nishida easily makes his catch but laments the lack of soy sauce to cook it the way he wants. Till Kirito tells him they have homemade soy sauce. Seems Kirito has no luck in the lake because it doesn’t have many fish as it houses a king. Nishida has been targeting to catch it and wants Kirito’s help. Next day, a large crowd gathers to support Nishida’s attempt to catch the king. After he casts his bait and it hooks, he switches with Kirito who uses his super strength to reel it out. However everyone starts running away because the king is a monster fish! It’s walking on land too! Asuna easily kills it with a single slash. She is mobbed by the crowd and some of them being her fan. However Kirito gets a message from Heathcliff. The duo are supposed to go see him but Kirito is reluctant but Asuna at least wants to hear him out. Nishida accompanies them to the teleport gate and mentions ever since he is trapped in this world for 2 years, he took up fishing and always wondered if his company would want him even if they got out. In short, he has abandoned reality. But Asuna relates how she felt the same too until she met Kirito who showed her how he enjoyed life here. It made her realize she wasn’t losing her days in the real world because she is living them out here. He is the meaning of her 2 years here and proof why she is alive.

Meeting Heathcliff, he tells them the scouting party he sent was wiped out. The first group entered the boss room. The door locked and they couldn’t get out with teleport crystals. After some time when the door reopened, the room was empty. There was nobody around, not even the boss. Heathcliff’s option is to try again but with a larger force. Kirito agrees to help out but warns if Asuna’s life is in danger, he will abandon the party and save her. Heathcliff view him as strong because he has something to protect. Later Kirito wants Asuna to pull out and wait for him here. She is upset that he is going in alone. If news reaches her that he died, she will kill herself! She will have no more reason to live. Kirito admits he is panicking and wants to run away together now. Asuna also feels the same but has him think about their real bodies in the real world. By now it must be lying in hospital. Can you imagine the deterioration after all these years? Even if they clear this game can they really be together? All they can do now is fight. A large force gathers before the teleport gate. Klein and Agil have also joined to help out. When everyone enters the boss room and the door behind closes, all is quiet on the front. Too quiet. Then Asuna realizes something from above! The bony Skull Reaper swoops down from the ceiling and kills players in a single hit! It is fast, it is ferocious! No chance! You panic, you die! Noting if they intercept it together, they have a chance. The battle intensifies as everyone attacks it from all sides.

Episode 14
Skull Reaper is finally defeated with everyone’s cooperation. The casualty reports at 14 deaths and the tired players wonder if they can fight another 25 floors to clear this game. Kirito notices something odd on Heathcliff’s health bar and launches a surprise attack. A barrier protects him and to everyone’s surprise they see him possess an Immortal Object (something Kirito encountered during his fight with the monster grim reaper with Yui). This means Heathcliff’s health is protected by the system and can never go below the danger zone. Kirito deduces Heathcliff’s true identity as Kayaba because during their first duel of his over quick reflexes in which Kayaba mistakenly activated some quick assist mode. He admits that and also reveals he is supposed to be the last boss they’ll be facing on the final floor. His guild members felt betrayed and try to attack him but he induces paralysis into all of them except Kirito. As reward for discovering his identity, he offers him to fight one on one. Beat him now and the game will be considered cleared and a chance for all players to log out. Or else he’ll be waiting at the final floor. Despite pleas not to take this up, Kirito wants to settle this now. He plans to fight him to the death. However he has a request for Kayaba. In the event if he dies, he must promise that Asuna will not kill herself. The battle begins and Kirito knows he can only rely on his guts as Kayaba the game creator knows every combo there is. Kirito’s sword breaks and he resigns to his death fate.

Suddenly Asuna breaks free from her paralysis to take the slash. It can’t be true?! Asuna?! DEAD?! Distraught Kirito lacks the strength to fight back so Kayaba stabs him. Now he’s dead. But what’s this? His strong determination not to end this yet has him take the form of a spirit? At least that is what I’m seeing. Using his last ounce of strength, Kirito stabs Kayaba and they both killed each other. The game is cleared. Kirito finds himself floating among the clouds. Is this heaven? Well, Asuna is there too. Emotional reunion. They see the world crumbling as Kayaba explains the game will be totally deleted in 10 minutes. All 6,127 surviving players have successfully logged out. Those who died will never return no matter what world they are in. He explains the reason he did all this. Some floating steel castle Aincrad he believes in. He wanted to go to that castle and still believes it exists. Kirito and Asuna wait till their fates are sealed by spending their last moments together. Kirito reveals his real name as Kazuto Kirigaya while Asuna’s is Asuna Yuuki. She is a year older than him. He apologizes for not being able to send her back but she is happy to meet and live together with him. This is the happiest time of her life. The duo hug each other as world disappears. Kirito wakes up to find himself in hospital. Taking off his NerveGear helmet, despite very frail and weak, he limps out of bed to go look for Asuna.

Episode 15
Kirito and Asuna seems to be having a nice time together. Till this dream world rips apart. Another nightmare? Welcome back to reality. Ever since Kirito went into comatose state playing SAO. His sister, Suguha or Sugu for short had been by his side. So she’s quite happy now that he is moving again. Kirito has a demo kendo match with Sugu. They are both equally skilled but eventually Sugu takes the win. Careful not to hit his head too hard. He has just recovered. I guess he is still used to SAO world because he tries to put his sword on his back. Later he pays a visit to the hospital that Asuna is still laying comatose. As revealed, Kirito gave inside info to the government and in exchange they revealed Asuna’s whereabouts. Public outrage was still intense and hasn’t subsided. When the game ended, around 300 players still had not awakened and Asuna is one of them. Also visiting Asuna is her father and Nobuyuki Sugou, the guy in charge of the research institute of Asuna’s father. Mr Yuuki considers Sugou as family since his father is good friends with him. Sugou then has made his decision and plans to go ahead with it. This doesn’t sit well with Kirito. After Mr Yuuki leaves, he makes it clear to Kirito that he is supposed to marry Asuna. Because they can’t file for official marriage so he’ll be the family’s adopted son instead. Sugou knows Asuna has never liked him and will reject it if the subject of marriage is brought up. Of course from his stand this is extremely inconvenient. Sugou puts it that he is not taking advantage of comatose Asuna but rather considers it his legitimate right.

When the company that created SAO went bust after mountains of debts to compensate victims, the maintenance of SAO servers was handed to RCT, the general appliance manufacturer that Mr Yuuki is the CEO of. Sugou is the director of RCT’s Full Drive research department. In short, Asuna’s life is being sustained by him. He thinks he deserves a little compensation. Sugou doesn’t know what Kirito promised with her in the game but hopes he won’t come back and stay away from their family. The wedding ceremony will be held in a week’s time although Sugou invites him to come share their happiness. For one last time. Back home, Kirito is so depressed he sits in his room crying in the dark. Sugu could only hug him and tell him to not give up. Even if Asuna is going far away where his hands can’t reach, he shouldn’t give up so easily on the one he loves. Sugu thought she shouldn’t lie to herself anymore. Flashback reveals that Kirito long knew his parents weren’t his biological parents. More accurately, he is the child of mommy’s older sister and her husband. So this makes Kirito and Sugu cousins. That fact hasn’t sunk into Sugu yet. I guess you know what this means when she laments his heart already belongs to Asuna. Sugu sleeps with Kirito for the night and when morning comes, she runs out with embarrassment after realizing what she had done. But thanks to her company, Kirito feels better. He opens an email from Agil and is shocked to see its content. A picture of Asuna sitting gloomily in a cage! Can it be real?!

Episode 16
Kirito goes to see Agil at the bar. He shows him the latest MMO game craze like SAO: Alfheim Online (ALO). Also the AmuSphere is now the successor for NerveGear. In this land of fairies, players don’t have levels and combat depends very much on a player’s physical capabilities. The rage of this game is that since they are fairies, they have wings and are allowed to freely fly anywhere although it is pretty tough to master. As for the picture with Asuna, there is a World Tree called Yggdrasil in the centre of the island with a legendary castle on top. Players are divided into 9 races and compete who can reach the castle first. However due to a flight duration limit, it is not possible to fly endlessly. Several players got an idea to piggyback ride on each other like a rocket booster. Although it wasn’t successful (they couldn’t even reach the lowest branch), they took pictures and one of them was this. Why is Asuna in a place like this? This game is made by RCT. So now it made sense. Kirito wants to try this game to save her. He can still use NerveGear to dive in since AmuSphere is just its safer version. Back home, Kirito puts on his NerveGear and customizes his player. He chooses one that closely resembles to him: The Spriggans race. He free falls from the sky but drops into some unknown forest. He opens his menu and is relieved there is a logout button. Checking his stats, he realizes many are similar to those in SAO although his duel wielding skill is gone.

He selects one of the items and it materializes to be Yui! She remembers him! She’s back! Using her system to check things, she explains ALO is a copy of SAO but using an older version of Cardinal. As for his character, it is undoubtedly from SAO. As I understand when it was carried over from SAO, it must have overwritten some base stats and his SAO and ALO avatar merged. Yui’s role in this game is an artificial personality programme for player support, a navigation pixie. She has no admin authority and is only capable of referencing and accessing wide area map data. He tells Yui about Asuna’s case and wished they could have ended up closer to Yggdrasil. He landed far away perhaps because of some corrupted data or interference. Kirito is then taught how to fly with wings via controller. It’s hard but he is getting the hang of it. Close by, Undine clan fairies, Leafa and Recon are being hunted by Salamander fairies. Recon is taken out and there is so much Leafa can handle. She is blasted down to the ground and prepares to fight them and will not forfeit her money and items as ordered. Suddenly Kirito drops into the scene. The enemies do not realize who they are dealing with so Kirito shows them whose boss by taking out one of them in the blink of an eye. Didn’t even know what hit him. So who is next?

Episode 17
After slicing another enemy, the last one left, Kagemune makes a wise decision not to engage him and leaves. Leafa and Kirito acquaint with each other and to show her thanks, she wants to buy him a drink. Since he doesn’t know anything about this world, she is willing to tell him after they fly over to a neutral village. However he thought the Sylph village of Sylvain is closer but she warns upon entering the village, Sylph can attack him but he cannot attack back. Leafa then teaches him how to fly without the controller. At first it looked like some comical scene because he finds it hard to control but he learns fast and manages to match her speed. However Leafa makes her advance apologies first. Because she didn’t teach him how to land, Kirito smacks right into the tower! Yeah, really comical! In town, Leafa is reunited with Recon but he remains cautious with Kirito as he is from a different race. She turns down his offer to meet the rest at the usual bar because she wants to buy Kirito a drink. She talks to him about every player’s main dream to reach the floating castle above Yggdrasil. It is said that the fairy successful in doing so will meet the king of fairies, Oberon and will be reborn as a more advanced race called Alf with no flight restrictions whatsoever. However nobody has been successful ever since a year this game started. Either that a quest hasn’t been cleared or as Kirito suspects the game is impossible to overcame at the hands of a single race. Cooperation between races may be a must. Leafa doesn’t think that is possible as only one race will benefit from it. So it would seem that reaching Yggdrasil is impossible. But I guess somehow that sort of romance makes it hard for everyone to give up. Kirito vows to find his way to the top because there is someone he wants to see. Even if he has to fight insane amounts of enemies, he will. Leafa seems reluctant for him to leave and will take him there tomorrow afternoon since she has to logout now. Leafa’s real life personality is… Sugu! No wonder she sounds familiar…

Asuna is sitting in her cage. She is known as Queen Titania in this world. Oberon walks in to chat with her and of course he is Sugou who is also the system administrator. He is freely having his way with her and hopes she could play along in this game. Because she remains spiteful for him, he warns that he may take her by force. He then reveals that despite thousands of players enjoying this game, they remain ignorant of the true value of the Full Dive System. Something about his plan to possibly manipulate thoughts, emotions and even memories. Although research on this has been done in many countries, experimenting on humans would bring about legal and ethical issues. Till he saw Kayaba’s release of SAO. He was a genius but considers him a fool for being satisfied with just the creation of a mere game world. When SAO ended and the players were in the midst of being freed, Sugou used some router to capture around 300 players as test subjects and one of them being Asuna. He views his research making great progress in just 2 months and is nearing complete. He plans to sell this research and system to an American corporation eagerly awaiting its completion at a very expensive price. Asuna knows her dad will not allow such things and will expose him once she gets out. He reminds her she is in the same position like the other test subjects and hopes she will be more docile the next time they meet. After he leaves, Asuna weeps for Kirito to save her.

Episode 18
Sugu narrates she hated virtual reality games because it almost took her brother’s life. But when ALO came out, she curiously tried it out and understood why Kirito was so enchanted with the virtual world. Here, she could fly and soar as far as she wanted. She became addicted to this world. In real life, Sugu has a hard time trying to remind Shinichi Nagata (Recon’s real name) not to use their ALO names here. He is trying to tell her about Sigurd’s group wanting to go hunting this afternoon but she declines as she has other plans. Sugu logs in as Leafa and meets up with Kirito at the appointed time. As they head to the tower for long distance flights, Sigurd approaches Leafa and learns she has left their party. No doubt whether she stays or leaves is up to her, leaving now will reflect badly on the group since Leafa has become well known. Kirito advises him not to treat party members as items and he can’t keep them like his own. He wants to kill him but his members remind him this won’t look good if he slashes a defenceless guy in public. He backs down and warns Leafa of becoming a Renegade. She will regret it if she betrays him. At the top of the tower, Leafa explains to Kirito that a Renegade is a player who ditches his/her territory and is scorned as deserters. She doesn’t mind becoming one because she is baffled why people want to tie down themselves and others like that. Recon comes rushing in and has heard of Leafa’s departure. He too wants to go with her but notes he wants to investigate something and will stay in Sigurd’s group for the time being. He wants Kirito to take care of her and warns if anything happens to his wife lover girlfriend best friend… Anyway Leafa kicks his shin to shut him up. Yui views the complexity of human relations but somewhat understands how Recon feels.

Meanwhile Oberon continues to have his way with Asuna. She still isn’t opening up to him. He finally gets her attention when he mentions about meeting Kirito in real life right in her hospital room. He mocks about the priceless look on his face when he told her they are getting married next week. He dispels her hope he will come to save her as she wished for since he is confident Kirito is too scared to put on NerveGear again. When he leaves, Asuna sneakily looks at the reflected mirror to see the secret password he keys in to open the cage door. Apparently looking directly at it causes an automatic mosaic blur. Never thought it wouldn’t be reflected in mirrors, eh? Leafa tells Kirito that they need to trek through caves to reach those mountains as its height limit is much taller so flying straight won’t work. It’s going to be a long and rough journey so they decide to take turns advancing to allow the other to logout and rest. Leafa goes out first. She wanted to enter Kirito’s room but the thought of him in depression made her changed her mind. She thinks of leaving him alone. When she logs back, Kirito logs out. She talks to Yui on why she calls Kirito her papa. Leafa is using roundabout words about her feelings for Kirito when Yui asks her (obviously you could have tell that she likes him despite her excuse of feeling excited is to explore a new world, blah, blah, blah). Kirito logs back on faster than usual and this flusters Leafa who was a little close to him. As they’re about to leave, Kirito feels somebody watching them. Yui doesn’t detect players nearby. Leafa thinks it might be Tracers. They are little familiars used by experienced casters as tracking. The higher the skill, the greater the Tracer’s area of effect. Kirito hopes he is just thinking too much. True enough, a little bat is following them and a group of hooded people in the forest are keeping a close watch on the duo.

Episode 19
While trekking through the cave, Leafa receives a message from Recon about not trusting a person named ‘S’. She doesn’t understand. I can guess who that is. Yui detects 12 players approaching so Leafa hides them with her magic. But when Kirito spots a bat in the distance, Leafa realizes it’s a high level Tracing searcher. She jumps out to destroy it and they make a run since destroying the familiar means indicating they’re on to them. As they inch closer to the gates of Lugrue, an earth magic forms a barricade to prevent them from entering. Kirito wants to fight and has Leafa heal him. He considers this an effective way to battle. Leafa realizes the hunting pack has come prepared to hunt Kirito. He gets blasted but she heals him. But when Kirito deals them damage, the mages behind heal their troops. At this rate, Kirito will lose. She wants to surrender but he vows never to let a party member die. Yui then has Leafa use his magic to protect Kirito from the next magic attack. Then she signals to Kirito to use his illusion magic to transform into a giant beast. The Minotaur tears up the troops and the magic unit leader, Jitax prefers to jump into the water and get devoured by the sea monster. That scary, huh? For the last enemy, Leafa wants to interrogate him but he will not say. Kirito uses his negotiation skills to give him some items in his inventory. Jitax told them to get online because they’re hunting a couple of players. He thought it was bullying till he realized it is to hunt the people who defeated Kagemune. Seems Jitax got this from a higher up. He is not sure of the details but he feels something big is happening as he saw a massive army flying north. Leafa wonders if that rampaging Minotaur was him. He thinks so. Sometimes he forgets when he turned into a monster. His sword will disappear so had to use his hands. Yeah, he was eating some of them. They taste like well grilled beef? I think it’s a bad joke that Kirito bite Leafa’s hand just to have her feel what it’s like. He deserves that slap.

In Lugrue, Leafa finds Recon offline so Kirito suggests she contact him in the real world. She logs off to find many miss calls from Nagata (like a stalker). He is relieved when she gets through him. Seems Sigurd is after them and has sold out their leader Sakuya. When Salamanders attacked them that night and Sigurd used himself as a decoy, something he never does, it only makes sense that he was in cohorts with them. Proof? Recon followed Sigurd and his men and found out he met up with some Salamander guys in the sewers. He eavesdropped that they had a Tracer on them. Of course Recon was discovered and captured. Sakuya plans to sign an alliance treaty with Cait Sith race at the neutral place today. Sigurd plans to attack them. Leafa logs back on and tells Kirito about it. Kirito wonders how Salamander will benefit from this. Firstly, the alliance would be prevented. Cait Siths won’t stand having being taken down because Sylphs leaked the information. If they kill the leader, they will receive 30% of her estate and be allowed to occupy the capital for 10 days. Leafa thinks this is an internal problem and no reason for Kirito to get involve. She thinks they won’t even come back alive. She views his best chance of reaching Yggdrasil is to join Salamander as they will hire him as a mercenary. She won’t blame him if he kills her. Kirito says even though this is just a game, he has met people who are willing to go so far to kill. Even though this is a virtual world, there are things to protect. If you let that control you, you’ll even change in the real world. A player and character are the same. He likes her and wants to be her friend. For that, he will never resort to killing others. He takes her hand as they dash out the cave.

Episode 20
Yui detects several Salamander men heading towards the treaty. Leafa thinks they can’t make it and thanks Kirito for his assistance. She wishes him to head on to Yggdrasil. However he won’t abandon her. Kirito makes it in time before Salamander attacks. Claiming himself to be the ambassador of Spriggan-Undine alliance, he orders them to sheathe their swords. Their commander Eugene doesn’t believe him and wants to fight with him. Kirito has a hard time with him as Eugene is the strongest player in this game in terms of fighting ability, he has a demon sword called Gram that only very high level users can use. The sword allows him to phase through any swords or shields when you try to block it. Kirito uses a smoke bomb so that he could borrow Leafa’s sword. Then he dives down from the sky (the sun is blinding Eugene’s eyes) and he slices and dices him with both the swords till he’s a goner. Everyone including the Salamanders are amazed with his skill. Once Eugene is resurrected, he commends Kirito’s skills and learning from Kagemune that he was the one who earlier wiped out some of his men, he orders his army to retreat and vows to duel him another day as he doesn’t want to make enemies out of Spriggans and Undines. Sakuya wants an explanation so they reveal Sigurd’s plan. This has Sakuya confirm that he really thirsts for power. Seeing that he sided with Salamander, she thinks with the upcoming v5.0 update that has some reincarnation system, Sigurd is tired of being a Sylph who is always second fiddle to Salamanders. Salamander’s leader, Mortimer who is Eugene’s brother may have offered him a deal to reincarnate as one of their own.

Sakuya then contacts Sigurd who is surprised to see her still alive. He realizes his plan in ruins when he sees Kirito and Leafa. Sigurd thinks if he goes, Sakuya’s political power will also diminish. She doesn’t think so. She will grant him his wish since he can’t stand being a Sylph. She banishes him from her race and makes him a Renegade to wander the neutral region. Sakuya wants to know if the Spriggan-Undine alliance is true but Kirito proudly admits it was all a lie. Sakuya and Cait Sith’s leader, Alicia take a liking for him and try to seduce-cum-invite him to tea. How can Leafa get out of all this? She is hesitating to say Kirito is her future husband lover boyfriend best friend so Kirito saves her that embarrassment by saying she is someone who is showing him the way to Yggdrasil. Leafa notes that this alliance was also of clearing Yggdrasil. It is their goal so Kirito and Leafa would gladly want to join them. Kirito states his intention to meet somebody at the top of the tree but Sakuya and Alicia feel they need some time to prepare for the raid. Kirito gives them a whopping sack of 100,000 coins to let them equip themselves. He doesn’t need the money now. The kind of money you can build a small castle anywhere. After everyone leaves, Yui chides Kirito for flirting because she could feel his heart beating. However she doesn’t view Leafa as so. Kirito puts it that she doesn’t act like a girl. Whoops. Did he say the wrong thing? He meant she is easy to get along with in a good way. They make their way to the next town, Alne. Meanwhile, when the coast is clear, Asuna keys in the password to set herself free.

Episode 21
As they reach the gates of Alne, the largest city in Alfheim, there is an announcement that the server will undergo maintenance for a certain period so they are advised to logout. Since Kirito gave his all his money to Sakuya, I guess they’ll have to stay in a dirt cheap motel. Meanwhile Asuna makes her way down but stumbles upon a strange tunnel. Inside the long lighted tunnel, she comes across a map. Trying to figure out a way to logout, she sees a room that labelled as experiment hanger. She lots of capsules and hologram brains above it. Remembering Sugou’s words, she sees them all in pain and vows to get them out. A pair of slugs are patrolling and checking on the subjects so Asuna has to hide. Asuna sees a cubic system console and tries to logout with it but the slugs caught her (almost look like tentacle rape?). She knows they are scientists and points out what they’re doing is illegal and inhumane. They seem unrepentant and think they are doing something good by showing those subjects delightful euphoric dreams. One of them logs out to report to Sugou so the other one almost tentacle rape her when she bites back. Sugou is said to be furious and orders them to put her back in her cage, change the password and have 24 hour surveillance. Asuna is back at square one but she hasn’t given up yet. Because she stole the card from the system console. In the real world, Sugu wants to accompany Kirito to the hospital. Along the way, they talk about victims of SAO being put in a similar school. It may sound like a good idea for them who have been isolated from society for a couple of years but in a way it is also to keep an eye on them. Kirito introduces comatose Asuna and Sugu to each other. Sugu starts regretting she shouldn’t have come. She came thinking if she would understand her own feelings better if she met Asuna. When they return home and log back into ALO, Leafa starts crying and reveals she was left broken hearted in the world. Kirito is kind enough to lend her a shoulder to cry on. Real or virtual, she should cry when she needs to. There is no rule in the game to say she can’t express her feelings. Leafa bawls her heart out. She knows she loves Kirito but can never let him know. She needs to bury her feelings deep within her heart in hopes she can forget about them someday. When they’re ready, they walk through Alne. Kirito mentions about the piggyback ride incident. Apparently when the developers found out about it, they did a patch to put barriers above the clouds to stem such incidents. They can’t climb Yggdrasil as the area around the tree is off limits. When they enter the centre district of Alne, Yui suddenly detects Asuna. She is certain this is her player ID and she is right above them. Kirito quickly blasts off into the sky.

Episode 22
Kirito is furious. He tries to break through the barrier and won’t listen to Leafa. Asuna thought she heard Yui’s voice but since she can’t get out, she thinks of dropping something. Kirito catches the system card. Something like this doesn’t always happen. This means it proves that Asuna is up there and has heard Yui’s warning. Although Yui points out this card is like an access code for system administrators, they can’t use it from inside the game without a corresponding console. Kirito asks Leafa the gate to Yggdrasil. It’s inside the dome at the tree base but nobody has gotten past it as it is guarded with insane number of guardians. Even the largest party failed. But Kirito is still going anyway and thanks Leafa for everything. He’ll be going solo from now on. Kirito makes his way to the dome and accepts the challenge. Inside, he is faced with countless winged guardians. Every mirror around the place represents one. You go count them all. Kirito fights his way through them. His thoughts filled with Asuna give him fuel to press forward. If sword guardsmen weren’t bad enough, how about archers? How can he avoid all those arrows? If that doesn’t stop him, how about those who throw broadswords into him! Kirito pushes himself to the limit trying to reach the top but his life is draining away after getting stabbed so much. He eventually ‘dies’. Well, unlike SAO, there is no death penalty, right? Kirito is now a spirit and is waiting for his timer to finish so that he can respawn. He wonders if this is punishment for thinking this is only a game since his strength only amounts to skills and stat points.

Suddenly Leafa enters the dome and fights her way through. But her goal is not to defeat them but to save Kirito and bring him back out. She makes it in time before she shares his fate. Outside, she resurrects him. Kirito thanks her and doesn’t want to cause much trouble. Trouble? He just worried her. He is going back in again but Leafa tries to stop him this time. Hugging his back, she is fine if he goes back to his usual self. However Kirito can’t. If he doesn’t see her, everything won’t end or begin. Till Leafa hears Asuna’s name. Then it dawned to her who Kirito is. Surprised? Kirito also realizes who Leafa is. This is too much to take for Leafa so she instantly logs out followed by Kirito. She starts crying when Kirito knocks on her door to talk. She isn’t mad or sad for him taking up NerveGear again but rather she betrayed her own feelings. In order to forget her brother, she decided to love Kirito instead. She reveals she already knew they weren’t real siblings 2 years ago. She noticed when it when he started avoiding her then (the time when he realized Sugu wasn’t his real sister). She was very happy when he returned from SAO.  She was even happier when he became nicer to her. She thought he finally accepted her. But if this was going to happen, she would rather have him stay distant. Then she wouldn’t have realized her feelings for him or be hurt by those feelings after learning about Asuna. She wouldn’t have to try forgetting about him by falling in love with Kirito. All he could say is sorry. She wants to be left alone. What a lousy day. What lousy feelings.

Episode 23
When Kirito found out about his true blood relations, he was filled with shock. That was probably why he immersed himself with virtual reality games since it is a fabricated world where nobody knows each other. But after getting stuck in SAO for 2 years, he learnt there is no difference between real and virtual. How do you define someone? All you do is believe and accept. Because the way you perceive someone defines their true self. That’s why when he woke up from SAO, he vowed to grow closer to Sugu. Now what can he do for her? He tells he will meet her at Alne’s northern terrace. Sugu logs back on. Recon is surprisingly here. Seems he poisoned the Salamanders and escaped. Recon knows something has happened between her and Kirito. He doesn’t want her to cry because she should be smiling. He assures her he will never let her be alone be it the real world or virtual. He then confesses he likes her. But he must be pushing his luck too far when he tries to kiss her! I guess the punch is a sign of rejection? When Leafa meets Kirito, she wants to fight him to settle things. It seems pretty normal till Leafa drops her sword to allow him to cut her. But he surprises her with a hug. He wanted to apologize but doesn’t know what to say. The only thing he could think of was to let her strike him. He still hasn’t returned from that world yet. Not until Asuna wakes up. Until then, he doesn’t know what to think of Sugu. And so, Kirito requests Leafa and Recon to help him clear Yggdrasil. As Yui analyzes, the guardians are not particularly powerful but their numbers are overwhelming. But with Kirito’ skill, he may be able to break through temporarily. Kirito will take on the guardians alone while the duo will concentrate on healing him. That way, they won’t be targeted.

Kirito slices and dices his way through the endless enemy waves. When Recon and Leafa first heal him, the guardians start targeting them. Recon then goes on the offensive and uses his dark magic of self destruction to blow up a large number of guardians. But that is just like taking a drop of water out from the ocean. Leafa continues to heal Kirito but is now targeted. That’s when Sakuya and Alicia’s army break in with their respective army. They have assembled all the gear they needed and begin their assault. The guardians are still overwhelming but at least with some backup it provides some relief. Leafa goes to help Kirito and they cover each other’s back. In the final push, Leafa throws him her sword so that he can use his dual wielding to thrust throw the final enemy stretch. Sakuya and Alicia order the withdrawal of their troops. Kirito is at the top core now and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t think anybody has reached this stage. Yui analyzes the door and realizes it isn’t locked by a quest flag. Meaning, system administrators can only access it and it was never intended to be accessible to players. Oh no. More guardians materialize when Kirito remembers the system card. He tells Yui to use it so she transfers the codes to allow them access.  They prepare to teleport.

Episode 24
The duo appear inside the tunnel. Yui has no map of this area but can sense where Asuna is. Quickly, she makes holes through the wall and dashes out with Kirito. At the top of Yggdrasil, they see Asuna sitting in the cage and make their way there. It is an emotional reunion for ‘mother and daughter’. Of course with Kirito too. Asuna had always believed in him. But that is short-lived when some gravity spell brings them to their knees. Yui can’t log Asuna out due to some complicated codes and a system console is needed to free her. The scene changes to a dark one and Yui disappears. It is Sugou. He had come to check some bug in the programme and he finds this. Like the typical baddie he is, he rants about his evil plans. Like this gravity thingy is supposed to be in the game for the next update and his plans of manipulating emotions from 300 SAO players is nearing its completion. Yeah. So confident nobody is going to stop him. He then ties Asuna up and plays with her body. After this, he will do it with her real body. Kirito can’t do a thing but Sugou stabs his sword through his body and increases his pain level. Kirito could only helplessly watch as Sugou licks every part of Asuna’s body. He is about to lose consciousness and wonders if this is his punishment. He hears Kayaba’s voice asking if he is giving up. Not really. He is accepting reality because a player can do nothing to a game master. Kayaba feels disappointed because in their battle, he proved human power can overcome his system and orders him to stand back up. Kirito uses all his strength and willpower to stand back up, ignoring the pain of the sword through his stomach. This pain is nothing compared to the one he felt in SAO. He then activates Heathcliff’s ID and becomes the system administrator. He strips Sugou of his administrator privileges. How does it feel to be a low scum now? No more playing God. I think Kirito could activate Heathcliff’s ID because he realized Sugou stole this world. Thus he is not God and just a king of thieves sitting on his plundered throne.

Sugou can’t even summon a weapon so Kirito had to summon Excalibur for him. He wants to have a final battle and sets the pain to maximum. When Sugou hears Kayaba’s name, he becomes crazy that even in death, he is always in his way. Kirito can understand how he feels but unlike him, he never once tried to be like him. Sugou snaps and swings Excalibur like mad. He is no match for Kirito because he cuts him everywhere! Feel the pain! This is nothing compared to the pain Asuna felt. He cuts his body and finishes off by piercing his head. Cool! He deserves that. Kirito frees Asuna. Finally they can return to the real world. Though she’ll wake up in hospital alone, he’ll come to her side soon. They plan to do lots of things together in the real world. After Asuna is logged out, Kirito summons Kayaba. It is not really him and just his consciousness. As payment for helping him, Kayaba hands over The Seed to Kirito. It is the origin of worlds. He’ll understand its nature once it buds. But he can do whatever he wants with it but warns if he should hold any feelings other than hatred for that world. After Kayaba disappears, Kirito returns to the cage and is reunited with Yui. She is happy to learn Asuna is safe. Though they are not sure what is going to happen to this world, Yui will still be around since her core programme is stored in his NerveGear. Kirito logs out to see Sugu by his side. She is glad that things are over and Asuna is rescued. He thanks her but she is happy she could help him in his world. Kirito wants to tell her something but she feels he has to go see Asuna. She’s waiting for him. Kirito braves to freezing cold night and cycles to the hospital.

Episode 25
As Kirito makes his way into the hospital’s car park, he is being slashed in the arm by Sugou. He’s been waiting for him just to get his silly revenge? He is still feeling the painful effects of his defeat so he can’t cut Kirito up properly. Though Kirito gets kicked around, he realizes Sugou never changed and fights back by slamming his head into the car door! He steals his knife but does he have the courage to slit his throat?! Can he become a killer?! Apparently not. But Sugou was so scared he passed out. Finally Kirito meets Asuna. She is up and her first time seeing Kirito in person. Oddly, he is the one getting emotional while she is the cool cat. And yeah. The first real kiss instead of a virtual one we have seen. Kirito and Asuna become closer to each other in a school for SAO victims. It’s like they’re a couple. Are they? Liz and Silica watch over them. Also revealed, Asuna’s dad resigned when he learnt about the whole thing. Sugou was arrested but he tried to blame everything on Kayaba. Till one of his colleagues ratted on him, he confessed everything like the spineless coward he is. Victims of Sugou’s experiment return to normal and though they have no memories of the experiment, they do not develop any personality disorder. But virtual MMORPG took a massive hit after this scandal was revealed. RCT made a public apology and got dissolved. ALO was taken offline followed by other MMORPGs. Kirito knows that Kayaba committed suicide after SAO collapsed and somehow transferred his consciousness onto the internet. What bugs him now is The Seed.

SAO veterans like Klein and the now married couple Thinker and Yuriel, head to Agil’s bar for an offline meeting. Kirito also brings Sugu along. Of course he is the hero of the show. Apparently after Kirito saved Asuna, he handed The Seed to Agil to research. From what I understand, it is a programme package that stimulates full dive virtual MMO environment. That means anybody can create their own MMO world. Agil uploaded it to servers and now it has spread to 50 mirror servers and downloads are numbering to hundreds of thousands. Another feature of The Seed is that it allows one world to be linked with others. With that, virtual MMORPG revives along with ALO that was taken over by a new management. Many more worlds are out there created and run by smaller and private companies or individuals. Leafa flies in ALO with Kirito. She wonders why he hasn’t changed his avatar to SAO since the new management allows such import. Because the role of that world’s Kirito is over. Leafa dances with him in the sky but has this feeling she will not catch up to where he and everyone are. Kirito disagrees and believes she can do it if she puts her mind to it. Since the time is right, he shows her something approaching from the moon. It is Aincrad. What is it doing here? Must be the linking of all the worlds. Kirito is confident he will conquer all 100 floors. Because his stats have been reset and is now a weak avatar, he hopes Leafa could help him. Gladly. But they are not alone because the other supporting characters from SAO and ALO soon join them for this quest.

Sword Art Offline

These are short DVD specials lasting around 11 minutes each. Although I read there are 9 of them, I have only watched the first 2 (read: lack of people subbing them). It is basically like a special corner with Asuna as the anchor host and Kirito the commentator talking and discussing about several topics from the series. Think of it as a mini talk show. Each episode has a special guest, a Playback Corner to replay a handful of scenes from selected episodes, Sword Offline Trivia whereby Yui tells us the little trivia of RPG and even Kirito’s Life Counselling segment where he advices a mysterious guest about their problem. Sword Art Offline 1 has them discussing about why many men pick female avatars, have Klein as their first guest, replaying scenes of Klein getting hit in the crotch by the boar (embarrassing) and Asuna eating bread offered by Kirito like a hungry ghost (scary), and Klein as the mysterious guest in the counselling corner seeking Kirito’s advice on how to hit on girls. However Klein is not pleased with Kirito’s answer since that guy thinks he is not a hit with chicks. Till Klein brings up how friendly he is with Silica and Liz. See Asuna’s jealous and scary face? Because it didn’t end the way he wanted, Klein had to tell them off how to do a proper counselling and in a way it solved his own problem. So why seek advice in the first place? Because knowing them and producing the results are different.

In Sword Offline 2, it starts off with rumours that a mysterious person whom everyone shall dub as Mr K (that’s obviously Kirito, right?) is ‘stalking’ child idol Silica. I’m sure fans of her are screaming for blood. As expected, Silica is the guest of honour and during the Playback Corner because Silica is singing praises of Kirito’s help and all, this made Asuna really jealous that they were very close. It gets worse when Silica wants to call Kirito her big brother. This corner also shows the embarrassing scenes of Asuna waking up from her nice nap. However this segment had to end when everyone misinterpret a playback scene when Silica’s pantsu was nearly visible after a plant monster attacked her. Asuna blames Kirito and beats him up, thinking he was enjoying it. Klein takes over the Life Counselling segment and Kirito kicked out into a box. Silica relays her problem about a certain person she loves whom she first sees as a big brother and wants to deepen that relationship. We can pretty much guess what it is. Klein advises to either increase her sex appeal or wait till he notices her feelings while Asuna prefers she confess now and risk getting rejected rather than keeping it a secret and regret it later. The issue somewhat solved itself so Kirito need not comment at all.

The Thin Line Between Virtual And Reality
I guess it was rather an enjoyable ride through the different fantasy worlds. Who wouldn’t love to experience such? Unless you’re not a fantasy genre kind of person. Personally, I prefer SAO world compared to ALO universe. It is not that I don’t like fairies but in SAO, the players’ avatar seems more down to earth as compared to ALO when they become those mythical little creatures and have the ability to fly. I know this is fantasy and there is nothing with it but the thought of having SAO players as fairies just didn’t feel right. Perhaps my mind has set that this is about the real world with humans playing a fantasy game instead of the setting whereby it is already fantasy itself. Besides, in SAO there is a lot of dynamism and interaction between Kirito and Asuna. Unlike in ALO when they are separated, it feels like they have taken out half the fun from the combo duo because I feel that they both are best when they are together. While they were both clearing floors and spending lots of their later time together in SAO, in ALO it becomes a rescue mission for Kirito with Leafa-cum-Sugu replacing Asuna as the heroine for that arc while I would not say Asuna has been reduced to a damsel in distress, how much could she do if she had everything locked against her? She is still strong willed and tries to do her best to get out but there is little she can do if you are up against the all powerful system administrator.

Through SAO, Kirito and Asuna learn to appreciate what they have and each other. Ironically, reality didn’t teach them that but the virtual world. SAO was the world where they build their bonds and you can see Asuna who was quite distant from Kirito eventually opens up to him. You could say that the bonds they made during SAO have become unbreakable and it would be unthinkable for them to be separate. That’s why when SAO ended and ALO began with them so close but yet a world apart, it just feels out of place. But it is all the more sweet when Kirito is able to get his girl in the end, right? Kirito has something precious to protect and in that sense it makes him stronger. I don’t think he was ever arrogant in the first place of wanting to be a solo player but I figure it’s his style of play. He doesn’t show off his skill when he reaches a certain high level like some players do. At first it was traumatic that the first group he joins, everyone dies an unexpected death. There’s lots of frustration and disappointment when things go wrong. That is enough to traumatize him for the rest of his life. It’s understandable he doesn’t want to have any more ‘casualties’ or friends dying before with eyes. So now that he has Asuna, the desire to protect somebody he loves becomes the source of will to get stronger. I think after a few episodes in, nobody remembered he was a Beater. Did you? I certainly forgot he was labelled as such. His skills are definitely genuine. In the RPG sense. No cheat codes, that is.

Maybe it is because this series is about Kirito and Asuna, I thought some of the characters didn’t make much of an impact. Like Agil and Klein, there were mostly confined to SAO and did not really appear to play in ALO. I thought Silica and Liz would also make future appearances but apparently they become one or two episode characters only. I even thought they would become part of a love triangle with Asuna for Kirito. Sheesh. What was I thinking? This is a fantasy game where players try to get out with their real lives at stake and how did I ever get this idea that they will end up in some love spat? Otherwise, we wouldn’t have seen Kirito and Asuna growing closer as they are now. I just remembered something. What about that mysterious player killing guild, Laughing Coffin? I had a feeling that they would become the main antagonist but somehow after the Grimrock-Griselda case was resolved, we never hear anything from them. They had potential to be the man villains since they look the part. Kibaou? That guy feels like he still had some grudge but what happened? He was just only mentioned in name during Yui-Thinker-Yuriel’s story. So what happened to them? Not important. Like those other side characters in SAO too. Either they are dead or just doing fine trying to adjust back to life in the real world. Instead we have Kayaba playing the hero and villain of this game and becoming the final boss very quickly. I suppose it will take another season if they are going to go through more floors and ‘side quests’ so perhaps the revelation of Heathcliff as Kayaba halfway through was just to end the arc. It still boggles me how Kirito came back to life along with Asuna. I believe that if you die in the game, you also die in the real world. They did, right? Unless you tell me these two are special cases. Or that if you have very strong feelings, you can overcome this virtual death and ultimately real death. At least that was what Kirito did. He’s the only guy who has technically died and came back to life. Oh, Asuna too…

As said, the adventure in ALO seems diminished maybe because I was so used to the world of SAO and then suddenly another different world pops up that we have to enter. Having Kirito and Asuna separated wasn’t what I had in mind but I suppose it was to bring Sugu to the fore. Another world, another heroine. This was important at least to Sugu to sort out her feelings for Kirito once and for all. Otherwise she would still be under some sort of delusion and just lying to herself. I suppose she would give Recon a shot, no? That nerd? I don’t think he is even close in her books. Sorry, Nagata. So the other characters in ALO also don’t feel as much impact as I thought they should since they’re giving the focus to Kirito and Leafa. It would be boring if this ALO arc was entirely about Kirito trying to find a way to reach Asuna so I speculate that they added this Salamander confrontation thingy as a side track to the entire arc. Of course it did play a little minor important role in gathering the army for the final big battle but that role seems so short that I could hardly call it something memorable. Well, at least they serve their purpose to push Kirito to their goal. Sugou is a person everyone loves to hate so when he gets what he deserves in the end, it is divine retribution and no love lost for this unethical sick guy.

Kirito is such a popular guy that I had this false hope that some sort of a harem romance would begin. I know it is as silly as my expectations for the love triangle in SAO. Silica and Liz were long forgotten once SAO ended (come to think of it, how will Liz be Kirito’s exclusive blacksmith from now?) and my hopes of such romance died out. Till I see Sakuya and Alicia in that short tussle over him, did it reignite my hopes. Sadly, that too burnt out as quickly once I realize it wasn’t going to happen. Just a fantasy in my fantasy after all. So in the end it always has to be Asuna. She is the girl for him and no doubt about it. Not even Sugu can go up to that. Just swallow the bitter pill of love and get over with it. And Klein after all this time in the virtual and real world is still having problems picking up chicks… Maybe it’s all in the karma. Kirito you’re one lucky bastard… Does Yui count you ask? Well, I feel that’s a different kind of love. Isn’t it funny that they’ve got a family in the virtual world first? Just like with a snap of a finger, they’ve got a virtual daughter who works as some kind of system monitoring programme.

I know I have sung praises of the fantasy world so let me say them again but this time in the art and drawing department. Because I love the different exotic locations from the pristine forest to the dangerous dark dungeons and the mandatory big towns, each of the scenery looks good to me. Just looking at them would take my mind to travel to such place. I would start imagining that I am adventuring and exploring such locations in my head. Too bad I can only do that after I watch the episode so as not to lose my concentration and focus. So some scenes were breathtaking like the floating islands and idyllic forests to the captivating snow level. Even if you want to argue that the art of those backgrounds are not superbly excellent to be Da Vinci’s masterpiece level, I guess my mind itself has made lots of ‘adjustments’ in seeing such sceneries so they are definitely pleasing to me. The character designs are okay too. You have got to have cool costumes when you are playing RPG, right? You’ve got lots of good looking characters, odd looking characters, and even moe loli characters like Yui and Silica. The monsters too are rather okay since they give out that menacing feel and one look at them it will make you go “Holy sh*t! Can I really beat this thing?!” expression.

For the action part, I won’t really say that they keep you on the edge of the seat but they are sufficient enough to entertain you especially with Kirito and Asuna’s combination as they are both skilled in using their swords. There is slightly more excitement in fighting level bosses in SAO because the monsters are ruthless and the players’ lives are real. Therefore there is this danger in every strike they make or miss. They are walking a very thin line between life and death. You never know what will happen to you in the next second. Slightly careless and you are a sure goner. It wasn’t very much so in ALO especially when you have nothing to lose and can easily respawn after some timed penalty. Besides, I believe besides the insane number of guardians inside the dome, I don’t think there are other monsters that the players will fight except each other. Well, the idea of having different races of fairies fighting against each other isn’t my cup of tea for action in this series.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me because when I first learnt that Haruka Tomatsu is the voice behind Asuna, something inside me refuses to accept it is her. My heart was saying, “No way. It can’t be her”. Not to say I am very familiar with her voice since I didn’t realize it was her even after a few episodes in. Unless she sounds like Shizuku from Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun, maybe I could recognize her but that’s not the point. She has voiced a range of characters from the airhead genius called Lala in To Love-Ru to the cheeky Yuka of Natsuiro Kiseki to the sweet girl of Yuina in Hanasaku Iroha to the arrogant Hitei in Katanagatari and the deadpan Hitoha in Mitsudomoe so sometimes a person like me just couldn’t recognize her. Yoshitsugu Matsuoka is the voice behind Kirito and I thought he sounds like his other sword wielding hero, Godou in Campione. Just without the harem. Well, there is a certain calmness to his voice unless he gets all riled up. Like his role as Sorata in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo. Just that he wasn’t screaming in every episode in this one. Ayana Taketatsu as Leafa/Sugu almost sounded like as she was going to turn into Kirino in OreImo. Kanae Itou exudes lots of moe as Yui. At least she sounds better and less annoying than that perverted squid stalker Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume or the naïve arrogant Sena from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. Takehito Koyasu really makes his character as Sugou/Oberon like a crazy mad man. Imagine him as Yoshida from Bakuman but put in lots of genuine evil in it. And then when he cowers, he screams like a girl!

Other casts in this series include Hiroaki Hirata as Klein (Sanji in One Piece), Hiroki Yasumoto as Agil (Sado in Bleach), Ayahi Takagi as Liz (Mikako in Sora No Otoshimono), Rina Hidaka as Silica (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS), Sayurai Yahagi as Sakuya (Harun in To Love-Ru), Chiwa Saito as Alicia (Kirie in Girls Bravo), Ayumu Murase as Recon (Shun in Shin Sekai Yori), Toru Ookawa as Heathcliff (Taira in BTOOOM), Kouichi Yamadera as Kayaba (Spike in Cowboy Bebop), Takahiro Mizushima as Thinker (Rolo in Code Geass R2), Ryoko Shiraishi as Yuriel (Himeko in Sket Dance), Saori Hayame as Sachi (Sawa in Tari Tari), Koji Yusa as Kuradeel (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach) and Takuya Kirimoto as Sigurd (Gazelle in Eureka 7 Astral Ocean). The rock pace of the first opening theme is Crossing Field by Lisa and it gets viewers in the mood of what to expect in this anime. The second opening theme is also another rock outfit, Innocence by Eir Aoi. As mentioned, since I had problems acknowledging Haruka Tomatsu as Asuna, it was somewhat the same problem for the first ending theme too. I didn’t really think it was her singing the slow and slowly piece of Yume Sekai although I really like find this song and find it appealing. The second ending theme, Overfly by Luna Haruna is also another appealing pop piece but I still prefer the first one.

This series is perhaps trying to tell us that even though the lines between virtual and reality are blurring with each advancement in technology, there are also several issues to deal with. How can you tell what is reality and virtual anymore? Is it morally right if someone chooses to live his/her life in the virtual world and give up the real world? Putting on a helmet to dive into a virtual world could be an exciting experience but what happens when there are legal and moral issues arising from deaths and the after effects on the brain and body for wearing the gear for too long? Just like staring too long at the computer monitor will have devastating effects on your eyes, so I am sure that putting on such helmet for hours every day would be like putting your brain in the microwave oven and slowly zapping all the cells in the nerves since the helmet is connected to your nervous system. The bottom line is, there is not much difference between virtual and reality. The virtual world exists because we try to do what we cannot in reality. Reality is always there because to remind you that you are still human and bring your feet back to earth. So they both complement each other in that sense.

Although the anime has ended and there is no news if there would be another season, I am sure that in view of the many worlds created by The Seed, it will be exciting to see what kind of worlds are creatively created. It would be nice to explore them. As I found out, besides SAO and ALO, there are a number of other MMORPG games and worlds that Kirito has entered. There is one world whereby it involves using of guns and another one through the underworld where the ability accelerating and slowing time down is used. Sounds familiar? Accel World crossover? Well, both series are written by Reki Kawahara so it is no surprise that both works that involves fantasy and technology would one day collide and intersect. Just like how CLAMP used to do with theirs. Yeah. Not only the line between reality and virtual is blurring but also between series. Maybe somebody should come up with a fantasy world for a harem genre… Hey. A guy can dream, right? Maybe they’ll have one on racing cars and another on intergalactic battles and space crafts. The possibility of human creativity is endless. Since this series has quite a big fan base, what are the chances of it getting a sequel? Or we can just continue dreaming of it for now.

As of now, RPG games are not really my number one favourite genre so I know I am missing out a lot on great fantasy worlds that I yearn to dive into (at least in my mind). Sighs… There are lots of Japanese anime style games out there so I think I really am missing out and a hypocrite if I said I loved this genre and yet never played one. But if such technology does come true in my time, I would probably love to give it a shot. It would be great creating your own avatar, the kind of abilities assigned and even coming up with a name. Then forming your own party and going on a big adventure through various worlds, fighting off monsters, saving damsels in distress, finding treasures… Levelling up with high experience points… Mmm…. Sounds good in my head. Already fantasizing about the fantasy. Just short of needing a cheat code to get me out of the fix if I ever find myself facing a big bad boss. Just too bad I can’t enter any cheat codes in real life. Scoring with a girl from a 2D dating simulation seems much easier than in real life. What a downer. I had to remind myself of this boring real life ‘adventure’ of mine…

Yuyushiki

October 26, 2013

Whenever there is an anime that lacks any plot in the storyline, the best bet in making it interesting has got to be the characters, right? Well, I thought this was what Yuyushiki is going to be since the synopsis even went something about how the protagonist girls of this series try to make their daily lives interesting even in the most mundane of events. That says a lot and yet nothing much about what this anime is about, right? And so, with one of my shortest (if not the shortest) anime series blog introduction, here we go if this moe slice of life comedy will sink or swim.

Episode 1
Yui Ichii feels embarrassed when she dresses into her high school uniform. Yuzuko Nonohara waits for Yui and plans how to tease her but a cat distracts her and is forced to maintain eye contact for fear it might run away. What happens if you sneeze… Yukari Hinata feels sleepy but she stumbles and bangs the wall. I guess it woke her up. The trio meet on their first day in high school and are glad to find themselves in the same class. After the entrance ceremony, they see a club recruitment poster by the Data Processing Club in which currently has zero members. At the bookstore, Yuzuko and Yukari interrupt Yui so she lost count of her sales tax calculation. When they leave, Yuzuko seems to have triggered the sensor. Did she steal something? She’s panicking. The bookstore employee asks if she has any tangled cords and it seems the cords wrapping her iPod is indeed causing the sensor to beep. While they stop to have dango, Yuzuko suddenly wants Yui to kiss her. If not, fondle her boobs! What could be worse than that? Licking the foodstuff off her face. Didn’t they realize many are watching them? Who knows how many are yuri lovers. Yuzuko and Hinata jab Yui’s ribs and since they won’t stop, Yui threatens to break Yuzuko’s little finger! But they didn’t learn their lesson since the duo continue to play with Yui’s hair, making her feel embarrassed. Back in class, the next lesson is English and they know who their teacher is: Yoriko Matsumoto. She is a person whom they call Okaasan (Mom). As an English teacher, she asks her class if they have any favourite English words. Sure they have but they sound so American.

The trio later see Okaasan outside a clubroom in which is the Data Processing Club. Noting they are interested to take a peek, she hands them the key. The room is small but cosy. They make use of the computers in the room. Yuzuko mentions her S&M test results makes her an ‘S’. So? She wants to hit Yui!!! Can she?! Why is she breathing so hard?! She thinks Yui is an ‘M’ and true enough, her test result pops out so. Now Yukari wants to hit her too! Unfortunately the twin terror got hit instead. The test is all bull… Who is the sadistic one? The girls search for topics on the sun. Learning that 99.8% of the solar system’s matters are from the sun and the balance from Jupiter, Yuzuko and Yukari imagine their body as the sun, the mole would be the sunspot and the little finger as Jupiter. What about Earth? A strand of hair? Yuzuko accidentally plucks it out and loses it. The duo panic that it is the end of the world! How did this even get side-tracked? On the topic of the sun’s distance to Earth, Yuzuko is worried if their house is that far from school. How will they commute? Why not just change school? Finding out a period in the 17th century when it got cold due to sunspots dying out, Yuzuko thinks Maunder Minimum phenomenon sounds like a freezing finishing death move. At the end when it is time to leave (because Yukari’s tummy is growling), Yuzuko writes on the board of today’s club activities’ summary. “The sun is amazing. Incredible too. Maunder Minimum. “Death to the enemy”. Whatever. Yuzuko trips on a loose brick and loses her balance. This causes Yui to snicker at her and so embarrassed she is that she couldn’t talk properly.

Episode 2
The trio make a joke and laugh so hard. They even got hooked on the phrase “Just kidding just slipped out” that they even started singing to it. Infectious, isn’t it? In the clubroom, Yuzuko brings up the topic about boobs. She distracts Yui so she could grope hers. This of course seals her death fate as Yui is going to punch her. Too late to regret but still she tries to tell her that the puncher too will feel pain if she punches. So how? Yui uses Yuzuko’s own fist to punch her own face! Double the pain! Still on the topic of boobs, Yuzuko and Yukari feel like wanting to grope Okaasan’s boobs. Yui warns them if they want to do it on Okaasan is fine but not to Chiho Aikawa. Because she seems to have a hard time when they’re around (we know why). Every time Yui talks to her, she quickly takes her leave when the duo gets into the picture. Yeah. I think she’s afraid they’ll do something to her. Seriously. Those two in shock? Okaasan comes to check on them so the cheeky duo surround her to try and grope her boobs but couldn’t because they feel embarrass. Okaasan gives them hope that their boobs will grow because hers did when she was at their age. But what she didn’t say is that her boobs weren’t as small as theirs then. The trio look up the internet about dogs and find some with weirdly long names. This leads them to find the Russian dog named Zvyzdochka that was sent to space. Quick, say that name 3 times fast! Yukari blunders… But she sounds so cute. On their way out, they see Aikawa coming from the opposite direction. Yuzuko and Yukari hide and want Yui to talk to her. But it’s like Aikawa knew what is coming and excuses herself. Yuzuko and Yukari chase after her and think of fondling her boobs. Weren’t they warned?

Yukari shows them a sketch of a cute creature but the rest think it looks hideous. When Yuzuko makes some adjustments to it and Yui laughing her head off, Yukari became jealous and continues drawing that creature on the board and not heeding to their discovery of something amazing on the internet. But she can’t sulk forever and gets dragged back when they proclaim how much they love her. Okaasan comes in to check on them and because there are only 2 computers, the trio have a hard time using it together. Okaasan has another computer back home but it sounds like she doesn’t intend to give it back. As for regular supervision, Okaasan trusts them that they won’t do anything suspicious and thus no need for such. But when Yukari and Yuzuko put up that cheeky snicker, maybe she needs to rethink again. Summer is her and the heat must have gone to the girls’ head. Yeah. Yuzuko is clinging on to Yui like a pervert. She thought Yukari could help her out but she too becomes a pervert snapping a picture and turning into one. If they don’t get off, they’ll feel her death blow. Better calm down if you want to live longer. Yuzuko decides to go get some ice cream from the convenience store. But the heat must be so intense that she got distracted by a cat and followed it. Eventually she comes back with the ice cream but puts it in a refrigerator in the infirmary and labelled it clearly as highly toxic! After the refreshing ice cream, Yui discovers Japan have their own ice cream organization. The duo want to join but feels they have to eat ice cream for 365 days. That’s sickening, right? They also find out strange names given to ice cream in certain countries on certain condition. Yuzuko and Yukari try to say Mellorine and Dondurma in cute and dramatic ways. At the end of the day when the girls leave to get ice cream, Yuzuko writes the summary on the board as usual. Okaasan sees it and adds he own doodles onto it.

Episode 3
Yuzuko and Yukari are so hyped that summer vacation is here. But the summer heat zapped all their energy away. Not so energetic now, eh? While the friends are at the pool, suddenly Yukari wonders what water is. WTF is that question?! It even spreads to Yuzuko. Yuzuko did a prank by pushing Yukari into the water and because it was just mean, she slapped herself! Yuzuko and Yukari make their way to Yui’s house. They treat her room like theirs. Yuzuko thinks the world is packed with some sort of energy now but Yukari believes air conditioning cancels out summer power. Yuzuko wants to know if feigned psychic power or air conditioned room is more important. Yui has another suggestion: Go home! On another day, Yuzuko suddenly texts Yui that they will be coming to sleep over. Better hurry up and clean your room. First thing the duo did was to lock Yui out of her room and rummage through her closet. Of course they were just teasing her but when they hear the banging on the door stop, they wonder if they had made her mad. They peep open the door and suddenly Yuzuko finds her neck locked within Yui’s arms. She knows death is coming… Somehow only Yuzuko bore the punishment. The duo are disheartened that Yui doesn’t sleep in her pyjamas and she already has taken a bath prior to their arrival. I suppose they can’t unleash their whatever pranks they had in mind. They try to convince her she stinks but she is not falling for their mind games. Yui hits back by telling a ghost story instead. When it’s time to sleep, the duo want to sleep on her bed. I don’t know how Yui managed to make them sleep on the futon on the floor. Yui can guess the duo are up to no good because they’re not sleepy at all. She can tell they are creeping up into her bed and whacks them out before anything untoward could happen.

Yukari talks to Yui about Yuzuko how she would shout whatever things pop up in her head. Speaking of her, here she comes. Wearing snorkel? And then she starts throwing tantrum and goes into a fit. She’s dying? Say some last words to her? Well, Yui had only silence for her. Yukari felt guilty for spilling the beans to Yui so she starts acting weird like Yuzuko. Yuzuko wanted to give Yui the snorkel to wear. I don’t think she will after she just licked it like a pervert! Yuzuko goes out to the book store for a while. Aikawa spies on her and notes the book of her favourite author is reading but feels terrible for stalking. When Yukari is away for a family holiday in the tropical islands, she sends pictures back. Her friends couldn’t wonder how come there is a bug in each photo. On purpose? When she comes back, Yukari has worked up a tan. Not that she forgot putting sun lotion, she couldn’t be bothered! Asking her about the bugs, suddenly she becomes afraid that they are poisonous and will die. The duo have a hard time convincing her she won’t but went overboard that she is the strongest. Yukari may have gotten the wrong idea that she is the strongest… In town. Yuzuko chops Yui’s neck so she is being told off not to do something that dangerous. Since Yuzuko doesn’t look like she’s reflecting on it, Yui won’t talk to her. I think she is more irritating trying to convey what she wants to say through her noisy actions. Yuzuko snaps a shot of the 3 of them and sends it to Aikawa. At least it’s not an embarrassing picture of Yui. Wait. She had such pictures? Delete them now!

