Aku No Hana

November 24, 2013

Imagine you have always lived a boring life. Nothing eventful. Nothing happening. Nothing out of the ordinary. You always hope for a better place and think the place you are in now is nothing but dull crap. You want to go away but you can’t. All you do is keep dreaming while continuing your mundane life in reality. What if there is this slight chance of doing something different? Will you take the risk? More importantly, what happens if a seemingly harmless spur of the moment slowly escalates into something beyond your control? What will you do? Will you try to get your life back in control or just embrace the craziness and go with the flow? This is the case for the male protagonist in Aku No Hana. A bookworm and loves to read and like any other boys his age, has a secret crush on a girl for a long time. His life takes a drastic change when he impulsively steals her gym clothes and a classmate of his happened to catch him in the act. Yup, you guessed it. Blackmail. For those who love psychological drama, you’d be in for a treat to see what this guy will do or not. It keeps you guessing. Will he? Will he not? Whatever he does will affect those around him and ultimately himself.

Episode 1
Takao Kasuga is just like any other normal kid. Goes to a normal high school. Hangs out with his guy friends. Admires the girl he likes from a distance, Nanako Saeki. Their eyes met. He looks away, embarrassed. Takes a test. His mind wanders into his own fantasy. Instead of walking home with his friends, he stops by the book shop. He loves to read. Back home, he reads his book and starts fantasizing its words with the girl he likes. Spell is broken when mommy tells him to go take bath. Next morning. Same routine. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Go to school. Teacher hands back their test papers. His friend Masakazu Yamada catches him reading his book and snatches it away. Teacher calls out Saeki and praises her for getting the highest score in class. Then when he calls Sawa Nakamura, he might have offended her by telling the class she is last place again. Zero points once more. Nakamura tells this piece of sh*t to shut up. Teacher gets mad. Wants to slap her. But had to hold back after seeing the evil glare in her eyes. He’ll see her in the staff room later. Kasuga walks back with his friends. They talk how crazy and scary she is. Yamada notes he won’t date her even if she is the last woman on Earth. Kasuga points out nobody would even want to date him. Yamada wonders what makes him different as he thinks they’re all the same. Kasuga says he reads books. He is into literature. So do girls dig such people? Ken Kojima then says he wants to date Saeki but badmouths her. This pisses Kasuga off and tells him to stop. They catch on he likes her. He gives an excuse to leave as he has forgotten something from school. Kasuga curses Kojima for that. He doesn’t know a thing about her. The good she’s done. She is his muse, his femme fatale and has liked her since last year. Kasuga returns to his desk to retrieve his book, Les Fleurs Du Mal (that’s French for Aku No Hana – Flower Of Evil). He sees Saeki’s small bag falling out from the shelf behind.

Episode 2
The bag contains Saeki’s gym clothes. His mind is saying no but his body is saying yes to take it. I guess the temptation is too great. He could have sniffed a lot longer had he not heard something coming. He panics, hides the clothes under his shirt and runs away. Next day, seeing Saeki is absent, he thinks this is a good opportunity to put it back. But then Saeki comes in with the teacher and she looks very distraught. The teacher announces somebody stole her gym clothes. Gasp. So Kasuga is feeling guilty like hell. He’s peddling his bicycle and shouting like a mad man. Till he comes across Nakamura. He wanted to go away but she asks him several questions especially about the strange book he reads (she sits behind him). Then she hops on his bicycle and wants him to take her beyond the hills. Why? Because she saw him stealing Saeki’s clothes and if he doesn’t do what he is told, she’ll tell on everyone. Guess what? Kasuga becomes a chicken and abandons his bicycle to run away by foot! Can you believe it?! Kasuga is so guilt ridden that his body action is so obvious. Even his parents can tell (I mean, how could he forget his bicycle?). Dad plays it cool seeing he knows he is going through puberty. In his room, Saeki starts going crazy. He is sure he didn’t steal them and just had the urge to take them home. Isn’t it taking things without permission amounting to stealing? He plans to confess and tell everybody before Nakamura could rat on him and give Saeki her clothes back. Why is he saying all this while putting his face in her clothes? Next day in school. Kasuga contemplates if he can do it or not. Time passes. He can’t. During gym, his friends talk about the sicko who stole Saeki’s clothes and it would be f*cking crazy if it should be among them. It’s right under your nose… In the end, Kasuga can’t summon the courage to confess. Nakamura then passes a message to meet her at the library. Don’t run away this time. First she asks him why he ran away before calling him cowardly nicknames. Kasuga explains his actions and what he planned to do. She is willing to forgive him and not tell anyone provided he forms a contract with her. Hey, I’m not watching some magical girl show, am I? In exchange for this forgiveness, he will lose something important. Suddenly Saeki appears. Seems Nakamura has called her here on a pretence that Kasuga had something to tell her. He freezes. Because of his pathetic hesitation, Nakamura pushes him and his face plunges right into Saeki’s boobs. She becomes upset and runs away. Now sh*t has hit the fan. And Nakamura totally enjoys seeing it. Want to write an essay about it?

Episode 3
Kasuga laments he wouldn’t be in this sh*t had none of this happened. Why is he holding up the bloomers while saying that? He leaves early for school because he wants to throw away the clothes. Ridding of evidence? This guy is so panicky he is acting so suspicious! It’s freaking funny for God’s sake. Because there are people everywhere, he can’t throw it away. Yeah, act more suspicious will you? Eventually he ends up at school and of all people he had to bump into is Nakamura. She wants him to meet her after school at the library. In class, the teacher tells everyone the description of the suspect who stole Saeki’s clothes. About 30, have glasses and long hair. Well, that doesn’t look like Kasuga, doesn’t he? At the library, Nakamura wants to read the essay about yesterday. He shows her the book he is reading, a compilation of poems and has this darkness feeling to it. She blows her top that she was looking forward to read his crazy ramblings. Kasuga also yells back he is not the deviant she thinks he is. He is going to burn the clothes but she stops him. Then she strips him naked! OMG! Is it that easy to strip him? Then she puts on Saeki’s clothes on him. Is it that easy to put it on? I mean, the way they’re struggling Nakamura makes it look easy. Nakamura reveals she has this dark gloomy feeling inside her that makes her want to spread it all to everyone in this world. She is a deviant like him and should be proud. After all, they’re bound by a contract. She wants them to spend more time after school together. And so he is forced to follow her and listen to her whatever stories. She tries forcing him to tell her since he didn’t write the essay (including some name calling insults of being a deviant). Since it’s getting dark, she leaves. Kasuga gets an earful from his mom for coming back late. He lies about hanging out with Yamada. Father once again is cool. He forgives his son but lets him know his actions is worrying his mother and to at least leave a message if he’s going to stay out late. Next day in class, Mayu Miyake screams in distraught. Her lunch money is missing. Everyone starts concluding somebody must have stole it after school. Yamada thinks it’s Nakamura but he backs down when Mayu’s friend, Ai Kinoshita gives him that don’t-give-me-that-sh*t stare. But everyone soon thinks it’s her because she is weird. But Kasuga knows it is not because she was hanging out with him. He can’t say it. When Nakamura walks in, Ai confronts her but was told to f*ck off. Ai accuses her that she saw her walking by here yesterday after school. Suddenly Kasuga blows his top to tell Ai off not to accuse people without proof. She thinks he likes Nakamura. Soon everybody starts whispering maybe they are like two peas in a pod. The misunderstanding grows deeper…

Episode 4
Kasuga regrets what he did. He should’ve just ignored everything. Just outside the toilet, he is surprised Saeki wants to talk to him. Gulp. She didn’t know he was that kind of guy. What kind of guy?! She admires how cool he was standing up for Nakamura and believes she didn’t do it too. Kasuga must be so happy that he starts crying. Or is it because of guilt? I guess there is still hope. While hanging out with Nakamura, she gets nasty asking him if he is hiding something (because he has that silly grin on his face). He says nothing and wouldn’t dare hide any secret (oh really?). Kasuga goes home and gets reprimanded by mommy again for being late but he is so happy that he just didn’t care. He stores Saeki’s clothes in a box, wraps it up and vows never to open it again. Why doesn’t he just throw them away? Kasuga happily waltzes to class but that dies out when he realizes his classmates are giving him a strange stare. Even Yamada is ignoring him. They’re observing how odd Kasuga and Nakamura are. He tries to ignore them by reading a book. Another pleasant surprise for him when Saeki breaks the ice by wishing him good morning. It’s like God is turning things to his favour because after school, he sees Saeki carrying boxes to the lab so he helps out. Thank God for this moment. They talk and he didn’t realize he asked her out this Sunday. So shock that he could have fallen down the stairs had Saeki not grab him. It looks like she’s hugging him from behind. She agrees. And then the nightmare begins. Because Nakamura sees them (she’s wondering why the bastard was late for their usual meet). It’s like God decided to screw up his life. She gives an evil grin and walks off. That night while planking on his room floor, Kasuga is thinking how sh*t it is going to be now that Nakamura knows about this. Looks like it’s going to get worse because she is seen outside his window and wants him to come down. She takes him for a walk and knows about the date. Surprisingly, she is happy and asks for the time and place. She wants him to meet her half an hour earlier and bring Saeki’s clothes. Because he refused, she slaps him! I didn’t know it was that hard that he had fallen to the ground! I guess it’s painful to a wimp. She tells him one more time. Do it or else. Come Sunday, Kasuga does as he is told (so much about keeping the clothes in wraps forever). Nakamura takes him into a female toilet and wants him to wear those clothes underneath. Kasuga refuses and thinks she is jealous and trying to ruin their date. Nakamura laughs it off and tells the sh*thead she just wants to see him so badly in it. She has decided to tear down all the walls around him. Now put on the damn clothes! By the time he finishes, Saeki has arrived. Kasuga takes her to a bookstore, knowing very well Nakamura is spying on them from a distance.

Episode 5
It should have been a fun first date but Kasuga can’t help think what Nakamura is up to. Maybe she doesn’t even have plans and acting on impulse. See that irritating girl hiding behind things like a ninja? Kasuga decides not to mind this and enjoy his date. At the bookstore, Kasuga rants away on his books. He doesn’t realize Saeki is lost. When she asks his favourite book, he shows her Aku No Hana by Baudelaire. It changed the way he looked at the world. He buys the book as her present. Nakamura is seen gesturing outside so Kasuga is forced to temporarily leave Saeki to see her in the alley. Does she sound like jealous of him having fun that she needs to remember he is a crazy deviant wearing her stolen clothes? She wants him to kiss her before the date ends. Because she knows he wants to do it. Resuming the date, Kasuga can’t pay attention to what Saeki is talking at the cafe. Because he knows Nakamura is watching them a few tables away. He’s so obvious that something is bugging him and not able to concentrate. So much so he sees visions of Saeki in her gym clothes. They sit together at the park moments before the date ends. Getting this kiss is on his mind. Saeki notes he is a strange one and hopes he could hang out with her again. Say what? Because Nakamura’s words are ringing in his head, he yells out he is not a deviant. Then he asks if Saeki would gladly enter into a platonic relationship with him. She agrees. Yeah. He is even surprised to hear that answer. Feeling like heaven, is he? They’re both so happy that they are getting emotional. Nakamura not happy… Suddenly… SUDDENLY! Nakamura pours a barrel of water over Kasuga and runs away!!! WTF???!!! We even get multiple replays of this from different angles! WTF indeed! It leaves him very soaked! Realizing Saeki will notice, he runs away wondering if he has been found out. It’s like Nakamura knows where he is going. So when they both meet in the alley, Kasuga thinks she’s just crazily cruel and despite she insisting he wanted to kiss her, he refutes he is that sort of person. Since he insists, she wants to see how this relationship works out and will cheer on him from the sidelines. She also won’t spill the beans about him being some f*cked up deviant who stole her gym clothes. Can he trust her? She assures she will make this work. Assuming Saeki doesn’t notice it.

Episode 6
When Kasuga enters class, he is surprised to see everyone around Saeki. Kojima saw them together yesterday. Saeki admits they were going out. It’s like ecstasy for the guys but the girls couldn’t understand how this angel could fall for a creep. Kasuga wished his happy days would go on but it was not meant to be. First he sees Nakamura and Saeki talking. What could this mean? Later when he walks home with her, she tells him she approached Nakamura so that they could be friends because she was always alone. She was happy when Nakamura told her she would cheer for them. Saeki hopes to build their relationship slowly. Kasuga is indeed happy to hear that and even dispels his inner demons of being a pervert who once stole her gym clothes. He will change to love her. It is really an odd scene when Saeki invites Nakamura to join them for lunch. Even Yamada joins in. The class is wondering what the heck is this never-seen-before combo. Suddenly Nakamura asks if Saeki would still love Kasuga if she finds out he is a deviant. Saeki asserts Kasuga is not that kind of person. You know, Kasuga can at least try to play cool instead of sweating his ass off. Nakamura passes a secret message to meet him at the library later. She tells him the reason why she befriended Saeki. So as to find out her true character. Kasuga doesn’t want to hear it but she forces him to listen that Saeki wants to have sex with him. At the same time, Saeki who was looking for Kasuga, sees them together and is shocked. Kasuga’s mind is wandering. Wondering if Saeki really does want to have sex with him. So much so, he can’t hear the teacher calling his name for attendance many times. Saeki is absent. Kasuga dismisses Nakamura’s words as trying to throw his conscious off when Ai approaches him. She wants to know what he has done to Saeki. Yesterday when she called, she was crying but wouldn’t say why. She hopes he is not the reason and hands him the printouts to be given to her. Kasuga is hesitating to ring her doorbell when he gets the fright of his life. It’s Nakamura! She thinks he is here to finally have sex with her. Although Kasuga vehemently refutes (albeit like a wimp), she throws it back to him that if he still claims she is insulting her, it means he is in it more than for the sex. She calls him the king of deviants and can see the f*cked up self hiding within him. She wishes him good luck, rings the doorbell for him and runs away. No chance for him to prepare.

Episode 7
Kasuga is greeted by Saeki’s mom who takes him to her room. She didn’t expect to see him. He tells her what Ai said and thought he could help. She wants him to sit next to him. Gulp. She asks what he thinks about building a slow relationship means. Because if he has something to hide, he should say it now. Everyone thinks she is strong but she is weak. When he confessed, she was very happy. So she started having doubts and just wants him to tell the truth about himself. Kasuga though his thoughts are cluttered only manage to say he isn’t hiding anything. Saeki believes him. She also says she started reading the book he bought her and will give him her thoughts once she finishes. Kasuga leaves but is a dejected kid at the park. Nakamura is before him. Kasuga feels he is a useless piece of sh*t for trampling on Saeki’s feelings. Nakamura agrees. He has added to his sins. Because of that, he begs to Nakamura he can only depend on her to tell Saeki he was the one who stole her gym clothes. Nakamura laughs out loud and then agrees to do it. She wants him to meet her at school at midnight and bring those clothes. Kasuga sneaks out when his parents are deep asleep. Nakamura brings him to their classroom. She wants him to write on the blackboard all the deviant things he did and the pervert he is. Well, he just dug his own grave when he asked her for help, didn’t he? Didn’t he think something like this would happen? Kasuga is worried others will find out so Nakamura blows her top not to be selfish. He had the guts to ask her to do the confession on his behalf. He’s got to be kidding himself, right? Kasuga asserts he wants to be normal so Nakamura feels disappointed he is the same like everyone. It’s so boring. She hopes everyone would just drop dead. She throws a tantrum and decides to end their contract. Don’t speak to her ever again. I don’t know what’s going on in his head because Kasuga decides to finally give in. Shouting like a crazy guy, he starts writing what Nakamura expects about the deviant on the blackboard. Is that it? He writing continues on the floor and starts painting streaks of black ink around while Nakamura dances in ecstasy. Is this what she’s looking for in her thrill? They even vandalized the tables and chairs!!! It’s like some war zone! I hope they had their fun. Nakamura certainly looked like she did.

Episode 8
Like the oddballs they are, the duo walk out slowly hand in hand. Like they’ve just realized from the aftermath of the greatest trashing party. Thing is, they played this scene for 5.5 minutes!!! Kasuga got the guts to even wonder what will happen when everybody finds out. Well, don’t you know? YOU’LL BE IN SH*T!!! Of course Nakamura looks forward to it because it’s you who’s going to be in real sh*t! After they part, Kasuga can’t sleep for the rest of the morning and goes to school as usual. And then he feels like chickening out when he thinks everybody will start calling him a deviant and such. Should have thought about that, buddy. Till he meets Saeki halfway and they walk to school together. They hear a commotion in the classroom and everyone is devastated to see the vandalism. Worse, Saeki’s friends point out her stolen gym clothes in the centre. They think the perverted stalker must have struck again. I don’t know whether Yamada is scared of amazed because he thinks this is freaking cool. Kasuga realizes nobody knows it is him because the ink covered his name on the blackboard. However Saeki sees the Aku No Hana drawing on the floor. Could she have guessed the culprit? An emergency assembly is held in the hall and for the students’ safety, school is closed for the day. Kasuga is vomiting outside. Can’t take it, eh? Nakamura sees him and feels so good. She hasn’t felt like this in ages especially the look of their classmates’ faces. She tells him he should stand proud. Suddenly Saeki turns up. Her eyes look different. Eerie silence. Eerie glaring. Kasuga wants to break up. Before he can run away like the coward he is, Saeki stops him and asks… The flower pattern on the floor. It’s like from the book he bought her. She guesses it is him who vandalized the classroom and the one who stole her gym clothes.

Episode 9
Even if it was him, she won’t break up. Does he hate her? No, right? She hopes he would rethink his decision. Kasuga goes home like a zombie. He cannot understand why Saeki won’t hate him (does he really want that?). Next day, Kasuga is absent from class. Saeki confronts Nakamura if she knew this from the start. Nakamura tells her the truth. Including how she told him Saeki is hard up for sex and she wanted to be friends because she had spare time. Asking her relationship with him, Nakamura says they made a contract. He promised to let her break down the walls that hide his deviant self. Saeki still doesn’t believe Kasuga is a deviant but to Nakamura, no matter how you look at it, he is a crazy deviant and the town’s biggest. Saeki goes to visit Kasuga this time but that kid tells his mom not to let her see him because he isn’t ready. Wuss. If it’s like that, she shouts from outside his window. She apologizes she doesn’t understand him. She is okay with the gym clothes incident and is in fact happy because it shows he likes her. Oh, really?! In real life many would have killed the bastard. But what she is sad about is that he never told her. So please, tell her and not to Nakamura. She hopes he will return to school tomorrow and will be waiting. Kasuga’s mother returns to his room holding his dirty clothes in her hands. She wants an explanation if he was the culprit behind this. Kasuga dashes out of the house and runs wherever his feet take him. He ends up at the riverbed and Nakamura happen to be sitting there. So they’re just sitting there wasting time. Yeah, even Nakamura wants him to tell her something funny. How can he? Oh well. His entirely life is one big joke, eh? Kasuga feels he has nowhere to go now since he has been discovered. Home, school and not even Saeki. They see Kasuga’s mom going around town looking for her son. I’m not surprised when Nakamura mocks her how she looks like an idiot but Kasuga just stood there and said nothing! You mean he accepted that?! WTF?! What the hell man! Nakamura wonders if he would like to go beyond the hills. How? Remember the bicycle he ditched? Yeah. She has been keeping it. There’s no reason to stay in this stupid sh*t hole anymore. Kasuga wonders if she will stay with him. She puts it this way. He is going to stay with her. I guess this guy must be so desperate that he isn’t thinking. As Saeki walks back, she sees Kasuga’s mom anxiously asking the people if they have seen her son who has run away. She fears the worst.

Episode 10
Kasuga peddles to the hills. He thought this town is boring, so are its people. He wanted to travel. Nakamura is not amused with his sh*t and tells him to peddle. Despite he’s the one doing all the work, she still complains about him being slow. It’s uphill… They take shelter by the roadside when the rain begins. And it’s starting to pour. No money for food either. This sucks. Kasuga wonders how the people down there can live ordinary lives and they’re up here. Nakamura’s answer is simple. Because they’re deviants. He thanks her for dragging him along. Suddenly Saeki passes by. Earlier she called Nakamura’s house but her father picked up and said his daughter wasn’t home yet. Then she went out on pretence to buy stationery. She luckily talked to a roadside stall guy who saw them passing by because there weren’t many people in this area who ride a bicycle. Now the rainy drama starts. Obviously we expect Saeki to get mad. However she apologizes for driving Kasuga to a wall. She read Aku No Hana so many times but couldn’t understand. She wants him to tell her why he likes this book so much and what’s going on in his mind. Please don’t run away. Why does he always run to Nakamura? Nakamura says she is going to the other side and Kasuga is coming along with her (I hope there is no ulterior meaning in that). When Saeki asks if he loves Nakamura, Saeki snaps. Because Saeki wants to know what is in his head so bad, Nakamura strips Kasuga down. Again, so easy to strip him? She tells her everything about how this deviant was wearing her gym clothes when he confessed and loved it. However Saeki doesn’t care. If he did it because he loved her, it’s okay. But she wants him to at least tell her so she’ll accept him. Kasuga apologizes to Saeki and that’s when Nakamura has had it. She tells him he can stay in this stupid town and die. She’ll go to the other side herself. This stupid guy wants to go after her?! After all Saeki has said, he is going after her?! It took a lot of courage for Saeki to stop him. Is she not good enough for him? He didn’t mean to run after her. Oh. Than what was that all about? It’s right for Nakamura to call him pathetic.

Saeki tells her off she has no idea what she felt and went through. She was very happy and Kasuga made her sparkle. She starts crying. Kasuga also starts breaking down. So Nakamura throws him the ultimatum. Is he coming? Or is he staying? And don’t f*ck with her expectations. Now it’s Kasuga’s turn to explain after all that one-two liners of indecisiveness. When he read Aku No Hana and books of other authors, he felt empty. He doesn’t understand Aku No Hana and liked to imagine himself reading it and pretended not to know who he is. He worships Saeki as his angel so it is impossible for him to be facing her in flesh and blood. He can’t be normal or love like a normal being but states he is not a pervert. I don’t know if he’s contradicting himself but if you’re not normal, you’re a deviant, right? He also says he is the worst piece of sh*t because he has nothing and not the kind of person Nakamura wants him to be. That’s why he can’t choose either one of them. He doesn’t have the right. Hey pal, this right of not choosing a girl is only reserved for male leads of a harem anime. Saeki drops the book and I guess she ‘understands’. She’s already had it. I understand too. After trying to rationalize and giving this idiot a chance, this is all he can say? Don’t waste your time, girl. Nakamura tramples and tears the book apart, throwing it back at his face. How do you like that? She too is emotionally upset. See the lesson? If you can’t choose either one of them, you’re going to end up hurting both and this looks bad. Had he chosen one, he would’ve made one happy and the other sad, at least one was happy but now nobody is. Bad end. Tragic end. The police pull up and realize they have found Saeki (her parents reported her as missing). When they want the kids to give their statement back at the station, Nakamura dashes away. The policeman went after her and she’s screaming and resisting arrest.

Episode 11
When Kasuga returned home, he didn’t say a word. His mom was breaking down. She can’t take this anymore and blames herself for raising him wrongly. His father was still cool. He told his son not to make mommy sad and to reflect on his actions. They are going to go to apologize to Saeki and Nakamura’s family as what he did was serious. A month has passed and although Kasuga normally attends school. It feels he is like a zombie. Nakamura is still worst, defying and insulting the teacher. It’s a good thing they don’t raise their hand and just let her be. But would the latter be the right choice? Ai confronts Kasuga and is furious he neglected Saeki for a month although Saeki is okay with it. She still doesn’t know about the real stalker and wants him to take better care of her. Kasuga thinks Saeki deserves somebody better than her so Saeki understands, thanks him for everything and they break up. They shake hands and part, leaving Ai very much shocked and confused. Even back home, Kasuga is so soft spoken and overly polite with his parents (they didn’t say much, especially his mom), it is just creepy. He holes up in his room thinking this is for the best. Now he can die alone. For the next 5 freaking minutes, we see Kasuga walking aimlessly like a zombie! Dragging his feet around town in the dead of the night. He picks up the pace when he sees Nakamura sitting. She sounded disappointed that she believed he would tear down his walls and follow her beyond the hill. She leaves and calls him a liar. And it’s all just his dream. Kasuga then gets worked up and starts messing his room, breaking that lovely picture of Baudelaire. He understands why Nakamura was angry at him because he disappointed her. Although Saeki can live a happy life without him, but how is Nakamura going to live alone? That’s his concern? She had it a lot harder than him and still believed the empty shell he is. He is going to write it all down and won’t leave her alone.

Episode 12
I don’t know how many pages he wrote because it’s morning. In class, Saeko is interacting normally with her friends like how it was. Nakamura completely ignores Kasuga. When class is over, Ai confronts Yamada and Kojima to ask what is happening to Kasuga. They don’t really know. Some friends they are. Kojima only notices he has stopped reading recently. After school, Kasuga goes after Nakajima. She still ignores him. He has written an essay for her but is not interested. He reads it aloud and runs along with her who is trying to flee this deviant. He apologizes for that night on the hill. He was selfish, thinking about himself. He will do all he can to be a real deviant and won’t leave her alone because if he does, he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. Nakamura probably didn’t care because she could’ve got hit by a car. She didn’t. Not even bat an eyelid and dashed forward. Kasuga almost got hit but thankfully (or not) he didn’t. But he lost her. So he rushes back home just to get her address and rushes back to her place. Outside her doorstep, he meets her father. He apologizes for everything but he seems like a nice chap and doesn’t mind. He invites Kasuga in since his daughter isn’t back yet (she’s bumming around and staring into infinity like a zombie). He notes Kasuga is Nakamura’s first friend to visit. Father wants to know what he thinks of his daughter. He has a hard time understanding her. Only insults come out from her mouth, comes back very late and never listens to him. As for her mom, they were divorced when Nakamura was 5 years old. Kasuga thinks they are friends. He too doesn’t know what she is thinking. That’s why he wants to know her. Father seems happy to hear that and notes he is serious. He invites him to stay for dinner and will call his parents to let them know (obviously the first thing they would think is if their son is causing mischief once more). When Kasuga excuses himself to the toilet, he sees Nakamura’s room. He knows it’s her room because there’s a big sign that says “Don’t Enter! You piece of sh*t!”. Yup. That’s her alright. Kasuga is like the cat and you know what curiosity is going to do to it, right? He turns the knob and opens the door…

Episode 13
What does he spy with his little eye? Hmm… Looks like a normal room. Nothing special. But he can smell her scent lingering. Don’t tell me this is another deviant side of his. Nakamura’s notebook in her drawer caught his attention. He picks it up and read. The first few pages contains doodles and scribbles how everything in this town is boring and nothing but sh*t. She viewed herself as a deviant. Her writing seems to light up when she has finally found an equal deviant and can’t want to make a contract. The rest of the entries are about her observations on Kasuga and what they did. His date with Saeki and turning the classroom into a big mess. She felt great then. But that’s where the entry stops. After many blank pages, a short note at the end that she is sad she couldn’t go over to the other side of the hill. Seriously. This dude is crying for her? Just then, Nakamura comes back. Rather, she barges back into her room. She tells Kasuga to get the f*ck out but snatches away her notebook and runs away. Kasuga goes after her till he finally catches her. He wants to go over the hill with her. But she is not amused sh*t. She continues to insult him the sh*thead he is and tells him to stay in this empty world. It feels like the remainder of the episode is a recap of Nakamura’s important scenes with Kasuga. And then suddenly what I believe scenes of the future! It’s a mess. A cacophony. There’s hell. There’s chaos. There’s insanity. There’s profanity (more sh*thead, I guess). There’s tears. There’s blood! It’s really confusing and screwed up! With a confident voice now, Kasuga tells her to make a contract with him and crawl out of this den. End of part 1?! WTF???!!!