Episode 4
During the entrance ceremony, Aikawa sat next to Yui. She felt she’s a nice girl and wanted to get to know her and her friends more. Aikawa receives a picture of Yui’s top falling off!!! How will she reply to that?! It seems Yukari is poor in recognizing faces. She can’t even recognize Yuzuko wearing glasses! So why is she wearing them? She doesn’t wear them often because she doesn’t want to look smart. Yeah. Yui notes she is smart. Just that her ideas are dumb. Yuzuko feels she is brimming with motivation and lets out some motivation beam. Unfortunately this causes her to lose motivation so her friends try to say words that bring them back. All food? Yui finds out that Yuzuko and Aikawa have grown closer together and are now considered book store friends. Okaasan seems worried that many of the students are calling her that now. Yuzuko says it’s because her traits of caring like a mother that stands out. Along with Yukari, they try to convince her to accept it and there is nothing she can do about it. Not only that, Yuzuko asks if she could be her mom since she doesn’t have one. Serious? Okaasan is lost for words and Yui knows this is their ploy just to tease and confuse her with that adolescent and aging thingy. She whacks her friends and makes them apologize for the confusion. By the way, all their parents are alive and well. When Okaasan leaves, more of her students greet her with this name and she seems to have gotten the hang of it. The Data Processing Club girls decide to research on whales. There is so much they don’t know and each time Yui reads an interesting fact, the duo just become dumbfound thinking whether it is really an Earth creature. It is, I assure you.

While walking back, Yuzuko stretches so a pigeon lands on her fist. She tries hard not to move and scare it away but I’m not sure what position is she trying to make. Eventually it flew away. Because Yui has been reading an interesting book right up till morning, she is sleepy in class. I guess this leaves an opportunity for her friends to tease her how much a fool she has become if she’s sleepy. They continue to joke around while Yui is just holding out period after period. I don’t think she is going to try to think what they are saying. Just one more period of class left before lunch and Yui is on the verge of losing her ‘sanity’. So much so when Yuzuko requests to touch her boobs, Yui allows it as long as it is in a room! Then she laughs like a mad woman! When Aikawa comes by to see what is happening, Yui pushes her friends into her and laughs like a prankster! Is this the Yui we know?! Eventually they bring her to the infirmary where she falls fast asleep. Of course, Yuzuko and Yukari won’t let this chance slip and take multiple pictures of her sleeping face and encourage Aikawa too. I think she really wanted to do that in the first place. And so, Aikawa becomes a happy girl since she is able to take a picture of sleeping Yui by herself. Yui wakes up when school has ended. She feels lonely now that everyone has left. But she is relieved when her friends come in to pick her up. Even though they are idiots, they are good friends, right? Till she realizes she fell into one of their tricks again when they claim they took off her panties while she was sleeping. Don’t worry, she’s still wearing it. At least she’s fully awake now.

Episode 5
Yuzuko wants them to move on turn-based. This means only one can move and the rest can’t. Yui wants to go first and reaches a pair of scissors in her bag! Her friends are suspicious she has ulterior motive but Yui says if they try to do something funny, she’ll hit them in her next move! Smart move. Game over. The girls break for lunch and Yuzuko loves her sandwich. Yukari remembers Yui once loved her but Yui explains that was just admiration. When they first met in elementary school, Yui had this impression Yukari is a princess since she comes from a rich family. One day, Yukari wanted to share her foreign candies but tripped and spilled them. Yui shared hers and since that day, Yukari became her friend and took a liking for her. However Yui didn’t like Yukari coming to her house because her words and actions seemed embarrassing. Yuzuko feels left out and wants a past story like them so Yukari whispers something into her ear and made Yuzuko wanting to see Yui cry like a child! When it is time to return to class, Yukari and Yuzuko fool around and waste time. Yukari slightly twists her ankle so Yui holds her hand and brings her to the infirmary. Seeing this, Yuzuko curses her luck that she should have twisted hers. One night, Yuzuko calls Yui just to play shiritori. Instant hung up. She calls again but is met with a sarcastic fate and answer. So she texts Yukari to comfort and play with her. Since she is in the bathroom, there is no reply.

In class, Yukari says how she found her nose bleeding for 2 hours after bath but because she was so scared to ask for help that they would tell her something scary, she went to bed and prayed it would stop and that she would live tomorrow. Well, congratulations. Yukari will try her best not to die. I wonder how this sounds to the passing people. Yuzuko wonders what they will do if she suddenly dies. Yui cannot believe Yuzuko will die so easily because she is tough. However Yuzuko asserts she can die if hit very hard and is confident in saying that. Then Yuzuko asks what Yui does on lonely nights. Yukari assures she can call her any time if she needs company. Some of the classmates may have a wrong idea about their relationship. Yui smacks her and this reminds Yukari about last night’s shiritori. So when she continues it, the rest had no idea and Yui thinks she smacked her too hard. Yukari thinks it will be cool if she had amnesia. No, not because something bad happened to her or her idiocy has progressed. She watched this amazing suspense movie whereby the twist was great. She hoped she had amnesia so she can watch it again. The rest think she’ll forget it soon. Heck, she can’t even give a good summary of what the show is about. Yuzuko wants to try something to induce amnesia but cheeky Yui is glad she volunteered herself. Now to find a stick… Yukari requests Yui to pet her head to induce some happiness thingy. But it turns her and Yuzuko into some pervert wanting more from Yui. See their drooling faces? As they talk about death and how living dies will end up dying one day, Yuzuko excuses herself to the toilet like as though it is some sort of death. But Yui won’t let her go because she doesn’t want her to die! She just dug her own grave… Eventually she manages to answer nature’s call and she remembers continuing Yukari’s shiritori game. Still playing that? Going home, the girls realize they have been talking nothing but death so they make a promise that they won’t die before the other. That’s like living forever, right?

Episode 6
Yuzuko wonders if it’s morning. Because it’s too damn cold to get up. On the way to school, Yuzuko puts her cold hands on Yui’s cheeks. Chilly surprise! Now prepare elbow lock death! In class, Yui is able to avoid Yukari’s similar trick. Outside the classroom, Yuzuko talk about potatoes and makes a joke about it. Surprisingly Yui cannot contain her laughter! I think she’s about to lose it. Aikawa thinks Yui is undergoing some sort of fit! In the clubroom, the girls research on the origins of the names of the days in a week. When they leave and bump into Okaasan, Yuzuko suddenly wants her to give her fire. Had a little shock there, did she? Actually what she wanted was a portable stove so they can cook nabe. But can they do so in the clubroom? No way. Yuzuko lies there is a red spider on her shoulder. Okaasan stiffens up, wanting the girls to get rid of it. Yuzuko will do so if she allows the nabe but as a good teacher she can’t do that. I guess Yui has stayed silent long enough and whacks Yuzuko. She apologizes for her prank but still won’t give up on the nabe. Okaasan will invite them to her house to have one. The girls are being treated to a sumptuous nabe meal at Okaasan’s home. They try to describe how delicious it is by comparing it to other dishes but don’t make sense. They ask Okaasan about her different dressing at school and at home so they want to see her closet. No way. Yuzuko bugs Yui to convince her to let them see but I don’t think she is budging. Unless they can do 5 pages of homework for winter, in which the lazy bums obviously can’t.

Back in school, Yuzuko talks about wearing shining pyjamas. It leads to shining underwear and shining future. Yui rebuffs them all like a pro. Kei Okano has overheard them and somewhat praises Yui of how fast she was. She asks them what they are doing for Christmas and it seems they will be sleeping over at Yui’s place. I guess that’s good because Okano has this death stare in her eyes that says “Don’t you dare take away my Aikawa for Christmas you crazy b*tches!”. Since their plans didn’t clash, Okano is cool with it. When it snows for the first time, Yui remembers when she was young she used to get this ideas that snowflakes contained memories of dead animals. Then Yuzuko points out a snowflake that contains the soul of a kisser just absorbed into her. She starts trying to kiss Yui like a pervert!!! To fend her off, Yukari says the soul of an unknown creature entered her. Yuzuko becomes polite. What kind of creature is that? Later Yuzuko reveals that soul was God and to pray to her hard for more snow. Yui wants money. Then it stopped snowing. The duo persist Yuzuko the God to continue snowing. So are they fine giving up money? Yui wants both! In no time it starts snowing again so they really think Yui is God. But she apologizes she isn’t. We know. I don’t know if this is real or not because God is descending onto Earth disguised as a snowflake. Whoever He touches will receive a miracle. He misses Yukari by an inch. Good thing? It’s getting so cold that the girls want to think of summer to warm themselves up. But too cold that they couldn’t think of anything.

Episode 7
As Yui waits to pick up Yuzuko, the latter creeps up and stabs her in the forehead with a toy arrow! Deserves to be hit! Yui takes revenge by poking her butt! I don’t know if she likes it since she thinks she is getting very flirty. Yuzuko falls asleep in Yui’s house. Apparently Yukari is away with her family on New Year’s Day. Yui feels bad that Yuzuko is apologizing to her in her dreams. Does she often get mad in her dreams? She resolves to get less mad this year. I doubt that will come true. Yui lets Yuzuko smell natto to wake up. She thought she smelled some lowland gorilla. When Yukari returns, Yui picks her up this time. I think she is close to having Yui withdrawal symptoms and wants to smell her badly since she was away for 3 days. Yukari also falls asleep at Yui’s place. So when Yui wakes her up via natto, Yukari thinks she smelled a mountain gorilla. Idiots’ mind in sync? At least it’s a different species. On another day when all 3 of them are together, Yuzuko asks if anyone gained weight during New Year’s Day. She always says things that riles up Yui, no? When Yui teases Yukari a bit, she got embarrassed and lightly hit her. Yuzuko also joins in the hitting. It might feel ticklish but it’s getting annoying so Yui threatens to poke their eyes! She’s getting ready to do it with that finger pose! The duo escape outside to write a note to not kill them. Later the trio take a walk outside to get some warm buns to eat. They discuss what to do next for the rest of their winter break. Yuzuko wants to drive a car but has no licence. Just keep dreaming…

In class, Yuzuko and Yukari’s chaotic conversation has Yui in stitches. They talk about feeling sad when people die (something that Yuzuko feels happy), chocolates, chocolate fondue and having Yui sticking her hand in it so they can eat her finger! Yuzuko feigns going to the toilet so she can chop Yui’s head from the back! She just signed her death warrant. She didn’t learn her lesson and chop her head again to prove she has a skull! Now die! Yuzuko gets an idea to mould Yui’s head into a chocolate so she can open her head and eat the truffles in it. Eh? What? Chiho hears them talking about chocolates so her friends tell her to go give it to them. Yuzuko asks her which part of her body she wants to be made as chocolate so when she replies an eye (because it’s round) they think she is some fan of a character from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In the clubroom, the girls research about eyes that lead to find out about eyes of cats, dragonfly eyes and proteins needed to send visuals to your brain. As they go home, Yuzuko slaps a chunk of snow onto Yui’s calf. Cold as hell! She expects to get hit but to her surprise she didn’t. She thinks her pun diverted her wrath. Which reminds Yui of it as Yuzuko gets a hard knock on her head. Ouch…

Episode 8
The girls are in their second year now and all remain in the same class. When Aikawa talks to them, suddenly Okano grabs her from behind. It feels as though she is jealous of her talking to them and doesn’t want her to hang out with them any further. Since when was Aikawa her property? Yuzuko wants to kick off the great year by doing something doable. By making Okaasan cry? I don’t know how that is excitable. Then they reminisce about last year like the cultural festival where they ate a cafe filled with spicy food. During PE, Yuzuko chops and pushes Yukari’s head. I guess she was tired so her timing was rather slow. She is more tired after PE so Yuzuko chops her head again to turn her back to life. Later Aikawa talks to them to apologize for some PE incident. Yuzuko wonders why she doesn’t play ball sports often since she has “2 big balls”! Okano sees Aikawa talking to them with scorn. She is snapped out by Fumi Hasegawa. She is like the Yuzuko of their group and has her own pranks. Hasegawa knows Okano likes Aikawa so the latter smack-cum-pet her head as punishment. Yuzuko wonders why Okaasan became their pathetic club’s advisor. Yui admits it was once a great club but they somehow ruined it. Today’s club research is about water. Among the topics ‘debated’ include ketchup versus mayonnaise (WTF), water’s scientific name doesn’t make it sound so watery and the possibility there is water on one of Jupiter’s moons (the possibility of aliens exists).

Yukari wants to do a drop kick so Yuzuko will gladly show her how it’s done. Yui tells them not to abuse their knees so they conclude how she likes to retort everything. Hasegawa joins in their silly chatter and she mixes in fine. What she is trying to hint to them is that they can have Aikawa but lay off Okano because she is her plaything. During recess, Okano goes out to buy lunch at the convenience store. She realizes she doesn’t have enough money and will not make her purchase but Yui is there to lend her some. Okano is embarrassed but accepts her good gesture. The Data Processing Club research on alcohol and wonder if there is one that could make Okaasan cry. This leads them to wonder if she will drop by since she has lots of free time. Yui doubts it but speaking of the devil, here she comes in. Yuzuko declares her love for her and asks her the kind of character she would like to go with if she plays video games. It seems before she could finish her sentence, they complete it for her so Okaasan resigns to her fate as some Naked Boobs character. Asking her if she had cried lately, it was a touching movie of a family. They think she has her own personal past problems but she dismisses it. When the girls leave for home, Yuzuko wants to visit Okaasan’s home again. To make her cry. Give it up… Yui excuses herself to the toilet and bumps into Okano. She is still embarrassed about today’s incident but nevertheless grateful and will pay her back. No problem. Okano surprises Yui that if she has ever touched Aikawa’s boobs. If she hasn’t, try touching it once because it is amazing. But just once. What… The… Hell…? Is this her way of gratitude?

Episode 9
Hasegawa is having one of her idiotic conversations with Okano when they pass by Yukari. Okano is looking for Aikawa but is not in. Hasegawa wants to get a squeeze from Okano and will pretend to be Yui. Of course she’s not going to. When Yukari returns, she thinks Hasegawa is such a good girl. Yui doubts she chose her words right. When Okano teases the Data Processing Club members for not getting any new recruits, Yuzuko got this urge to pounce on her! Thank goodness Yui’s reflex to stop her is faster. Okaasan sees the girls looking at recruitment posters of other clubs. Wondering if they are recruiting, Yuzuko says they like it the way it is now because they get to do it at home. After getting whacked by Yui, she changes her answer it’s fun because they do it as a club. The girls are touched when Okaasan believes they should enjoy themselves more often. When the trio eat lunch together, they remain silent and Okano thinks they’re fighting. Of course Yui can’t stay silent any longer as she makes a punch line about Yuzuko being a bread person. Yuzuko and Yukari start laughing very hard. I guess they’re not fighting after all. Yui promises she won’t say anything because Yuzuko warns her she’ll burst into laughter. But when Okano comes by and asks about that bread person, there you go. Yuzuko invites Aikawa to join them (and pet her head). Hasegawa also joins them and dispenses her own bread pun jokes. Why is it making Yuzuko feel bad? Yuzuko continues to have mindless trash conversation with her friends. It dawned to her everyone else have their own conversations and wonder if theirs sound silly to them. Perhaps. No. Make that a definite yes.

The girls are going to the clubroom and thought of inviting Aikawa but she has her committee meeting to attend. But when she manages to come, Yuzuko and Yukari give her a big welcome. Feeling cosy? I guess it’s an excuse for them to go out and buy snacks. Aikawa feels awkward being alone with Yui. Though embarrassed, she finally asks for permission to take a picture of her. Yuzuko and Yukari always send her and they aren’t good pictures so she thought of taking one herself. At Yui’s home, Yukari thinks about eating curry rice while Yuzuko’s hyperness has her do air boxing. So hyper that she spills the bottle. Then lying on the floor and sticking it in her mouth like a baby, they take a picture and send it to Aikawa! Nothing else better to do, huh? Yuzuko feels she likes this position and is unmotivated to move. Till Yukari lies about a cockroach and she’s back to her hyper self. In class, Yuzuko says she saw a 500 Yen coin on the road but didn’t pick it up thinking it would save her 500 Yen worth of luck. Now she regrets not picking it up. Okano notices Yukari’s beautiful long hair and thinks it’s because she comes from a good family. Talking to Hasegawa about this, the joker says she wants Yukari to be her child. On the same topic, they ask Aikawa and she would like hers to be like Yuzuko. Easy to talk, fun and smart. Does she show all that qualities or are we talking about the wrong person? The Data Processing Club girls research on ogres and also vampires. When they leave, Yuzuko accidentally bumps into Okaasan’s boobs. She thinks this is worth more than 500 Yen. The trio also bump into Aikawa and co. What a rare coincidence. Since they’re going to hang out at Hasegawa’s place, they are invited to come. Asking what they will be doing, Hasegawa replies a dinner party but Okano knows it’s just a lie.

Episode 10
Yui is bloody irritated that her friends are making popping sounds with their mouth. Stop it! Yuzuko brings a wrestler’s mask to the clubroom. Yukari puts it on the top of the board and draws below. Wrestler in a tub? They even have Okaasan comment and add some suggestions. Yuzuko talks to her friends about naming a character for a game. When she used Polyaness and Google it, there were no search results. To her surprise, her friends think it is a scary story. Yuzuko borrows a guitar and fools around with it, pretending she is a pro player. Then she borrows a model doll from the art club and accidentally rips off its arm. Oops… She hasn’t returned for a while from the art club so her friends think she really got reprimanded. However Yuzuko returns with another doll! When she told them about it and apologized, the art club girl laughed so hard and gave her another one since they have lots of this. Guess what? This time Yuzuko has both its arm torn! Is she that stupid?! Yuzuko assures Yui that this is the first doll and swapped with the second one. Got her fooled. But why break off the other arm? Uhn… When Yukari quips she doesn’t understand her sometimes, Yuzuko gets disheartened and wants to play rock-scissors-paper. Apparently they weren’t in sync at all. Okaasan comes in and thinks it is wrong timing (after seeing the broken doll). She is forced to play it with Yuzuko and won against her. So disheartened that Yuzuko seeks solace in her true friends, which are the dolls. Wasn’t she the one who broke their arms? Super depress… Okaasan hints to comfort her but Yuzuko is now hiding behind the curtain staring out the window. And then Yui signals the gag is over so Yuzuko comes out and returns to her normal self. Had Okaasan fooled there for a moment. But Yuzuko still feels alienated when the rest are talking to Okaasan. When Yukari says she loves Yuzuko, she starts flustering and loves the sound of it.

Yuzuko wakes up from a weird dream. The God of Blessing blessed her with 100 long sleeve t-shirts. Eh? Yuzuko shows her friends the yonkoma she drew last night. Weird. Although Yukari is laughing her head off, Yui is stricter and it ends with Yuzuko giving candy. The next day when she shows another one, the same pattern occurs but before Yui can get strict, Yuzuko right away gives out candy. Then Yuzuko draws on the board her yonkoma. Zooming in? What’s with the scary last panel? Yuzuko is sure Yui is going to draw one tonight. Despite dismissing it, Yui actually tries her hand at it but is unable to come up with a good punch line. Yukari feels drowsy in the morning at school. Blaming it on some monster that sucked her motivation but came anyway due to her strong desire to see her friends. What crap. But she gets lively when Yuzuko mentions about Yui’s yonkoma. They want to see it. Not a chance. Yuzuko loses in another rock-scissors-paper game. She wants to cry but sneezes. The idiotic duo talk about drooling, crying, hair growing, shark swimming and potato sprouting. Don’t even ask how this happened. Yuzuko tells them how her mom wasn’t home last night so she and her sister ended up eating bread for dinner. So? That’s the punch line? Yui might not be impressed but Yukari joins in the bread pun and they laugh like mad. Yukari wants to shoot electric with her hands so she could charge things quickly. Yuzuko notes she could also shock people. Why would she do that? For fun. They ask Yui what would be the handiest thing to shoot from her hands. She can think of no answer but money. Yukari suggests feelings so Yuzuko says I love you to Yui with her hand. But didn’t that come out from her mouth?

Episode 11
When Aikawa walks up the stairs, she trips and spills her packet drink. Then as she washes herself, she accidentally wets her tie. This has Yui wonder if it’s her big breasts that prevents her from seeing her feet and couldn’t see her tie below it. As they chat, Aikawa realizes that Yui has some sort of ‘talent’ for making others want to mess with her. Maybe that’s why Yuzuko and Yukari… It’s raining and as usual, Yuzuko and Yukari talk random nonsense. Making weird impersonating sounds, talking about competitive napping for PE, high octane and low octane, etc. Okano heard it and finds it funny. The duo tease Yui’s habit of saying the same sentence using the same words in a streak. During basketball, Aikawa sprains her finger so the idiotic duo like a grandma tells Yui to go to her. During break when they see Okano and Hasegawa feeding Aikawa, Yuzuko also wants to put something in Aikawa’s mouth. Then she shifts her attention to Yui’s right hand… Does she want to eat it? In the clubroom, they talk and research on random things. Baumkuchen, cabbage, part time jobs, the age of this world, picoseconds (not a second to waste!), hamburger and some proverbs. Later Yuzuko rushes in with big news. She saw Okaasan reprimanding a first year student. Never seen that side of hers before. So they speculate what she might have done. Murder? I don’t think she went that far. Yuzuko wants to pretend there is a ghost in the clubroom since it is almost summer. However Yui reminds her she is afraid of ghost stories. Because she continues to randomly spew nonsense, Yui hits her head.

Okaasan just came in so Yuzuko seeks comfort from mommy dearest. Yui isn’t fazed and continues to chop her head! When Yuzuko says there is a ghost in the clubroom, Okaasan slowly backs out. Of course she was just joking about being scared. Really? They confirm with her that she did blow her top at a student. Although it was something bad, she didn’t say what it was. After that, more mindless chatter about ordering pizza during the rain, expiring bread and curry. Yuzuko thinks Yukari has a natural talent as a beautician because of her looks so this prompts her to wonder if it’s okay to decide what they want to be in the future so easily. She explains she has a brother named Eita whose job is to make the house rich and prosperous while she strengthens familial bonds. If the siblings work together, the family will be in peace so after they graduate, they’ll have to help out their family. Therefore she never thought much about her future. Because if there’s something you have to do, then you have to do it. But she also respects people who decide the future for themselves. When they leave, they see Aikawa lamenting about the rain. Yuzuko and Yukari give her a double back attack hug. What kind of new harassment is this? They thought of making some word the word of the month as a trend but Yui disagrees. Since Aikawa hasn’t decided on her future, the idiots give advice on what kind of job she could do. Tutoring? Just make sure to not tutor boys because they’ll hit on her, so they think.

Episode 12
Yuzuko and Yukari try to convince Yui to go to the beach for summer instead of the boring pool. When Okano joins in the conversation, they hear how she really wants to take Aikawa to the beach and also fantasizes the kind of swimsuit she is wearing. Feel like taking her everywhere? In the clubroom, the beach trip thingy debate continues to the point Yuzuko had to fake her angriness. Okaasan thought she walked in on a bad timing. It seems she too favours going to the beach. Yuzuko and Yukari bum around at Yui’s house (no choice – Yui has no say about it). Yui gains their attention when she says she’s got watermelon. However she can’t give it to them. Just joking. Wow. Yui, joking? Then she also says she has ice cream. See the incredulous look on the idiots’ face. Is that the face of happiness? Yeah. That’s what they want. Yukari tries to scoop out the ice cream but it’s so hard. Didn’t budge at all. When Yui heads to the toilet, cheeky Yuzuko locks the door so she will forever live in there. Till Yui threatens about the ice cream. A good girl now, is she? After ice cream, Yukari feels sleepy and sleeps on Yui’s bed. At that moment, Yui and Yuzuko go out to the convenience store when they got mail from Okano. It’s a picture of Aikawa having fun at the pool. Yukari wakes up when they return. She feels bad for wetting her pillow. The rest thought she cried but actually she drooled. The idiots assert they will never cry at Yui’s house. They hoped to be praised by their cuteness but Yui isn’t impressed and would prefer them to go home. Then they annoy her with more random talk like forcing her to give an answer to their sentence. Yuzuko feels so bored that she doesn’t feel like doing anything. Till Yukari gives her an idea about wearing their swimsuits now. Yuzuko’s face lights up like a pervert wanting Yui to put it on now and guarantees she won’t do anything funny. She doesn’t look convincing with that heavy breathing and all. Yui thinks she can’t fit into that swimsuit anymore so the rest thought she had some growth spurt because they were somewhat the same during the physical examination. This causes Yui to curse them! Wow. That’s lots of curses! So much curst that Yuzuko sinks into depression and needs Yui’s love assurance to cheer her up. Yeah, we love you too.

The trio finally step outside to have a drink. Yui still thinks it is embarrassing to go to the beach but eventually gives in. On their way, Yuzuko sees Yui’s defenceless back. It’s very inviting. She’s going to mess with it but it’s like she has eyes on her back and Yuzuko got whacked on the head. The girls are amazed when they arrive at the beach. Can’t wait to have fun. The sands are too hot so they rush into the sea. But since the water feels weird, they run off and wash themselves in the toilet. This repeats itself till they are worn out. Yeah. They just got used to the sea. The usual fun in the sea with Yukari finding a seaweed, Yuzuko trying to stand on Yui’s back only to slip off and fall on her own, playing rock-scissors-paper at sea, Yuzuko running riot with the way she says beach items in a funny way causing her friends to laugh like mad. At the end of the day, they leave very satisfied. Elsewhere we see Hasegawa walking her dog, Okano taking a bath and scorning her little brother outside who was about to come in, Aikawa finds she has run out of and scream and her mother knows she wants it and to go get it herself, Yuzuko sending beach pictures to her friends, Yui feeling stupid about her initial disagreement of going to the beach because she admits she had lots of fun, and Okaasan talking to a friend how she looks forward to the start of school better now than she was as a student. Yui meets her friends to go to school. Because it still feels very hot, they want to go to the beach again. Yui murmurs perhaps next year so her friends tease her that her inner desires to let loose must have unleashed. She dismisses such nonsense and makes haste to class.

Yawn, Yawn, Sleepy…
There is no doubt… Ever since the first episode, I felt it was hard to retain my attention. It is amazing that I managed to sit through a dozen episodes without falling asleep. But I do yawn. A lot. Make that many times. Sure, there are funny moments like Yuzuko and Yukari’s trademark idiotic silliness in every episode but the cuteness and funniness in that itself I feel is not enough to save the show overall. As each episode passes, I find myself dreading and wishing real hard it would end and counting each second down to it feels like an eternity. Forgive me, fans of the series but this is how I really feel. In short, I have to admit it that I find this anime boring. Dreary. Lacklustre. Unexciting. Humdrum. Dull. A big yawn. I know the girls are moe too to a certain point but if I want to look at cute pretty moe girls, I would have stopped watching and started staring at my numerous collection or even start fantasizing or imagining them. Haha… Since the boredom was greatly affecting my mind, I didn’t even manage to do that or dream something ecchi. Oops!

It was so boring that I stumbled something on the internet regarding the series that seems much more interesting. Really! I find this conspiracy theory thread about this series to be more interesting than the series itself even if it is just crap and basically a whole lot of rumours and nothing neither true nor confirmed. It states that Yuzuko and Yukari are nothing but imaginary friends of Yui!!! Her friends do not exist in reality and is just a figment of imagination! There were many clever observations made that supports this. For examples, the slight pale edges of the screen in some screens make it as though it is some dream sequence. You won’t notice it, but when I rewatched those scenes and I find it does exist! So could it mean that those moments Yui talked to her idiots are only in her mind? Also pointed out on this website, hoe Yuzuko and Yukari don’t often interact with others except Yui, and the fact that they are always on a certain side of Yui. Although this argument is not solid because there are some moments when the duo did interact with others and they do switch sides, nevertheless this is generally what is shown for most of the time.

The ultimate conspiracy points out that Yui lost her sisters so she is escaping reality and traumatic pain via this imaginary friends thingy. And why the clubroom has only 2 computers instead of 3 is because there weren’t really 3 of them. It’s just Yui and Okaasan who uses them as the latter plays along with the former’s imaginary friend game so as to lessen the impact. Yeah. Feels like a load of bull but if you want to think about it, it can turn out to be true! Since the original author did not indicate any of such is likely to occur, I can imagine the shock if this actually turned out true. I would have mixed feelings then. Assuming this conspiracy becomes true, then my perception about this series being boring would drastically change. I would probably classify it as a mind blowing ending despite the slow pace. Also, you never expected such twist from this kind of genre, right? Boring becomes shocking. What a twist. On the other hand, it would also be a big disappointment if it turns out true because I’m sure many fans will not like such development seeing the kind of genre this anime is. I too wouldn’t like such dark revelation because my mind has been set that this anime is slice of life comedy and then all of sudden, traumatic and shocking events. Can this be acceptable? Would everyone accept this? Thus this conspiracy theory is indeed interesting but overall I would prefer this series to stay safe and boring. A happy ending or at least in this case not so much of an ending but life goes on is much appreciated.

Despite the very odd relationship between the main trio, I can’t say that they were ‘interesting’ enough for me to retain positive reviews about this show. It has always been the same since start till finish. Yuzuko is always the main idiotic troublemaker with a penchant of coming up with something random and pranks that will tick off Yui. Yukari is also another ‘set of problems’ only second to Yuzuko as she always follows her idiotic flow. Lastly, Yui is perhaps the sanest member of the group but you can’t help wonder how long she will keep her sanity with these idiots around her. Probably in a way she likes their company even though she often plays the straight man (woman, to be more precise) to whatever nonsense they come up with. Episode after episode you see a somewhat familiar pattern. Yuzuko and Yukari and their nonsense while Yui will have a knack to retort them. And she does it so often that it makes you wonder if she likes it despite her annoyed looks. But like Aikawa once pointed out, she does have this feel of wanting others to mess with her. Too much fun, eh? So it would be very odd if you ever see Yui doing the jokes and even so, with a serious expression. Odd, right? It’s not that they don’t learn but rather they love seeing Yui’s reaction. Thus this is their dynamic relationship and what makes them stick together after all these years. Sometimes I have this feeling that Yuzuko and Yukari love Yui so much and at times to a perverted extent, I think they have this potential of snapping and become yandere! I hope they don’t. Thankfully this series’ nature won’t allow them to.

There isn’t anything special about the other characters too. Okaasan is your typical kind and loving teacher that every student wants to have as their teacher and mom. The other group of trio seems to have the potential of equally being the main protagonist but their roles make them the most as side distraction. But I do notice that their appearances are gradually increased with each passing episode. Shy girl Aikawa gradually manages to mix well with Yui’s group although I feel she still needs to get used to the group’s idiocy. Don’t worry. As long as Yui is around, she’ll be relatively ‘safe’. Okano is very possessive of Aikawa, though I am not sure if the latter is well aware of the former’s affection for her. Hasegawa could have been another joker and cause double havoc with her own quirkiness but I think having Yuzuko and Yukari as the main idiots are already a handful to deal with.

Although many of the jokes are of the crazy conversations between the 3 friends, there are some that I don’t find funny or just do not get it. Maybe this is my very limited exposure to the Japanese culture as there are some puns and play on words. I’m so used (and loving) those animes with exaggerated slapstick comedy that when I watch something like this it has that mundane feeling. Well, that’s just me. Also, sometimes I think the jokes and pranks played are illogical and no-holds-barred that it is just intended to make you laugh. No, don’t think. Just laugh. They don’t necessarily have to make sense because they’re meant to be funny! Geddit? And so here I am, trying to figure out what is the meaning behind some of those jokes but I just stopped trying and laugh with them instead. Or was it I’m laughing at them? Either way, I’m sure the girls would be happy because as long as they can make the other smile or laugh, it is satisfaction guaranteed. Maybe except for Yui… Even some of the topics that they discuss especially like the one Yuzuko touched on death, it doesn’t necessarily need to be morbid. She still makes a joke out of it as though as if it was nothing but such topics sometimes make you think deeper their meaning and perhaps that the girls aren’t just fools joking or bumming around all the time with their seemingly endless ‘free time’. There’s a subtle hint that they are smarter than they look. It’s hard to imagine but don’t judge a book by its cover. Even so, I think Yuzuko and Yukari are still idiotic jokers ;p.

When I first glimpsed the art of this anime, I thought they were illustrated or created by the same author since I seemed to have this perception that the art style closely resembles Hidamari Sketch. However there is no connection whatsoever between both series and the only similarity that I can find (besides the art and general storyline) is that they are published in a manga magazine that specializes yonkoma series. Taking an even closer look, I thought the series’ art also looked like Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh and Yurumates. It’s that cute and moe drawing style of the characters, I suppose. Simple and nothing very detailed or complicated. Besides, I thought Yui and Yukari looked like Miyako and Yoshinoya of Hidamari Sketch respectively while Yui a bit like Yurume from Yurumates. This series was produced by Kinema Citrus, a relatively new anime studio house whose debut was its notable anime Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and the more recent one, Code: Breaker.

I would love to say that this anime is for everybody but sadly I can’t bring myself to enjoy this anime comfortably throughout its duration. I know it tries to be a little different but so sorry, I guess it wasn’t appealing enough in my ever fluctuating standards. Ironically like other slice of life comedies that follow this similar pattern such as Hidamari Sketch, Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh and YuruYuri, there is something that prevents me from appreciating this simple and easy-going anime. I don’t know how I could not find Yuzuko’s whimsical pranks and idiocy to be not as interesting as Hidamari’s Sketch Miyako, Lucky Star’s Konata, Azumanga Daioh’s Tomo or YuruYuri’s Kyoko. But if I ever had prankster friends like these, I think I’ll just go crazy and grow up to be a psycho. Or even yandere. Life would become anything more than just mundane then.

Well what do you know? Looks like our Ika-chan didn’t really give up after all. At least in the sense she decided to tickle us with more of her antics with another Shinryaku!! Ika Musume OVA. I suppose if another season is not possible (yet), there is no harm in having another OVA for some squiddy good fun. As usual, there is no plot but just random fun of the characters from this series and those of you hoping to finally see some serious invasion, quit dreaming and start enjoying the cute bloopers our cute squid girl have to offer us in this second OVA.

Part A: Is That An Inflatable Pool?
Ika sees a couple of kids playing in an inflatable pool in their backyard and wants one too. Doesn’t she have the ocean to swim in? I don’t know her logic that having a smaller pool means it would be easier problem to tackle. Whatever. That’s Ika for you. So when Chizuru gives her one, she is appalled she needs to blow into it. Feeling lazy, huh? Do it yourself if you want to enjoy the pool! Huff and puff our squid girl when Sanae passes by. You can guess what she’s thinking. It’s Ika’s breath and air in that pool. She wants it all! Sanae offers to help blow but it’s a ploy to suck in all the air in the inflatable! There goes all her hard work! What kind of lungs does Sanae have anyway? Chizuru brings out the pump. If only she brought it out earlier. Sanae uses her love power to pump it for Ika. As she dips in, Sanae wants to join but Ika won’t allow her to jump in with her clothes. Sanae goes home to change but when she returns, Ika and the pool is gone. And there goes her delusional dream of doing underwater things with Ika. I’m sure Ika has thought about running away then. Actually she is on the rooftop. After Sanae left, she is worried the pervert will come back and shifted to the top. With a great view and no disturbance, this is going to be her paradise. She enjoys it and falls asleep. Soon it starts raining and the roof becomes slippery. Ika slides down with the inflatable and the force is so great that the slide continues well deep over the ocean. Just how far did she go? The ride of her life, eh?

Part B: Is This Your Mother?
Gorou loves Lemon Beach House as his sanctuary because it has great food and the girl of his love, Chizuru. Too bad it’s still one-side. Just like Ika’s invasion, keep dreaming. Till his mom shows up. Oh God. She’s not a bad person, just that Gorou fears she is here to embarrass him especially about his secret love for Chizuru. But she won’t leave till she has something to eat. She meets Ika and thinks she is some kind of cosplayer. Isn’t that an insult? Ika mentions her mission to take over the world but she misinterprets it is today’s youngsters with such fiery passion ready to take on the world. Although mommy almost spilled the beans to Chizuru how much her son likes her, Gorou stops her in time. I suppose mommy is worried that he’s been dragging his feet with no improvement that she wants to assist. He doesn’t need it and wants her to go home. She wonders if he can keep the ocean safe and doing his lifeguard job properly. Also, she can’t swim so Takeru assures how Gorou did a good job teaching him swim. She wonders if Gorou will rescue and give her CPR even if she’s not a pretty young thing. Of course. It’s his job. Nagisa and Eiko even relate to events how Gorou saved them on certain occasions. Gorou can’t stand to be embarrassed further and goes off with Isozaki. Ika is impressed how mommy backs Gorou off to a corner and mommy is impressed with the funny way Ika talks. ~de geso… Is this some sort of trend? Before mommy goes home, she tells her son to do her job properly and not to ogle at girls. Of course he isn’t. However she says she knows he is doing a good job. She wanted to see him in action so she can tell others how proud she is of her son. On several occasions, she has stopped by without him realizing and saw how dedicated he is to his job. She is not here to tease or embarrass him but is proud of him. Gorou feels touched but soon returns to his normal feeling of mom-please-leave because she starts talking like Ika. ~de geso…

Part C: Is This A Message In A Bottle?
Ika sees a girl throwing a bottle into the sea and thinks she is littering. But Takeru points out that she is throwing a message in a bottle. After explaining the fun of how the bottle ends up in the other part of the world and the other side reads it, Ika gets this squiddy idea to extend her invasion to other parts of the world. Shouldn’t she just concentrate on Japan first? After getting their respective empty bottle, Ika and Takeru write their message before throwing the bottle into the sea. Want to guess what Ika wrote? The kind that may cause some diplomatic confusion between countries about invasion… But you can be glad that won’t happen soon. Because the next day, although Takeru’s bottle is not seen, Ika’s bottle is washed up on shore. She tries throwing back several times but it always comes back! Is the sea rejecting her bottle?! And she’s from the sea, you know. Thinking it is her contents, Ika rewrites it. The sea instantly spits it back out! The sea really hates her, no? Because of this, Cindy and her MIT idiots decide to help her. After all that research and technology, it seems they have designed some sophisticated rocket launcher just to launch the bottle. However it explodes! Back to the drawing board. But… With each new design, some sort of stupid blooper happens. Are they seriously trying? Are they even MIT scientists?! Finally they design a rocket that is NASA size. It finally launches but into space. So much about launching it into sea. So it’s back to basics for Ika as she tries to throw another bottle. Eiko suggests throwing with her tentacles to increase the distance. How could she even forget about it? Next day, Ika trips on a deep trench on the beach. It wasn’t there yesterday. Unknown to them, the trench makes out to be a big drawing of a shrimp. Seems her space bottle has reached the hands of some alien who is seeking friends. Ika’s message? She wanted a big shrimp. And Ika is wondering when she will receive her reply… Oh, you don’t know…

Will It Continue ~de geso?
Ah yes. Nothing much but still fun nevertheless. Some may find it the same with nothing new to offer but to me who will always be a squid girl lover, I think this is quite nice while waiting word for another OVA or season if there are plans for another to begin with. Hopefully there will be and I won’t have to go so far as to write a message in a bottle for that. There is no progress with Ika’s invasion and even if she still harbours intentions, it feels like a distant dream as she is nowhere serious in achieving them. Just play-play. So isn’t having fun right now with the rest of the gang the best? Maybe that’s why in a way the ocean rejected her message, eh? She’s so accustomed to the land that she might as well be a land creature. I don’t know what else to say. As long as Ika is the naive and gullible squid girl and the other lovable (and freaky) characters around her, I’ll definitely support this series and don’t mind getting my heart and mind invaded by it. You can’t count on that without fail. All hail mighty (failure) Ika! ~de geso!

Date A Live

October 20, 2013

I thought the premise of this show was interesting, if not then, amusing. In Date A Live, a terrible space phenomenon called spacequakes has been devastating the planet and causing lots of casualties as well as damage in properties. A short moment of destruction can annihilate all the hard work and development that we put in over the decades. But that’s not the point. It is discovered that a mysterious female race from outer space crashing into Earth is the cause of these spacequakes. Of course the obvious solution is to eliminate them so they will not cause any future disaster. However there is an organization that believes in saving them without having to resort to taking lives. How? Date them. Make them fall in love. Yes. You read that right. And so that is why I find it ironic that to save the world from the most dangerous things from space, you use dating and love to win over them. Funny, right? I guess they’re trying to tell us that violence is not the answer and that love and peace are the way. But really. Trying to teach those beings about love and date when we ourselves don’t resort to such? What are we taking them and ourselves for? Oh what the heck. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Besides, who wouldn’t want to date such beings if they look like cute girls. Yeah. Thank God they look like cute anime girls.

So as you have guessed, there is this single guy who is the main protagonist of this harem show that will have the power to date several of these beings known as Spirits under the watchful eye of the organization. See how lucky this guy is? Well, what good would Earth be when it is destroyed and no more girls left to date? Can I trade places with him? Which brings me to this other amusing thing during the course of the ‘date’. I don’t know what programme they use but at ‘critical points’ whereby you are supposed to make a decision that determines the course of where the date is going (those who play dating simulations might understand this better), they can actually pick up the choices of that girl for his next course of action. It’s really like playing a dating simulation but in real life, eh? What happens if you don’t pick one of those choices and opt for something not listed? Hmm… It’s not really addressed here but really, this choice selection is amusing. If only guys had such a useful programme to tell them and narrow down what to do next, I think lots of dates will end up well. Or maybe not. What good is a guy if he can’t think and make his own decisions and needs to rely on onscreen choices for his next move? That’ll be a step close to a bad end, right?

Episode 1
30 years ago, a devastating spacequake claimed the lives of millions and devastated the land between China and Mongolia. Shido Itsuka gets a typical wakeup call from his sister, Kotori. He manages to scare her off with some tickling virus threat. Shido narrates about the spacequake that happened 30 years ago. For the next 6 months, it happened frequently all over the world and the place they are staying now is one of it. Why it happened remains a mystery. It died down but the phenomenon started again 5 years ago and this time it seems to be happening more frequently in Japan. Shido sees off Kotori and they promise to meet at the diner after school. A group of watching girls (3 stooges) think he has sister complex. Gross. Shido’s friend, Hiroto Tonomachi greets him and the girls think they also swing this way. Gross. In class, Tonomachi shows Shido his girlfriend: A girl from a dating sim. That still counts, right? Shido is puzzled that the genius beauty who sits next to him, Origami Tobiichi knows him. Tamae Okamine becomes the class’ homeroom teacher. During recess, a warning that a spacequake is approaching the area so everyone evacuates to the nearby underground shelter. Shido is worried about Kotori and to his dismay, his GPS tracks her position still at the diner. He rushes off to find her only to get caught in a spacequake. At least at the edge of it. In the centre of the crater, there is this beautiful babe that seems to have jumped out from a fantasy battle manga. She almost kills him with her sword because she thinks he is out to kill her. However her attention is turned to a group of space babes (like as though they jumped out from some space battle manga) who are attacking her. Shido couldn’t understand why the fantasy battle girl looks so sad despite being very strong. Shido recognizes one of the space babes as Origami. The girls fight and the impact was so great that everything whites out.

When Shido opens his eyes, he is being treated by the analysis officer, Reine Murasame. I’m sure he has tons of questions to ask so Reine takes him to see the vice commander, Kyouhei Kannadzuki (I think he is a masochist). Even more shocking, he sees Kotori as the commander of this organization, Ratatoskr. Besides, she is not the cute little sister she knows but an arrogant insulting brat. She starts explaining that battle fantasy girl is called a Spirit and is responsible for spacequakes. Each time they come to Earth, a phenomenon like this happens. Those space babes are called AST. Anti-Spirit Team. They are part of JSDF and their job is to kill Spirits. There is another way to kill them and that requires Shido’s help. He will start that training tomorrow. This is too much for him to take but Shido is told to shut up and obey. All this from his sister? Who is she really anyway? He is still concerned about her waiting at the diner so she calls him a fool for believing that. About her tracker, they are actually flying in a ship called Fraxinus hovering above the diner. And so Reine becomes Tamae’s assistant in class (feels like Reine has not enough sleep). So why did she become that? So that she’ll be able to reach him in case anything happens. And this training Shido is supposed to undergo… Is it some kind of dating sim? Yes it is but with Shido as the main star. From the unenthusiastic narrative, I can guess that the goal of this sim is to have Shido date the Spirits so that they would stop the spacequakes when they realize the world looks much better in love. WTF. Later, Origami confronts Shido and wants him to forget ever having seen her or the entire thing. She has a grudge against the Spirit because 5 years ago her parents were killed.

Episode 2
Shido completes a route of the dating sim! Hooray! In school, he thought Reine was going to seduce him but it turns out she was just putting a mini invisible earpiece. Shido’s first training is to seduce Tamae. Why? If he can’t date a human, how can he expect to date a Spirit? Some logic. Since Shido is nervous, the girls provide him backup on what to say. Like how he compliments every part of her including her book. Then he said the wrong thing that flips her switch: He wants to marry her! Suddenly Tamae becomes the ambitious woman looking forward to it. Run away while you still can! Shido bumps into Origami whom Kotori thinks would be another good training. Origami agrees to everything what Shido is made to say (including sniffing the PE uniform). She also agrees to go out with him on a date. Just then the spacequake alert sounds. This time the school is the centre of the hit.  Because AST can’t engage indoors, this is Shido’s chance to put to good use his training. He agrees to help out since he doesn’t want to see that expression on Princess (codename for that fantasy battle girl). Kotori assures him she has ‘experts’ in the field of relationships to help him out. More like losers if you ask me. Multiple marriages, divorces, grudges and obsessions… Yeah. Real experts alright. Shido confronts Princess and she nearly kills him. He tries to convince her he is not the enemy when Kotori detects Princess’ mental state. It turns out to be 3 choices like you see in dating sims. Serious? She even has her experts to select which choice! Wrong choice and it’s bye-bye. Well, Shido almost got killed several times anyway. I guess he shouldn’t listen to those blokes.

Princess is not convinced he is not here to kill her but he finally catches her attention when he says he wants to talk to her and will never reject her. Princess turns into a tsundere… Needing to come up with a suitable name for her, Kotori thinks her ‘experts’ aren’t enough and seeks the opinion of the people of the world. At least those who are playing that dating sim. None are good. Till Shido suggests Touka. Princess likes it. Actually that naming sense came from because he first met her on the tenth of this month. AST moves in to shoot Touka once she is visible but her shield protects her. She wants Shido to escape but he asserts he is her to talk to her. And so while they’re firing away, the duo talk. Touka doesn’t remember who she is. All she remembers is that when she first materialized here, there were mech people trying to kill her. Kotori detects Touka’s mood meter as very high and wants Shido to ask her on a date. She has her entire crew egging him to do that. AST stops shooting when they realize Touka is not coming out. Once Origami gets a clear view that Touka is talking to Shido, she flies in between them. She thinks he has been held hostage. Both girls prepare for another power fight. In the end, Origami lost, injured and was stretchered away. Her superior chides her for such recklessness and the next time she could pay with her life. Next day, Shido visits the devastated school. Like it’s all a dream. Then he hears Touka calling him. What the? Why is she here? Why is there no spacequake alert? Seems she is looking forward to the date he is talking about. She is eager to go on one. Since her fantasy battle outfit won’t do, Shido has her transform into his school’s uniform. There. Looks much better.

Episode 3
Suddenly… Touka is like an eager beaver happy girl on a date! She isn’t the sad Spirit like we know her. She is curious with everything. She eats everything. She has fun with everything. Is this what a date is all about? Not quite as Shido puts it. Yeah. True dates are complex, eh? They enter an expensive diner and Shido is surprised to see Kotori and her Ratatoskr team as spies. I think they’re enjoying watching the date too. After giving Touka an overkill meal (does she have a Black Hole as stomach?), they are made to head south. The residential area is turned into a makeshift shopping arcade. Conveniently they are the 100,000th customer so they get to eat everything for free. Good news for Touka, yeah? Origami has been spying on them but she can’t get into gear since Kotori has been trying to interfere with their communication. Touka wins the grand prize to the Dream Park. Uhm… Why does it look like a love hotel?! Touka wants to go in. Shido doesn’t. He takes her to play a crane game instead. They try their best to get a bread pillow. They lost by an inch but Touka got so worked up that she yells at the machine that they tried so hard. And it’s like it listened to her and fall out. I don’t know if Ratatoskr had a hand in this. Shido and Touka talk at the park. Origami has gotten into her gear and is observing them from afar. She finds it odd that a boy is dating a Spirit. Nothing of this sort has happened before. Then she gets the green light from her superior to take her out.

Shido convinces Touka that on today’s ‘date’, nobody tried to kill her. She understands why AST was after her. She tried to destroy this beautiful planet. She thinks she shouldn’t be here. Shido disagrees because she didn’t cause any spacequake today. Touka is not convinced it won’t happen again. Shido will teach her and provide her with shelter and food. Still not convinced? If the world rejects her, he will accept her more. Just when she is about to grab his hand, Shido senses something amiss. Origami has fired a shot but Shido uses his body to shield Touka (there goes the bread pillow too). OMG! Is Shido dead?! That pool of blood… Origami is in shock. Shido is in shock. Then it turns into despair. And then anger. She concludes the world rejected her and summons her battle gear. Screw this world! Summoning Sandalphon, she swings her giant sword, Halvanhelev at the direction of the sniper. I think the mountain was nearly flattened. While Origami is sitting in shock that she is no different than a Spirit for killing a human, enraged Touka strikes and strikes Halvanhelev at her. Only her barrier is what is protecting her from being killed. Of course it won’t last forever. At this rate, the entire city might be flattened. Kotori is unfazed. Unlike her team, she is confident Shido won’t die so easily. Suddenly something sparks from within Shido and he revives! What the?! Origami is about to accept death when Shido is sent flying in that direction. Touka’s priority is to catch him. Surprise to see him alive? But Halvanhelev is going critical and will cause a massive spacequake. How do you stop overloading it? Kotori taught him a method. They need to kiss. Shido stammers while he explains what a kiss is. No time for long chat. Touka makes the first bold move to kiss him on the lips. Everything calms down and reverts to normal. That includes disintegrating Touka’s clothes. Stark naked. But she is worried if he would take her out on another date. Of course. Happy once more. Finally, Tamae introduces Touka as a new transfer student in Shido’s class.

Episode 4
On a rainy day, Shido helps a little girl in cloak up. But she gets afraid and doesn’t want him to touch her. In class, Origami apologizes to Shido. What does this scene look like? A genius bowing her head to a nobody? Shido is facing competition from Touka and Origami to taste their cookies. Oh yeah. Let the harem fight begin. This is why we watch this show, right? So competitive that the duo are right down to technicalities on whose cookie he ate faster. When he goes home, he is surprised to see Touka in the shower. As explained by Kotori, she is living here. Didn’t Shido say it was okay for her to stay? Unless that was just part of the act. Oh, Reine is here too. They explain after he kissed Touka, he sealed her Spirit power. There is an invisible link called Pass between them now. Why he is the only one who can do this is unknown but the analysis on him indicated that he is able to do the sealing. That’s why he was chosen. But the seal can be broken and her power returns if her mental state becomes unstable. Since she is more at ease with him, she will stay here till a proper home for Spirits is built. Apparently Touka isn’t the only Spirit. There are others too. So consider this as his training. I wonder if Shido can withstand all the hijinks situation. Why is it every time it has to be that ‘coincidental’ meeting in the toilet? Must be a tiring day, huh? Even more tiring when there is this harem competition in class! Touka and Origami want to eat lunch with him. Can they all eat lunch together? Suddenly the spacequake alert is sounded. Shido goes off to Fraxinus while Touka is left in Tamae’s care. Since Touka’s powers are sealed, she is nothing than a normal girl. Reine doesn’t want Touka to be exposed to the battles that will stress her.

The Spirit detected this time is Hermit (little cloak girl). Shido says he has met her before but there was no spacequake disturbance detected at that time. Because AST is indiscriminately firing at Hermit while she is just running, Shido wants to save this girl. I guess it’s another date. Shido meets Hermit inside a shopping complex. However it is Hermit’s hand puppet rabbit, Yoshinon that is doing the talking. Bratty and sarcastic. Of course there is that interface on the choice of reply. Once more, the ‘experts’ have their say but all the options end up in a tie so Kotori tells Shido to go for the arrogant and challenging choice. Yoshinon finds him funny but when he mentions about ventriloquism, the mood suddenly sinks. Kotori warns the need to cheer her up so he changes the topic and ask her out on a date. Hermit is fooling around and slips, she falls on him and their lips met. But a dangerous aura is detected nearby. It is Touka! She was worried about him and slipped out to look for him. And what did she find? He is fooling around with another girl and kissed her! This is going to be sticky. Her Spirit powers are returning. Yoshinon did not help either as it sarcastically teases Touka that Shido got bored with her. Touka naively got dragged into the rabbit’s pace. Touka grabs Yoshinon away. Hermit tries to grab the rabbit back but she is not giving it back to her. Her mood is sinking very fast and Shido hopes Touka could give it back to her. She misinterprets he is on Hermit’s side. But too late, Hermit summons her giant monster bunny, Zadkiel and rampages through the place via its icy attack. She breaks through outside. AST fires but lost her. Although Shido is slightly injured, I guess Touka is still hurting inside her heart. Man, this is going to be troublesome.

Episode 5
Touka locks herself in her room and won’t see Shido. So she gets some counselling from Reine about her ‘love’ problem. Reine says the kiss was an accident and if Shido didn’t care for her, he would not have saved her from that icy attack then. Shido finds Hermit in the rain. Seems she is looking for Yoshinon that she has lost during AST’s attack. He will help her to look for it and learns her name is Yoshino. Shido brings her back home since her stomach is growling. While he is making her food, Yoshino explains that Yoshinon is her ideal and hero. As she is too timid, the rabbit has all the qualities she wanted. She flusters when Shido says he likes her the way she is now. As for why she doesn’t attack back, she hates being hurt and doesn’t like scary things. When things get scary, that’s why Yoshinon is always there to be her hero. It makes her feel okay. Shido vows to find Yoshinon but the rabbit will no longer be her hero because he will be its replacement. He tries to apologize for that accidental kiss. I don’t know why he has to demonstrate to explain what a kiss is. Touka barges in ready to apologize but sees this… Back to square one. Yoshino disappears from sight. Shido gets a call from Kotori saying she has found Yoshinon. It is in Origami’s place. She picked it up after the last battle. He makes his way there and it’s like she expected him. Why in a maid outfit? And the tea… Looks like poison. It is poison! Almost died. She goes on top of him and tries to seduce him. But in exchange in removing herself, he wants him to address her by her first name like he did for Touka. So that is what’s bugging her? When she goes off to take a shower (of all times), he starts looking for Yoshinon and finds some of her possessions questionable. Still waters run deep… When she comes out, she questions him about the time he died. She was sure she shot him. Though he doesn’t know, he asks back if she had talk to a Spirit before. There may be bad Spirits but Touka and Yoshino are nice ones. He wants to save them and doesn’t want Origami to kill them as she is a nice person too. Origami gets a mission call so Shido asks one last question if she would attack a Spirit who had lost her power. All she says is that she cannot disregard a superior’s order for her personal feeling.

AST chases Yoshino all over town. She becomes so scared that she summons Zadkiel before she gets killed. Its icy breath freezes the city over and AST can’t come near her. Shido tries to talk to Yoshino but a blast from Origami hits Zadkiel. It is preparing to fire at Shido’s way. Touka sees this and knows he won’t survive the direct hit. She summons Sandalphon to protect him. She apologizes for what happened but Shido needs her help now to save Yoshino. It is not that she is more important than her. She is also a Spirit like her and he promised he would save her. Touka realized she forget he once saved her. AST realizes the icy barrier is getting thicker and more dangerous. With Touka in the picture, AST shifts their priority to capture her. Kotori warns Shido about entering the barrier because his healing may not be fast enough as it is not a single shot but multiple blasts. If Yoshino detects his Spirit Force, she will freeze him solid and won’t heal in time. Shido realizes some Spirit power is doing the fast healing but he is going in anyway. He finally reaches Yoshino in the middle of the blizzard to bring her Yoshinon. He barely made it and is injured all over. Thankfully his healing kicks in. Yoshino is happy and grateful for him. Shido is hesitating about sealing her power with a kiss. But this time Yoshino believes in him and makes her first bold move to kiss him. All the ice melts away and the bright blue sky returns. Oh, I forgot that the sealing also makes the loli naked… Later Kotori shows Shido a place that they have made for Spirits. Touka will finally move out and live here with Yoshino.

Episode 6
Shido seeks permission from Kotori to take the Spirits to Tenguu Gokuraku Hotspring since they wanted to visit one. Kotori approves as they’ll do anything to keep the Spirits happy. Because Kannadzuki is being his usual annoying masochistic lolicon, Kotori punishes him to dig a hole for a week. Due to the recent Spirit counter attack screw ups, Origami’s superior, Captain is being reprimanded by her higher up. Because of that and the increase in Spirit attacks, the company trip she has been looking forward to is cancelled. Bad mood… “I hate Spirits!”. Don’t worry. Her colleagues had planned something to reward her and invite Captain to Tenguu Gokuraku Hotspring. She’s so looking forward to it. But Origami disagrees because if they have such free time, they should be training. Till she receives a call from Shido that he is unable to return some book. In the background she hears Touka pestering him to start their trip. So pissed that Origami crushed the can juice with her hand. So did that change her mind? Reine drives the gang but since Shido is paying more attention to Yoshino and the rabbit (because he sits closer to them), Touka got jealous and her stomping not only breaks the floor but the entire road beneath her! Now they have to walk the entire way. The AST girls are ready to head for the hotspring. Yup. Captain is definitely looking forward to it seeing all the bathing equipment and booze she is bringing. Likewise Origami too. Only, she has all those spying and sniping equipment. Suddenly the train they are on crashes. So it is a long journey by foot. Ratatoskr love ‘experts’ detect AST around and think it would be bad if they meet the Spirits. They go into battle mode to prevent AST from reaching the hotspring by blocking all the paths.

Shido and co are surprised to see Kotori at the hotspring. She’s here to watch them? Why not do it from Fraxinus? Ah, she wants to join them, right? Nothing will stop between Captain and her hotspring so she blows one of the walls with her C4. Ratatoskr can’t let them pass and initiates all the traps that include sticky glue, nettings, sleeping gas and food missiles. Just WTF. Captain won’t be intimated and goes on the offensive. I think she is running wild. One of the stray missiles hit Shido’s group and this causes Yoshinon to fly away. Sad Yoshino starts crying and the only way is to find the rabbit again. Looks like it’s a job for Shido. Captain continues to be stressed out that something is trying to stop her from relaxing in the hotspring. She snaps and continues her berserk destruction (including her scary aunty ranting). All the AST girls must obey her in fighting back because if there are any remaining ammos left, she’ll shoot it up their ass! When Shido finds Yoshinon, a large gourd missile slams into him. Luckily, Touka’s barrier protected him. AST is stumped to see Touka but before any big battle can start, Touka disappears with Shido. Yoshino is grateful that Yoshinon is back but its head fell apart into the hotspring. Oh no. Here comes the bad mood again. Yeah, the hotspring is frozen. At the end of the day when Captain is relishing she will finally be able to relax in the hotspring, I think her colleagues are starting to realize how scary she can be. But too bad they won’t get too because due to Yoshino’s freezing, they become frozen in ice. Bummer. However there is some good news. Kannadzuki’s digging has hit upon a natural hotspring. Finally Shido and co can soak themselves in this mini hotspring in the middle of nowhere.