Spiralling Madness…
Let me get this off my chest first. The first gripe in which many people have watching this anime is the drawing and art of the characters! Yes, this is the biggest thing and the most obvious when you watch this series. To put it in one word: Hideous! Honestly, that is what I felt at first but even after the anime ends, I still have a hard time accepting it although I am used to it. The drawing of the characters as bad as Windy Tales or Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora because they didn’t put much detail in them! Especially the faces. Sometimes it is just one blank space. It’s like the art department got lazy and couldn’t care less to complete it and just left it as it is for the final production. It is so obvious to the point that it makes you cringe and makes you wonder if the producers hate doing this series. It makes you wonder if they hate it so much that they want us to feel disgust and screw up this series by not putting enough effort in the drawing. Initially, because of the lacking art, the characters are somewhat ‘ugly’ since they don’t look like your typical anime type of characters.

I thought this was how the manga that this series was based on was like. To my surprise, the manga’s characters looks much better!!! Many times better!!! They have this cute and anime-like look and touch, something that we all are familiar with! Despite Nakamura being somewhat rotten, at least the manga version of her looks prettier. Unlike her in this animated version, she looks like a frog! Serious! I thought she might do a ribbit any time with that expression. Kasuga is not bad looking himself in the manga but in the TV series, he looks like a loser! And I believe Saeki is your typical pretty bishoujo, which is what she is on paper but here she looks chubbier. And Yamada? I thought what the hell Art Garfunkel was doing in this anime! So can you blame me for thinking that the producers of this series is trying to sabotage or being absolutely sloppy? And there are some minor characters that look freakily odd. There is one female classmate that looks like a guy! I thought she is some male who loves to tie braids! What a manly look. Then there’s that bookstore owner Kasuga took Saeki to on their first date. His moustache was standing up so much so it resembled a duck’s bill! No kidding! Finally there was a lady resident who has a moustache!!! WTF?! Unless it is some shading or drawing error, then I’m pretty sure such characters do look weird.

However accusing them of such unrefined art means only ignorance on my part. I later found out there is a reason why the artwork turned out like that. You see, this anime was done via rotoscoping. It is a filming technique whereby a live action version is filmed and then the film is traced by hand. Frame by frame! Gosh, this has got to be a very pain staking process. Because of that, the drawing and art style of this anime is very close to realism. You can see some sort of realism in the artwork and not anime-like. I guess this is a reason why the person who voiced Kasuga looks somewhat similar to the seiyuu himself! Holy cow! Yeah… That sharp chin… He also acted and voiced his character. But I was wonder why Nakamura and Saeki didn’t pretty look much like their seiyuu counterparts since they are voiced by considerably popular seiyuus, Mariya Ise and Youko Hikasa respectively. Simple. That’s because somebody else played their live action version and they just provided the voice. So it’s a mix of realism and unrefined art that is the main controversy of this series. Some like it but many (like yours truly) don’t. So real and yet so raw, you happen to notice the mole dots on the character’s face and can’t help feel sometimes you want to play connect the dots. Really. But I think there is a good point in making this series looking such a way. It’s for realism too. If the art of the characters were anime-like, I believe there wouldn’t have been much impact on the psychological drama that this anime relies heavily on. Many would have scoffed off as some anime without feeling its realism. Thus in that sense with such artwork, you can just feel the insanity, the drama and everything that comes with it.

As the characters are already badly drawn, the use of rotoscope has made the animation somewhat jerky and rough too. For example when Kasuga ditched his bicycle and run like there’s tomorrow. It looked so jerky that it was freaking funny! It is not smooth but they did try their best not to make it so jerky that viewers would end up having motion sickness every time the episode ends. Or worse, start vomiting in the middle of it. But it’s still obvious. I guess tracing over film is pretty hard thing to do and doing so isn’t exactly perfect. Although I respect them in using such a method to make this series having a unique and refreshing feel from the ubiquitous standard anime style, ultimately I still prefer my animes with wide eyed characters and sparkle in their smile. Can’t beat the conventional way, eh? However the ‘bad art’ is only restricted to the characters. As for the background and sceneries, they are quite nicely well done. So much so that some of them can be passed off as real. So neatly done that if you notice and keep your eyes peeled, you can even the realistic reflection on the television screen or the wooden board. Therefore I concluded if you have had enough of watching low quality character art, just switch your eyes to the scenery. They give you much more eye candy satisfaction.

Now pushing the art and animation aside, I would like to say that the story is quite interesting and gripping. No doubt that the story is moving at a very slow paced but to me, the series keeps me interested in knowing further what is going to happen. How will Kasuga get out of this? What sh*t is he going to get into next? I recommend people who aren’t into this psychological drama to also watch this. But as usual, the ending had to spoil it all. First the art and now this crappy ending. Maybe that’s how it ended in the manga. At least for this chapter since the manga is still on-going. They teased us with what could be potential scenes for another season but so far, I have not heard if there is going to be a sequel or not. If there is going to be one, I would love to keep watching this. Since I can’t contain my curiosity, I went to check a little on Wikipedia and found out there is indeed a continuation in the manga but a time skip. The main characters are leading separate lives, Kasuga meets someone who is as equally as interested in the literature world as him and Nakamura has been missing. No word of what happened to her. So it might mean that when the TV series ended, the chapter of this part in the manga also ended. It is unsure of what Kasuga or Nakamura did during the time skip. I could be wrong since I didn’t read the manga and is just speculating.

The voice acting is also not anime-like. Because Shinichirou Ueda who is the seiyuu and actor for Kasuga, this is his debut. In a sense, there is a rookie feel to it unlike veteran seiyuus. Because of that, he sounds very real. His shaky voice, his wimpy voice, his normal voice. Like any boy kid you can relate to next door. Even Mariya Ise and Youko Hikasa too didn’t sound like they were anime-like characters. It’s not that I could recognize Youko Hikasa but each time I try to think about it that this is the girl who voiced Mio from K-ON!, Erica in Campione and Rias from High School DxD, I just can’t seem to recognize it is her. Is it because the realism of the art affects the voice as well? Mariya Ise who has voiced well known characters such as Levy from Fairy Tail, Stocking from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt and Riko from Hidan No Aria, doesn’t really sound anime-like either. Maybe sometimes but not all the time. Especially at times when she starts screaming her head off! It was so real and frightening that I thought my monitor was going to crack! So crazy her shriek when she breaks down, being frustrated or gets upset that I thought I might suffer a heart attack and that she might just pop out of the screen and insult me! A very good job to her for really bringing out such craziness in Nakamura.

I don’t really know what to make out of Kasuga. All I know he is one confused kid. He doesn’t truly know what he wants. He isn’t perfect but the way I see it, he is descending deeper into madness. His life is falling apart just because of whether he wants to be a deviant or not. I really don’t understand that either, why he wanted to become a deviant so much. Maybe it’s not that he wants to become one. It’s that he realized Nakamura is lonely and wants to be with her. That’s why I find it real strange that this guy who once adored Saeki, even made the first move to ask her out and go steady with her, suddenly is that same bastard who breaks up with her. You can see the way he struggles with Nakamura whenever she imposes on him. Although he is weak and eventually gives in to pressure, there was that part in him that wanted Saeki. I was so certain he loved her. He even said he will change for love. Look how much change he has become. Even worse. So after all the influence from Nakamura, he starts taking an interest in her and neglects Saeki. WTF. I suppose when he already got his hands on his angel so easily, there’s no more challenge. It was better when he was admiring from afar, huh? What an emotional roller coaster ride he put her, himself and everyone else along.

He’s on his way to earn a reputation as a problem kid. Blame puberty? Blame himself is more like it. But society is partly to blame. If you think about it, the reason why he acts so (aside Nakamura’s influence) is out of desperation. Why else would he be doing it if he is so scared if people find out that he is a deviant? Imagine how his classmates would treat him had they known he was the real culprit. In the end, he doesn’t care for all that anymore and just wants to be with Nakamura. He doesn’t seem to join his Yamada and Kojima pals anymore when he starts getting obsessed with Nakamura. Besides, it still bugs me why he still keeps Saeki’s clothes after so long. He could have just thrown them away and if not lie to Nakamura he had done so. Thus this shows that maybe there is some truth in Nakamura’s words in him being a deviant who likes to smell and rub his skin against Saeki’s clothes. His inability to keep calm is a dead giveaway and perhaps the reason why Nakamura can read him like a book and tell whether he has something to hide or not. Not because Nakamura is some witch with some sort of mind reading powers (like I hoped it would be. Dang). At least this proves Kasuga isn’t a liar but he has a hard time putting his thoughts into words. Notice how often he had to dismiss what Saeki or Nakamura thinks but can’t explain it well to counter that? Despite there’s the irony that he reads a lot. Unless you tell me he was just pretending to read all this time.

His father is perhaps the coolest character in the series. He doesn’t reprimand his son and is quite an understanding man. He knows his son is going through puberty so there is no need to scold or yell at him because he’s such a big kid already. He’s the kind of father that every kid would love to have. And yet, Kasuga is spiralling towards become a problem kid. I don’t know if he has guided Kasuga or maybe it’s because from what we see he is a nice fellow. What I mean in that sense is that he doesn’t pay much attention to him and left him to his own device that’s why Kasuga went astray. So the price to be paid for such is like spare the rod spoil the child? Kasuga’s mom isn’t that bad either. Like every other mother, she is concerned about her child. She just lacks to cool composure her husband has.

I also don’t know what to think of Nakamura. It is hard to understand what is going inside her head and understand what she wants. Despite all the insults she throws at Kasuga, could it be that she actually likes him? I’m just speculating that putting up that tough girl attitude is just to hide her solitude and loneliness. After all, wasn’t it the reason why she took an interest in Kasuga (as stated in her notebook) because she views him a deviant just like her. Even though she says she wants to go to the other side of the hill and that everything in this damn town is boring, I’m asking why is she still here. If what she said was true (from her point of view), shouldn’t she have left a long time ago? What is it that is keeping her here? Probably Kasuga is the reason why she won’t go over yet but before she met him, shouldn’t she have done so? She can curse this town and people all that she wants but her inability to take action shows that she’s just the same like everyone else. Besides, she has been a problem kid ever since. She doesn’t respect her classmates, her teachers and even her own father. Every time she opens her mouth, some sort of expletive is heard. So why bother stick around or even go to school? She bums around as she wishes and could have just gone over to the other side of the hill. Far or not, who cares? It’s not like she loves this sh*t place anyway. That’s why I’m baffled. Just like Kasuga, what is it that she truly wants. And I hope when she says she wants to go beyond the hills, it doesn’t mean something to do with life and death.

At first I thought if she came from a broken family, I would at least understand a little why she acted in such a way. No doubt she has divorced parents, her father is an equally nice man. If I could say, the same understanding guy Kasuga’s father is. He wants to understand his daughter but she wouldn’t let him. If he is a drunkard or gambler and abuses her daughter then I would comprehend her character but he is such a loving father figure from what I see. Maybe he neglects her? From what I understand he doesn’t. If you were him, what would you do? The only solution that won’t result in some war zone is to leave her alone and pray hard she would come to her senses. So what caused Nakamura to become such a delinquent? She doesn’t mix around so it’s safe to say for now that she won’t be in bad company. Even if she starts insulting others, it is a good thing that they don’t raise a hand back at her. They manage to restrain themselves from using violence. I think it’s good since you don’t want to compound the problem any further. Since everybody knows Nakamura is just plain weird, they know it’s best not to cross her path and let her be.

Saeki is a very understanding character and I’m sure those who become her boyfriend would be one lucky guy. To me, Kasuga was stupid enough to throw away that chance. She was willing to give him a chance to start anew. Many girls would have just dump their guy if they ever find out such indecent act. I’m not sure if Saeki’s reaction and thinking would have been different had Kasuga confessed before this madness spiralled out of control. But Saeki was cool. She believes in love. And yet Kasuga betrayed her on that part. Despite all the pleas for him to return and have another chance to start anew, Kasuga still hesitate and looked towards Nakamura. Do you think it not hurts inside in Saeki’s shoes? That’s why when they broke up, I thought it was for Saeki’s good. She doesn’t need a creep like him. Even Kasuga himself said he wasn’t worthy. I wished he realized sooner enough rather than ending up hurting her. But in the end, Saeki was cool enough to maintain her composure. See how nice and rare such girls are? Kasuga you bastard! Otakus like me can’t even get a decent girlfriend and you just easily cast away yours?!

The other minor supporting characters are rather okay and the most amusing one is Yamada. How should I put him? He is the kind of buddy friend that perhaps every guy group would have. Maybe it is just me because he is naturally funny and a joker. You should look at the way he talks and interacts with Kasuga and his group of friends. Because of that, there is some sort of realism you can relate to for his character, albeit just a minor one. There’s something odd I find about Kojima. He has this tendency to put his hand below his chin. Does it make him look smarter since it gives the impression that he is ‘thinking’? He also always has that smirk on his face. Happy guy, isn’t he? Ai is a good friend to Saeki and cares about her but there is only so much she can do and care for her friend. That’s why I don’t blame her if she really hates Kasuga for ditching angelic Saeki for deviant Nakamura. You know what they say about the bird of the same feathers. With the creepy eyeball flower of Aku No Hana in the anime, I thought there would be some sort of supernatural power coming into play. Just seeing the way those ‘thin hair’ quivering is enough to give me the creeps. Alas, it was just something of our imagination and only appearing as something harmless in Kasuga’s dream.

I thought there were a few opening themes since it changes every 3 episodes. Then I found out it is actually the same song by Uchujin but different versions of it and sung by a guest vocalist. The opening theme is the same name as this series and mainly the versions are named according to the main characters and reflect them. Kasuga’s rock version may have lyrics that call himself a piece of sh*t but the most amusing one is Nakamura’s version. It has sh*t insults and negativity that makes you think the girl is going mad. Although the song starts out as carnival-like, the singer is more like screaming instead of singing towards the end. Just crazy. While Saeki’s version sounds like pop rock, the Gunma-ken Kiryu-shi version starts off sounding like a circus fairytale (feels like Alice in Wonderland?) before descending into its rock form. The ending theme is the weirdest of them all. Dubbed Hana -a last flower- by ASA-CHANG and Junray, what you hear is a combo voice of a child and a man singing. Heck, I don’t think they’re really singing but just talking with some synthesizer and computerized effects. It’s like either the voices are trying to match to the organ tune in the background or vice versa. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s really odd but that’s what makes it unique. There are also a few versions of it but I couldn’t really tell the difference. The animation for the opening theme has got to be the most unimaginative and boring (there’s that word again) ever made. I guess it can’t be help seeing the pace of this show, you don’t want to add all those anime-like opening animations to spoil it and ruin the realism. Just put something plain and simple. And boring. The ending animation is like that too but just a black screen and the credits scrolling up.

What actually defines a deviant? If everybody in this world did the oddest thing and the most deviant, then it wouldn’t be called a deviant anymore and would turn out into a norm. How you perceive somebody as a deviant also depends very much on your influence and beliefs. Therefore I conclude that everybody is a deviant in their own way and that is what makes us unique and interesting. This entire world is one big screwed up place so no matter where you run or go, it will be the same. Just in a different form and way. I have criticized so much on Kasuga and Nakamura for the fine mess they got into but I should be careful too. Because in some ways I can relate Kasuga to myself (being an introvert and all) and putting myself in his shoes, I don’t think I would have handled it differently either. Maybe worse. It’s easy to watch and criticize others but when it is you who is doing it, it is a different ball game. This series is a good example of how a mountain is made out of a molehill. One small thing leads to another. The more you lie, the harder you find to cover it up and keep up with it. It’s simple. Don’t do things that you do not want to regret later on in your life. But if you’re thinking about risking a boring uneventful life versus some ‘(mis)adventure’ of a lifetime, the choice is always yours. In the end, everybody is still somewhat a deviant and some piece of sh*t. Because life has got you screwed up ever since the day you were born. Haha!

Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san Z

November 23, 2013

There’s always a little devil inside of us. Because we have this thing called conscious and don’t like to get our hands dirty, I suppose that is what summoned demons are for. To do the dirty job on our behalf or someone’s. After the devilishly hilarious and nonsensical first season, I never expected this series to have another so it is quite a welcoming treat to watch Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san Z. If you think demons are scary and frightening, just wait till you see the ones here. So cute, so dumb and so hilarious, it makes you wonder if demon is just the name of a race and nothing to do with the evil personality that we all know. It makes you wonder if we humans are the one being true demons especially a certain cold hearted but insanely powerful boss of a detective agency that houses these demons. They are the ones who are at his mercy. So really. Can they call themselves demons? The demons along with the female assistant go around doing their detective work that needs the use of some demonic touch (how else do you break up someone who is cheating on you?). If you enjoy the devilishly funny first season, you’ll enjoy this equally devilish sequel too. Guaranteed.

Episode 1
Remember how Moloch died so fast in the first season without making any decent appearance? Looks like he gets his own cute opening theme (for this episode only anyway). Turns out it is an anime of him and his fellow chicken and pig friends running away from the curry chef trying to make them into curry stew. As Koutarou points out, due to the popularity of the mascot and thus the anime adaptation, Moloch plushies are selling like hot cakes. Thanks to the demon raccoon named Ose (who is under contract of Koutarou’s genius classmate Osamu Osanai), his ability to copy things is making the plushies selling off the shelves. Also pointed out that the plushies are a hit with girls so Azazel tries to scout Ose to make a sex doll for him. I don’t think his pubic hair bribe would even do the trick! Disgusting! He is kicked out. Going back to hell, Azazel and Beelzebub see Moloch. He is not the Moloch as we know from before but his brother. They show him the plushie and he finds he has become a disgrace to his race. As narrated if an angel takes a grimoire away and the demon dies, he will never be reborn. But the grimoire may pop up somewhere in the human world. Moloch wants to make Akutabe pay for his life. He is not doing this for his brother but for his race. Azazel notes he is powerful but not enough against Akutabe. Moloch is arrogant and dismisses Azazel’s warning. Azazel talks to Beelzebub that talking to this muscle brain won’t do them any good but Beelzebub has an idea and will agree to lend Moloch his wisdom. When they return, Sakuma is happy that Moloch is back but the rest try to dismiss it as a plushie. Sakuma doesn’t seem convinced. Because Sakuma continues to fawn all over Moloch, Azazel sticks his fork up he ass! The punishment? Sakuma pounds his head as he heads straight down to the Earth’s core! Oh sh*t! Azazel has doubts in this plan because if Sakuma can figure Moloch out, how the hell is their plan for Moloch to be a doll work out with Akutabe then? Beelzebub says that he too will have an opening if they watch him 24/7. Speaking of that ‘devil’, he just returns. So badass this guy that all the other animals start acting restless in his presence.

Episode 2
Instantly, Akutabe can feel that something is wrong with this room! Like there is something new… Oh sh*t! And if anybody dares say his intuition is wrong like Azazel, he did not hesitate to fire his finger gun! Beelzebub must be panicking so hard that his brain is jammed up trying to come up with an excuse and prevent their cover from being blown (because if it does, their ass will be as good as dead too). If he doesn’t do anything, he’ll be dead in the next scene! The sound of a cat is heard and Beelzebub points out this must be the thing he sensed. Beelzebub in cat outfit? Akutabe throws him out of the window! Animal abuse! Like he cares! Although Azazel survives the fall due to his agility of a cat, he becomes road kill. Sakuma returns and advises Beelzebub to stay away from Akutabe because it is that time of the month when his mood goes totally dark and his senses sharpen. Beelzebub wants to take Moloch and retreat but is forced away by Sakuma. Azazel thought of giving his porn to Akutabe to relieve some steam but was thrown out of the window and become road kill. In the next room where Koutarou is packing his Moloch plushies, Beelzebub tries to think of a way to get them out before it’s too late but Azazel seems to try to wash his hands off this case and acts like he doesn’t want to get involved anymore. When Akutabe is asleep, Moloch thinks he let his guard down and starts to pounce on him. However he is whacked away with in a single swipe. Like as though he knew it was coming. Moloch starts to fear as he sees Akutabe’s deadly aura. Now do you know the true meaning of fear? He runs as Akutabe tries to catch him. He hides in the plushies room. Akutabe plays mind games with Moloch, telling him that a demon as vulnerable without his grimoire. Thinking Moloch is at the end of the plushie row (because he is shaking), Akutabe gives him a chance to give up now and will spare his life. Since there is no response, he throws the grimoire at him and soon he explodes! Guts everywhere! The real Moloch is actually hiding inside the closet and very terrified he had witnessed the true evil. Flashback 2 hours ago, when Koutarou and the rest went out for lunch, Azazel snuck in and dressed up in one of the plushies in hopes he could get lucky with a girl tomorrow. That’s when Akutabe came in. He couldn’t hear a word he says and the poor ventilation means he is sweating and can’t breathe. That’s when the grimoire hit him. As he picks up his pieces, he sees Moloch turned pale. So dreadful that he passes out. Not that tough anymore, huh? When Koutarou returns, he is devastated that all the plushies are dirty. He needs to deliver at least one tomorrow. Seeing the pale Moloch as clean, he ships this one out. Gone forever?

Episode 3
Koutarou has piles and is sent to see a doctor. However all the doctors that specializes in haemorrhoids recently started resigning. Rest assured, Koutarou is able to see Reika Kikukawa, the Master of Piles! Azazel is jealous that Koutarou gets to get his butt examined by a female doctor whose name sounds like a porn star! But Reika turns out to be a… Transvestite. Lost that excitement, eh? Koutarou refuses to have his butt stared by a transvestite but he assures he is a doctor first and wants to save lives. He doesn’t believe him and Beelzebub’s abilities to tell the truth reveals Reika’s true goal is to do ‘that’ with unsuspecting boys under the pretence of treatment! Reika restrains him and examines his ass. The diagnosis is bad. He must undergo operations in 3 days. I understand why Koutarou doesn’t want to and prefers to live with his piles. His chastity might be in danger with this transvestite around. He is made to stay and at the same time, a bald man, Nobuki Marukome with the worst piles ever is moved in as his roommate. It is rumoured that all the anal doctors who treated him gave up. He even refuses to undergo any operation. Koutarou is forced to listen to his talk on despair. He once worked in the Middle East disarming bombs left over by the war. There was a village kid called Tinpoi who looked so much like Koutarou. If he was alive, he’d be his age now. One day, they found a big bomb that would be big enough to raze the entire village. Though it was successfully disarmed, another big bomb went off in front of the villagers. It was the bomb of his ass! So that’s how his piles story came about?! Tinpoi and all the villagers laughed at him and he felt so ridiculed that he couldn’t believe in anything anymore. A person who disarms bombs has a weak mentality? Just then, his piles start acting up again and so big the explosion that the ceiling is covered with blood! Seeing the seriousness of this, Koutarou agrees Reika to operate on him but Marukome still won’t allow any operation done, still talking about the true despair of betrayal and is suspicious if Reika is a true doctor. Reika forces him to undergo operation so Marukome comments that today he will lose his title of Master of Piles today. As he is wheeled away, Koutarou’s butt experiences a huge bloody piles explosion. He then realizes Marukome is a demon summoner.