Episode 7
All AST members are down. Origami is the last one left facing off with Second Lieutenant Mana Takamiya. But Origami is not match for a person who has experience killing a Spirit. When they are rewatching the video of Hermit’s rampage, Mana sees Shido and realizes that is her brother. Say what? Mana wants to know Origami’s relationship with him. They are lovers. So she claims. Shido’s class gets another transfer student. Kurumi Tokisaki is a real looker that gets all the boys howling. She admits she is a Spirit and wants somebody to show her around school. Not just anybody. She wants Shido to be the one. Sorry Tonomachi, it’s not you. AST analyses Kurumi and it is confirmed that she is not just a Spirit. She is an evil one as she has killed many people with her own hands in addition to spacequakes. So Kotori wants Shido to win her heart over before AST butts in. But it looks like Kurumi is doing the seducing. Origami and Touka spy on Shido giving Kurumi a tour. Can’t let him flirt with more girls, eh? During the course, because of Kannadzuki’s annoyance, it made Kotori say the wrong option so Shido asks Kurumi to show her panties! Surprisingly she will gladly do so but shy boy stops her. He asks her about being a Spirit but she knows he is playing dumb. She knows about him and admits she fell in love with him at first sight. She wants to spend time with him and this makes her happy. Probably Origami and Touka can’t take more of Kurumi’s flirts and drop out from the closet they are hiding. I don’t know if they’re trying to be funny because they try to give the same reason (lack of iron, that is) to hint Shido to hold their hand (not the butt, silly Touka). Kurumi soon leaves alone and is grateful for the time spent. Shido feels Origami and Touka might have saved him. While Kurumi is walking home, she bumps into several punks. They want to get funny with her and she agrees. They get the wrong idea since she agrees to do it in a more secluded space rather in the open. Little do they know, they were all slaughtered. It’s such a bloody alley. Shortly, Mana confronts her and realizes she is too late to stop her eating mess. She calls Kurumi, Nightmare.

Shido is on his way home when he sees Mana. He doesn’t know her but she hugs him and proclaims him as her nii-sama. Back home, Kotori wants to know the meaning of this. So we learn Shido and Kotori aren’t blood related. The Itsuka family took Shido in when he was young. Shido admits he doesn’t remember her but the feeling is same for Mana. She doesn’t remember her past. So how does she know he is her nii-sama? She has a locket that has their picture. She doesn’t think it is some boy who looks like him either. She is so happy to reunite with him and wants to hug but Kotori won’t allow it. But why kick Shido away? Mana guarantees she is not here to steal him but hits a nerve when she says Kotori is no match for a real sister. Soon it descends into an argument between blood and adopted sister. The Spirits do not understand a single thing they are arguing. Perhaps some sort of food? So what does Shido has to say about this natural versus imitation sister thingy? He wants to meet Mana’s guardians but she can’t. Without giving away too much, she mentions about living in a dorm in her workplace before taking her leave. Next day, Origami is sure Kurumi will never come to school again but to her surprise, she comes in late. Kotori calls Shido to the physics room. He is shown a video. No, not the sequel to the dating sim. It is Mana’s confrontation with Kurumi at the alley. Origami and the other AST members are on standby. Mana kills Kurumi and slices up to pieces! Gross out! Kurumi was confirmed killed. So why has she shown up this morning in school? Big mystery. Origami confronts Kurumi herself. The mention about her being killed, Kurumi knows she was the one with Mana. She summons her ghost hands to hold back Origami. Kurumi claims cleaning her body last night was futile. Her goal is Shido. She knows Origami is in love with him but mocks her feelings aren’t as strong as hers. He is the best man. A wonderful man. Very delicious looking. She wants him. She yearns for him. She wants to make him hers. She wants to be one with him. Yeah, yeah. We get what you’re saying.

Episode 8
Kurumi happily accepts Shido’s request for a date tomorrow at 10.30am. Well, all part of the plan. But Origami wants to know what Shido talked to Kurumi. He won’t say and excuses himself. Origami remembers Kurumi wanted to devour her too but she’ll only do that after Shido. Shido walks home with Touka. Suddenly she locks the door and draws the curtains. She starts seducing him. Shido no choice had to take the aquarium tickets she placed in her cleavage. She is happy that this method to ask him out for a date worked. Because the 3 stooges misinterpreted she was down due to Shido’s negligence and told her this sure effective way to get to him. I guess he has to see her tomorrow at 10am. Shortly, he gets a call from Origami who doesn’t think he should be alone. He has no choice but to meet her tomorrow at 11am. Wow. This guy is fully booked. Kotori and Ratatoskr will gladly support him and monitor his dating schedule. Something tells me they’re going to enjoy seeing this. So the date plan begins with Shido meeting Touka. He is stunned by her cute clothes. While touring the aquarium, it is time to meet Kurumi so Shido has to feign that toilet move. Kotori has her ‘experts’ choose which destination to go for Kurumi’s date. Because it is a tie for option 1 and 2, Kotori opts for the third one: The lingerie shop. Shido is even forced to choose an underwear set for her in which she tries it on. Speechless… His troubles are compounded when the 3 stooges catches him around. Now he has to leave to meet Origami. Toilet excuse again? Since they have time before the movie, Origami and Shido go have light lunch. Origami is serious that she wants him to stay with her. Because Shido is taking too long, Touka starts looking for him. I guess that is cue for Shido to make his move. Nature is calling him…

And so the date rotation between the 3 girls seems pretty hectic. Round and round they go. I wonder if the toilet excuse is getting old. If it’s not bad enough, he has to stay clear of the 3 stooges. Thankfully Yoshino was around to distract them. While Kurumi is waiting at the park, she sees several bullies shooting pellets at a helpless kitten. She wants to join in but would like to change the target. Just then, all the monitors watching Kurumi went blank. Kotori and her team try to get it fix. Elsewhere, the dreaded inevitable happens. Origami and Touka bump into each other and somewhat find out they are dating Shido at this moment. Origami realizes if that is the case and that guy is not with either of them, could it be there is another girl he is dating now? Shido is at the park looking for Kurumi. He stumbles upon the trees filled with blood. It is so gross that he lets loose a sickening scream! I think he really needs to use the toilet to vomit this time. He is forced to witness Kurumi in the midst of shooting holes through the last bully’s body. Shido wanted to escape but he is too weak after seeing the revolting scene. Kurumi uses he ghost hands to hold him down. She is about to enjoy him when suddenly she is flung away like as though she got air punched and air kicked away. It is Mana arriving on scene.

Episode 9
Shido is surprised to see Mana in her battle gear. Mana mercilessly shoots and kills Kurumi. I guess Shido has seen enough blood for today. How can Mana be so calm in killing somebody? That’s not a person to begin with. Kurumi AKA Nightmare is a special Spirit. No matter how many times you kill her, she always comes back and starts killing. It is Mana’s job to hunt her down and kill her. Over and over again. Shido is thrown out of the place. Just when Origami and Touka find him, he is not feeling well and wants to go home. But it seems Touka wants to continue their date. When Shido feels better, he feels the need to stop Kurumi from killing more people. But he doesn’t know how to approach her since she is a different Spirit. Touka says she is not different at all. The Spirits are all the same. She believes if Shido shows her the caring side of the world it may just work out. And that is the only difference between them. Next morning in school, as expected, Kurumi is around. Shido makes his stand. He will save her. He will stop her from killing. He will stop Mana from killing her. Of course Kurumi is not convinced and would like to test how true his statement is. Mana and Kotori confront each other. They seem to know about each other’s identity now. But Kotori knows a little more on her and especially that AST company Mana works for. Apparently Mana herself doesn’t know this bit. When Reine analyzed her saliva, her body had been infused with excessive amount of magical energy and has 10 years to live. They have to cut short their chatter as an intense Spirit wave is detected at school. Everyone has been knocked out under this barrier except for Shido because he possesses the seal of Touka and Yoshino as it works like some sort of divine Spirit protection. Kurumi summons Shido to the rooftop. Origami looks like she is not affected due to her suit but she is stopped by Kurumi. Elsewhere, Touka summons enough courage to call upon part of her battle gear and move. She barely dodges a sniping shot from Kurumi.

Shido confronts Kurumi at the rooftop. She explains this barrier sucks out time of those who tread in her shadow. There is a clock in her left eye and it represents her time. This is her Spirit power but it uses a large amount of her time each time she uses it, thus the need to replenish it via external source (the killings). Of course she views Shido as special and wants to devour him. Before that, she wants him to retract his statement of saving her. There is no way he will give his love to someone this scary. If he does so, she’ll remove the barrier. Shido wants her to remove the barrier and will not give up on her. Kurumi threatens by summoning a spacequake. Shido gets information that Kurumi is more afraid of him so he tells her that she shouldn’t involve others if her goal is to eat him. Then he threatens to kill himself. She isn’t convinced so he jumps from the building. Kurumi saves him and this proves that he is indeed a valuable hostage. Kurumi is forced to stop the spacequake and release the barrier otherwise he will bite his own tongue and die. Then he persuades her to start anew. Give herself a chance to enjoy life. He guarantees he can make it happen and no matter how wrong she is, that is not a reason for him not to save her. Kurumi is taken in by his words and is going to give him a chance when her ghost hand stabs her stomach, killing her. Another Kurumi? Mana arrives on scene to cut off Kurumi’s hand. With Touka and Origami arriving too, you think Kurumi is outnumbered? She summons Zafkiel the giant clock. Her hand is restored back to perfect. In fact, her true power is turning back time. She can also teleport, slow down Mana’s time so she can put bullets into her body. Kurumi materializes more of her selves and they are her from different time axis. It is a reason why Mana can never truly kill her. She has everyone bound by her clones and is going to summon a spacequake to do a biggest massacre. Suddenly the spacequake is knocked away. Kotori discloses that by using a tremor of a similar scale to hit a spacequake, they will cancel out each other. And why is it everybody is so surprised to see Kotori in her goddess form? Nobody thought she was a Spirit, huh? Well that giant flaming axe of hers, Camael convince you?

Episode 10
A power battle between Kurumi and Kotori begins. Kurumi thought she had the upper hand with her clones and thought she had killed Kurumi with a point blank shot to her forehead. But she revives and goes on the offensive. Camael turns into some powerful cannon and it took all Kurumi got to protect herself (her clones were done in). Kotori wants to fight to the death but Kurumi is unable to continue. In that case, Kotori will just kill her. Shido knows this isn’t Ratatoskr’s principle as they’re supposed to save Spirits without them. However his words couldn’t reach her. It’s like she’s a different person hell bent on killing. Shido steps in front of Kurumi to shield her from the blast. Did Kotori’s sanity come back a second too late? Next thing he knows, he is in the infirmary. He is worried about the girls and everybody so Reine had to calm him down by smothering him in her boobs. She tells him unconscious Mana and Origami were retrieved by AST, Kurumi escaped while Touka although injured insisted staying by Shido’s side till she tires out. He is brought to where Kotori is. First thing on the agenda is that he asks if she is a Spirit. She is human but data indicates she is a Spirit. In other words, she is a human with Spirit powers. She is definitely born into the Itsuka family but an incident 5 years ago made her into one. Certain parts of Shido’s memories return. He remembers trying to save Kotori from flames but was blown away. It is probably then some of her Spirit powers transferred into him. The odd part was she cannot remember why or how this happen. Subsequently after that, she was picked up by Ratatoskr and learnt about Spirits. She decided to save them. As for how she suppressed her power, it was Shido who sealed it. Funny. He can’t remember. Oddly too, he has this unexplained ability to seal Spirit’s power that’s why Ratatoskr drafted him. Kotori then punches him in the gut as reminder how frail his life is. Had she not regain her sanity then and move away the cannon, he would have died instantly. Shido learns when Kotori is in her Spirit form, she is not herself. She has the urge to destroy things and has no recollection when she is in that form (maybe this explains why she doesn’t remember her past well too). She is distraught she might have killed people then. So since Shido needs to seal it, I guess we know the usual way just like he did with the other spirits. Date her, make her fall in love with him.

Shido is forced to leave when Kotori is not feeling too well. Happy Touka is glad to find him but he is in no mood to talk. Because Reine told him Kotori can withstand having her Spirit energy for 2 more days before she will turn into a different person and will never revert back. In that time, Shido must go on a date with her as their last resort to save Kotori. Shido visits the hospital for Mana but the staff won’t let him in on a single detail. Origami is there so she talks to him. Mana has been treated in a very highly classified manner. That is all she can say. Origami is not happy that Touka is doing fine and since Shido sounded like he is only here for Mana, she feigns she is too weak and forces him to carry her back to her room. She gets motion sickness on wheelchair? Liar! She takes advantage of his kindness by clinging hard on his body and other questionable stuffs that we don’t get to see. She won’t let him go because she forces him to cut apples and feed her. He is smart enough not to do it mouth to mouth as requested but she sucks his fingers!!! That will even do!!! She’s really enjoying licking it!!! I think this tastes much better than the apple, no? More Origami seduction follows… Just when he is about to leave, Origami wants to know about a new Spirit in flames and kimono she saw before she passed out. Shido lies that he passed out too and doesn’t know a thing. Why is she interested? Because 5 years ago, that Spirit called Efreet set fire to a neighbouring town killing her parents. Oh dear… Sense her murderous intent? She’s serious. She’s been waiting for this day to kill that Spirit with her own hands. She joined AST just for this purpose and now after all these years, she has found that Spirit. It’s a small world after all…

Episode 11
Shido is in a dilemma. He thinks hard on Kotori and Origami’s words and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Can it be that? Because they don’t remember much of their past, they do not know what the truth is. Reine tells Shido that it is decided the water amusement park will be their place of date tomorrow. But first he must undergo some training. Buying swimsuits with Touka and Yoshino? How is this training? Well, since his eyes wandered off to the 3 stooges who happen to be there trying out, I guess you can say this is some sort of danger they can’t risk by having him look at other girls besides Kotori. Touka seeks explanation about the swimsuit so Origami conveniently explains to her the military way. Military Zapped Ultimate Grind Instrument. Cleverly abbreviated as Mi-Zu-Gi. Origami is here to talk to Touka about the fire Spirit. She will be grateful if she knows anything. Touka won’t tell her anything so Origami had to put up her cute plea. So cute that it’s just creepy. What does Touka know? Red. Strong. Fwoosh. Is that all? WTF. Useless. Now for the more daunting task. Shido must judge which one of them looks better in their swimsuit. The winner gets to date him. How did it descend into this? The competition is fierce but Origami is always a step ahead of Touka. Finally they hear Yoshino having trouble tying her swimsuit string with one hand. We have a winner. You can’t beat such moe, can’t you? Back at the base, because Shido laments if he has some sort of knowledge how he first sealed Kotori. Kannadzuki shows him a confiscated video of the great fire then. Kotori is in the picture but Shido sees something amiss. Kannadzuki doesn’t see anything suspicious but Shido is positive that the blurry thing in front of Kotori was somebody. He doesn’t know but he feels it is definitely a person. Suddenly he passes out.

Luckily Shido is ready for Kotori’s date the next day. She is her usual insulting and sarcastic little sister. But this won’t be a date with just 2 of them. Touka and Yoshino are tagging along too as instructed by Reine. Oh… I’m sure Kotori is ‘looking forward’ to it. So at the water park, it is time for Shido to comment on Kotori’s swimsuit. ‘Experts’, input please. It is obvious to go for the first choice of complimenting but Kannadzuki as the acting officer decides to use the one that compliments her small boobs instead. Lolicon! The ‘experts’ turn on him. After riding down the water slide and stopping for lunch, Shido checks with Reine for the stats. No decline but no improvement either. At this rate, he can’t save her. Kotori leaves the table. Touka and Yoshino wonder if Shido had a fight with her because it seems he loosens up when Kotori leaves. Shido leaves to get some fresh air and seek advice if he is too tense. Then he sees Kotori slumping behind the vending machine with Reine by her side. Reine doesn’t want to administer more drugs into her (it’s already 50 times her normal dosage!). Kotori is confident it won’t kill her as she is a Spirit. Besides, this might be her last chance to be with Shido as herself. Later Shido confronts Reine about this. She reveals Kotori has been like that since she regained her Spirit power. But this is done on her request. Kotori didn’t tell him as she didn’t want him to date her out of pity. Reine hopes he never heard this. When Kotori returns, Shido plans to take her to the indoor amusement park. To prove this is not orders from Ratatoskr, he throws away his ear piece. Don’t worry about Touka and Yoshino. They’re having a blast with some water ride. Meanwhile Captain shows Origami a new mecha suit, White Licorice. Powerful enough to kill a Spirit. But too bad Origami can’t use it due to political and technological reasons. When Captain brings up the matter of that fire footage, Origami wants to see it. She is shocked to see Kotori in the picture. Then it turns to hatred. Right under her nose, eh?

Episode 12
Kotori is not good with rides. But Shido’s cheeky face is relishing to see her reaction. Funny. As a Spirit who zips around in the air at high speed, she is afraid of the roller coaster? As a Ratatoskr commander taking on Spirits, she is afraid of the haunted house? Touka learns from Yoshino that Kotori is a Spirit (the latter was probably eavesdropping). They want to help them out but Yoshino thinks it is best that they stay out of this one. Meanwhile, White Licorice has gone missing in the blink of an eye. Tons of its ammunition too. We all know who to point our fingers to. While taking a break, Kotori gets nervous thinking Shido wants to kiss him. She almost jumped the gun but what he wanted was to ask her a question. Before that could happen, Kotori is blown into smithereens! Look who is here? One mad AST girl. Shido is unaffected as she was protecting him in a barrier. But Kotori can’t die that easy, right? And so while the crowd runs helter-skelter, our girls engage in a powerful battle enough to destroy the amusement park and turn it into some mish-mash. Did she care about the innocent people’s safety first? Apparently all she got on her mind is to kill Efreet. Shido’s scream for them to stop fell on deaf ears. Seriously, are those hot headed girls going to simply listen to him? Touka and Yoshino hear blasting sounds. They know they can’t interfere but eventually their urge to go help is stronger. Obviously Kotori is stronger. So strong that Origami had to turn and run because Kotori is going crazy, losing her mind like a mad killer at each passing moment. But because of her condition and her weakened state, it allows Origami to pound back and cause further wreckage. Origami has captured Kotori and is about to kill her but Shido comes in between them. He persuades hard he doesn’t want her to turn into a different person like Mana. Also, it is Efreet the Spirit of Flames she is gunning for revenge and not Kotori the human. However Origami is damn certain that Kotori = Efreet. Nothing will change her mind. Shido continues to stand his ground.

Thanks to this ‘stalling’, Touka and Yoshino is able to distract Origami to let Shido have enough time to escape with Kotori. It’s Touka’s turn to try and convince Origami. She makes her remember that awful feeling when she almost killed Shido. That same awful feeling when her parents were murdered. Does she intend to make Shido go through that? Shido can’t contact Reine for Kotori’s stats so he is forced to rush and make Kotori reveal her feelings. Does she love him? Yes! And always! Love him more than anyone else in the world. When they kiss, the memories on that fateful day 5 years ago become clearer. But no time to stop and think. They have to continue running with Origami not hot on their heels. Origami sees the Shido’s back being healed after the fragments of the blast injure it. Shido once again tells her that it is Efreet and not Kotori his sister who killed her parents. If she still refuses to believe that, then kill him. Because he has absorbed Efreet’s power. I’m sure Origami would love to but she has taken in heavy damage and passes out. In the aftermath back at Fraxinus, Reine apologizes about her poor judgment. Shido and Kotori shouldn’t have gone on a date to begin with and he should have kissed and sealed her power when he woke up. Just that, Kotori was looking forward very much to this date that she thought it was necessary. She shows Kotori’s stats that were never changed. Her love for him was always at maximum level. Kotori dismisses everything as error. If anybody agrees, they’ll be penalized. Sorry, Shido. Computer error. The tsundere is always right. Although Kotori now remembers some of her memories, she feels the need to store such information outside their heads as they can’t rule out the possibility of their memories being erased. She wonders if Shido meant what he said about loving her. Of course he does. As his sister. Tsundere kick! Origami is retrieved by AST but strapped onto the bed like a dangerous mental patient. Shido thanks Touka for their assistance. Touka wants him to save another Spirit if she appears. But not kiss her. How to complete sealing then? Since Touka wants a kiss, Shido no choice has to oblige and the watching Ratatoskr crew are encouraging them. Sorry to disappoint. But Yoshinon got the kiss anyway.

Dating Woes Dead Ahead
Not really the end for now. I suppose there are lots of things that are not resolved yet so it is no surprise that right at the end of the final episode, the announcement of the second season has been given the green light. When Shido and Kotori emerge victorious over the battle with Origami, it doesn’t show that Origami has actually turned over a new leaf yet. From the way I look at it, she still harbours very deep hatred and revenge for Efreet. It is going to take a lot more effort to make her open her eyes. Until the real identity of Efreet has been revealed, Origami will eye Kotori as her prey and I’m sure this would put a damper to the harem factor that we partly look forward with. There is also unfinished business with Kurumi since the last fight didn’t end with any clear victor. I bet that she will be another handful like Origami before she comes over to the good side. Mana has been out of the picture after Kurumi’s battle but I doubt that her role will end just there. Of course with Kotori now having fragments of her memory returned, it still remains in question about her transformation into a Spirit and the killings she did when she went berserk. Based on the few clips seen for next season’s production, it looks like there will be more Spirits and crazier outrageous battle. It is going to get tougher from this point. I guess they’re trying to say dating and fighting are the same because you put your very life on the line! Haha! Even if this season feels incomplete and somewhat a chaotic mess, it is still a fun watch. The harem part, that is.

So just like about everything else, there is something mysterious within Shido that he himself doesn’t know. Something that can seal the power of Spirits. It doesn’t help since he can’t remember much either. I suppose when he first sealed Kotori, I thought it was the same like how he sealed all the Spirits: Sealed with a kiss. Isn’t that how it is supposed to be done? Unless there is a more ‘passionate’ way to seal it because so far all we’ve seen are kisses on the lips and the Spirit will become docile. But I don’t think any kiss will do because if it was, Shido wouldn’t have to go through all that dating schedule and stealing kisses would just do. Besides, that would be plain rude to force kiss a girl even if she is a Spirit. Despite not being humans, they have feelings too and as seen as proof, Touka and Yoshino did quite nicely to fit into society albeit with a little quirks here and there. So I conclude that in order to seal a Spirit there needs to be several conditions to fulfil before it turns into another spacequake disaster. 1) You need to get them into the mood and raise their stats (playing dating sims might help); 2) When everything and the mood are right, go in for the kill (with a kiss, that is); 3) You must be Shido. I guess the last qualification disqualifies the rest of us, eh? Yeah. Only Shido can do it. Somehow. And the way I see this typical nice guy who cares for everyone around him, I think he wants to and will be saving ALL of the Spirits. Good or bad, he still wants to give them a chance. That isn’t entirely a bad thing although the problem of harem woes might creep up if every Spirit he seals ends up falling in love with him. What a way to gun for a harem route. I wonder if he had such experience while he was playing his dating sims.

I have to admit that the harem part whereby the girls are somewhat fighting over the attention of Shido is what I looked forward and enjoyed most (because I’m a ‘loser’ too). It was fun seeing the main rivalry between Touka and Origami although the cool taciturn latter always seem to have the upper hand on the naive former. It’s like their personalities are poles apart (and poor Shido is caught in between). Ever since Touka’s power has been sealed, so tame she is that you might actually forget that she was a menacing Spirit that once caused the spacequake in the vicinity. She becomes a gullible and simple girl and is eager to do lots of stuffs that have to do with dates. On the other hand, Origami doesn’t seem to show her emotions and if she did, it makes her feel creepy. Otherwise, extreme. Not used to it. Especially the part whereby she surprised us by licking Shido’s finger in her hospital room. Didn’t see that one coming. If this is just part of her true nature and feelings for Shido, I think there will be something a lot darker if surfaced. When she falls into despair, you can really see the wretched look on her face. And when she is angry and hell bent on revenge, nothing will change her mind. It’s like she’s willing to sacrifice the ones she loves just for the mission she lives out for.

As for now, so far Touka and Origami looks like the front runners if ever Shido realizes he is in a harem. I thought Yoshino would add to the mix but ever since she toned down, she’s just hanging around. I thought at least when Shido saved her, she would realize Shido would be her new hero as he mentioned and not rely on Yoshinon too much. But I guess she still needs her puppet rabbit and the show needs some sort of animal mascot. Besides, if Yoshino does join the harem rat race, it would somehow look bad on Shido and make it look as though he is a lolicon. He already doesn’t have a good reputation among the 3 stooges, this one will make it worse. Speaking of them, I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but I seem to notice that each time they are around, Shido is there as well. I won’t go so far to say that they are stalking him or have feelings for him (not that I can tell) but it feels more than just coincidence. Especially one of them whose vocabulary and lines are only limited to “Majihiku” (“Gross”). Has she no other word to say? Everything Shido does is gross. It’s like the programmers forgot to install more lexicon into her brain.

Back to the harem factor, I also thought Mana’s appearance halfway through the series would tip the scales of the harem balance. Her brotherly love seems genuine and might steal Shido’s heart if Touka and Origami are not careful. But then… She got taken out so I don’t think she’ll be back in action for a while. As for Kotori, they do love each other but officially it seems only as siblings. One is a tsundere and the other a big brother. If they can’t see past that relationship, then I figure it is a good thing for Touka and Origami to lead a 2-horse race for Shido. I won’t discount Kurumi but since she has not turned over a new leaf yet, chances are pretty slim as far as this harem matter is concerned. Otherwise, she might be the one taking the lead and increasing it because of her boldness that would leave everyone else pretty much speechless and hesitating. So all the main girls here (except Mana) got their moment in dating Shido. I figure he should be an expert in this area now. A promising romantic. A smooth talker. At least his words got through to the heart of the girls he dated. Yes, even Kurumi. Only if her other clones didn’t kill her off and null his efforts. Can Shido do it all over again for her? All of her clones? That will take forever, right?

The other side characters are amusing. Reine doesn’t look like she has much sleep and the way she talks so drowsy feels like as though she could just fall asleep halfway in the midst of the conversation. Thankfully she didn’t. Was she up all night playing or programming dating sims? That’s just my speculation. Kannadzuki at first looked like he is going to be quite a reliable second in command till his true colours of being a lolicon is revealed. Then he turns out to be more of a comical role than anything else. He never learns about his lolicon habit and always gets punished by Kotori. But at least it shows that he has unwavering loyalty to his preference. Okay, that may sound like a bad thing. Then there are those Ratatoskr love ‘experts’. I still find it funny that they are dubbed experts in this area but I guess you can only gain valuable experience from bitter events and encounters. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger. At least they’ve shown to be much better characters than Kannadzuki. But still… Are they the best people to make choices for dating? I can bet Shido’s romance life is screwed if he listens to every choice they pick. So it’s best to go with his guts, no? Tonomachi going steady with his 2D girlfriend indicates that he might have given up on 3D women but when Kurumi came into the picture it looked like there was hope until… Reality is such a disappointment, huh? No wonder guys like him seek solace in 2D girls. They’ll never reject you! We all know well the one word we can’t say to Tamae. At least not until she finds Mr Right and gets hitched.

Watching this kind of show, one (like yours truly) would have expected some fanservice scenes. I suppose saying that it was done well would give an inaccurate picture of what I mean. Taking the overall flow of the story, characters and the action involved, everything was pretty much balanced out with its lively pacing so it doesn’t feel overwhelming in one area from the other. In short, the fanservice is sufficient and provides timely eye candy as to how some of the funny moments (like Touka’s naivety) provide comic relief moments and as to how the mecha action satiate your , uhm, mecha action palate. So, no mind blowing fanservice just some typical ones like the hotspring episode (but you rarely see our main girls dipping inside), the swimsuit purchasing episode and perhaps the lingerie scene by Kurumi should be the most stimulating one. If you are into her, that is. But no beach episode, though. Well, the water amusement park was close enough.

The battle scenes are quite okay but if you are dealing with powerful beings that can literally shake the face of this planet, you would be expecting some power battles. It feels like they are of a grand scale since you’ve got AST with their mecha firepower while the Spirits each with their own abilities that feels infused with magic. The weapons that they materialize are huge and you don’t expect a sword 5 times your size to do minimal damage, right? The size must be of proportionate if not bigger in its damage for ooh-ahh-wowee effect. So you’ll see some swinging and blasting action while the girls duke it out and somehow the city gets partly decimated. It makes no difference than having a spacequake in the first place, eh? At least it won’t be as bad as a spacequake because when that happens, everything will just become a huge barren crater. Eventually it is the power of words that move the heart and calm everything down. Yeah. The tongue is mightier than the sword in this case. A very cost effective weapon. No R&D costs. Just sincerity from the heart. Therefore we can learn from this lesson that we can resolve things better and more peacefully through dialogue instead of destructive action that gets us nowhere. The designs of the Spirits clothes aren’t too bad like Touka’s battle fantasy type and Kurumi’s gothic style. Somehow AST’s battle gears remind me of those Busou Shinki. It boggles my mind that when they wear such gear, they are close to naked. Shouldn’t they be armed up to their eyeballs? I know. Little fanservice. But I figure that those mech equipment they carry must be heavy so they’ve got to be ‘lighter’ in other departments. Maybe.

Marina Inoue as Touka, when she was hostile, she had that dominating sounding voice like Yozora from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai or Laura from Infinite Stratos. Then when she turned friendly, she sounded more like Kana of Minami-ke. Ayana Taketatsu seems fitting as Kotori because she also voiced similar characters like Kirino in OreImo, Rinka in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru and Eclair in Dog Days. It took me a while to recognize Asami Sanada as Kurumi. I felt a certain familiarity in that voice before I realized it’s that voice of Kanako from Maria+Holic and Sawako from K-ON! Here, she sounds a little creepier which fits Kurumi’s nature as a dangerous Spirit. Other casts include Iori Nomizu as Yoshino (Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka, Funko in Upotte), Misuzu Togashi as Origami (Minatsu in Seitokai No Ichizon, Ichiroku in Upotte), Aya Endo as Reine (Matsu in Sekirei, Mire in Upotte), Misato as Mana (Eru in Upotte), Kaori Sadohara as Tamae (Shigu in Upotte) (What’s with the Upotte alumnae? I promise, no more Upotte casts), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Shido (Kaito in Ano Natsu De Matteru), Takehito Koyasu as Kannadzuki (Takasugi in Gintama) and Anri Katsu as Tonomachi (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index).

The opening theme by Sweet Arms is the same name of this series and sounds like generic rock. As most of the ending themes are sung by Iori Nomizu, I find the main ending theme to be quite funny. Save The World has lyrics like “Before the world ends, kiss or kill me” and “Save the world with something that isn’t exactly love”. It is even funnier the way the tune of this song plays out. Ironically despite the song sung by Yoshino’s seiyuu, the entire ending credits animation is on Touka. Well, maybe Iori Nomizu had a funny voice. Hearing her sing this remind me of how she sang as Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka. Funny and horrible. Oops… The other ending theme, this time entitled Save My Heart (lasting for only 2 episodes) which sounds like any other anime pop (again, the ending credits only feature Touka who is running somewhere – will she ever reach Shido’s heart?). Finally, Strawberry Rain flows to a slower beat and we have Yoshino in the picture this time. However this song is only featured for one episode. The only ending song not sung by Iori Nomizu is Hatsukoi Winding Road by Kayoko Tsumita, Risako Murai and Midori Tsukimiya, the special ending piece for the first episode. Actually it is not so much of a song. It’s just those dating sim girls talking (basically about this anime’s premise and Shido’s ‘job’) throughout the duration while the music is being played in the background.

So the next time when aliens from outer space stop by our planet and are bent on total invasion or world destruction, maybe we should take a cue from this anime to date them, make them fall in love with us, make them feel how beautiful this world is. Well, aside from civil war and pollution, that is. Nobody is that perfect. Who knows? We might just become good friends with highly advanced aliens. That is rather fine and I would also love to be part of it. But provided if they look like pretty 2D anime girls. Please… You don’t expect me to date those grey aliens, don’t you? Those types can be sent to Area 51 for classified experiments that I couldn’t care less. Remember, when the world is about to end at the hands of aliens, don’t show hostility, but the power of love! But I wonder why we can’t have a peaceful resolve if we date more than one girl… That sounds like a guaranteed formula for war. I guess some things aren’t meant to be shared equally or to be even shared that way.

Minami-ke: Tadaima

October 19, 2013

BAKAYARO! Heh… You know when I always start my blog with that word, it could only mean one thing: Minami-ke! Yes. After a long time, we have a fourth instalment of the Minami sisters and their friends in Minami-ke: Tadaima. The second title is somewhat aptly named since it has been a long time since the third season ended back in early 2009. And then they whet our appetite with an OVA way back in October 2012 just to signal to us that they are coming back at the start of 2013. I guess it is hard to really forget about those ordinary sisters, eh? Yeah well, if you have been watching all the 3 seasons and 2 OVAs like me, I’m sure you would feel that certain nostalgia if you are going to watch this fourth season. I figure that is how producers hit on us by making sequels and using nostalgia to make us want more of something that although wasn’t the most amazing thing in history but not too bad that you hate it and something memorable.

As monotonously warned at the start of each episode, this show is nothing more than the simple illustrations of the ordinary lives of the Minami sisters. Ordinary is the word in focus here. So, don’t expect too much from it. Yeah. I wasn’t. Because if I go by this series’ formula, there won’t be anything new or shocking (because of that, I guessed that’s why the second season bombed). Expect the same old Minami sisters and their antics with their usual friends. No sudden twist in the plot. No sudden new character. No new development in any area. No nothing… Boring, isn’t it? That’s why you have been warned… Expectation is the root of disappointment. The higher it gets, the more you will be let down. But don’t get the wrong idea of me putting this show down. If you love your slice of life comedy with nothing shocking, then you better watch this show, bakayaro!

Episode 1
* Chiaki introduces us to the Minami sisters. The middle dumbass sister Kana she is not proud of unlike the eldest one Haruka whom she worships like a goddess. Chiaki chides Kana for still wanting to play around with the kotatsu and wants Haruka to say something. But since she warmed up her clothes using it, Chiaki approves of its use.
* Kana didn’t do well on her tests and wants somebody to coach her. Keiko? No way. Then she uses Miyuki to help plead to Keiko (who also didn’t do well) tutor them. It worked only because Keiko is here to tutor Miyuki and not Kana. So Kana makes them go home instead. On the next test, Kana did worst. One point lesser. As for Miyuki, she scored 100!
* Kana is with Chiaki and Uchida in the living room. When Uchida leaves for a while, Kana notes how Chiaki doesn’t care about her surroundings if she’s focused on her studying and decides to teach Uchida a lesson by leaving her doughnut unguarded. Uchida is distraught to see her doughnut missing and all evidence points to Kana although she dismisses it. Chiaki as usual didn’t react. When Kana leaves, it’s payback time. Uchida reads her manga. No reaction from Chiaki. However there is a reaction from her when Haruka calls her to taste her cooking. When she comes back, she sees this eerie silence between Kana and Uchida. Her angelic and devilish side try to reason whether they are deliberately ignoring her. She can’t take it anymore and apologizes for studying on her own. It is then revealed that they were trying to hold in their laughter thinking that the other was making a funny face. For that, Chiaki will have Uchida eat third servings of their dinner. Can she eat that much?
* Kana got enough money to get a fortune reading. She seeks Keiko’s help to decipher its meaning and from Kana’s reaction, she thinks Kana wants a boyfriend. She thinks this is Fujioka’s chance. Kana also thinks he is the fated one when Fujioka approaches her but she is actually sitting in his seat. Back home, Kana is close to confirming Fujioka is the one when he is seen visiting their home. But when he leaves and forgets to take his bicycle key and returns back up, Kana dismisses he is the one.
* Kana wants to put away the kotatsu but surprisingly Haruka is acting like a kid disagreeing with her. Then she goes to sleep underneath it. Does Kana want to put it away so badly? Put it this way. If Haruka starts getting lazy with it, she’ll never cook their dinner! Putting it away is for her sake. First, cutting off the power and letting all the heat escape didn’t work. Pulling it away didn’t have any reaction from Haruka but Kana considers it a success. When Haruka gets back from school, she sees Kana hiding underneath the kotatsu. Didn’t she put it away? She’s changing clothes in its warmth? And she forgot to bring her clothes. Can Haruka get them for her? Haruka pulls her out. Kana fanservice!

Episode 2
* Mako-chan wants to put an end to this cross-dressing. ‘She’ doesn’t want to lie anymore despite having easy access into their home. But this time ‘she’ is determined to end it. But when Haruka returns, Mako-chan goes to talk about the cookbook ‘she’ has bought. I guess the charade continues.
* Touma makes an April Fool’s Day joke that their house is on fire. Because of that, the brothers end up in some serious discussion to punish her. No dinner for her. That’s why she is now at the Minami sisters’ house as she can’t eat at home. At the same time, Fujioka is also here. He talks to Touma about playing football (remember, in his eyes, Touma is a boy). Kana makes a revelation that Touma is a girl. Though Touma is shocked at this betrayal, Kana tells her not to sweat it so much because of today’s April Fool’s joke. Though Fujioka can handle it, Touma couldn’t. She runs back home and is not even interested in dinner even if her brother wants to make it for her if she apologizes.
* In class, Yoshino almost mistakes Makoto for Mako-chan but corrects herself. Uchida and Makoto wonder if she really knows about that identity. So Mako-chan returns to Kana and is sure this time ‘she’ will stop being Mako-chan. ‘She’ gives back this hairpin as proof. Of course Kana is not convinced and has kept the number of times ‘she’ has said that. When Haruka comes in, she notices Mako-chan not wearing ‘her’ hairpin. Because a hairpin looks cute on ‘her’, Haruka gives her another one that looks like a spade as thanks for being Chiaki’s friend. Learning it symbolizes a sword, Mako-chan thinks Haruka has entrusted ‘her’ the duty of forever staying faithful to Chiaki. Looks like it is Mako-chan once more and always…
* The Minami brothers discuss how Touma isn’t ladylike. Haruo and Natsuki end up arguing who should be the one to tell her and once more leave Akira to clean up after them. Touma sees Yoshino’s advice to be feminine. But she introduces to someone better: Makoto. They should ask someone what a guy thinks is ladylike, right? Well, he doesn’t and thinks they should go ask Chiaki. She says to be herself. That didn’t work. Wondering if Chiaki is feminine or not, they think she is feminine back at home. With Fujioka the teddy bear. Touma thinks all she needs to do is cut up cloth, stuff it with cotton and sew it up to make stuffed dolls as a feminine hobby. Back home, Natsuki sees a blue teddy bear and notices someone has cut out the cotton of their sofa to make this! Touma!!!
* Touma shows the blue teddy bear to Kana and it is like a splitting image to the brown Fujioka. Kana wants to experiment switching the teddy bears to see if Chiaki notices. Of course she notices something off but Kana gives lots of excuses like the world is changing, etc. Then Kana wants them to figure out what is different with her. I’m sure they pinpoint everything but miss by a mile. She reveals she tied her twintails lower than usual. Just when Chiaki has accepted the blue teddy bear, she sees her original one and yells who the hells is this one!!! Touma stays for dinner and says that she could make clothes too since they are easier than stuffed dolls. Chiaki has a few clothes she likes that she wants her to make. Haruo and Natsuki continue to argue over who should tell Touma. Once again, Akira is left to clean up after them.

Episode 3
* Touma bathes fast at the Minami sisters’ place and this is because she notes Natsuki takes long ones. So long that a TV episode will have ended by them. Since there are no extra clothes, Kana has her try out hers and Haruka’s school uniform. Some parts are loose, some parts are tight. She prefers to wear a jersey.
* Kana did an experiment whereby she asks her friend the time when she is about to drink. This causes her to spill the drink over her clothes. She tells this to Chiaki and Touma and proves this experiment over Uchida. This theory proves the existence of airheads as believed by Kana. Uchida wears a maid outfit for the time being. Noting that Haruka will be back next, Kana thinks of testing it on her. But before that could happen, Chiaki takes the alarm clock and tells her the time.
* Haruka invites her friends to her home for some cake. Hitomi realizes she has lost her ring she got from her friend. It costs ten thousands of yen so better start looking. Hitomi realizes it was in her hand all along and it would be embarrassing to just admit it. So she rolls it away and it ends up in Atsuko’s bag. So when Atsuko spots it, she is devastated she will be accused as a thief. She admits she finds the ring but couldn’t explain how. Hitomi feels guilty so they both start apologizing to each other while Haruka and Maki are confused.
* Remembering what Touma said, Haruka talks to Natsuki about his habit of taking long baths. He felt embarrassed and denies. Hitomi sees how troubled his eyes are and talks to Maki about it. She feels his embarrassment is like those of taking long baths which is more like a girl thing. Haruka heard this and realizes she must have embarrassed him. She goes to talk to him that there is nothing wrong taking long baths and since she said so, he will do so. Then Hitomi goes to tell Natsuki that she too takes long baths (remember, she likes him). His answers about improving blood circulation and all isn’t what she is seeking. Is there anything else he should say to her? Yes. There is nothing to feel embarrassed about!
* Kana, Chiaki and Touma are happy after eating a doughnut each. Realizing there is only 1 left, they do rock-scissors-paper and Kana won. When she returns after getting more tea, it is gone. She knows one of them ate it but as Chiaki points out, if they tried to, the other would have sounded the alarm. It means there was no doughnut there to begin with! Kana almost bought that because she notices the doughnuts they ate wasn’t coated with sugar like this one. She is going to lick their mouths to see how ate it! Don’t come closer you pervert! So scared that they admit they are the culprits. When Haruka returns, everyone remembers that doughnut is for her. Haruka smells her favourite cinnamon flavour all over Kana. Oh sh*t… But Kana averts the blame to the duo for eating her share. Haruka becomes disheartened. She brushes it off as she’s on a diet anyway. They feel the need to cheer her up. So when she takes a bath, Chiaki and Touma don their maid outfit to clean the house. Haruka is revitalized and will go make dinner. But where is Kana? She is still trying to fit into the maid outfit.

Episode 4
* Hosaka wants to give Haruka his homemade bento but was stopped by Hayami. Several death slaps on his head didn’t change anything but she did gain his attention. Her smooth talk has him convinced that what he wants is for Haruka to wipe his sweat after club activities every day. Yup. It is her ploy to get Haruka to join the volleyball club. He goes into class to ask Haruka that but she is gone and only Maki and Atsuko are left. Yeah, they are feeling creepy as Hosaka rants how he will make a good meal for Haruka and her daughters. Sisters, if that is what he is referring to. And does he need to unbutton his shirt?
* Hosaka thinks of making lunch for Natsuki because if he spends his time on cooking, he will have less time for club activities. However he refuses since this scene will arise to misinterpretation. Yaoi… Besides, he wants to make a hot meal for his family. Hosaka allows it.
* Hitomi sees Natsuki’s serious eyes and thinks it is the eyes of wanting someone adult-like to cook for him. She tells this to Haruka and Kana. Kana has an idea of that: Wear naked apron! Haruka asks she can start by asking what kind of food that person likes. When Hitomi goes to see Natsuki again, she sees his eyes resolved to cook everything by himself. She tells him she likes super sweet things.
* Touma seeks a little excitement so she jumps into puddles to make Uchida wet. So when she tries to get back, she accidentally makes Chiaki and Yoshino drench. So the quartet have to take a warm bath back at Haruka’s home. However it has been raining for a few days and the laundry isn’t dry yet. Even the bath towels aren’t dry yet. I don’t know how they got to dry themselves but they are dressed in nun outfits that Touma made. As for Chiaki, she is turned into a teruterubouzu as everyone prays for a sunny day. Even Haruka! Otherwise they won’t have clothes to wear tomorrow. Hey! Didn’t something of this sort happened in the first season?
* Hayami talks to Haruka and Hitomi how they like their eggs done. Of course this reaches the ears of Hosaka and so he starts his deluded fantasy of sunny side up or turned over. Even the girls are freaked out. He might have a nice body but his brain is obviously broken. Then Hayami comes to interfere. She whispers in his ear that Haruka doesn’t mind them nicely browned. Elsewhere Hitomi asks Natsuki to kind of eggs he likes. Since it’s not overcooked, she thinks he likes her untanned. She gets alerted when she thinks his eyes are looking at her, wanting to eat her. He just feels like wanting to eat eggs. As for Hosaka, he is lying on the grassy plains, baring his exposed body to the sun. Now it’s the time to flip over…
* Hosaka shows Hayami a plate he made. I didn’t pay attention to all those words of praising how damn good it is. Since Hayami asks what he is going to fill it with, he goes off to ask others. Unfortunately why does it have to be Maki and Atsuko? Can’t escape, can’t they? So as he rants about preparing the best cuisine with the best vessel, they accidentally split it into half! Yeah. He was so busy blabbing its history and wax lyrical about it, the duo had time to panic behind his back and even bring back a kettle as replacement. Yeah, they suggest he could boil water with it. And he will follow their suggestion! Can hot water bring Haruka happiness? Does he even realize what happened to his plate? Elsewhere, the Minami sisters are having a hot ramen in a cup.

Episode 5
* While putting away their winter clothes, Kana finds Haruka’s school swimsuit and gives it to Chiaki to try. Does she think wearing it can make her swim underwater for 50 metres like her? Guess what? When she puts it on, it’s so baggy that it practically slips off! And Chiaki really got her hopes up…
* Kana and Keiko thought of eating chilled noodles and invite Akira. They notice he hasn’t switch from his winter uniform to his summer. He says he sometimes feel cold. Kana thought it would be disrespectful to eat summer food in winter clothing. Of course Fujioka wants to know what Akira chatted with Kana. Akira fears he would get the wrong idea and mentions he got rejected for chilled noodles. Fujioka gets the wrong idea from him that he needs to be more summer-like to be invited by Kana for chilled noodles. So he starts stripping his jacket. I hope he doesn’t turn into another Hosaka. He also tries to act very hot just to get Kana to invite him. But in Kana’s eyes, she sees him turning into a delinquent. Whenever Fujioka never gets invited, he meets Akira to tell him the problem and the answer is always the same. Act even hotter. Kana thinks Fujioka is picking a fight with him. This process repeats itself many times till Keiko who probably got tired of seeing this misinterpretation to go ask Fujioka if he could ask Kana to invite him. Instantly he goes back to normal and Kana thought the model student straightened out the delinquent.
* Chiaki makes some fatty rich food for breakfast for her special menu. Bacon toast pizza with extra cheese and potato chips. Yum! Kana chows it down and then goes to sleep. Then it’s leftover beef curry and buttered potato for lunch. Yummy! Then it’s sleep again. For drinks, they had gum syrup cola. That hits the spot! When Kana weighs herself, she is appalled she has gained weight and reports this to Chiaki. Apparently this is her plan so that she could develop fats for buoyancy while swimming. Kana points out she overlooked an important point. With all the fats, she will lack the muscles needed to tread in water! And so, the duo skip dinner and go on an exercising spree. If Chiaki didn’t suck in simple exercises…
* The last day of school before summer vacation. Akira tells Fujioka it is important to stay in touch so Fujioka gets this grand idea of spending his time with Kana at a family restaurant, go shopping for yukata and swimsuit, hit the beach and ending it with a big fireworks bang. Very grand indeed. So he goes to Kana but see her and friends trying to decide their plan for summer via wheel of fortune. They let Fujioka do the honours to drop the eraser. Where it lands, that will be their plan. He spots the family restaurant and prays hard to land on it. When it does, he goes into ecstasy. The girls thought it was boring but couldn’t have the heart to tell him since he is basking in his victory. Didn’t he see the beach and fireworks plan which occupies a very big portion of the chart? In the end, I guess he ended up going alone since they didn’t make plans to meet.
* As consolation, Fujioka is invited to play fireworks with them. Because the wind blows out the candle fire and Haruka had to rush back to ascertain the stove is turned off, nobody else had a lighter with them. Fujioka rushes to the store to get one while Kana takes out her primitive fire making tools. Not going to work. If she thought of this, shouldn’t she have just brought a matchbox?! Fujioka is on his way home thinking how he should hold Kana’s hand. Before he knows it, he’s already back. Kana insists on paying him for the lighter and slaps the 100 Yen in his palm. Fujioka jumps with joy that he manages to hold her hand. But Touma thought he is such a happy guy to receive 100 Yen.

Episode 6
* Chiaki tells off Kana that her summer schedule consists of only having fun. She should add some study time. You think she wants that? Chiaki makes the adjustment herself so Kana readjusts it back. This goes back and forth till the goddess Haruka comes. Kana can’t really say what her real plans are before her so she hands over a marker pen. That will be permanent, right? Chiaki writes the final plan.
* Kana goes over the horoscope with Riko and Keiko. She believes the prediction is accurate because when she spilled her glass, Chiaki’s teddy bear acts some sort of a barrier to protect her from the water as stated in the horoscope. Then when they go to the pool, Riko is disallowed to swim since the horoscope says not to go near water. Nobody is wearing the lucky colour blue too. Fujioka happen to be there so Kana sees him wearing blue trunks. It seems odd for her to be staring ‘down there’. Telling Fujioka that Riko might drown, she wants him to be by her side. As long as that happens, Riko can enter the pool. Of course this is like a dream come true for her to be with Fujioka. So excited that she almost drowned.
* Kana, Uchida and Yoshino talk about self promotions when they learn Maki and Atsuko went for an interview for a part time job. Chiaki offers to play the interviewer role and interviews Kana. She is made to describe herself. She thinks she is cute? Be more specific. Kana changes her outfit and acts cutie-like. Chiaki passes her. Now it’s Kana’s turn to be the interviewer as she interviews Uchida. She feels uncomfortable the way Kana is talking to her. Fujioka happens to come by and got caught in the midst. Chiaki hints they are doing self promoting and show them how he thinks. I guess he took it the wrong way and confesses he likes Kana. Kana then reverts to her old self, feeling relieved that she couldn’t stop acting like that till someone said that.
* The gang are at the beach. So is Mako-chan. For obvious reason, ‘she’ can’t flaunt her swimsuit. Haruka then puts some suntan on Mako-chan. Later Mako-chan helps Chiaki to swim in the ocean but was frightened by Kana. Mako-chan chides her for not acting very sisterly since Chiaki doesn’t know how to swim. She is unrepentant and throws a sea cucumber at Mako-chan. Chiaki is grateful to Mako-chan and hopes they could be friends forever.
* While everyone is having food, Kana seems to be going the roundabout way about the food but Chiaki says it straight that the food sucks. This causes everyone to lose appetite. Chiaki sinks into depression so Haruka wants to go cheer her up. Kana chides big sister for spoiling her like this. She almost collapses! Chiaki decides to break the watermelon since she’s hungry but was stopped by Haruka. She blames herself that everyone didn’t eat full. Everyone agrees to split the watermelon now and they all have the cool refreshing dessert.
* Mako-chan has worked up a tan. Which means ‘she’ can’t go around topless as Makoto, right? Mako-chan then shows a band aid ‘she’ got from Chiaki in school. However Kana points out that was when ‘she’ was as Makoto. Can’t let her find out about her identity now, eh? It would have been easier if Mako-chan just take off the band aid but because of Makoto’s stupid pride of not taking it off forever, ‘she’ can’t. Chiaki comes in so Mako-chan tries to decline anything that needs ‘her’ to use ‘her’ hand like playing Othello or eating cookies. This causes Chiaki to sink into depression thinking Mako-chan hates her. Especially that rejection pose with ‘her’ hands up. Uchida cheers her up to reassure their friendship again and tells Mako-chan how ‘she’ is supposed to show her hand. Chiaki is happy that Mako-chan extends ‘her’ hand to her but Mako-chan pulls back the last minute fearing she may find out. Depression mode again… Mako-chan no bakayaro…

Episode 7
* Summer is ending and Touma regrets she hasn’t gone to the beach. Kana agrees to grant her wish. And makes her wear a swimsuit. That’s about it. Because Uchida wants to go for a trip, Kana tells the girls to go home, pack up and meet here tomorrow for the ultimate trip. They should have seen it coming it is just a sleepover at their place. Bummer. So disappointed…
* Because Kana wants to tell ghost stories and dares Chiaki who is a chicken, Chiaki brings Haruka as her ‘shield’. She gets easily spooked? Anyway Chiaki is holding on to sleeping Haruka very tightly even if the ghost story isn’t really a ghost story. First one turns out to be a fairytale and the second one a bad joke. Then they hear a ghostly moaning and get the fright of their lives when Haruka suddenly jumps up. Seems she was dreaming. What it was, she forgot.
* Keiko and Riko are not so energetic since it is such a hot day. But Kana seems pretty energetic. She did lots of silly things as distraction to beat the heat but seeing them like that, I guess she succumbed to it too. Wanting them to take responsibility, Keiko decides to buy her ice cream. Which reminds her, she can’t have one since she has a toothache. Ouch. She was trying to forget that too. Worse, she had a winning stick. She gives it to them and since they feel bad of getting a free stick, they decide to give it to others. All of them decline. So they give back to Kana. She remembers about it and sinks into gloominess.
* Kana writes some poem on her winning stick to indicate it is hers. Then she realizes she had written exactly on another winning stick she won a year ago. She must have forgotten. Since she still has a toothache, she has no choice but to give it to her sisters. They’re really enjoying it. Thanks Kana.
* While Takeru bums around in the Minami sisters’ house, Haruka wants Kana to take a bowl of green soybeans to him. Kana wants to help herself to some but was slapped in the face!!! Her toothache… Haruka points out there was a mosquito. Honest! Chiaki sees this and gets an idea. First, she hits Kana on her head with a fan, blaming her for eating her ice cream. Since Kana didn’t buy it, Chiaki says it’s a mosquito. Kana then blames Uchida that she lost sleep when she was here on a sleepover. Actually it was Kana who stayed up talking to Uchida. Kana hits Uchida with that mosquito excuse. Then Uchida hits Touma for splashing the puddle on her then. It’s a mosquito. Touma can’t hit Yoshino so she hits back at Kana. It’s the mosquito. Kana tries to get Chiaki but she evades and blocks all her chops. Yeah, she’s deliberately trying to hit her when there is no mosquito. Chiaki trips and falls over Takeru sleeping. There was a mosquito? They see his arm with a mosquito bite. It got him.
* Kana throws a tantrum that she needs somebody to make her lunch. Go make it yourself… She tries to convince Takeru to treat her and Chiaki smooth talk him into agreeing. At the sushi bar, it seems Uchida, Yoshino and Touma somehow joined in. Very generous of him, eh? Yeah. They bump into them along the way and invited them. But Takeru will only limit them to 1,000 Yen each. Chiaki explains the different plate designs with different pricing ranging from 200 Yen to 500 Yen. But it seems she is the one who doesn’t know how to count. Or does she? How many plates has she taken and she’s only adding up to half her limit? Kana works her way up by trading sushi plates while Yoshino takes the most expensive ones right off the bat. But she’s enjoying them. At the end, seems the total spent is 7,000 Yen. Do the math. Who ate extra? Why is Chiaki’s plate more than theirs? She points out they forgot to include Fujioka the teddy bear’s portion. Takeru isn’t going to believe that. Back home, Chiaki has to work her portion by giving Takeru a back massage. When Haruka returns home and is about to make them lunch, she learns about the sushi outing. Depression mode on. She really wants to go too, huh? Don’t worry. Generous Takeru will take her. Wow. She her light up. Haruka is best when she smiles, no? Can I come too? Pretty please, Takeru the Generous?

Episode 8
* Chiaki and Kana as kids while Haruka as the lovely wife. This could only mean one thing. Hosaka’s delusional dream! He gets smack right back to reality when a volleyball hits his face. He asks Maki and Atsuko about curry so I guess they just want to shake him off and say it is something rather okay.
* Hayami once more tries to tell Hosaka that a wimp like him will never get to give his bento to Haruka. The mention about barbeque, Hosaka has this idea to do a BBQ for Haruka. Of course Hayami won’t let him have it alone with Haruka and wants him to invite his friends. So he has to weirdly ask Maki and Atsuko. I guess they got freak out on his approach. He asks Natsuki too but he will be busy with another BBQ since Touma invited him to her friend’s BBQ (I guess Hosaka will miss out on this). Natsuki invites him but he declines seeing that there is no point in this.
* He returns to Hayami (who has just finished his bento) and tells her he feels like he has been using his friends for his own benefit for the BBQ. He will only give this idea a try when Haruka and her ‘daughters’ become part of his family. Yeah. That’s like never, right? And so Hosaka practises his barbeque technique with his imagination. Tough, eh? Keep practising. And that horrendous BBQ song…
* Natsuki is the cook for the barbeque. Haruka wants him to cook vegetables first since Chiaki won’t eat them if she eats meat first. Besides, she is hungry now so it will taste good. Chiaki is disappointed to see Natsuki cooking vegetables but he points out an idiom and with Kana explaining it, it means whoever don’t eat their vegetables won’t get the meat. So Chiaki sucks it up and eats her vegetables. Then the meat comes. It tastes super good. This is what she’s been waiting for. She thanks Natsuki for cooking it good. But when she sees Haruka too close to him, she gets jealous and tries to come up with something to complain. She tells him they are still missing something. But he already has baked potatoes done. Perfect. Nothing to complain, eh?
* Chiaki tells Kana that she isn’t a vegetable convert after that last incident. It was just to get the meat. Kana shows her a programme that has you love vegetables after you watch it. It’s like a hypnosis show. Chiaki soon loves vegetables! She wants more of them!
* In class, Hosaka gives Hayami nothing but vegetables but lunch. He is forcing her to eat them. Very pushy, isn’t he? Hayami starts feeling afraid and runs for her life but Hosaka gives chase. She notices everyone at school weird. It’s like they’ve been hypnotized to love eating vegetables! She thought she could use Hitomi as distraction but she too loves vegetables! Hosaka and Hitomi become vegetable enthusiasts and continue devouring their vegetable sticks.
* Chiaki is at the mart to buy more vegetables when she sees Hosaka doing the same. She remembers him as the curry fairy from last time (from last season). She decides to follow him. And what follows next is a vegetable song by them! Vegetables are the best! In the end, a saleslady is promoting sausages and they both try it out. It brought them back to their senses. Wonder what they’re doing with a basket full of vegetables, eh?
* When Chiaki returns home, she is horrified to see Haruka watching that vegetable programme and has already been hypnotized to love vegetables. Where are the vegetables?! Meanwhile, Hayami fears Hosaka is going to give her another lunch filled with vegetables. However he has his box filled with sausages. Nothing but sausages. No variety…

Episode 9
* Takeru and his usual ranting about his lost love. If he only had the guts… Now what is he going to do with a pair of movie tickets to the greatest romance movie that is hitting the cinemas right now? I’m sure Haruka doesn’t want to hear his love problems. He gives the pair of Love Now tickets to her.
* Haruka talks to Natsuki if he likes movies so she gives them the tickets and tells him he can ask someone out to watch with him. He didn’t understand her intention till he overheard Maki talking to Hitomi about the implications of watching a movie on your date. You fall in love, right? And since Hitomi went over to talk to him, he gives the tickets to her. She misinterpret that she got asked out.
* Hitomi talks to Kana and Chiaki. Kana realizes she is holding a pair of tickets instead of one. So, instead of being asked out, was it more like to go asking someone else out? Then it occurred to the sisters. Didn’t Haruka have a pair of those too?
* Hitomi laments the awkward position she is in and doesn’t understand a guy. Kana suggests asking a guy’s opinion. And so she calls Fujioka to come. Fujioka and Hitomi are surprised to see each other. It’s not like they knew each other. They bumped into each other several times. Coincidence? Then it turns into the longest in sync combo in history. They seem to be having the same thoughts of doing the same thing. This could go on and on…  Especially about deciding who should use the toilet first. Rock, scissors, paper… How long have they been drawing? Kana even lost count… Since they can’t use the house toilet, eventually it becomes a race to the public toilet. The record of being in sync continues…
* Guess what? The race ends in a tie! Now they’re in sync of becoming friends. Will this lead to love just like in the movie? No way! See, they’re in sync. Maki happens to drop in and totally likes the show. However Hitomi won’t give the tickets since it belongs to her. The talk deviates on how a guy should confess to a girl so Hitomi boldly demonstrates what she likes her guy to do on Maki.
* Hitomi thinks Natsuki is thinking about love. Actually he is troubled that Touma isn’t doing her chores and wants to teach her a lesson. Hitomi talks to him unaware that her ambiguous words are being misinterpreted by him. She talks about expressing feelings. He takes it a form to punish Touma. So can he say “I love you!” to Touma? Don’t think he can.
* Riko seeks Keiko’s advice on how to express her feelings. Every suggestion she gives, she somewhat has an excuse on why it’s so hard. Is she serious in expressing her feelings? In the end, she thought baking cookies would do fine. Isn’t that one of Keiko’s suggestions?
* Riko reads a cookie recipe but doesn’t know how much a pinch of salt is. How much is ‘a little’? So when everybody says they want to do a little of something, Riko demands them to tell her how much that little is.
* Fujioka seems to be crying as he has dust in his eyes. It is perfect chance for Riko to lend her handkerchief but it’s totally wet. Kana beats her to it but he declines. Then he regrets he missed the opportunity to wash and give it back to her tomorrow. Now he is depressed.
* While Riko is studying in Kana’s place, she has made the cookies but can’t find the courage to bring them out. Till Kana sniffs something nice so they have a taste of it. Everybody is a critic but I guess the opinion she wants to hear most is from Fujioka. It tastes good. Wow. Happy girl now. She thanks Kana for this opportunity that allowed her to give Fujioka taste her cookies. When Kana notes how there isn’t enough salt, Riko jumps and asks her how much is that.