Episode 4
When Sakuma, Azazel and Beelzebub visit Koutarou, they find Reika had resigned right before the operation. He even quit being a transvestite! What happened? Koutarou is also in despair. Checking around, they see a pig punk demon next to Marukome. Azazel argues with Eurynome of Despair and both try to act tough. Azazel chickens out when Eurynome threatens to read his embarrassing school essay! WTF?! Marukome tells Eurynome to stop and explains this demon will not hesitate to steal someone’s life. His ability of despair robs people’s hopes. This is what happened to Koutarou and the rest of the people in this room. Marukome is doing this because he thinks it is better to die happy rather than to live a life filled with suffering and betrayal. Sakuma tells him off he has no right to rob other people’s happiness because of his own problem. Marukome challenges her if she can show him the beauty of this world and worth living, he will free everyone. Otherwise, she will lose her life. Guess what? Sakuma passes! Yeah. Nice move. She doesn’t want to die yet and doesn’t consider these people her friends. So why looks so disappointed, baldy? Azazel thinks he has a way to save him. That is, making him watch a porn video. Despite his healthy cock stand, he mentions this only brings empty delight. Satisfying your lust for the moment only to be brought back to solitude. So want to watch more? Thinking he is just lonely, Sakuma wonders if there was someone by his side to share his happiness and sadness. Marukome thinks back if he only had somebody like her then. Marukome’s eyes lit up thinking Sakuma may be her destined one but she instantly rejects him, making him fall into despair. Eurynome taunts her that if he despairs one more time, everyone will die. If what she said earlier is true, then prove herself to save him. A nurse walks in so Sakuma orders Azazel to make her fall in love with Marukome. Instantly she is all over him. So happy that he tells off Eurynome to stop and free everybody. Since he has found true love, he doesn’t need him anymore. Eurynome is not amused and won’t let him go but Marukome knocks him out with a book. And so everyone is freed and Koutarou’s piles got cured. When Marukome is out with the nurse, a burly guy confronts Marukome and beats him up. Blaming him for making Reika quitting and going home. Because Reika is his best partner! Oh sh*t! And since Marukome wants him to leave his woman alone, I guess there is only one thing left to take responsibility for this mess up. Yeah. He’s going to get screwed and his piles just recovered… Falling into the depths of despair once more…

Episode 5
Undine’s mother is sick and the doctor tells her she has not long to live. 300 more years… Yeah. That’s pretty short for a monster. Her last wish is for Undine to marry. I can see where this is going. Sakuma declines to go to a mixer with her friends Yumi and Maki. When she returns to the office, she sees Undine wanting to resign due to her mom’s condition. Akutabe agrees. And then Undine gets all riled up because he didn’t stop her and throws a fit. She is appalled men are dense, blah, blah, blah. I guess that’s why we’ll never understand women. Undine then hears Sakuma getting a call from her friends wanting her to come to the mixer. Initially Undine is jealous and threatens to kill Sakuma for trying to have fun (although she declined) but in actual fact she wants to go to the mixer. So Sakuma brings her and Undine can sure run her mouth. Her friends didn’t expect to accommodate an extra person. Undine uses her jealousy power on Yumi. Just then, Yumi sees her boyfriend with another woman (much uglier). It’s going to get ugly. Because of that, Yumi can’t join the mixer and thus Undine takes her place. An angel named Gagiel is disguising himself as a university student in order to hunt down demons. Because Hameoka and Yarimura think this geek is looking down on them, they nearly beat him up but when he mentions about the mixer they are going, he forces Gagiel to come along with them so he could be the butt of jokes. And so this is how both sides of the gender meet at the mixer. The guys see pig face Maki and troubled jealous Undine and think this is bad. Their ‘saviour’ is Sakuma because she’s the pretty looking one. Undine gets jealous since Sakuma hogs all the attention so she lies about Sakuma’s brutal past. The guys know they will be in deep sh*t if they date Undine because she starts talking how her goal is to find a guy who would support her and her mother, blah, blah, blah. Maki manages to get the attention of the perverted guys by just boing-boing her boobs. Undine in jealous mode again. She unleashes her power and sends Maki into depression that she wants to die now if nobody wants to date her. Then she bites her own tongue and collapses. Gagiel couldn’t believe he has witnessed Undine using her demonic powers and targets guys in mixers. He vows to purge her. But Undine thinks Gagiel’s fiery eyes are looking at her as a woman. What did she say about never wanting to fall in love again?

Episode 6
Gagiel thinks Undine’s summoner is nearby and it is Sakuma. He plans to hit on her and retrieve the grimoire. Can he do it on another time? Her friend is dying here. Because Sakuma accompanies Maki away to hospital, Gagiel lost his lead on the summoner and decides to get close to Undine to get to Sakuma. Gullible Undine agrees to go out with this geek on a date. Gagiel reports to God he has found a demon and vows to retrieve the grimoire. But the angels remind him of his rank, Baby. As the lowest angelic rank, there are strict limitations of interaction with the opposite sex and thus unsuitable for this mission. However God is interested to see how this virgin takes down the b*tch (OMG! God said that!) and approves of it. Who knows it might turn into some novelty porn that He probably is interested. Gagiel meets Sariel on the way out. Because of his success, he has been promoted to Cherry and the most he is allowed is touching and groping the opposite sex. Gagiel is motivated to rise to this rank without fail. Because Undine is trying to piss Akutabe off that she has a date (not that she will listen to him either), Akutabe orders Sakuma to keep an eye on her to prevent her from doing anything stupid. It’s her responsibility since she took her to the mixer. The date starts off badly. Gagiel is an hour late (he just woke up when Undine arrived). He tries to get on her good side for now and takes her out to eat. We see his bad habits of making her wait while he goes to the toilet, his zip open, tripping and talking about his mother. WTF. He thinks Undine is enjoying herself? She’s just holding it in because she thinks she can brainwash him later. When Gagiel thinks it is safe to ask her about Sakuma, he just pressed the wrong button. Undine becomes jealous thinking he only used her to get to Sakuma. Undine runs away and curses Sakuma and due to that, Sakuma becomes an old lady. Gagiel didn’t know the old hag is her. Sakuma wants him to go after Undine (for the sake of undoing the curse) but Gagiel does so not because of an old hag’s advice but she is the only lead to the grimoire. He catches and says the words that girls love to hear from a guy. Don’t go. I need you. Undine is smitten that she kisses him (disgusting) in the middle of the street. Suddenly he starts to sprout angel wings and a halo. Undine and Sakuma are shock to realize he is an angel. The sky then turns dark. God is not happy because he kissed (even though it wasn’t his fault). If Undine’s beating is not enough, God zaps him with his lightning. He’s dead. Though Undine mourns her love is an angel, she quickly gets over his death (such unstable emotions, eh?) and looks forward to the underworld matchmaking.

Episode 7
Sakuma won a prize to the Ryuujin hotspring. She befriends Mayu Hanasaki who is here on a company trip. They get freaked out when some ugly geek girl, Yoshiko Kobayashi snaps a shot of them to update her blog (it’s her purpose in life). Hanasaki tells this to her senior, Kensaku Nishimura and he wastes no time in smashing her PDA to teach her a lesson. Sakuma eats dinner with the rest of the guests that includes Hanasaki’s chief Sanpei Noro, a husband-wife pair Funakoshi and Nagisa, comedian duo Hajime and Shinichi (Detective Conan look-a-like?!), inspector Souji Hashiba, wanted criminal, Masakazu Katsura, inn hostess Ranko Edogawa. Ranko shows them the legend of Ryuujin Lake whereby the people sacrificed themselves enough to fill the lake with their blood to the Ryuujin God so their famine can end. However, the God looks so funny and they can’t help laugh. But as pointed out, those who laugh at it will suffer a curse. Everyone tries to hold back but it seems Ranko is trying to make them laugh while playing a funny song. Nishimura then tells her off to stop frightening people with such stupid lies and doesn’t believe in the curse. Late that night, Sakuma is awakened by a scream. Everyone sees Nishimura dead in his own pool of blood. Is this the curse? Ranko points out the killings will go on till the anger is allayed. Furthermore on this stormy night, the only access to the inn is cut off and everyone is trapped with the murderer. Hashiba introduces himself and warns he suspects everyone as the suspects until the culprit is found. Katsura who was bragging about killing instincts suddenly become afraid. Hashiba interrogates him but how come it’s just about the candies he stole?! What about the murder?! Don’t tell me he likes those candies. Comedians Hajime and Shinichi stand up (pun intended) and mention they saw someone suspicious. Then they act out a comedy play of a murder case like this. The play is so stupid (accusing each other as the culprit) that they just can’t stand it. This causes Sakuma to blow her top and tell off everyone the seriousness of this case. Someone died! Help won’t come! And we’re stuck with a murderer in the midst! Calm down. Hanasaki then realizes she has an idea who the culprit is.

Episode 8
Hanasaki points out the culprit as Kobayashi because she remembers she was bickering with Nishimura. Checking out her blog, it seems there is murderous intent. However Kobayashi claims innocent. Funakoshi and Nagisa reveal they are detectives and chase after Kobayashi. They corner her and due to the psychological pressure, she jumps off the cliff! Looking further in her blog, it seems she has an alibi. Sakuma reveals she works for a detective agency and would like to help out. Employee Yoshirou Inoue points out he saw Noro going to Hanasaki’s room, which is close to the murder scene. Though Noro denies, Azazel sense that this old guy and Hanasaki are hiding something. Then he realizes the connection between the duo. Because Sakuma laments if only Beelzebub was here to make everyone tell the truth, Azazel throws a fit and wants Sakuma to apologize if he is to help her out. Whatever. Because nobody can hear Azazel, Sakuma points out Noro as the culprit. Immediately Hashiba restrains him. Sakuma becomes embarrassed to say that Noro and Hanasaki are in a sexual relation. Funny part is how when Azazel notes nobody can escape from his carnal relationship sense (because he can see a pink string around them) as he is the demon of lust, he sees Ranko having pink strings everywhere! She’s done in the members of her troop, the cow and even the carrot???!!! WTF is this lady?! Noro wants proof of Sakuma’s accusation so she mentions if he remembers where he left his spectacles. Everyone rushes back to his room to see S&M toys. Noro admits he is in such a relationship with Hanasaki but has an alibi he didn’t kill Nishimura because he was tied up by her. Hanasaki changes into her true character into a sadistic woman and beats him up for revealing it. As everyone continues to ponder, suddenly Nishimura wakes up! Not a ghost. Before he could tell what happen, he realizes something and feigns he can’t remember it and believes it’s the curse. This guy? Azazel also realizes something on him. First he has Sakuma tell everyone to recreate the sequence of events leading up to this incident and let Nishimura soak in the hotspring again. After he comes out, Azazel makes him erect. That is one gigantic DICK, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!! After seeing his unusual stretched underwear, Azazel explains when Nishimura was coming back from the hotspring, he saw Noro’s room. He got aroused and an erection. Because the bath made his blood circulation better, his big dick means the erection caused all the blood to rush there and he passed out. Nishimura couldn’t take this embarrassment and trips, knocking his head on the statue. I guess that’s how the blood came about. In short, he passed out from anaemia after the bath. Kobayashi’s blog indicates she is saved and alive. Noro is worried that his wife would find out but Hanasaki after seeing Nishimura’s gigantic manhood, dumps Noro and sleeps with him. What a whore…

Episode 9
Akutabe is called in to investigate a card left by a thief that he will steal the Philosopher’s Stone at the museum. This is no ordinary thief because this pervert, 48 Faced Freak is an extreme exhibitionist despite also being a demon summoner! Look how he loves swinging his gigantic dick around?! Sakuma and Beelzebub go around trying to find the culprit and it looks like this is not an inside job as all the guards are clean. Suddenly we see 48 Faced Freak starts dancing and swinging his dick around Sakuma and singing his Chinese song! Why didn’t she realize it? Thanks to his demon, Sargatanas who is able to hide his presence. When Azazel is arguing with Beelzebub and Sakuma, he thought he saw some guardian angel (48 Faced Freak) popping up behind them before disappearing. This act is caught on camera as Akutabe calls Sakuma to get out of there. But it’s too late. She vanishes. She finds herself in some sort of perverted land as 48 Face Freak interrogates her. Tell the truth or feel the wrath of his dick… Oh, she lied once about Akutabe… Beelzebub tricked to follow of trail of porn magazines into a trap. 48 Faced Freak asks him about Akutabe and he gladly tells all as long as he has his porn. He will punish Sakuma for lying. Sakuma realizes he is not an ordinary summoner. He is about to kill Azazel with a grimoire when Akutabe kicks him away. While Azazel and Beelzebub are silly in their antics over porn, Akutabe gets serious in butchering this guy. But 48 Faced Freak is no pushover and challenges Akutabe. It feels like a battle manga as they both emit huge deadly aura. Since 48 Faced Freak just wants to show off his perversion, Azazel wants to stop that pervert. Who else better than to stop one? Seriously. Azazel uses his move called The End Of Son by using negative erotic power to reduce libido and releasing them that is stored in his body. Because he took too long, 48 faced Freak escapes in the nick of time via Sargatanas. Akutabe hears his voice who is going to do something funny to Sakuma. Since Akutabe has forgotten his grudge against him, 48 Faced Freak reminds him that he took something dear away from him.

Episode 10
When he was a good priest, there was this kind lady Maria whom the town loves. One night Akutabe showed up to let him see Maria’s true form. She’s a whore who sleeps with all the guys in town. At first he didn’t believe and thought the guys forced her into it for the money but Maria from her own mouth admits she’s a whore. That’s when his world broke apart, indulged in the temptations and vowed to make Akutabe taste the same pain. Akutabe remembers this clearly. After he left, he wanted to exorcise Maria’s demon: Azazel. Eh? So how is he in the picture? Let’s say he helped her manage the finance. So it’s his fault, eh? Despite the misplaced grudge, 48 Faced Freak still wants to do something funny to Sakuma. He is a pervert first before an avenger. Sakuma feels ticklish and since she is not lewd, he puts her out and will have her way with her then. Akutabe is cool. Because he punches and breaks through the next dimension where they are! Don’t even ask how he did that. But 48 Faced Freak soon collapses due to the effects of The End Of Son exploded. Now his dick is so tiny that you can’t see a thing! Akutabe leaves Sakuma and the demons to watch them. Azazel turns into a violent abusing officer. Looks who’s the tough guy now? It is revealed 48 Faced Freak was here to steal the grimoire and not the Philosopher’s Stone. Azazel’s The End Of Son’s effect also starts to kick in. He needs something perverted and Sakuma won’t let her guard down for a single second for his sake. He can die for all she cares, right? 48 Faced Freak feels sorry for him and allows him to read his porn. Azazel feels bad for him and thinks of lifting the curse but was thankfully stopped. Beelzebub reveals his true intention into tricking the dimwit to free him and escape. This earns Sakuma’s wrath that Azazel is a useless piece of sh*t and warns not to do anything. Feeling deceived, Azazel blasts him with another The End Of Son. However this is a wrong move. With so much magic inside his body, 48 Faced Freak’s dick becomes a monster! Taller than Tokyo Tower! He’s going on a rampage! What’s it feel like for a city to be smashed by someone’s dick? Even if Azazel seems pitiful, but Sakuma is obviously upset at this idiot. She warns him again not to do anything. Will he ever learn? Sakuma tries to convince 48 Faced Freak that the real Maria wouldn’t be happy to see him like this and points out the real Maria isn’t what he thinks. Till Azazel had to open his big mouth that Maria was a whore all along. The truth hurts. 48 Faced Freak goes crazier. Before he can smash the city and before Azazel can use The Final End Of Son, Beelzebub makes 48 Faced Freak has a bad stomach ache. So he is in a dilemma to whether poop or maintain his erection. The situation is brought under control so 48 Faced Freak will retreat for now but vows to steal the grimoire one day.

Episode 11
Sakuma thought Akutabe stole the grimoire from the museum but that place is too dangerous to be left there. He gives it to Sakuma and wants her to make a new contract. Meanwhile Azazel continues to sulk at his home. He is depressed ever since being called useless at the perverted incident. Not even mommy can help him so she brings Kyoko over. She is worried about him and reminds his promise to become the demon king. His negativity is so low that I think Kyoko’s slap sends him halfway around the world! I’m sure he doesn’t want to risk his life when she is in this killer mode so he agrees to fulfil that promise. But first he tells her how the guys at work are treating him and thus why he is not turning up. Yeah, being demon king is tough. Lots of enemies. Even America and Soviet Union. Kyoko wants to go talk to them but seeing how nasty this will get, Azazel returns to Akutabe’s office and the first thing he did was to profusely apologize. But Sakuma isn’t mad. Sure this is her? Even mommy and Kyoko are here to see things out, much to Azazel’s dismay. Azazel is touched by Sakuma’s kindness and can’t resist groping her. She knew this was coming and kicks him away. She introduces him to Incubus, a newly summoned demon whose powers is almost the same as Azazel. That’s why they had no trouble with work… Feeling more useless, eh? But Incubus seems to look up to Azazel as his senior greatly. Azazel changes his tune and becomes the boss to train this kid up. On their next field work whereby they’re supposed to break up a cheating husband with his mistress, Azazel shows how it’s done. Turns out after 2 hours, he’s just watching them in the love hotel! Then that guy has multiple partners and goes to sleep with her in her apartment. Again, Azazel moves into action but just watches them for another 2 hours! Can you not blame Sakuma for feeling mad? So she sends Incubus in this time and he gets things done by making them sleep and never to go sleep around with real woman anymore (because he prefers the woman of his dreams now. Literally). As narrated, his skill is temptation and those who fall under his curse lose their reason and give in to their temptation. Back at the office, Azazel’s mom and Kyoko can’t wait to hear the wonderful job he has done. They notice Sakuma giving Incubus a much grander sacrifice compared to Azazel’s little pathetic one. What is the meaning of this? They want an explanation. Azazel just eats the sacrifice from the floor like a sad pathetic useless demon. They can’t believe it and shriek in horror. That bad, huh? Welcome to reality. Strangely for once I feel bad for Azazel…

Episode 12
Though Azazel is depressed, Kyoko is there to give him some encouragement. So Azazel goes back to work but was made to clean the toilet bowl. I guess Sakuma thinks this is the best job for him now. She’s got Incubus, right? Because of that, Azazel tries to frame Incubus by pointing fingers at him that he stole Sakuma’s panties (the thief is so obvious) or even take away Koutarou’s hidden porn magazines and DVD collection (too obvious)! He even poos on Akutabe’s table! Better clean it before he com- oh, too late. Now he has to clean up his own blood. As the days pass, Azazel notices even his mother is getting well acquainted with Incubus to a point he suspects them of having an affair right in their home! It’s like Incubus is slowly taking away things from him because he even does Azazel’s share of the cleaning work! His world starts to break apart when Kyoko heard everything from Sakuma about him being a lousy worker. But she still hasn’t given up hope on him and wants to start over (even if it takes centuries!) to become a great demon. Azazel throws a tantrum. Few days later after he calmed down and returns to office, Incubus is nowhere. When Sakuma summons him for work, to their horror they see Incubus F*CKING Kyoko!!!!!!!!! That’s when Azazel snapped. He lost everything. After he runs out in the rain, Kyoko reveals to Sakuma that she was raped and had nothing really going with Incubus. It’s Incubus fault and not Kyoko who cheated on Azazel. When Kyoko was worried about Azazel not talking to her, Incubus was kind enough to listen to her woes. He tried to seduce her but to Kyoko, she only sees Azazel even if he is a useless pervert. Incubus knew that his tricks didn’t work and decided to rape Kyoko in front of Azazel just to break him. Incubus admits everything. He is a demon after all. He is confident Azazel is so broken nothing can fix him. Sakuma panics and doesn’t know what to do. She calls Akutabe and although she will find Azazel, she hopes he could be kind to him. She feels bad for being harsh and mistreating him. Isn’t that Azazel in front on Akutabe right now? Is he trying to jump off the bridge? Well, Akutabe shows his kindness by ignoring him. Then he further continues to ignore what he has to say when Azazel tries to get himself run over by the cars. I think Azazel is really dying to get Akutabe’s attention to hear him out! So once he is heard, Akutabe says he will cancel Sakuma and Incubus’ contract. Azazel is happy but that is just a what-if scenario. Akutabe chides him for depending on others when he is in trouble, what more on a human. He should be ashamed of himself. Is he really a demon? If he is so, he should take back what has been taken. If he can’t, just die. Shocking, no? I guess that’s Akutabe’s kindness for you. And Akutabe just tells Sakuma the truth about Azazel wanting to die and so he let him. Did he make matters worse? Is it really the end of Azazel as we know?

Episode 13
Sakuma and the demons find Azazel’s lifeless body on the street. Beelzebub fears he has entered into the Abyss, a mental state whereby demons suffer and enter when they cannot face reality anymore. It is said once they fall into it, they’ll never wake up again. Azazel is in the deep recess of his mind. He hears his inner voice talk to him but Azazel just happily goes crazy. What has he got to lose now? Till he stumbles into a room where this twin version of him is talking through the microphone. WTF?! Notice the Inception video on his table? Yeah. Mindf*ck.  Dark Azazel tells him most of his powers are sealed and could easily lose to a stray dog. He convinces him that Akutabe is at fault for sealing it and then expecting him to perform. The solution is to merge with him and become Super Azazel. But he refuses. Because with great power comes great responsibility. We’re not watching a superhero movie… Since the coward prefers to frolic in this sanctuary, Dark Azazel forces him to watch what is going on outside now. Sakuma and the rest are concerned about him but this only makes Azazel laugh at this drama. So he is shown another video whereby they drag his body back to the storeroom (because Akutabe doesn’t want his floor to be soiled) and they left him there. They discuss the need to take care of his body for the rest of his life and I suppose the person he wanted most, Sakuma immediately declines seeing she has a busy schedule. Don’t want to take responsibility, huh? Beelzebub suggests to let his body ‘return to the earth’ so his soul can go to heaven. Wait, seriously. A demon going to heaven? Seeing their indifference made Azazel mad. So mad that he powers up into some mad dog. He is going to take revenge on them and takes off Dark Azazel’s sex seal on his crotch. Azazel returns to reality as a fiery demon ready to bring hell to them. Yeah, they’re eating pizza and didn’t leave some for him. Dead demons don’t need to eat, right? Before he could unleash his power, Kyoko tries to convince him to stop. He learns she was raped and all and goes back down the Underworld to take his revenge on Incubus before coming back to settle their score. Later, it is revealed that this is a plan hatched by Kyoko and Incubus to get Azazel back on his feet. She calls him that super power Azazel is on his way to beat him up and to let him do so. Salamander heard it and wants to slice her. However she beats him out and cries rape. I guess to the unsuspected she does sound convincing. Kyoko notes she’ll be a demon for Azazel if she has to. Isn’t she already a demon? However Azazel never came back so Beelzebub returned and found him locked up in his room all depressed. After dragging him back up, it is known that when Azazel was on his way to beat up Incubus, he bumped into several weak demon punks and decided to beat them up for pissing him off. Guess what? He got beaten up instead! And all that confidence shattered once more. Kyoko assures to leave the rest to her so she goes to beat up Incubus for good. Azazel then becomes arrogant to tell Incubus off never to raise a hand on his woman or else she will beat him up. Look who’s talking? Azazel is back to his usual self but the rest are so appalled at what they witnessed, they just wished he was dead. So shocking to hear that, that Azazel falls into the Abyss once more and Dark Azazel is not happy this dude is back here again.

Sex, Blood & Guts…
Too hilarious! Before I knew it, the series had already ended! Can we have more episodes next time please? This is one of the few anime series whereby the sequel is as good if not better than its predecessor and it is a good thing that this second season doesn’t disappoint. Even though the plot is random and can be said divided into mini arcs of its own (each of them lasts about 2 episodes), nevertheless it is a very fun watch despite all the crude talking, profanity, sex jokes, ecchi-like themes, over the top violence and other vulgarities. In short, everything is crap! In a funny way, that is. The characters are horrible and not to be mistaken as role models because they have no good qualities whatsoever. But who cares about character development or progression when you can just laugh your ass off. That formula is what makes this show highly successful. So if you’re the kind who finds such things offensive and repulsive, maybe you should go watch Barney and Friends. Or even Sesame Street. Because all of us have that little devil in our heart and what better way than to watch this with no holds barred.

If you want to make all those disgusting violence and sex, might as well go all the way without holding back. And I think this is what this series has done quite perfectly well without such restrains. Although it still is considered ‘safer’ than many other controversial shows since it doesn’t insult any race or religion and no full frontal nudity. Everything was done in accordance and in the name of comedy and to make us laugh. No hard feelings whatsoever. It doesn’t worry whether or not such negative and loose morals would be a bad influence to society. It doesn’t care if it invokes the wrath of some religious or moral police officer. It doesn’t give a damn if it gets banned or censured that would affect DVD sales. Let everything go now and let’s see what comes next. After all, all those who are watching this can be said are ‘impure’, am I right?

Azazel is still the dumb perverted demon that never learns. At this rate, I am very sure he will never become demon king even if he has the looks in his true form. Instead of working hard, he prefers to frolic, fool around and get perverted as much as his can. It’s like it is his destiny to become a clown. Heck, his role is supposed to be for comic relief and whipping boy of the series. Notice how most of the bloody gut spilling violence ends up on him? Without his resurrection, it’s like as though he died many times over and over again. And he still never learns. If he fails to become a demon king, I guess he can fall back on being a comedian because I also observed the way he retorts and makes instant and spontaneous loud mouth come back lines makes it as though he is such a stand up comedian pro. Really. Kyoko might be more dangerous than Azazel and as seen if she really gets mad, she doesn’t need to turn green and big just to make Azazel shiver in his pants. It’s a good thing she is on Azazel’s side. Though, she would do whatever it takes for her beloved demon to achieve his goal. Anything. It’s pretty okay, right? She’s a demon, no? So anything goes. Like they say, behind every successful (demon) man is a woman but behind every failure is just Azazel himself. Haha!

Sakuma must have gotten used to how things worked now so she is not that surprised when Azazel springs into his perverted motion. She even throws a serious face to Azazel which probably says “I’ll kill you for good if you do something stupid this time”. Speaking of that part, I guess it was with mixed feelings when Azazel was at the lowest point of his life. Despite knowing that this idiot deserves what he gets, you can’t help feel pitiful for him because for once he wasn’t faking it. His depression is real. What does this proves? That demons have feelings too! So if you reprimand Azazel so many times like Sakuma, even that demon has his limits and will go crazy. But why won’t any demon do the same when it comes to Akutabe? Simple. He doesn’t give a shit and will not hesitate to kill you! Better be on your best behaviour in front of this guy whether you like it or not. Although he somewhat obliged Sakuma’s request to be nice to Azazel in the final arc, he is still the same in and out. Maybe it’s his tough love. I don’t feel he really gives a damn about Azazel. I mean he knows very well he is dealing with demons and if you give them an inch especially idiots like Azazel, they’ll swamp and take advantage of you. So ignoring him is already the best treatment Azazel could get then. At least he didn’t get his guts splattered everywhere and that is already considered very good and lucky if you’re dealing with him. So ironically despite being human, I would say Akutabe is the only one without feelings and could be the next demon king if he wants to. Heck, is he even human in the first place? I always suspect that there is more than meets the eye to this guy. Oh well. Some things are better left unknown.

By now, I think Moloch’s ‘death’ and the way he ‘exits’ the show must have become a running gag. It’s like he can never unleash his full potential and will meet his death one way or another. Although in this season he didn’t die, but getting delivered and sent away as a plushie is just like death itself. Yeah. That’s the last you’ll ever hear from him. You thought he was going to be a regular by appearing in the first couple of episodes but that is just about how much screen time he will get. Undine gets a little spotlight for this season too but I guess that is so much about it. It is freaking funny to see how she can just get jealous about everything due to her paranoia. Her mood swings are violent. One second she is against it and suddenly the next she is all for it. I feel Beelzebub plays a minor role in this series as compared to the first season. He didn’t get into much trouble and if I remember correctly, he didn’t get his guts spilled a single time by Akutabe here. Yeah. Azazel took the fall for everything.