Episode 10
*The Minami sisters are enjoying the warmth of the kotatsu. Everything they do, they do it with it. Till Haruka sees the shocking electric bill… Then, no more kotatsu… Plug off! No, she’s not turning into a cheapskate. She is being eco friendly!
* So the sisters will have to play their part in being ‘eco friendly’. Keiko and Mako-chan learn about this and are to give suggestions to go green. Keiko suggests blowing into pens that have run out of ink to use what little ink has left inside. Kana has one finished pen and lets her try. It works! Then she blames Keiko for wasting ink and paper! Not eco!
* Then they try to share the blanket. Kana realizes Keiko is easily prone to cold and starts tickling her. Chiaki wants to share with Mako-chan. But ‘she’ can’t take the cuddling and leaves.
* Haruka continues to be cheapska- oops, I mean eco friendly. Only using the kotatsu strictly during dinner and not using the hot water while washing the dishes, causing her fingers to look cold. Chiaki sympathizes with her and will do what it takes to go green. So she supervises and instructs her green values on Kana. What about herself?
* Chiaki puts a blanket over Kana and she thinks she has a considerate sister. Till she realizes it is her ploy to warm it up for her before bed. An evil eco schemer! In order for the heat not to be wasted, Kana suggests they sleep together.
* Because Kana stole Chiaki’s blanket, she was left out cold and ends up sick the next day. So her friends discuss what food they should bring to heal her (since the original plan was to hold a snack party). Touma and Makoto enter into an argument. Touma bought leeks while Makoto brought marbled beef. In the end, with the ingredients that the rest brought, it was good enough to have a sukiyaki party. Wow. Thank Chiaki for that…
* Takeru visits the Minami sisters. Still trying to be eco friendly? He learns he missed out on the sukiyaki party a few days ago. Lamenting he wasn’t invited, the sisters take him out to an izakaya (Japanese bar and grill). Chiaki becomes scared of some of the dishes since it sounded like animal parts. Even the normal chicken, you can order different parts of the heart, liver, etc. I think she’ll settle for a normal hamburger. The beef tendon stew Takeru wanted to taste so much is out of order (just not his day) while Kana orders some complicated dish that sounded like some magic incantation.
* Once they had their fill, Kana doesn’t think they have fully appreciated the izakaya beauty and must stay late to accompany Takeru. So it’s another round of ordering. This is going to hit hard on Takeru’s wallet… Spiralling into debt… Poor guy (in relationship and monetary terms).
* Mako-chan visits the Minami sisters and learns that today is pyjamas day as said by Haruka. They are in their PJs and are allowed to laze around the entire day. Mako-chan is worried Kana is not around since ‘she’ fears ‘her’ cover might be blown. Soon Atsuko and Maki come in and learn about it and change into pyjamas. Mako-chan obviously can’t join them and tries to resist. ‘She’ tries to get them to do something else but Haruka is already fast asleep. ‘She’ whispers into her ears about a place with great sponge cake. So instantly Haruka gets up and change. Everyone else follows suit. Meanwhile Kana is still sleeping in her room dreaming of all the delicious izakaya food.

Episode 11
* Since Hosaka is still doing his mind cooking, Hayami needs to snap him out of it and trick him into doing something for her. How about approaching Haruka via knitting? Can you see where this is going? Need a scarf by Christmas, eh? However Hosaka disagrees since he hasn’t made Haruka smile yet. Has he even talked to her? Anyway the mention that Haruka likes knitting, Hosaka immediately will do so. So he stares at the girl in the next table. She could have done better if he wasn’t pressuring her. So he takes over from her. I guess Hayami may get her scarf in time.
* Hayami ignores Maki and asks Atsuko about choosing between cocoa and coffee. After some deep thinking, she chooses cocoa but thinks it’s the wrong answer since Hayami used it to mention it as the same colour as Maki’s coat that meant something mean. So there’s no right answer…
* Then, Hosaka had to ask Atsuko if something is the same or not. What?! Same what?! What was the question to even that?! Atsuko replies neither and from Hosaka’s reply, she thinks she chose correctly. But does this guy need to unbutton his shirt?!
* Even at Kana’s home with Uchida, the latter duo bug master Atsuko for advice on how to get a boyfriend. Because she wasn’t really thinking, the duo misinterpret that all they need to do is not think to get one. As for the secret of love, they really believe her answer of wearing royal milk tea coloured coat. I don’t think she was even paying attention to what they were asking.
* It had snowed heavy last night so Natsuki and Hosaka admire the pure whiteness before the latter leaves. Hitomi leaves the infirmary after taking her own temperature but was distracted by Haruka and forgot to button up. So when she talks to Natsuki and realizes her unbuttoned top, she gets embarrassed. The big question is, did he see it? Yeah. Pure white. Beautiful sigh. Makes him excited. Fluffy and soft. Want to jump right into it. But should a lot more volume. It’s understandable Hitomi is so embarrassed and runs away calling him an idiot. He was talking about the snow, right?
* Haruka has also taken her temperature and forgot to button up. She talks to Natsuki if he saw the pure white but this time he sees her cleavage, gets embarrassed and runs away. Hitomi complains to Haruka about Natsuki’s lechery and it occurs to Haruka about her unbuttoned top. Haruka gets more embarrassed the more Hitomi reiterates Natsuki’s ambiguous words.
* Hosaka is marvelling at the giant Christmas tree at the park and of course the perfection that is nobody but Haruka. Too bad he didn’t complete the scarf. So Hayami ropes in Atsuko and Maki to find out Haruka’s weakness. Something about Hosaka not seeing the true Haruka and at this rate he will see her as a goddess. So this is to hit him in the face with reality. And probably get her scarf done.
* Maki and Atsuko are with Chiaki and Kana in their home. They ask about big sister’s weakness but Chiaki is singing only praises of her. Want to hear a thousand word expression on how wonderful she is? Oh Atsuko… Meanwhile Maki takes notes from Kana about her bad habits. As Haruka comes in, Kana tries to hide what they are talking so Haruka feels left out and rants how Kana used to depend on her when she was young. The embarrassing story of Kana sleeping in Haruka’s bed and wetting it must be more than she bargained for. Atsuko and Maki conclude that if one says bad about Haruka, they’ll get some divine punishment.
* So they report back to Hayami who must be so disappointed that Haruka has no faults and is the ultimate perfect girl. And this means Hosaka is closer to seeing Haruka as a goddess. Still at that Christmas tree? Yeah. He’s even singing a song for her that ends with his poetic ranting of how mere words cannot describe all his feelings. In conclusion: Haruka is his goddess. Oh Gawd…

Episode 12
* The Minami sisters dress in their kimono. Cheeky Kana unrobes Chiaki. The little sister tries to get even but accidentally undoes Haruka’s robes. Oh no… But Haruka doesn’t blame her so they team up to unrobe Kana. Back to square one…
* After returning from New Year’s Day activities at the shrine, Kana points out Uchida had 2 mochis in her red bean soup. What does this mean? She takes out a photo of Uchida in her swimsuit during summer. This was her belly in summer. See where this is going? Kana says they will be going to the pool tomorrow.
* So at the pool Kana restrains Uchida and has Chiaki and Yoshino analyze her belly. Looks the same, right? Kana is devastated that they can’t do any more activities of intensive training to rid of that flab. Suddenly Chiaki has this evil idea. She changes her mind that there is flab in Uchida’s belly. Why? Because she wants to train her. Apparently some flashback whereby Uchida accidentally slipped while training Chiaki in swimming. So this is like revenge? However Yoshino convinces them to go for lunch first. Looks like Chiaki is most satisfied. Does she look like the one who needs training now? Yeah. Her next agenda is to have a good sleep. Lazy instructor…
* Miyuki and Keiko went overseas for the holidays so Kana and Riko ask Miyuki where she went. She can’t remember where. WTF?! Keiko is worried about the upcoming school marathon so Kana thinks of it as some sort of dieting as after that comes the physical examination. Kana realizes Riko is talking in Kyoto accent and soon it affects Keiko and Miyuki’s talking. Kana brings Fujioka over to bring them back from Kyoto. Seems to work. Maybe because Riko has a crush on Fujioka? When the conversation is over, Kana is annoyed they went back to Kyoto again.
* Uchida, Yoshino and Touma visit the Minami sisters. They don’t want to go out in the cold and prefer to stay in their warm kotatsu. No matter how much persuasion, they won’t leave. Haruka writes a list of things for Kana to get if she’s going out. Is she? Why not herself? Because she is busy. Busy sleeping in the warmth of her kotatsu…
* Eventually Chiaki and Kana are dragged out. They play snowball fight and everyone targets Kana. Because she is the only middle schooler. Finally Haruka surprisingly comes out. But she is here to hand Kana her forgotten wallet and an additional list of things to get. Why not go herself since she herself is already out? She’s busy… Oh… Kana throws a snowball at her. An eerie silence… Then Haruka throws back one at Kana! Man, that one must really hurt!
* Since Mako-chan doesn’t know about throwing beans to kick the demon out, Kana dons the mask and demonstrates. But only throwing a billion beans will get her to leave! Now they have to clean up the house.
* Mako-chan tries to play the demon and dons the mask. Because demons are supposed to be kicked out, Mako-chan decides to be a useful demon to Kana and does her every command. Didn’t ‘she’ just turn into her lackey?
* Chiaki will demonstrate what it means to be a true demon since a demon cannot be soft. When Kana demands, Chiaki fires back with her standard reply to do it herself. Isn’t this her usual self? Then she goes to help Haruka in the kitchen. Yeah. That’s the Chiaki we all know. Not some demon.
* Haruka wants Chiaki to peel the carrots and seeing she doesn’t like them, she thought she could be a demon and have no carrots today. Too bad when Haruka says they’re having it, it means they’re having it. Not even demons can stand over her authority.

Episode 13
* Makoto and Uchida think they have hay fever symptoms and tell this to Chiaki. However Chiaki thinks Uchida is crying at everything she says (her eye is water due to the symptoms) while Makoto is plain rude to have his finger sticking up his nose (his nose is runny) and hard to take him seriously. Chiaki points out she too has a rare symptom but only gets it when she comes home. She feels her body getting heavy, ringing in her ears and then feeling tired. The duo decide to visit her to help her out.
* What they see is Kana clinging onto Chiaki (body feeling heavy), pestering her about hanami (flower viewing) (constant ringing in her ear), throwing a tantrum when she refuses because the flowers have not bloomed yet (she’s tired of this charade). They realize Chiaki is experiencing all those symptoms and points out Kana is Chiaki’s allergy! Uchida wants to know why she wants to go hanami so badly so Kana convinces her and they both pester Chiaki for it. She laments they got the moron allergy. Yeah, it’s spreading and there is no cure.
* When Miyuki accidentally drops her milk, Fujioka accidentally kicks it and Kana steps on it. She blames him for being some bad ass kicker and feels she can’t get married now. WTF. She wants Fujioka to take responsibility. This sends the bells ringing for Riko about, well, ringing wedding bells between them. But Kana wants to test his kicking skills so she crumples her test paper and again by chance, Fujioka kicks it into the bin. Wow. Then borrowing Keiko’s eraser, the same thing happen. The eraser ricochets off the walls and tables back into Keiko’s hand! I don’t know about Kana putting a bucket of water and sitting on the floor a few metres away. Surely he kicks the bucket and the water will spread, right? With her skirt wet, she dresses her bottom in tracks and is convinced she cannot marry now. But Fujioka is willing to take responsibility. Before he could confess that, Keiko accidentally drops the ball and he kicks it into Kana’s face! Oh dear. She’s going to kick the hell out of him!
* As Haruka talks to Hayami, the latter learns she likes fava beans. As part of her scheme, she tells this to Hosaka. Chiaki is at the store doing errands and is having trouble picking the single thing she wants to buy. Till she hears Hosaka’s praise about fava beans and how to cook it that she is convinced and decides to do the same. Haruka tells Hayami she is amazed that Chiaki picked a vegetable. Has she converted? Then Hayami goes to tell Hosaka that Haruka already tasted that exact fava beans he made and was going to give her. No more surprise element, eh? I guess the season for fava beans has passed.
* Kana is in a dilemma. She thinks nobody will go to hanami if she asks them directly. She hears Uchida telling a secret that she and Touma only supposed to know. Touma accidentally went into the boys’ toilet. She thought it was normal that people averagely enter the wrong toilet twice a year. I don’t think people will mess up that badly. They ask Kana if she makes such mistake and she admits she once did it thrice!
* Miyuki accidentally says out a secret that she and Riko are only supposed to know. The latter knitted a scarf for a guy she likes but never gave it to him. Keiko explains to her what a secret between them means but I guess Riko is upset she can’t leverage her skill anymore.
* Maki tells Kana and Haruka a secret that she and Atsuko know: Atsuko’s boobs have gained another level. After they ‘ascertain’ it, Atsuko laments now everybody knows so Maki apologizes the temptation of wanting to tell others when one says it is supposed to be a secret. This gives Kana an idea and lets Maki in on a secret about a secret hanami place.
* Soon the word spreads to every Minami-ke character about the hanami location. Except for Hosaka. Hayami wanted to tell him but changed her mind. Thank goodness… Kana is happy her plan is proceeding well. Come Sunday, Kana wakes up early to arrive at the spot. However she waits and waits but nobody turns up. She starts wondering if her tactic was wrong and shouldn’t have kept it a secret. She is surprised when her sisters turn up. It seems they were taking some time to make lunch and this shouldn’t have happened if she had told them earlier. They are soon joined by other Minami-ke characters. Haruka thanks Kana for this secret tactic. Yeah, just between them. As for Hosaka, he is waiting at another hanami spot for Haruka. We all know she will never come. Despite so, he is happy to have shared the seasons close to her and that this is the joy of life. Well keep enjoying it this way. What a waste of all the food he prepared.

Natsu Yasumi
* This is an OVA bundled with the release of one of the manga volumes. As the title suggests, it takes place during the summer vacation.
* As summer vacation is almost at its end, Kana is more infatuated in looking at her pet rhino beetle than doing her homework. Even if Chiaki chides her for that, she still wants a change in pace. And so the Minami sisters with Chiaki’s friends end up heading to the beach.
* Because Chiaki can’t swim well and needs to make her resolve to enter the water, Kana helps her out with some silly suggestions but her friends take it the wrong way and wants to bring her into the water. I’m sure Chiaki wants to dip in seeing Haruka who has finally woke up from her nap, enters the water.
* Since Chiaki is still standing at the beach, Kana mistakes her pose for wanting shave ice. And over that cool dessert, the girls guess the several poses that each other made. Some hit, some misses.
* Back home, Haruka has Chiaki run an errand for her. When she returns, she sees the cage of Kana’s beetle open. Kana is devastated her pet is gone and blames Chiaki although the latter asserts she didn’t release it. I guess Chiaki is so bothered by it that even that night before bed time she tries to tell Kana she didn’t really do it but Kana is not on talking terms with her. So poor Chiaki sees Haruka’s solace and she believes her.
* Next morning, it seems happy Touma has found a rhino beetle as her pet. She even already has a name for it: Natsuki. I don’t know if this is her way of showing detest for her brother.
* When Kana and her friends are over doing homework, Mako-chan arrives to play but is thinks they are insulting ‘her’ that they are better off than ‘her’ by doing so. So Mako-chan rushes home to complete the homework. What did ‘she’ come here for anyway?
* Since Kana wants to copy answers, Keiko says it’s okay to ask. However Keiko accidentally asks about the empty cage if anything was there previously. Kana is still heart broken and mentions it’s still in her heart! Soon, Touma’s beetle goes missing and the brothers think it didn’t like the cramp space. Take care Natsuki! The beetle, she means.
* Fujioka sees Chiaki trying to do a back flip at the playground. It is something that has been bugging her for who knows how long. He gives her a little encouragement and some advice on how to pull it off. After some tries, she finally manages to do one.
* Next day, Kana is happy when her beetle crawls back into the cage! Hey, wait a minute?! Why is it acting like some sort of pigeon?! Anyway, Kana is glad that her beetle is back that she apologizes to Chiaki for blaming her. Since Chiaki is so happy about her back flip, she forgives her in her good mood. However she got more than they bargained for because her sisters would really love to see her do it again. And they go even further by wanting to celebrate this occasion, call her friends over and make it today as the Back Flip Day! Oh dear. Can you do it again, Chiaki? She doesn’t seem confident.
* Kana tries to snap a picture of Chiaki in action doing her back flip. Kana needs her to be successful otherwise there goes her dinner. HER DINNER! The pressure got to Chiaki and she failed.
* Kana reports the failure and although she expected no dinner, Haruka already made them. Even Chiaki is starting to doubt herself if her success was just a dream. But Haruka is confident and supports Chiaki. She can try again. So this dinner is just pre-celebration.
* That night as Chiaki tries again, it seems she is quite full from the dinner to do the flip. Nothing like a little jog to burn the calories. But when she returns, she is too tired! How unfit. She takes a rest and falls asleep! Though Kana laments today won’t be Back Flip Day, Haruka says at least today was Reconciliation Day. Haruka carries Chiaki home and Kana hopes she can do the back flip tomorrow.
* Haruka and her friends are at the cafe but Hitomi starts imposing herself over Atsuko when she fails to decide on what to eat. After all that pressure, Hitomi gives in to it and chooses the biggest steak meal. Didn’t she just randomly choose one? Atsuko is glad she finally decided and with Hitomi, they get girly emotional and make a big deal out. Yeah, Big deal alright. Later when their desserts arrive, Hitomi notices Atsuko’s order is wrong and yet she didn’t say anything. Once more it’s that pressure deja vu to get it right and again Atsuko is forced to make a hellish decision. But why does she need to choose a steak meal again?!
* Meanwhile Hosaka is at a fast food joint. He wants to order a soda but decides to hold it and thinks what else to order. Oh God! Don’t strip your shirt while thinking about it?! Too late!!! Please cover up! You’re in public! And after all that thinking, he just decides to order a soda. What the hell?!

Minami Shimai, Otsukare-sama!
I hope you weren’t expecting much. You were warned, right? And thanks to that ‘warning’, I sure wasn’t since as far as my memory serves me, there is hardly any difference or major development in this season as compared to the last. Just the same ol’ Minami-ke style jokes, that’s all. Overall, I would still say this season is enjoyable in its own right but I feel that is mainly due to my nostalgia of the series. To be fair, because it hardly breaks any new ground, some may find it boring as it is using the same formula like it always did (like how Mako-chan gags may have been done to death). However it is not that all bad since I figure hardcore fans and even moderate viewers would love it still nevertheless. This is the best formula that works for this series so why go change it? It is hard to say whether there will be another season in the future or even OVAs. Who knows? Maybe they will let this die down first and use nostalgia as the same reason to kick up another production in 4 years’ time? Who knows what might happen then. Everybody will still remain the same (like Sazae-san) or they may shock us with a twist that everyone has grown a little older. But we’ll leave that for another time.

As such, nothing much happens may be the best that describes everything in this series. The characters are still the same as far as I remember them. Kana is still the idiotic troublemaker although I feel she has been a less idiot. But still an idiotic among the sisters nevertheless. Chiaki is still the monotonous youngest sister who fawns over Haruka and not so over Kana. Her dislike for vegetables especially carrots is still there. I also feel that she uses her trademark line of bakayaro much lesser. Haruka despite being the nicest big sister everyone can have, she still has a few quirks about herself. Sometimes she acts like a child, more childish than her sisters when things she wants doesn’t go her way. Like that kotatsu. I guess it’s one of those rare sides you often don’t get to see but at least this proves that she is human. Sadly, the Minami brothers didn’t make much of an appearance either. I thought with their early introduction, perhaps I was somewhat hoping that both the Minami families would come together and have some sort of adventure or something like that. Alas, it was not to be especially Haruo and Akira felt like they’re forgettable. Natsuki too felt like that provided if he did not interact as much with Hosaka. As for Touma, she still hangs around and I too feel her presence is quite lacking.

The other characters as I have guessed still remain the same. So similar that they have not gone anywhere. Get what I mean? Hosaka is still the delusional guy who wants to make Haruka his wife but all fans can rejoice that it will never happen and the most we will just cringe in disgust over his fantasies. Somehow I feel that he does not unbutton his top as much as always. Not much passion to let out, huh? I fear for Chiaki who looks up to him as some sort of fairy whenever she bumps into him at the super mart. I hope he won’t become her idol and in the worst case scenario, accept him as Haruka’s husband! She’d be a bakayaro if she does that. Hayami still tries to brainwash naive Hosaka into doing things for her. Sometimes it works out and at other times it doesn’t. She still didn’t manage to get Haruka to join the volleyball club, though. Atsuko still the shyer one, Maki the livelier one, Hitomi still has her eyes on Natsuki but we know it will always be a one-sided love. Just like how Fujioka is for Kana and Riko for Fujioka. For those hoping any romance development would be sorely disappointed. Always remember, we have been warned to not expect much. Yeah. Remember the reminder. It’s a wonder Keiko continues to be friends with Kana despite being always dragged into her pranks. Makoto continues to disguise as Mako-chan and I don’t think he will escape the cross-dressing curse as long as he continues to fawn over Haruka and now worse, being made Chiaki’s ‘knight’. Can you say he has such a weak resolve? Why abandon it all when he’s having so much fun even if he doesn’t realize it? Uchida continues to be impulsive and lack common sense (along with Makoto or Mako-chan, I think they make quite an idiotic combo – with Kana they’ll be a trio!) while Yoshida may seem to look smarter than she is. Because you never know if she really knows something or not. Like Mako-chan’s true identity. I almost forgot about Takeru. Still the loser he is but sometimes he can be a nice uncle, oops I mean, cousin to the sisters. Well, at least he is not a total loser in that sense.

Also remaining the same are the drawing and art and the way the show is divided into a few segments for the skits. But something a little different for this season is that the mid-intermission is a still picture of the Minami sisters in some RPG-like story. This very short segment dubbed the Minami-ke Quest sees the sisters as a party of heroines on some quest to save the princess (Touma) from the Demon King (Hosaka). Of course along the way they will meet all sorts of characters from the series cast in several other roles and face extreme journey in their quest. I’m sure if they want to, they can make an episode or half an episode about this quest. Expand it into moving pictures and add some sound effects and voice acting. Yeah. Minami-ke action fantasy version. Maybe they’ll make an OVA of it. What are the chances? Nah. Also not forgetting the annoying but hilarious long -running drama show-within-a-show, Sensei and Ninomiya-kun. So after that 10 hour finale in the previous season, there is still more drama in their forbidden love affair? It is still hilarious in the short run to see them saying nothing but each other’s name. I can’t believe how the Minami sisters can get addicted in watching this romance crap. Well at least in this season, there is a love triangle for Sensei due to some other girl called Sannomiya-kun boldly seducing him. Though, their lines are still confined to calling each other’s name.

The opening theme feels familiarly suspicious… The lively upbeat and genkiness… The almost similar tune… Hey! Doesn’t Shiawase High Tension sound like a variation or rather a rip-off of the first season’s opening theme, Keikenchi Joushouchuu?! I think so! Although it is not using the same tune and just changing the words, there are some parts of the melody that overlaps with that song! Especially the chorus… M-I-N-A-M-I-K-E, Let’s go! M-I-N-A-M-I-K-E, Let’s go! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Woo!!! Yeah. Brings back memories alright. Well, at least the ending theme doesn’t feel like a rip-off of another season’s theme. Kyuusekkin Lucky Days maintains the liveliness in its tone like how all Minami-ke endings are. But to me this season’s ending piece isn’t as attractive as the previous seasons’ although this doesn’t sound too bad. There is a special ending song and a couple of insert songs but they are all sung by Hosaka! Oh God. Songs about Christmas night, BBQ and vegetables… The Latin-flamenco style of the BBQ song and the Broadway musical stage style duet vegetable song is quite hilarious if you listen closely to the lyrics. The Christmas night one sounds pretty decent but you can’t help think that it is Hosaka who is the one singing it…

So there you have it, the simple ordinary sisters in their simple ordinary lives and their nothing but ordinary friends and antics. Even though we were told not to expect much, I suppose thanks to that, it was a great way to lower our expectations so we can fully enjoy this series. I believe that has a lot to do in making this comedy quite funny. If you’re feeling a little down and need a little cheering up, something light like this series will do the trick. Because simplicity is the best in such times. Of course, don’t expect too much from it. Otherwise you have only yourself to blame for being a bakayaro. Just between you and me, I think the reason why Chiaki doesn’t say bakayaro as often as she does because as I know, too much bakayaro can kill you. Really. You have been warned, bakayaro.

Aiura

October 18, 2013

When you have an anime series that is as short as four minutes and the synopsis that reads “Three annoying, spirited high school girls with zero motivation” – and their classmates. Their daily life is “what happens when there is nothing happening”, one must expect that Aiura should be jam packed with spontaneous jokes that will keep you laughing like crazy for the next few minutes or so, right? Let me just warn you not to get your hopes up. Because when there is nothing happening and you need something to happen, you make it happen. Get what I’m saying? From my observation of that line and the girls in this series, I think they have too much free time in their hands. Life must be so bored and uneventful that they have to make it happening. Or maybe they are just plain idiots.

Episode 1
Ayuko Uehara makes her way through town. While resting and having a snack, Kanaka Amaya accidentally bumps into her and drops her snack. As apology she gives the taiyaki of Saki Iwasawa to her. Ayuko finds it to be spicy. Back home, she worries about her school uniform which looks a little big since tomorrow she’ll be starting her high school. But she is confident she’ll grow into it.

Episode 2
At school, Kanaka and Saki see Ayuko having trouble reaching her shoe box locker. Kanaka is glad to offer a helping hand by allowing her to step on her body so she could reach. She doesn’t mind this humiliation as long as it brings a smile to her face. But tall Saki quickly gets it done and they leave all while ignoring Kanaka. When they get to know each other, Kanaka nicknames Ayuko as Ayukong. Is she some sort of gorilla? Or Viet Cong?Saki thought of giving Kanaka a taste of her own medicine by nicknaming her as Kanakamantis. But this just sounds awfully long. Kanaka thinks Ayukondor sounds great but thinks about the merry condor sinking. Ayuko gives Kanakana as her nickname and Kanaka had to cheek to say she has got a poor naming sense.

Episode 3
The class will have a pop quiz. Don’t worry. It will be easy. What is the teacher’s name? Those who can’t get this right… Sumiko Yamashita is her name and it seems the class notice she wrote her kanji wrongly! A person can get her own name wrong? Yamashita announces Mei Yanase as the only person who got all the answers right. So? She is now the class rep. Eh? As for MVP award, it goes to Kanaka! Because she put “Hikaru Jinguuji” as her name in the answer. It’s not even close but why? Yamashita thinks this name suits her better. Kanaka thinks Ayukong is too long and wants to shorten it to Kong. Or Yukong. Or Yukon. Whatever. Saki allows Ayuko to call her by her first name but when she puts up a scary look, Ayuko becomes scared despite just a joke. Ayuko calls out to her teacher via that Jinguuji name. After so many times, she didn’t respond till she blurted out Yamashita. So which one suits her again?

Episode 4
Kanaka rings Saki’s doorbell incessantly and gets a pillow missile thrown in her face. Three more annoying school years with this girl… Then she wants to race to school but Saki makes a head start. When Kanaka gets serious and uses all her strength, she realizes she ended up in the wrong school and had to run all the way back. Shusaku Matsuno is catching students who are late. He catches Misuzu Wakatsuki (Oh, squeaky Yukari Tamura!!!) as one of them. However despite her petite and young looks, she is actually a teacher! Worse, she is wearing the school uniform. Although she has been told many times not to, she couldn’t resist. She had lots of boys asking her out and even the principal! He won’t tell her not to wear but at least put on a lab coat so she will be easily distinguishable. Yamashita tells him there are lots of weird teachers in this school. Probably it is just a distracting because she too is late.

Episode 5
Kanaka puts up another dramatic play in front of Saki’s house. She plays dead but Saki makes the right decision of ignoring her. So is she the type who ignores a dead friend at her doorstep? Depends on the person. If it’s Ayuko, she would call the ambulance and do CPR. It’s great to know that this means Ayuko can die any time. So why was Kanaka ‘dead’? She points out a big guy with an axe attacked her but she managed to defeat him. However she let her guard down and was stabbed in the back by Ayuko. WTF. I guess no point in denying so Ayuko plays along. Why did she do it? Because she was irritated. With this kind of friend, I can see why. Ayuko apologizes for being irritating and taking her out in the heat of the moment so Saki points out Kanaka as the most irritating one.

Episode 6
Once again, Kanaka plays dead in front of Saki’s house. She ties her up… Hope she learns never to do that again. Due to the test week, class is off early. Yamashita admits she doesn’t care about their grades! Kanaka suggests coming over to do group study but we know hardly any of that will happen. True enough, she is playing a game with Ayuko. That’s fine but why do they have to do this in Souta, her little brother’s room? They’re not even remorseful. When Souta asks Ayuko what she thinks of her sister, after a long pause, she says she’s a fun person. After a long pause… The girls continue to bum around in his room so he tells them he would like to get some studying done. Hey look. Saki is even deep asleep.

Episode 7
The girls continue to play in Souta’s room. Kanaka invites Souta to makes his next move on the jenga. Of course it collapses since it is already near that stage. This means Souta is forced to go buy snacks and drinks for them. He never heard of this punishment. Life is so unfair. Even Saki is ‘sleep talking’ to get him buy what she wants. Later Souta plays video game with Saki but is told to go easy on her if he is about to win. Otherwise the stress of the loss will make her do badly in the test and it will be his fault. Yes, adults don’t play fair. On another day, Kanaka brings her friends to play again in Souta room. Souta is so upset that he just went off to clean Kanaka’s room. Good brother? More like a sister who sucks.

Episode 8
Kanaka wants Saki to join a club because Kanaka has ambitions and wants to be called captain. Go join yourself. Ayuko offers if she would like to accompany her to try out some clubs so Kanaka considers her an angel and Saki the fallen one. However thinking through all the clubs that she could join, unfortunately Kanaka isn’t good in that particular skill. She becomes ‘depressed’ she can’t do a single thing so her friends at least call her captain. But Kanaka is going to give up on that and move on. She wants to be the student council president. Saki remarks that the government won’t allow that.

Episode 9
Speaking of dreams, Kanaka had one but is reluctant to tell since Saki will be angry. She assures her she is already quite angry. It’s a dream whereby Kanaka split the watermelon before Saki did. Ayuko also dreamt of Kanaka. She was doing some magic trick with her hair. When Ayuko pulled her shorter hair, it became an atomic bomb and destroyed the world! Scary dream, huh? Asking Saki about her future dream, she replies it is to marry into money. Kanaka wants to become an idol because her mom said she is so stupid that she should just become one. Even her teacher said that. Well, is it a good thing she didn’t take it as an insult? The question is how to become and idol. When they ask Misuzu how to marry into money, she tells them to zip it. Oops… Spot on?

Episode 10
Misuzu once again wears her school uniform and without her lab coat. She gets reprimanded by Matsuno and her reason is that it is too hot. Misuzu gets the wrong idea he wants her to just wear the lab coat and calls him a pervert. Kanaka plays guess who with Ayuko and then asks her to guess her height. Then she does the same for Yamashita and drops lots of exaggerated hints (if not lies) about herself. So did Yamashita recognize this super star Madonna? Actually, she doesn’t even recognize her! Some teacher… Kanaka tries to do it on Saki but instantly gets elbowed in the gut. Fast reflex. Saki assures that she knew it was her all along. Kanaka tells her that high school girls normally don’t do this. So what do they do? Asking Mei, it is to study. Why does Kanaka have that disbelieving expression? Doesn’t she know her responsibilities? I think she prefers Ayuko’s answer about talking about things like love. Kanaka and Saki become sad when they think Ayuko doesn’t like them (because she said she has nobody she likes of the romantic kind). But when she corrects her answer, they think she is into that sort of fetish and want to keep their distance. It’s tough hanging around idiots, huh?

Episode 11
It is raining so Saki feels so lazy she doesn’t want to go to school and even considers becoming a shut-in. Till Kanaka points out becoming a NEET means ranking lower than her. Saki is forced to get up and move… Effective… Kanaka wears rain boots to school because she doesn’t want her shoes to get wet since tomorrow is the start of summer vacation. When they arrive at school, Saki takes off her drenched socks. Kanaka snaps a picture of her bare legs so Saki threatens to break her handphone if she doesn’t delete them. Yamashita complains about the students having it easy compared to her. Complain, complain, complain… With that, she irresponsibly declares the first semester over. Kanaka wishes the rain would wash away her troubles. What trouble? She admits she had none actually. On the first day of summer holiday, Kanaka incessantly rings Saki’s doorbell and gets more than just a pillow missile thrown in her face. It’s going to be the start of a long, hot and annoying summer…

Episode 12
Just like in the first episode, Ayuko makes her way across town through the familiar scenes. Just that she meets up with her friends to hang out. They spend the rest of the day at the beach playing in the water and watching the sunset. Kanaka has thought up of something stupid but Saki won’t let her ruin the fun and makes her wait to say it tomorrow. When Ayuko is back home, she sees the very starry sky and is amazed by its beauty.

Crap! Where’s The Crab?!
Well, it’s a good thing this series only lasted 4 minutes (less than 3 minutes if you take away the opening and ending part). Otherwise despite being funny on its own, I don’t think it would have been quite fun if it had lasted more than that duration. Because it is more or less the same thing. I suppose we have been warned in the ending theme having its opening lines that goes “Even though there are pointless conversation, it was fun nevertheless”. Fun, yes. Memorable in the long run, not quite. Kanaka as the idiot of the group is a must if you are going to make this series a funny one. But how much more interesting can Kanaka make from a normal situation? At first it may look cute and funny for the idiot and her idiotic antics. But you will soon get familiar with the kind of antics that does and thus the thrill and fun factor is no more there. No more the surprise element despite sometimes she can still tickle our funny bones but it is not as effective as she was at the start because like I’ve said we’ve become accustomed with her silly ways. Because Kanaka being serious for once doesn’t make her Kanaka. Get it? It’s just not her.

Ayuko sometimes feels like a cutie retard. She’s cute, she’s lovely, she’s adorable, she’s innocent and in a way it makes her character feel a little retard. Although not as mischievous as Kanaka, I feel the way she accepts the antics (or gets caught in between then) makes her part of the idiocy too. Tall girl Saki plays the straight man for Kanaka and I can’t help feel that she has a little sadistic side to her. If having a sister like Kanaka is bad enough, having her friends over with such similar idiotic traits must be triple the terror. Sometimes I feel bad for Souta. Kanaka has got her own room and everyone has to hang out in his room? A boy’s room? Unless you’re telling me her room is messy, dirty and unkempt. Not very girly-like, eh? He’s a decent little brother and if he grows up to be a stressful psycho, we all know who to blame. Like that will ever happen as far as this series is concern. Second to Kanaka (which I noticed has become a measuring stick for this series’ idiocy) is Yamashita. Clearly her attitude doesn’t befit a teacher at all. Makes you wonder why she is still doing this job if she lacks the certain passion and dedication. Sometimes the students even have more sense than her.

The other side characters feel like a let-down since they only feel like a side distraction and to provide some variety in addition to the main trio. I feel they could have really been done without. Misuzu is a loli looking teacher with school girl uniform fetish (maybe she hasn’t gotten over her school days yet), Matsuno’s minimal role is catching those who are late and reprimanding those flouting the school rules (ironically the ones caught are his fellow teachers) and Mei as the class rep is a bright student but you just don’t feel that impact. There are many other more minor characters that do not appear in the anime probably because this series is so short that it wasn’t worth to put them in (they should too for those minor ones that appeared here). In that sense, you probably won’t get to know more in depth about the quirkiness and behaviour of those characters (and the ones here too). How can you adapt a series that is based on a yonkoma to its full potential when the duration of the series doesn’t call for that? It’s like if you avert your eyes away from the screen for a few seconds, the show has already ended. Before you can understand anything, it ends.

The real ‘star’ of this short series is actually the opening theme, Kani Do Luck. Yes. It is the craziest and the wildest of the most insane. At least for where this series is concerned. And the theme of it is crabs!!! Lots of them. That’s why I’ve been wondering where the hell the crabs in the series are seeing they are all over the place in here? Maybe it’s just a pun for crap? It could have easily been the series’ mascot (somehow I feel Ayuko fits that role). So crabby that you have other nonsensical randomness featured. Like Steve Jobs. What the blazes is that late Apple founder doing in this series? Are they paying tribute to him? Oh yea. Steve Jobs. Think Crabing. iCrab. iCrap. Real funny. I wouldn’t mind rewatching this part over and over again. Until I get sick of it. I figure the reason the connection between Steve Jobs and crabs is that he passed away due to cancer. And you know the crab zodiac? Yeah. That. Guess what is CNN? Crab News Network! Don’t we love crabs now?! Even the lyrics are amusing and nonsensical. When you have lines that goes “The 3-star chef ran away barefoot” and “I’m okay with this bullsh*t recipe” and lines that psycho you that crab meat is the best (you can have them fresh, fried or for snacks too!), you can tell how nonsensical this is going to get. The tune is also catchy enough that you might just get addicted and sing along with it. Crabby, crabby, crabby, crabby… So have you got crab yet? The ending theme Ichigo Ichie is a much slower beat and it is like after all that craziness, you need a little goodie calming song to cleanse your soul. Even the lyrics are toned down (your typical friendship thingy – how long can things last, same feelings wherever you are far apart, etc). Very contrast to the opening theme if I should say.

The background especially looks like water colour painting so if you look closely you might realize the difference and thus it can be a little odd if you see the different mixture of art between the background and the characters that are drawn in the usual conventional Japanese anime style. This series is produced by Liden Films whose only other anime at this point is Senyuu, another wacky short series. On a trivial note, the main trio girls are voiced by seiyuus making their anime debut (that or at least in a leading role instead of very minor roles that would go unnoticed such as Girl A, Friend B, etc) and I think like many other seiyuus out there, they did quite a good job in breathing life into their colourful characters.

Logically, what happens when nothing happens? Nothing happens lah! Facing such boring situation, there is this dilemma to make life more interesting with silly antics or you can just play it safe by doing nothing eventful. Or you can do both. One burst of silly humour followed by plain dull nothingness. I read many complained that this show is too short to flesh out anything. Looking at the positive side, the shorter the story, the less problems to worry about. If assuming that is done right. Sometimes being long doesn’t necessary mean good. For this series, I would say it is still enjoyable since there is nothing elaborated and plain simple, yet it managed to tickle the bones a little. If they put the crabs into the picture, maybe I don’t mind sitting there for an hour without feeling crabby.

Accel World

October 13, 2013

I love fighting games. It’s my favourite genre. Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Dead Or Alive, Soul Calibur right down to my favourite Mortal Kombat. Well, the point is, a person who likes such genre of video game, wouldn’t it be cool if we could just experience it first person? And I don’t mean the view is confined to your monitor screen but your entire surrounding. It’s like diving into the game and becoming the player itself. Cool, no? I wonder when we will have such technology. That is what I had in mind for Accel World and even though the genre of the main game here is of the fighting category, it is focused much more on the story, plot and the power of accelerating. What’s that? Let’s say you can slow down time. More precisely, slowing down time to a mere fraction in the real world while time continues to flow at a normal pace for only you yourself. It’s like living in a slo-mo world.

I guess when we have been growing technologically advanced, in the near future, people are able to hook up to the virtual world easily with just Neuro Linkers. Just plug in the wire to your neck and voila! You are connected. You do not need a computer or the ubiquitous iPad as your window screen. Your entire vision is your screen! I’m sure that makes a very different experience. Is this the future of normal life? Even if technology has advanced, human nature sure somewhat hasn’t. Our protagonist is somewhat a loser boy. Chubby, short and a bully victim, first look you might think he is a character that jumped right out from a comic strip. His only comfort from harsh reality is his virtual game world in which he excels. Till a beautiful and popular senior introduces him to a whole new secret world that would take him to the next level. Of course this new Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online (VRMMO) fighting game isn’t just a simple fighting game. There are deeper meanings to everything from the battles you fight and the acceleration abilities you expend. Ultimately, it will lead them to a path that will one day learn the true purpose of this game’s creation and of course themselves.

Episode 1: Acceleration
Haruyuki Arita is a constant bully victim of Araya. How can this short and fat boy go against him? His only escape from harsh reality is through the virtual world. His solace is playing virtual squash in which nobody can even come close to his tremendous high score. When childhood friend Chiyuri Kurashima offers to cheer him up with her lunch, he refuses and accidentally spills her food. He returns to his game only to find an unknown player has best his score. Reality in the virtual world seems harsh too, huh? To his surprise, the popular Black Snow Princess, the one who beat his score offers him to enter the accelerated world and to come look for her at the lounge. Due to her popularity, everyone else is shocked to see Black Snow cabling with an unknown kid. It’s like beauty and the Beast, eh? How close is she to him that they could even cable? She sends him an application to install Brain Burst programme that would take him to the Accelerated World. But Araya is looking for Haruyuki and he’s upset that he hasn’t done his errands for him. Before Araya could punch him, Haruyuki as instructed, yells out “Burst Link”. Time stops and he pops out as his pig avatar. So Black Snow explains this is the Accelerated World whereby this programme allows one to use this power to accelerate in times of danger. In short, a second in the real world is 1000 seconds here. Black Snow tells Haruyuki to get punched since the school is fitted with cameras and witnesses. She also wants him to jump back once the acceleration is over despite this is where she is sitting. When Haruyuki Burst Out, he takes the punch and crashes into Black Snow, causing her to get knocked out and bleed a little. The authorities take Araya away and this will be the last he’ll see of him. End of his bullied days. Before they part, she advises him not to take off his Neuro Linker till he gets to school tomorrow and not connect to the global net. Not even for a second. Later Haruyuki and Chiyuri meet up with their other childhood friend, Takumu Mayuzumi. He is studying at another school and taking up kendo. Haruyuki thought Chiyuri had told Takumu about the bullying (something he didn’t want Takumu to know) and excuses himself to go home. Next morning as he leaves his home, he forgot he connected to global net when suddenly the entire world changes into an apocalyptic one. He finds himself in a silver armour and under the name of Silver Crow. A mad motorcycle dude, Ash Roller is aiming for his ass.

Episode 2: Transformation
Safe to say, Haruyuki lost this match. Talking to Black Snow once more, he learns Brain Burst is just a multiplayer fighting game. But Burst Linkers do not do this for entertainment. She proceeds to explain more of this world. What a better way than to demonstrate hands on.  She activates a fighting mode among them both and her name is Black Lotus. She details that the programme doesn’t read ideals but ambitions and fears, the reason why Haruyuki gets this scrawny silver armour. But this butterfly form isn’t Black Lotus’ original one. She sealed it and designed this one. Every Burst Linker has Burst Points. Each time they accelerate, they use up a point. Burst Linkers fight to obtain more Burst Points and accelerate further. So if you lose all your Burst Points, the programme automatically uninstalls itself and will never be installed ever again. Haruyuki won’t turn back now seeing he wants to return the favour to her for saving him from the hell of reality. Back in the real world, everyone is curious so they ask Black Snow about her relationship with Haruyuki. She puts it that she confessed to him and got rejected. Eh?! Was that what happened? Once Haruyuki steps out of school, he is connected to the Accelerated World once more. This is going to be Silver Crow’s real debut battle. He is going to have a rematch with Ash Roller. Haruyuki uses the useful information he learnt to fight against Ash Roller. Like because of his bike noise, it is easy to determine to locate where he is and that his bike is the one containing combat ability, not the rider. There are lots of Burst Linkers eagerly watching this match. Since Haruyuki has done his surprise attack, now he is left fleeing from Ash Roller in hopes time will run out. He remembers Black Snow’s advice that the colour of each avatar has its own strengths and weaknesses. You can tell what colour a Burst Linker is because his/her name will always has a colour in it. Haruyuki takes a beating and laments his useless attacks. Then he realizes he needs to believe in himself and gets up. He starts thinking about Ash Roller’s bike weakness. He grabs onto the back seat and appears to be skiing despite risking reducing his life points further. Finally he manages to get the strength to lift it up and stop Ash Roller dead in his tracks because his bike is rear wheel drive. This causes Ash Roller to be upset as he leaps at Haruyuki. But it’s game over for him and Haruyuki’s first victory. All the Burst Linkers are impressed with this newbie. Now that Haruyuki as obtained some points, Black Snow wants to go somewhere to celebrate. But standing in their way is Chiyuri. Oh dear. What does this mean when there is a showdown between 2 women?

Episode 3: Investigation
The spat ends with Black Snow telling Chiyuri she is dating Haruyuki and takes him away. Eh? Are they? At the café, she explains the history of Accelerated World. Currently divided into 6 Legions of Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple, Green and White, they are the only Burst Linkers who have reached level 9 and are kings of their legion. Nobody has reached level 10 due to the harsh rules of the need to beat a level 9. Lose once and Brain Burst uninstalls. Two years ago when the Kings learn about this harsh rule, instead of fighting each other, they call for a truce and divided the land for each to rule. Oh, there used to be 7 Kings. One night, the Black King betrayed everyone and hunted them. She is that Black King. She wanted everyone to fight and beheaded the Red King. Everyone else fought her and since she couldn’t win, she escaped and has been on the run since then. Black Snow says reaching level 10 is her goal because those who do get to meet the mysterious developer and learn the true meaning behind this programme. Despite hearing all this, Haruyuki still wants to help her and will not hate her. However one day she was careless in using her other avatar when somebody challenged her. It causes her real life identity to be revealed, something taboo for any Burst Linker. There is a possibility that this Burst Linker would want to sell her identity to others so the only way left is to discover that Burst Linker’s identity. She tried looking around but reached a dead end. The only clue is that the colour is near blue with high purity and goes by the name of Cyan Pile. Black Lotus hints Cyan Pile is Chiyuri because of her hostility towards her. Haruyuki dismisses that because Chiyuri is bad at games but will ascertain this himself. He goes to Chiyuri’s house and wants to cable with her. There’s only a very short one available. How close can they get? So they talk. Chiyuri wants things between the 3 of them to remain. She finds it hard to believe that he seeks Black Snow’s help. They reconcile and Haruyuki finds out she hasn’t told about the bullying to Takumu. She was worried about him ever since they enrolled in this school so when she saw him with Black Snow, she thought he didn’t need her anymore. While Chiyuri emotionally hugs him, Haruyuki is forced to peek around her system. To his relief, she isn’t Cyan Pile but there seems to be a hidden backdoor.

Episode 4: Declaration
Chiyuri doesn’t want Haruyuki to be Black Snow’s lackey and at least be her boyfriend. Haruyuki tells Black Snow what he has found but she seems irritated at how long the cable was! And where they did the cabling! Back to serious business, Haruyuki thinks Cyan Pile sent a virus to Chiyuri to create a backdoor, the reason why her enemy appears on the stage at Chiyuri’s coordinates. Because Haruyuki insists he is her pawn, this causes Black Snow to get upset (real tears) and slap him in public. Suddenly a car comes crashing in their direction. They Burst Link and find that the driver of this car is Araya! No doubt he has been expelled from school but he is still a free man outside school. They wonder if he is Cyan Pile. Black Snow apologizes for getting him into this mess. She confesses she likes him. She also admits she cheated by accelerating to get a high score in the squash game just to get his attention. She believes he will defeat all the Kings and reach the next level to find out the origins of Brain Burst. She kisses him and uses Physical Full Burst to alter her body position so that she could push Haruyuki’s body away from the crashing car. In the end, Haruyuki is saved from the crash but Black Snow is in deep coma. Although she is stable, her organs are badly damaged and could fall into shock anytime. Haruyuki vows to keep full watch on her because now that she is in a vulnerable state, she can be attacked by anyone who seeks to challenge her. He stays up all night thinking that Cyan Pile will show up. Morning comes and as people stream into the hospital, so is Takumu. Haruyuki feels odd because people of his school might have heard of the accident but Takumu? If Chiyuri had told him, why isn’t she with him? Then it hit him… Why didn’t he realize it? His best friend is Cyan Pile! Haruyuki quickly challenges Takumu to a fight.

Episode 5: Aviation
So it starts off with Takumu sounding like he is jealous that Haruyuki was so close in touching distance with Chiyuri (Takumu and Chiyuri are supposedly dating. Supposedly). He is proud of his achievements despite using the acceleration power so he is upset that Haruyuki could become his equal. Haruyuki is confident he can beat Takumu in his own game. Haruyuki employs hit and run tactic. But that’s not good enough and loses an arm and his special attack only serves to increase Takumu’s special attack gauge. Then his foot gives way. Takumu pounds Haruyuki while blaming him as the source of their misery. Haruyuki is low on life and morale when he sees Black Snow sleeping peacefully in a chamber. He desires so much to fly away from this hell with her that he draws enough strength to stand up. Suddenly Silver Crow spouts wings. He takes off to the sky and surprises every Burst Linker watching because this is the first avatar that flies. With Black Snow on his mind, the friends clash once more. This time, Takumu finds himself hovering in the air. Haruyuki has got him. If he falls, he loses all his points. He realizes he has been the guilty party for trying to wipe out Chiyuri’s dream and hope. Also realizing he can never beat Haruyuki, Takumu purposely falls off to lose. But Haruyuki catches him. He makes a proposal. Just as in the real world Haruyuki can’t beat Takumi, Haruyuki will always be better than him in the virtual world. He wants Takumu to become his ally and fight under Black Snow like him. Then they’ll tell Chiyuri everything and all those that they’ve kept secret from her. After Haruyuki lands softly, he is happy to see Black Snow out of her comatose state. She admires his beautiful wings and then apologizes to Cyan Pile for dishonouring his request for challenges. To atone that, she reveals her true form. Everyone realizes she is the Black King and is still alive. She has Haruyuki soar her high into the sky. She then announces to all the Legion Kings that she has returned to end this deceptive peace so get ready to fight. Haruyuki visits Black Snow in hospital. He updates her the backdoor has been disabled and Takumu’s Parents lost all their points because they gave him the programme. Though the programme developer remains unknown, she thinks it might be the Yellow Legion since they specialize in sneak attacks. Black Snow becomes embarrassed when Haruyuki returns her student ID he was holding. He didn’t take a good look so he didn’t see her name. She requests him to call her by her first name. What was it again?

Episode 6: Retribution
Vanquish the Blue Knight gives permission to Takumu to have some time on his own as per requested. Chiyuri is still mad at the guys after they confessed everything. Yeah, in addition to not on talking terms, she threw dictionaries. Remember a certain tough girl in Clannad like that? Black Snow thought she could talk to Chiyuri but Haruyuki thinks this is their problem that they need to straighten out themselves. He thinks Takumu will be a great addition to their team and since they have a tag team match tomorrow, Takumu agreed to help Haruyuki to get to level 2. Haruyuki wins several matches and gets the option to level up. However he decides to do so upon that chance and this eats up most of his Burst Points. It is only single digit now. Takumu wants to give some of his reserve points to him via cabling but Haruyuki declines. When Black Snow saved him, she too was running low on points and yet never asked him for them. He wants to follow her example. The guys continue to become Chiyuri’s lackey to make up to her as they explain about Brain Burst. Not that she really gets it. Then Takumu realizes there is a way for Haruyuki to get back some points. He remembers the bodyguard of Brain Burst known as Bouncer. When Burst Linkers’ points get too low, they usually team up with Bouncer to get their points back to safe level. No one knows of his real identity and there are several conditions for him to help out. One must be level 2 or lower and reveal your real world identity. Haruyuki waits at the café and receives mail from Bouncer after he snaps a picture of himself. He decides to go to the toilet when he trips and falls over a girl at the next table. Helping her pick her stuffs up, he realizes she is Aqua Current the Bouncer. She prepares to cable with him while Takumu goes to see Black Snow in hospital she suddenly challenges him. Chiyuri hears rumours that Takumu has forfeited his participation in the kendo tournament.

Episode 7: Restoration
Haruyuki and Aqua Current enter the Accelerated World. She reveals half her intentions to stay as level 1 because if the total level difference between opponents is at least 3, you won’t be stripped off all your points even if you lose. The duo face off with Sand Duct and Nickel Doll. Black Snow’s fight with Takumu is also to confront about his way to atone for his sins. Will quitting the kendo tournament or losing everything an uninstall Brain Burst be enough as atonement? She thinks he is only trampling over everyone’s feelings especially Chiyuri who is trying hard to forgive him. Because Brain Burst reminds him of the crimes he did, he simply wants to escape the guilt and he is doing that by punishing himself. So what is he to do? Listening to Haruyuki’s wish should be the first thing he should do. Black Snow defeats him and tells him that because he always fights alone, he doesn’t know the joys and wonders fighting as a team. Legions exist because competing and supporting friends open up many possibilities. She wants him to venture into his potential to atone for his sins. Haruyuki may be having trouble with his opponents and learning his element’s strength and weakness the hard way but with Aqua Current backing him up, they attain victory. After that, Aqua Current challenges him to a match and wants to take away all his points. This is the deferred payment she was referring to. Haruyuki tells her about his incident with Takumu. He was so overcome with anger when he fought him. In the end he still believed in him and decided never to change his mind once he believes in someone. Aqua Current reveals taking his points was just a joke. Long ago, she too had friends but circumstances had them all torn apart. The only thing she’ll be taking from him is his memories with her. Haruyuki returns to reality having no clue what he is doing here. Haruyuki and Chiyuri get the biggest surprise of their life. Takumu has transferred in to their school! Takumu considers Black Snow as his master and wants to see things with his own eyes.

Episode 8: Temptation
Black Snow and Haruyuki are in a tag team match to determine a Legion’s territory. Because Silver Crow’s aviation is widely known, he becomes an easy target to be shot down from the sky. He undergoes training to enhance his speed. When he comes back, he is shocked to see a little girl, Tomoko claiming as his little sister greeting him. Did he have one? Actually she’s his second cousin and there’s a message from mom for him to take care of her while she’s away on a business trip. So how does it feel to have a little sister? While bathing, he looks through the family album but doesn’t see any pictures of her. When she comes in to bath with him, he sees tan marks on her neck and now she’s a new Burst Linker. Then he remembers Tomoko. She was never this cute… Yeah. This is an imposter! So she throws away her innocent cutie onii-chan attitude and turns to her rough tough crude and rude behaviour! She introduces herself as Scarlet Rain and is going to make him pay for touching her non-existent boobs (she slipped so he caught her). After she runs away, Haruyuki contacts Black Snow about Scarlet Rain. This causes her to be in shock for a while. Guess what? Scarlet Rain is the second Red King. Scarlet Rain soon returns to challenge Haruyuki to a fight. Her avatar might be a cute little red armour but then she transforms into a gigantic scarlet fortress!!! OH SH*T! She’s really going to kill him! He can’t run far because he knows Red Legion specializes in range attacks. But he can’t get near her too because she’s very well defence up and her cannon packs a wallop! A single blast took out an entire building! Haruyuki thought his ultimate kick will end it since she’s big and won’t miss but Scarlet Rain detaches herself and he misses. He lost. He has to do what she says. She wants to meet his master. So when Haruyuki tells this to Black Snow, she’s trying hard not to punch him. As he details their fight, she tells him Scarlet Rain’s nickname is Immobile Fortress not because she cannot move, she doesn’t need to move. During their battle, she only moved 50cm. Black Snow then realizes the reason why Scarlet Rain wants to meet her. The only other red fighter is Red Rider. He was the Red King whom she beheaded. She starts feeling depressed so Haruyuki assures he will never betray her.

Episode 9: Escalation
Takumu talks to Haruyuki and Black Snow the possibility that Scarlet Rain would have recruited Haruyuki into her legion on pretence that she is being bullied had he not discover her true identity. You think Haruyuki won’t fall for that trap? Yeah, he can’t stand a little girl get bullied… Had he done so, he might have been at the mercy of a killer move granted only to Legion masters. That execution move, Judgment Blow will have Burst Linkers lose all their points and Brain Burst forever. She would’ve blackmailed him to do her bidding. Now that her identity is out, most likely she wants to propose a deal. As they arrive in Haruyuki’s apartment, Scarlet Rain is crazily playing his video games! Seems his mom issued her a duplicate key. She assures she hasn’t touched his M-rated stuffs behind the cupboard. His life is over. Of course tension is running high as both girls start insulting each other. Haruyuki caught in between… Takumu plays a better moderator. Scarlet Rain’s real name is Yuniko “Niko” Kouzuki as she reveals how she found Haruyuki by accelerating and checked the list of every student who left the school gates. It used up 200 over Burst Points. Niko wants to borrow Haruyuki’s aviation ability once to destroy Calamity Armour. Black Snow says she has confirmed its destruction 2 years ago against Chrome Disaster. What armour? What disaster? She is going to show Haruyuki as it will be the faster way. The girls fight over the short cables Haruyuki have. I guess this leaves the long one to Takumu. They are not in the Accelerated World but replaying memories in Black Snow’s head.