Many of the characters in the previous season seem not to have made much appearance here. Take for instance, Salamander. He was practically missing for this entire season and I certainly would have written him off had he not made that appearance of searching for Azazel in the last couple of episodes. So where has he been? And I feel that his final appearance is so that he could take the fall for Kyoko’s false rape cry. Remember that Lucifer koala guy from the OVA? I thought he had some grudge to settle with Akutabe and would at least make a cameo. I guess it was not to be. Though Koutarou gets his fair share of appearance, it wasn’t the case for his monkey demon, Gusion. All you see him is just hanging around his master and nothing more. I also thought that with the introduction of Ose in the first episode, he might be a regular too but it seems he just appeared for that arc. I didn’t realize Eurynome has become part of Sakuma’s demons. I guess with Marukome not needing him any more (my condolences over his screwing), where else is this foul mouthed demon to go? So is it me or Akutabe’s office is multiplying in the number of demons working under him? I doubt Incubus would be going since it was just a plot to get dumb Azazel back. In no time, I speculate his office might become a refuge for all sorts of demons. Besides, what a better way to hide from the eyes of those heavenly creatures by hiding under a more sinister force?

God is also one weird character. It is a shame that we do not get to see more of His antics. Even more a let-down is that I was hoping to see some sort of showdown between God and Akutabe himself. I wanted to see if this guy have what it takes to stand up to demons since literally nothing in this world can stop him. Maybe next season? If that happens. The Almighty is such a crazy figure that it makes you wonder how can impure words like b*tch go through the mouth of the Lord? What about spending his time reading questionable magazines? If this is the ruler of the afterlife and creator of all life, it really smashes your all your holy and sacred perception. God. So fun. So sporting. So… Funny… Considering God is already a weirdo, I can imagine what the Demon King will be like (even if it isn’t Azazel). Heaven and hell are crazy places with crazy figures. You can’t tell between angels and demons anymore. Humans are screwed in life and death. There’s no escape, huh? Just like last season, another angel bites the dust due to technicalities. Since angels like Gagiel harbour perverted hopes too (that guy was lamenting how he wanted to have sex before God zapped the hell out of him from the face of this planet), it makes you wonder if they are pure in the first place. Sariel makes a cameo but that’s just about it too. Now that he is promoted, he gets to do slightly more perverted stuffs? Looks like it is a long way up the ladder if he is to get the green light for kinky sex. Maybe only God can do that.

With 48 Faced Freak, it proves that there is another human who is capable of standing up against or at least on par with Akutabe. In a way this shows that Akutabe still needs to keep his guard on and not merely seen as a demon bully in our eyes. Despite being the most perverted pervert of all perverts, 48 Faced Freak really has the skills and talent of becoming a demon summoner. How can a man of God suddenly fall like this? Being a demon is scary but being human is scarier. Which begs the question of, is there any more other demon summoners like him out there? If so, will there ever be some sort of a showdown with Akutabe? I’m sorry if I always talk about pitting people against him. He’s like my measuring stick of being the strongest of the strongest so if there is anyone who can really give him a run for his money, I’d love to see the outcome. Of course my bets are on Akutabe always.

The art and drawing still maintains like how it was in the first season. Some people are still looking horrible and ugly but that is mainly for the funny effect. Some look like they just pop out from some cartoon. Sometimes you want to cringe when you see these ugly people talk. Sometimes you want to laugh when you see such ugly people do things. Most of the time it’s rather both. Of course there are some good looking people around like Sakuma and Akutabe (cough, cough. Okay, so he looks pretty decent). Also in line with the bloody and gory theme like last season, there will be blood and body parts splattered everywhere and for viewers’ ‘safety’, some gory ones will be mosaic out. Violent and funny. Just like Itchy & Scratchy. The opening theme for the sequel is once more sung by Chihiro Yonekura. Entitled Revival, the rock outfit still has that demonic and mischievous feel in its tune and somewhat echoes first season’s Pandemic. Though, I still prefer Pandemic over this one.

So whether or not you are humans, demons or angels, this series proves that life is full of crap and sh*t. It doesn’t matter what kind of race or creature you are, because of life, you’ve been f*cked up with real sh*t. Oops. Forgive my dirty mouth since I somewhat got influenced by the flow and nature of this series. In short, everybody is just impure/devilish in a way but that is what makes us so interesting, no? Lesson learnt from this series: If you want a job done, do it yourself. Don’t send in an idiotic demon to do a man’s job. Since everybody has a little demon inside them, it’s okay once in a while to unleash that little devilish imp. What do I mean? You can watch this show without feeling any guilt while enjoying the sadistic evil humour that comes with it. Life is more enjoyable that way. Or it could be just sh*t…

Sukitte Iinayo OVA

November 22, 2013

For those hoping to see any sort of love developments between Yamato and Mei in Sukitte Iinayo OVA, be very sorely disappointed. I’m not even sure why they made this OVA in the first place. Perhaps it is the trend these days to boost DVD sales or to bundle with another volume of the manga. I would have understood and accepted even if the OVA had nothing to do with the original storyline and maybe something nonsensical (don’t put too much hope on it either) but this one was just mind boggling. There is nothing much that happens in this OVA unless you want to count time wasting as one of its intention.

Nagi, Asami and Aiko are at Mei’s place to bake some cookies. Because it is going to take some time, Yamato is told to kill some time elsewhere. So happens he gets a mail from Kai to hang out at the playground they once frequented when they were kids. They think back about the old times and Kai had this thought always bugging him. Since he himself isn’t popular, he always can’t wait to leave school for this place. But he noticed that Yamato despite being popular, always come to this rundown playground too. Yamato himself doesn’t know why. Maybe he likes the place (obviously, duh). Yamato thinks he was like a chameleon. He was anxious he had no personality of his own outside of adjusting to others. So he started coming here to lie down and look at the sky. It made him feel relaxed. Kai says he once hated this town. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because having people around him somehow readjusted all that. Yamato remembers when Mei said she didn’t need any friends, he felt sad himself. It felt like Mei had some emptiness within him when that happened. Kai calls him a simple guy and is glad he told his feelings.

Later Kai meets Megumi waiting at the bus stop. He tries to strike up a conversation with her but she isn’t too enthusiastic about it. It’s like as though she can’t wait for her friend Momoko to turn up so that she could whisk her away from this annoying guy. They talk about Yamato and about the modelling job that she is having and I don’t know how they ended up having an argument with Kai leaving. So when Momoko finally arrives, Megumi heaves the biggest sigh ever and complains she had to put up with Kai and all. Momoko thinks she’s trying to put up a brave front to seem cooler and that they make a cute couple. Megumi regrets saying some harsh things to him so Momoko has an idea and gets pushy in convincing her to go apologize to him although Megumi gave several excuses why she can’t (like she doesn’t have his handphone number, etc). Kai is walking around and he wondered why he had to alight the bus when he saw Megumi waiting at the bus stop just to go talk to her. Regretting it? Now he probably has to walk all the way home.

Yamato has returned, just in time to taste Mei’s cookies. Looks very fragile. Very. Despite so, he gives the thumbs up. It goes to show never judge a book by its cover. Later Mei’s mom sends her daughter out with Yamato to do some errand. I guess this is necessary seeing that we just spend almost the entire OVA with Yamato and Mei apart so it’s fair they get some fair share of the screen time no matter how small it is. Yamato hugs Mei and tells her how lonely he felt without her. He is happy to have met her. What’s the occasion for saying this? Nothing, really. He just felt like he wanted to. Is there something he wants to tell her? Well, he told her all that he wanted. Yamato notices the beautiful sunset glow over the town. He thinks the scenery is beautiful because Mei is here. They continue to make their way holding each other’s hands.

Say I “Yawn” You…
Eh? What? It’s over? Really? Phew. What a relief. That last bit of romance didn’t do much justice to Yamato and Mei. But it’s better than never showing it either. Somehow it should have been more because we know how close they are and are hoping they would get even closer, not just a few minutes like that. We wanted something more intimate for God’s sake. Even if it won’t cross the explicit line, at least something to convince us and make it memorable in the long run that there is some improvement going on. I’m sure we are confident that their love will grow but seeing that this OVA is made, we expected to see something tangible too. And what do we have here? The first part some male buddy talk, the middle part it’s like Kai and Megumi trying to reconcile but didn’t go so smoothly and that last bit just to remind us what this show was really about. No progress, no development, no excitement whatsoever. I guess not every kind of love you encounter will be exciting. There are boring days and there will be mundane days where nothing much happens. Maybe sometimes love can’t be expressed in words or even in shows. This OVA wasn’t it.

Shin Sekai Yori

November 17, 2013

We dream that technology advances would spur human to greater heights and achieve the utopia that we always wanted. All the great inventions of the future would soon become the norm and everyday life. Well, if that works out fine. What happens if it doesn’t? Instead, humanity takes another step, no. make that hundreds more steps backwards. The world of the future is somewhat a dystopian place. A pitiful state. Bleak future. If not treaded carefully, it could bring the collapse and the end of civilization as we know it. Before I start going astray and scaring off people about the possible gloom doom about our planet, let me assure you that this was the picture I had in mind when I browsed through briefly over the synopsis of the anime Shin Sekai Yori (From The New World). Seems that instead of prospering like we dreamt we should, we went the other way. Depressing, isn’t it?

Based on the novel of the same name (which I never read of course), the story is set in the future, a millennium from now. People are able to use magic. Although it won’t be the flashy kind that we see in animes and comics. Our protagonists are a group of young teenager born and raised in a peaceful town that may seem like utopia. Didn’t I say it was dystopia earlier? Well, that’s what happens when you discover the truth. The bloody truth of how the world and humanity came to be. Still waters run deep. Sometimes the truth is better left unknown. And because what has been seen cannot be unseen, our group of friends soon get involved in a life threatening adventure. A fight for survival, a fight to protect their friends and a fight to save humanity from the brink of destruction. Where’s a superhero when you need one?

Episode 1
The episode opens with random scenes of kids using some kind of weird powers to do some bloody massacre. A millennium from now, Saki Watanabe undergoes a ritual in the Temple of Purity as her passage to adulthood. She is being taught by the old priest to throw away her worldly desires and make the flames tremble. Saki remembers one night the things in her room start levitating and her parents are overjoyed that this is a sign she has become an adult by receiving the Spirit of Blessing and will now graduate from Harmony School and attend Sage Academy. At the end of the ritual, Saki’s Cantus (magic) has been sealed. She becomes a new student at Sage Academy and her friends, Maria Akizuki, Satoru Asahina, Shun Aonuma, Mamoru Itou and Reiko Amano welcome the late bloomer. The friends are whole once more. They reminisce some of the events they did back in Harmony School but in Sage Academy they practice their abilities in addition to covering normal subjects. Saki didn’t like the next period called Fiends and Karma Demon but Maria assures her this is just the abridged version they learnt. I don’t want to dwell so much on this because it felt like a horror story!!! It still gives me the creeps. In short, this story tells about a boy who wandered outside the Holy Barrier and encountered a Fiend. He sacrificed his life so that the Fiend never found the village. The class practise their abilities as a group like drawing or stacking cards using their mental force. They aren’t doing well since Reiko seems to be the weakest in the team.

After school, the friends talk about rumours that people who never graduated from Harmony School disappeared. There is a door whereby the only time you can catch glimpse of what is inside it is when the teachers open it. Some say they saw graves inside. Another rumour has it that someone saw a giant cat shadow of a Copycat at school. They are always after students. This has Saki to remember her mom comforting her when she was taking too long to graduate from school. She worries that if she doesn’t graduate, the Copycat will come after her. Her mom laughs it off it doesn’t exist. Saki wasn’t convinced because she thought she saw one. Back home when Saki eats dinner with her parents, they talk to her about her first day at Sage Academy. They also tell her about their time at the academy. But Saki’s mind is more preoccupied with something else. One night, she heard her parents talking. Mother was worried about Saki and to a point she is about to break into hysteria that she doesn’t want to lose anymore of her children! She is very worried because Saki said she saw a Tainted Cat but father tries to calm her down thinking she might be just seeing things. Saki wonders what her mom meant when she said she was relieved that she got into Sage Academy. Father explains that they were worried when the spirits were taking too long. He also tells her to be appreciative of their little Cantus. Saki doesn’t seem convinced and leaves the table. A few days later, Reiko vanished from school.

Episode 2
This is another long story I don’t want to dwell on as it seems like something horror. About a bad boy who’s karma spiralled out of control and became some Karma Demon after losing all his humanity. A month after Reiko’s disappearance, it is time for Sage Academy’s team ball tournament. It looks weird but I’m not going to dwell into the finer details because I don’t really understand. A team is supposed to use their Cantus to shove a big ball into a hole in the opponent’s area while the opponent tries to prevent it via some clay dolls before time runs out. So Saki’s team made it into the finals and their opponents surprisingly weren’t the strong favourites because they lost to another team in some accident. The finals begin with Saki’s team doing a trickery by covering up the hole so it is not a violation of changing the battlefield outlay. They were moments away from winning when their opponent, especially Manabu Katayama smashes his clay doll into theirs. The judge-cum-teacher Endou announces the results to be a draw and considers this unfortunate event as an accident. The guys rue that Manabu had played dirty and the team had no qualms in breaking the rules. It was something similar that happened to the group they defeated in the semi-finals. Shortly, Manabu goes missing. Saki and her friends are walking home one day and see a couple of Monster Rats. Saki remembers father telling her they were brought in to help with the village’s construction. The children must never see them as Monster Rats obey humans with Cantus like Gods. Since children do not have them, there is not telling how they will react. Also, they might be secret rebelling. One of the Monster Rats falls into the river so Saki wants to help them despite knowing if the school finds out, they’ll be in trouble. Saki uses her Cantus to lift the drowning Monster Rat. Both are grateful to them (despite they’re speaking in a different language). From the writing on their foreheads, they note the Monster Rats are from Goat Moth colony. The friends agree to keep this incident a secret. Soon the friends go on a school summer camp. The missing case of Reiko and Manabu were soon forgotten. Saki narrates Maria was born 2 weeks after her. Her birth was premature and condition even worse than hers. Had she not been born, untold numbers would have been spared.

Episode 3
The friends row up the river and make a camp. They talk about the mysterious Balloon Dog and think it is some story to scare others (because its self defence mechanism has it to blow up like a balloon and explode. Sounds unrealistic, eh?). This leads them to talk about some evil Minoshiro. Nobody has ever seen it because those who do die. They want to investigate if such stories are true since they are out here. It is narrated that literature hardly mentions about Minoshiro since it is largely censored. It must have come into existence several centuries ago. This is not only true for Minoshiro but other species as well due to evolution. The next morning, the quintet row upstream. They leave their kayaks at the bay and make their way by foot up the mountains. Suddenly Minoshiro appears before them! What the heck is this shiny creature?! However Saki realizes she is the only one reacting while the rest were stunned like statues. It walks pass them and disappear. The friends note that when they saw its light, their mind went blank. Saki didn’t because perhaps she was wearing a sunglass. They want to catch it. But first they caught a pair of giant crab-like creatures. Suddenly it starts running into a cave. They bring out the Minoshiro! Its radiance stuns the friends as Saki uses her Cantus to pull apart those antennas and threaten to pull out more if it doesn’t stop using that light hypnosis. Minoshiro gives up and Saki’s friends return to their consciousness. They have lots of things to ask this walking library. So where are all the books? All stored and archived in 980 petabytes of holographic memory! That’s 15 zeroes, baby! The kids aren’t convinced and think it is using difficult words to confuse them. Saki threatens to tear apart the antennas so it says all records stored inside can be accessed any time. I’m sure they have lots to ask.

Episode 4
Guess what? They need to have some membership to gain access. And so it lists down all the crappy documents they need to join!!! How to solve this? The kids think of ripping off its skin and hack it! Suddenly Minoshiro waives all the requirements. Wow!!! This is one of the very confusing episodes because it explains. Yes. Lots of words and terms. What the heck is going on I still don’t know. From what I can tell, the kids about Karma Demon so Minoshiro says it is some sort of syndrome, blah, blah, blah. It adds that the emergence of the world’s population of psychokinesis (PK) users grew to 0.3% but they became so powerful that they become terrorists. As a result the world’s population took a steep dive. Human societies were split into 4 competing groups: 1) Slave empires ruled by PK; 2) Hunter-gatherer tribes without PK wishing to escape such threat; 3) Bandits using PK for crimes; and 4) Scientists seeking to preserve all ancient knowledge. The more Minoshiro continues with the dark tragic bloody history of mankind, the more the kids feel unstable, thinking it is making up lies to confuse them. To answer their question about the scientist’s society, realizing the dangerous potential of PK, they placed importance of education and research followed by psychological influences. Tests show it can be used to filter out children who violate rules. Since then, removal of children posing potential threat became a generally accepted solution (remember those missing kids?). Next, the research focused on bonobos, a society of primates. When anxiety rises, males and females will resort to sexual play to reduce such stress. But such tests show it wasn’t sufficient and an additional restraint on violence was needed. One was personal restraint and the other called death feedback. The latter uses their PK to stop organ functions to stop them from doing say, killing. Carrying on would kill the person outright.

As for the question if society was specifically made to prevent the appearance of Fiends and Karma Demons, Minoshiro suddenly burns in flames. The kids see a woman holding a baby in the flames. Those flames are the Cantus of a monk, Rijin. He claims they have violated some rules and wants them to follow him back to the temple. They want to know if what Minoshiro said was a lie but Rijin says nothing except their minds have been poisoned by a demon. He then seals their Cantus. On the journey down, they are attacked a Monster Rat. Noting they have no tattoo and are not from wild colonies, they are foreign Monster Rats who have invaded these lands. Rijin easily burns the Monster Rat’s bow and arrows before killing it. Continuing their trekking, the ground then shakes before an army of Monster Rats appear before them. Rijin uses his Cantus to slaughter them all. Rijin is clearly weakened after the massacre. The kids think it is death feedback because the Monster Rats look like humans from afar and it is taking effect. Suddenly a Balloon Dog emerges from the heap of corpses and charges towards them.

Episode 5
Rijin sacrifices himself to protect the kids when the Balloon Dog blows itself up. They see more Monster Rats beyond the forest. They want to run but Satoru says it will only give them an avenue to chase and attack. They don’t know they have their Cantus sealed yet. But when they try to escape, the Monster Rats start chasing them. They split into groups but Saki and Satoru are captured. The duo are placed in a cage. They display their sexual intimacy as explained by Minoshiro but Saki stops it. Needing to find a way to get out, the duo use their brains by making the guarding Monster Rat to eat some fake egg. Its stomach blows up. They make their escape till they fall into a chasm. Deep underground, they are greeted by a Monster Rat of the Robber Fly colony, Squealer. He can speak in human tongue and treats them like Gods. He takes them to see their queen. Though they are welcomed, Squealer’s carelessness causes the queen’s tent to burn and the ugly queen becomes enraged and tries to eat him! Only Saki’s intervention to forgive him saved his life. Later they learn that those foreign Monster Rats are from the Ground Spider colony. Several days ago they declared war Robber Fly colony. They are short of manpower (rat power actually) since special envoys were sent to neighbouring colonies for assistance. That will take time and they can’t afford to be attacked now. That’s why the appearance of these ‘Gods’ are a blessing. Should they lose, they will be treated as slaves for the rest of their lives and their queen executed. He hopes they will bring down the iron hammer on them. That night, the Ground Spider colony attacks. Satoru takes Saki and run. Satoru’s quick thinking saves them from the combustible poison gas filling up the underground caverns. But they are only thrown deeper into the underground. Satoru tries to prod the ceiling to make a way out but it starts to cave in.

Episode 6
They are still alive and safe from the poisonous gas at least for now. Saki starts seeing visions of Minoshiro and remembers a way to return Satoru’s Cantus. She uses the ritual she remembers and it works. His first use is to blow up the ceiling for a way out. Saki wants to run but Satoru wants to take the fight to them. Satoru revels in using his Cantus to counter Ground Spiders’ attack. By uprooting trees and rocks to fall on them and even moving their dead corpse as puppets against them. He’s enjoying it. Saki thinks he has changed into a different person but Satoru won’t rest till all the Ground Spiders are eliminated. They stumble upon Squealer and his Robber Fly troop and they pledge to protect them. They will also help guide them to Ground Spiders’ nest colony. They take the long way and manage to stave off ambushes, decoys and surprise attacks with Satoru’s quick thinking and action. But as they go on more, Satoru’s weariness is beginning to show. Saki chides Squealer for getting them into danger because he assured them with scouts that the route they take would be safe. How many ambushes have they been through? A scout comes back with information that enemy forces have gathered at a wide space unobstructed by trees. It might seem to make them at a disadvantage but when they see it with their own eyes, they begin to understand why. The entire colony is there. Can you defeat such huge numbers?

Episode 7
They continue to observe the enemy but they start firing arrows. Saki has Squealer locate their nest and wants Satoru to burn the trees where the nest is located. When they start hurling rocks, Squealer flees. Satoru continues to push his limits by hurling those rocks back. Saki takes him and run. They are shocked to see Squealer confiding with the enemy. In that distraction, Squealer kills his captors. Saki is upset he sold them out but Squealer was afraid they were abandoning him. They abandon him? Didn’t he run first? Satoru is too tired to run now when they hear the sounds of Giant Hornet colony. Reinforcements have arrived. They meet their leader, Kiroumaru but Satoru wants Saki not to show any weaknesses. Even though Giant Hornets are most loyal to human, it is the more reason why they must be careful. Kiroumaru has captured Ground Spiders’ nestlings and will distribute them to other colonies. Kiroumaru wants to talk to Ground Spiders’ commander but the latter makes a surprise attack sending out Balloon Dogs. Thanks to Satoru, everyone on their side was saved. Resting in a hut, Satoru and Saki discuss about what Minoshiro said. If what it said was true, they would be targeted and get rid of next just like how children go missing from Harmony School and Sage Academy every year. Thinking Kiroumaru may have reported them to the committee, since humans face death feedback, perhaps those Monster Rats were sent to kill them out here. That night when they try to escape, they are surprised Squealer follows them. He wants to protect them. But why come alone? He came unprepared. He guides them through the forest when they see a hawk soaring the sky. It acts as Kiroumaru’s reconnaissance. When morning comes, Saki and Satoru reunite with Maria, Shun and Mamoru. They paddle their kayaks as fast as they could but realize Kiroumaru’s naval fleet is gaining fast upon them. However he helps guide them get back. He hopes they will keep this a secret from others because if it was found out, it would mean his death. It proves he has gotten his orders from the committee. They finally parted ways. Camping at the river side, they help each other to restore their Cantus and outwit the adults when they got back. Or so they think.

Episode 8
Two years have passed. Saki and co continue to harness their power at Sage Academy. It seems that Saki and Maria are close to being the point of yuri, it is the same with Satoru and Shun. As long as you love, it doesn’t matter how you love, eh? So close the guys that Saki feels disturbed. I mean, they actually kissed!!! Yaoi fans should love this scene. Saki can’t take it and releases some of her frustration by getting yuri with Maria. Has anybody notice Mamoru getting lonely? Maybe he’s into Maria but she’s not that interested in him. One day, Shun makes a shocking revelation. He tells Satoru he is tired of being his doll and wants to break up. He wants to be alone and distances himself from his friends. Satoru is devastated but quickly finds another mate, Rei just to spite Shun. Not working. In class, the great Shisei Kaburagi pays a visit. Everyone tries to use their Cantus to earn some of his praise but Shun caught Shisei’s attention. He whispered some words into his ear and then leaves. I don’t know what kind of expression that was from Shun. Was he happy? Was he going crazy? Endou ends the class and when Saki approaches him, his egg drop. When it cracks, Saki is horrified to see an eye inside. Later Saki talks to Shun about his break up but he can’t say. He doesn’t think she will understand and only reveals he will be away for a while. He will be out of school to receive special treatment. Saki can’t visit him either since he won’t be at home anymore but some rehabilitation bungalow. She wanted to confess she loves him but he cuts her off. Reminding him about their summer camp 2 years ago. The adults knew it all the time and for some reason, they’re delaying punishment to them. They may be under constant surveillance. Shun warns Saki to be wary of the cats and gives her a charm against one.

Episode 9
It has been 4 days since Shun stopped coming to class. The friends talk about the possibility of being on constant surveillance and the need to find Shun. They split themselves up as Satoru takes Saki to the Pinewind village. It has been many years Saki has been there, Shun’s hometown. Upon arrival, they are shocked to see the place cordoned off. They try to take the long way but it seems the woods are also barricaded. Entering the barrier, they see weird things. Like a Monster Rat and frost on the ground. Arriving at a big hole, they see some people trying beneath it. Saki has Satoru use his Cantus to create a mirror so she can see what is down there. She is shocked to see a tree, one she remembers from Shun’s house. When Saki returns home, her parents are busy arguing about improving facilities, this and that. Saki asks them if they know what happened to Shun. Father tells her talking things like that are forbidden. He adds about facing hardships in life and that parting with friends is one of them. However he lets her know that an accident has befallen on Pinewind. Shun and his family are missing. Saki is outraged nobody told her but mother tells her not to talk back and not to pry into the wrong things. Saki leaves to rest in her room. Mother pleads she doesn’t want to lose another before correcting herself she doesn’t want to lose her. Saki thinks deep what her mother meant till she realizes her name means ‘youngest child’. Then she remembers Yoshimi. Where did she go? Suddenly Maria is knocking on her window. She is scared that they were almost killed. Seems she and Mamoru entered one of those storage rooms that were off limits. They see locked storage drums but when they press their ears onto one of them, they hear those growling sounds. They had to hide when they hear adult voices coming in. They couldn’t see their faces but recognized one of their voices to be Endou. From what they hear, the adults lament about sending the Tainted Cats, Black and Stripes to settle something before he turns into a full Karma Demon. They unlock the drum and use their Cantus to restrain the cats to bring them somewhere. That’s when they heard Shun’s name. In the dead of the night, Saki flees her village to warn Shun but comes across with a Tainted Cat.

Episode 10
The Tainted Cat attacks but thanks to Shun’s charm she’s wearing over her neck, its teeth couldn’t penetrate. Saki chants some words to kill it. Did she twist it like a ragged cloth? She continues walking till she reaches a strange area and knows this is Shun’s presence. He wants her to leave but she isn’t till he tells her what is going on. Masked Shun brings her into his distorted bungalow and will allow her to stay maximum 10 minutes. He starts explaining the real problem comes from the human heart. Something about their subconscious is greater. Despite humans’ best efforts, they cannot control it and is always unpredictable. Cantus is the most tangible manifestation of it. Many methods were tried to seal or purify them but in the end it always slips through the holes opened by their consciousness. This will change the world. That is what the Holy Barrier is for. Not for external threats but to keep internal threats from seeping out. Their Cantus may not change the world overnight, but accumulating it over the years, there is no telling what will happen. After all, they were conditioned since young to be fearful of the outside world. Since that dark boundless world also exists within them, it becomes their subconscious and by linking it with the outside world, they direct such slippages outside the Holy Barrier. The Cantus outside the barrier may have mutated and evolved many creatures like the Minoshiro. Saki doesn’t want to know all that but what is happening to him. Everything around him is distorted. His subconscious has gone out of control resulting in extreme slippages of Cantus. He will turn into a Karma Demon. Even his loyal dog looks like a monster. The head priest has tried sealing it but like a broken lid, nothing will it back any longer. Saki blames herself for not restoring his Cantus properly then. He tells her he is trying his best to withhold warping her. His parents died because of him and he doesn’t want anyone else he loves to die in front of him. A Tainted Cat breaks into the room and tries to kill Shun but his dog saves him and dies. Shun doesn’t hold back his slippages and kills the Tainted Cat with his distortion. He blames himself for his indecisiveness. He knew his dog can never stop the Tainted Cat but went to rescue him still. He could’ve saved it by killing the Tainted Cat first. He reveals he was given pills when first brought to this place. He took them but didn’t die. His subconscious desire to survive must have altered its elements. He is tired of it all and wants to end. Saki is forced to flee as the distortion starts destroying the surroundings. Shun confesses he had always loved her. Shun gets engulfed by the distortion and Saki vows she must stay alive.

Episode 11
Saki seems down and Maria thought she is worried if Ryou Inaba would choose her. Ryou who? The guy from their group who had his eyes on her all the time. Did he? Speaking of the devil, he wants to talk to Saki. Seems he wants to choose her for the duty pair. During winter, students are paired up for duties and the pair will consist of a boy and a girl if they both truly love each other. However Saki cannot remember doing things during that summer camp with Ryou although he insists he was there. Something feels wrong. Flashback reveals Saki was at Shun’s grave. She heard his voice that told her how his tombstone had no name just like the others. Then he told her to look in a mirror. A bright flash engulfed her. Next thing, she woke up in her room, no memories of him. Then she found a mirror in the storeroom, cleaned it and when she let some light reflect on it, she sees Yoshimi’s name. Later Saki calls Ryou to talk to him. She asks him several questions. First, the things he told her on that camping night. He can’t remember but even if he guessed, it was wrong. Not what Saki remembered. Then she asks about breaking up with Satoru. He gives an ambiguous answer. Final question. About summer camp again. He must remember how Rijin died. He doesn’t know who he is. This has Saki ascertain it isn’t him and turns him down for the duty pair. Then she talks to Satoru about this. Ryou is not the person they both fell in love with. So for duty pair, Saki ends up with Satoru while Maria with Mamoru. The quartet talk about Ryou. Maria doesn’t believe he wasn’t part of their group all along. Saki believes there is another person but not Ryou, though she can’t remember. Satoru also has this feeling and thinks their memories have been altered. To make it simple, they call this person ‘X’. Compared to Ryou, Satoru remembers playing at X’s house, which is very much different from Ryou’s. Saki has him name the 7 main villages and they remember X’s house is in Withertree (formerly known as Pinewood). They decide to go there to check things out.

The village is rundown void of people. There is a big lake which they don’t remember. They can’t go further than the Holy Barrier placed around. Maria too understands what Saki and Satoru felt but Mamoru thinks they may just be remembering things wrongly. They further have this strange feeling that X was there before Ryou. Even so, there was another girl member in their group. What about the discussion they had something similar to this during summer camp? They just can’t remember. It’s like slipping through their finger tips. Mamoru becomes upset they shouldn’t be doing this further since this is violating the Code of Ethics. Later Saki shows Maria and Satoru a mirror with Yoshimi’s name. Saki thinks she was disposed by the school as the writing on this mirror was bad and proof of her beginner level Cantus. If she died in an accident or illness, there was no need to cover up. Maria doesn’t want Saki to dig further but she wants to know the truth. Maria is worried about her friends who are alive now. She notes Saki as strong because she is enduring pain that others normally couldn’t bear. She is able to shoulder the sadness and live on. But the rest may not be strong as her or even them. Mamoru. She knows he can’t cope with betrayal from someone he trusted so it is better off they do not know many things in this world. Because the truth can be the cruellest. If Saki continues to dig up the truth, Mamoru may lose it. But Saki can’t turn back now or else it will haunt her. A couple of adults want the trio to follow them. They claim they work under Satoru’s grandma, Tomiko who is the head of the Ethics Committee. The girls are surprised and think Satoru is a spy but he too doesn’t know his grandma is the head since members of Ethics Committee aren’t public knowledge. The trio will take turns talking to the committee and first up is Saki, whom Tomiko has specifically requested for.

Episode 12
Tomiko looks young… Seems the reason she wants to speak to Saki was because she wants her to eventually succeed her. Saki didn’t think her grades are good enough but apparently it is not the only thing and Cantus that is assessed. Saki has strong personality index and this means her mental stability is strong enough to make her remain the same person when something unexpected happens. Her score is probably the highest in history. When she learnt the truth of mankind’s dark bloody history from the Minoshiro, her personality index stabilized quickly (when the kids returned from the camp, they were each examined thoroughly). Saki’s other qualities like broad thinking and nerves of steel makes her a good leader. The kids weren’t disposed then since it is not their jurisdiction but the Board of Education. Though Ethics Committee has the highest authority in town, they don’t interfere with their decisions. Theirs was an exception. Not because of Satoru but Saki. She feels she is indispensible. Reminding her 2 things in this world they should fear, Fiends and Karma Demon, many people have never seen a Fiend but Tomiko had a close encounter with one. There was this boy called K. He had this desire for destruction. Nobody paid attention to him since the last Fiend appearance was 80 years ago. His mom was an outspoken town council member and there were no established mechanisms for such situations. One day K snapped and started going on a killing spree. He turned into a Fiend. Tomiko was working as a nurse then when K trudged into the hospital. The doctor takes a look at him and had Tomiko prepare some antibiotics. After he had given him the drug, K went berserk and blew off the doctor’s head before he died from the drug’s effects. So in order for such event never to happen again, they had to take steps to eliminate those showing such potential. One way was commanding loyal colonies of Monster Rats to attack. Also, a change in rule whereby a child has only human rights till he/she reaches his/her 17th birthday. This means until then, the council has the right to dispose of that child’s life. So they also used Tainted Cats that were selectively bred for that.

Though Fiends have stopped appearing, another threat emerged. It was the leaking of Cantus. It was thought it would pose no harm to humans, animals or environment. Till this girl, Izumi start to show worrying symptoms. Her leak was so bad that it could alter a human’s DNA. This is what turning into a Karma Demon is all about. Izumi learnt she had put many lives in danger and volunteered to eliminate herself. Unknown to her, all her family members have mutated and died from her bad spill. She was given pills to stop her condition and only one of them was lethal. However she swallowed them all. Saki cannot hold her tears over this sad story. This has something to do with their purged memories as well. She wants them back but Tomiko can’t. Doing so, it would bring greater destabilisation since such incidents are very shocking.  Even if she did restore her memories, there is no way she can keep it from her friends. They too will know and soon everyone else. The important thing is to take care and give attention to the weakest one. A chain is only as strong as its weakest one. But if Saki succeeds her, she can have her memories back. However she still doesn’t think she can fit her role. Tomiko notes she was once like that. One day she will realize that there are things that needed to be done and a task she could only shoulder. One morning, Mamoru goes missing and he left behind a note not to look for him. His friends of course will want to find him. But first they have to rid of Ryou. Though he hangs out with another group, he is officially in theirs. Satoru lies his way that they are researching snowflakes and convinces Ryou to do his own research. As the trio search for him, Maria tries to describe Mamoru’s behaviour lately. He was feeling down and couldn’t complete an easy assignment. The teacher scolded him so Maria joked they may send Copycats for him. He turned pale and took it seriously. That was the last she saw of him.

Episode 13
The trio can’t find Mamoru but see sled tracks leading towards the Holy Barrier. They think he is trying to cross over to the mountains. They think with the heavy load he is carrying and if he is hesitating on directions, they can catch up with him in 2 hours. After they cross the Holy Barrier, they begin to see footprints of a Monster Rat next to the sled tracks. It is bad if it is following Mamoru. Continuing to follow the trail, they come to a conclusion that Mamoru must be desperate in escaping since the track is leading up a steep mountain. Suddenly it ends when they reach a cliff. Could he have fallen off? They slide down to find him and when the thick snow stop them, they think he must have fallen somewhere around here. They use their Cantus to shovel the snow and see his sled. But no Mamoru. Satoru is suspicious why the sled is buried so deep in the snow. If it was snowing heavily, it would’ve covered the tracks. Either Mamoru or the Monster Rat must have buried it. Looking further, they see footprints and a deep track in the snow. They think the Monster Rat was carrying Mamoru but didn’t kill him because the deep track avoided all the roots. The trail leads them to a hut and they see Mamoru sleeping inside. He wakes up and is relieved he is okay. Mamoru reveals he slipped and fell. Squonk saved him. Who? He was the Monster Rat from Goat Moth colony Saki helped years ago. Squonk explains he followed Mamoru by chance. He saw sled tracks and thought it belonged to some colony. Now Mamoru justifies his escape. He doesn’t want to die. Endou had cold eyes when he looked at him as he is already on the list of people to be disposed. Mamoru also knows they’ve been keeping secrets from him especially about Yoshimi and the mirror. He already saw a Copycat twice. The first was 4 days ago when he felt something tailing him on his way back from school. Although he didn’t see it, he knows it is not his imagination even thought it didn’t attack and felt more like tailing him. Then yesterday when Endou told him to put printouts in the storeroom after class, he felt strange about his request since the printouts weren’t many. After doing so, he heard snarling in the hallway. Mamoru froze. He became scared. Before he could fully turn around, a gust of wind blows the Copycat into some portal. Mamoru knew his life is in danger since he really saw this one. Satoru is puzzled why is Mamoru on the hit list. His Cantus is average and has no personality problem. Mamoru suddenly remembers seeing the Copycat somewhere but can’t remember it no matter how hard he tries. It feels it has something to do with his erased memories. Something about going into the storage huts, hiding behind it and seeing them coming out from the drums. Maria feels she remembers something like that. The kids are starting to hesitate if they should go back to the village.

Episode 14
Only Satoru and Saki return to the village but at different times. Once Saki returns to her family, the chairman of the Board of Education wants to see her now. Saki is being interrogated by the vice chairman, Masayo Komatsuzaki. She must answer truthfully. It’s like she’s under some trial. Saki answers what she knows. It’s like they are trying to pin her on something. There are some moments Saki went silent as Masayo pesters her to answer. Give her some time, lady. Ever thought she is just deep in thought? Don’t want to say the wrong thing, huh? So when Saki reveals why Mamoru ran away due to the sightings of Tainted Cats, they tell her to shut up. Oh, so now it’s you have the right to remain silence. They are disappointed in her so Saki wonders if she will be disposed too. Tomiko enters in time and hopes the committee can cut her some slack. She was partly responsible for this as she told her about Tainted Cats and all because she views Saki as a capable person to lead their village. Besides, the missing of 2 children is their fault. The decision to dispose Mamoru was rash and unwise. They failed to do so and it led to this situation. The committee has no choice but to respect Tomiko’s decision. Tomiko brings Saki up to the room to talk. Saki is surprised to see Tainted Cats sitting tamely by Tomiko. They won’t attack unless ordered to. Saki asks Tomiko she mentioned about conducting experiment on their group. As explained, unlike others, they were not hypnotized and thus by large didn’t take away their freedom of thought. Why them? Because docile ones cannot protect the village. Leaders need to be strong in their conviction and even do dirty work from time to time but too many unforeseen events have happened. Her biggest regret was disposing the boy she had greatest hope for. Children were hypnotized to fear leaving the Holy Barrier. However as seen in their case, they feared death and ventured outside. This is normally a rational decision. But this is also causing a fundamental problem in the village.

In ancient civilization, there were nuclear weapons that can take out an entire city. Now there is a new problem of a similar threat: Humans. A single Fiend can destroy a city with ease. Unlike nuclear weapons, Fiends will continue as long as their body permit. Tomiko wants Saki to bring them back. In return she will vouch for her safety but she only has 3 days to do that. If they continue to hide, the Board of Education will devote its time to dispose them. This means ordering every Monster Rat colony to hunt them down. Saki finally asks why she wields so much influence. Unlike politics of old men, Tomiko doesn’t use wealth, violence and brainwashing. She had time. What does she mean? Making Saki guess her age, she got the last 2 digits correct. Last 2 digits? Tomiko is 267 years old! Her encounter with the Fiend was 245 years ago and has been the Ethics Committee chairman for 170 years. She explains her youthful appearance and longevity due to her genes and chromosomes that prevents her from aging and somewhat regenerates. Yeah, that telomere thingy which I can’t understand. Thus Tomiko herself and her history is what make her influential. Saki is caught up by Satoru. He was questioned by them after being made to wait for ages. But soon after they told him to go after Saki. Their mission is of course to bring back Mamoru and Maria. However the hut is now missing. Did somebody uprooted the entire structure or did it just vanish?

Episode 15
Satoru finds the hut has been destroyed and buried. It couldn’t be the work of Monster Rats and thinks Mamoru and Maria did it. Even their tracks were covered. The duo continue to search for their friends. While they take a break, they see a Monster Rat. It runs away once it realizes it has been spotted. Saki goes after it but falls through a cornice. Luckily Satoru catches her. When she opens her eyes, she is safe but in a hut. Where is this place? They are in Robber Fly’s colony. They are greeted by Squealer now known as Yakomaru who boasts about his colony’s growth. But the duo are in a hurry to find their friends and thinks they are at Goat Moth colony. Yakomaru says it is one of the few colonies that is not aligned with Giant Hornet colony and can only make their journey tomorrow morning as the snow is dangerous at night. The duo want to meet his queen but Yakomaru seems reluctant but shows them the way anyway. Along the way, he shows them the concrete buildings their colony has made. They are surprised how their colony has changed because it used to centre around the queen. When they see the queen, they are shocked to see her in a pitiful vegetative state. Yakomaru explains she has not been mentally stable. Although she was tyrannical, she became worst after that. Because the members of the colony didn’t want to be tools to be discarded, they formed a union to negotiate with her but she went on a rampage. As the queen is the only one who can bear children, they have no choice but to take this path but due to some hygienic complication, the queen contracted some disease and fell into this state. Saki does not like this one bit but Yakomaru tells her the book he read written by them Gods about democracy and equal rights. All other colonies are also dealing with the same problem to a certain degree. Satoru and Saki return to their hut and discuss what they saw. They definitely do not like how things are going. Satoru speculates that they are trying to replace humans. Because back home, they have no houses made of concrete. It’s like they’re trying to take themselves the material culture humans abandoned. And how can Yakomaru get to know all he wants with just a book? He thinks he caught a Minoshiro. Next morning, the duo are surprised to see Yakomaru gathering an army to head to Goat Moth colony. Outside their stronghold, Yakomaru has his subordinate issue a summon. As there is no response, he commences attack. Shortly, Goat Moth retaliates. Thanks to Satoru’s Cantus, he protects everyone. Yakomaru convinces them for permission to attack back since attacking a God is punishable by death. Satoru uses his Cantus to break open the defence but Saki stops him before it gets worse. Yakomaru chides a Goat Moth colony member but Satoru tells him to bring out Squonk as he is the one they have business with. Though they are glad to see him, Squonk doesn’t know where their friends are. They have left to a faraway place. He doesn’t know where or the direction they have headed. But they left behind a letter.

Episode 16
For the first 10 minutes, Maria narrates the contents of what she wrote in the letter while Saki reminisces flashbacks of her childhood days with her. Why they had to leave because there is no turning back once you are branded as disqualified. Maria views Saki to be strong in willpower and will be the village’s valuable asset. Maria views their village has a deep fear for children because they kill them to maintain peace and order. She knows if Saki or Satoru was in her shoes, she would have done the same to save a friend. They will run far away where the village eyes will not reach them and live together in a new direction. She hopes they will one day meet. She wants them to report that they have died and to not look for them. Satoru tells Yakomaru that they will report Maria and Mamoru have died and need to get their stories straight. Yakomaru obliges but of course they don’t trust him. The duo continue to search for their friends and Tomiko’s deadline is nearing and still no signs of their tracks. It dawned to Saki that one by one her friends are going missing and they are both left. She doesn’t want to lose anymore. Saki fell asleep during a rest and dreams of a faceless boy telling her something. That night when they take shelter, Saki wonders if they will forget Maria and Mamoru. Satoru will not let the Board alter his memories again. If they try to force something on them, he will leave the village and take Saki with him. Then they can go look for Maria and Mamoru and live together. Just hearing their name, Saki breaks down uncontrollably. She couldn’t sleep that night because the faceless boy dream continues to haunt her. He told her not to help Maria and Mamoru in their escape and that Maria had to die.

Episode 17
Ten years have passed and Saki is now 26 years old. She is in charge of breeding naked mole rats but her true responsibility is the investigation and regulation of Monster Rats at the Department of Exospecies Control. Get this. Even though colonies of Monster Rats still obey humans like gods, they must still fill in application if they want to have a civil war!!! Yup. That’s where Saki’s department comes in. Saki is surprised Satoru visits her. Due to some petty issue, their relationship isn’t so good. Anyway there is a case that the Spider Wasp colony was ambushed and attacked. Satoru is using them for his farm work and thought Saki would knew something about this. Apparently she doesn’t and this is news to her. They need to identify the culprit and take action. So in a meeting to discuss this, it consists of Koufuu Hino of the Occupations Council, Tomiko and Shisei. Saki first explains the Monster Rat colonies are divided into 2 factions. Those who are aligned to Giant Hornets and the rest to Robber Flies. She also gives the numbers of both sides and their ruling system. While Giant Hornets still maintain their queen, the Robber Flies have discarded theirs via revolution and are represented by elected representatives. This surprises the council. Also, Goat Moths may have been neutral but there is a chance they may be aligned to Robber Flies. Hino thinks they just need to eradicate half of them but the rest want to summon both the representatives. Tomiko suggests questioning both together because if their stories don’t match, they will confront each other to see if they’re telling the truth. And so Kiroumaru of Giant Hornets and Yakomaru of Robber Flies are summoned. It is obvious that they are both accusing each other of telling lies. Yakomaru even went further that the attack on Spider Wasp was staged by themselves. Despite several lives were lost, Yakomaru claims their principals are different than theirs because they do not value lives unlike them who have embraced democracy with every individual holding rights. In the end, the meeting adjourned without a decision. Saki is about to watch the battle between Giant Hornets and Robber Flies. While the battle rages on, her colleague Inui talks to her that despite some of the ancient technology the Monster Rats used in battle, he feels they get their source of knowledge somewhere. He tells her a secret that no one knows. Giant Hornets are always victorious because they take some enhancing drug before the battle. In the end, Giant Hornets emerge victorious although Kiroumaru apologizes it took his troops an hour to rid of those weaklings. Saki returns to her office and at the same time her department chief who was watching over the battle between Goat Moths and Spider Wasps. To Saki’s surprise, she learns Goat Moths won because Spider Wasps switched sides. She feels something amiss. Why would Spider Wasps join their mortal enemies as this case started because of this. Plus, she never received an application for war from Spider Wasps. Next morning, Saki receives news that the Giant Hornet army has been wiped out.

Episode 18
A meeting is held to discuss Giant Hornet’s annihilation. Every soldier was mutilated and it is mind boggling how such a powerful army could be defeated in such a way. Evidence suggests Kiroumaru escaped but his whereabouts unknown. Findings indicate there were no weapons left behind by Giant Hornets not even destroyed ones so can it be Robber Flies took them to hide evidence or something? Saki’s mother, Mizuho who is the head of the Library Committee thinks the Monster Rats captured a Minoshiro and extracted information about them especially those weapons classified as WMDs. However Shisei doesn’t think a bomb wiped them out because he shows them Giant Hornets’ arrows they found are totally undamaged. His only theory is that it was stopped mid-flight by Cantus. He thinks a human’s Cantus helped disarm Giant Hornets. During the festival Saki thought she saw Maria and ran after her but Satoru calms her down. Remembering back at the meeting, although Tomiko plays down that anyone in the village is able to do that, Shisei suspects those who have fled from a long time ago. Although their bones and remains were brought back, he is beginning to suspect it is not them since it was brought by no other than that scheming Yakomaru. Saki remembers how Yakomaru told her they will do all they can to find bones similar and chafe it carefully till it resembles like humans. However Tomiko brushes that off because thorough research like DNA and dental records prove it is them. They are officially dead and cannot be connected to this. That’s why Satoru feels the same way as Saki. He wants to see them even if they are ghosts. Also, the committee has approved the annihilation of Robber Fly colony and its allies and will be headed by Inui. However Hiromi Torigai, the head of the Board of Education is cautious and wants to postpone the annihilation after the festival, at least after things have stabilized. But Hino tells her off that doing so proves that they are just scared of the Monster Rats. The annihilation will proceed as usual.

During the festival, Saki and Satoru realize a villager got poisoned and died. They realize a Monster Rat may have been camouflaging among the crowd. Before they can warn the rest, an explosion rocks the place. Monster Rats start swarming in so everyone runs to the town square where Shisei uses his powerful Cantus to form a barrier. Hino also goes crazy in using Cantus to wipe out the Monster Rats. Satoru realizes why the Monster Rats are attacking them from an opposite direction because they are unleashing poisonous gas in the wind’s direction. With this information, Shisei and Hino blow the poisonous and kill the bunch of Monster Rats hiding in the woods. Suddenly Hino is shot and killed. Shisei detects several Monster Rats disguised as humans among the crowd. He picks them out and he shows why he is the most powerful man in the village. Even if the Monster Rats are equipped with bombs and are on suicide mission, Shisei absorbs the blast without any scratch and hurls it back to them. The impact of the explosion blows away his face mask and it is revealed he has twin pupils in each eye. In the aftermath, Shisei issues orders to be in groups of 5. Those with fewer members should merge with other groups and take precautionary action. Saki learns that Hiromi has perished despite being the most cautious among the committee. Tomiko has never felt so angry in such a long time since K. She wants to make Yakomaru pay and suffer a long and slow protracted death.

Episode 19
Satoru and Saki merge with another group that consists of Fujita, Okano and Kuramochi. As they ride the boat down the river as part of their patrol, Satoru explains his uneasiness over the recent incident. One, the Monster Rat group that they first encountered back in the village was of the Spider Wasp colony. Secondly, the easy annihilation of Giant Hornets because Kiroumaru has one of the most experienced army at his disposal. When they arrive at the hospital, they are shocked to see a big hole at the entrance. Kuramochi doesn’t care about anything else and heads in first. Satoru feels something is wrong. Everything is too quiet. No crickets or frogs. He concludes Monster Rats must be hiding and waiting to ambush them when they least expect it. Once Kuramochi enters the hospital, the rest use their Cantus to burn out all the Monster Rats hiding. Even before they die, they shoot random stray arrows. Luckily none of them hit. Kuramochi didn’t reply when they call out to him so Satoru decides to go in and look for him. Saki is worried since there might be Monster Rats inside. They then see a light in the window and think somebody is using their Cantus. Saki and Okano go with Satoru while Fujita remains in the boat. When they go up the stairs, Satoru can sense Monster Rats waiting to ambush them and uses his Cantus to take them out. They see Kuramochi’s body. Entering one of the rooms, they see 3 cocoons and realize the people in it are still alive. Taking them down, Saki recognizes one of them as Dr Noguchi. The rest is a male hospital staff and a nurse how is in so much shock that screaming is all she does. They are all stunned at first but soon Noguchi regains his consciousness and wants everyone to escape quickly before he returns.

One of the cocooned hospital staff runs out on his own. The gang see him suddenly burst into flames. It is a sign he is back. Fujita tries to help but gets killed too. Noguchi tells them that he has killed everyone in this hospital and the 3 of them only survived. Because they didn’t run or fight back or else they would have been killed. They were probably kept alive because he wants to use them as hostages. But now they have to run out the backdoor. Noguchi wants everyone to go separate ways in hopes one of them will get to the village and warn the rest. Noguchi is pessimistic that even if they have 500 people with Cantus, they can’t defeat him. Noguchi goes off into the woods as Saki senses him circling around the back. Satoru and co hide back inside the hospital. Then they hear Noguchi’s screams. I guess he got done in. Thanks to that distraction, the rest escape via the front. The hospital nurse becomes paralyzed and clings onto the wall. Saki can’t leave her but at this rate everyone will be killed and nobody will warn the village. Okano will stay back to buy them time. The duo remain hidden in the boat as it drifts down the river. Satoru finally understands about Kiroumaru’s defeat and why Giant Hornets lost. He fears his theory has come true. Before we know what that is, he senses a boat closing in on them. It’s him.

Episode 20
As they lay motionless and calm in the boat, Saki remembers how much she hated the Board of Education especially when they send Tainted Cats. Now she understands why. However she still won’t forgive them of what they tried to do to Maria and Mamoru. Especially about the faceless friend she thinks she was once in love with. They must live. They plan how to escape from the boat and into the river bank by placing temporary mirrors as decoy. Once they do so, the Fiend burns their boat. Lying still in the grass, it seemed like the Fiend is heading towards them but soon passes. The duo find a hut to rest and change their clothes before starting their journey back to town when day breaks. They hear explosions in the background but can’t be too bothered with it as they need to get back. While traversing the river, they are seemingly attacked by something beneath. Getting to the river bed, they use their Cantus to lift the large mutant fish up. It starts spewing lots of black powder. Saki realizes it is inflammable remembers the explosion. She pushes Satoru away when the explosion soon begins. Saki is tossed up into the air but controls her flight with her Cantus. She crash lands in the sunflower field alone while continuing her journey and realized that explosion was a suicide attack. She almost got a boulder squashed her and manages to identify herself as human to stop a boy from trying to smash her as he thinks she is a Monster Rat. It is learnt that there were lots of casualties in the village during the night fight. He is looking for his parents whose whereabouts are unknown since the fight.