During the early days of Accelerated World, Chrome Disaster was a legendary Burst Linker 7 years ago who fought cruelly and brutally. Many Burst Linkers were taken out so the top Burst Linkers teamed up to take him out. Though they defeated him, he cursed the world. He was forever eliminated from this world but his Enhanced Armament, Calamity Armour remained. Unlike other items, this one had a mind of his own as it took over minds of others and turned them into merciless killers, changing their character and appearance. Calamity Armour did not disappear even after defeating the possessed Burst Linker. By the time it possessed its fourth victim, it was fighting against the Green King, Green Grandine and Black Lotus. They teamed up to defeat it and fought it until the armour is destroyed. Later it is confirmed by all the kings that the armour no longer existed. Niko is sure the fifth one has appeared and is a member of her Red Legion. Seems the armour has possessed Cherry Rook, a person whom Niko knows is good and a hard worker. Ever since he got possessed, he went around attacking other Burst Linkers from other Legions. Since Judgment Blow is a close range attack, Niko has a hard time using it on him because he keeps leaping away. That’s why she wants Haruyuki to catch Chrome Disaster for her. For once, Black Snow agrees with her since Haruyuki could use some experience. In exchange for this, Niko will tell her people to leave them alone. They will continue this meeting tomorrow. Same place. However, Niko is going to stay here since it is a pain going back. Black Snow changes her mind and will stay here too. Oh God. I guess this is tougher than catching Chrome Disaster, eh? And so the girls berate and challenge each other during shopping and cooking. Then bathing together… Haruyuki contemplates of even peeking on them just like in those games! He very well knows the consequences but what the heck! Just do it! Too bad he thought too long as the girls are already done. The girls play video game together but they aren’t as hostile as before. They even sleep close together!

Episode 10: Activation
It must be heaven for Haruyuki. Niko acting like his little sister and Black Snow like the bigger one. Ah, such bless. Now comes hell. When they exit the elevator, before them is Chiyuri. Electrical stares… Oh sh*t… Thanks to Takumu’s smooth operator, Haruyuki is spared. This made Chiyuri interested about installing Brain Burst too since they are so addicted to that game. Can she be one? Black Snow thinks it is risky and a gamble. This made Haruyuki wonder who is Black Snow’s Parent (the one who introduces the game). She won’t tell him and is the person whom he wants him not to meet. She’s saying this as a Burst Linker and a woman. Jealousy, I presume. In fact they were very close friends till she found out everything was an illusion and became enemies. She hated her so much that she wanted to torture and cut off her head. But she can’t. One of the ‘flaws’ of being Parent and Child is that both know each other’s real world identity. Grudges and hatred can be complicated in the real world and its implications can’t be ignored. Haruyuki swears he will never fight her if that happens and will uninstall Brain Burst. Later Haruyuki talks to Niko if she hates Black Snow. She doesn’t and in fact she is grateful. If not for her decapitating the previous Red King whom she has never talked to, she wouldn’t have taken over his position. She also admires Black Snow for her motivation. While other Legion Masters pretend to fight in their non-aggression pact, Black Snow openly declared she will achieve Level 10. Who knows how many of them have this ulterior motive as well. Niko doesn’t harbour such interests as some believe once you reach Level 10, Brain Burst uninstalls itself. But that’s a reason why she likes Accelerated World. She blames herself that this is the reason why Cherry Rook became Chrome Disaster because she made him push himself to get to the next level. Haruyuki tells her she did no wrong. He thinks a game should have an ending. His experience in playing online games without ending only made him lonelier because everyone else moved on to another game.

The gang regroup as they detect Cherry Rook heading towards Ikebukuro via train. They enter Accelerated World in the Unlimited Neutral Field where there is no time limit. So the reason why they brought Haruyuki is because of his aviation. The girls fight over him to be carried! This is going to be tougher than obtaining Calamity Armour, eh? So intense that Takumu is told to butt out! You’re on your own. Anyway Haruyuki carries them all. Along the way they see a group of Burst Linkers going on a hunt defeating huge monsters called Enemies. Other than duels, this way they can earn points as well although it is meagre. Suddenly they are being attacked by beams and missiles. Haruyuki crashes into a crater and several Burst Linkers surround them. They are surprised to see Yellow Radio the Yellow King because this is not the Yellow Legion’s jurisdiction. Niko realize that all this must have been Yellow Radio’s doing.

Episode 11: Obligation
Though Yellow Radio mentions he is looking for someone from Red Legion to take responsibility for breaking the non-aggression pact, Haruyuki realizes he was the one who hid away Calamity Armour, gave it to Cherry Rook to lure Niko out so he could hunt for the head of a king needed to reach Level 10. He has assembled his men to hunt Niko down. They can’t log out immediately in an Unlimited Neutral Field and must leave via Leave Point at Ikebukuro or Sunshine City. Yellow Radio replays the event when Black Lotus decapitated Red Rider. She is still traumatized by this event and loses her resolve to fight and turns into a vegetable. Haruyuki and co need to make a run now but Yellow Radio orders his men to attack. Haruyuki can’t fly due to Yellow Radio’s special field attack. Takumu protects them all and takes the pounding (in this field, pain is doubled). Because once Red King is done for, Yellow Radio will target Black Snow. Takumu sacrifices himself to protect his friends. Niko won’t run and will stand and fight. She transforms into her giant fortress and starts firing away. However a jamming signal renders her missiles useless. Haruyuki is tasked to find the jammer but is pinned down by a minion. The other Burst Linkers get close enough to Niko to rip her apart. Haruyuki starts chiding Black Snow for her weak resolve to become a Level 10 Burst Linker. It was enough to revive her. She makes it clear that Red Rider isn’t her first love. It is Haruyuki. Black Snow slices her way through her lesser opponents to face Yellow Radio. He tries to make her feel guilty that decapitating her weighs the same as beheading Red Rider. This time she won’t be cowed because she never liked him the first time they met. Haruyuki frees himself and takes out the jammer to allow Niko to continue blasting the small fries. Black Snow and Yellow Radio descend into a serious super speed fight between Level 9 Burst Linkers. They both are going to decide the outcome of the match by unleashing their special move. However, Yellow Radio is stabbed from the back by Chrome Disaster.

Episode 12: Absolution
Yellow Radio manages to get away from Chrome Disaster’s clutches but the latter starts devouring any Burst Linker he could get his hands on. Yellow Radio orders a retreat. Haruyuki becomes afraid and can’t move. Now it’s Black Snow’s turn to give him some encouragement. He is afraid to fight because he believes it will negatively affect his values. That’s why he doesn’t perform well in territory battles. She promises she won’t abandon him and their bond isn’t that weak. They both cooperate to fight the enemy but Black Snow gets caught in a large blast that takes out Chrome Disaster as well. Is Niko going to betray them? She lectures about trusting no one in this world and goes up to finish Chrome Disaster. However she couldn’t and he grabs her. Black Snow says Niko was just sulking. She wants to trust more than anyone else. Because Cherry Rook is her Parent. She wants Haruyuki to save her because she is their ally. Chrome Disaster escapes trying to get to a Leave Point before Niko could finish him. Haruyuki goes after him and realizes he is using wires, the reason why it looked like he could fly. Now he looks like Spider Man swinging… Haruyuki accelerates and lets his wire hook onto his back. As they crash to the ground, Haruyuki answers his question about strength.

After Niko puts him out of his misery, she reveals they both do not know their real world parents. She goes to an orphanage school and doesn’t get along well with others. That’s why she always played VR video games alone till she met him. He introduced her to this game and taught her everything till she surpassed him. One day he was acting strange but she didn’t bother to ask. He wanted to become her Parent forever and his desperation made him devour the Calamity Armour. Haruyuki says in that case they can be friends in the real world again since they know each other’s face and name. Before the gang leaves via Leave Point, Black Snow has them check their storage to see if there are remnants of the armour. None. Good. It’s gone for good. Or is it? Because Haruyuki kept hearing faint voices wanting him to devour. Oh, that little wire thingy still hooked on his back. Back in reality, Niko informs Haruyuki that they have informed the other kings about Yellow Radio and Chrome Disaster. She wanted to raise his intention of taking the armour but had no proof. Niko further reveals Cherry Rook was moving far away, the reason he acted strange. Because there are not many Burst Linkers outside Tokyo, he feared he couldn’t raise his level. His panic led him to consume the armour. But now that he is forever out of Brain Burst, she views it’s a good sign because he is back to his original self. It made her think that Brain Burst isn’t the only VR game around. If Haruyuki knows of any other good games, be sure to let her know. She gives him her cookies as thanks. So happy that he cried while eating. And she returns to her tsundere mode. Happy ever after…

Episode 13: Violation
Takumu and Haruyuki help Chiyuri install Brain Burst. It is not power she desires but she wants to show them how games are should be enjoyed. Besides, it will be the three of them like always. One rainy night, Haruyuki gets a call from Chiyuri to dive into her home server. Her world is filled with cushions? And she had to use piggy as her pillow… The new term for the school begins. Haruyuki is thrilled he is in the same class with Takumu and Chiyuri. As Black Snow gives her speech at the assembly, for a moment there she starts to react cautiously. Takumu and Haruyuki later discuss that she must have sensed another Burst Linker among the new students. They want to look into this but Chiyuri won’t let them sneak off on their own and wants in. So they let her dive into Accelerated World and explain to her some of the basics. Maybe this will take a while. Her avatar name is Lime Bell as she searches for her special move: Citron Call. She powers up her special gauge destroying objects and fires it at Haruyuki (is he her punching bag?). Nothing happens. Takumu suspects something and wants her to beat up Haruyuki a little (now he’s her punching bag). Then she releases Citron Call and Haruyuki’s life points heal. Takumu deduces she is a healer type. This is bad. Haruyuki tells Black Snow about this and seems Takumu is right. They need to keep Chiyuri’s character a secret since healers are very rare. This place will be swamped with Burst Linkers trying to scout for her. In the game’s history, there is only one other healer but he got so sick of the game he call it quits. Black Snow won’t let Haruyuki know who he is. He was one of the kings. Takumu explains to Chiyuri about Legions and that they are under Nega Nebulous led by Black Snow. Chiyuri is fine joining it since it will be like old times. Black Snow’s grade will be leaving for a field trip to Okinawa so she leaves the territory defence to Haruyuki. Can he do it? She’ll reward him with anything if he is successful. Anything? So he wants beef steak? Sure he doesn’t want anything intimate? To cable with her? How about something more erotic? Black Snow stripping!!! Bad boy! Take your time to think about it… He bumps into a first year, Seiji Noumi. After helping Haruyuki up, he wipes his hand clean. Haruyuki and Chiyuri go cheer on Takumu’s kendo match. Haruyuki notices Noumi on the opposing team. When the match pits Takumu and Noumi, it seems Noumi is too fast for Takumu to do anything. Haruyuki fears the worst. He then thought he saw Noumi’s lips chanting Burst Link so Haruyuki goes into Accelerated World. However he doesn’t find Noumi’s name in the list. He returns to reality and Takumu lost his match. No chance at all.

Episode 14: Arrestation
Haruyuki discusses with Takumu and Chiyuri if Noumi is a Burst Linker. That move certainly was accelerated. Haruyuki realizes it may be Physical Full Burst like how Black Snow used to save him. However it uses up 99% of your points and certainly he can’t be using it for a kendo match. However Takumu thinks it is just Physical Burst and demonstrates how quickly he moves refilling the cup he spilled. The real body doesn’t accelerate but the consciousness becomes 10 times faster. He used it before a year ago that’s why he was at the top. He feels he should not complain for his loss to Noumi but Chiyuri tells him he was trying to win matches for her unlike Noumi was just fighting for himself. Besides, he is different now and has changed. Takumu tries to observe and find out more about Noumi but doesn’t find anything since that guy is moving mysteriously. Though he managed to look through the graduation album and found out he has an older brother 3 years their senior. Haruyuki feels odd because if Black Snow is one of the pioneer Burst Linkers, could there be anyone earlier than her? At least he has never heard of Burst Linkers older than her. Haruyuki tries to tail Noumi to get some evidence. He sees him dodge when a club mate throws his wooden sword at him for his conceited behaviour. Haruyuki then follows him to the shower and check his Neuro Linker for any Brain Burst. Hey, isn’t this Chiyuri’s Neuro Linker? What is he doing in the girl’s shower? How the heck did he screw up? Whether or not he had a nice view of Chiyuri’s naked body, he better hide because other girls are coming in. Chiyuri lets him hide in her cubicle till the coast is clear. Haruyuki realizes he may have walked into Noumi’s trap because he used visual electronic masking to trick his visuals. That’s how he screwed up the wrong toilet. So of course in the aftermath, he has got lots of apologizing to do to the goddess. Chiyuri couldn’t believe people would go this far for a game and feels something is wrong because nobody seems to be having fun. Haruyuki disagrees because it changed him and Takumu. Haruyuki may be acting strange but he can’t tell Takumu about it since the goddess is emitting some deadly aura if he ever lets a word slip.

Haruyuki gets mail from Noumi to meet him alone at the yard. It is clear he is a Burst Linker and knows his Silver Crow identity. Noumi claims his victory and reveals the graduation photo with visual electronic masking too. He set up a programme to tamper with his vision field. Plus, he has video camera proof that Haruyuki sneaked into the girl’s shower. Noumi’s goal is not to expel Haruyuki but to make him his loyal dog for the rest of his school days. He wants Haruyuki earn Burst Points for him to use every day. Chiyuri pops up and defends Haruyuki that she gave him permission to come in since she sprained her ankle. But Noumi isn’t cowed and reveals a hidden camera filming the girls in the shower right now. Imagine the huge ruckus it will cause when they find out and they will go seek the culprit. If he uploads the clip with Haruyuki in it, Chiyuri’s cover will be of no use. The school then announces that the girl’s shower is off limits as Noumi notes the hidden camera has been discovered. All part of his plan. Then he casually holds Chiyuri and threatens never to be rude to him again. He intends to make her his pet. Whenever he fights, she’ll be watching it and waiting upon him. Chiyuri becomes afraid and this pisses off Haruyuki. The guys enter Physical Burst to engage in a fist fight that seems like they’re punching air. Noumi wins when he feigns a punch to trick Haruyuki before landing the real one. Since they still have time before the next class, Noumi agrees to challenge him to a duel just like he wanted.

Episode 15: Destruction
Noumi’s avatar is Dusk Taker but Haruyuki easily beats him up with his superior skills. He realizes his trick of luring other Burst Linkers into traps, understanding their weaknesses and then threaten to take their points. Just when Haruyuki is about to finish him, Noumi uses Demonic Commandeer to steal his aviation ability. It is permanent so Haruyuki won’t be getting it back till he graduates. Noumi then takes his points for today and leaves very much satisfied that he is tops against Haruyuki in both worlds. He doesn’t want them to tell Takumu or Black Snow about this since he needs time to prepare and face them. Chiyuri is sad that things have turned out like this and Haruyuki feels guilty for dragging her into this and there is nothing he could do. Takumu can tell something is wrong with him and goes to talk to him since Chiyuri won’t say a thing. He too won’t say anything so they end up arguing Chiyuri’s importance to them. It ends with Takumu punching him when Haruyuki runs his mouth he has given up on Chiyuri to be his girlfriend again and is aiming for Black Snow. Takumu laments that he isn’t that trustworthy because they promised not to keep secrets from each other anymore. In his weakest moment, Haruyuki thinks of uninstalling Brain Burst so that Noumi’s plan will fail and won’t threaten Chiyuri anymore. But he discards that thought and enters another duel. His opponent is Ash Roller. It’s been a long time, eh? He has powered up with missiles on his bike. Haruyuki thought he could use the same trick to take him out but Ash Roller has another skill that knocks him away. Haruyuki lies there with no motivation. Ash Roller is puzzled why he won’t fly. Haruyuki wants him to defeat him since this was a test to see how useful he was without his wings. Apparently he wasn’t. Oddly, Ash Roller tries to make him come to his senses. When Haruyuki fought him by lifting up his bike which was his main weapon, did he give up? Haruyuki says he still got his bike but he won’t get his wings back again. Ash Roller reprimands him (including double bad fingers) and tells him off the feeling he got along with other Burst Linkers when they learn Haruyuki could fly. He calls this duel a draw and wants Haruyuki to meet up at a later time. Ash Roller wants to bring him to his Parent who stopped duelling a long time ago. She had numerous nicknames like Iron Arm and Icarus and was the closest person to rule the sky before Haruyuki came along. Running his bike up the steep rocky pillar, there is a little house on the meadows. The wheel chair ridden Burst Linker introduces herself as Sky Raker.

Episode 16: Imagination
Can she really give his wings back? As she puts it, maybe impossible. It’s hard to get back something you lose. However she never said that he couldn’t fly. Sky Raker begins talking to him about mental scars, the opposite of hope that made him able to soar. In fact, it wasn’t his wings that made him fly. It is because he has wings that he could fly. In short, his wings are just for show. So what about given abilities by Brain Burst to every Burst Linker? Thinking that Haruyuki views willpower means nothing in this world, she shows him the wheel chair she is sitting without motor on controls and yet she is able to move it freely like her own body. This is willpower. She does this via imaging her power and then use incarnation to control it. She believes Haruyuki subconsciously does the same thing for his wings. Thus, the will of the mind as what they call Incarnate System, if Haruyuki learns this, he will be able to fly again. She shows her legs. No legs! She had someone cut them off because at that time she was obsessed with flying and wanted to maximize her will to fly. Though it significantly increased her jumping height, she never did fly. Despite it will take a long time, Haruyuki will do what it takes to learn this. The rest of the day, she had him rest as she tells him about the only Legion she was ever in. She had a very close friend. Want to bet who she is talking about? Next day, Haruyuki begins his training. A single word is what it takes to invoke incarnation. Because this is Spartan training, she won’t tell him yet and pushes him off! Rock bottom, Haruyuki starts climbing the rocky pillar. However the scenery soon starts to transit into a metallic city so he falls back down. Sky Raker from time to time drops him food and a piece of paper containing hints of his next step. Haruyuki realizes the power of imaging. He must have faith in himself. He starts making holes around the tower to sharpen his imaging power. When he is ready on the seventh day, he starts his ascend.

He remembers the first night Sky Raker’s story. She had an Enhanced Armament that allows her to jump a modest 100 metres high. Soon she became obsessed in jumping higher and when she reached Level 8, she realized jumping isn’t flying and this turned into madness. To lower her weight to fly, she chopped off her legs which were her biggest weapon. She made that best friend of hers who is the master of a certain Legion to cut it off. Yes. That friend is Black Lotus. Despite she tried to stop her, Sky Raker said horrible things to her and insisted. She had no choice but to grant her wish. She continued to jump. By the time she reached the top of Tokyo Tower, she realized seeing the sky for an instant at the top of her jumping trajectory was the absolute limit to her power. Haruyuki’s desire to fly to the end of the world has him fly (or a great leap?) back to the top. Sky Raker is impressed he returned much quicker than she thought. Haruyuki learns that incarnation is not about controlling but rather overriding reality. That is the magic word: Override. Since Haruyuki still needs his wings to fight beside Black Snow, Sky Raker will give her Enhanced Armament, Gale Thruster. In the real world, Haruyuki meets Sky Raker in person at a fast food joint so she could transfer Gale Thruster to him without using a shop. Haruyuki is close to breakdown when he realizes she has fake legs and had real desire to fly and yet gave her wings to him. He feels guilty he just wanted to run away from the harsh reality. She notes him a kind person and that they’re not doing this out of pity. His tears prove that a truth of his own exists in Accelerated World. Some selfish people use Brain Burst to get points and others as hunting grounds to trap others but they know it is a place to find the truth, friendship and love. Her foolishness caused her a bond and doesn’t want him to repeat that mistake. Haruyuki is confident he will fly with these and will return it to her after he learns how to use his own power. He believes her bond with Black Lotus isn’t lost and that she is still waiting for her return.

Episode 17: Fragmentation
Haruyuki gets a direct video call from Black Snow. Oooh. Black Snow in bikini. Was it worth it? She tells him she got an odd request from Takumu asking if she could give him Noumi’s entrance exam scores. She retrieved them from the student council database and replied to him. Haruyuki can’t tell what is going on or she might get upset and storm back. During PE, Haruyuki suddenly accelerates. But he finds himself a spectator in a duel between Takumu and Noumi. Takumu has deduced he has used his powers to score perfect in his exams and has timed moments when he accelerated and thus knew he would be accelerating at this moment. Though he can’t say more because he too did the same thing. Noumi says he loves taking although he doesn’t like others taking from him. He will have Takumu compensate him for taking 1.8 seconds of his real life with his Burst Points. Takumu is confident he can beat him and take back Haruyuki’s wings. He heard this from Ash Roller and apologizes he didn’t notice it earlier. Takumu dominates the match and when he corners Noumi, the latter is forced to use his special move. Haruyuki realizes he is activating incarnation. Noumi beats up Takumu with his greater power. Before he can take what he wants from Takumu, Haruyuki begs to take his instead so he initiates a battle royal mode. Once all party accepts, Haruyuki surprises Noumi by using his own incarnation with speed to beat him up. But that isn’t enough to beat him yet. Noumi uses more weapons and the newly acquired wings to fight Haruyuki. But Haruyuki says he is not invincible yet because he is not the only one who can fly. Activating Gale Thruster, Haruyuki soars into the sky with this jet pack and put more serious damage to him. He won’t tell him how he got this because a Burst Linker like him won’t understand. Noumi says they never consider themselves one and is a term first generations used. They? The power fight continues and when it looks like Haruyuki is going crash them both into the ground, Takumu activates his special attack to wipe out Noumi. Haruyuki had faith in him because he was taking damage to increase his special attack gauge. Before Haruyuki could finish him off, Chiyuri completely heals Noumi.

Episode 18: Invitation
This is what happened with Black Snow at Okinawa when Haruyuki and co was facing Noumi. I guess we need to take a break from metal skin to some real skin! Oh yeah! Black Snow in the flesh! She and her friend, Megumi are basking in the sun and Megumi is going to show our princess another sort of world… The yuri kind of world? Well, Megumi talks to Black Snow about another kind of world: Books. Something that Megumi loved when she was young. As they split up to buy each other souvenirs, Black Snow is called into a fight. Her opponent, Lagoon Dolphin goes all out but it is clear that Black Snow is much higher level. At the end, she has a request and hopes to meet her in person in the real world. Black Snow is surprised to see Ruka Asato (Lagoon Dolphin) and her friend Mana Itosu as Burst Linkers in Okinawa. Very rare there are such outside Tokyo. More surprised that they told her their real names without knowing the precautionary implications. They tell her what their master told them about not using their acceleration for evil. Not very detailed teachings… This causes Black Snow to want to meet their master and have a talk with him. This is exactly what the duo wanted. They were having trouble how to tell it to her and looks like she solved it herself. Their master told them about a monster’s appearance and having trouble defeating it, thus the reason they need her help. Black Snow realizes she is late to meet Megumi and rushes back. She apologizes but Megumi puts up a brave front not to blame her. Eventually she couldn’t hold back her tears so Black Snow consoles her. She admits the other world she has where time flows differently. She spent lots of time there and lost many bonds. She slowly tries to rebuild them but in this world, Megumi is her only friend. Thanks to her, she was saved when she was lost and kept her well and tightly bound to this world. Black Snow meets up with Ruka and Mana at the café so they can dive into the Accelerated World. They find their master getting drunk in a bar. He is so negative about defeating the monster. Very pessimistic. Like he lost all hope. Till he realizes Ruka and Mana brought back Black Snow. Seems they know each other. Black Snow calls him Crikin. Never thought to see the day he actually meet her, eh?

Episode 19: Revolution
Crikin explains he moved to Okinawa after his parents divorced and was depressed there weren’t many Burst Linkers here. Ruka is his relative and introduced her to Brain Burst. The monster then rampages over the place and as Crikin describes, this legendary dragon, Nidhogg AKA Nick was tamed by some opponent whose name didn’t appear in the list. Black Snow questions the rider riding Nick, Sulphur Pot. She deduces he must have used some backdoor cheat programme and is diving remotely from Tokyo. As Black Snow fights Sulphur Pot and Nick, Crikin orders Ruka and Mana to gather all the metal they can find. After Black Snow takes some damage from Nick’s special attack, it is Crikin’s turn to take centre stage. You might be forgiven if you are watching a mecha anime as all the metal parts combine to turn Crikin into a giant robot. Crikin gives Nick a taste of his own medicine but Sulphur Pot unleashes a trick up his sleeve. Scattering gun powder in the air before Nick’s fire breath blows and melts up everything. Meanwhile Megumi is about to unplug Black Snow to return her to this world but Mana’s spirit (she is a shaman for your information) tells her to plug in to an extra cord that will invite her to the other world for one last time. Black Snow is shocked that Megumi dives into the game as she uses her power to force change the stage into an ocean one. Before Megumi leaves, she tells Black Snow to live out her life story facing forward because magic time is over. Black Snow and the girls cooperate to fight Nick. They separate Sulphur Pot from Nick and then cut off the dragon’s reins. Then, Nick devours Sulphur Pot seeing he is no longer its master. Back on land, Crikin is sulking because he was left forgotten at the bottom of the sea. Screws can’t swim? He gives Black Snow the Nick’s Mystical Reins. Black Snow’s class departs for home at the end of the trip. She narrates Megumi did not have any memories when she woke up from the café. As to whether she was once a Burst Linker, she will not press on for it. Crikin reports the café they dived had some remodelled illegal linker that allows you to link up without being worn. If Brain Burst was installed in it along with a backdoor, it is possible to do what Sulphur Pot did. Unfortunately during Black Snow’s interrogation he never mentioned anything about some organization which may turn out to be their future enemy.

Episode 20: Domination
Going back to where we left against the battle with Noumi. The jerk revels in his revival and becomes ever arrogant and cocky. Haruyuki is brimming with anger but Takumu charges first and got cut up to pieces. This is when Haruyuki loses it. A voice in his head tells him to devour Noumi. He succumbs to it and attacks. Noumi is surprised that their power is on the same length. But time is up and Haruyuki Burst Out. He wanted to find Noumi but Takumu tells him to keep it cool. They’ll only be playing into his hands if they do so. The duo talk to Chiyuri if she was tricked by Noumi. However she says she voluntarily teamed up with him to earn Burst Points. How come she doesn’t sound convincing? The guys head back and discuss their next move. They are frustrated but they need to defeat Noumi and it is only then that the truth will be revealed. Challenging him will be hard since he doesn’t appear on the list. However they hold an advantage because Noumi who often uses his Burst Points at an alarming rate would have low reserves. He doesn’t participate in usual duels for them either. Haruyuki tells Takumu about Incarnate System. Takumu feels he will need such power to defeat Noumi but should they go see Sky Raker again? Maybe Ash Roller won’t be so kind this time. Haruyuki wakes up from a nightmare whereby Black Snow leaves him because he lost his wings. In his fury, he turned into a monster pig, chained her up never to leave his side again. This causes Haruyuki to call Black Snow directly. They both miss each other very much and a week has never felt so long. Takumu has done his investigation on Incarnate System and sums up that technique is pretty much top secret. You wouldn’t want your opponents to know such awesome move, right? Though he feels Sky Raker isn’t the only person who knows about it. Therefore a king must know it, right? Haruyuki doesn’t want to ask Black Snow because she’ll come straight back and defeat Noumi and Chiyuri. But there is another king they can ask: Niko. Over the next few scenes, Chiyuri’s evasion to talk to them proves that they are somewhat right about her. Haruyuki is soon called by the teacher. He is interrogated on the day the hidden camera was planted by Noumi. Soon all the students avoid him. Even his classmate beat him up at the rooftop because his girlfriend was caught on that camera that she went into shock. Haruyuki allows to get beaten up but asserts his innocence. He is no stranger to this bully road but this time he has friends on his side. He isn’t going to lose and will claw his way back up.

Episode 21: Insurrection
The rumours have spread far and wide. Takumu learns the truth of what happened and how Chiyuri probably got involved. He feels like a fool not knowing anything and wants to be punched. Haruyuki also feels the same. This bromance scene almost tugged the hearts of all the yaoi fan girls watching… Too bad nothing happened. Haruyuki makes arrangements to meet Niko at the patisserie. Putting up that cute little sister act, isn’t she? When Haruyuki wants her to teach Takumu Incarnate System, Niko suddenly becomes the crude devil. Not happy, isn’t she. Using a private room for their discussion, she tells him off never to say such word in public. Learning about their problem and Noumi, Niko at first couldn’t care less and would gladly see Nega Nebulous get destroyed. She has also predicted they will come to her for help seeing they helped her out the last time. Seeing she indirectly agrees to help, Haruyuki is so happy that he wanted to kiss her feet! Creepy! So the trio dive into the Ice Stage world for the training. Niko tells them the important points of Incarnate System like it doesn’t lower her special move gauge, only incarnate techniques can be used to defend against incarnate attacks and they will always shine. Niko has Haruyuki demonstrate what he has learnt as he slices a snow pile with his hand blade. Niko then demonstrates hers by blasting a hole through a bigger pile. That’s how it’s done. There are 4 basic types of incarnate techniques. Attack range augmentation is what they just saw. Movement ability augmentation allows her to move at lightning speed. However she cannot use attack power augmentation and armour strength augmentation due to her mental scars and weakness despite being a King. Her fear of this world and to get close to it was what gave rise to Scarlet Rain, thus unable to use incarnation to strengthen her avatar’s offensive and defensive powers. Incarnation powers aren’t supposed to be used for defeating your enemies but to overcome one’s weakness.

Before Niko’s training starts, she asks Takumu if his avatar is close or long range. He replies close range but Niko says his Enhanced Armament is actually for long range. That’s when Takumu reveals his past. He was once bullied by kendo seniors and has a scar. Cyan Pile is a close range avatar but built with long range weapon may stem from this fear of his. The pile is a manifestation of his fear and anger of being tormented because he wants to use this to skewer every last guy who bullied him. Before Haruyuki leaves them alone in their training and do go do research on Dusk Taker, Niko advises him to name his Incarnate System move so that it can be used as  a quick trigger in combats. Laser Sword? Lame. When Haruyuki dives out, the patisserie’s maid, Blood Leopard takes him away. She is under Niko’s Legion and has been told to assist him. She has also heard rumours of a troublemaker that doesn’t appear on the list. That person seems to be breaking in from another network: Akihabara, Yellow Legion’s territory. Leopard takes Haruyuki on her motorbike and rides all the way to the otaku Holy Land. Haruyuki is amazed with the old fashioned arcade and wants to have a go at it (though he doesn’t have enough money) but Leopard takes him up to the dive café. Haruyuki is given a cute pink dinosaur avatar as disguised as they go see Matchmaker. Akihabara Battle Ground (BG) is the only neutral place here. Not even the Yellow King can touch it. It is where Burst Linkers fight and bet and matches. Matchmaker isn’t fond that Leopard had heard rumours of the troublemaker who doesn’t appear on the list but nevertheless will tell all he can as it is starting to be a big problem. About a week ago, a rude fellow appeared. Without registering as a fighter, he challenged only suitable opponents. His name doesn’t appear in the matching list despite being connected. If they let him have his way, Akihabara BG’s existence will be threatened. This Burst Linker’s name is Rust Jigsaw.

Episode 22: Determination
Leopard wants to tag with Haruyuki to bait Rust Jigsaw. Because of the rumours that Silver Crow cannot fly anymore has spread far and wide, it is very likely for him to come and attack. Plus, he must be hidden somewhere in this building to connect to this local network. Leopard warns him only to use Incarnate System when the opponent uses his. Because such power is born from the hole of one’s mind and you are pulled a little closer to the hole’s darkness each time you use it. When he was fighting Calamity Armour, the curse almost made his mind go berserk. As expected the duo receive a challenge from Rust Jigsaw. The enemy places thin wire traps around so it is tough to get close to him especially if your avatar specializes in close range. Leopard wants Haruyuki to transfer his special move gauge to her. She transforms and gets up close to Rust Jigsaw. She bites his shoulder till he loses all his life. Then they Burst Out and try to find him in the real world. Leopard repeatedly dealt damage to Rust Jigsaw’s right shoulder. Such pain will linger in the real world for a short while. Haruyuki looks around and thinks he sees somebody fitting that description but lost him when he got distracted by an Akihabara maid handing out tissues. Next day in school, Haruyuki learns from Takumu that Chiyuri teamed up with Noumi in a battle. Their winning rate is 100% since Noumi’s aviation made it impossible for other avatars to fight back. Takumu is worried of the situation. Although he is confident with Black Snow’s return, she will solve this in one fell swoop, he can’t help feel there is a possibility that she will lose. Later Haruyuki visits Chiyuri and she doesn’t seem convincing in her bragging of her many victories and levelling up. Haruyuki is sad he dragged her into this and walked into his trap (that video) which gave him the means to threaten him. Chiyuri thought he still doesn’t understand her. Even though her avatar obeys Noumi, in the real world she is still right here and hasn’t taken him away from her. She is doing this out of her own will. Always have and always will. Haruyuki believes in her and will take back what he has lost.

Haruyuki thinks hard to find anything that could reveal Noumi’s weakness. He remembers Rust Jigsaw running away and while his hand action may seem like pushing someone away, it resembles more of moving a virtual window away. But he wasn’t wearing any Neuro Linker. Doing his research, there is a device that precedes Neuro Linker. NerveGear was the first virtual reality machine but was exclusively used for full dives. There was another device that made augmented reality possible: Brain Implant Chip (BIC). Haruyuki calls Noumi to confront him. He is confident it is game over. Haruyuki explains because of the illegal BIC embedded inside him, his name doesn’t show up on the list. The illegal device was discontinued after 3 years due to the dangers of brain hacking and exam cheating. A single scan will be enough to reveal the chip and send Noumi into expulsion. Noumi’s face contorts like a criminal whose schemes have been exposed. But he notes that exposing each other’s weakness will only destroy themselves. Of course Haruyuki intends to fight with him like how all Burst Linkers settle their matches. Noumi has a few suggestions for their final match and one of them includes whereby the winner takes everything and to be held at the Unlimited Neutral Field. Although they think accepting his proposal is dangerous as it views Noumi is very confident he will walk away victorious, they want to settle this before Black Snow comes back. As for if Noumi had allies or an ambush waiting in that field, that Burst Linker would probably need to have lots of Burst Points just to wait in that field for hours. More importantly, is there anybody who would go so far for Noumi?

Episode 23: Consolidation
Chiyuri admits to Haruyuki and Takumu how Noumi told her to betray him to gain their trust. She knows she won’t be forgiven after all that she has done but begs them to take her with them to the fight. Takumu believes in her because he still remembers his fight with Haruyuki. He believed and gave him a chance. Now it’s his turn to do the same. The trio enter the field and soon Noumi too. Noumi will fight against Haruyuki and Takumu in a sudden death duel whereby there will be no end until someone dies. The match begins but when Haruyuki charges, he is trapped in an ambush laid by Black Vise. They are surprised that someone has been waiting here for a long time but as Noumi explains, he too has BIC and took a very huge risk. Seems his terminal as able to control his brain clock and used his BIC to suspend acceleration at will. While Haruyuki remains trap, Noumi confidently goes to face Takumu who now materializes his pile into a blade. As they clash, Takumu has realized there is a limitation to his Demonic Commandeer. If he could steal anything, why hasn’t he stole Lime Bell’s healing ability? He steals because he has nothing left inside. He can steal anything he wants but those things will never truly belong to him.

That’s when Noumi tells him to blame his big brother instead. He is Noumi’s Parent and forcefully installed Brain Burst into him. Noumi became his dog to earn points for him to use. Slowly he saved points for a special ability. Then he called him to the Unlimited Neutral Field and took his abilities. Each time he revived, he killed him over and over again and relished seeing his face when he was about to lose and Brain Burst uninstalled forever. He is the one who has nothing left now and there is nothing more pitiful than that. Noumi just takes and he will take everything. From those illusionary friendship and bonds they believe in. Noumi plays dirty by taking Chiyuri hostage and hurting her like hell. This forces Takumu to give up and take a good beating and got his arms cut off. Haruyuki can only helplessly watch when he realizes he is in Zero Fill. Moments before his loss and Brain Burst forever uninstalled. He sees a vision of Black Snow reaching out her hands to him so he gets the extra power and boost to free himself from the trap. Still, he is too weak to stop Noumi moments away from killing Takumu for good. Suddenly Noumi got his arm blasted off. Here comes Black Snow riding on a stallion! What a grand entry! Noumi is shocked of her return. She isn’t supposed to be back yet. She might not have returned to Tokyo in the real world yet but she dived in from Okinawa since they are connected in this world. She was taming the legendary Enemy and it took her 15 hours to come here although it is not even a minute in the real world. Turning her attention to Black Vise, he introduces himself as the vice president of the Acceleration Research Society. Note, he is not under a Legion. Sulphur Pot is part of that society. Black Snow will repay the pain three times for the pain they have caused to her members. Only 3 times? Not 100 times? Anyway while she holds off Black Vise, she wants Haruyuki to finish his match with Noumi.

Episode 24: Reincarnation
Noumi is going to relish tearing their ideals apart but Haruyuki thinks he’s got it all wrong from the start. He could’ve gotten friends like he wanted if he challenged them to duels normally. Noumi understands that as he’ll pity him to be his friend. Haruyuki disagrees. They won’t understand each other ever. I guess that settles it. They’re going to settle this once and for all. The aerial battle begins with Haruyuki using incarnation to enhance his Gale Thruster. Just when he is about to deliver the final blow, Chiyuri heals Noumi. All reset to zero, eh? But… Before Noumi can kill Haruyuki, he loses his wings and starts falling. Haruyuki feels his wings are back and gives the ultimate blow to Noumi. I guess she healed both of them. Broken into pieces and barely able to fight, Chiyuri explains her ability isn’t healing. When she first healed him, she noticed something strange because it wasn’t like healing but more like repairing. Thus her ability is to rewind time. She needed to increase her special move gauge to the length of time she could rewind and therefore the reason why she did his bidding. She was never his ally. Noumi is mad. He threatens to expose them all and wants Black Vise to get him out of here. Unfortunately he has his hands full. He knows fighting Black Snow is a pain and doesn’t want to do it again and escapes by himself. He is not cowed by Noumi’s threats either. Noumi becomes scared and pathetically tries to worm his way out. He’ll anybody or even them his points and join their Legion. In such a sad state, Haruyuki has no choice to put him out of his misery and has his Brain Burst uninstall forever. Black Snow praises Haruyuki and Takumu for doing well and thanks Chiyuri who told her everything. She didn’t like how the guys were stubborn with their pride thingy. Haruyuki is grateful for everything and admits they wouldn’t have done this without her intervention. Back in the real world, the guys are surprised Chiyuri thought of this plan well. She couldn’t tell them for fear that Noumi may have planted some device to eavesdrop. Then she emotionally breaks down and gives them a group hug.

Haruyuki picks up Black Snow from the train station and explains his adventures while she was away. She hugs him and admits she wanted to do this when he lost his wings. Then she apologizes for being a bad Parent and not by his side when this happened. Black Snow wants to reward him as promise so all he wants is to stay by his side as his senior, Legion Master and Parent. She promises to stay with him forever. At school, the guys who wrongly accused Haruyuki of that hidden camera incident, apologize and want Haruyuki to punch them! Thanks to Black Snow’s intervention, his name is cleared and that incident was shrugged off as something bogus. Haruyuki bumps into Noumi but he seems very much polite. He doesn’t recognize Haruyuki and even if he did, he had a hard time remembering what online game he played. As discussed with Niko and Leopard, when Brain Burst uninstalls, all memories associate with it gets erased. This is why Accelerated World remains a secret. No use thinking about it because as Burst Linkers, their job is to reach Level 10 and ask directly the developer. When they part, Haruyuki and Black Snow assure that even if they have Brain Burst uninstall in them, they won’t forget about each other in the real world. There is one more promise Haruyuki needs to fulfil before ending this saga. He meets up with Sky Raker to return her Gale Thruster. After that she turns back and walks off, like as though she does not acknowledge Black Snow’s presence. Black Snow then calls out her name. She hopes she can come back because she needs her. Both girls emotionally hug each other. So… Black Snow’s real name goes somewhere along the lines of Sacchan?

Extra 1: Reverberation
A couple of students are staying in the school’s network when they find they cannot log out. A mysterious pumpkin avatar attacks them with his Trick or Trigger ability that turns them naked. Haruyuki is being whisked away by Leopard to school. She has a message by Niko for Black Snow. It is to be wary of a network troublemaker. In school, Black Snow calls the usual trio to discuss the recent incidents occurring on the school network. Haruyuki relays the message so Black Snow notes that this is happening outside their school as well. The incident’s culprit steals items and clothes. As for why Black Snow is requesting their help, firstly the culprit is using a non-system weapon and will be too much for the student council to handle. Secondly, if this becomes serious, authorities will step in and restrict the student council’s power. She would like to avoid this as it may become like Noumi’s case. Third and most important, she trusts them. Later Black Snow contacts Niko to confirm about this case. As compensation, Niko wanted to take Haruyuki. She is surprised when Black Snow agrees. But she was joking. Was she? While Black Snow and co are waiting for the perpetrator to show up, Black Snow asks Chiyuri if she is being oppressive since she feels Haruyuki always shrinks back in her presence. Chiyuri thinks she is and this depresses Black Snow. Before she can mope some more, the culprit turns up. They go into action and chase after the pumpkin. It’s funny to see Haruyuki’s piggy avatar firing the machine guns. Pigs and automatic weapons? When they uncover the pumpkin’s identity, they are shocked to see the person behind it is a girl. She then teleports them all to a futuristic metallic planet where gravity is weak.

Introducing herself as Dushka 30, she welcomes them to Accel Assault. As the last remaining Assault Linker, she confirms she has finally found her opponent. She transforms into her fighting avatar and assaults them in round 2. Black Snow wants her pals to use incarnate power to transform. While the girls look cute and hot, I guess the guys didn’t concentrate enough so Takumu looks like a blaster with a head and Haruyuki a pig with wings for ears. Yeah, the most he could is to eke out little grey wings on his back. Chiyuri goes wild in using Takumu like nobody’s business. She’s really enjoying it. At this rate he is going to tire out. Haruyuki notices Dushka’s turning speed is not good and they could use this chance to attack her. However he has reservations telling Black Snow himself since he feels guilty for today’s several screw-ups and gives excuse he didn’t come up with any counter measure. Chiyuri tells him off to just shut up and tell her. There are times she too wants a guy to confidently lead and order her around. She’s a woman too, you know. Haruyuki makes his way to Black Snow and tells what he needs. But the problem is Dushka still has advantage in mid-air despite the weak gravity. Haruyuki will become her wings. Though he is not very confident about it, Black Snow asks him what he wants and to imagine it. Since he wants to fly with her, Haruyuki merges with her and Black Snow sprouts wings. She zooms around in lightning speed and brings down Dushka. Dushka is glad that everything can now end. Before the world collapses, she opens a gate the let them escape. In the aftermath, Haruyuki felt sad for Dushka. She had been waiting to duel somebody strong on an abandoned sever. It felt like the closure of a game that had lost its popularity. Black Snow says when she defeated her, she felt the fulfilment that comes from properly beating the game and is sure Dushka felt the same way. Black Snow notes Haruyuki wanted to tell her something else then but backed off. He was just testing his courage. One day when he has enough courage, he hopes he could call her by her real name.

Extra 2: Vacation
Nega Nebulous is doing well in their territory battles and chalking up a 75% win ratio. Oh, Sky Raker has become part of their team too. If Haruyuki is doing well in the virtual battle, then his real world battle is just about to begin. Seems he has received a message of his physical re-examination in 2 weeks. He doesn’t take this seriously and continues chowing his pizza till the rest remind him if he doesn’t pass, he’ll be put in some health improvement programme on weekends. The clinic will have no internet connection and he cannot play Brain Burst. So what’s it going to be, kid? Yeah, take the hard way of dieting, eh? He’s got no choice. Chiyuri will become his strict trainer for the next 2 weeks. Oh boy. This is going to be hell. Even Niko and Leopard came down to watch him and cheer him on. So after all that swimming, running and healthy salad meal, he only lost 300 grams after a week! You got to be kidding me! Fuuko Kurasaki (Sky Raker as we know her) calls them and knows of this great hotspring that will improve his physical constitution. Seems they are trying out after their next territory battle. They have this mixed gender hotspring in the virtual world too? What is the point of soaking in their avatars?! It’s odd to see metallic robots soaking in rather than naked skin!!! Don’t you feel ripped off? Ash Roller is here too to laugh his ass off at his suffering. A nice guy he is, eh? Since this place also exists in the real world, Fuuko has already planned out Haruyuki’s schedule for this trip. Fuuko talks to Chiyuri and finds out when Haruyuki was young, he was actually quite slim and handsome. He was secretly popular with the girls too! Are you kidding me? This fat little kid? So what happened? How did he turn into a chubby guy? Chiyuri thinks it was the time his parents got divorced that she noticed he started getting fat.

Black Snow seems to have this weird dream too. She has graduated and talking to a slim and tall Haruyuki. We won’t get to see how handsome he is but we know he is because of his shadow. He is flocked by girls. Haruyuki leaves Black Snow since he doesn’t need her anymore even if she confesses she loves him. Apparently this is disturbing enough so she can’t sleep and decides to go do some late night soaking. Haruyuki is there too. After calming down, Black Snow tells him he would look great if he slimmed down. But she is scared of that happening. Because his avatar is based on his inferiority and mental scars, those give him strength and once he comes to term with it, he may not need to accelerate anymore. Well, it’s not a bad thing but Black Snow doesn’t want to let him go. She admits she is selfish and greedy and she would understand if he hates her. Haruyuki assures that even if he slims down, he won’t change. He will still fight for her. Her wish is his wish. Till she says it is over, his fight won’t end. Black Snow then replies, she will still love him no matter how he looks. Black Snow finding solace in his back seems too much for him to handle as he passes out. And for the next week, the dieting continues and he passes the re-examination without a problem. Though, I thought he looked very close to being a zombie. But when all that is done, Haruyuki is back to being his usual fatty self after eating a little. Just what’s wrong with his body? Glad he’s not a girl. But everyone is somewhat relief because they can’t imagine a slim Haruyuki. No use thinking too much about it. Nega Nebulous prepares for another territory battle.

Specials

Very short, random and nonsensical specials that come with the DVDs that lasts around 3 over minutes each. It has nothing to do with the plot of the TV series and the characters are in their cute chibi form. After all that tension, drama and action, I guess we need a little of this cute comical factor to wind down and relax. Do we? Each special always starts off with Haruyuki running with a loaf of bread in his mouth while carrying Black Snow in a cocoon (looks like a sleeping bag). They make some silly puns or jokes before proceeding with the main segment of random nonsense. A side you never see of Black Snow: She’s a real joker here…

SP 1
Niko is disheartened her cookies are gone. Black Snow decides to play detective. Because the foot prints resemble like nose prints of a certain pig, Haruyuki suddenly becomes the accused and tied up. But if you think about it, was Haruyuki walking with his nose then? Black Snow is amazed he evolved into such! Well, he could fly, right? Anyway he is proven innocent and set free. Black Snow brings them to the hotspring. Chiyuri and Takumu happen to be there too. Because Takumu sees Black Snow riding on Haruyuki, he too wants Chiyuri to sit on him. He likes it… M? They see Ash Roller who wants to show them the true way to ride. Not interested. Then he shows off his new tyres with flower patterns like those pig nose prints. Instantly Niko blows the cookie thief away. No chance for defence.

SP 2
Black Snow crashes into Niko’s home to request her to give her panties (pantsu kure). Till she realizes she messed up her lines and wanted her to bake bread (pan tsukure). Niko tells her she does neither. Seems a few hours ago, Black Snow had her Legion members collect sakura petals for her to make mochi but Takumu told her they don’t put those in them. Since Haruyuki and Chiyuri already collected baskets of them, Black Snow scatters them all away and let their hard work go to waste. Realizing she could have used them for sakura bread instead, that’s when she decided to go see Niko and have her bake some for them. Niko won’t oblige so Black Snow starts dancing stupidly to beg. Since Niko still won’t give in, Black Snow has no choice but to summon and combine the powers of her Legion members to… Do a stupid group dance and beg her to make bread. In the end, Leopard gives her Niko’s panties and Black Snow leaves satisfied. Do whatever you want with it…

SP 3
Niko gives them dough to make cookies but Black Snow is fooling around. Leopard comes back and she is acting strange. Hear a meow sound from her? Can she fool them that it is a bug in her stomach? The cat is out of the bag when Niko tells her to curtsey. Rather, the cat fell out from her skirt. She tries to give excuses about it. Takumu thinks it is a baby leopard. They continue making cookies and since they make it with Haruyuki’s piggy face, Black Snow makes a life size Haruyuki. But since she can’t fit it in the oven, she decides to make a furnace. Leopard helps her out. Since they don’t have enough bricks, she is going to build a brick furnace to build bricks. Where are they going to get bricks for that? And nobody gets to go home till they have enough bricks.

SP 4
Black Snow brings her Legion members on a trip. Either the beach or the lake. The beach has a big monster so they’ll settle for the lake. But the lake has small monsters too! Piranhas! After fishing out all of them, they grill them over fire. Chiyuri becomes a naughty cat girl and steals a fish while Black Snow chases after her and drops her wallet. Huh? As they float on the water, Black Snow notices it is tea time. She invites Chiyuri and Takumu to drink with her. Is that really tea? Well, they’re feeling funny… Isn’t Black Snow a little drunk? At the end of the day when they leave, Black Snow sees Haruyuki’s low cut pants (and his almost peeking butt) and totally loves it! She tries to pull it down!

SP 5
Black Snow brings the gang on a trip to hunt for a new taste since it is autumn. So that’s like picking mushrooms, right? She loses her motivation when Haruyuki wonders if that involves searching for unidentified materials. Yeah. Picking mushrooms suddenly sound easier, no? Let’s go with that then. At the mountains, Black Snow has already sprayed mushroom spores all over the place so they could pick up mushrooms easier. Better than going back empty handed, right? There’s one growing on each of their head. At a dangerous looking suspension bridge, Black Snow tests to see if it’s safe by sticking to it. Leopard swings the bridge to cause centrifugal force. That’s how you stick to it! You just get nausea in the end. At the top of the hill, Black Snow gets poetic ranting about the colours of autumn, blah, blah, blah. The rest cook mushroom. Each time they pluck out from their head, another one grows. Easy, eh? Unlimited supply…

SP 6
Black Snow wants to hibernate in Haruyuki’s room and not go out since it is snowing. No buts about it. I think she’s trying to make a joke about her name and the season. Black Snow. White snow. Get it? Anyway Fuuko will teach Haruyuki a skill to wake her up. First they need to fly up to her house at the top of the pillar. They don’t have to do that since her house comes crashing down. And so, the skill Haruyuki has to learn is blowing recorders with his nose hole while being tied up and dancing wildly. WTF?! Will this vibrato really wake her up? So when Haruyuki performs this, Black Snow emerges from her cocoon and is amazed with his vibrato. See. It worked, right? Did it?

SP 7
Haruyuki wants to buy food for the Christmas party but Black Snow won’t come out of her cocoon due to the cold. Fuuko tries to convince her by wearing some warm woollen panties. Black Snow becomes afraid. Never seen her getting pushed back, eh? At the Christmas party, Black Snow and Leopard tease the kind of panties Niko is wearing. When Ash Roller comments about Black Snow looking like a hermit crab, she replies with a pun because she is staying in Haruyuki’s house as a tenant (both words sound the same: yadokari). Everyone brushes her off. When Haruyuki notes because she looks like twintail (a monster from Ultraman) and is preyed by other giant monsters, she jumps out of her cocoon and smacks him with it. That night, she has a nightmare she is being eaten by Haruyuki. He might be having the same dream too. Tastes like shrimp?

SP 8
While Haruyuki is sleeping, Black Snow crashes into to force him to become her reindeer. Wait a minute. If Haruyuki is going to be a reindeer, then he has to fly, right? Nothing wrong with that. Just that I feel the irony about pigs flying… So yeah. Black Snow’s going to play Santa. She’s breaking all the fundamental rules because she beats Takumu out of his sleep to entertain her instead of leaving the presents quietly. Chiyuri is expecting them to come (because Takumu informed her) but she didn’t expect them to come crashing into the window. Black Snow seems disappointed she is already awake so they leave the present and go home. What’s her present? A giant bell. It proves useful for New Year’s Day because she can use Takumu’s head to knock it! Once again, Black Snow crashes into Haruyuki’s room to wish him New Year’s Day but seems he is sick. Since he wants to rest and needs some medicine, Black Snow didn’t like the idea she had to go so far to buy them. Can’t order online? Anyway she’ll just buy him ice. And so, she travels around the world doing who knows what (why are all of them seem to have Haruyuki being tormented as a slave?) till she returns with a cooling patch. Haruyuki wakes up the next morning and finds lots of those boxes in his room. Black Snow is sleeping by his side. Thanks for the patch anyway.

Speed Up To Slow Down?
Well, not so much of an ending after all. I didn’t think that one season would be enough for the gang to reach the end game and find out about the truth of Brain Burst. Besides, if that really happen so soon, it won’t be fun anymore. I figure that is what keeps the players going and their motivation to fight and get stronger. So once they find out the reason, whether it is a very good one or some crappy excuse, it would just be a different ball game. Picture this. You know a certain famous pirate anime that has been going on for over a decade? The treasure that they’re finding, nobody knows what the heck it actually is. We might get lots of different reactions once the first group who reaches there finds the kind of treasure that has made them journey through the treacherous seas and yet it is still a mystery of what it is. There is some sort of romance in not knowing. There are lots of important things we can learn during our journey and like they say it is the journey that is more important than the destination. Same case with Accel World. Even if another season is not confirmed, ending it with the biggest revelation might cause more harm than good in the bigger picture. Some things are better left unknown for now. Would it be fun if you manage to beat the final last boss without levelling up or putting in all the effort?

I suppose the 2 major arcs for this series (Chrome Disaster arc and Noumi arc) are sufficient for this season although there are a few questions that still linger on in my head. At the end of the first arc, we are ascertained that Chrome Disaster didn’t really die out. It stuck itself to Haruyuki. So what happens from there? He could turn into the next Chrome Disaster if he is not careful. Why is it laying dormant within Silver Crow? I have this feeling that whenever Haruyuki becomes upset or angry, the inner voice to devour as indicated may be a sign that Chrome Disaster will take over him if he gives in to those negative emotions. As long as he doesn’t blow his top, he’ll be safe. For now. Unless that thing starts evolving. For the second arc, the brief mention that another society exists among the Brain Burst is interesting. But too bad not much is not known and it feels like a teaser for their introduction. If there is going to be another season, I predict they will be Nega Nebulous main enemy and the season’s primary antagonist. Many other things that I don’t understand such as Megumi. Was she an ex-Brain Burst player? She feels like it. Considering if she had Brain Burst uninstalled before, then she might have just pulled some miracle move to get back in one last time to help Black Snow. How? Did she use some cheat code? Besides, what happened to Rust Jigsaw anyway? Then there are the Legion Kings. While many haven’t really made their impact yet in this season, I’m sure they aren’t just going to sit around doing nothing with the truce as an excuse. The answer isn’t going to fall from the sky onto their lap. Some may have their ulterior motive and some with noble intentions. Wouldn’t it be great to see all Level 7 Kings engage in battle royal?

Friendship and trust is the main bond that glues the members of Nega Nebulous together. For Haruyuki to be a loser in real life, it shows that he doesn’t necessary stay as one forever. Even as he grows and gets better in the virtual world, he is also improving himself in the real world. His loyalty and faith in his friends is commendable. But we know he is not perfect and has his flaws. Sometimes he has his down moments. But that’s why he has a few good friends. Like how he supported them in their time of need, they too come to his support when he is in his darkest hour. Black Snow is cool and calm. She doesn’t lose her composure easily (except maybe for that one time during Yellow Radio’s attack) and exudes this aura of respect. This gives her good qualities as the leader of Nega Nebulous. Whenever she is around, you can feel safe and confident that she will definitely protect or solve things. The chemistry between Haruyuki and Black Snow can be somewhat frustrating if you are hoping for them to hit off as a couple. While Black Snow has on numerous occasions stated her feelings for him, I don’t recall if Haruyuki has done the same and even if he did, was it just master-student relationship? And in the even if they did become a couple, it would seem pretty odd. Like Beauty and the Beast, don’t you think? Fat short piggy boy with pretty popular butterfly girl. At the ends of opposites… Wow. It shows that even losers can get the girl. It could have gotten complicated if Chiyuri got into the equation but there are more pressing things than to turn this series into a love triangle fight. Which is a good thing it didn’t.

Takumu has turned over a new leaf ever since his defeat to Haruyuki. Chiyuri treasures their friendship so much that she is willing to install Brain Burst and play with them to rekindle the old times. She is willing to go the extra mile to play the villain for the guys’ sake. I guess they would have done the same if they were in her shoes. It’s a good thing that she’s on their side. Even better, they have Black Snow on their side. With these ladies around (including Sky Raker), they are pretty much invincible for now. Niko to me seems like a person with a double face. You can’t tell whether she is friend or foe to Nega Nebulous (though I feel it is more of the former) since she is the leader of her own Legion but at the same time is indebted to them for helping her out. I guess that’s what being a tsundere is all about. It’s funny to see her putting up her cute little sister act. The next minute, she turns into a crude little monster that would shatter the dreams of all lolicon and imouto lovers. Unless you’re an ‘M’. Leopard as her assistant is amusing too since although she is cold and distant, she can be blunt with her words and that is what makes her funny. Oh, not forgetting her knack to use punctuated gaming terms. NP. Ash Roller is also another one of those foes turned friend. Or is he still their foe? After his defeat to Haruyuki, he doesn’t seem to be that antagonistic as before although his mega vulgar tera crude giga cursing insults are still there. Noumi is a very despicable character right till the end. He knows it, doesn’t have any conscience about it and fully takes advantage of it over others. He is one of those guys you would love to hate. Understanding his past of how he turned out to be such a wicked bastard won’t reel in any sympathy votes because he has done so much bad things that the damage is irreparable. Even when he becomes a pathetic worm begging for second chance, I just wanted Haruyuki to finish the job fast. Would Noumi have become a different person if he had gotten a different Parent? Very likely. We saw how different he was after his Brain Burst was uninstalled. So yeah. Humans do change. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

The settings and backgrounds of the Brain Burst world give that cyberpunk and sometimes dystopian feel. Not everything is rosy. It is quite fitting since the avatars are based on negative emotions. It would seem out of place if you see robots fighting on the sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, right? Ironically the avatars in Brain Burst as said are a reflection and materialization of your negative scars and emotions. But it makes me wonder if having such metallic bodies are considered ‘ugly’ in the first place. Considering the theme and nature of this game, I think it is very suitable for avatars to end up looking like that. You can’t have cutesy animals, can’t you? Or even disfigured animals wouldn’t cut it. So having such metallic frames is quite fitting and I don’t deem them ugly. Well, unless the creator of Brain Burst had a different view of this. The use of such negative emotions is probably to tell us that nobody is perfect. Every Burst Linker has their own trauma to deal with. It shows that they are human after all. Even if this game is a fighting genre, I can’t say I am impressed with the fights. Well, you don’t really get that action feel that you get when you play fighting games. You see the avatars engaging in battle with some pulling off their unique move but that’s about it. There’s lots of drama in between to compensate for the fights.