Saki narrates how the Monster Rats were waging an all-out war against humans. They were successful because Yakomaru was willing to sacrifice his soldiers (they too are not afraid of death) and partly due to lack of preparation on the human’s side. Therefore when the assault was launch, everyone felt helpless. When everyone decided to cooperate, it got worse because this has been all part of Yakomaru’s plan. Because so, human mistake each other as Monster Rats and accidentally killed each other. Due to the death feedback, the killer would also die. Killing 2 birds with no stone. Everyone thought they could heave a sigh of relief when the attacks stop as dawn drew closer. But that’s just a ploy to deprive them of sleep. As they let their guard down, those mutant fish swim through the canals and let loose their inflammable powder. The carnage continues. Thus orders were made to dry up the canals as there were sufficient manpower to guard every one of them. But this is also part of Yakomaru’s plans. When the devastated village is filled with wounded people, they are deprived of any water source and succumb to their wounds. Saki returns to Sage Academy. Although it is still standing, it has become a refugee centre. Tomiko is there, heavily wounded. Saki tells her about the Fiend she saw before her eyes and wants to know what else could use Cantus to kill a human. Tomiko replies there is nothing they could do. Her first encounter with one was just pure luck. The place is soon in commotion as word has been going round that a Fiend is spotted. Tomiko wants Saki to go to the Temple of Purity where the Security Council and her parents might be recuperating. She won’t go as she will only slow her down. Tomiko makes Saki succeed her whether she likes it or not. She also orders her caretaker, Niimi to bring Saki there. He is to tell Shisei what happened and broadcast to everyone to run away as far as possible. With a heavy heart, Niimi takes Saki away for their mission.

Episode 21
Shisei tries to give hope to the survivors and rallies them to quash the Monster Rats. Suddenly the ground crumbles. Shisei could only save a handful of them. The Monster Rats are ambushing them from underground. Shisei uses his Cantus to rip everyone when suddenly a Fiend enters the scene! To Saki’s horror, the Fiend looks like Maria!!! At that time, Saki is relieved to see Satoru alive and well. Shisei holds off the Fiend but as Satoru puts it, it is only a bluff because if Shisei kills it, he will die from death feedback. Also, the subconscious and Cantus leak is all that is needed to just kill Shisei. Satoru wants them to run as Saki sees the Fiend killing Shisei. Traversing the underground tunnels, they find a wounded Monster Rat and question him about their race’s rebellion. It is to liberate their species from their tyranny as they feel they have been treated like animals. They are confident since they have Yakomaru and the messiah whom we all know as the Fiend. But the Monster Rat points out the real Fiends are them instead. When the trio exit the underground, Niimi wants to part ways and carry out Tomiko’s request of warning everyone. Even though there may not be many left, if he can save an extra life, it would not be in vain. That’s the last time they saw him. The duo arrive at the Temple of Purity and was being told by the priest that Saki’s parents did come here but returned to the village because they want to free all the Tainted Cats and set them upon the Monster Rats. They have left something for Saki but before that, they are taken to see Inui who is still alive and unhurt. He explains when his team left to exterminate Robber Fly colony a week ago, they realized the entire army had gone into hiding. They search for 3 days and only found traces of night camp on the fourth day. Then they spot a cave where a small army congregates. Inui orders his men to use their Cantus to take them out. They spot somebody coming out from the cave but realized too late it was a Fiend and got slaughtered. Inui became scared and went into hiding. It took all his skill to avoid detection because the Monster Rats were searching the area thoroughly and knew such extermination squad worked in fives. Inui managed to escape to the nearest village, the one where the summer festival was held. There was not a soul around but thought there should be some at the hospital. To his shock, he realizes that the Monster Rats have been kidnapping human babies. It is when Saki realizes this is Yakomaru’s true goal to abduct infants. It all started with Mamoru and Maria’s child. Yakomaru secretly nurtured this grand plan of his. With this single Fiend to take over the village to abduct more children. Even if he failed, he would just need to wait another 10 years. The abducted children will be turned into Fiends themselves under the Monster Rats’ care and at this rate, not only Japan will fall to them but the entire world. World domination would be possible and the birth of a great Monster Rat empire.

Episode 22
Inui continues how he miraculously escaped the Fiend. He bluffed the Fiend by speaking Monster Rat’s language. But as he is tired and ran out of Cantus, a Monster Rat saved him and brought him back to this temple. It was Kiroumaru. The priest brings the stuffs Mizuho left for Saki. First, a letter that wants her to do all she can to bring down the Fiend. It is a mass weapon of destruction created by ancient civilization and designed by people without Cantus to eliminate those with Cantus. It is called Psychobuster. It doesn’t kill the masses and so death feedback is avoidable. Mizuho has also left an object on how to lead them to it after activating it. Looks like a pig, or rather a mini Minoshiro. Mizuho lasts words were to hope Saki can use this Psychobuster to defeat the Fiend and will always love and watch over her. I guess this means she’s gone. The priest brings the duo to see Kiroumaru locked in the dungeons. Saki is appalled at the cruel treatment and frees him to talk. Kiroumaru confirms the Fiend killed his elite troops and this includes stopping their arrows in mid-air. By miracle, his troops sacrifice themselves so he could escape. All Monster Rats know humans cannot use Cantus on each other due to death feedback and Yakomaru’s strategy hinges on this. Since Saki is going to Tokyo, Kiroumaru has once been to that cursed place and wants to guide them there. Along with Inui, they escape the Monster Rats guarding the vicinity via underwater submarine. When they resurface for fresh air, Kiroumaru smells the Fiend approaching and his pursuers so they make a surge to blast forward towards the sea. They arrive at the bay of Tokyo at night fall but Kiroumaru cautious not to wander aimlessly because he remembered his soldiers who wandered near the shore were eaten by some monster. They surface at the first break of light. Tokyo is a vast uninhabitable desert. They activate the Minoshiro and it becomes a mini library and map. Kiroumaru smells his pursuers and didn’t expect them to catch up so soon. There is no place to hide and underground is scorching hell. Inui has an idea that they should go underground because if they do follow, they’ll get a taste of hell. It gets stuffier and stuffier the further they go. Saki has the Minoshiro explain about Psychobuster and it seems it is a biological weapon created by America similar to Anthrax. It’s easy to use but the challenge is to get the Fiend to inhale it. Saki asks Kiroumaru if he had once journeyed to Tokyo, why didn’t his colony settle down here. Unpleasant occupants. He then smells his pursuers although they are far away and took different routes. He smells 7 of them and though 5 of them are lowly officers, he recognizes the 2 as Yakomaru and the Fiend. Yakomaru who has been hiding all the while is out now because he knows the Fiend is his trump card to stand against them and what better way than to make personal command to ensure success. The gang had to traverse through a cave filled with bugs but that is just the harmless part. It begins when there are carnivorous blood-sucking slugs falling from the ceiling trying to suck on them! Inui burns them all with his Cantus. Satoru is injured and needs to be treated or else the bleeding can become worse.

Episode 23
The gang made their way through several vicious strange creatures, including some dark shadow that seems to be lurking. They reach the end of the cave and below them is the rapid river. Kiroumaru suggests they split into groups. Two will return to the caves to lead their pursuers astray with their scent while the other two will return to retrieve the submarine. He believes the underground river flows out to the sea. Inui and Saki go to get the submarine. Inui has his suspicions on Kiroumaru. He was here once and for what purpose. A single loss of life would have prompted him to retreat but yet something must have attracted him to stay and explore to the point he is willing to lose lots of his soldiers. When they arrive back at the shore, Inui doesn’t want Saki to be hasty in bringing the submarine to the sea because Kiroumaru warned them about some nocturnal creature. Before the Minoshiro’s battery runs out, it tells them enough information about some dangerous worm. This is Inui’s other suspicion. He knew they would arrive at this beach by sundown but yet didn’t tell them about this danger. After putting the submarine in the sea, they are attacked by a huge worm. Inui’s Cantus destroys it and they quickly move before more of them appear. Saki sees visions of the faceless boy. She still can’t remember him but he disagrees. She knows his name and can’t remember because of a barrier in her heart. He is after all always in her heart. She will remember it eventually. He also lets her know that the Fiend they are facing isn’t actually a Fiend. Saki is snapped back into reality by Inui when they arrive in a cave with a huge pocket water. The glow worms on the ceiling make it look like stars in the sky and Saki remembers it was that faceless boy who showed this to her. Continuing their journey, they hit a dead end although their destination is just a hundred metres ahead. They can’t make a hole or else the cave will collapse so they will travel by foot underwater. The worm attacks them but thanks to Inui’s warning, Saki manages to evade in time. Unfortunately Inui died in the attack while trying to fend it off. As sad she is, Saki has no choice but to stay strong and soldier on. She arrives in a room with radioactive symbol. Searching around, she finds Psychobuster in a safe. She breaks the wall and higher ground view makes the wasteland look spectacular especially in the shades of the morning sunrise. As she walks on, she starts remembering her last moments with Shun. And there he is right before her! She remembers his name and calls out to him. Is this an illusion?

Episode 24
Maybe Saki’s just seeing things. Before her is Kiroumaru. He brings her to the cave to reunite with Satoru, a little injured when a rock fell on him trying to escape the Fiend. After telling him about Inui’s death, she hands him Psychobuster. Kiroumaru covers himself with bat guano to hide his smell although the Monster Rats think he was never a threat to them. Satoru explains how Kiroumaru killed 7 of them by himself. He brings them to a long tunnel with no other exits. Although it may seem like they have no other escape routes, this mean the enemy can only come in from 1 direction. There are twists and bends in the tunnel so they can run and be out of the Fiend’s field of vision. While Kiroumaru goes to lead them here Saki is still worried about the Fiend and can’t help think is the child of Mamoru and Maria. Satoru doesn’t want her to complicate things with her feelings but she just thought the Fiend doesn’t know herself as human. She wants to give the Fiend a chance to learn she is one. Due to the heavy rain hiding their scent, Kiroumaru returns and suggests using themselves as bait by showing themselves to the enemy just for a moment. Then run and hide. They disagree at this very dangerous proposition but Kiroumaru reminds them many have died so that they could have this one chance to defeat the Fiend. So the game of tag begins. Saki hears Shun’s voice that the Fiend isn’t coming after them and is a trap. Because Yakomaru has predicted the path they would escape, he has laid ambushes along the way and they barely avoid them. They can’t go forward as it will be suicide. But heading back means meeting up with the Fiend. The Fiend closes in so Satoru tries out Saki’s suggestion by putting up a mirror. Because Monster Rats don’t have mirrors, the Fiend never knew how she looked like and thinks herself as a Monster Rat just like them. Maybe if she is showed her own face, she would realize she is different and human.

The Fiend gets upset and breaks the mirror. This forces Satoru to throw Psychobuster. Saki fears at this range, the Fiend and Satoru will be affected. She doesn’t want to be alone and the last one left standing. Good thing, the Fiend got burnt although she still lives while Satoru is unaffected. Kiroumaru meets up with them and it seems the Fiend is not coming after them and thinks she is being treated for its burn wounds. But they can’t head out at the end of the tunnel because they very well know Yakomaru has laid his ambush. As they hide, Yakomaru wants to negotiate. Kiroumaru doesn’t want them to answer for he is trying to determine their location with their voice. Kiroumaru thinks Yakomaru has no immediate solution for this and suggests a suicide move for all of them. Collapse the entire cave with their Cantus. Saki feels guilty for ruining their only chance to defeat the Fiend and wasted Psychobuster but Kiroumaru feels their kind easily gives up. Monster Rats would try even if it means death and although those efforts may be in vain, they lose nothing by trying. They ask why he came to Tokyo before. It was to look for a weapon of mass destruction to destroy humans. However they found nothing. Although they are loyal and serve humans, it was only to ensure their survival. However there was no telling how long this would last and if there was a slightest chance, they might have already done so. Monster Rats do not lust for conquest or oppose mankind out of mere whim. They just want to ensure their colony’s survival and prosperity. Kiroumaru senses the Fiend closing in but passes them. He thinks the Fiend has reunited with Yakomaru as they are afraid they may launch a suicide attack. Because if either one of them survives, they could kill them all. Now that the other end of the tunnel is clear, they should use this chance to escape. However Saki believes they still have another chance.

Episode 25
Saki explains why the Fiend isn’t a Fiend. If she was, why didn’t she attack Yakomaru and his men? If they were using drugs, Tomiko and the rest would have done so a long time ago. Regarding her death feedback not working, it’s because the Monster Rats took her right after birth so she thinks herself as one. In short, her death feedback does not apply to humans but to Monster Rats. Kiroumaru borrows Satoru’s clothes. Then he dashes out to the Fiend while Saki follows him closely behind. The Fiend puts holes into Kiroumaru. He then unmasks himself and the Fiend goes berserk. The death feedback kills the Fiend. Saki also feels pain in her heart but she keeps telling herself she did not kill a human. She sees Kiroumaru dead with a happy face. Prior to agreeing to this strategy, Kiroumaru knows after this incident, all Monster Rats will be eradicated and hopes Saki will spare Giant Hornets’ queen. He wants at least their mother to survive. Satoru praises Saki as amazing but she thanks Shun. Shun who? Satoru then remembers him. In the aftermath, the duo capture Yakomaru and take him back to the village. Before his trial, they question why he killed so many innocent people. It was part of the plan. Once hostilities started, they had to go all the way to win. They are revolting against mankind because they are not their slaves. Did mankind not grant them autonomy? Mankind is only kind when they are in good mood. Otherwise, invoking their wrath would mean eradication of their colony. Saki realizes what Kiroumaru said is true. But had they not revolt, all this would not have happened. Yakomaru says it’s like the chicken or the egg dilemma. They just want to escape that fate as they are highly intelligent creatures on par with humans. The only difference is that they don’t have Cantus. Yakomaru knows what he says will earn him the death penalty but he knows his fate is sealed either way. As for Kiroumaru, Yakomaru thinks he is old fashioned and couldn’t see the truth. He had to dispose the queen because as long as she was in power, there will never be reforms. He did it not for power but for the sake of his colony. Satoru doesn’t believe him because he sacrificed his men mercilessly. Only when they achieve victory that their deaths will not be in vain. Since they lost, he deserves to die. He laments holding the trump card but fell for a simple trick. A chance like this will never come again. Saki wants him to apologize to all the innocent people he killed. He will do so provided if she apologizes to his kind that they crushed mercilessly.

Saki narrates what happened to her parents from survivors. When they left town to release all the Tainted Cats, everyone was in panic because Shisei’s body was hung on the Holy Barrier. Though the Tainted Cats couldn’t stop the Fiend, they manage to slow it down. Her parents then ran to the library to burn away all the books they deem dangerous to the enemy but the smoke drew the enemy’s attention. Saki believed her parents did not die in vain. As the tide was in Monster Rats’ favour, Yakomaru acted swiftly by burning down the Temple of Purity. All the priests perished and those villagers who sought refuge also died. Yakomaru was able to use information he gathered to track Saki and the rest down. Yakomaru goes on trial and asserts his name is Squealer and doesn’t want to use the name bequeathed by them humans. He considers himself not a beast but a human. This causes everyone to laugh. Squealer curses them that such evil will not go unpunished and someone in the future will take his place and carry on his cause. The judge passes the death sentence as giving him peace and sentences him to an eternal and slow death filled with pain. The Department of Exospecies Control became a direct subdivision of the Ethics Committee so Saki now serves both departments. Her job was to save the Monster Rat species and at least the queen of Giant Hornets. Later, she comes across a strange document which tells the origins of Monster Rats’ name. Their distant ancestors were naked mole rats and she thought it is funny that their scientific name, Homocephalus Glaber is almost similar to Homo Sapiens. It’s like as though they mixed humans and mole rats. She also found another document which tells how the change in writing of certain words became Monster Rats and that what had something to do with sinister.

Because Satoru couldn’t get Squealer’s words out of his head, he researched the genome of Monster Rats which was previously prohibited by the Code of Virtue. He found out Monster Rats and naked mole rats have different number of genes. Although mole rats’ features were inserted into their genes, something else was used as a base. The only other species that shared the same number of genes with them are humans or olive tree. I guess they aren’t made of wood so what does that leave us? Yup. Monster Rats were originally humans. For the sake of peace, those with Cantus programmed their DNA to include death feedback and attack inhibition. But those without Cantus became a problem because they are not bound by this and started oppressing those with Cantus. To stop this problem, they changed those people into beasts by inserting mole rats’ DNA into theirs and also to maintain their privilege and class (the reason why Monster Rats are made to look ugly). Saki thought they should have died from death feedback since they had killed so many but Satoru says it won’t because they never considered them human. They weren’t anyway. Saki goes to the museum where everything from the war is put on display, including Squealer who has turned into some hideous blob still in pain. She thinks he has suffered enough and is going to end this. First she reminisces the times when she first met him and their other ‘adventures’ together when they were kids. Even that night long ago when they ran together from Kiroumaru, she knew he was a liar and reported to him. Saki then uses her Cantus to burn Squealer. To avoid serious punishment, she gave a reason she was in a fit of anger. Vengeful fury. Soon, Saki makes her case to the committee of the colonies to be spared, including Giant Hornets. Then Saki and Satoru tie the knot. Ten years down the road, they are raising Tainted Cats (or Tainted Kittens rather). Soon they’ll be raising a kid of their own in this world. They hope when their child grows up, society will be a better place. Wondering if they can change, Satoru is confident they can. They must. They hope an object of fear will change into one of hope.

Brave New World
When I first started watching this series, it gave me lots of frights. I never thought it was going to have horror elements and I know I would have avoided it had I knew if it was going to scare me. So much so to a point I almost had sleepless nights and feared of having nightmares! I know such horror elements won’t be anything to veterans but I am really averse to anything horror. I also fear I will have to sit through the rest of the series with such horror setting. But after Shun’s death and the time skip that brings in the new arc, the story now seems less scary and it got more interesting than I expected it to be and with each passing episode, the more it draws me into the story. Therefore the second half was more bearable for me and I was able to sit through watching the series without having to worry about anything that will frighten me. Although the Monster Rats may be ugly and menacing, they aren’t as scary as Tainted Cats, Fiend or Karma Demon. I can think of so because when the series began, I knew nothing. So when Tainted Cats or Copycats were introduced, they were portrayed as very scary creatures and thus striking fear in me. Once I got to know things better, they don’t seem that scary anymore like when the cats were tamely sitting beside Tomiko later on in the series.

So watching till the end of this series, I can say that this is quite an interesting and engaging series and the little horror part in the beginning was just the little turn off I had. It is quite well paced and divided into several time periods which also serves as the arc for the series. However, aside from the horror part, the beginning was also hard on me because of the explanation and terms. I never read the novel so there were many things that I find it hard to understand. This was made a little confusing in the first few episodes whereby there is some sort of flashback of how the current state of humanity came to be with lots of blood spilled, lives lost and sacrifice. Not that I could fully understand it too when I watched it several times. I basically have an idea what is going on but if I were too think deeper and more analytical about it, I think I would be lost. The most confusing part for me was when the kids first stumbled upon the Minoshiro. What’s the use of having a library that could store every data when a dumb guy like me can’t comprehend most of it? Maybe they should put a programme that allows it to translate it into layman terms.

Despite such difficult terms, I find the concept of such to be interesting. For instance, imagine a world that would be almost crime free if everyone had that death feedback. If you kill somebody, you will pay the ultimate price with your own life via instant death. I think this is quite a cool feature to stem heinous murders. At first it was despicable to learn how the town handles in disposing of their children, making it look like they’ve gone missing. But once the full truth is known, I personally would still say it is not the best method but I guess it is the most effective. I suppose there is this saying if you want to nip the problem, nip it at the bud. So far they have been very careful in assuring Fiends and Karma Demons never appear for a long time till a nefarious plot by the Monster Rats came into play. It is sad that those kids who were disposed of never got a chance to live life to the fullest because of the early symptoms they show, they have been marked to be disposed of. It’s like they’ve been guilty for a crime that hadn’t commit. Like Minority Report. Like a child who inherited AIDS from his/her infected mother. But would you risk it? Better be safe and sorry. Thus, it is with mixed feelings that such a method is used to maintain peace and stability for hundreds of years. Were there no other ways? If they had, I’m sure the adults would have figured it out a long time ago.

Maybe it is because I do not fully comprehend about the terms like death feedback, it made me baffled at times. For instance, when the Fiend killed Kiroumaru, the death feedback only takes effect when she realizes she killed her own fellow Monster Rat. What does this mean? If she had been thinking what she had killed was human all along, the death feedback would not have activate. This shows that it is all only in the mind. So if you know how to trick this, then you can definitely avoid the deadly effects of death feedback, right? For example, if you are going to be a murderous serial killer, all you need to do is psycho yourself that those you are going to kill or have killed are not human. They are lowly scums lower than water fleas. This should do the trick, right? Just like what Satoru said too. If Monster Rats were once created using human genes, then technically they are evolved (or devolved, depending on the way you look at it) human beings. And yet humans have been eradicating their colonies for hundreds of years as penalty and yet not get death feedback since they never considered them to be humans. Maybe that’s why researching on their origins was banned. Imagine what will happen when people start to realize Monster Rats are humans. Instant death. Clearly this shows it is all in the mind.

Although this series does not really explain how humans obtain magic or how Monster Rats come into existence (not at least till the very final scenes), both are very crucial and main themes of this series. With humans being such fragile creatures, this show makes us ponder if we have what it takes to survive this planet in the long run and not become extinct. The way we see this town handling the ridding ‘problem kids’ shows that humans are indeed unpredictable and weak. Despite having magic, it can still backfire and cause lots of problems and turn deadly if not kept in check. It was odd to find that another intelligent creatures walking on the same planet as we do being submissive to us and treating us as Gods. Alas it was just a facade and like any other race, they want to ensure their survival even if this means being submissive for the time being, waiting for the perfect moment to turn the tables. And they almost came close to doing it as seen. What Squealer said that they are being on par with humans is quite true. What is it that makes us humans think we are the most superior beings on Earth? Is it out judgment, perceptive and stereotypes that gives us the right to judge others? Consider if humans and Monster Rats swapped places, I don’t think it will be any different because humans too will one day revolt against Monster Rats if ever a chance rises. Likewise, had Squealer’s plan been successful and Monster Rat taken over Earth, they would become oppressive and treat humans the same way they were once treated. So it’s a vicious cycle. But seeing how such creatures could easily manipulate, deceive and beat us using our past knowledge and inventions are truly scary. It is like as though they are in place to become the next humans. If human is a word to mean the most superior creatures that stands above all on the face of this planet, that is. If Apocalypse won’t come early, can you imagine Earth being overrun by such creatures? Homo Sapiens would become how we perceived dinosaurs to be. It’s scary. It’s unthinkable. It’s provoking. But it’s worth something to think about if we do not evolve to be stronger and are content with the way things are. Weak, and you’re out. It’s nature’s law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest.

For Saki as the main heroine, she has gone through many hardships and an adventure of a lifetime that will change her outlook of things in the future. She might be a strong willed person but she is still human. After having watch her friends go missing one by one, she finds it hard if she could go on and maintain her sanity. Even at times that call for harsh action, she still manages to show her kindness. Maybe because more violence or punishment won’t get them anywhere. Thankfully she has Satoru who has always been by her side to keep her going and they both support each other very well. After so many heart stopping incidents, she has become stronger and better, taking the first bold step in changing the future. Instilling fear into kids may be an effective way for many to stay within the lines. But when you have so much fear, won’t your heart not be at ease at all? Notice the gloomy setting of this town? At least for the adults. Kids will be kids and at their age are still carefree till they grow up and learn to become an adult. With Saki as the new head, hopefully things would be better for future generations for both humans and Monster Rats.

In the end, Saki and Satoru are the only main characters who survived from start till finished. Every other supporting characters even those who made their short cameos perished somewhere along the way. What a grim outlook. Reiko became the first ‘victim’ and was never heard of ever again. I wonder if Saki and Satoru who finally remember Shun, will they remember her? We didn’t even remember her, right? Guilty as charged. Then Saki had to watch her first love Shun die due to some unstoppable Cantus leak and had his memories of him removed. Technically he isn’t dead since he occasionally appears in Saki’s dreams so it’s like he’s living in her heart. I don’t know how Maria and Mamoru survived after they ran away. Either they moved to another town or they really become Tarzan and Jane of the wilderness. I wonder how they died at the hands of Squealer, seeing they can use their Cantus to just turn the Monster Rats into bloodbath. Unless they got their guard down. Maybe. Because it was at a time after Maria gave birth so it’s like killing 2 birds with a stone. Thinking of the child they had, if that is the case, I just thought Maria was just a teenager when she bore her first child, right? That means right after they ran away they must have had sex. Ah, I remember what the Minoshiro said about humans and stress… On several occasions, Saki could have lost Satoru too but I guess it won’t be fun to see the heroine being alone so I guess it is a good thing Satoru is as tough a survivor as she is. What about Yoshimi? I thought there would be something more to shed a light on her mysterious disappearance but seeing how things are revealed towards the end, I don’t think where she went or ended up didn’t matter. We have an idea what fate dealt her so it probably wasn’t worth to bring up such memories again. Even the all powerful and mysterious Shisei succumbed to his fate. And I thought I get to see more of him later on but I guess even he has his limits. Tomiko is a great lady but too bad she didn’t survive long enough. I guess she is lucky to have lived over 200 years old and even luckier to escape unscathed when she encountered her first fiend. It’s time to move on and pass the baton to somebody younger and more capable.

It’s hard to pin Squealer as the villain although he acts very much like an antagonist throughout the series. It was very evident from the start that he could not be trusted. There were many signs to indicate that he could betray our protagonists any time and each time he smoothly had some sort of excuse to back him up. You can tell by the way he talks to them. Despite speaking fluently in human tongue and polite at first, whenever the humans disagree with his suggestions, you would notice that he makes a short pause with that unhappy look on his face before agreeing to their ways. It’s like as though he is forced to listen and acknowledge. Would you not if you were in his shoes? Thankfully humans still have their gut feelings, something I guess science and technology couldn’t explain, to rely on. They know better than to fully trust him and maintain some reservations. At times, it proves useful because they barely got away with their lives by the skin of their teeth. Despite Squealer’s unacceptable actions to slaughter humans and he got what he deserved, like I said, if you had a chance to change fate, would you not take a gamble? As long as differences of superiority exist, I suppose we can forget about talking things peacefully over picnic. Kiroumaru lives up to his honourable pride till the end despite at times I doubted him if he is in cohorts with Squealer. Because he too is a Monster Rat albeit from a different colony and sometimes when he smirks, it looks suspicious enough that it makes you wonder if there is something evil going on behind that smile and mind. So it proves that not every Monster Rat is despicable. Same case with humans. There are good ones and there are well, erm, not so good ones. Like Hino whom we could tell is just a bloodthirsty Monster Rat hater. He got killed by the thing he hates most. Isn’t that ironic?