Even though I am not fond with shows that have lots of jargon and terms to it, Accel World won’t be listed as one of my top 10 most confusing anime terminologies (like a certain mahjong anime that I can never really understand) but I can’t say I really am thrilled to remember the many terms around. Thank goodness somehow I managed to get by without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. You can be a little lost if you are not familiar with the terms as they are used quiet often. With the technological advancement as seen in this anime, the lines between reality and virtual has been blurred a lot. Even for a game like Brain Burst, although on the surface we can tell it is just a game, there are many things that both reality and virtual overlap with each other. The lie may be the truth all the while and vice versa. So that is why it all boils down to what your beliefs are and your trust in friends. So even if you are connected to the web, you’re still a lonely person if you don’t have somebody to call a friend in the endless virtual world. It’s always good to have one around. When NerveGear was mentioned, I thought for a moment that Accel World existed in the same universe as Sword Art Online, another anime about a massive virtual reality game that ran concurrently with this one. I subsequently found out that both animes were written by the same author, Reiki Kawahara.

For the voice acting department, Yuuki Kaji as Haruyuki must have been comfortable with his other anime roles as heroes with flaws like Shu in Guilty Crown and Issei in High School DxD. Sachika Misawa (Arianna in Campione) as Black Snow gives her character a mysterious but cool feel with the lack of emotions. Aki Toyosaki as Chiyuri is moving away from her stereotype airhead girls’ role like Tomo in Seikon No Qwaser, Kaede in Manyuu Hikenchou and Yui in K-ON! She’s a bit like Iori of Kokoro Connect here. Other casts include Shintarou Asanuma as Takumu (Yoshiyuki in Da Capo II), Rina Hidaka as Niko (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS), Ayako Kawasumi as Leopard (Aoki in Bakuman), Sanae Kobayashi as Noumi (Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied), Aya Endo as Fuuko/Sky Raker (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Akira Ishida as Yellow Radio (Gaara in Naruto), Kenichi Suzumura as Ash Roller (Sougo in Gintama), Tarusuke Shingaki as Crikin (Kariya in Fate/Zero) and Haruka Tomatsu as Megumi (Lala in To Love-Ru).

All of the opening and ending themes have this rock and techno dance beat feel to it. Because of that, I thought all of them were sung by the same singer as they sound the same. Apparently each was sung by different ones. The first opening theme by May’n is Chase The World and I thought it was somewhat similar to the opening of Hidan No Aria that she sang. The first ending theme is Unfinished by Kotoko. Not the kind of anime songs that I was used to listening of her style like the opening songs for Onegai Twins, Motto To Love-Ru and Shakugan No Shana. The second opening, Burst The Gravity by Altima has a little hip hop in it while the second ending theme is Unite by Sachika Misawa and is purely just rock. The very amusing thing about the second ending credits animation is we see Black Snow in competition against her Black Lotus avatar over Haruyuki. While the butterfly avatar is bolder and aggressive in seducing piggy boy, ultimately her jealous real life persona couldn’t stand it all and whacks her with an umbrella and takes Oinky away as her own. Flat butterfly… I guess this shows us her dilemma of her feelings over him.

If you think about this Brain Burst game, one might be inclined to say that despite of everything that has happened, it is only a game. So why so serious? Why all the backstabbing, conspiracy, scheming and power struggle? Games are meant to be enjoyed and to an extent let loose some steam. So if you’re getting worked up just trying to level up and trying to be the best or strongest there is, are you really enjoying your game? Are you really PLAYING a GAME? Besides, I’ve been thinking, if you start accelerating and times slows down for everyone else except you, would this mean that your own body is not affected? I mean, time flows differently now and although it may look like a fraction of a second in the real world, it has been really hours or days for your body. So theoretically if you accelerate too much, you might find your body aging at a different rate. By 20 years old, you may be looking like 40 years old! Wow. You can say time really flew by in a second. Where has all the time gone to? If only I can accelerate to watch more animes, I could have finished all the animes that were ever produced in the world. If I can find them all, that is.

At least it didn’t take years. When the sequel spin-off to the mahjong anime series somewhat ended abruptly, it was announced that there were going to be additional episodes to end the all important semi-final match but without telling the dates of those episodes. So after around half a year or so, Saki: Episode Of Side A or also known as Saki: Achiga Hen has finally come to a close with 4 additional episodes. I clearly remember that I wasn’t into this mahjong game because of all the crazy terms and hands. I never understood a single one of them. So I had no idea about the scoring system or the impact if they landed a certain hand at certain positions. It took away the fun. There was no fun. So why am I watching this? Because I love to finish what I started. It is a good thing that no more episodes came out after that. That would be tad sad. I would be screaming my head off and pulling out my hairs. Considering if I am still sticking to my belief of finishing what I started. And even before the series started, I already had an idea who is going to make it (just like I predicted in my last blog). So let me get over this mahjong game for one last time. I’ve sit through 2 seasons of it so how bad can it get?

Episode 13
As the second match begins, Harue starts playing matches with Kuro so that she could revive her dora. By the time she has played enough games, she will have that dora feature by the time Achiga reaches the finals. In the second round, the match pitches Achiga’s Yuu with Senriyama’s Izumi Nijou, Shiraitodai’s Sumire Hirose and Shindouji’s Yasuko Yasukouchi. Yasuko seems to be making big wins, a very different playing style from what is previously known from her as she usually goes for cheap wins. At the same time, Sumire the sharp shooter is targeting Izumi and has her stepping into her trap and lose big. Yuu remembers Harue once told her that if she makes it to the finals, her opponent would most likely be Sumire. How true that has become. She has pulled some strings and has got several play records and videos on her. There is a sign to tell whom Sumire is targeting and you can know if you carefully watch her finger followed by her eye movement. Yuu realizes she is Sumire’s next target and learning from this valuable information, not only she manages to dodge Sumire’s attacks but let her to be played into her hand as well. Not once, but many times. The other Shiraitodai girls wonder if Sumire has a telltale sign that is allowing Yuu to circumvent her attacks. They try to look into the replays but couldn’t find anything. At the end of the game, Senriyama suffered very heavy losses. So disheartened Izumi had become that she spaces out. She can’t bear to go back to face her other members but her fellow comrade Sera tells her not to think too much. They always have next year. Even though Sera is in her third year, it’s all the more reason why they have to go all out and do their best. Wow. After the first game that lasted for several episodes, this one just lasted for half an episode!!! Surprise, surprise.

So the third round begins. Players for this round include Achiga’s Ako, Shiratodai’s Takami Shibuya and Shindouji’s Hitomi Ezaki (blame politics!). Izumi goes back to her team’s room and is told by her comrade that age does matter in the finals so it is no surprise that first years like Izumi will get beaten up by third year players. Of course there are exceptions with first year geniuses. Too bad Izumi isn’t one of them. At the end of the first half of this round, Sera is raking up the points and wins quickly while Hitomi further falls behind. Ako returns to her room and they discuss about Takami. Based on her record, she has this history of pulling off some yakuman hand in the final round. They know it is not coincidence but there is a pattern to it. They know the kind of draws and hands not to make in order to not let Takami get in that situation but it is easier said than done. The match resumes and Ako finds herself in unfavourable positions. She has no choice but to carry on playing. Sera also continues her winnings till Senriyama takes over Achiga for second spot in the current standings. Though, there are a handful of times Ako is able to stop Sera’s hand. Now it comes down to the final hand and they are expecting Takami to pull off her yakuman. Yeah. She too is anticipating the seeds she has sown will now turn into plants and bear fruit.

Episode 14
Ako has a really bad hand does some analyzing but it’s too late because Takami has already pulled off her hand with some daisangen. At the end of the match, Sera scores the most followed by Ako. Although Takami won big in the last round, the overall score for Shiraitodai still dropped. Losing lots of points is of course Hitomi. Blame politics! And now for the fourth round. Arata will represent Achiga while the very analytical Hiroko represents Senriyama. If Shiraitodai had an archer, this time they have a fisher! I don’t really understand but as explained Seiko Matano will call 3 times before winning. And true enough for the first round, she fishes out her tiles and draws first blood. For Shindouji, Mairu Shirouzu seems to have this link with Himeko Tsuruhime. Their wins are linked and Himeko always plays after Mairu. In that way, Himeko’s wins are doubled but if Mairu doesn’t win, Himeko won’t. In other words, if Mairu limits herself not to win a particular hand, Himeko also won’t win that hand. Geddit? I think… So I guess that is what this ‘torture’ scene whereby Mairu puts a limit on herself, tries to release herself from chains and sends the winning key to Himeko. I just don’t get it. We take a short break from the battleground to see Hajime and Koromo visiting Saki in her room. They talk about Nodoka and remember she had a childhood friend back in Achiga because they played them during their training stint. Seems they ended up making Achiga stronger and warn to beware their fifth player who is somewhat ‘problematic’. Harue calls Shizuno to warm up her game and she doesn’t just want to go up a gear but 10 gears!

While Mairu continues her reservation release thingy, Seiko falls into Hiroko’s trap. Before they know it, the quietest girl whom they seem to ignore from the very start, makes her move. Arata pounces on them with some bowling move. You throw a tile like throwing a bowling ball? What kind of style is that? I guess this is the price to pay for not noticing her. Hiroko doesn’t have much data on her but even if she had little, she notices her old fashioned playing style due to some long hiatus or someone she looked up a long time ago. Seiko further falls into Hiroko’s trap and Mairu continues to get more ‘winning keys’ for Himeko. Hiroko is closing in on Arata and thinks she can pip her to second place. Everyone thinks they are safe from Arata as long as it is anything but circle tiles. But she surprises with a different move and causes them to lose lots of points. Flashback of Arata tells us why she was chosen because of her level headedness. She didn’t realize the responsibility and expectations she shouldered till she went through lots of such situations. It was the support of her people that made her pulled through. People entrusted her with things. She is here because of their feelings. She wondered if Harue went through something similar. So with this shocking move, she has closed Achiga’s gap with Shiraitodai at the top. A direct mangan hit could well put her in top spot. Now everyone is wary of Arata. Mairu needs to go reckless because the little points she’s got won’t change anything. Hiroko thinks of playing it safe when she realizes a rare data she remembered on Arata. Her old fashioned playing style is from Harue as well as a mix of her own. She realizes the sentiments of Achiga in the semi-finals. The strong wills the pupils are mustering for their teacher. It is revenge 10 years in the making.

Episode 15
Toki is recuperating well in hospital and even has a wise crack. The fourth round ends with Shiraitodai barely clinging on to top spot and Achiga close on their heels. Shizuno is fired up to go next but first she is made to put on her school uniform. Even the most tomboyish girls did that when they enter the battlefield. So accompanying Shizuno for the final match are Shindouji’s Himeko, Senriyama’s Ryuuka Shimizudani and Shiraitodai’s Awai Oohoshi who is said to be Teru’s successor. Instantly as the match begins, Awai unleashes her demonic aura. It makes everyone start with a bad and slow hand. Wow. Is this possible? But Himeko takes a chance and decides to use her mangan key and break the spell. This proves fruitful as her baiman gets Shindouji out from last place and into second. Ryuuka is low on confidence. If only Toki was here. Flashback of their bonds together and she feels that their bond too is unbreakable. Because Toki always uses her lap as a lap pillow, she can still feel Toki’s presence. And yeah. More like Toki’s spirit comes to talk to her and give her hints on the current round! Ryuuka is able to see into the future and the best tiles for the current round. However she can’t use Toki often as there is a limit to how many times she can call her for help. There’s always a limit to every super power, eh? Following the guides, Ryuuka is able to make up some points and because all the teams are very close together, any big win will have them leap into first place. For now, Senriyama is occupying that spot and dethrones Shiraitodai. But that will only be a brief moment since Himeko strikes back and reclaims top spot.

Awai couldn’t hold it in much longer and wants to unleash her specialty. Something that was supposed to be saved for the grand finals. I guess she couldn’t wait since she is playing with top players. Seems this double riichi call of hers must be so great that her hair is standing on ends! It’s like she’s in friction land! Did she turn into some kind of hair monster? Shizuno notices Awai’s double riichi and it is coming. She remembers Harue telling her about Awai. Shiraitodai consists of multiple teams and those who win get to advance to the Nationals. Awai who is under Teru’s team is an attacking team which means her abilities are offensive nature. She also shows a video of her opponent’s facial reaction moments before Awai declared her double riichi. It’s like she saw a ghost!!! That scary, huh? Why do they have cameras focusing on the girl’s face anyway? Harue also warns there are several things to look out for when a double riichi is called. And looks like Awai is already setting it in motion. Shizuno makes a wise move in backing down because had she not like Himeko, she would have fallen into her trap and lost points. Shiraitodai moves back up. It is predicted that Awai will win in the next few rounds but it seems nothing much happens. Till Shizuno pulls off a shocking move that has her opponents starting to take notice of her. With that move, it allows Achiga to go top and avoid some penalty. First half is over too. After the short break, the battle to decide the 2 schools that will advance to the finals begins.

Episode 16
Awai is back on the offensive with her riichi and double riichi call. But Himeko won’t give up yet and uses her mangan key to fight stave off Awai. As some have already noticed, Awai’s power is not totally invincible because there are some hands that she doesn’t win. Even Seiko herself mentions she did beat that double riichi of hers though it was a despicable tactic. Awai continues he win over Himeko. Hiroko talks to us about mountains and corners in the mahjong tiles, something she just observed that prevented Awai from winning. Then we shift a little to Shizuno’s flashback whereby she was running around the mountains at full speed like as though it was her own backyard. So what is the significance of these? According to Hiroko, due to the eyes of the dies that Awai won her double riichi games, the dice decide where the corner will be. So certain numbers will mean the corners are deep in the wall and this means they are under Shizuno’s territory. I don’t get that. Seriously. It really is her territory when the scene starts to get misty. Awai can’t see clearly and she can’t use her usual power. It forces her to take notice of Shizuno. And she’s starting to be afraid of her that she dropped her tile! There’s fire aura coming out from Shizuno!!! But Shizuno is one cool cat! Because of Shizuno’s influence, Awai’s power seems to be waning. Himeko and Ryuuka start noticing this. Ryuuka heightens her senses to the max. Hmm… She can see body temperature, heart beat and breathing. I don’t know how that enables her to see the opponent’s next tile or move. Shizuno surprises everyone by going for a cheap win. Himeko is feeling the strain of getting lost in the mountains is affecting her bond with Mairu. Going into the final round, suddenly it hit Awai. Achiga currently is in top spot while Shiraitodai in dead last. Due to some circumstances and Shizuno’s cheap win, even if Awai direct hits Shizuno, she will be tied in points with Achiga. And because of dealer preference, Achiga will rank higher than Shiraitodai which means they will end up in third. Dragging Achiga down from first is impossible now. She can’t even do double riichi on her last hand.

But Awai realizes it would be an insult to aim for second place just to qualify for the finals and will give it all she’s got to aim for top spot. Her dilemma is to whether to declare riichi. The rest are just one move from winning their game. Then Awai declares riichi, thinking winning off Achiga or drawing will put her in first place (unless she calls some hand that ends up with that draw points and dealer order preference thingy). Just when Awai makes her winning move, Shizuno tells her to check her tiles. Awai thinks Shizuno hasn’t accepted defeated and checks anyway. To her surprise, it wasn’t the tiles she expected. Those tiles mean she isn’t in her territory. I don’t know what that means but I know the game has ended! Yahoo! The semi-finals ended for good! Yahoo! Safe to say, Achiga is through to the finals at top spot while Shiraitodai sneaks in at second place. It is a tearful goodbye for Senriyama and Shindouji team but you know, you-did-your-best comfort thingy. Harue becomes emotional that she has finally overcome this stage. Since teams who qualify for the finals have the right to visit the different stage that they will be playing, Achiga takes this chance to have a look. Harue is surprised to see her pro mahjong colleague. Harue is not afraid like before because she has the Achiga girls behind her. That’s when she decides that she wants to try her hand at being a pro player. Shizuno and co rejoice at her decision while the other semi-finals that involve Kiyosumi get ready to play.

Is This Mahjong They’re Playing?
In the end… I never get it! Not a single bit. The scoring, the terms, the analysis and the possibility of the outcomes of their hands (especially those explained by Hiroko). Even when I used terms like baiman, riichi, yakuman and the likes in this blog, I still don’t really understand the meaning behind them. It is regrettable that I sometimes feel that I have wasted my time watching something that I do not fully comprehend but on the bright side, I managed to finish this series! Wohoo! What an achievement! A feat in the wrong department… But all is not bad because the only thing that I truly enjoyed and never cease to be amazed is the exaggerated special effects. Yes! The way they throw the tiles and the aura they emanate seem to make it funny. I know they mean serious business but look at it from my point of view. They’re just playing mahjong, right? Wow. So much of these power ups and special effects just to win some hand. The thundering and lightning effects, the tile on flames, the different dimensions that they go to and yeah, even a little visit from a friend’s spirit. Ridiculous, no? It’s like they’re not playing mahjong but in some supernatural game that looks like mahjong. Get what I’m saying? Anyway, those special effects are the best moments in making me smile in what would have been a very dull and draggy game. Besides, I think this is the main reason why this show is ‘exciting’. It’s spiced up with lots of those effects. You don’t want to see just girls making normal plain boring moves, right?

As expected, Achiga and Shiraitodai advance to the finals. But during the episodes, I feel that Achiga’s presence from all their representatives feels lacking. I think they try to give the other teams have more screen time and not focus too much on Achiga since each one of them have their peculiar special ability. In a sense it is quite well spread out but seeing that this anime series is about Achiga, in a way it feels that they are just sitting around until they make some surprise move or one that would give their opponents a little jolt. Just like how in the original TV series I remember, Kuro was reduced to some ‘useless cry-baby’ with the might of Teru dominating almost all the way and Toki using her life threatening ability to stop her. I thought Shizuno would be making more impact since she is the fifth player and what I believe to be the ace. However it was spread out with Awai dominating in her freaky monstrous fashion way while Himeko and Ryuuka try to put the brakes on her. I know it is tough having to settle for second place but at least they qualified for the finals. Just like the fate of screen time among the Achiga girls, it is somewhat limited till that mountain backyard crap kicked it. Not that I fully understand. Yeah. Mahjong is like the wilderness. If you don’t understand it, you can get lost and lose your life.

In the end, it is a good thing that I never got hooked on mahjong. Because as I said this game in my country is viewed as a gambler’s game. Gamblers have a bad reputation, you know. It’s bad being a gambler anyway. It is a bad thing that I did not pick this up because from the way I see the girls play, it keeps your mind sharp, analytical of all the possibilities and makes you good in calculation. If there is going to be another sequel whereby our main characters from Kiyosumi and Achiga meet in the finals, I’m not sure if I want to watch it. I know it is for the sake of finishing and completing this series as a whole. But what are the chances? I don’t want to go through another season of cracking my brains so hard and end up understanding nothing and only getting lots of headache. Hah. How can I even hurt my brains when I don’t even have them. Haha! Better watch more mindless ecchi comedy series. I think those provide better food to my brain.

Rescue Me

October 11, 2013

I guess I never learn. After my stint with Kagaku Na Yatsura and Nozoki Ana, I vowed to stay clear of animes with borderline ecchi and hentai. So when Rescue Me came out, I was really going to give this the pass. Really. Seeing a couple of girls in a very compromising situation in the poster already gave me an idea what kind of anime this is going to be. I also have a feeling what kind of fans will be watching this show. Therefore no harm reading the synopsis since I wasn’t going to watch this anyway. And then I saw this line, “… lives in his home as a zealously intrusive maid, leading to uncomfortably erotic situations”. Oh dear. A maid? For real? A MAID?! Wow! This I must see! Shame on me. Somehow the producers know how to get to me by using my favourite… Ahem. And so this is how I ended up watching this anime. Be warned, there are lots of sexual innuendoes and ecchi situations. Although all are confined in the heads of those sick perverted characters and nothing real gets done in. Rescue me from this, you say? Well, I’m already beyond any help.

Suddenly Mote-Mote…
We are being told by Masayuki Mizutani that his parents have left for work overseas for 2 years so starting today he will be living all alone. Yeah. Why does this always happen when the adults are away? Which leads to a convenient setting… To his surprise, his classmate, Sayaka Shimizu is greeting him in a naked apron and claims to be his maid. What the hell is this? He’s definitely not happy. I mean, an honours student suddenly getting this sexy with him? Shimizu gets the wrong idea and ups the getup of her naked apron by taking off her panties. I know what she says about her getup that enables brain-filled sexual desire boys to go wild over her and since Masayuki didn’t, I’m beginning to think he is gay… So Shimizu even brings Masayuki his bento to class and his friend Matsushita starts to go crazy-cum-angry. Since when is Masayuki close to this girl? He heard everything about their ‘darling’ talk and even goes far to think that they have crossed the line into adulthood. Cue to imagine sexual fantasies here. Shimizu’s fantasy is even worse… How horny can she get? Even if Shimizu herself said Masayuki (unfortunately) did nothing to her, he is not convinced and is more suspicious. Or maybe he is just stubborn and jealous. Masayuki and Shimizu’s families are good friends so before the former’s parents left, they entrusted her to take care of him. Oh sure. Very trusting people, no? Can you believe it, she is also fine of taking care of his lower anatomy!!!

Later Shimizu spies on Masayuki because he is with a junior, Anna Ozono and they are part of the beautification committee. They are about to begin beautifying the place but Shimizu confronts Masayuki about humiliating role playing in public. She would gladly play that part if he so desires (cue for her horny sick delusions). Ozono respects Shimizu for wanting to serve Masayuki no matter what but Shimizu gets straight to the point that with her kind of body, she cannot satisfy Masayuki. Ozono laments that her small breasts is only enough to wash his back unlike Shimizu’s humungous boobs that could, erm, well you can imagine that. But Shimizu is impressed with this because she know has a new method to serve Masayuki better. Once again, the ever jealous Matsushita pops up to make his comment about Masayuki being a truly fearsome monster for hitting on 2 girls in a day.

Back home, Masayuki is surprised that Yuka Takamura is here to visit him. From the way she seduces him, it seems this little sister likes her onii-chan and would gladly let him touch her loli boobs and allow him to do whatever he wants. Thankfully that won’t happen because Shimizu stops them and confronts this new rival. Turns out Yuka is Masayuki’s aunt!!! WTF???!!! I can’t believe this! She is Masayuki’s mother’s sister and because Masayuki is older than her, that’s why she calls him onii-chan. Hey wait. Just how old is Masayuki’s mom?! Unless there is a very obvious age gap between them since Yuka is still in school! Mind boggling… Yuka and Shimizu enter a showdown over him. Big boobs or loli body. They force Masayuki to choose whom he likes and put his hand over their breast. See, he has the feel of both worlds simultaneously. They both strip down thinking it would be better if he had a direct feel of them. But since it’s not going anywhere and Masayuki is blowing his top, the duo decide to form a truce and pretend to be on good terms. So when an opportunity arises, they’ll strike! Obviously their ‘handshake’ seems hostile… Masayuki is somewhat saved by the doorbell. Yuka’s classmate, Mai Takagi is here to see Yuka. When he brings her in, suddenly she becomes yandere! Oh wait. That’s not the right word to describe. Mai takes out a knife and sticks it at his neck! She wants his ‘seed’ so that she can have a child blood related o Yuka! Violent sick b*tch! Even her fantasy reflects how sadistic she is!!! But when Yuka tells her to stop, she transforms from a brutal chick into an innocent polite. Wow. It’s like she has 2 faces. But Mai gets the wrong idea that Masayuki’s perversion forced Yuka only in her panties and threatens to kill him. Till Yuka orders her to stop. Yes, ma’am! Mai learns about the truth, especially the rivalry. She and Shimizu become friends. Shimizu allows her to stay here as long as she wants and this makes Mai very happy as she clings onto Yuka, much to her dismay. This is all part of Shimizu’s sneaky plan because if Mai is around Yuka, the loli aunty will have her hands full and thus nobody will get in her way for Masayuki.

Masayuki and his harem are travelling to the beach. Due to the limited seat arrangement, Shimizu is sitting on top of his lap and her boobs might be suffocating him, if not deprive him of the beautiful scenery outside. It seems that Masayuki’s seat will be seen as normal by others due to the ‘barrier’. What barrier? Who cares about that because in order for this ‘barrier’ to work, the girls paid a price and wear nothing underneath!!! And then it descends into a competition to show Masayuki what is underneath. I don’t know how he stomached the rest of the ride. At the beach, Masayuki becomes clumsy, spilling and tripping on the slippery sun lotion. This causes him to somehow strip Shimizu and Ozono’s swimsuit. What great timing. Girls usually slap the guys for this but instead, they feel stimulated! They want to continue but he runs off somewhere. He comes into Yuka and Mai playing watermelon smashing. Evil Mai gets an idea to bury Masayuki’s head next to the water so that Yuka can smash it. But Yuka has her own plan. When she gets close enough, she pretends to slip so that she could kiss him. Mai won’t allow that to happen and gets in between. Masayuki got his face in Mai’s lower anatomy (which he finds very suffocating) while Mai got her hands all over Yuka’s boobs. Strange position indeed.

Masayuki can breathe a sigh of relief in the hotspring since he is the only one there. But on the other side of the fence, the girls start getting horny with their fantasies of doing it with him at night. Ozono has got to be the best one because she proposes a fivesome between them all! Masayuki the monster! Since they were fantasizing so loud, annoyed Masayuki heard everything and yells back he won’t do something like that ever. Yup. I think he’s really gay… That night, Masayuki couldn’t sleep and also sees Shimizu up. He is glad that they come for this trip. Suddenly Shimizu lands a lovely kiss on his lips. What was that for? Well, you thought it was something genuinely romantic, right? Apparently it is her scheme to make him horny so that he won’t be able to resist. Unfortunately he isn’t so she becomes embarrassed that she spoke her thoughts aloud. But Masayuki didn’t panic as usual because he has gotten used to it all. Really? Then I will guess that in no time, having an orgy would also become the norm…

Help Yourself…
Somehow I didn’t find the ecchi and horniness of those fantasies to be as bad as Kagaku Na Yatsura or Nozoki Ana. Am I saying that I have gotten used to it? Am I immune to it?! I hope not. While I still maintain that hentai animes are disgusting and will never touch them (unless some sort of mind changing ‘miracle’ happens), as far as this series is concern, perhaps classifying it to borderline ecchi and hentai is an overstatement. Sure, there are those imaginary sex scenes but those necessary spots are not shown and they last very short. While of course they are stimulating, sometimes I find it funny. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because when they start fantasizing and that scene was supposed to be funny, I thought those horny scenes were funny too. Ecchi fans should be happy with such scenes of all those glorious tits and ambiguous sexual positions and moaning. Must have given your 2 cents worth of buying this OVA, eh?

So what are the chances that suddenly 4 girls come up to a guy and want to get horny with him? Okay, maybe 3 of them but even so the real rivalry seems to be between Shimizu and Yuka while Ozono is just passive. Mai is only interested in Yuka so I see no reason why she would want to get down and dirty with him unless it is just some orgy fantasy as Ozono suggested. I think the best girl is Mai because of her killer instinct. She can turn into an insane killer anytime. Better watch your crotch and don’t ever end up alone with this crazy girl. For Masayuki to be surrounded with gorgeous babes and not to be stimulated, he must be a very disciplined guy or just gay… I want to suspect the latter but I don’t think it’s fair and possible. Because if Masayuki was horny in the first place and he grants the girls’ wishes of getting horny, I think half the fun is lost. You know, one reason why girls like to tease the guy and show their seductive side is to see his embarrassing reaction. If he was, I don’t think they’d be that interested in him. That’s why losers like Matsushita can only envy and watch from afar while people like Masayuki gets all the girls like as though they fall down from Heaven and into his hands. Or lap. Wherever. We all know this is not going to happen in real life so for us otaku loser guys, it’s like some sort of escapism relishing this kind of anime. Don’t you agree?

I suppose people are here for the fanservice and not the character development since I would say there is none. We are quickly introduced to the characters and their little quirks before it descends into some sort of horny imaginary sexual fantasy. That’s what this anime is all about, right? And for Masayuki to say that he has gotten used to everything at the end, it is a sign that he has accepted the rowdiness and ecchi situations. And more to come, I believe. In no time, all those fantasies might just become true if his true beast within awakens. Then they will know what true terror is! Haha! One little disappointment is about the maid part. This is just my personal opinion. Since Shimizu was never in one, it doesn’t feel like she is a maid at all. Yeah, a little dissatisfaction in that area. And for a bright student to be doing this? Well, it shows that not is all what it seems on the outside. I wonder if this is love. Yes, sure Shimizu does like him but the nature of everything feels like lust is more prominent than love. Just like how I feel the other girls are too. So if lust = love, would sex be acceptable? Well, that would be like thinking with the other lower anatomy instead of the one at the top.

Okay, I promise and vow not to be persuaded to watch anymore future animes that are closely borderline hentai and ecchi. Serious. Even if they put in a real maid in it, I won’t be tempted. I’m sure there are lots of hentai series with maids in it and so far it has been a good thing for me that I didn’t garner a single interest in watching them. Now the problem is what constitutes just simple ecchi and serious hentai. The line between them has blurred that it is tougher to tell. The only way is to watch and find out. And hope that the true horniness does not awaken within me…

Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo

October 6, 2013

They say geniuses are odd. They are just different from society because of the way they do things. Their work is an exception. Something to behold in the eyes of the many average Joes and Janes around the world. So will you consider one as a genius when that person is so damn good in a subject but can’t even properly take care of his/her own housekeeping? Take the case of Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo. Mashiro Shiina is the world’s most renowned painter. So legendary that she might have surpassed Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gough and all the other great painters that we ever know. But… She doesn’t even know how to take care of herself! Makes you wonder how she got by all these years, eh? But this series isn’t about the bloopers and daily trials of this so called genius painter. It is about a group of problematic residents of a high school dorm called Sakurasou. Yes. She is one of them. We see how these society misfits go through their daily lives, each trying to achieve their dream while maintaining their precious bond and memories of this place. Lots of drama, comedy, friendship, romance and tear jerking moments. Is this how geniuses fit into society?

Episode 1
On the morning of his first day of school, Sorata Kanda had to wake up with his snow white pet cat, Hikari with its butt in his face! What’s worse than that? Seeing the butt and pantsu of his senior, Misaki Kamiigusa sleeping in his bed! When she is full blown awaken, she goes into scatterbrain mode acting like his wife. It gets worse when the teacher, Chihiro Sengoku dresses up so sleazy, revealing her bust so she can pick up some guys at the opening ceremony, makes him fix the dorm’s broken sign. And as narrated, Sakurasou is a dorm that houses problem kids of Suimei University of Arts’ Senior High. In short, a place for weirdoes! Sorata introduces us to all the weirdoes here. First there is third year Misaki who singlehandedly made an anime by herself that became a best seller. Then there is Jin Mikata who writes the screenplay for Misaki’s anime but he goes clubbing and flirts around every night. Then there is Chihiro who also acts as Sakurasou’s supervisor. Lastly, Ryuunosuke Akazaka who is always shut inside his room busy developing some software for some company and communicates with the outside world via his virtual Maid-chan. And of course don’t discount Sorata too. His main mission has always been to escape from Sakurasou. It must be a tiring day so in class he just feels like sleeping. He talks to his friends Daichi Miyahara and Nanami Aoyama who warn him it is getting harder to escape the place the more he delays. Apparently when Sorata found Hikari abandoned, he vowed to take care of it no matter what. But he got caught and was given an option to get rid of the cat or move into Sakurasou with it. He chose the latter. Ever since, he picked up 6 more strays… Such a cat lover, isn’t he? He’ll never return at this rate. Later Chihiro forces Sorata to pick up her cousin, Mashiro who will be arriving from England later today. Yeah, she’s busy with some hot married guy. Did she say something about testicles too? This teacher… Sorata makes his way through the shopping arcade and finally sees Mashiro sitting there. Looks like the quiet kind of girl. First she asks what colour he likes. Iridescent/sparkling. As for her, she isn’t sure but now it would probably white. She notes his name sounds nice.

Back at Sakurasou, the weirdoes throw her a welcoming party. More like for themselves. Jin sizes her 3 measurements while Misaki plays her a welcoming video she made (so she knew she was coming?). I don’t know. It is so mismatched. What has planes shooting and exploding got to do with it? Next morning, Sorata asks Chihiro if it is appropriate for a girl like Mashiro to stay here. She says it is. Then she throws him the ultimatum it is HIS responsibility to look after her. Eh? So Sorata makes his way to go wake Mashiro up for school. Not answering. Entering her room, the place is messed up! Like a robbery, no, a tornado just ripped through here! He sees some cliché shoujo manga she supposedly draw on her computer when he realizes she is sleeping underneath the table. She wants to sleep. But when she gets up, she’s stark naked!!! Sorata blows his top. Why is she naked? Is this England’s custom? She can’t remember. You got to be kidding me. Oh wait. She does. She took a bath last night and took out some clothes. That’s it. So that’s why the place is in a mess. He orders her to put on some clothes. She did that. Just that. Dress properly for Heaven’s sake! Sorata must be getting pissed by the moment since he has to throw what kind of panties she needs to wear or else she won’t! Then he tells her to wash and fix her hair but it’s like she baptized herself and got her entire top wet. So does this girl just take orders at face value? Sorata is forced to clean up but he flusters when she says he is an interesting guy. Then it’s back to angersville when they are running late for school. It makes it look like his fault, eh?

Episode 2
Sorata holds an emergency meeting with Sakurasou residents about Mashiro’s inability to take care of herself. Yeah. He had a hell time this morning. She needs special care and attention. Yeah. That’s why her parents sent her here as quipped by Chihiro. Before Sorata knows it, everybody votes him to be Mashiro’s responsibility. Wow. He didn’t even know what hit him. Mashiro Duty forever. More woes for Sorata because Mashiro just takes whatever snacks she wants from the convenience store and eats them! His wallet is thinning faster these days. Worse, it’s the store where Nanami works! Nanami gets the wrong idea when Mashiro says Sorata is the first boy she’s been with. If she had only said first that she was constantly surrounded by girls in England and Sorata’s presence makes him the first boy she friends. Sorata is so poor that he is depending on tap water to feel full. Yeah, like Chihiro cares. She smoothly changes the subject about Mashiro to his career sheet. Later in class Miyahara shows Sorata a magazine article that geniuses Jin and Misaki are childhood friends. Mashiro sees Sorata and wants to walk home alone. The guy thinks he is one lucky son of a gun and Nanami misconstrues the situation further. Mashiro talks to Ayano Iida on her way home and stops by the convenience store to clear up the misunderstanding to Nanami (as instructed by Sorata of course). Nanami feels embarrassed. Sorata comes home to see a road of cabbages leading into Misaki’s room. This isn’t good. Jin notes it is his birthday and predicts something wacky. Last year Misaki covered herself in birthday cake as his present. Who knows what this year will bring. Then there is a mystery box in her room. Dare to open it? Misaki pops out and wants Jin to eat her! Sorata didn’t want to have anything to do with this and escapes. Good choice.

When Mashiro returns home, she confronts Sorata and tells him to strip naked! What?! She wants his body! For real?! She entered a rookie manga competition last year but didn’t win, Ayano who is her editor told her if she is facing trouble, go for a more risqué approach. In short, draw a man’s body. She is willing to take off her clothes too. Better not let her get to that. So Sorata strips down to his boxers. Mashiro runs her fingers through his body. Oh lala. She gets on top of him in a very ambiguous position and boldly asks if he had sex before! Of course not! His body is good enough for that, right? He played football before but quit. Things take a dim turn when he further explains how he spent 9 years playing football but his drive for the game eventually diminish to a point he even stopped caring. Mashiro gets off him and continues drawing her manga. But this doesn’t release him from his duties yet. Yeah. She’s not done with him and ‘won’t let him sleep tonight’. It’s not what you think. Next morning when Sorata takes out the garbage, he bumps into Nanami. She tries to make up with him as he explains Mashiro’s endeavours in trying to become a manga artist just like how Nanami is trying hard to be a voice actress. He thinks they are both amazing. Back in Sakurasou, he sees a book with a beautiful painting. Mashiro thanks him. Why? Looks like he doesn’t know. As pointed out by Jin, that entire book is filled with paintings by Mashiro. Sorata goes to Google Mashiro’s name and finds lots of entry on this genius painter that changed contemporary art!

Episode 3
Reality is still hard to sink in for Sorata. Then Mashiro enters while he is bathing just because Ayano told her that there’s not enough sex appeal in her manga shower scenes. Research? I don’t know showering him would do any good. Sorata hears Jin refusing an offer of an anime producer to provide Misaki with a better script. He also dismisses he is her manager and to stop calling him. Sorata talks to Jin about the genius painter. Yeah, it is really bugging him he didn’t know. That’s because he feels he is the only one in Sakurasou who has nothing. Jin doesn’t think it’s a big deal since he is leaving. The question is when. As soon as he finds someone to take care of the cats. Has he really been looking? He seems to be slacking off recently. Blame Mashiro for that. Jin tells him off to stop blaming others. He needs to figure out where he belongs before anything else. If he is serious in leaving, he will take over Mashiro Duty and even the cats for him. He is tired to hear him whine of leaving. This irks Sorata as he leaves for his room. He tries to ask Ryuunosuke about game programming but ditches the idea. Sorata puts up posters asking for any volunteers to adopt the cats. Quickly, there is already one: Mashiro. Oh no. She wants to train her cat? She should be training herself! Then she wants to ask him out on a date! Nanami must be really in total shock hearing one thing to another. Sorata brushes her off since he is busy and to go bug Jin.

Come weekend, Sorata is rudely awakened by panicky Misaki because Jin really did take Sorata out. And so the duo become stalkers stalking the duo. Nanami happen to be there too since this is another one of those places she works part time. Misaki becomes nervy of just wanting to break them up but Sorata prefers they lie low. But watching them causes Misaki and Sorata to feel pain in their heart. From what Misaki said, she likes Jin but couldn’t get him to look her way. How many years has she been ‘stalking’ him? Their worst fear comes true when Jin and Mashiro are outside the love hotel. It is such a heartbreak for Misaki that she decides to go home. Sorata becomes angry and rushes to punch Jin but he slips and got punched instead. When Sorata wakes up, he finds himself sleeping on Mashiro’s lap inside a love hotel room. Jin has left. As planned… Like he knew all this. Oh wait. He does. Now Mashiro is going to take a shower. Once more Sorata had to blow his top to tell her if she really has any idea what she is doing. Yes. She’s here for her manga research. But why is he here? He said he was busy finding caretakers for the cats. Didn’t find any? He’s the one who doesn’t have any idea. It made Sorata eat his words. He calls Jin and wonders if he will go home to Sakurasou tonight because Misaki is in a pitiful state. He can’t because he will end up taking advantage of her depression. Talking about himself and Mashiro, Sorata views her as amazing since she has no doubts or worries. Jin reveals Sorata recently told him she came to Japan to be a manga artist. He thought it would be a waste for such a talent but she replied she didn’t need that. Sorata is grateful for her because now he has come to his senses and will decide where to belong. Next morning when they leave, he apologizes and wishes luck on her manga competition but she asks him why he is leaving Sakurasou.

Episode 4
As Sorata packs up his stuffs, he remembered what he said to Mashiro the day before. If he ended up staying at Sakurasou, he’ll start hating himself. She seemed pretty shock of his departure. Ever since, Mashiro locked herself up in her room continuing to work on her manga night and day till the dateline. Sorata made some progress in finding caretakers for the cats. The only ones left are Hikari and Nozomi. The gang dress up in yukata to celebrate Tanabata festival. Misaki is a hit with the kids since her mentality is like one. I’m sure people could guess it is her wish when she wrote she wants to shoot beams from her eyes. But behind that wish is another wish. An earnest one. That someday a certain person will turn to her. Mashiro has problems writing her wish so Sorata suggests to just wish to win the competition. Everyone scrambles when it starts raining. Mashiro gets a call from Ayano. She says her manga has been rejected. Sorata tries to comfort her with encouraging words but knows this is not what he wants to say. He feels bad and goes sit in the rain himself. Jin talks to him. About Misaki’s new anime. Yeah, the one shown at Mashiro’s welcoming party. It became an instant hit with a million views and already has 10 publishing offers despite being just 5 minutes. Misaki has got talent but Jin seriously hoped she crash and burn. Sorata also understands what he means because when Mashiro’s manga got rejected, a little part of him felt happy. Jin adds people with talent unconsciously drag along anyone within reach and make a mess of them. The closer you are to them, the more it tears you apart. Sorata suspects Jin likes Misaki from the way he talks about her and their ‘gap’ but he avoids answering it. Back in his room, Ryuunosuke has left game programming books for Sorata. Consider it as his farewell gift. Next morning when Sorata cleans up the Tanabata stuffs, he sees Mashiro’s wish that hopes for Sorata’s wish to come true.

Nanami wants to tell something to Chihiro on their way home after school. Too bad she’ll have to wait another day when Ayano ‘kidnaps’ Sorata in her sports car. At a cafe she lets him read Mashiro’s submitted manga. Although her art is perfect, the story is the problem. That’s why she used Sakurasou as her reference and inspiration as suggested by Ayano. Nanohanasou? Plus, Sorata and Mashiro’s role is swapped! However what got it rejected was the end part. There is no happy ending and just a bunch of loose ends (the heroine leaves the place – The End). Ayano wanted her to change and draw the ending she wanted but Sorata remained stubborn. Because that was ‘what Sorata wished for’. It made him realize so he rushes all the way back to Sakurasou. His wish was never to leave Sakurasou and tried to escape from it when he couldn’t stand the pressure. Outside Mashiro’s room, Sorata tells her has submitted his career form. He wants to enter the undergraduate media programme and learn about making games. He wants to be a game creator. He was always interested but at the same time very scared. So he used his past failures as reasons of not wanting to get hurt and eventually lost his drive. Seeing her changed him and would want to become like her one day. He opens the door to see her place messed up with paper and tired Mashiro sleeping after drawing all night. She continued to draw ever since her rejection. He sees the happy ending she wanted to draw in which the heroine didn’t leave the place. Sorata answers her handphone on her behalf. Ayano announces despite not winning, she is still going to make her debut in a manga magazine. Mashiro starts crying. Then she wants him to call her by her first name. He can’t. He never calls girl that way. Misaki and Chihiro? Those are alien and Amazon woman respectively. So what does this make Mashiro? The mood is interrupted when Jin and Misaki start teasing them. But Sorata has something important to say. He apologizes and hopes they will allow him to stay at Sakurasou. But of course. It’s like they expected it. Sorata narrates he always blamed the lack of change on others. If he changes this perspective, the world would be filled with new colours and Sakurasou is a mess of many colours.

Episode 5
Can you believe this? Mashiro scored zero in all her subjects! Even English! And she lived in England her entire life!!! So her manga serialization is more important than the make-up test? Well, better get the test out of the way first before that. The only option is to memorize. Can she do that? As long as she remembers it as a picture she can. Amazingly she answers all Sorata’s questions correctly!!! Doesn’t it feel like cheating this way? But energetic Misaki jumps in and starts playing video games with Mashiro. Next day Sorata waits for Mashiro to finish her make-up test. Guess what? She scored all 100 marks in every subject!!! Suddenly everyone who has to study their entire lives feel insulted, eh? On the way back, Sorata catches hold of Nanami who almost collapsed in yet another part time job. She thanks him for being worried but feels fine now. He wonders if she should call her family to send more money since she is living a very tight budget. She reveals her family is against her dream of becoming a voice actress. That’s why she is living independently to prove she can make it. If she calls home, they’ll no doubt force her to come home. Sorata suggests she move into Sakurasou as the rent is quite cheap and they got all the cats back too. The conversation is interrupted when Mashiro opens her mouth and says the usual ambiguous things that put Sorata’s status in jeopardy. Like calling her first name in private, how he kept her up all night (the game), doing it till morning till it hurts (THE GAME!) and the love hotel incident. Ironically for a girl who falls asleep, she sleep talks a lot. Nanami has had enough of this and will move into Sakurasou to keep an eye on him. So Sorata tries to make Mashiro understand that she needs to learn to take care of herself if they (rather, he) do not want such misinterpreted situation. I think Mashiro is more interested in the bread he is offering more than anything else. Otherwise why so fast to agree? Jin suggests making it official that they are dating to keep Nanami off their back. Sorata doesn’t agree. Oh, Mashiro has a plan: Kill Nanami! Played too much games, hasn’t she?

And so Nanami moves in and gets her first taste of weirdness when Misaki rummages through her panties like nobody’s business. When she sees Mashiro’s messy room and the Mashiro Duty imposed on Sorata, she decides to take over his duty. Not easy, eh? Having a hard time just like him. But she’s not going to give up. Seriously, you’re wondering if Mashiro is really trying. Watermelon in the oven… How did she even… Late that night, Sorata has Ryuunosuke test his game design proposal. In short, he thinks it will be instantly rejected. He rants about the basics but I don’t think Sorata can absorb all that heavy stuff in one sitting. He thought of getting some shut eye but Mashiro crawled up to his side to sleep (she’s working on her manga too). Sorata thinks of sleeping in the common hall but sees Misaki sleeping there. She pulled an all-nighter trying to remember her lines. She thought Sorata was going to do something perverted on her and punches him. She apologizes after calming down. Sorata is worried that she is burdening herself. She has Mashiro Duty but can she make it with her recital? She thinks she can handle it. Sorata doesn’t think so and they ended up arguing. He is kicked out. He thought he could sleep in Jin’s room but that guy shuts the door. Oh, it’s already morning.

Episode 6
So where did Sorata sleep? In the laundry room… Nanami notices Mashiro’s sad expression. She thinks she prefers Sorata taking care of her. Nanami continues to work hard on her voice acting and Mashiro Duty that the toll on her health is beginning to show. Worried Sorata talks to Jin about Nanami and thinks they should help each other out. He says Nanami certainly didn’t look the part because people like Nanami won’t be convinced by anyone but themselves. Sorata accidentally sees the university in Osaka that Jin will be going. This means he won’t be with Misaki. He hopes he won’t tell her as he wants to tell her himself. This makes it harder for Sorata and since he is a bad actor, Misaki could sense something amiss. She gets gloomy asking his advice how to make Jin look her way. She needs his help to turn them into normal couples and do things couples would do. He can’t give her an answer as the most he could do is to play a game with her to cheer her up. After Sorata submits his game design proposal, he gets word from Mashiro that Nanami is acting strange. He sees her hobbling her way out. She is clearly not well but wants to go to her recital. After putting her back in bed, the rest discuss if they should let her continue. Mashiro says if she is in her shoes, she would want to go. Because Nanami has put in so much effort and begs of them. No choice, they help Nanami on her feet but she is worse off. Chihiro uses her adult authority to put her back in bed as she doesn’t care what she thinks and is not letting her out in this condition. But Misaki has already called the taxi as Jin restrains Chihiro so the rest could escape.

Once Nanami enters her school, they go to the nearby convenience store to wait. Mashiro views her own fault for turning Nanami out this way. She worked and tired her out. Jin sees the manga magazine that Mashiro’s manga debuted. He apologizes he got so caught up in things he forgot. She is okay with it since there is nothing special. At the end of the day when they pick up Nanami, seems things aren’t doing well. Her friend scolds her for giving so much trouble that she shouldn’t have come. Nanami breaks down in Sorata’s arms. Calling herself a useless idiot after all that effort for nothing and taking everything upon herself thinking she could do even better. Sorata didn’t laugh or mock her like she wanted. He says if she is an idiot, everyone is too. They all know she has been working hard. She bursts into tears saying those were the words she longed to hear. While Mashiro stays by her side in bed, the rest talk how Nanami’s family situation got her into this tight situation. Jin made some chicken ginseng soup and Sorata goes to feed her in her room and accidentally sees her talking to her tiger stuffed doll. Embarrassing, no? Nanami feels Mashiro felt responsible over this incident and slept all night by her side holding her hand. Sorata tells her how Mashiro persuaded them to let her go to the recital. In a way it was a good decision because if she hadn’t gone, she would have regretted it. Nanami tells Sorata that she can’t handle Mashiro Duty anymore and passes it back to him. He’s happy to take it.

Episode 7
Yuuko happily waltzes her way to Sakurasou to see her brother. Then her world comes crashing down when she sees Mashiro in a towel and over big brother Sorata. We know it’s an accident. But what does it look like in Yuuko’s eyes? Yuuko becomes wary of Mashiro as Sorata calls mom to ask what in blazes is Yuuko doing here. She asked why Sorata didn’t come back for the holidays so mom says he’s busy frolicking with girls. Yeah. So it’s her fault she’s down here. Neither girls listen to Sorata when he explains who the other woman is. It gets worse when Nanami comes in to see Yuuko clinging on to Sorata. Lolicon! Another woman for Yuuko to be suspicious! To prove he is not the only guy in Sakurasou, he knocks on the wall of Ryuunosuke but gets a warning from Maid-chan to bug off. Yuuko thinks this is woman number 3. More misinterpretation when Mashiro tells Sorata she is expecting… Dinner… And then everyone goes to the public bath and the usual folly that comes with it. Why do girls always want to touch breasts bigger than theirs and rub skin smoother than theirs? Well Yuuko, you need to wait to get into high school to turn your ‘dwarf’ status into ‘giant’. At least that’s what Jin says. Sorata’s room becomes the new hangout place for the girls. He is stumped Yuuko has been playing games and reading manga ever since she came. It was a lie that she came here to talk to him about his future plans because her real intention is to let him spoil her. He tells her to go back but she wants him to take her out on a date. This interests the other girls as well.

Along the way, Yuuko sinks into depression when Mashiro spews more of her ambiguous crap that she has slept in Sorata’s bed before. Sorata continues to have a tough time with Yuuko and Mashiro in one arm each and Nanami tugging from the back. The safest way not to get lost? So the outing at the temple was real fun. Sorata catches Nanami when she slips off the temple’s stairs. It is when they realize Yuuko and Mashiro are gone. Yeah, Yuuko is bawling tears like nobody’s business. It’s like the end of the world if she never sees her onii-chan again. But Mashiro is confident he will find them because he’s on Mashiro Duty. That doesn’t make sense… But oh lookey… Here comes Sorata! See, all is well. Except that Sorata had to pay for the candy apple Mashiro took ad eat beforehand. The next day before Yuuko leaves via train, she lets Sorata know that her future dream is to attend the same school as him so he can look after her like how he did for Mashiro. She understands Mashiro’s case but views Nanami as the real threat and won’t let her have him! Before she can finish her war declaration, the train door shuts. Thank goodness. If you’re wondering where Misaki has been this entire episode, she’s taking her driving licence test and the instructor is scared to death by her drifting and stunt driving. I think a normal driving licence won’t suffice for her ‘superb’ driving, no?

Episode 8
Sorata receives a mail saying he has passed the first round audition and is invited to give a presentation for his proposal. Congratulations! Now, he also receives another mail. That one says to teach him about love. I can guess whose that is from. True enough, Mashiro the culprit comes into his room seeking the impossible. Seems it was suggested by Ayano as her editor will be having a serialization meeting on the same day as his presentation. Nanami gets the wrong idea when she takes Mashiro to leave because the latter says Sorata hasn’t finished teaching her about love! All the girls get kicked out when Misaki barges in spewing her usual nonsense. Mashiro asks Nanami if she knows anything about love. Sorata seeks Ryuunosuke’s help on how to do a presentation so he tells him to do a mock one in front of the rest. Let’s see. Quite long, not to the point, stammering… Oh, Mashiro is asleep… In short, not good. He promises to revise it. Sorata improves as the days go by. Before Sorata leaves for his presentation, Mashiro gives him a charm she bought. When it is his turn to present, one of the judges, Kazuki Fujisawa asks him what it takes to become a creator. His mind suddenly went blank. He becomes clumsy. At the end of it, he got rejected as his proposal isn’t what they’re looking for. Sorata becomes a sad cat back at Sakurasou. Mashiro’s fortunes are the opposite as she will get her serialization debut. She knows Sorata is down and he hints he wants to be left alone. So she leaves. Nanami heard everything and feels bad. She talks to Jin and Misaki. They think it’s a nice time to cheer him up by holding a welcoming party for Nanami. Sorata is still frustrated in his room. Packing his proposal away. Rather, throwing them in his dustbin. Then Misaki barges in with heaps of swimsuit because they’re going to hold Nanami’s party at the school’s swimming pool. Did they get approval? No? So they’re sneaking in?! Nanami doesn’t want to go since she disapproves of this. But Sorata thinks they should since it’s her welcoming party. I think he’s just playing along.

At the pool, Sorata compliments Nanami’s swimsuit but gets admonished by Mashiro because he didn’t say anything about hers. He is going to sink into depress mode again when Misaki throws the floating board at him. Then he turns into his wild side and everybody has fun. Wardrobe malfunction included. Sorata’s. They are about to have nabe party after the swim when the guard spots them. Time to run. Hiding in the storeroom, Mashiro gives Sorata a new charm. It made him very happy. They continue running as the fireworks lit up the sky. Nanami thought he would be more depressed and he admits he still is. When Mashiro tells him to not stop moving forward (because the guard is hot on their tail!), Sorata starts to feel he is enjoying himself. When he heard Mashiro’s work got serialized, he felt the world turned its back on him. He was so serious, he couldn’t run or hide from his regret and frustration. But that made it simple because if he fails over and over again, he just needs to keep going. Nanami says she likes people who chase after their dream and those who give it their all. Back at Sakurasou, they play sparklers as Nanami talks to Mashiro. She has a little idea on what love is.

Episode 9
Mashiro wakes up to see Mashiro and Misaki painting on his room walls! Galactic Cat Nyaboron! What the hell?! In class, rumours have started that something is going on between Sorata and Nanami and even being pregnant! Miyahara doesn’t like how everybody is picking on them so he tells them off (I think he was trying to save Nanami’s face). But the girls think he is quite close with Sorata and doesn’t want to lose to Nanami and get this idea he is the one dating Sorata! They’re supportive of this pairing! How did it end up like this?! Back at Sakurasou, a British blonde turns up at their doorstep. Sorata must be stumped by her beauty that he had to say “I can notto speak Engurish” when she is clearly speaking in perfect Japanese. She is Rita Ainsworth and Mashiro’s roommate from England. She is here to bring Mashiro back now because she can’t let her stay to study manga. Yeah, that genius potential crap again. Mashiro asserts she won’t go back and pushes her out. Sorata felt pity and goes after her. She knew he would be kind enough to do that and ends up staying in his room. He can’t abandon cute creatures in need, right? Sorata learns Rita is England’s version of Mashiro Duty. Rita wants him to tell her all about Mashiro’s life in Japan. She has known Mashiro since 6 years old but she has stopped painting ever since. She warns he will end up broken if he stays with Mashiro. Next morning, Mashiro is shocked to see Rita cuddling all over him. Worst, the other girls see this. Rita isn’t going back to England and will stay in Sorata’s room till Mashiro changes her mind. Mashiro views Sorata as the enemy and on Rita’s side. Why are they all blaming it on Sorata?! I guess being too kind is a sin. Their ruckus is interrupted when Ryuunosuke comes to check on them! His first appearance! I thought he looks very much like a girl. In class, he continues to do his own thing and not pay heed to the teacher! He even tells her off he is only here for the credits and finds her lesson boring!!!

Each time Sorata bumps into Mashiro, her reply will be “Sorata, you idiot”. So he texts her that she is not on Rita’s side and may not be on hers. When he saw her masterpiece, he was torn. He wondered what would be best for her. He was just looking forward to her manga. But can Mashiro reply? Surprisingly, she does. It says… “Sorata, you idiot!”. Well, that was certainly the ice breaker. Sakurasou residents (except Chihiro of course) are planning what to do for the cultural festival that lasts a week. Sorata thinks they can do a production since they have quite a team here and further suggests to get the audience involve. They like and approve of his idea and before he knows it, he becomes the group leader. Later Mashiro comes into Sorata’s room to tell Rita to sleep in her room. Jealous? Since when was Mashiro concerned Sorata is a boy? Rita assures he is impotent! Yeah, all that mental stress must have got to him. She agrees to that but wants Sorata to date her this Sunday. He didn’t expect the date to be at a hotel, eh? Yeah, don’t embarrass her. No turning back. Obviously Mashiro and Nanami are spying on them but were found out so Rita invites them for a foursome. A what? Seems the hotel is holding an art exhibition and Rita shows them Mashiro’s final painting before she left for Japan. Sorata becomes enthralled. Like he felt the universe! The heavens! Although Rita doesn’t know much about manga, she doesn’t think it is something worth giving up painting for. Sorata thinks she should return to the art world.

Episode 10
Rita helps Sorata draw his storyboard and he finds her quite good. From what Rita is saying, he thinks she is using him to convince Mashiro to return to England with her. Sorata knows it won’t work but Rita believes she is more inclined to listen if it’s from him. The gang put forth their effort in making their Nyaboron production while Rita just watches. Till she had an unexpected ‘lecture’ from Ryuunosuke that things won’t go her way and that she has forgotten something. He notes her smiles are fake. Seems the production hits a snag. They need to do a presentation before the committee to see if they’re fit to do it. They’re after all known as the trouble kids from Sakurasou, right? Also, Sorata’s unfinished storyboard is putting things behind schedule. The gang had a brief showdown with the student council president, Souichirou Tachibayashi. Jin knows him but that dude seems to be on bad terms with him and warns them about their conduct. Feeling the need to get someone on par with Mashiro to speed up their work, there is a person: Rita. Sorata thought she gave up painting but Mashiro says she has not because she loves painting. Besides, when they were at the art exhibition, didn’t they see Rita’s painting too? They see Rita just coming back to Sakurasou and invite her to help out but she refuses citing reasons that she is quitting. When Mashiro says her work is beautiful, Rita becomes angry. She blames Mashiro as the person who made her quit painting. When they were studying in grandpa’s studio, she points out that the other kids slowly dropped out. Mashiro may not remember them because she’s so obsessed with her paintings. Everyone grew to hate her. No matter how hard they tried, Mashiro always stood above them. After 10 years, only Rita remained by her side. Mashiro was still the same. That’s why Rita wanted her to disappear and introduced her to manga. She thought if her manga failed, she would at least understand how they felt. But now she got her manga debut! Rita wanted her to be a world famous artist so she can brag she studied with her and feel she has been part of her contribution.

Ryuunosuke tells her off about putting up false smiles and now this pouty face. He admits he is a shut-in with electronics as his friends but should try to understand how they feel now.  Rita adds that ever since that day, grandpa told her that if she can’t become better than Mashiro there is no point in doing it anymore. She might seem like clinging on to Mashiro but she has nowhere else to go. Ryuunosuke asks despite of all that, he has never heard her say what she wanted to do. Rita becomes upset of his over analysis and runs away. Sorata chides him for this side of his and goes after her. Mashiro blames herself for causing Rita to hate her and had no idea. He asks if she ever felt jealous and wished she was like somebody amazing she thought. When they find Rita, Sorata explains how he had a feeling Mashiro was alone in a world nobody could enter. Even friends in class stayed away. But Rita was able to enter her world and stayed by her side for 10 years. Mashiro may not understand her but there is no doubt she loves her. He doesn’t want to become somebody who runs away. Rita admits what Ryuunosuke said was right. Then the English girls make up. Mashiro confesses she didn’t know how Rita felt because she was having so much fun painting by her side. She didn’t feel alone and thought she was all that she needed. Rita hugs her and says she too felt the same way and wants to keep painting with her because she loves painting. This emotional scene was so infectious that Nanami also starts crying. So Rita helps out with the gang in finishing the production. With lots of determination and effort, the presentation turns out well received. Sakurasou celebrates their success. Rita apologizes and thanks Ryuunosuke for what he said the other day. She now understands them. She is interested in him but he insists he hates girls and locks himself in his room. Rita adds she still has not changed her mind about Mashiro to return to painting instead of doing manga. However she will set things aside until after the cultural festival.