The art and drawing make the characters look a little bit cartoonish although you can recognize some aspects of typical Japanese anime. Especially in the early parts of the series when the protagonists are young, their kiddie version seems to make them a bit cartoonish and thus a little cute. As they grow older, of course more handsome and prettier as the young teenagers they turn into, they have that slight anime-look. Though generally the design of the characters are simple and not much detailed. I think I’m saying this out of bias as a human because I think all the Monster Rats and other odd creatures like Minoshiro and Balloon Dog look ugly. Well, maybe except for Kiroumaru because his mane gives off that respectable feel like a lion. But nevertheless he is still to a certain extent, ugly. Forgive me. In a way, it gives a little horror feel. Well, I don’t expect cute creatures to be in such anime. It would be such a mismatch to see them in a bloodbath. As for the background and scenery, some are quite nice and beautifully rendered. Despite being in a dystopian future, I can’t help feel it has this fantasy-like feel to it. Maybe it’s because of Cantus, Monster Rats and the lush greenery of the village. Say, I’m not sure about other towns but doesn’t this one feel like back in the old times where no modern future gadgets or inventions are seen? Maybe that is what we really call living the simple life. Yeah. Who needs iPhones, iPads and iPods anyway?

Because of the time skip and different points in time, the main characters have a pair of different seiyuus to reflect the period they are in. Satoru, Mamoru and Shun (Kanako Toujou, Haruka Kudou and Mai Toudou respectively) have females voicing them when they are 12 years old and then switch to a mature voice when they hit 14 years old and above (Yuuki Kaji, Motoki Takagi and Ayumu Murase respectively). Oddly, I thought female characters usually have only one seiyuu but in the case for Saki, she also has two of them. Risa Taneda (Yukari in Yuyushiki) when she is 12 years old but Aya Endo (Sky Raker in Accel World) serving as the more mature sounding woman (as I found out the narrator’s voice belonged to her and supposedly around 36 years old). The only main character without double seiyuus is Maria and is voiced by Kana Hanazawa all the way. Yui Horie had a cameo as Reiko. But because she was disposed off as early as the first episode, I never really got the chance to spot her. Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Squealer/Yakomaru (Waver in Fate/Zero), Hiroaki Hirata as Kiroumaru (Sanji in One Piece), Yoshiko Sakaibara as Tomiko (Kate in Chrno Crusade), Kousuke Toriumi as Inui (Gennousuke in Basilisk), Takanori Hoshino as Shisei (Shido Fuyuki in Getbackers), Tomokazu Sugita as Rijin (Gintoki in Gintama), Miki Itou as Mizuho (Fujimura in Fate/Stay Night), Sakiko Tamagawa as Minoshiro (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest), Yuri Amano as Hiromi (Ifurita in El Hazard series), Sanae Kobayashi as Okano (Lucy in Elfen Lied) and Ryota Ohsaka as Ryou (Kiri in Sket Dance).

I guess with every anime that comes out now, the opening and ending credits is a must, right? Sometimes it has become an art and thus if you buy those DVDs, you get clean opening and ending animations without those credits interrupting your admiration of the ‘beautiful’ artwork. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this series doesn’t have an opening theme. In a way, it breaks away from such ‘routine’ so it is a little refreshing in that sense. Just like how One Piece recently over the past few years never had an ending theme. I suppose they can save some cost by not featuring a song. Oops… But there is an ending theme, though. The first one is Wareta Ringo by Risa Taneda. I thought it feels out of place although it doesn’t sound bad, especially the stuttering guitar parts are quite creatively played out. After watching at the pace of this anime, hearing such song really feels odd but it is a welcoming relief (at least for me) since it does take away the tension especially for the earlier episodes. I thought the series finally decided to put an opening theme at the end of Mamoru-runs-away arc but it actually serves more as an introduction for the second ending theme, Yuki Ni Saku Hana by Kana Hanazawa. So technically that episode 16 is the only episode we’ve got both an opening and ending theme. The song sounds like it has tragic and sadness in it, which is quite befitting at the way this series is going. There is some background music too but the one that has child voices and played usually in the beginnings of the episodes has that creepy and ominous feel to it. It’s like a choir of children singing for a temple hymn.

Knowledge is such a power thing and it could also be a dangerous thing if it falls into the wrong hands and used for the wrong purposes. Humanity has advanced so much only to regress backwards and even in danger of being replaced by another creature. And the ironic part is that men were the ones who tampered with DNA and genes, trying to play God and create such intelligent creatures. Just backfired, huh? We reap what we sew. I just hope that one day that everyone in this world and the universe (assuming there are other intelligent life forms out there) would just get along and live a non-violent life where you don’t have to worry if you’re going to be the next on the hit list and free if your kind is going to be eradicated soon. Not possible in my life time? Being human is complicated and frustrating. No powers, got problems. Have powers, also have bigger problems. If reincarnation does exist, maybe I want to be a rock at the bottom of the sea. Life would be so much easier and simpler then.

AKB0048 Next Stage

November 16, 2013

The fight for entertainment freedom is not over yet! We have the right to enjoy ourselves in the way we want and not become like some mindless robotic zombies whose purpose in life is to work, eat, sleep, repeat cycle before kicking the bucket! We demand entertainment! We want our idols! If that sounded really bleak in the event if the world ever came to that stage, be thankful now that a big part of the world can still enjoy their idols, be it those K-pop or American Idols whatsoever. This idol thing must still be a big craze in Japan. I don’t know, I’m not really a big follower but it must be big enough that the largest pop group in the world had their own anime adaptation and even a sequel: AKB0048 Next Stage. As if watching the big idol group of girls dance on stage wasn’t enough. As if attending all their special public events weren’t enough. As if getting to shake their hands at every handshake event wasn’t enough. As if owning every single memorabilia of your favourite idol from posters pasted right on your ceiling down to your floor and the bed you sleep on wasn’t enough. Well, it is never enough if you’re an obsessed fan. Very obsessed fan, that is. Yeah, it makes you sound like a creepy perverted stalker. Don’t give me that weird deep breathing either!

Now back to the sequel of this story, for those who have watched the first season would definitely have come to know that in this fictitious story that is based on this group, the intensity between idols and anti-idol organizations have increased many times fold as ever before. Our heroine group (or terrorist unit if you are anti them) has been going on the offensive by launching more guerrilla concerts to bring hope and entertainment to planets whose civilians are persecuted under the Entertainment Ban. DGTO have also stepped up their attacks on entertainment which forces AKB0048 to bring back the discarded General Elections and thus the enchanting but risky Centre Nova position, a position coveted by every AKB0048 member (because you get to be the centre of attraction I suppose). As if fighting against DGTO and DES machines weren’t enough. Now they have to ‘fight’ among themselves for that spot. Well, nobody said that the path to being an idol was easy. So are you ready to love your idols once more?

Episode 1
Nagisa dreams of climbing an endless stairs. Her fellow comrades start falling off when the stairs start breaking up. Acchan tells her that not only her Kirara shines but the radiance must come from within. Nagisa must have fallen asleep on the stairs after another one of those hard practising sessions. The Understudies are practising to put up another guerrilla performance. Needless to say it is another sterling performance but this time their Kiraras shine so bright like never before. Such flood of lights was never seen ever since Acchan disappeared. At the end of the concert, Tsubasa makes a surprising announcement. Due to the increase anti-entertainment efforts by DGTO, she is bringing back the General Elections. This means the Centre Nova position will also return. Fans get to vote for their favourite members regardless of their status and the top members get to be part of a new single. Some of the Understudies (especially Nagisa who is definitely against it) are torn about this General Election. Even if the battle for Centre Nova isn’t their goal, the election results will show who is top and who is bottom. There can be in-fighting to be the best. It can be quite demoralizing to know who is better or worse off than you. During the banquet, Yuuko makes her announcement that becoming Centre Nova is her dream and those who aim for that position to also do their best. When some of them are preparing to enter the hotspring, a DES machine ambushes the place. Chieri, Sonata and Yukirin are kidnapped. They are taken to Kasumigastar where the High Court is held and being put in a speedy trial. This is with the intention to subdue anti-government movement that idolizes them. News spread like wildfire throughout the galaxy that the trio are being charged in engaging in anti-government activities. During the trial when being read the charges, Chieri stands up and voices out that AKB0048’s actions are founded upon love and will never hurt others. At the same time, Tsubasa and the other AKB0048 members are preparing to launch a rescue mission. They are not amused that the trial is trying to make a spectacle of AKB0048. The lawyers try to convince Chieri if she admits she has been deceived, her sentence will be commuted. She stands firm on her dreams and beliefs. The judge concludes that they have shown no signs of remorse and sentences them to 48 years in prison. That’s when the AKB0048 girls bust in. However they did not use violence. Instead, they use DES’ attack as counter attack. Their own missiles destroy their own building. AKB0048 sing their way filled with love to rescue to trio. Back at Sagitarriusstar, the headquarters of Zodiac Corporation, Chieri’s father sees the trial as blessing. He relishes his daughter has become more useful than ever.

Episode 2
Sensei-sensei is talking funny things. Guerrilla. Gross-out. Funny faces. Huh? Due to the trial, Chieri’s popularity has soared. As some of the Understudies fear, she is pulling in lots of votes and preliminary results are showing that there is a dramatic rise in number of downloads since the announcement. So Tsubasa has the other Understudies make their appearance on a variety channel. Look at it as celebrities doing various stuffs. Like bungee jumping. Yikes! Is this all for the sake of rating and increase in popularity? I hope they don’t make a fool out of themselves. The ‘funniest’ is when they had to imitate others. And Sonata imitated Makoto snoring!!! Totally embarrassing!!! Meanwhile Tsubasa feels disturbed. When they burst in and out of Kasumigastar, supposedly a very stronghold of the government, it felt too easy. Because the Understudies aren’t doing a very good job on the variety channel, Tsubasa summons them and chides them for not being serious. Sure, it isn’t fair to suddenly thrust the camera in their face and they would prefer to hold concerts than doing this. Tsubasa just tells them to carefully reflect the purpose why they are doing this. Late that night, Nagisa catches Chieri practising hard as usual. But Chieri is not sure if she is popular due to her own effort. Kojiharu and Yukirin note that Nagisa and Chieri are the only ones left who have not finish their General Elections poster. They decide to show them a video of Acchan at the last General Election. Her radiance was shining very brightly as Centre Nova that it moved everyone including Yuuko who was still an Understudy. Soon the Understudies realize why Tsubasa put them up with such variety shows. On planets where ban on entertainment ban is the strictest, holding concerts is next to impossible that’s why such broadcasts are shown instead. Even the broadcasts are received illegally via WOTA’s underground network. So the girls are fired up to do their best in their next variety show, which is penalty dodgeball. Nagisa and Chieri finish their poster and continue doing concerts. After a concert ends, Tsubasa pops up to do an announcement of the early results of the General Election. Starting from tenth place upwards, seems Chieri is now at 9th spot.

Episode 3
Ninth place is pretty good for an Understudy to secure but why the gloom face, Chieri? Aren’t you happy? To boost their popularity before the General Elections, there will be a handshake event. One of Nagisa’s fans will do his best to help her. She didn’t understand why he would want to do that. Simple. Because she is doing her best too. While Chieri is shaking hands with one of her fans, she hears him praise her I Girl Noodle commercial. She senses something amiss and rushes off backstage to watch it. The commercial had footage of her but it’s not that she acted in it (it was taken from the trial). Of course this is illegal but Tsubasa puts it, what they are doing is illegal in the first place and have no right to complain. However her fans aren’t aware of the foul play being used in the commercial. Yuuko and Takamina renew their rivalry for top spot in the General Elections. Nagisa is amazed that Mimori can remember every word her fan said. She admits she is a fan of her fans. Although she is never in the spotlight, they see her in the shadows and shower her with their love. On the day before the General Elections, the Understudies are still worried. But Mimori is upbeat and views everyone has an equal opportunity. Chieri makes her way to a diner to meet her old butler, Yasunaga. She talks to him about the commercial. I Girl Foods is under Zodiac Group. Furthermore, she noticed all the cameras at the trial were from Zodiac Corporation. What is going on? Wasn’t her father against her joining AKB0048? Yasunaga relays a message from her father, the company’s CEO. At first he did want her to return but he soon realized her radiance as an idol that kept growing. He will no longer oppose her membership and support her with all his resources. Chieri realizes that her popularity is not the result of her own skill. She has a message for him. Refusing to let him have his way, she is willing to sacrifice her dream. Chieri doesn’t want to have anything to do with the General Elections as she doesn’t want to bring down her friends via underhanded methods. And so the results of the General Elections are here. The stadium is filled to the brim. So serious the results that it had to be sealed in a suitcase and handcuffed to the security’s hand! At least no tampering. Are we excited after waiting with baited breath? At tenth place… Mimori!

Episode 4
So you are going to hear lots of emotional thank you speeches by some of the girls. The winners cry. The AKB0048 girls cry. The fans cry. Everybody cries. Unless you’re those anti-idol group. So if you’re the emotional kind, prepare a box of tissue papers. Mimori gets the tears rolling by thanking her fans and especially Kanata as her special friend. Chieri is amazed by Mimori’s speech but she is still in a dilemma. She told Tsubasa she will make her announcement of quitting AKB0048 if she is chosen. She feels her father earned her those votes and her popularity as a result of Zodiac’s interference. Tsubasa told her all the votes were from her fans and she is about to betray them. But winners are given a chance to speak on stage and she can say what she wants. She won’t stop her. In 9th place is Youko while Tomochin comes in 8th. This shocks many because in the preliminaries, she was ranked third. After so much heartfelt speeches, Chieri’s perception of the General Elections starts to change. The fans give them so much love and if they make it onto the stage, they can also return their love. Kojiharu takes 7th and while Chieri is still contemplating those votes don’t really belong to her even though she starts realizing that because of her father’s interference, her fan base grew. Suddenly her name is announced in 6th place. She couldn’t believe it. What can she say? She is so shocked that she starts hyperventilating! She’s having a hard time catching her breath as she limps towards the stage. When she manages to calm down, it’s time for her to make her announcement. She loves them all! Her Kirara shines the brightest and she vows to continue being an AKB0048 member. Mayuyu takes 5th followed by Yukirin in 4th and then Sayaka in 3rd. Takamina grabs 2nd and the overall winner of this General Election goes to… Drum roll please… YUUKO!!! Part of her heartfelt speech includes that winning this election and becoming Centre Nova is not enough since her rival is Acchan. She wants to stay in that position and glow more radiant. She vows not to disappear. In the aftermath of the event and at the backstage, the girls continue their emotional hugs and congratulations for one another. Nagisa congratulates Chieri and now realizes why she was against the General Elections. She was afraid in becoming a spiteful person with all the competitions and comparisons. But she saw how everyone sparkled and was amazed. She vows to do her best to stand on that stage. Both their Kiraras shine so bright that it catches Yuuko’s attention.

Episode 5
While those elected are busy with schedules, those unelected are so free. Makoto is sure grumbling as usual, isn’t she? She knows herself she won’t get elected even if it’s a miracle so why the long face? Sulking… Anyway AKB0048 must gear up for another guerrilla concert on Baltistar, another planet with strict entertainment ban. While the elected members will be on their first performance, Kanata and the 76th generation will provide the defence. Because there are reports of high profile people coming in and out of a nearby asteroid, Tsubasa has the 77th generation lead an undercover investigation. First, they infiltrate a ship filled with boys forced into hard labour and take over their identities. Meeting with the lieutenant of the asteroid base, they are put under the supervision of a stupid looking beaver teeth DES private, Higashino. Not thrilled, is he? Well, can’t say the same for the girls. They’re not built for hard labour. Except for Makoto who is going all out. Because she is still sulking over not being elected. When the guerrilla concert begins, all DES members go into full force to stop it. That’s when the undercover team goes into action. Nagisa’s team is puzzled to hear AKB0048 songs coming from a room. Sneaking in, they see a very posh place and lots of important people in some party. It is actually an illegal casino and they are making bets on AKB0048 on how long they can last, etc. So on the surface they look like anti-entertainment but they are just plain hypocrites, huh? Makoto wants to investigate further but slips. This causes her identity to be busted and the base on alert for AKB0048 intruders. The girls are cornered but flushed down the trash compartment. Thank Higashino for that. Once the girls relay the big news to Tsubasa, she realizes why some DES attacks were weak. It is part of some gamble to rake in profits. Makoto is a funny girl. She is so gloomy and lack confidence that she thinks she fits sitting along with the other trash. She’s calling herself a trash?

Orine’s team hijack the main centre and discover a massive nuclear reactor in the asteroid centre. Shutting it down means cutting out all the power. The higher ups watching this are starting to make a bet if they can shut down the power in time. But with so many DES personnel around, can they make it? Orine’s team hijack a DES machine and go on a rampage. As usual, Makoto cowers out. Higashino recognizes that negativity. You can’t beat that, can’t you? This is what she comes to after he helped save them? He admits that he is a closet AKB0048 fan. But don’t tell on him. Makoto still feels useless so Higashino adds to that but tells her he voted for her in the elections. Four times! Even though she lost, it’s not about the numbers. It’s the love! Wow. She’s being told off by somebody like him. But why her? When he first saw her on TV, true to her nature she is useless and clumsy but she never hide it. He could relate it because he too feels the same way. In that sense, Makoto encouraged him a lot. So is that enough to get you going? Higashino leads her to the reactor and a switch beneath that will cut the power. For once Makoto becomes brave and even admits that although she can’t fly like others, she will fail with all her might! That’s like dare to fail, right? And she’s going to fall! Jump down, that is. She bungee jumps down into the reactor and true to her nature, she misses! First big failure? However that didn’t stop her and on the second run, she kicks the switch and breaks it! At least the power goes out and her Kirara shines brightly. Success! Sorry officials, you lost your bet. The girls escape the asteroid but since there is no power, somebody is needed to manual crank up the escape pod. Well Makoto, I’m sure you can learn something valuable from Higashino, right? He lets the girls escape and vows to always be Makoto’s fan. See Makoto? Even if you don’t believe in yourself, somebody else does. Now will you be more confident? Meanwhile Chieri’s dad isn’t fazed about the leaks revolving the illegal casino because he has issued a strict gag order. Even if AKB0048 has discovered this scandal, he is confident the data they received was worth the risk.

Episode 6
The Kiraras of succession suddenly shows the original Acchan. That means somebody is going to succeed her. Since the election, Yuuko has become even more popular. Chieri and Mimori’s popularity are rising too. Mikako becomes the group’s new camerawoman (probably it was hard for her to find a job due to the crackdown). Tsubasa still has reservations about her since last season she said something about using her power to stop bringing back the Centre Nova. Mikako assures she only said that out of spite. In the midst of the Understudies’ practice, Yuuko blows her top especially to Nagisa and Chieri because they are supposed to radiate more than this mediocrity. Ushiyama talks to Nagisa that despite her goal is to rival Yuuko, miming her won’t do and there must be a purpose to her soul. Likewise, Mikako talks to Yuuko and gives her hints about capturing radiance like snapping pictures on a camera. In addition to find clues to the next Acchan, Yuuko goes around taking pictures of her fellow comrades. Mimori’s face pops up at the Kiraras of succession. Shortly, Mimori collapses of fever. This is a sign that she will inherit a name because Tsubasa also experienced such symptoms. As standby, Tsubasa and Ushiyama choose Nagisa to replace Mimori. She must learn all the moves in a night in addition to her own performance. She’s up for the challenge. On the day of the concert, Mimori’s determination not to let her fans down has her performing alongside her elected AKB0048 members. She’s holding it out despite running a fever. Even so, her Kirara is shining brightly. During the break, Mimori is close to collapsing so Nagisa will have to take over from here. Nagisa is on par with the other girls as she sees the Kiraras of Yuuko and Chieri shining brightly. In that spur of the moment, Nagisa doesn’t want to lose out to their radiance and right in the middle of the performance announces she will shine as bright and will become Centre Nova. The crowd goes wild seeing her Kirara radiating as bright as the rest.

Episode 7
Mimori wakes up in the underground cave shrine but her fever has subsided. Ushiyama tells AKB0048 a change in their concert schedule. This time the Understudies will the one performing to mark Mimori’s debut as a Successor. Everyone is happy that Mimori has finally made it and now talk is rife on which name she will succeed. Her friends are also concerned if she would change into a different person. For this special event, we here the AKB0048 current Successors in an interview on their feelings when they succeeded. Elsewhere, we see Mikako reporting to Chieri’s father about finding the final piece required to initiate the Centre Nova phenomenon which she believes is in this next concert because the readings of dualium crystal readings were very high. A spy? Takamina talks to Kanata and learns that she long ago had such fever too but subsided. This prompts Takamina to ask what she would do if she had all the qualities to become a Successor. What she is trying to say is that, would Kanata drive her out to become a Successor? After all, because of Takamina holding on, she couldn’t advance. Kanata doesn’t know what to answer but she knows Takamina holds a special place in her heart. On the day of Mimori’s debut concert, she wows the crowd with her new hairstyle (she cut it shorter) and will now be known as Mariko the 8th. Her fellow AKB0048 girls are in awe of her beauty and performance as a Successor and are happy she transformed into a better person. Ushiyama thought Tsubasa was still the better Mariko so Tsubasa says the reason why she succeeded that name will only be known in time. But it proves that since Mimori succeeded that name, Tsubasa is still standing her (she went by that name during her gig as AKB0048). This gives hope that even though somebody will succeed Acchan, the original one must be somewhere out there. Mariko brings Kanata on stage to tell her this is where their dream begins. She hopes Kanata would be ‘greedier’ or else she won’t become a Successor. She hopes she can be one by Christmas and it will be the best Christmas present. Kanata makes her announcement that she too will become a Successor. Lastly, Mikako has determined the 3 vital factors for the Centre Nova phenomenon: 1) A concert involving combat; 2) Atmospheric disturbance; 3) Large quantities of high purity dualium crystals. Chieri’s father is happy that his Centre Nova research has made great advancement. He puts forth his plan by sending a message to DGTO headquarters to request for launch of DES mobile fleets. Their next target is Akibastar. War is coming…

Episode 8
Yuuko remembers when she was an Understudy, she protested she wanted to do more guerrilla concerts instead of boring Akibastar otherwise she won’t get the chance to stand on a bigger stage. But Acchan told her Akibastar was once laid waste by war. It took a long time to rebuild. It is a place where suffering and grief could be reborn as new hope and for all those who love entertainment. That’s why it’s not a boring space. It is the most precious and sacred than any other place. She wants Yuuko to protect Akibastar’s radiance. The Understudies could hear Yuuko practising by herself. Despite the noisy turbine sound, they could hear her singing. Chieri feels even though she was voted the best in the General Elections, it’s like as though she is not satisfied and crying. Yuuko even ditches Ushiyama’s lessons so she can practise on her own. I guess it’s not challenging enough for her. Takamina and Kojiharu worry for her and have this feeling that she is harder to approach now and is lonelier. Tsubasa tells them Acchan once had such aura. She talked to her and hoped she would rely on them more. Although Acchan agreed, she disappeared soon after. Meanwhile Mikako talks to Yuuko if she is willing to pay the great price to stand as position 0. At the same time, Chieri’s father has mobilized the DES army as they start attacking the space defence of Akibastar. He is targeting this planet because there are massive deposits of dualium crystals underground. Meanwhile Yuuko leads an AKB008 concert on Akibastar and is shining very brightly due to the advice she got from Mikako about accepting loneliness to become Centre Nova. Those who glow brightest are haunted by the darkest shadows. They’ll envy, target and try to manipulate you.

Suddenly the red alert is sounded for everyone to evacuate underground. DES forces have broken through their defence. All AKB0048 members go into action to engage the enemy. Chieri’s father relishes the second condition for Centre Nova activation: A concert in stormy weather. Well, somebody hacked the weather on Akibastar and turns it into one. AKB0048 face their greatest war yet because the girls are no match for DES. Mikako fears this is not what is agreed on and reveals Zodiac is after the dualium and Centre Nova. This prompts Tsubasa to get her girls to protect the shrine because if anything happens to Sensei-sensei, Akibastar will be done for. Akibastar is turned into a devastated war ruin when Mikako tries to activate a concert because she feels AKB0048 radiate the most during concerts. This is when they are strongest. AKB0048 hear the song and start singing and fighting their way. Chieri’s father is amazed Mikako has played into his hand because the last condition to activate Centre Nova is a life or death battle concert. Now all he needs is a torrent of emotion that surpasses it all. Tsubasa realizes they can’t win this and with a heavy heart announces they must abandon Akibastar as the enemy is after them. Yuuko is still concerned of being position 0 so she defies Tsubasa’s orders and flies straight to the stage where only the true Centre Nova is allowed to stand. After all, she made a promise with Acchan and will become Centre Nova even if it means being alone. DES forces fire at her but her glowing Kiraras protect her. They glow even brighter as it opens up a portal from above. Tsubasa realizes this is part of Mikako’s plan to open the gate so they can bring Acchan and the rest back. Yuuko’s bright light soon engulfs the entire area. When it’s over, she disappears.

Episode 9
DES has taken over Akibastar, Yuuko is confirmed disappeared and the whereabouts of AKB0048 are unknown. At least not officially. They have barely escaped via hyperdrive on the main ship. Mikako is locked in the store as some of the girls go to ‘interrogate’ her. Why is she doing this despite being an ex-Centre Nova? She didn’t think she was one to begin with. When she was about to become one, she chickened out because she saw strange aliens from another world trying to get her! She believes all the disappeared Centre Novae vanished into another world. Those who didn’t, graduated normally. However if their ambition for radiance falters for even a moment, they will lose all the radiance they had. After Mikako graduated, she became a camerawoman to stay by their side and protected them from disappearing. But inviting a DES attack? Mikako met Chieri’s father and was told about the mysterious substance called dualium that holds a certain power. He believes it can link 2 worlds. He also knew she had a glimpse of the other world when she almost became Centre Nova. Those aliens are actually Kiraras. As Kiraras react differently to humans will and amplifies their power in response, in ancient times, entertainment was somewhat a communication ritual to the Gods or other worlds. DES was trying to capture AKB0048 alive and the Kiraras for military purposes since a Centre Nova makes the Kiraras glow brightly. But didn’t what Mikako did is a contrast to what she said about protecting them? She couldn’t answer.