Episode 11
With the cultural festival starting, Sorata is like a zombie because he’s been putting in extra hours to finish Nyaboron. Nanami covers him so he could spend more time in putting in the finishing touches. Since he can’t work on an empty stomach, Jin takes him to the forest cafe whereby Mashiro and the others are serving in animal outfits. Rita continues to bug Ryuunosuke in his room. She is more interested in him rather than going to the cultural festival. She could have done something bolder had not the rest return. While making more preparations for the production, Sorata overhears Rita on the phone that Mashiro will return to England after the festival ends. Rita catches him and since he has overheard, she reveals that was Mashiro’s father on the line. There are some people waiting for her and she needs to return where she belongs. Sorata is shocked. On another day at school, Sorata is surprised to find Ryuunosuke dressed in a maid outfit. More surprisingly, he came to the festival. Well, Nanami forced him. Besides, Rita invaded his room so he can’t sleep. Since they are here, they go through the final checks of Nyaboron. Sorata feels something is lacking and that they aren’t using the system’s full potential. However he doesn’t have a suggestion so soon so Ryuunosuke tells him off he should have thought about it before suggesting any changes. If he stars second guessing right before the deadline, the project will be in danger. He gives him attend a talk addressed by Fujisawa in one of the festival’s forums. Sorata realizes from his speech that he needs to move his own heart first if he is to move the hearts of others. He knows his heart is not focused on Nyaboron but on Mashiro.

Mashiro finds Sorata to point out Jin is getting intimate over there. Seems he is talking with a girl, Fuuka. She is Misaki’s older sister and Jin’s ex-girlfriend. From their conversation it seems she wants to get back together with him and is serious. However he is not interested but she laughs it off as just joking. Sorata thought trouble is brewing when Misaki heard that Jin is going to Osaka. He apologizes he knew it but couldn’t tell her. But all Misaki is worried is that since Fuuka wasn’t serious with him, it means she still has a chance with Jin. She brightens up and back to her energetic and idiotic self. She’s not really worried if he is studying far away. With human technology, it is only 2.5 hours away. Does she have any sense of time, place or money? Well, nothing will stop her as long as she wants to see him. Her unstoppable passion is all the strength she needs. Mashiro wonders if that is love. Yeah, I think it is. Sorata thinks hard about Mashiro, Misaki’s words and Fujisawa’s words. Then it hit him. Realizing how Mashiro put all her emotions into Nanohanasou, he chairs an emergency meeting for Nyaboron’s climax scene. He will have Nyaboron unleash his secret move via the audience’s voice through the power of love! Don’t laugh yet! When given the cue, the audience will shout or yell anything to power up his gauge and let Nyaboron fire back at the enemy. They love this idea and do the necessary adjustments. It is finally completed and it will be 5 hours before the real show. They will use this time to get some much deserved sleep. But Sorata can’t sleep because he is worried that Mashiro will be gone after everything ends. Then Mashiro texts to him that she wants to see him. He panics but it seems she wants him to stay by her side till she falls asleep.

Episode 12
Mashiro falls asleep right beside Sorata while he ponders they should make lots of memories while they still can. The day of reckoning is here. A long line of audience queues to see their show! Why not? There are big names in their production, right? Chihiro takes her seat and is surprised Fujisawa is here. He wants to see Sakurasou’s next generation product. The show begins as Nanami as host also leads the audience. They get excited when their actions affect what is on screen. Things are going well till the climax scene whereby they need to shout their love. The audience becomes reluctant. A strange silence fills the hall. Nobody is going to do something that embarrassing. Fujisawa feels he must have said something wrong in his speech about having passion. Although the production is good, trying to force passion on your audience will only meet resistance. Before Sorata starts blaming himself for this big failure, Mashiro yells from the top of her voice to thank them for everything. This is followed by Misaki shouting out her love for Jin and soon the rest of the Sakurasou join in before the crowd start screaming just about anything. Love confessions, insults and even who owes who money! The final shout is from Sorata thanking Mashiro. This is enough for the scene to move on and end in a grand fashion. Sakurasou kids go on stage for their curtain call as the audience cheer them on. They love it. While putting away their stuff, Jin gives the necklace he bought during his ‘date’ with Mashiro to Misaki. They see Rita and Mashiro heading off in a taxi.

When Nanami tells Sorata she couldn’t find Mashiro, Sorata realizes she has already left. Nanami is shocked and wants him to go stop her. But he has resigned to his fate that this is what Mashiro wants and he has already told her what he wanted so she slaps some sense into him if this is all he wanted to tell her. Of course not. He doesn’t want her to go. So they start searching through the school not knowing they already have left the building. Misaki goes back to class only to bump into Miyahara. He praises her performance and wonders if she has heard what he said during the shout aloud part. What did he say? He said he love her. Taken aback of this development, she apologizes and runs away. Now this is where Misaki’s driving licence comes in. Heck, she doesn’t even need one. People, never drive so dangerous like her. She is going to take the gang to the airport. So freaking fast that before they could board the plane, Sorata has already arrived and straight away hugs Mashiro. He tells her not to go and continue staying at Sakurasou. Guess what? Mashiro was just seeing Rita off. Haha. Embarrassed? Like he just made a big confession. So did Rita lie that Mashiro was going back to where she belonged? Well, Mashiro belonged to Sakurasou. She is glad to have come to Japan and will leave for England now. Ryuunosuke gives Rita his address. She is very happy but it turns out to be Sorata’s email address. She wants to punish him and though he could evade her slaps, he couldn’t avoid her peck on his cheek! Surprise? Sorata has to relive another round of embarrassment when Mashiro vividly describes the lingering feeling. She feels funny in her heart. It’s thumping so hard. She can still feel it. She can still hear his voice ringing in her ears. She wonders if this is love.

Episode 13
Sorata wanted to say something back but Mashiro used Nyaboron terminologies to indicate she rejected him. And then with Misaki they blast off away into the sky with Nyaboron. WTF?! Must be a dream. Yeah. And Sorata just fell off from the wrong side of bed. Based from the survey, the Nyaboron show did very well. It gave Sorata lots of motivation to submit another game proposal. Misaki tries to get Jin’s heart by making him bento and trying to steal a kiss when he’s napping. The latter didn’t happen. There’s even a love letter in his shoe box. Wait, my mistake. It’s a marriage registration form! It’s playing to the wedding song too. Jin gives Nanami a pair of play tickets of Christmas Eve since the person who gave it to him suddenly had change in plans. Elsewhere, Mashiro wants to cook. Serious. She means it. So Sorata teaches her how to crack an egg and since she is doing fine, she insists on moving up to knives. See how the way she is holding? Like a murderer, eh? Or does she want to make Sorata her meal? Then she gets her finger cut. Sorata panics and calls Chihiro. After she bandages it, she knocks Sorata’s head for being careless since Mashiro has her manga deadline to meet. Mashiro says she’ll be okay with it and wants to continue cooking but that one injury is enough for Sorata to advise her to stop for today. Ayano pays a visit to Sakurasou since Mashiro called her. Then Sorata goes to talk to her. Ayano assures her injured finger won’t affect her work. She is curious to know what he thinks of Mashiro these days. She has definitely changed. When she first met her, she felt something weird of her and her gaze penetrated as if she was looking right past her. Sorata notes she was once so caught up in her manga, everything else didn’t matter. But now it isn’t and doesn’t know if this is the real Mashiro or not. Ayano thinks she is more like a normal girl, just a little lost. She asks if he likes the old or new Mashiro and thinks he would come to like both but he surprises her that he is more comfortable with the old one.

When Sorata comes back, he eagerly opens his reply letter of his game proposal. Based on his actions, you can say he got rejected. But does this give him the right to lash out at Mashiro who still wants to cook for him? Even if she has finished her manuscript? He blows his top that the old Mashiro would have continued redoing and polishing her manga right up till the last minute but now she’s slacking off. For once, Mashiro said something back. If that’s the case, Sorata should stop being on her mind all the time. She wants him to tell her the feelings she is feeling right now. Can’t, can he? He is supposed to relay a message from Ayano to her about the end of year party by the publishers on Christmas Eve but I guess the situation doesn’t call for it. Then Misaki wants Sorata to come to her room as she seeks her advice. Nanami happened to come back at the same time so she too gets invited. Seems Misaki is troubled. She has done all she can to steal Jin’s heart. From bento to marriage registration form and several confessions (in which Jin gave lots of excuses and treating this whole affair like a joke). Does this justify why she’s in a sexy Santa outfit? She is going to use her last resort. She wants to be alone with Jin on Christmas Eve and wants them to cooperate. Looks like she has decided than sought advice. Nanami sums up her courage to ask Sorata out on that day since she has tickets to the play. He promises to go with her.

Episode 14
Sorata leaves the party invitation outside Mashiro’s door since he feels hard talking to her. But Mashiro is peeking outside the corner of his room. She thinks he is angry. Well, clearly he is even if he says he is not. See, now you scared her away. Souichirou talks to Jin at the library about Misaki. Jin seriously wants to cut ties with all the other girls he is fooling around because he truly loves Misaki. He wants her to see him more than a lover. Misaki helps Nanami pick out a dress. They talk about Misaki’s confession and of course she is scared and nervous. She feels everything is like a never ending cycle. She likes him but too scared to say. But she fears being rejected and thought things will be fine if it stays the same. Then the thought of losing him if he goes out with someone else. It all ends up back to square one. She is tired of this cycle. Meanwhile Sorata gets an earful from Chihiro. She tells him Mashiro isn’t slacking off like he thought she is. She just doesn’t know how to deal with emotions she never felt before and shouldn’t take it out on her. Since many things in this world aren’t clear cut, if he starts rejecting everything that doesn’t fit his ideal, he’ll end up screwing himself and those around him. As on how to deal with Mashiro, he should figure it out himself. Not because he is on Mashiro Duty but because he is a man. Chihiro tells him she is closing Sakurasou for the year end because she wants to have fun in Australia so everyone is forced to go home. On Christmas Eve, Sorata accompanies Mashiro to the party. He spots another reply letter in the mailbox but just puts it in his pocket to read later. Before Sorata leaves Mashiro to Ayano, Mashiro hopes Sorata would say something. Properly talk to her, that is. I’m sure properly greeting everyone wasn’t what she had in mind. Misaki is alone at Sakurasou with Jin. She isn’t kidding when she says she was desperate. Yeah. She’s naked! She wants an honest answer. He says he loves her and has felt this way for a long time.

Sorata meets up with Nanami and watch the play with her. At the end of it, she reveals her next audition and if she doesn’t pass, she must go back to Osaka. Otherwise she’ll get to continue staying here while working for an agency. She wonders if he’ll miss her but he doesn’t want her to think such things and is confident she’ll pass. She says she has something important to tell him when she passes. Suddenly Sorata gets a cal from Ayano that Mashiro is missing and the hotel staffs saw her walking out of the building. Sorata becomes frantic and goes to look for her. He finds her sitting near a fountain all alone. She lost her shoes along the way. Seems she wanted him to taste the delicious baumkuchen and brought it out for him to taste. Why would she do something like that? Because he’s angry so lately. Even though she has much to say to him, he didn’t face her properly and this is all she could do. Sorata hugs her and admits he is angry. For making him worry by going missing like that. He thought she got into an accident or something. Mashiro says she has been thinking a lot about him lately and tried to do different things. She never felt this way before. Sorata assures he will always watch over her ever since he first laid his eyes on her manga. He couldn’t take his eyes off her then (is there double meaning to this?). But anyway they made up. Nanami heard everything and had to interject. She passes him the letter he dropped. He opens to read it. He turns cheerful instead and hopes they both can help him out in future presentations. On the way back, Sakurasou is pitch black. ‘Night activities’? But they see dejected Misaki crying alone in the dark. She tried to be his lover but he told her he can’t love her the way he is now. He wanted her to stay the way she is now and don’t have to do anything. Misaki couldn’t understand. He was so gentle. She wanted to be hurt by him tonight.

Episode 15
Nanami, Misaki and Mashiro are all heading back to Sorata’s hometown for the winter holiday! We know Mashiro’s airheadness so she wasn’t able to call Rita to get her. Nanami forgot but has her own problems back home. Misaki… She’s a depressed cat… And so that is how Sorata brought home his ‘harem’ much to the shock of Yuuko. Mommy welcomes them but daddy doesn’t approve of polygamy! So does the law! Later Sorata calls Jin to find out what happened. Jin confessed to Misaki but wanted her to give him time. It is because he loves her very much, he can’t abandon his dreams to enter Osaka University. He doesn’t want to become a guy with nothing to offer. Currently he is staying at Souichirou’s place. That ex-student council president is counting the days when he’ll get out. When Sorata’s mom comments about Sorata getting a wife, Yuuko becomes clingy to him and asserts anybody who wants to be onii-chan’s wife must defeat her! Mashiro is serious in doing that! However as noted, daddy will not allow her to go to Suimei so Yuuko is depending on Sorata to persuade him. Nanami offers to tutor Yuuko thinking that daddy will change his mind if he sees how hard she is working. Yuuko brings in her materials for tutoring and that includes a thick manga magazine. Is she serious? There is a new manga story she likes. She didn’t realize it was written by Mashiro (which is based on Jin and Misaki’s relationship) but when she finds out, she becomes her biggest fan. Wow. Sudden u-turn. Sorata wonders if Mashiro can work on her manga without her computer but she says she already has completed them. Her finger healed and she worked harder. Just the way Sorata likes. She has also drawn a picture for his presentation.

Sorata and Nanami talk and encourage each other in their respective fields. She hopes that when she gets her script, he will be able to help her out like how she did for his presentation. Their nice mood together is interrupted when they realize Mashiro is standing behind them. She wants to work hard with them but lately she feels there is a lot she doesn’t understand. She goes to talk to Misaki that they are both in her manga. She doesn’t understand them and wants to know how she should have done it. Misaki says if her anime hurts Jin, she’ll stop making them. Mashiro wonders if that is the kind of Misaki that Jin likes just like how Sorata loves her who draws manga. She asks what sort of her does Jin likes. Mommy tells Sorata that despite Yuuko working very hard than before, daddy still won’t approve of her going to Suimei and hopes he could talk to him. Why him? Because Yuuko requested his help. And so the guys have their talk (in the bathroom, of all places). Sorata hopes he would give Yuuko a chance and even if she fails, she will be satisfied knowing she has tried. That notes how matured he has become (looking at his dick) but is more interested which of the girls he likes. Then he assures him to do what he likes because he will come up with enough money for his and Yuuko’s tuition to whatever college they want to go. Everyone drives up the hill to see the first sunrise. Yuuko thanks Sorata and shortly Misaki too. She realizes she loves anime and wants to continue working on them. This is the person that Jin loves and will animate his screenplay to make him turn to her this time for sure. Everybody agrees that this is the Misaki they love. I’m sure wild unpredictable Misaki beats having a sulking one, right? Everyone takes a train back to Sakurasou and they are nervous of the new term with all the new obstacles they have to deal with. But they’re looking forward to it.

Episode 16
With Misaki back in her groove, she is working on a new anime. Despite her action sounds, she is doing a romance genre. Nanami wants to borrow it for her audition on Valentine’s Day. Sorata prepares his proposal when he gets a call from Yuuko. She has her entrance exam on 13th February so she’ll be staying over for a night. By the way, Jin hasn’t come back to Sakurasou. He will be crashing at Souichirou’s place till his exam is over. The president didn’t know that, did he? After school, Sorata heads out for his proposal presentation. While he is presenting his rhythmic action battle game, Fujisawa and one of the judges discuss among themselves the development cost for this game and the units needed to be sold to break even. At the end, the judge tells him that it will be difficult for their company to invest in his proposal. Another rejection? However he tells Sorata he is free to brush it up with Fujisawa. Looks like Fujisawa will be helping him brush up his proposal and gives Sorata his name card to decide on an appointment date. He assures Sorata that he is halfway there. So everyone celebrates Sorata’s success back at Sakurasou. Red bean rice? Don’t even ask. When Mashiro learns Nanami sent an encouragement mail to Sorata before his presentation, she instantly goes to send him one now. Isn’t it too late? Shouldn’t it be congratulations instead? Mashiro thinks Sorata has been giving Nanami special treatment lately. But Sorata interjects that he ALWAYS gives her special treatment every day! Sorata helps Nanami recite her lines. She is convincing that you wouldn’t know if she is confessing her love to him for real or just acting. It is Sorata that is more embarrassed to say his lines.

Mashiro talks to Ayano that she feels restless when she sees Sorata and Nanami together. She gives her a stack of romance manga to read. Sorata calls Fujisawa for an appointment. He learns he and Chihiro were once classmates and also the art for this proposal as well as Nyaboron was drawn by Mashiro. Yuuko arrives at Sakurasou a happy little sister. Her mind is filled more with Valentine’s Day than her exam. But her happiness comes crashing down when she hears Sorata has been doing lots of stuff on Nanami’s behalf. It’s like they’re a domestic couple. Very close to panic mode… Even if Mashiro’s ambiguous words like “Sorata also does a lot of things for me” didn’t make Yuuko as suspicious since she views her as some helpless girl relying on him. Misaki starts making her handmade chocolates (I wonder how many packets she’s got) while Nanami puts hers away in the drawer. But Yuuko is left to suspect Mashiro too when she comes in clad in a towel to let Sorata dry her hair. I think she’s already in panic mode. Yeah, in addition to her exam, she’s got his relationship to worry about. Poor girl. So young, so many worrisome problems already. Yuuko leaves early on her exam day and gives to Sorata her chocolate. She has to go straight home after her exam so she gives him a day earlier. She asserts she won’t lose to those girls. Then she whispers in his ear which of the girls he is serious about because daddy said indecisiveness is a crime. Sorata’s face is flushed with embarrassment as the girls are suspicious to know what Yuuko said.

Episode 17
Sorata wishes Nanami good luck for her audition. At the same time, Ayano is in panic mode. She calls Mashiro that the artist assigned for the front page collapsed and wants her to fill in and do a colour page. For once, Sorata is shocked that Mashiro actually dressed herself up. Okay, maybe she was just missing one sock. She refuses to let him look through her bag (he thinks she may forget something) when they are pleasantly surprised with Rita’s arrival at the doorstep. It’s Valentine’s Day. She’s not here to catch up with Mashiro. You do the maths. Can you hear the commotion from Ryuunosuke’s room? World war has just begun. Ryuunosuke locks himself inside the toilet while persistent Rita stays outside hoping he would accept her chocolate. At school, Sorata gets a desperate call from Nanami. The train stopped since someone got injured on the tracks. She can’t postpone the day but only the time. Since she is at the platform, Sorata wants her to wait for him. He makes haste and leaves a voice message to Mashiro that he will be late to meet her today as promised. Sorata wanted to borrow Miyahara’s bicycle but when he hears Nanami in trouble, he uses his power of love to peddle Sorata there. Well, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of that power especially when he’s peddling uphill. Reaching his limit, he passes the bicycle to Sorata. He lets him know his confession to Nanami was rejected. He cheers on him to go get her since he is the one Nanami called in time of need. When Sorata arrives, he wants to give her taxi money but the queue is too long. He wants to cycle her there but they might not make it. Sorata tells her she is not going to give up here after working hard for 2 years. Evening, Ryuunosuke finally gets out from his toilet. Rita is gone but left a note saying she has left for her flight. She regrets not properly saying goodbye to the rest and lets him know that kiss she gave at the airport was her first.

Sorata wonders if Nanami would like to practice her lines along the way. Does he have enough breathe to talk? She takes up his offer and suddenly hugs him, confessing she loves him. He stops dead in his tracks. Shocked. Was it for real? Well, Nanami is impressed that her acting sounds so real. Was she really acting? When she goes off to her audition, Sorata realizes he is late to meet Mashiro and peddles all the way back. He thinks she has gone back but finds her at the rooftop. She passes to him her chocolates. Bamboo shoots actually. The meeting was just for this? She could’ve given him back at Sakurasou but she wanted to do it normally like other girls. Yeah, she read too much manga. She tries hard to be normal so Sorata can understand her because she feels they are distant. Nothing he went with Nanami again today, even though it’s Nanami’s special day, it is hers too. It is when Sorata realized she has been running far ahead in front of him. So far he couldn’t see her. But it works both ways because she too can’t see him when she turns back. Sorata likes the bamboo shoots and this makes Mashiro happy. She wants to walk home holding his hand but decides not too since her heart is beating very fast. He says it’s a sign that she’s alive. Back home, Nanami seems happy since she has done her best for the audition. They celebrate with dumplings. Dumplings for Valentine’s Day? There’s chocolate inside it… Everyone laments Rita couldn’t stay and Ryuunosuke didn’t want to elaborate further if anything happened. Misaki understands everyone has a thing or two they can’t tell. This has Sorata wonder if her confession to Jin went well. Then he remembers Nanami’s promise to tell him something and spills sauce over his shirt. Could that confession be for real? He hopes he is just over thinking things.

Episode 18
Jin calls Misaki to tell her of his acceptance to Osaka University but she is not picking up and continues her anime. Sorata sees Fujisawa for a short while to consult on his proposal. The latter asks if Mashiro could draw additional artworks to increase his chances of approval. Later Sorata and Nanami leave to go check Yuuko’s results. Mashiro also tags along because depending on the results, she may have to adjust her future plan. Wow. Thinking ahead. Mashiro accuses them both of siding each other when they are in sync denying everything. Yuuko’s number isn’t on the list so Sorata calls her to say she didn’t make it. She becomes distraught. So distraught that she’s just comical. Really. She even got the confetti ball ready. Counting her chickens. Souichirou comes up to them to tell Jin has been accepted to Osaka and is here to tell his homeroom teacher. This means he will be leaving soon but he hasn’t been making up with Misaki since Valentine’s Day. Sorata won’t let that happen. He and Mashiro will stall Jin while Nanami goes back to bring Misaki here. Sorata brings Jin up to the rooftop to talk about Misaki. Jin seems to accept the fact he won’t be with her and will not date her. Sorata tells him off he is not the person he knew, if he cares Misaki will end up with someone else, blah, blah, blah. The guys engage in a fist fight. Jin counters his accusations saying he has a hard time keeping up with his studies with Misaki always on his mind. He needs commitment to stay with her forever. Sorata knows he is ready for commitment ages ago and wants to know what he is waiting for. I guess you could say Jin wins this boxing match and all the while, Mashiro was just looking on like a blur case. Jin adds Misaki won’t be coming. He knows because she has been avoiding him lately without replying his calls and messages. Mashiro is confident Nanami will bring her here. Nanami has reached home but Misaki won’t go. She gives excuse she needs to finish her anime so Nanami lectures her about this and that. Misaki admits she is afraid to see Jin and can’t bring herself to finish this scene she is working on.

Flashback time. Misaki and Jin were always close since young so she took for granted he will always be there. Then in middle school, Jin was dating Fuuka but secretly admired Misaki. While Misaki ran rampaged with her artistic creativity, Jin would pick a fight with anyone who badmouths her. Even Fuuka knows he likes Misaki. Their teacher recommended Misaki to Suimei whereby she can meet ‘oddball aliens’ that share her passion. It was when Jin realized Misaki was always alone. So when Jin wanted to enrol into Suimei, he had his last talk with Fuuka before breaking up. She knows he always worries for her. Because he wants to keep her untouched by his side and not hurt her, he rather made love to Fuuka instead. In the end he couldn’t leave Misaki alone and enrolled in Suimei. Back in present time, Nanami makes a daring move to jump out of the window to bring Misaki to school! While Sorata and the rest hold the door to prevent the teachers from coming in, Jin and Misaki properly talk. He tells her about his acceptance and wants her to do what she wants. After making Nyaboron, she must have realized it too. While everyone’s work was good, Jin knows his scripts weren’t meeting her standards because she had this disappointed look when he submits them. She admits that to be correct. He promises to come back in 4 years with skills worthy of her. He puts on a ring on her finger. Consider it a charm to keep men away. She won’t take it off ever. With that, Jin ends his exile and returns home to Sakurasou with the rest. But they are hit with another bad news. Chihiro has just come back from meeting and it is decided Sakurasou will be torn down by the end of the year.

Episode 19
Sakurasou won’t be undergoing any renovation. It will be demolished. Period. That’s why Chihiro had them move out during winter break to let contractors assess the place. She adds that the board decided on this and they’ll move back to the normal student dorms. Oh, they’ll allow the cats too. It is odd for Sorata who once wanted to get out so much being the most vocal one against the demolition. Jin tells him to consider that staying in the normal dorms won’t be that bad. It isn’t as rundown as this place and they have their meals fixed by the cafeteria staffs. Of course he is also not okay with this decision (since something fishy is going on as the board can’t give a direct reason on its demolition) and will see what he can do to help them out. After all, they’ve done a lot for him. Mashiro talks to Sorata in his room. He worries about living in the normal dorms because there is gender segregation and can’t look after Mashiro like always. When Mashiro sees a group photo of Sakurasou’s residence, the one when Sorata first moved in, he begins his flashback on how he moved in. We all know his affection for cats landed him here so on the first night when he stepped in for the first time, the lax security was one thing, he found a girl sitting in his closet! He isn’t seeing things, right? Misaki then pounded on him thinking he was a thief. That’s his first experience with her wild quirkiness. His next shocking surprise is when he sees Chihiro dressing up so sexy going out on a date and doesn’t give a damn about her students. He thought Jin was a nice guy till he whispered in his ear that his current girlfriend is a married woman!!! Misaki bums in his room hoarding his video game. It’s her 99th consecutive victory! He can’t unpack and he can’t use the toilet because Misaki just gave up on achieving her 100th streak and went to use it.

Sorata thought he heard a ghost next door. He got the scare of his life when he sees Ryuunosuke walking out like a zombie and thought he was a ghost. He thought he saw another ghost but it’s Chihiro with lemons over her face. Looks like the date didn’t go well. Yeah. Men ‘complained’ she easily gets mad and a drunkard. That describes her perfectly, right? Chihiro explains to him about Ryuunosuke, a serious shut-in whom she has only seen 3 times out of his room and never gone to class since his entrance ceremony. For Sorata to see him on his first night, it’s a good sign, right? More like a curse! Sorata thinks she should take her job seriously but she says forcing others will only get them to hate life. That’s why she won’t take her job seriously. So she’s talking about herself? She gives him Ryuunosuke’s email. Sorata tries to converse normally but all he got was an automated reply from Maid-chan. Since he couldn’t figure that out, he got insulted by Ryuunosuke. Misaki wants to continue her video game marathon up till morning. Since she can’t leave him alone, he decides he will leave this place. At the park, he sees another abandoned cat and brings it home. Then he gets a welcome surprise from Misaki in his room. She set all this up and tidied up his room too? I guess that’s why Jin came back ‘early’ from his romp with one of his girlfriends too. Oh, he says he had 4 of them. Haha. Sorata settles in with the nabe party and soon the gang took that group photo (with Misaki Photoshop it to add Ryuunosuke in it). Jin has a feeling they will be together for a very long time but Sorata insists he is going to leave this place once he finds a caretaker for the cats. So back in present time, Sorata reminisces the other things he did in Sakurasou. Yeah, even know which cat put a scratch on that wall. Because everyone has their own great memories of this place, they don’t want it to be torn down. It is where they belong. And so they gather up to discuss what can be done to stop its demolition.

Episode 20
The Sakurasou kids are going to collect signatures for a petition to stop its demolition. They need to get 2/3 of signatures but it’s going to be hard since nobody cares. Can’t blame them. It is not their problem. The first to sign is Miyahara. This gives hope to them to work harder. Later Ryuunosuke shows them the board minutes that he hacked into. Firstly, the contractor who surveyed the place admits it is rundown and must be evacuated in 5 years. It shows there is no rush. The rest of the minutes have Mashiro’s name popping up. In short, the board views it inconvenient for Mashiro to live in Sakurasou and is using this reason to get her out. That’s because they feel she is squandering her potential of painting via manga and before the school can be blamed, they feel the need to take action. Although Chihiro has voiced out Sakurasou and Mashiro’s manga have nothing to do with each other, the board is not convinced. Sorata wants to go see the principal but is warned by Ryuunosuke of how he would know details of the minutes. He can’t say he hacked, right? That will make it worse. Ryuunosuke says that there is only one obvious answer. Sorata didn’t like his idea of kicking out Mashiro. Ryuunosuke tells him he can’t afford this kind of problem because he has his game proposal to deal with and would be better to sort this out. This petition thingy is also useless as most seniors are not attending class, getting 2/3 means almost every first and second year students must fill it in. Even so, this doesn’t guarantee Sakurasou to remain. Sorata chides Ryuunosuke that he doesn’t care if Mashiro gets kicked out. He wants everyone including him to stay because they are his friends. But Ryuunosuke points out if they have this strong bond and friendship thingy, a demolition of a building wouldn’t affect it, right? Even if they are successful, half of them will be gone by next year. Jin and Misaki will graduate while Nanami will have to move out if she is successful with her audition. Remember, Sakurasou is a dorm for problem kids. Once your problem is gone, so do you. So if Nanami becomes a voice actress under an agency, she will be free of her financial problems. In the event if she fails, she will have to go back to Osaka as promised. Either way, she will still leave. Ryuunosuke advises them it is better to spend time making more memories than collecting signatures.

Rita calls Ryuunosuke but Maid-chan answers. She’s still rather cautious over the ex-freeloading woman. Rita has heard about Sakurasou and that Ryuunosuke is not helping out with the petition. She is worried he will become lonelier once Sakurasou disappears. It’s like Maid-chan developed some sympathy so she shows her a photo of Ryuunosuke’s middle school friends. They were supposed to make a game together but Ryuunosuke’s superior skills meant that they cannot meet his requirements. Ryuunosuke found it irritating and lashed out at them. Slowly they start ostracizing him and shunned from all activities. While Sorata is going over his proposal with Fujisawa, the latter notices his mind is not here. He learns of his dilemma. Fujisawa mentions he too once experienced something similar. Before he graduated and was swamped with getting ready for the job he is working now, his girlfriend didn’t know what to do in life. She couldn’t decide in continuing to paint or become an art teacher. Fujisawa was too busy with his own matters to help her. He is sure there is a way of doing 2 things together without sacrificing the other. When Sorata walks home, he spots Misaki and joins her. Seems she has graduated from her voice acting school (whether you pass or fail, after 2 years you will graduate). She tells him how she wanted to become a voice actress because her teacher praised her when she read aloud. She wanted to do it even more so when her father protested. They see Mashiro outside Sakurasou checking the mail. It contains a letter of Nanami’s audition result. What is the verdict? She failed. Yes. She didn’t make the cut. She won’t cry because she knows she has done her best and wants to at least hold it after Jin and Misaki’s graduation. She wants to send them off with a smile. Suddenly Misaki barges out and have this great idea of getting more signatures. Dressing up in animal costume? Looks like she’s scaring them instead… Yeah, everybody has to wear one. Embarrassing? Not when Sakurasou is on the line.

Rita calls Ryuunosuke but he doesn’t want to pick up. Maid-chan advises him to do so since she feels this is important. She has heard about his past and understands why he won’t join the petitioning. But is that how he really feels? She also understands him because she herself gave up on painting once and tried to distance herself from Mashiro. It’s only natural to think there is nothing but disappointment. But now she has gone back to painting thanks to those Sakurasou kids. That includes him. He was there for her. She knows Sakurasou is important to him and assures he has a group of real friends who won’t betray or abandon him. When Nanami decides to go get more signatures, the guy wonders if he needs to sign again because he just did so on the school website. Everyone is surprised to see Ryuunosuke had done up an online petition and they go rush to give him a big happy hug. It gives them more motivation to carry on.

Episode 21
The petitioning continues. They even have the support from the shop owners. Misaki even came out with petitioning formations. Wow. They’re going great guns. But Sorata knows these days will soon be coming to an end no matter how hard they try. In class, Nanami suddenly cries for no reason! The class is shocked so Sorata takes her to the infirmary. She asserts she is fine so he heads back to class. He gets a call from Fujisawa about the committee’s decision on his game proposal. He failed. Without going into detail, he says there was another rhythm game submitted. It is simpler and based on a currently popular anime. The main basis he was rejected was because they didn’t want to have 2 rhythm games. He will receive the results in detail later by mail. Fujisawa blames himself that he should have made their meetings more frequent but Sorata is grateful for all his help. Fujisawa adds that there are some things in life that are just unattainable no matter how much effort you put into it. That’s how life works. Sorata begins to feel very frustrated at the end of the call. He might turn mad if I should say. He gets a message from Ryuunosuke asking about Nanami. He scolds Sorata that Nanami can’t be alright because if she was, she wouldn’t be crying like that. Sorata rushes back to the infirmary but she isn’t there. He sees her standing shell shocked in the rain. He says this is enough. He is happy she cared and worked so much for Sakurasou and everybody. But she replies all this is just an excuse to cover up her fear. She used her surroundings to pretend she wasn’t upset. She thought everything meant nothing but Sorata disagrees. Without her, he too wouldn’t have come this far. The petitioning wouldn’t have made so much progress. She should stop thinking too much and accept the fact she has failed her audition. Stop running away. She breaks down asking her sacrifice and hard work for 2 years was for what purpose. She wanted to have fun and go out with friends but had to work and save up. So wasn’t she not good enough? Sorata knows she has been trying hard. Harder than anyone in the world. He hugs her so she can let it all out.

After drying themselves in the infirmary and Chihiro treating her for slight fever, Nanami wants Sorata to stay by her side till she sleeps. She then learns about his proposal failure and feels guiltier since she was thinking about herself. Sorata admits he is also fed up of failing. Fed up of everything going wrong that he has become a coward. But all they can do now is let it go because they’ll think about the future once they’re ready. Sorata realizes he has overslept and rushes to the gates where the other Sakurasou members are petitioning. Sorata is mad that nobody woke him up and even if they have got a bunch of signatures today, it is nowhere near the quota. Jin says they can’t leave Nanami alone and they need someone she can relate too. Besides, they have done much to help them so it’s their turn to help back. When they leave Sorata with Mashiro, Mashiro wants to continue collecting more signatures despite the fact that there is not enough time. Today is the last day. When they return to Sakurasou, Sorata sees a mail from the committee. He opens the letter only to read that they are interested in Mashiro’s illustrations on the rhythm action game and wants to offer her to do character design for their company. Sorata realizes the letter is addressed to Mashiro. Then he goes crazy. Feeling unfair since it has ended up this way. The plan to have Mashiro draw more illustrations for his game backfired on him. He starts believing ordinary people cannot do anything no matter how hard they try. It is the same for Sakurasou. No matter how hard they try, they couldn’t do anything. Frustrating, eh? Mashiro notes it’s because she is here. Oops. Did Sorata say the wrong thing? Because Mashiro did say she will protect Sakurasou, she packs her bags and leaves.

Episode 22
Mashiro regrets what he said then but in some ways felt he wanted to. Early on the morning of graduation day when Sorata goes to wake up Mashiro, he panics he couldn’t find her around. Chihiro points out she left this morning. Why didn’t she stop her? She did talk to her whether she discussed this with Sorata and the rest. Apparently she did not. Chihiro points out the old Mashiro wouldn’t have done anything when she sees him panicking but is now a completely changed person. Ryuunosuke’s GPS has tracked Mashiro at school so off everyone goes. Thanks to Misaki’s drifting, they got there faster. Remember, don’t drive like her. In the art room, Mashiro is not around but a painting of Sakurasou. Sorata feels this is the painting of her feelings but is upset Mashiro herself isn’t in it. He realizes the emotions behind the words when she said she wanted to protect Sakurasou. It was her plan to leave if the petitioning failed. Everyone splits up to find Mashiro. Knowing her, she mustn’t have gotten far. Along the way, Nanami picked this time to tell him her promise. I hope it’s not because he’s giving too much attention to Mashiro. The thing she wanted to say was that she is glad to meet him and is able to work so hard because of him. Hearing his voice makes her optimistic and before she knows it, she is always looking at him. I suppose she couldn’t finish her sentence or what she really wanted to say since she wants him to go convey those feelings to Mashiro. Yeah. The reason why she persevered this long was because she fell in love with him. Ryuunosuke is reluctant but calls Rita for help anyway. I’m not sure if he had expected her but she’s right behind him! I’m sure she wants to stay and chat with him for long but they’ve got a job to look for Mashiro. Rita knows Mashiro will be fine as she won’t give up on something easily.

Fujisawa enters Sakurasou only to be slapped by Chihiro. That reason being is also why he is here to apologize to Sorata for that Mashiro job offer fiasco. He didn’t expect another team would ask Mashiro to work for them. He wants to help out but Chihiro insists there is nothing he can do. Even if there was, they don’t need him because the kids will figure out something themselves. Sorata finally finds Mashiro at the train station. He assures her things will be fine but Mashiro starts blaming herself and breaks down. I think she is showing a lot more emotions than she ever did for this entire anime. She thinks they’ve worked so hard but failed to save Sakurasou. It is because of her that everyone continues to get hurt and caused him to hate her. He tells her to shut up and listen. He apologizes and admits what he said was true. He meant it. He felt jealous of her who had talent. He felt frustrated enough for him to hate her. But thanks to her, he found something worth striving for. He worked hard and combined with his failures, it feels he is living the best days of his life. Had he not met her, he would’ve remained ignorant to these feelings. That’s why he loves her for teaching him that and there’s no way he’ll hate her. When the train stops and leaves, Mashiro is gone. Did she get onboard? Actually she was finding stairs to meet him on the other side. It’s a good thing she still wants to be with him and Sakurasou. But she still feels her presence will cause everyone to get hurt just like Nanami. Nanami tells her off her failure had nothing to with her or Sakurasou and it was completely her own. It was her own fault she didn’t listen to Sorata and put on a brave face when she should have cried. The girls hug and made up. Sorata adds that Mashiro misunderstood something. It wasn’t Sakurasou the building that he was talking about. It’s the people in it. Sakurasou is so because of them. Amazingly, Mashiro understood that quickly. Then they realize they need to rush back for the graduation ceremony that will begin soon. Sorata says he might not know what colour he wants to be but just for today, he wants it to be sakura colour even if it’s the last day that they will all be together.

Episode 23
Seems all students are being handed little sakura brooches for the graduation ceremony. It was Ryuunosuke’s idea to do something for Jin and Misaki and Rita helped out to make enough for the entire school. As the ceremony begins, everyone is surprised that Misaki is the representative for the graduating students as she takes the stage. Even more surprising, her speech is normal. In your wildest dream you never would have thought she would speak like that. Her speech starts off with how she came to Suimei to make friends and how Sakurasou was a lonely place slowly being filled with dreams. The rest feels like a short summary of what they went through. Just put in lots of heartfelt emotions. Then she makes a special mention and thanks for her Sakurasou pals in person (including Rita but excluding Jin) as well as everyone else in this school for being with her. At this point, everybody is already crying. If you’re not, you must be a robot or have a stone as a heart. Her speech could have ended well if not for that last bit whereby she makes an emotional plea that Sakurasou is on the verge of being demolished and pleads not for it to be taken away from them. The principal has had enough of this nonsense but Jin steps in. The principal was sure Souichirou was the one to have given the speech instead but as Jin pointed out, Souichirou did see him early in the morning to hand over the speech he wanted to say (which was Misaki’s speech). It proves the principal forsake his responsibility in not reading such an important speech. He orders the teachers to restrain Misaki and Jin but Sorata jumps onto stage and with a microphone in hand, he expresses his heartfelt feelings how Sakurasou gave him a home when he had nowhere to go. Nanami and Mashiro also join in.

The teachers are closing in on them when Miyahara rallies the students to support Sakurasou and show them what they are made of. In no time, everyone starts cheering for Sakurasou. It brought more tears to Sorata’s eyes. They couldn’t collect 2/3 of the signatures but their message was still heard. This goes out to more than just Sakurasou. It’s about everyone at Suimei too. Sorata evolves to being super emotional as he tells Misaki he wants to stay with them forever and do more stupid things together. He doesn’t want them to graduate. Misaki tells him in that case he should make memories with his juniors in their place like how he spent time with them. Do everything he wants to do that they can’t with them. The teachers still want to quell them so Ryuunosuke finally enters the hall to tell them that if they haven’t get the big picture yet, they should realize that the crowd is on their side. Souichirou suggests they should admit defeat. He heard Sakurasou was originally established to nurture art students who needed to be free from society’s expectations. Although he won’t defend those problem kids, seeing how close they are, their tight bonds and their faithful hearts, he envies them. Chihiro suggests taking a vote since everyone is here. For those in favour of revoking Sakurasou’s demolition, throw their sakura brooch into the air. Safe to say everyone who had that did so. In the end, the ceremony continues but the Sakurasou troublemakers are made to stand outside the hall for the entire duration. It is revealed that it’s Jin and Misaki’s ingenious strategy of using speech to evoke sympathy, exposing the faculty’s incompetence and having a vote once general sentiment was opposed to Sakurasou’s demolition. With such atmosphere created, those who didn’t sign the petition would have thrown their sakura too. Yeah, felt like they’ve conned the crowd, eh? They couldn’t tell the rest since they will not approve of it. Even if they did, they would still have gone ahead with it anyway. The final song is being played as the gang sing along and run along. Run free like the wind!

Episode 24
I think Sorata has nailed in too many nails so that the Sakurasou signboard won’t come off. Overdoing it? Nanami will also be leaving Sakurasou but only temporary. She is going back to Osaka to convince her parents about her dream to become a voice actress. Misaki has rented an SUV to see off the gang. I hope she will drive safely and not make this their last journey. Fujisawa comes by shortly. Once again he missed the boat to see the kids so he goes for a drink with Chihiro instead. First to see off is Rita at the airport. She feigns a handshake so that she could pull Ryuunosuke and kiss him on the lips. Next is Jin at the train station. Misaki still worries about being separated so he assures her with a kiss on her lips. If that’s not enough, he gives her the marriage registration form. When he comes back, they can submit it together. Nanami is going the same way too so she hugs Mashiro after she says her real home is Sakurasou. She promises to come back. After Misaki drops off the rest, she tells them she is just going home to move some things and will see them soon as they are going to Suimei University. Ryuunosuke then leaves to do his outside work. Now all that is left is Sorata and Mashiro. They are standing at the exact spot where Sorata first met Mashiro a year ago. Back at Sakurasou, Mashiro hangs up her painting of the dorm and this time she is inside the painting. Mashiro wants to kiss too after seeing a couple of bold ones. She’s not sure if this is for her manga. Sorata agrees to give it a shot. But as their faces inch closer, Hikari scratches Sorata’s face. Can a cat feel jealous? Mashiro manages to land a peck on his cheek. That’s a reservation for the future.

Spring arrives and after the entrance ceremony, Sakurasou will have 2 new members. First would be top student Kanna Hase who can’t stand her dorm mate and wants to move out. The other is Iori Himemiya, the boy who got expelled trying to peep in the girls’ bathroom on his first day! Nanami has also returned to Sakurasou (she somewhat forced her parents to agree although they realize how serious she is now) and wants to help Sorata out with making a welcome nabe for the new residents. She notices he is making a new horror adventure game. Sorata seeks her help in her voice acting as he wants to use it for his presentation. When Kanna and Iori arrive at the doorstep of Sakurasou, they hear Nanami’s screaming for blood! Then Sorata comes out with a knife covered with blood! It’s the tuna he was cutting. The first to freak out was Iori. He tried running away outside but sees Ryuunosuke with a sickle (he was weeding), then rushes back in, crashes here and there before ending up in Mashiro’s room. A beauty amidst the mess. First thing she tells him is to strip! He gladly obliges! Till Nanami had to barge in and put some sense into both of them. Seems Mashiro is trying to add new members into her painting and views a boy’s body to be difficult to draw sometimes. When everyone is having nabe, Sorata gets another shock because Yuuko is in Suimei’s uniform! Seems she has gained entry in the school and wanted to keep it a secret as a surprise. Her number was on the result board and she told Sorata a different number. She was Kanna’s rowdy roommate. Now we know why she wants to move out. Mashiro shows her painting of everyone. Except Yuuko. No space to put her in. Wow. Hear her screams of despair. Another surprise at the doorstep. It is Misaki. She is here to join them as their new neighbour. What? She couldn’t wait for Jin to come back so she moved in to their newly married home next to Sakurasou. What was the graduation ceremony for then? Sorata narrates Sakurasou is filled with many old and new colours as usual. All those colours shine atop the canvas that is Sakurasou. Oh, Mashiro manages to squeeze a little space for Yuuko’s mug in the painting.

A Place To Call Home
It has been quite an enjoyable and emotional filled ride (I’m not talking about Misaki’s driving). There were moments of laughter, there were heart-warming scenes and there was a particular streak of shedding too much tears. I guess you can say that emotional farewell-cum-save-Sakurasou speech was very moving. Infectious indeed. Enough to even make passers-by who do not know a single thing or have nothing to do with it to jump straight in and support whatever the cause. The show quickly evolves into one whereby Sorata’s goal of moving out from Sakurasou is quickly moved out of the way to one whereby the Sakurasou residents deal among themselves especially Mashiro’s departure to England after the cultural festival and the dorm’s impending demolition. I thought in a way this is quite a good story flow because it would have been tad boring if 2 dozen episodes were dedicate trying to see how Sorata desperately trying to move out from Sakurasou. I will just get tiring and repetitive. Just like the never ending troubles of a certain boy in the ecchi harem of To Love-Ru, eh?

This anime isn’t just focused on Sorata as the rest of the Sakurasou residence do have their fair share of screen time although basically it leans more towards Sorata and Mashiro’s relationship. Theirs is one reason why this series is funny because of the witty lines that they come up with against each other. In every episode, you are guaranteed to hear Sorata screaming his head off whether it is Mashiro’s inability to do something right or something emotional from the bottom of his heart. The way Mashiro always says things tends to lead to misinterpreted situations and make Sorata look like a bad perverted person. In a way, don’t you think complement each other? They both have each other as support to cover up their weaknesses. Mashiro’s lack of common sense makes her a funny girl. Also in the context of strange. She rarely puts emotion in her words (I guess it is all conveyed in the canvas) and when she does, it would feel so strange and different from the original Mashiro we know that you wish you had the previous one back. I can understand why Sorata felt that way. He has grown accustomed with what Mashiro is like and for her to change (even though it is trying for his sake) would seem funny. Sometimes I get this feeling that Mashiro’s lack of common sense is somewhat deliberate and on purpose just to piss Sorata off. Does she do this back in England too? Doesn’t Rita blow her top like Sorata too? Maybe Rita was suppressing her hatred all that time.

Even though Sakurasou has a bad reputation, once you get to know the residents better, you’ll find that they are not as bad as you thought they would be. They’re just ‘different”. I hope that moving speech from Misaki has made everyone realized that Sakurasou isn’t synonymous with problem people. I’m not sure everyone was just supporting Sakurasou at the spur of the moment because although the dorm didn’t get torn down, freshmen students as heard still have its bad reputation in their head. Maybe it’s Sorata’s job to dispel that too in the future. But if I’m told that Sakurasou houses problem people, it makes me wonder how Nanami can fit in there? Sure, she is having problems with her finance but does that make her a problem kid? If that is the case, then every student in Suimei surely must have their own personal problem, right? Consider extending Sakurasou? One thing funny I find about Nanami is that whenever she gets angry, she starts speaking in her Kansai accent. Very obvious. Very funny. Can’t shake off her Osaka trait, eh?

Wild child Misaki is the wildest and most unpredictable of them. I guess in every group you need to have one which is as crazy. Otherwise, where would the fun be? Her rowdy behaviour stems from hiding her loneliness for Jin. It might seem she is running away from reality but do you like it when Misaki is all down and gloom just like in that one episode? Better for her to be the mad and crazy woman we all know, right? Even Sorata admits he sort of likes that part of her. It’s funny that 2 people in love with each other can’t be together so with Jin wanting to become a better person for Misaki’s sake, he has to reject her for now till he improves. Just like Misaki, his flings with several other girls are also some sort of escapade from reality. I guess everyone in Sakurasou has this. Sorata wanted to run away from it when he is under stressed but the more he delays, it seems pretty much like an excuse. I thought I would never see the tomato lover Ryuunosuke but surprisingly he makes more frequent appearances after 1/3 of the show. I was resigned to the fact that all I will ever see is Maid-chan in his place. It is pretty funny for an artificial intelligence programme like Maid-chan to act very much like a human. You can see her hostility towards Rita each time she tries to approach Ryuunosuke. Things may have softened but I’m sure she isn’t totally dropping her defence yet. Ryuunosuke’s words may be harsh but it reflects reality. Sometimes I feel bad when he had to lash out to Sorata about facing the truth but what he says is true. It is because society functions that way. Can you blame Ryuunosuke for the way he thinks after he himself had gone through a bad patch? But he is not entirely a heart of stone because he is seen to have cried too especially during Misaki’s speech. I think everyone cried (except for some hard boiled teachers).

Chihiro may have the least presence among the Sakurasou residence but she is one I considered one of the most powerful in terms of helping out the problem kids. She may not look like it and half the time you would see her drunk or a sleepy head. She does dispense very well advice when the time calls for it and is quite a far person when it comes to protecting the rights of her Sakurasou fellows. Yuuko may not be a resident of Sakurasou and not even a regular but I can summarize that she is a lot more of a joker than a little sister. I thought with her now being admitted to Suimei, she should have been thrown into Sakurasou too for her rowdy behaviour which is only second to Misaki. And since she wanted to be with big brother so much, shouldn’t she just apply to live at the dorm? I’m sure Chihiro would have approved it. Not enough rooms? Since when is that a problem? That’s why I just don’t get it when Yuuko now a Suimei student but not a Sakurasou resident. If she moves in, I guess Kanna will have to move back out. Yuuko is like torn between 2 extremes. She has this brother complex and fawns over him but at the same time wants to be spoilt by him. So which is which?

Seeing that this is a romance comedy genre, there are a handful of moments between Sorata, Mashiro and Nanami. Some episodes give more Sorata-Mashiro time and there are other moments of Sorata-Nanami scenes. The way it builds up doesn’t have you thinking that this will lead to some kind of harem in-fighting like OreShura. So while it may not seem like romance is building up between them, at least it shows that their relationship are growing. Sorata certainly doesn’t blow his head off like he usually does every time Mashiro is in sight. He still does from time to time. But he gets angry not because he is upset. Yes he is but it is mainly because he loves her. I am not sure about Mashiro’s upbringing back in England because how can a girl like her grow up to be without common sense and emotion? I suppose everyone is so much more infatuated with Mashiro the genius painter that everything else about her doesn’t matter. It’s like treating her as a tool. That’s why when she came to Sakurasou, it was an eye opener and a heart changing experience. This is something that all the praises of her genius artwork cannot buy. To the extent that she would almost change herself for Sorata. Between Mashiro and Nanami, if I had to pick one who would confess to Sorata, I would bet on Mashiro first seeing she lacks the embarrassment barrier like Nanami. But that won’t really happen soon since Mashiro doesn’t understand the concept of love. Yet. For Nanami, after having 2 years of voice acting training, she still has a hard time to confess to Mashiro unless she is practising one of her roles? Easier said than done. Well, keep trying. As long as she continues her voice acting studies, there’s still a chance. I hope. That is, before Sorata makes his decision or some other girls with hers.

Interestingly we also have a glimpse of the odd relationship between Jin and Misaki. Of course thankfully theirs turn out to be genuine and it is just a matter of time they are together. Also not to be left out is Ryuunosuke whom Rita has set her eyes on. Even though he has this phobia of girls touching him (to the point where he might just collapse), I guess with Rita’s frequent presence, I can say that he has gotten used to her and shows less hostility towards her. But whether or not he really wants to become her boyfriend is another story. From the way things are going, not just yet. It will take a very long time for the persistent English woman to convince and convert this shut-in. But can you imagine Ryuunosuke totally lovey-dovey? I can’t imagine that so let’s stick with the cynical one that we all use to know. But there is something disturbing I noticed during the opening and ending animation. At some points I noticed that Ryuunosuke is too close to Jin! Is there something gay going on between them? The series doesn’t indicate so but it is sure mind boggling to see Ryuunosuke closer than normal to him. Is this his extend of hating women? Why not Sorata then, may I ask. There are indications that Chihiro and Fujisawa are ex-lovers and from what I see, they are staying as friends. I think there is even some sort of one-sided romance brewing for the new Sakurasou members. Iori for Kanna. Or maybe any pretty girl is okay for him. He was caught peeping at girls, right? Speaking about unrequited love, I guess it was a pity for Miyahara. It’s a good thing that he is able to move on and accept that Nanami’s heart belongs to someone else. Is it because of this experience that Nanami couldn’t confess her real feelings to Sorata? Can she handle the rejection? As for Yuuko… I don’t think I have anything to comment on her for this part.

Something that this series tries to tell us is that failure is all part and parcel of life. There is no shame in failing because it makes us stronger. We learn from our mistakes and pick ourselves up. It is disheartening to see Sorata and Nanami try their best but only to hit a concrete wall. You can feel for them the frustration that normal people no matter how hard the effort put in, those labelled as geniuses have much easier ride most of the time. If success is guaranteed for everyone, then logically nobody would really put in the effort, right? It is just like wishing. If God were to grant everybody’s wish, then there is no need for people to work hard in the first place. So with every failure that Sorata and Nanami encounter, it serves as a good experience and lesson for them to do better. And while they are far from being anywhere their dream goal, at least they have a dream and are making some progress. Even if it is a long way, the important thing is not to give up. They can feel frustrated, feel discourage and cry their heart out sometimes. The most important thing is never to abandon their dream. If they do, what will they have left? What were all their efforts for previously?

Which brings me to this question: What constitutes Mashiro’s art to be so amazing that it she is considered to be a genius? I admit that I am not a person who knows how to appreciate art so when I first looked at Mashiro’s most awesome painting, it felt just like any other painting to me. I even thought a kindergarten kid could draw like that and still earn the same praises. In conclusion, art is a very subjective subject. Its beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. So for those people who view Mashiro’s work as extraordinary, who are they? Elites? High society? In such case, if considering manga to be a lower art form than such works, I would say the same for those contemporary arts. In fact, I personally think manga looks much better since they have a story. I know each picture has a story to tell and worth a thousand words but you can find so much more in manga. Therefore it all boils down to your personal views and likes. The eye of the beholder. Thus to call her a waste of talent for her to be putting her effort in something else different, in a way I think it is uncalled for. Mashiro has found her new passion and calling, so why not view that new work of hers as new art? Again, society’s perception on manga and comics. At the end of the day, it always boils down to your preference.

I think Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was very fitting in voicing Sorata. Especially when he starts screaming out of frustration from the top of his voice. Very convincing actually. You can really feel the annoyance in his tone. So much different than his role as Kirito in Sword Art Online and Godou in Campione. When I first heard Ryuunosuke, I somehow suddenly felt this familiar strangeness. It’s like I have heard this voice somewhere before and then it hit me. It’s Yui Horie! I just heard her voiced a boy’s role as Riki in Little Busters and I did not expect so soon to be hearing her voice again in such a role. They sound somewhat similar I think those are the only roles so far in my life that I have heard her taking on a boy’s role. Similarly, she also does voice Maid-chan and she is more recognizable has the little artificial intelligence programme. It also took me a while to recognize Ayako Kawasumi behind the voice of Rita as she wasn’t like Nodame in Nodame Cantabile or Saber in Fate/Stay Night. Ai Kayano has played various emotionless characters before. So as Mashiro, she is close to like Inori from Guilty Crown and Kikaijima of Medaka Box. Mariko Nakatsu is the voice of Nanami and so far her only other anime role at this point is Erika in Ginga E Kickoff. Other casts include Natsumi Takamori as Misaki (Mei in Another), Takahiro Sakurai as Jin (Yamato in Sukitte Iinayo), Megumi Toyoguchi as Chihiro (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Yui Ogura as Yuuko (Hinata in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Satoshi Hino as Souichirou (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima series), Shintarou Asanuma as Fujisawa (Yoshiyuki in Da Capo II), Taishi Murata as Miyahara (Yamamoto in Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Iori (Taichi in Tari Tari) and Haruka Yamazaki as Kanna (Ruka in Hayate No Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You).

All the opening and ending themes have this upbeat feel to it that you can identify with the theme of friendship. The first opening theme is Kimi Ga Yume Wo Tsuretekita by the trio of Ai Kayano, Mariko Nakatsu and Natsumi Takamori while the second opening theme is Yume No Tsuzuki by Konomi Suzuki. She also sings the second opening theme called Days Of Dash and the second ending theme, Prime Number -Minna To Deaeru Hi- is by Asuka Ookura. One thing funny I find about the second ending animation is how everyone from Sakurasou are swaying their heads from left to right, right to left, to the tune of the song. Feels infectious… Feel like doing it too… There is a special opening song for one of the episodes focused on Nanami, I Call Your Name Again. Also, a special ending song for that graduation episode, Konnichi No Hi Wa Sayonara, makes you feel like wanting to just cry your heart out after all that heart moving scenes.

When Sorata mentions that the people in Sakurasou are the ones that make Sakurasou, shouldn’t he be less concerned about the building when it is going to be torn down? He might be greedy in wanting both the same people and the building where all their memories were made. It’s like having both your cake and eating it. Maybe long distance relationship doesn’t cut it for Sorata especially giving excuse he won’t get to take care of Mashiro. Once Jin returns, it will be like everybody back together again. Just like how it all started. Never left in the first place, eh? Just add some new additions to it. It is true that if your bond and friendship are genuine, you will remain friends anywhere and anytime, forever and ever. So it doesn’t matter if the building goes, right? Well, better to have it if they have the chance. I’m sure there are countless animes out there about weird dorm residence but at the end of the day, they only look weird to the outsiders. Those living in it get accustomed and feel part of the great family. And it builds character too. Weird people are weird only because a big majority of people in society do not act that way. Had they been the majority, then the normal ones would be weird. Don’t you agree? Point to ponder: Would you rather put up with a girl who lacks common sense to the point you need to take care of her daily basic needs or put with a group of harem girls fighting over you? The latter would seem tempting for an otaku but honestly, I rather have neither! As for what colour I would like today, at least it is not red for blood, blue black from bruises, green with envy or having a yellow streak. I prefer being dull colour.

I guess the allure of the lolis was too much that they had to make another OVA. Heh. Sorry. That was just my speculation. I didn’t expect there would be a second episode for Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai OVA although this one came out much later after the TV series and first OVA were released. That is, around a year later somewhere in June 2013. So the only reason you should be watching this is if you are a lolicon. Oops. Doesn’t that make me a lolicon? Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not a lolicon.

Okay, okay. You should watch this to feel complete that you have watched the entire series and if you like to see cute little girls in their cute little antics that do not impact the overall story, then this OVA should serve as a nice little dessert. Lolicon… Separated into a few stories, each of them gives each of the Takanashi sisters their little spotlight. As I said, don’t expect anything dramatic to happen. It’s just Yuuta and the girls. But more of the girls. They’re the main focus of this show, right? Lolicon…

Is Sora-chan’s Chastity In Danger?
It all began when Sora was lying around in her room in her underwear. Cheeky Miu barged in to report to Yuuta who is on the phone about what she saw. Sora wanted to get back at her but she couldn’t. Since Yuuta had to work overtime, that was what the call for as he won’t be back early and sent Raika over to take care of the girls. Sora complains to Raika and wants to get back at Miu so Raika had the perfect idea. She brought 2 bunny suits. They will hide in the closet and pop out to scare her. Seems pretty good on paper, huh? As they lay in wait inside the closet, Miu enters to look for them. However her friend Shiori was ringing at the door so she left the place and accidentally the duster hooked on the closet door. Yeah. Trapped. While Shiori and Miu go watch the horror video at the former’s place, Raika and Sora need to find a way out. Yeah. Yuri fanservice. The bunny suits are killing them so they have to take it off. First thing that comes to mind if a lolita and busty babe are trapped in an enclosed space. I wonder if Raika’s humongous boobs are taking away Sora’s precious space. That’s beside the point. Raika has an idea. Taking off her bra and using it to try and hook the duster through the small gap. She failed. One chance left. Sora’s turn. Please lend your bra. Also failed. Now they’re topless. Sora wonders if she can maintain this position any longer. Those boobs are very intimidating. Not enough space. So close that it’s rubbing against each other. Their face is so close that they could even kiss. Is Raika even serious about kissing her? At that time, Yuuta came back and it seems he worked his ass off so that he didn’t have to do overtime. Similarly, Raika had this idea of stringing their panties together and use it as a hook. Success! When they fall out of the closet, Yuuta happen to walk in to look for them. See where this is going? How often do you get a pair of naked girls busting out of the cupboard? Even those bunny Playboy girls popping out from the birthday cake isn’t this bad. I don’t know if Sora’s punch or kick or whatever was so strong that Yuuta broke through the glass door and almost fell off the balcony!!! Hold on tight to him!

Miu-chan’s Fashion Lesson
Shiori brings some cake to Miu and since nobody else is at home, they want to eat it. Miu messes up and has her face splat right into the cake. Don’t ask how this even happened. This causes the cake to also splatter all over Shiori. Now you get your yuri fanservice with both the girls taking a shower and bathing. As usual, cheeky Miu teases Shiori about her prized assets and feels the need to become her fashion designer because she thinks her casual wear won’t make her stand out. So Miu blindfolds Shiori and puts on several dresses. Till she puts on the school swimsuit, Shiori starts fantasizing about ‘uniting’ with Yuuta along with the rest of the sisters. Share the love! Shiori gets embarrassed when Miu puts on a bridal outfit. Miu wonders if she herself will get to wear this. Shiori is confident when she gets a guy of her own. Maybe she’ll get to wear a dress she designed herself. It’s time for Shiori’s revenge to put on clothes on Miu. That night when everyone puts on their yukata and plays the fireworks, Miu ponders Shiori and Sora can be rivals for a certain somebody in 2 years’ time. She also wonders where they will all be in 10 years.

Hina-chan Goes All By Herself
On a rainy morning, Hina wakes up early and goes out by herself. So it is natural that the others start to worry and start looking for her since she left without telling them anything. Even that lolicon Sako wants to help. He can’t bear to know his angel is missing. Somehow I feel it would’ve been better if he hadn’t desperately chip in. You can say Hina is lost but she tries to remember the directions as said by her sisters to the amusement park. When it stops raining, Hina plays at the playground with her creative imagination of taking off in a rocket through the clouds. Shiori spots her and seeing that she is on her way to sit the Ferris Wheel, she will accompany her there (because Hina went in the wrong direction). Shiori calls Yuuta and they are relived they know she is safe in her hands (and not some lolicon senpai). Yuuta reveals that today is his sister’s birthday and they’re supposed to bring a birthday cake to her grave. Of course Hina is too young to understand so Yuuta promised her to take her to the amusement park without knowing about this. Shiori and Hina reach the amusement park and wait in line to ride the Ferris Wheel. But here comes mad Yuuta. Mad for making them worry sick. I know it’s wrong on her fault but cut her some slack. She’s just a 3 year old and whose heart wouldn’t break to see a loli breaking into tears? Hina can’t hold back her tears and cries in Yuuta’s arms while apologizing. Everyone rides the Ferris Wheel together and when they reach the top, Hina takes out a drawing of her mom. Personally, I feel it’s horrible. I didn’t even think it’s human. I know. She’s only 3 years old. It’s fine, right? Yeah. Don’t hate me. Please. But there is a reason she drew this. She knows it is mommy’s birthday so she wanted to come here and sit this and show it to her. Which is the highest point and closest point to heaven? Aww… Everyone is so touched by Hina’s gesture so they wish mommy happy birthday out loud. I guess Hina is slowly growing up after all. Yuuta promises to look after them all till they walk down the aisle. Meanwhile Sako is cursing himself because he is stuck in the train which had an emergency stop. He could’ve been there with his angels right now. Thank God he didn’t.

They Grow Up So Fast…
Well, it was rather okay seeing it brought back some memories of the TV series. I’m not sure what else to comment since everything feels like it is the same. Yuuta trying his best to provide for the girls as their uncle-cum-father while he juggles with his studies and part time job. It may be tough but I believe they can go through it together. That’s what family is for, right? The girls also never change. Sora the tsundere, Miu the cheeky and Hina the cutie innocent. Not forgetting Raika the oddball and Sako the lolicon too. I don’t remember if the TV series had this much fanservice because when they started off with Sora-Raika fanservice, I thought it would set the tone for the rest of the OVA. I was thinking, were they serious in turning something innocent just for that? Were they really going to satisfy the horniness of lolicons? Apparently it was somewhat lessened in Miu’s story and practically none for Hina. You’d be a real pedo if you see any of that for Hina. As they say, time flies. One minute ago it seemed that the children might look like innocent kids. The next they’ll be hitting puberty and before you know it, all grown up and have flown the nest. It’ll always be the hardest part for a parent to let go of their child. Eventually one day, all the little girls will grow up and become beautifully matured fine young ladies. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s the worst nightmare for a lolicon!

Kotoura-san

October 4, 2013

How cool would it be if you had mind reading powers? You can tell what the other wants or has to say without him or her having to open his mouth. You will be able to know in advance and learn all the secrets that people are hiding for you. Why not even ace the exams and read the thoughts of the smartest student during examination while you’re at it? Sounds pretty wonderful if you had just that mind reading ability, right? Think again. It isn’t so in Kotoura-san. Our titular character may look like a cute normal girl on the outside. However she was born with the ability of mind reading. That actually doesn’t seem too bad. Until she starts ‘hurting’ people around her. Or more precisely, people blame her for getting ‘hurt’.

She isn’t the kind of girl who would use her ability for evil. But when you are a kid, like all kids are at their age, they tell the truth. They are honest. So what happens when she starts telling the different thoughts of others instead of the ones through the mouth? Exactly. They hate her. They hate her power. They call her names. They ostracize her. Not so fond of that power now, eh? Just because she is ‘different’ from the rest, she went through a torrid childhood. Sometimes you just don’t understand society. You want to stand out but if you stand out in the wrong department, you’ll find yourself isolated. Quantity over quality. Everybody does it, you also do it. However do not mistake that this anime will be a Shakespeare tragedy. Despite the heart wrenching premise, this is actually more of a romance comedy. Despite the majority of the people around shun her, there are a few whom accept her for who she is and with these few friends, she starts giving life and ultimately herself a second chance.

Episode 1
When Haruka Kotoura was born into this world, she was a happy innocent girl. She somehow knew what others would say and would say it aloud much to the other’s surprise. Innocent and cute at first. Till this habit got a bit out of hand. She told the truth about her friends liking certain boys. Although they deny it, the other misinterpreted it and started crying. Soon she was being labelled as someone who makes things up. A liar. Her father drowned himself with work while letting his wife Kumiko to take care of this problem since it is a mother’s job. Kumiko brought her to various doctors but they couldn’t find anything wrong (she even got kicked out!). Not even the temple priest can help. The stress builds up and she starts drinking and easily getting upset. It all goes downhill when Kotoura mentions about her parent’s affairs. Kumiko has had enough. She is abandoning Kotoura and leaving the family. She doesn’t care anymore. Kotoura doesn’t want her to go and will do anything it takes to go but was pushed away. Kumiko’s last hurtful words were she regretted giving birth to her. Kotoura’s torment didn’t end. The kids tease her a mind reading monster and she became ostracized. Her best friends ditch her because they thought she got close to them just to read their minds. She thought she found solace in an abandoned kitten but that was short-lived. Some women sent the kitten to the shelter because she couldn’t stand someone feeding the cat. What’s her problem? That’s when Kotoura snapped. She just doesn’t care anymore. She doesn’t give a damn what people have to say (in their mind). Transfer to another school, they’re relieved the troublemaker is gone. Transfer in to that school, they complain about the hard time they’ll be having. It’s the same. Till she sits next to this boy in class, Yoshihisa Manabe. She reads his crazy mind. I don’t know what the hell this guy is dreaming! Tadpoles with legs dancing in the American desert?! WTF?! Kotoura continues to be cold to anybody. You say something different in your heart from your mouth, she just tells you the truth. Screw you. But not Manabe. He is the only person (and probably the first in a very long time) who wants to eat with her. He is awed at her mind reading and thinks it’s some trick. He advises her not to go overboard with it. Like she cares.

Over the next few days, Manabe accompanies Kotoura in everything she does. If she’s left out, he goes to her. He thinks her mind reading is cool and wants to learn it but she chides him off for not knowing anything. She tries to avoid him but he gets her attention by thinking doing something naughty with her. Kotoura warns him to stay away if he doesn’t want his thoughts read. But all Manabe is concerned is that he can’t have dirty thoughts anymore!!! It’s torture for a guy who can’t think of dirty things!!! One day, Manabe helps Kotoura in her errand (maybe he wants something ecchi in return). He learns she lives alone. As they are about to cross the light, Kotoura reads the truck driver’s mind that he isn’t going to stop and saves Manabe from being run over. Kotoura thinks this is further proof why he should stay away but all he did was smile and thank her. He brings her back to her place to put some bandage on her bruised knee. Kotoura tells him of her tragic past and that she can’t control its power. She hurts everybody and the only thing to do is to make sure no one gets close to her. But Manabe wonders if she is fine with that. She might not want to hurt others but all he sees is her who is getting hurt. Kotoura fears the people she cares will leave her, that’s why she thinks it is better to be alone. Manabe tells her, regardless of whether she can read minds or not, people who want to leave will leave. Not everyone is like that. He makes a promise he will be by her side no matter what. So won’t she try this out? She is so touched with his sincerity that she cried. But she soon reprimands him for even having dirty thoughts of her at that moment! A girl crying is such a turn on? Definitely a weirdo.

Episode 2
Kotoura seems to be happier with Manabe by her side. Although, he should be more careful about his perverted thoughts. A girl named Yuriko Mifune enters the class looking for Kotoura. She heard rumours she can read minds. Kotoura denies that when Mifune didn’t say a thing. That just proves it. Mifune is happy to meet her and wants her to join the ESP Research Society in which she is the president. Can’t say no, can’t she? Manabe wants to join too. Yeah? What has he got? Lots of perverted fantasies! Perverted power! He’s in. The clubroom is a little scary. It’s no wonder Kotoura wants to run away. They get the fright of their lives when they think a doll came to life. Actually this puny size guy is Daichi Muroto, the club’s vice president. And so the quartet make up the entire club. Blame Mifune for abducting people here so they ran away. Yeah. Kotoura wanted to run away too but they have all the locks and latches. No escape. So as the duo are inducted into their club, Mifune explains their goal is to find scientific proof that psychic abilities exist and protect those who are prejudiced from society. Next day, Hiyori Moritani, the classmate who has a secret crush on Manabe invites him to go out with her as she got some free coupons. However he turns her down and prefers to go with Kotoura for club activities. I’m not sure about Manabe’s training of thinking about dirty thoughts but Kotoura thought she saw a dark past in Mifune’s heart. Later, Muroto notes to Mifune that he knows she did it on purpose. He won’t agree or go against her if that’s what she wants. Mifune is adamant she has found the real thing and will use her even if she has to resort to cheap pity and sympathy. Kotoura didn’t want to go to the club but Manabe forces her. They learn Mifune had a mother who shared Kotoura’s mind reading abilities. She helped police solve cases but one day the newspapers start calling her a fraud. Subsequently she hanged herself. Kotoura feels bad for her. Meanwhile, Moritani escapes her dojo training (are they doing some sort of a family Haka?) and is not too pleased to see Manabe with Kotoura. Mifune wakes up from a nightmare. After her mother killed herself, she was targeted and called names. They continued to badmouth her mom as a con artist and her suicide proved she was guilty.

Mifune plans to hold a fortune telling store to increase the awareness of their club. The plan is to have Mifune sitting up telling the fortune while Kotoura hides behind her and feeds back answers with her mind reading ability. The guys are to hand out flyers. The students have a go since it looks fun. Because Kotoura couldn’t exactly see whose heart she is reading, Mifune read the wrong fortune. Like a fraud, eh? Kotoura suggests switching places. This time she nails it correctly and slowly the impressed crowd grows. Moritani didn’t like how she is getting the attention and goes to take her fortune. Without saying a word, she says all the hurtful things to Kotoura which brings back those horrifying experience. She blames her for snatching away the boy she likes. The final word of calling her a monster causes her to vomit. The next few days, Kotoura starts become the subject of ridicule. She didn’t say anything to Manabe and he didn’t suspect a thing. Mifune hears from her friends that Kotoura is being bullied and feels guilty. She is going to stop this. Finally when Manabe realizes Kotoura has been bullied, he goes all out to find the culprit although Kotoura didn’t say a thing. He has a feeling Moritani is the one behind this and confronts her. He lashes out at her so Moritani wants to know why he is always on her side. Because he likes her! Got a problem with that?! Touched Kotoura heard all that and she is too scared to face him in the clubroom. She’s so small she can hide inside a box! She has to come out sometimes, right? Can’t escape either. The locked door… Mifune apologizes to Kotoura that it’s her fault so Kotoura hopes she can continue staying in this club. The touching scene is ruined with Manabe visualizing their yuri scene. Somebody needs to check his brain.

Episode 3
There’s a love umbrella diagram of Kotoura and Manabe on the blackboard. Manabe tells the class off on how the picture is to be done! Don’t miss out on the heart! Kotoura hears his thoughts. He thinks she hasn’t overhead his confession yesterday and wants to keep quiet about that. Kotoura goes to the clubroom first. Muroto is the only one there. She reads his mind he wants to dissect her!!! Of course that was just a joke so Mifune ties him up. Short guy looking like a cocoon… Mifune realizes Manabe does not know about the confession. She tries to support her but Kotoura is just too embarrassed. Kotoura and Manabe learn Mifune and Muroto are always together because they are childhood friends. At least that is what Muroto claims (now he is a spinning cocoon). Mifune suggests Kotoura make lunch for him and she can feed him while she’s at that. Kotoura will think about it. That just brings tears to his eyes. Today’s after school event is a karaoke session as Mifune feels the need for the members to bond. When Kotoura takes the microphone, she’s tone deaf! So bad that Muroto’s glasses crack! When it’s over, Mifune wants Manabe to walk home with Kotoura. Maybe they can confess better when they’re alone. After they leave, Muroto wonders if she’s trying to make amends for what she did. She denies. She needs to achieve her goal and will play the role of a nice senior if it is what it takes. Muroto apologizes she has no talent to be an actress. Kotoura tells Manabe how she is having a happy time now because there are more people getting closer to her. He is confident she will have more of such moments from now on. She wanted to confess at that moment but accidentally peeks into his mind. Manabe the wolf tries to devour Kotoura the sheep! How can he think of such things at a time like this? Meanwhile Moritani is let off some steam that her training pole takes a beating. Her loyal dojo guys vow to do anything for her. See that evil smirk on her face?

Mifune is disappointed Kotoura still hasn’t make lunch for Manabe. She did but was too embarrassed and ditched the idea. She encourages her to do it again because by doing so it will move him to tears. Later when Kotoura shops for ingredients and tells Manabe her intentions to make him lunch, he is so happy that he could have broken the world record for high jump. Unknown to them, the dojo guys are watching. When Manabe parts, they tail him to a deserted street and beat him up. Based on Moritani, she accuses Manabe as a stalker and wants them to rough him up a little. Although Manabe doesn’t know what’s going on, he fights back. So much so the dojo guys are given a run for their money! They return to Mifune who is more worried about Manabe than them. Don’t worry. He’s still alive. Next day in class, Kotoura thinks Manabe is running late. Suddenly when the teacher comes in, she knows Manabe has been hospitalized due to a fight. Then she hears Moritani’s thoughts. She is trying to assure herself this is not her fault although she is shivering like mad. Kotoura reacts and Moritani thinks it is over. She’s going to tell everyone. But all she did was smile and assure that Manabe will be alright. Kotoura leaves early for the hospital. Mifune is stumped because she didn’t tell on her. She realizes what Manabe said was true and blames herself as a fool. Kotoura sees Manabe in hospital. The thought of pitying crashes to a halt when he wants the nurse to feed him! Then he hears his relief that Kotoura wasn’t around him when it happened. She doesn’t need to get hurt anymore. She realizes things never changed. People around her will eventually get hurt. Because of her, Moritani was pressured to do such things. She swore never to get involved in such things and hopes he would forget about her. Manabe is discharged shortly but Kotoura has not come to school since. She even moved out from her home. Where did she go? The only thing he knew was he failed to protect her.

Episode 4
A week has passed since Kotoura went away. Manabe acts like normal but he knows something is missing. Mifune finds him pathetic and drags him to the clubroom. Yes, really dragged him all the way. He just got discharged, right? Manabe laments he is out of options to find Kotoura and has nothing left, not even a picture of her. Really? Nothing? Thinking back, they have memories, right? Apparently he thinks it’s his burning rage to spank her once he finds her! Mifune announces they will hunt down Kotoura and bring her back. Muroto has hacked the cameras of the train stations and has pinpointed her ‘escape route’. Isn’t that a crime? Oh, who cares! So the trio are starting at the train station where she alighted. Her hometown. They’ve got all the grand plan laid out but they forgot to make reservations for accommodations. The childhood friends blame each other. The station officer knows a place they can stay and introduces to the temple. The trio are amazed when they hear the head priest is ESP crazy. His interest piqued 10 years ago when a girl with strange powers that causes pain came here. Kumiko brought Kotoura here in hopes he could exorcise whatever possessed her. He wanted to do something for her and started researching but by that time she was already gone. The friends are shocked to see a picture of Kotoura. The priest tells how Kotoura was always worrying how to make her parents and friends make up. Manabe is angry she has been carrying the burden all by herself. The priest points out she has a family mansion over the hills and will take them there tomorrow. He notes the good friends Kotoura has. Till he realizes how they plan to grab her from behind, tie her up and take her back home. Some friends… Kotoura talks to her grandpa, Zenzou and laments the need to change to another school and also having him pay for her expenses. Grandpa wants her to sit on his lap. It brings back memories till she reads his perverted mind that he loves the feel of her butt and thighs. A pervert just like Manabe. Manabe who?! Zenzou can’t believe there is another guy who wants to do wanton things with her and vows her butt and thighs belong to him!!! They belong to Kotoura herself, gramps.

The priest brings the trio inside the mansion. Zenzou is waiting for Manabe. Right off the bat, he asks what kind of sexual play he has with his granddaughter! He gives his honest answer of sexual fantasy! Zenzou thinks he is just an amateur and tells him about that butt-thigh contact this morning. They exchange stupid perverted opinions till Kotoura walks in. Catch her! Big house, small girl. She can hide behind any furniture. They split up as Kotoura thinks Manabe is mad at her. But she hears him apologizing he couldn’t protect her and their promise. He wants to see her. Emotional Kotoura is just about to see him when suddenly his mind changes to a perverted one. He wants to spank her butt so hard and then caress the swollen butt. So shock that she gets caught. Do they need a net? Are they catching an animal? Kotoura explains herself she left because she doesn’t want to get anyone else hurt and it’s her fault. Manabe tells her off having her around is already part of his life. Zenzou hopes they will forgive her since she has no friends and doesn’t know how to react around them. He is willing to re-enrol her back in the same school but she stands firm on not wanting that. She runs away so Manabe goes after her. Outside the gates, they are surprised to see Moritani. She wanted to apologize and hired a detective to track her whereabouts. When Moritani spills the beans, she is surprised Manabe doesn’t know yet. He is not happy that she is the source of the attack. She is very sorry and breaks down but Manabe clearly isn’t interested. Crying harder now, isn’t she? Suddenly the victim becomes the bad guy. Kotoura and Moritani make up. The latter thanks her for opening her eyes and will change. More good news as Kotoura decides to go back to school. She narrates although she can read people’s mind and know everything about them, people can change. She was an arrogant selfish coward, turning her back on everyone and herself. She believes she can change little by little.

Episode 5
Kotoura moves back to her apartment and she is on friendlier terms with Moritani. Speaking of which, Moritani joins the ESP Research Society. Manabe is not happy but as long as there is a new play thing for Mifune, she’s glad to accept. Manabe and Moritani fight over Kotoura’s attention. Mifune wants to know what kind of ability she has. Can’t say no… She can move things without touching them. Really? Demonstrate! She uses her Mori style punch to blow out the candles. Wow. Is that really psychokinesis? Moritani wants to know Mifune’s ability. She gives a long winded story about being a general. In short, she has no abilities. Rather, she doesn’t need one. Mifune announces they will have a welcoming party for Moritani at Kotoura’s place. She’s living alone so they don’t have to bother about troubling anyone. Have they thought how it’s troubling her? Mifune lays out the plan and delegates the duties. Moritani notes this is her ability. She’s good in ordering people around. So at Kotoura’s place, the girls cook and it seems Moritani can’t do a decent job. Is that poison she’s cooking? It hurts when that comes out from Manabe’s mouth, eh? Later they watch some psychic horror movie. Kotoura gets scared not because of the show but Manabe’s perverted mind. I guess Moritani wants to use the being scared tactic to cling onto Manabe (looks like she hasn’t given up yet) but he shrugs her off. When they sleep, Kotoura falls off her bed and rolls next to Manabe. Mifune snaps a picture of this and shows it to Kotoura next morning. Wow. Instant wake up. Then she shows it to Manabe who wants it to blow it up to poster size. Curses, she deletes it (not before sending a copy to Kotoura). After everyone leaves, Manabe returns as he forgot to give her a present. It is a poster of Moritani’s family doing their Mori style pose as advertisement to attract new students. Funny, eh? He thought she could use this to cheer herself up. Kotoura feels bad for Moritani and crumples it up. But when she is alone in her room, she can’t help laugh her ass off!!!

In class, she tries hard not to laugh when Moritani speaks to her (she thinks Kotoura hates her again!). So hard that her stomach hurts and she couldn’t pay attention in class about choosing the event for the sports festival. She ends up doing the relay which she really doesn’t want. She wants to switch (especially with Moritani’s) but nobody will give in. So now it’s Moritani’s fault? For what? Yeah, the laughter. Anyway Kotoura mentions her other ability of being a klutz. Don’t worry. Everybody knew about it! Mifune vows to back her up with some training. It’s her way of saying she has lots of free time. And so the dreaded training begins. Let’s say we need to pray for a miracle. And you thought Manabe’s method would work. Whereby he could run faster if he hangs a sexy girl picture in front of his face. He gives Kotoura a naked picture of himself!!! She shred it to pieces. Good choice. On sports day, Manabe who is in the scavenger hunt tells Kotoura he will pick her if his list states ‘girlfriend’. Kotoura waits and hopes and it must have come true since Manabe is coming towards her. However he ignores her since he needs to find a bug. He takes Moritani to the finish line instead. So this is the bug? Feel the wrath of Mori style punches in the gut! And the funny part is ‘mushi’ means bug and ignore. Kotoura steps up for her relay. As expected she is like a slow turtle. She sees her club members cheer her on as Manabe rallies her classmates to support her. In no time, they start cheering for her and this gives her confidence to run faster. Unfortunately she had to trip and takes a tumble. Whose fault was it? Blame Manabe… Kotoura goes home and looks at the Mori picture. She laughs her ass off. Pain gone. Works like a charm.

Episode 6
Moritani interrogates Kotoura for the good grades she gets because she can read other people’s mind. So what’s the big deal? Moritani failed her test and is bound for remedial classes! But does it give her the right to pick on Kotoura? Well, she doesn’t want to be alone and left out for the summer vacation at Kotoura’s hometown. Even that pervert barely passed. Keep thinking more about boobs, butts and bikinis, and Kotoura will ban you from coming. Taking a train, Moritani feels left out since the seats are arranged in fours. Kotoura knows this feeling and goes to accompany her. They arrive and are being picked up by Zenzou in his limo. Zenzou hints she knows Moritani was the one behind the random street attack and indirectly sends a cheeky warning. The friends are brought to a dilapidated building that was a secret government facility carrying out research on espers. But it was destroyed and everyone inside it died. You can see where this is going, right? Yeah, the only one scared to the bones is Kotoura. She’s clinging on so hard to Moritani that Manabe could turn into a ghost of jealousy. Of course, everyone except Kotoura knows this is not a secret facility as claimed by Zenzou but just an abandoned hospital. Mifune tells the truth straight about this setup because they love to see Kotoura’s reaction and freaking out. But even if there are ghosts, can Kotoura read their mind? Yeah. She’s hearing voices. Perverted voices. Don’t worry. Those are Manabe’s perverted thoughts. It’s his ability to think perverted stuffs in any situation. Just then, a monster taps Kotoura’s shoulder. Is this a real chupacabra? Hell, just run! There are other monsters chasing them to. When they reach the end and out, they see a huge amusement park. Wait a minute. Aren’t those mascots representing them in the parade? Only Moritani is in a cage… As revealed by Zenzou, he put together this flashy theme park, Haruka Land to commemorate Kotoura’s first time of bringing friends home. The abandoned hospital they went through was actually part of the haunted house attraction. Kotoura is overflowing with embarrassment…

So after a theme park, now it’s a private beach? How rich is this dude? Mifune and Moritani show off their swimsuit and curves. Kotoura isn’t anywhere near them… Mifune gets pissed since she didn’t get the desired reaction from Muroto. He just continued reading his book on the deck chair. What a big disappointment. I guess Manabe admires the swimsuit so much that when he wants to play with Kotoura, she snarls at him and swims further into the ocean. Back on shore when it is time for lunch, they realize Kotoura too far and waving frantically. Manabe with his power of love, rows as fast as his could to rescue her. Kotoura cries and holds him. Feeling scared and relieved at the same time. At this point, Manabe is in a dilemma to do funny things to her or just suffice being the good guy. Once back on shore, Kotoura is surprised Zenzou has hired a chef to make them lunch. Then Zenzou laments to Manabe he wasted the chance he had given him. He’s a pathetic wimp he couldn’t do anything. Try harder next time, eh? It seems Kotoura has made lunch for Manabe. Thinking he won’t get to taste it again, luckily this guy is sharp so he goes to have hers instead. Delicious as always. During night time, they play fireworks and Kotoura refuses grandpa’s help (he hired professional firework artisans). She is glad that her summer vacation is fun because of them. It is just the beginning. But it starts off with her usual pathetic ditzy tripping.

Episode 7
If you’re wondering why Manabe and Zenzou are talking about some friendship adventure in the beginning, it’s because they are very looking forward to the mixed hotspring. Too bad it’s close for remodelling. So very disappointed… So desperate that they try to dig one of their own in the backyard with dirty thoughts of Kotoura fuelling their digging. Guess what? They hit oil! Why still so sad? What’s the use of adding more wealth when grandpa can’t even spend some quality time with granddaughter in the bath? Manabe drowns himself by eating and ate Moritani’s horrible cooking (no improvement as far as I can see). So horrible that his face turned rainbow! He shoves it down her throat and they go crazy. She’s trying to rape him?! Kotoura tries to stop them but Moritani is interested in molesting her while Manabe is having a swell time with a pot. That’s not Kotoura, dummy… Meanwhile the priest seems gloomy when he talks to Zenzou. Last night, he brought Kumiko to the beach when the kids were playing fireworks to see how Kotoura has changed. She was not impressed a single priest and still thinks she will bring misfortune like how their family was torn apart. She didn’t want to even meet her as she felt they’ll end up hurting each other again. Next morning, Manabe couldn’t believe he is sleeping between Kotoura and Moritani! How the heck can he not remember the greatest time of his life last night?! He is so screwed. Moritani also gets the wrong idea when the seniors put it in a very ambiguous way. Moritani’s mind became so dirty due to the misunderstanding that very embarrassed Kotoura had to poke her eyes to snap her out of such unholy thinking. Kotoura lectures Manabe and Moritani but the former isn’t listening. They have to leave for home since Moritani needs to finish her homework. Before leaving, Kotoura takes a look at the room she once spent a great deal of her time. She can tell from the priest’s thoughts that mommy was here and was watching over her. Kotoura didn’t break into fear so it proves that she is wearing such a lovely smile now.

Back home, Kotoura thinks of inviting Manabe to hang out with her while trying to convince herself this isn’t a date. However he can’t be reached. For several days, she cannot contact him so she goes to see Mifune. Something is obviously wrong. The last time she was with him, he was doing multiplications in his head! Mifune gets this idea to spy on him. Who knows? Maybe he is cheating on her and dating Moritani. Muroto dismisses it since she is back home doing her homework under the watchful eye of her dojo people. Some setting… Muroto doesn’t want to join the girls but hints to them he is near the train station before giving off an evil smirk. The girls see Manabe taking tissues from only girls. Then they lost him easily. Kotoura passes a bear mascot and his thoughts seem somewhat similar. It is Manabe underneath it and while taking a breather during his break, he is surprised Kotoura confronted him. He is obviously hiding something when he tries reciting the pi formula! Kotoura gets desperate to use her flat boobs to seduce him but it backfired. Instead she became disheartened instead. Kotoura seeks solace in Mifune. She lets her have a peep into her memories again. A time when everyone teased her about her mom being a phony. Muroto was the only person who stood up and believed in her and that her mom was the real thing. The thing she wants to say is that even if you love someone a lot, sometimes you get tired of believing and begin to doubt. Of course she thinks Manabe will be alright since he is an idiot. I’m not sure if Kotoura is emotional after seeing her tragic past or jealous of her confidence coming from her boobs. Summer vacation is almost over. Moritani escapes her dojo’s ‘house arrest’ so she can seek Kotoura’s help to study. Moritani worries about Kotoura after hearing what she’s been through. She feels bad for thinking that something bad has happened to them and knocks her head on the wall repeatedly as repentance. I wonder if that was necessary. On the day the new school term starts, after class, Manabe gives Kotoura a big birthday surprise at the clubroom. He did all the decorations and setup. He learnt her birthday from Zenzou and wanted to do something and never told the rest because he wanted to show off. After giving his little present, Kotoura is the happiest girl in the world.

Episode 8
Kotoura receives a lovely little pendant. The mood is ruined when she finds a naked picture of Manabe inside. Crush it! Kotoura soon develops a fever and has to stay in bed. Her friends visit her. The rest doesn’t think it is a good idea for Manabe to stay with her all night long due to his perverted nature. Manabe asserts he won’t take advantage of Kotoura but they don’t trust him. However Kotoura doesn’t read anything bad on Manabe’s mind. Although still suspicious, they trust Kotoura’s words. After everyone leaves, Manabe thinks of trying out something as he too sensed something amiss. He thinks of the most perverted fantasies he has with Kotoura. No rebuking action. This means she can’t read minds when she is sick! A good opportunity to take advantage of! Perverted fantasies to the max! Then he realizes it is no fun if he doesn’t see Kotoura embarrassed! She feels sweaty so he thinks of wiping it off for her. Kotoura can’t detect any perverted thoughts but his face seems perverted. She agrees to let him do so and takes off her shirt. They didn’t go through with it since they got embarrassed. Kotoura falls asleep and dreams of better times with her mom. When she was sick, she was the kind gentle mother who took care of her. Manabe feeds her porridge and when it is time to leave, she requests him to hold her hands till she falls asleep. Manabe tries to hold it in and be a gentleman. Next day, Kotoura is back to great health. But the rest are still worried if Manabe did anything funny last night. Even if Kotoura assured them he didn’t, Manabe sure doesn’t look too well. He wants to take a break after working so hard? Once hearing the truth about him suppressing his desires then, Kotoura gives Moritani the permission to beat him up. Although it is somewhat confirmed she cannot read minds when she is sick, Kotoura cannot recall if this is always so. She was sick several times before but in such state, she is in no condition to read minds. Besides, her mind reading power isn’t back yet. Mifune seems disappointed. To make Manabe atone his sins, Mifune wants Manabe to show Kotoura a good time like eat the same food she likes, take her to place she likes and do the things she likes. Doesn’t that sound like a date?

And so Manabe nervously waits for Kotoura on their ‘date’, although he has always waited for her every morning to school. Well, this is not a date but his punishment as Kotoura embarrassingly puts it. Is it? So embarrassing their reaction that they realize other people are watching the dating amateurs. Kotoura takes him to a clothes shop (although he prefers to enter the lingerie shop next door). The saleswoman thought they were a couple so Manabe is thrilled and gives his opinion on the kind of clothes he would love to see Kotoura in. All sex outfits! I think Kotoura already left the building. He finds her pouting in the nearby alley and tells her to wait here and rushes off. For some time he has not returned and Kotoura feels worried. At times like these, she feels scared that she can’t read the minds of others. Then he comes back with a sweet taiyaki for her. Kotoura brings him to another place: To watch a movie. Normal? Well, in her case, she always knows what the movie outcome is even before it starts. So why not take this rare chance? Meanwhile Mifune is bored and hanging out in Muroto’s room. She is down because if Kotoura doesn’t get her mind reading abilities back, she can’t accomplish her goal. That’s why she thought of giving Kotoura some sort of stimulation with that date. Manabe and Kotoura continue their date. After taking a picture at the photo booth, she uses this picture for her locket. Much more befitting. As they are happily walking along, Kotoura suddenly sees horrifying visions before collapsing.

Episode 9
The police cordon off an alley. Detective Yama and his assistant, Aki Tsukino investigate the area. Seems there have been random attacks lately and all victims are high school girls. This is the third case. Although they didn’t die, they were attacked bad enough to be hospitalized. Kotoura is fine (seems she had anaemia then) and nothing serious. They discuss about what Kotoura saw but she can’t pinpoint the culprit as there were many people around her then. Muroto shows the newspaper article about the random attack. He thinks it is fine if Kotoura doesn’t say anything. The police won’t believe them if she says she read the criminal’s mind. Even if the culprit has seen Kotoura’s face, it is not like he knows she has this power. Manabe walks Kotoura home but she feels afraid to be alone and has him come in with her. He is trying his best not to think about something perverted. How long can that last? I guess there is somebody Kotoura needs to take more caution of. After dinner, Manabe will go back home to bring his stuff to stay over. Yeah. Thinking of getting lucky tonight? So Kotoura, do you fear being alone or with Manabe more? By the time Manabe returns, he is beaten up by a demon at the door and thrown into the garbage area. It is Moritani and she lectures Kotoura of what might happen if she lets that pervert sleep with her. She then informs everybody. Next day while walking to school (Moritani pulling Manabe’s ear all the way!), Kotoura gets a call from grandpa. He wants to talk to Manabe. He is disappointed that he let slip so many chance to get close with Kotoura. The friends see Yama and Tsukino at school. They are investigating this area since the girls who got attacked are from around here.

In class, Moritani talks to Kotoura about this case. The other girls think Kotoura can use her mind reading ability to catch him. Moritani chides them for being insensitive. Because of Kotoura’s reluctance, rumours soon spread throughout school that Kotoura is keeping the police from catching the criminal. This time Kotoura doesn’t keep it a secret and tells Manabe what is bugging he. He is upset of their irresponsibility. Mifune suggests cutting the rumour off at its root. That is, they will help catch the criminal. Of course Manabe shoots it down since that is the police’s job. Kotoura gets a call from grandpa. He is in the area at the moment and invites them all for dinner. Can’t pass up on a free meal, eh? But Moritani wants to pass this. She has something important to do. She feels guilty for this one and wants to do something about it. Our friends have nicely dressed up for the lavish dinner only to be disappointed it is some rundown sushi bar Zenzou takes them to. Since he doesn’t want to waste their effort, he brings them to a real classy hotel restaurant. Now this is what they’re talking about. However Kotoura is surprised to see Kumiko and her date, Tsuyama. Suddenly she becomes stunned. Words cannot come out of her mouth even though she has lots to tell her. Mom still doesn’t think well of her. Tsuyama tries to introduce himself to Kotoura but when she puts up that mind reading reaction, Kumiko scolds her again for doing the usual. Kotoura becomes afraid. But she realizes she has friends and regains her confidence to tell her she now has friends. Kumiko sarcastically tells her to take care of them or risk losing them again. Then Manabe goes up to Kumiko to introduce himself and his intention never to leave Kotoura’s side. Mommy doesn’t give a damn so Manabe takes it as she has given her blessing to do whatever they want tonight. Perverted desires unleashed! He is about to really smooch her when Kumiko doesn’t like the way this lecher is treating her daughter and beats him up! You got to respect this idiot’s courage although it is not something to take after. Kotoura is glad that her mom still cares for her. If Manabe is in no condition to eat, then Zenzou can call the dinner off. Not a chance! He’s alright, see? Lastly, Moritani is in shock. Her hands are covered in blood and a high school girl lies unconscious in her own pool of blood. No…

Episode 10
While walking to school, Manabe and Kotoura see the police and the news people at the school gates. Kotoura instantly knows that Moritani has been arrested as a suspect. She is in interrogation but is in shock to say anything. Manabe and Kotoura arrive at the police station and start shouting for her name. Kotoura knows she is innocent and just a bystander. Though this motivates Moritani, the duo got kicked out for causing a ruckus. Well, I don’t think they want to do that again since Moritani’s dojo is having a standoff with the police at the gates! Tsukino sneaks them in (including Mifune and Muroto). She knows it is illegal but she thought Moritani would ease up with her friends around. She starts explaining that the source of the rumour of Kotoura started by her friend. She told her to stop but it fell on deaf ears. She continued to look for her till but to no avail till she found her unconscious body. She just stumbled into the crime scene. Kotoura says she knows who the criminal is. Yama wants in on this information but he doesn’t believe her as a mind reader. As proof, she reads out all his embarrassing personal problems. Now do you believe? Even so, they can’t use a psychic person to gather evidence as it is not accepted by society. Mifune is the one who is most upset because she feels the police used her mother and then let her die. Yama finally recognizes her as that clairvoyance’s daughter (he was at her house to investigate the suicide). Knowing this won’t go anywhere, the friends take Mifune and leave. Yama notes that Mifune’s mom was very useful to the police. But since the methods used were off the book, they had no choice to feign ignorance when she was declared a fraud. Mifune thinks of finding the criminal themselves since they can’t rely on the police. Kotoura agrees as she wants to use her power for good. However Manabe disagrees. He is worried that Kotoura will faint again like before if she peeps into the criminal’s mind. Kotoura insists she wants to do anything she can to help but he believes she is doing something dangerously stupid. Relations between them got bad and ever since, they haven’t seen or talk to each other.

In the clubroom, Mifune, Muroto and Kotoura discuss the points of the crime scenes and where she walked by him. It seems the criminal wanders in a crowded area to pick his victim before following her to a secluded spot to attack. Kotoura walks home and meets Tsukino. She tells Moritani is doing very well in her cell. Too well. Is she enjoying life behind bars? If they feed her great food. How can prison food be good? Oh, she’s a bad cook… Just kidding. Kotoura tells her they are trying to catch the criminal. Tsukino wonders if it’s to show off her ability and doesn’t want them to get involve and leave it to the police. Kotoura finds out Tsukino doesn’t have many friends and can be quite blunt. Soon Moritani is released because another attack just occurred. This at least proves her innocence. With her back, the ESP members minus Manabe continue their own investigation. They end up with no leads and the attack has since stopped. Could the culprit have fled town? Kotoura gets a call from Tsukino. She knows they have been doing their own investigation as she has observed them from afar. She wants them to stop and to stay away from the 2nd Street alley since they suspect that is where the criminal is hiding. Mifune suddenly wants to go there. Kotoura disagrees of her action to be a bait to lure the criminal out. Mifune won’t back down now. This is her only chance to get back at the people who laughed at her mother. The gang are walking through the crowded street when Kotoura suddenly sees a blurry vision and hears the muffled voice of the criminal. She is almost close to collapsing. What Kotoura is puzzled is that the criminal knew Mifune’s name. Mifune has already walked deep into the alley and her thoughts are only to show those people who didn’t believe in her mom. Too deep in her own mind that she noticed a little too late that the criminal crept up from behind getting ready to strike.

Episode 11
Muroto takes the full blow of the criminal’s strike. Ironically for a guy who is half Mifune’s size, he was fast and spot on. Not even Moritani’s martial arts could best her. Since the crowd is building up, the criminal escapes. Muroto is hospitalized although nothing serious. Kotoura blames herself again. Since Moritani was distracted by her phone call, Kotoura wanders off by herself to the park where she trips and bruises her knee. Tsukino happen to be there so she takes her back home to treat it. Kotoura then texts Mifune her whereabouts but the crashing of the pot startles and makes her drop her handphone under the TV. Seems Tsukino wants to make dinner but sucks. Looks like Kotoura will have to help out. Meanwhile Manabe is still worried back home when he gets a surprise visitor: Moritani the demon! He is so scared that he thought she is bringing him somewhere to beat him up! She tells him everything that has happened. From the assault to Muroto’s injury and Kotoura blaming herself. She slaps some senses into him for forgetting the most important promise of being by Kotoura’s side. Probably it’s during that confusion that Moritani took the chance to confess she loves him. It’s no joke. He apologizes he can’t reciprocate her love because he loves Kotoura. Moritani didn’t feel bitter but felt relieved because she prefers to see Manabe and Kotoura together. Even when they are fighting, she is worried about them rather than to think it is her chance to take him for herself. So now Manabe has to go look for Kotoura. Where? That’s his job. Now that he has gone, Moritani lets her tears flow freely. I think she has hold it in long enough. Muroto wakes up and Mifune is very relieved. She regrets that her silly quest for revenge has caused others to be hurt. She was scared he would not come back. She doesn’t want to see him hurt again. He plays it cool so wonders why he is always by her side even if it makes him end up like this. Is it because of her mom? Although he respects her mom, if he had to choose between them, he would definitely choose Mifune. He will always stay with her till the very end since he is in the same boat with her.

After Kotoura and Tsukino had a good meal, Tsukino tells of her past whereby she was always bullied due to her large stature. So she took up martial arts and fought back. But it somewhat backfired since everyone stayed away from her. She ended up being alone. Muroto discusses with Mifune about the criminal. Something feels odd. Why did Tsukino tell them to stay away from that street? Psychological people usually would do the opposite. And how many people know Mifune as the famous clairvoyant’s daughter? I’m sure you could have guessed the criminal by now. I already did in the last episode. Mifune is shocked that Kotoura is at Tsukino’s place now and tries to call her. Kotoura realizes her handphone is not with her and gets up to retrieve it. She just barely missed being strike by Tsukino!!! Saved by the ringtone? Tsukino admits she is the attacker so Kotoura just run and run. But why did she have to run up and corner herself at the rooftop? Manabe is anxious because he still can’t find Tsukino’s address, although Muroto is cracking his head (pun not intended) to hack and find the address. Hurry up before something happens to Kotoura! Tsukino reveals that she is an alter ego of herself. Her dark side. Tsukino crammed all her negative thoughts into her heart and turned from a good girl into a bad one to relieve stress. She always envies people with friends and wants to ruin their lives. Of course her dark side releases all that stress without her good side knowing. Tsukino is going to use Kotoura as another stress reliever. Kotoura realizes she was wrong in her thinking. She thought she was better off not being born but with friends, she doesn’t want to die. She screams Manabe’s name. Like magic, there he is blocking Tsukino’s strike. But we’re not going to see any fist fight since Kotoura tries to convince Tsukino to turn over a new leaf. Via words. Persuading her that there are people who will reach out and stay with her, Tsukino tries to resist her other side from taking over. Eventually the good side won. Tsukino gives herself up to the police without resistance. Wow. This is super effective. If this could only work on all the criminals in the world. Kotoura reunites and goes home with her friends.

Episode 12
When everyone gathers in the clubroom, Mifune has an announcement to make. As of today, ESP Research Society is disbanding! Say it can’t be so! But don’t looks so down because in place of that today will be the birth of the New ESP Research Society. Eh? So what is the slight name change for? Instead of doing scientific activities to confirm the existence of psychic abilities, the new club will revolve around having fun with a psychic. That is, picking on Kotoura and taking pleasure in her silly reactions! WTF?! But wait… Haven’t they been doing that previously all the while? While Manabe is lost in his usual perverted thoughts, Kotoura reads Moritani’s heart and sees that heartbreaking confession. The first activity of the new club is to head for a karaoke session. Muroto takes Manabe and Moritani to book a place. When Kotoura is left alone with Mifune, the latter starts crying and apologizing that she was trying to use her all the way. Despite admitting she tried to use her, Kotoura had always known it. She’s a psychic, remember? She won’t hate her because she too was essentially trying to use her too. Thanks to her, she has a wonderful place with friends. On their way out, Kotoura thought she could tease Mifune about her relationship with Muroto. She got more than she bargained for when Mifune forces her to read her heart!!! So can you blame Mifune for being so frustrated? After all these years, that shorty still has no clue about her affections! Not even a notice! Well, she’s used to it. Mifune finds out Manabe never confessed directly to Kotoura. I think she doesn’t want to get involved in this one… And so the karaoke session with the tone deaf person… I think everyone else died. Only Mifune learnt her lesson because she was wearing ear phones. When Kotoura goes back home, she is shocked to see Kumiko waiting. Apparently the restaurant nearby closed so she stopped by here and the landlord opened the door for her. Kotoura turns into her little faithful servant in serving her dinner. She accepts all the criticisms thrown at her till accused Kotoura of lying about having friends. That’s when Kotoura stood back up to counter claim. She tells off mummy about her precious friends who supported her and even if Kumiko tries to play the blame game about her hurtful past, Kotoura shoots back that she should have sought for help. But she didn’t and it could only mean she doesn’t have any friends. Kumiko wanted to slap her daughter but was pushed back. Luckily she fell onto the bed. Then Kotoura starts whacking mummy with her pillow. She retaliates. Pillow fight! Insults included. Wasted, all the food…

Well, that didn’t last long as they exhaust out easily. Kotoura reveals she wanted to tell that Tsuyama is a lolicon when she read his mind then. Why didn’t she say? Wasn’t Kumiko the one telling her not to read other people’s heart? She doesn’t remember. They admit they have a terrible taste in men. After Kotoura cleans up the mess, Kumiko has fallen asleep. She hears her murmur words of apology to her. Peeking into her heart, on the day Kumiko left and viciously told her about regretting giving birth to her, inside her heart she was breaking and falling apart like hell. She was crying she couldn’t protect her daughter. Kotoura realizes she didn’t try to understand what Kumiko was really feeling. She puts her mother to bed and sleeps by her side. Next morning, Kumiko wakes up first and pats her daughter by the head. Then she leaves but not leaving breakfast for Kotoura. It might be overcooked and bitter, but at least it has a mother’s love. In class, Kotoura talks to Moritani about not being confessed directly by Manabe. She is glad to help her out and to try practising to confess. She can think Moritani as Manabe and express herself. As Kotoura stammers, Manabe comes in and in the midst of the confusion, he misinterpreted that Kotoura confessed to Moritani! What the hell is this new yuri play?! I don’t know, but Manabe somewhat likes it! Seriously?! Mifune knocks the pervert out and understands the situation. She wants Kotoura to continue. Even Muroto has advice for her. Since she is the kind to self destruct, it is better to let it out naturally than putting too much thought into it. Wow. He is sharp on the relationship of others but not his own? How ironic. So Kotoura and Manabe go out on a date. Kotoura confesses she loves him but that useless guy couldn’t remember he never said that directly to her. Thus for the record, he replies that he will always love her. Perhaps even more since he doesn’t need words to say it to her. Kotoura has read everything in his heart. Kotoura continues to hang out with her friends (in their usual silly activities) and Kumiko still comes to her place to eat.

Haruka No Heya
This segment was released before the TV series as ONA as some sort of promotion to the show. In this short segment that lasts less than 2 minutes, we see Kotoura introducing the main characters that appear in the anime. The odd part is the drawing. Clearly they look different but the feature that bugs me most is the eyes… Black round circles… They look like aliens or demons… Scary…

Room 1: Kotoura introduces herself like her psychic ability and that sex maniac classmate of hers (you know who you are). Since she is running about playing both the interviewer and interviewee, she tires out easily and eventually loses all her breath. I think she really needs to do some work out and get in shape seeing that the way she shifts her position up and down isn’t so arduous. It’s not like the sofa is even a metre away!

Room 2: Manabe is the guest of honour. He gets carried away by telling us how lovey-dovey he and Kotoura are. Ahem. But his mind can’t be un-perverted for a minute because he starts fantasizing about his ideal country of women filled with big breasted women! Kotoura with big breasts?! Can’t stop the erotic imagination… Oh Kotoura, you shouldn’t really have brought up that topic…

Room 3: Mifune explains the reason why she forms her ESP Research Society. Sure, it seems like a noble idea to study espers and all. But she ‘hijacks’ the programme by ranting about fake espers, the danger of using such abilities in front of the media which will result you being shunned and the lack of facilities in Japan as compared to other countries to research and protect such people. Quickly cut to commercials!

Room 4: Muroto is so short that you could only see the top of his hair! He is not fazed by this situation. So when Kotoura has the camera adjust to view him properly, he is playing a video game! Does he do this all the time when not on camera? Well, he admits he do other stuffs like using the computer and sleeping. Kotoura is disappointed he is this hollow but he seriously says that if he is not on screen, it is like at the backstage. So what is wrong with a little relaxing? Yeah, he’s serious…

Room 5: Moritani thought Kotoura didn’t do her introduction properly like she did for the rest. Continuing, they talk about Moritani not liking Kotoura much at first because the latter was like trying to steal Manabe from her and it irritated her. Kotoura adds that not only they are classmates but rivals in love. Moritani wonders if that means she still has a chance with Manabe. Kotoura bluntly denies that she has a chance. No chance at all. Can you blame Moritani for going berserk? Please stand by while we fix this situation… Oh, it’s already the end…

Room 6: In this final episode, Kotoura reintroduces all the characters once more as they have their final say. Each has something to lament about. Manabe can’t get lovey-dovey with Kotoura. Mifune is sad ESP is still unrecognized (no, there won’t be Yuriko No Heya next) and who knows where Muroto is since he switched with some hair monster thingy. Moritani? Is it her fault since this programme is ending? Maybe. Maybe not.

Always Think Twice Before You… Think?
This is such a nice and heart-warming story. May not end up as one of my all-time top 10 of such stories but I definitely would recommend people to watch this. This show tells us 2 scenarios: The victim and the bully. Put yourself in Kotoura’s shoes, how would you feel if you were being shun and being called a monster? I doubt many would understand but as we can see the difference that separates Kotoura from the normal people is her mind reading ability. Aside that, she is just a human being like everyone else. All she wants is to be treated like a normal human but because of the prejudice that she can read minds, people shut her out quickly. If I should say, she is more human than all those who treated her badly and never reflected and repented on their actions. The other scenario being the bully, even if someone has a substantial difference than the rest, what gives us the right to persecute that person? Would doing so make you a better person? It’s not like that person is using the gifted power for bad. Even though I believe there are some who do not want to torment Kotoura, the pressure of society made them act the way they do. The herd mentality. It’s like saying if you don’t keep away from her, you’ll also share the same fate. So can you blame them for acting so? In a way, I would say yes. Because they were too weak to stand up for what they should do as the right thing. You don’t need any mind reading ability to see what is happening in that sense.

Kotoura is a lucky girl and I would say that having the mind reading ability is a blessing in disguise. It might have brought her lots of suffering in the early stages of her life. She might have avoided it all and have a normal happy family and childhood had she not had it. But think about it. The misfortune of events eventually led her to cross paths with a few understanding friends who accept her for who she is. If she was a normal girl, she might have not met them and experience such warmth. She might have walked down a different path which may be worse off than before. Now she has a place to call her own and she might not break the Guinness World Record of having the most friends in the world but a few friends are better than none. Now that she has her ESP club members as her friends, I can see that other people are less inclined to bully her. Or maybe there are people who still do not think well of her and will never change. Just that Kotoura has shifted her priority to having fun with her friends rather than reading scornful comments of strangers. I think that is better. She’ll live longer and happier without all those unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Thanks to Manabe in ‘breaking the ice’ first, Kotoura’s life has taken a drastic turn for the better. Despite being perverted right down to his bone, he is a very caring and kind person. I suppose being dirty minded is something natural (if not very unnatural) in every guy. Just like Kotoura, it tells us not to judge a cover by its book. It’s not the outside that counts the most but the inside. Okay, maybe not entire everything in the inside when it comes to those perverted fantasies. Thankfully all his perverted fantasies are all just in his head and hopefully it would stay that way. After all, part of the thrill of fantasizing ecchi stuffs on Kotoura is to see her reaction. Where would be the fun if the girl you like ignores you? Mifune also clearly realizes what is most important to her. Was it getting revenge for her mom or the friends she has now? Just like Muroto suspected, I don’t think she had this intention to fully use Kotoura for her ends even if she said she was just putting up an act. Besides, her ‘acting stinks’ since I feel she was sincerely treating Kotoura very nicely (despite her claim that it is all an act). Perhaps she was just trying to act tough to Muroto in hopes to gain some attention from him. I’m not sure if Muroto is fully aware of Mifune’s feelings for him. He is a smart guy and level headed and I know most animes have such characters dense when it comes to love. Unless you’re telling me he is a very good ‘actor’. He pretends not to know. But notice how he always looks out for Mifune and the rest? Finally about Moritani, although she starts of as someone you would love to hate, it shows that she too can change. She wasn’t a bad person to begin with. Just that her jealousy got the better for her and it took something a little extreme to open her eyes and repent her ways. Though, I still find her family stance funny. “Mori! Mori! Mori!”. That sure is guaranteed laughter.

Being in distress and anxiety for so long, it is sad to see that Kumiko has hardened all over the years. So much so that I thought that her long face expression has become part of her permanent feature of her face. Due to her bitter experience, she approaches everything with scepticism. She views everything her daughter does with negativism. I think she wants to change but like I said, she has been in agony for a long time that it is just hard to change her ways. It will take some time and I hope with Kotoura around, she can start changing that frown into a smile. From her actions as revealed in the final episode, there is still a place in her heart for Kotoura. All is not lost. Even if she said the harshest word that no mother would ever say, it proves that she still loves her daughter and was thinking for her sake. No mother in this world will ever hate or abandon their child. Those who do are not mothers to begin with. Telling off Kotoura that she should not be born in the first place was perhaps the best way she could protect her. But was it the only option then?

Since AIC produces this anime, the art and drawing of this anime hovers between cute, simplistic and pretty. I feel like it is a cross between Acchi Kocchi, R-15 Bamboo Blade and GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, other animes that they have produced under their name or one of their company divisions. I have to note that the funniest looking character is still Muroto. At first glance, I thought he was going to be the perverted joker instead of Manabe but it turned out to be the other way round. I don’t know what turned him into such a bespectacled bookworm with a ‘3’ for a mouth because when he was young without those glasses, he looks much better! Really! Sure, he has an interest in psychic abilities especially Mifune’s mom but why the change in appearance that makes him look like a nerd or dork? There is a saying about someone who is smart who hides his cleverness. Yeah. I think that. On a trivial note, the next episode preview is an amusing segment. It seems like a section for Manabe to take out his true perverted thoughts (most of them anyway). Whether it is to rile up Kotoura and sexually harass her like wanting to spank her butt and wanting the perversion to go on forever! I think if Kotoura will have a new trauma if Manabe has his way with his perverted fantasies. Sexual harassment trauma.

Hisako Kanemoto as Kotoura makes her character sound very cute and innocent. So cute that I thought she was going to break into her “~de geso” trademark like Ika-chan from Shinryaku! Ika Musume. Kana Hanazawa as Mifune puts on a slightly lower voice for her character and although at times her trademark upbeat voice is still there, at least it doesn’t go far enough for me to classify her as one of those characters in retard mode like Nessa of Fractale and the titular character in Kobato. Initially I thought I read wrongly when I saw Jun Fukuyama’s name as Manabe. Indeed I saw wrong and taking a closer look, it is actually Jun Fukushima (Jin in Aquarian Evol). Once again, hearing Hiro Shimono putting up a soft spoken side as Muroto seems odd. Still not quite used to his characters that don’t blow their top like Tsubaki of Sket Dance and Keima from The World God Only Knows. Here he sounds a bit like GJ-Bu’s Kyolo but less sissy. Surprisingly, veteran Kikuko Inoue was the voice of Kumiko. It is a departure from her dreamy sounding anime characters like Mizuho in Onegai Teacher and Kasumi in Ranma 1/2. That dreaminess is replaced with disdain and scorn. That’s why I couldn’t really recognize her. Other casts include Yurika Kubo as Moritani (Hanayo in Love Live! School Idol Project), Akeno Watanabe as Tsukino (Rito in To Love-Ru) and Tomomichi Nishimura as Zenzou (Anzai in Slam Dunk).

The lively opening theme is Sonna Koto Ura No Mata Urabanashi Desho? by Megumi Nakajima. The slow ballad of the main ending theme, Kibou No Hana by Haruka Chisuga will definitely move your heart after watching the heart wrenching and heartfelt moments that Kotoura has gone through. Sometimes you want to cry and sometimes have that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart. The lyrics may be sad but it is filled with hope. Even though there is loneliness, you can be stronger if you walk forward and smile. Therefore I think slow pace of this song aptly fits the tone of this series even though it is mainly comedy and romance. There are a couple of special ending themes that only appear once during the TV series’ duration. The first one is The ESP Research Club’s Theme and is sung by all the club members, though Mifune takes the lead in this one. A crazy song that befits the crazy group of people in this club. Mifune cuddling baby Muroto in her arms??? That dude is tiny to act as one… The other special ending theme is Tsurupeta by Kotoura. Like the title suggests, Kotoura sings about her worries and complaints about have such a small chest!!! That includes the wandering mind of Manabe be it about Kotoura or some passing pretty lady. Although the tune doesn’t sound funny, for Kotoura to be singing such song, it really sounds funny if you think about it. So flat that she could slide for miles across the ice…

After seeing this show, now do you have second thoughts about having mind reading powers? Actually the point is, it doesn’t matter what kind of strange powers you have, it all boils down to what kind of person you are deep down inside your heart. You can have no super powers but still be a rotten fellow. Besides, if everybody could read everybody’s mind, everything would get so confusing that you wouldn’t know if you are thinking about your own mind or thoughts. You might wonder if what you are thinking is truly yours and not others, vice versa. I suppose you can still make an issue about this mind reading thingy as invasion of privacy. What fun would it be in life if you can’t even have little perverted thoughts in your head. But you don’t need to have mind reading ability to read the thoughts of a perverted person when he starts putting up that perverted expression. Yeah. It’s all written over his face like an open book.