Later Tsubasa tells the girls that Mikako’s intention was to save the disappeared Centre Novae by opening the gate to the other world. She thought of using them to do that and help Zodiac but she was double crossed instead. The girls still have doubts on Mikako but Tsubasa understands how she feels because she wants to see Acchan again. She thinks Sensei-sensei might have the same thinking since he brought back the General Elections. There is one way they can save them and is to create another Centre Nova. Nagisa wants to take up this challenge and save Yuuko. Suzuko finds that there are no more websites on AKB0048. Have DES clammed down on it and fans bowed to their pressure? Suddenly the red alert goes off. A DES mothership has found them when they tried to established connections with Akibastar and were traced. DES launches its mini robots to attack them. The main ship is still damaged to it will take time for the hyperdrive to start up. The ship takes lots of damage and in a way it frees Mikako. She doesn’t hesitate to steal an LAS to fly away and escape. The rest are shocked that she intends to betray and report everything back to Zodiac but she buys time for the hyperdrive and fights back the DES machines. How can a single woman like her kick ass? Maybe it’s because she has a glowing Kirara and is singing. You don’t see DES doing that, right? That’s why all their missiles can’t reach her. Haha. But Mikako eventually takes a hit and resigns to her fate. Before she is going to be blown away, Takamina rescues her. Although she hasn’t forgiven her, they need all the allies they can get. With all the other girls lending their moral support, Mikako goes back with Takamina in time before their hyperjump.

Episode 10
The gang has landed on an alien planet. While the ship undergoes repairs, Tsubasa wants the girls to find out more about this planet. Nagisa talks to Chieri who is still bent on confronting her father. Nagisa tells about her own experience whereby her father initially was against her joining AKB0048. She showed how serious she was and now he is supporting her. She believes Chieri’s father will be like that too if she tells him her feelings. Orine and Yuuka are somewhat lost when a little alien creature (I thought it was Pokemon) fell into Orine’s arms. It takes a liking for her so Orine names it Mofufu. That night when everyone is sleeping in their camp, giant monsters attack them. However they leave the girls alone and only took back Mofufu. Orine wants to go save it but Tsubasa reminds her about their situation. They are running away from DES and once repairs are complete, they will leave this planet and thus not to do anything rash. However Orine won’t listen and goes off to find Mofufu along with her Lancastar friends. They see the aliens and at first Orine thought it was going to eat Mofufu when suddenly the place is under siege by DES. More precisely, Zodiac machines. Orine realizes that monster is Mofufu’s mother as it was trying to protect it. The girls research and find out this planet, Funghistar is inhabited by those peace loving monsters called Funghi. Because Funghistar has lots of dualium properties, it has become Zodiac’s mining ground. They did hideous tactics like taking Funghi offspring hostage to lure the adults out. They don’t care about the creatures and are just here for the crystal. It is no wonder they are aggravated when they see humans. AKB0048 reach the core that has a massive dualium crystal. It also serves as a healing place for the Funghi creatures. Orine tries to talk to them that they want to help them out. Seriously? Those Funghi don’t speak human language, girl.

Sayaka starts singing because if their words don’t reach them (obviously), their feelings through their songs might. When the girls start singing, I thought the Funghi seemed more aggravated than before. But when they see the little ones jumping in joy, the adults also join in and it feels funny to see them support the girls like idol fans. Zodiac machines are seen approaching and ready to attack so the girls get ready to fight back. Their singing causes the dualium and Kiraras to glow even brighter and more powerful. It is responding to their song and everyone becomes one with the planet. So great that a barrier is created and disables all of Zodiac’s machines! Tsubasa couldn’t believe her eyes when she thinks she saw Sensei-sensei in the dualium’s core. Orine now seems to be able to communicate with the Funghi. At least she knows what they are saying. They consider them their friends and give a dualium crystal to them. Tsubasa, Ushiyama and Mikako rewatch the resonance video again and realize it is the same power that Yuuko gave off. They realize the dualium reacted to their emotions to create a powerful barrier. If every member learns how to achieve maximum resonance with dualium, taking Akibastar back is possible. But when AKB0048 return, they say Nagisa and Chieri are missing. The duo have snuck on board a Zodiac ship that is returning to Sagitarriusstar. Chieri is taking up Nagisa’s advice to tell her father how she feels.

Episode 11
They sneak into Sagitarriusstar and Chieri knows moving around freely for them is impossible. So she calls Yasunaga and he drives them back to Chieri’s residence. The duo wait and relax in Chieri’s room while Yasunaga makes arrangement to see her father. Chieri somewhat knows they won’t see him soon because he has always busy with work. It’s the same when her mother and big brother died. She was always alone in this mansion and had servants as companions. Chieri first discovered AKB0048 when she accidentally peeked into her father’s PDA. She was enthralled with the footage and with Yasunaga’s help, she manages to obtain more of their clips. Chieri’s father one day took her to Lancastar as part of a routine inspection. That’s when she first met Nagisa and co. They become her first friends as she lets them know about AKB0048. We also saw them attending the guerrilla concert then and that was when Chieri wanted to become part of it. But after the concert in which a Kirara started following her, upon returning, her father knew she had attended the concert. Since she said it stopped glowing after the concert, her father dismisses her as no talent, reminding her that entertainment is prohibited and AKB0048 are terrorists. She tried to plead to him but was given the cold shoulder. When he is swamped with work, Chieri sang outside the room but breaks down since he totally ignored her. Her words didn’t reach him. However she had one fond memory of him. When she fell asleep outside after that, she noticed her father picking her up and bringing her back to her room. She felt his warmth. Although she was told that Yasunaga was the one who did it, she still believes it was her father. Suddenly Zodiac SPs barge into the room to take them into custody to see Chieri’s father. Do they need to do these to a pair of harmless girls? Well, AKB0048 is considered a terrorist unit, right? But as pointed out, this is to keep them in their custody so DES won’t find them.

Meanwhile Nagisa’s dad is brought to see Chieri’s father (recently he was given a position transfer to mining dualium). He read his report which is supported with facts that planets that do not enforce the Entertainment Ban have higher productivity than those without. He finds it fascinating. So after all that arrangement, Chieri only gets to talk to her father via video conferencing? Anyway, he has been observing her growth and is impressed with her talent. Chieri knows he only wants her to become Centre Nova so he could use her. That’s why he interfered and increased her popularity. He shows AKB0048’s ship hovering above Sagitarriusstar and can easily request for DES attack. Chieri warns her father not to lay a finger on Nagisa or AKB0048 and will do as he wants to become Centre Nova. He wants her to show her radiance and she will show her feelings to him. On her way, she sees Nagisa’s dad. She talks to him and feels envy the understanding parents Nagisa has. However he cautions her not to get the wrong idea. He never approved his daughter to join AKB0048 and believed the paths they walk were different. Despite so, they’ll never stop being a family. He tells Chieri that her father is a lonely man and doesn’t realize it. Despite hearing his twisted expression and revelling how his daughter will become Centre Nova, he feels he is just looking for somebody to walk beside him. Outside the door to her father’s office, Chieri starts singing as her radiance glows brighter. This is the radiance he has been looking for. Suddenly a gunshot is heard. She feels something is wrong. When Chieri opens the door, she is devastated to see her father lying in his own pool of blood and a bullet hole in the window. Nagisa and Chieri return to AKB0048’s ship as Nagisa consoles the latter, obviously very shaken at what happened.

Episode 12
The assassin still remains free and news spread about Zodiac’s CEO’s assassination. Chieri’s mental state is unstable and thus Tsubasa excludes her from participating in their operation to take back Akibastar. Kanata can understand what Chieri is feeling since she and Sonata lost their father. However this is no time to let emotions run high. They need to stay strong so each can achieve their Centre Nova radiance and make the dualium and Kiraras glow. Mamoru’s WOTA forces are hiding in Akibastar. The atmosphere is gloomy and the life from everyone’s eyes has vanished. Because they can’t afford to get into any skirmishes with DES, Kojiharu takes them underground where the rest are hiding out. Tomochin is sick as she notes how the people of Akibastar hate them thinking AKB0048 have abandoned them. She starts to glow. Tsubasa is furious seeing AKB0048 practice and gets riled up they can do better than that. She even starts dancing to show how it’s done. Everyone is amazed the Kiraras glow but for an old lady (sorry), she doesn’t have the stamina anymore. This gives the girls motivation to do better. So much so they radiate so much and they find themselves riding a train. They see a revitalized Akibastar. When they return back to consciousness, they realize this is the key to take back Akibastar. However Nagisa is still unconscious. And Chieri too. They are still on the dream train. Nagisa sees the familiar flight of stairs and on it is Yuuko with a very broken spirit. She is depressed that even though she saw Acchan and the other Centre Nova before her, she laments she can never reach them.

They wake up and tell the rest what is happening. Tsubasa thinks they must have seen AKB48 Theatre. Before Earth was destroyed, this small place in Akihabara, Japan was where AKB48 was born. Mikako suspects Yuuko didn’t complete her journey. Although she met the requirements to initiate as a Centre Nova, she failed to do so for disappearing as one. Say what? That important condition is a frighteningly powerful sense of unity that exceeds time and space. It is a sense of becoming one with everything. The way Yuuko disappeared was as if she was feeling alone, seeking refuge in isolation. Tsubasa prepares to jump back to Akibastar and signals to WOTA and the other AKB0048 members about their timing. Tomochin tells Tsubasa that she received a message from Sensei-sensei. The key to this operation is No Name. Nagisa apologizes to Chieri for being unable to do something for her. But Chieri has made her peace, realizing the thing she always wanted behind the door will never open if she gets consumed by darkness. With her composure back, she is confident to become Centre Nova to see what is behind that door. When AKB0048 ship jumps into Akibastar, the elected members right away go into concert mode. However all the people start throwing stones and telling them to leave, calling them traitors. Scary. I know DES’ brainwashing propaganda was swift when they take this planet but this is how far their loyalty goes? The girls are afraid and getting them to radiate seems tough now. Mikako realizes amplifying and uniting emotions also lie in the people’s heart so the dualium and Kiraras won’t react via the members alone. Everything will be futile if they can’t reach the people’s hearts. AKB0048 is sad that the once friendly people of Akibastar are now turning against them but Nagisa can’t stand and watch to end like this.

Episode 13
Despite it is a very demoralizing situation, AKB0048 still have hope in the people because it is their warmth that brought them this far. They continue to sing even if the people continue to tell them to leave. Meanwhile Yuuko sees Acchan. The latter explains all Centre Novae were summoned by Sensei-sensei, more accurately the collective unconsciousness of all living things channelled through Kirara and integrated through dualium. If entertainment disappears, people’s hearts will remain in darkness. That’s why the collective unconscious formed through dualium resonance has gathered the Centre Novae in this space outside time so that the depths of humanity’s unconsciousness will never be lost. They are the light of hope and if that light disappears, people’s hearts will be swallowed by darkness. Acchan wants Yuuko and the rest to defend that in reality but Yuuko feels she can’t do it otherwise she will never be able to sing by her side or surpass her. Acchan hugs her and shows what is going on at Akibastar now. Despite all the abuses the people hurl at Nagisa, she tries to tell them that all they want is to sing and show their love. Even if they hate them, please do not hate songs and entertainment. Nagisa suddenly radiates so bright that everyone thought they see Acchan in her. Nagisa starts having fever, the kind when there is going to be a succession. DES enforces break through the barrier. While WOTA keeps them at bay, AKB0048 continue to keep singing. Everyone is surprised that the portal opens and Yuuko comes flying out to join them singing. Yuuko communicates back to Tsubasa that Acchan told her the disappeared Centre Nova are illuminating the shadows of the heart. It is now their job to illuminate the present. She has Mikako project all her photographs she took to the audience. It is then the people realize they love Akibastar. Nagisa notes even if everyone hates them, AKB0048 will never hate them. Nagisa’s Kirara shines so bright that everybody returns to support AKB0048 while calling Nagisa as Acchan.

DES forces continue to attack. A DES member almost raped Suzuko but she was saved by Chieri. At first she was brimmed with anger thinking how her father was killed. But she calms down and starts singing. The DES member who was afraid of being cut down by her sees her light and starts believing in her! Woah! She converted him just by singing! That is a much effective way and what AKB0048 is about, right? They’re here to sing and show their love. We get a rare moment between Yuuka and Mamoru (before we forget there was romance between them). Yuuka was blown out of the sky but Mamoru catches her. He vows to always protect her and almost kissed. If it makes her radiate greater, he will always watch over her. Chieri’s singing continues to convert more DES members to see the light! So great her radiance that she is giving off that resonance of a Centre Nova. The main DES battleship receives orders to capture her or eliminate her before her power grows big. The battleship crashes into Akibastar ready to capture Chieri at all cost. Chieri says they are going to use everyone’s emotions to stop DES. Chieri and Nagisa fly towards the battleship as they could feel not only the people’s emotions but those throughout the universe resonating inside them. The DES crew are stunned to see the beauty of their radiance. So now do you believe in them? Not just a single DES battleship but every one of them retreated! All hail the power of idols! Thanks to the emotions of the people who love peace and entertainment, bolstered by countless nameless emotions, the girls sang with radiance and will herald in a new era. All the Kiraras light up Akibastar like a starry filled sky and form the constellation of hope. In the aftermath, peace has returned to Akibastar and the place is rebuilt. Although the battle with DES continues, AKB0048 continues to sing with their hearts to their fans. Chieri has become the new Centre Nova while Nagisa has officially succeeded Acchan.

The Brightest Star In The Sky: Idols!
I guess this season was pretty decent although I felt the ending could have been better. Really. I thought I would see AKB0048 turn DES into an idol loving and supporting organization but I suppose it would be unrealistic to defeat an organization that big and with so many anti-entertainment people around, it is going to take a long time even if they can pull off a miracle. Let’s look at it this way. It would be cool and a happy ending for everyone in the universe if entertainment lovers and haters would end this silly war and start enjoying the shows idols put up. But without DES around, the idols wouldn’t probably have worked so hard and pushed themselves to radiate as brightly as we see them. Not to say that they will slack or laze around without DES, but there won’t be that motivation and fire to push themselves to the limits. You know, humans work best when they are pushed to a corner and during strife. It brings out the best and also the worst. That’s why it is partly thanks to them that AKB0048 exists. Thanks to them, people under such strict laws know the meaning of hope in which otherwise many would have taken granted for.

Even so, this season is still entertaining in its own right because we have the short trial of a handful of AKB0048 members, a stray visit to an ancient planet with equally strange native creatures (watching them dance along with the idols was pretty hilarious – it’s like watching your pet dog or cat getting jiggy with it, no?) and an all-out battle between AKB0048 and DES enforces on Akihabara. It was shocking for a while to see that the fans for the moment started turning their backs on AKB0048. I know they’ve been brainwashed by DES but I thought all the love that they have built up was just washed away in that instant. It is understandable they may have felt ditched and that they may have not understood the situation of why AKB0048 had to flee and look like cowards abandoning the people, but doesn’t that show how shallow their belief and faith for them? So what you’ve been a Chieri fan for ages, attending every event, getting every memorabilia on her and even gotten up close to shake her hand whenever there is such chance. Their sudden return at the wrong time when the mood is gloomy may be provocative. But can’t they tell which is better? To have the idols doing their lively performance or continuing to live with the gloom? The people of Akibastar should know better. They’ve been living on a planet that is never short of idol entertainment and to reject them means they prefer the harsh Taliban-like conditions of DES? Come on. Think, man. And entertainment believed as some sort of ritual to the Gods? Wow. I don’t think I ever saw that coming. But I can understand a little better why Shamans or native Indians do some crazy dance every time they need to communicate with the other world. I hope my stinky lame dance didn’t just summon some sort of mischievous or perverted God…

Although there is no word if there will be another season, it isn’t really the end for AKB0048 and the rest of the aspiring idols. With Chieri now as the new Centre Nova, does this mean Yuuko has relinquished hers? I suppose so because as far as I can see, there can only be one Centre Nova position at one time. Unless you’re telling me by some miracle there are two. That would defeat the purpose, right? I also guess that to end the season so as not to let Chieri hog the limelight, they gave something to Nagisa too seeing that from the start of this series, I have a feeling that it would have something to do with both of them. So whether you are a fan of Chieri or Nagisa, I guess both end up having good tidings with the former as the new Centre Nova while the latter succeeding all-time fan favourite Acchan. Even though I am satisfied with the explanation of the disappearing Centre Novae, it’s not that I fully understand. So let me get this straight. They didn’t really vanish into the other world. More like, they become one with the universe and everything and are everywhere. So even in the deepest darkest of shadows, they’ll be singing and giving hope to everyone. Just one problem. Why didn’t their voice reach DES and all those anti-entertainment people? Maybe their hate is too strong? But as shown by Chieri, it is not impossible to convert those whom they have directly come into contact. Even Nagisa’s dad is seen cheering for her at her concert in the end. So all is not lost. People do change and can change. Although some may need more convincing than others and maybe there has to be the need of contact. Seeing is believing. In that case, AKB0048 should hold more guerrilla concerts at DES headquarters. Nip the problem in the bud, I’d say.

The only thing that still bugged me was who shot Chieri’s father. Was it an act orchestrated by DES? It is confirmed that he is really dead (and not a hoax – Yasunaga was paying a tribute at his tomb in the final end credits) and though it is heart wrenching for a daughter to see her father die before her eyes, I’m glad Chieri grew stronger out of it. Whether or not Zodiac had her hand in skyrocketing her popularity, one thing is for sure. Her fans love her true blue and this is something she cannot deny. With each of the idols having their own set of fans, the love between idols and fans are reciprocal. They exist because of each other. How can you be an idol without fans? How can there be fans if there is no idol? You love me, I love you. There’s lots of love to go around so don’t be too stingy with it, eh? ;p. Besides, an idol’s job is to sing and entertain her fans and not to fight against authority. Leave it to WOTA for that part.

Animes with too many characters and shorter number of episodes would definitely have a hard time trying to flesh them all out. So for this season, I think they try to give some decent time to the rest of the Understudies. For instance they focus the spotlight on Mimori and turning her into a Successor. Last season Kanata took most of the spotlight share at the end so from what I can see here, she is just minor. Same case I feel for Suzuko, Sonata and Yuuka. It felt they were just negligible. Then they also give single episode focus on Makoto and Orine. Despite that, I still feel that it is just so that Chieri and Nagisa do not hog all the screen time. After all, the Understudies of No Name did start out as the 9 of them. I still love Makoto and forgive me if I sound like a sadist because her clumsiness and pessimism gives her character and is what makes her funny. Because she is not ‘afraid’ to show those negative traits, it gives other losers inspiration and hope. So she’s not all that useless as she think she is. So being a negative clown too has its advantages. Hey. Am I turning into a Makoto fan? Just her antics… The other amusing Understudy is Sonata because of the way she gives her weird nicknames. Put her together with Makoto and you’ve got a manzai comedy duo. If only Sonata had more impact in this season…

The other characters are also okay. Yuuko is given more prominence among the rest of the Successors since she became Centre Nova but had to shortly disappear temporarily after that. Because of that, I felt the rest of the Successors are there just to show face. Like I said, too many members, not enough time for them to show us their love ;p. Tsubasa and Ushiyama play great support to the girls but of course the idols shine because of their own efforts and determination. Casting Mikako initially as a villain, I thought it was just a slight distraction. She’s not actually a bad person, just that she is misguided and obsessed in bringing back Acchan and the rest from the other world in which they are not familiar with. Chieri’s father may also seem like a villain since he is obsessed with making his daughter shine so he could get his hands on the dualium, it is sad that we don’t get to see father and daughter reconcile or if ever deep down in his heart he sees Chieri as a daughter and not an object. As cold as he is ever, Chieri believed he once display the warmth of a father even though it was for a short while. We would like to believe it too. But seeing the way how it tragically ended, let’s just keep believing it was like that.

As we have seen, despite the strict entertainment ban in some of the planets, there are those in the top levels who flout the rules in secrecy. And they do it without shame. I guess it’s to make us feel disgust and even more hatred for these kind of low lives. Then again, you can’t stoop too low to their level and return that hatred with hatred. It might be a long shot but it is not impossible to fight hatred with love. If only these people knew the warmth and love like these idols have shown, maybe they would come to understand better. So seeing that they enjoy entertainment in secrecy, why not stop being a hypocrite and abolish the entertainment ban? I figure that if entertainment is like a rare commodity, it can only be truly ‘appreciated’ if it is enjoyed by a selected few and not by everyone of the public. Where would the ‘fun’ be if everyone enjoys the same thing? There is also this great feeling of being in power and ultimate control when you see others in misery while knowing in the comfort of your own seat you are enjoying something that others can’t. That’s why it won’t be surprising even in the real world to find leaders being caught red handed in some scandal, a total opposite of what they preach.

Although this season features much more songs from AKB48, somehow I just don’t them as appealing as they were as from the first season. Take for instance, the opening theme, Aruji Naki Sono Koe by No Name. Although sounds like their trademark typical pop, it lacks the oomph and excitement that I heard in the first season’s Kibou Ni Tsuite. I believe my taste in music is not that sophisticated either. Similarly, this season’s main ending theme, Kono Namida Wo Kimi Ni Sasagu also by No Name, despite being a slow rock, I feel it doesn’t do better than last season’s Yume Wa Nando Demo Umarekawaru. But it isn’t that bad. Just that I didn’t find it appealing enough for it to hum in my head for days or weeks (and on and off a few months down the road) as much as its predecessor themes. Although some insert songs of AKB48 like Heavy Rotation, Beginner, Aitakatta and Shoujotachi Yo that were featured in last season are also featured again here, there are more new insert songs like Blue Rose, Chance No Juban, Korogaru Ishi Ni Nare, Oogoe Diamond, Pioneer and Ue Kara Mariko. As usual, I’m not a big AKB48 fan so they sound just rather okay. Typical lively idol songs that almost sound the same. Please don’t hate me.

The ultimate lesson of this story is perhaps love conquers all. Even so, do it in moderation. Because too much love turns you into an obsessed stalker and that is just plain creepy. I would really love to see the day when we could really stop all the fighting and wars just by singing as a ‘weapon’. You move hearts and emotions with the power of words and love instead of force and bloodshed.  If you can’t change the heart, then probably you can’t change the mind either. Till then, idols for the time being are just perhaps through a cynic’s view, some money making phenomenon or fame seeking opportunist. So many idols produced today but how many can live in our hearts memorably for the rest of our lives and for many generations to come? Is this what entertainment for the future has become? By the way, the ticket for a concert still costs a bomb. You got to break your bank just to attend one of those concerts. No money = no idol love :'(. That’s just sad and tragic.

I almost forgot this series had an OVA. Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo OVA is another one of those many anime series to have their OVA released and being bundled with another volume of their light novel. Of course, don’t expect to find anything that furthers the plot and the OVA is just something extra and what this series is about. The problem children gifted with supernatural powers play Gift Game in an alternate world to obtain rewards for their community. This time, their Gift Game will take them to a potential hotspring if they win it. What is an OVA without a little fanservice, right?

An Account Of A Trip To The Hotsprings
A girl named Hifumi is being chased by a group of slave traders. Luckily for her she falls off the cliffs and into Izayoi’s arms. Hifumi realizes they know Shiroyasha and the kids realize belong to a community that Shiroyasha mentioned. Because the ruffians won’t give up the girl and laugh at them no names, Asuka summons Deen to take them out and the rest showing off their super power to put some fear into them. Now they know their place. Trudging along, Hifumi explains she is a pupil of Sukuna Biko Na, a mischievous deity who is responsible for protecting sake brewers and travellers. As part of the household, they are in charge of developing water sources. The kids were called in to participate and liven up this Dedication Festival. The slave traders were after her because they want her Gift of locating water sources as water is a very precious commodity in Little Garden. Hifumi and the kids meet up with Black Bunny, Leticia and Lili waiting at the town. Lili and Hifumi know each other since her mother is a Shinto theologian and relied on them for water in some of their offerings. The girls are motivated to participate in the game since not only they get to soak in the hotspring if they clear this game, they get a lavish banquet served as well. Gathering at the square, it seems there are lots of communities participating as well, including Ayesha and her Jack-O-Lantern.

Shiroyasha official starts the 2,234,464th Gift Game, Sukuna Biko Na Ferry. The conditions of the victory include pulling out unsealed stakes and knock them into the centre of Sukuna Biko Na shining waterway. But before they can get the right to pull out the stakes, they must clear mini games around the town. One win equals to one right of pulling out one of the many stakes in this giant crater. The gang split into teams so they can clear mini games faster. Izayoi-Black Bunny enter a room with possessed women in loincloths. Izayoi lets Black Bunny take the fall (they want to change her into loincloths) so he could meet the boss of this place (some moth) and easily defeat him. So easy? Black Bunny picks a stake and pulls it out. However it is the wrong one and milk starts gushing out over her. What does this scene look like? Did I mention pulling out the wrong stake would activate some sort of penalty? It’s going to be a long game… You-Leticia clear their eating game but also pull out the wrong stake to get an explosion of natural gas in their face. Asuka-Lili also clear theirs and also pull the wrong one. They got tentacle raped… And so our gang continue to win mini games but I can see this sort of pattern forming. Black Bunny always gets some sort of liquid spilled over her (Izayoi is smart to be left out), You-Leticia always get the explosion (they’re going to get a natural afro at this rate) while it’s tentacle rape for Asuka-Lili (I wonder if they can get married after getting violated for so many times).

It is already night fall and the problem kids are the only ones left in the game because the other gave up halfway and left. Who could blame them? Every stake they pulled are misses. Now they are at the last one. What are the chances? This should be it, right? When they pull it out, they thought they hit it but the water dissolves their clothes! I guess another miss. So as the gang take a break, they discuss what went wrong. Trying to reread the rules again, they find a line oddly written. Sukuna Biko Na is a deity from across the sea so the tile of Ferry should refer to the other end of the sea. However ‘waterway’ was written instead of ‘ferry’. They realize it shouldn’t be pulling out unsealed stakes but rather sealed stakes. Although there was no need to pull out all of them, they need to knock it in as stated. Izayoi has deciphered the rest of riddle. These stakes are supposed to be pulled out and then knocked in. But where? Because Sukuna Biko Na isn’t just a Shinto deity but also refers to a minor planet in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This is where the waterway refers to. But they don’t have to knock it in that far. Because the actual location is in the middle of the reservoir. (The kanji word Mars and Jupiter is fire and wood respectively and those poles are located at the opposing ends of town. Drawing a straight line between them has it meet in the centre). Izayoi knocks a stake in and the hotspring water starts gushing out. Izayoi gets the best spoil because he gets lolis Leticia and Lili to scrub his back while admiring the moon in the open bath. Because controlling the waterway means controlling a greater area, he starts formulating a plan. Black Bunny is wary if he is going to come up with some prank. But the rest think if it is interesting, they want to participate too because they want to have a hand in teasing Black Bunny. She better watch out for herself… And poor Jin is waiting alone back home wondering when the rest will come home. Shouldn’t he have tagged along too?

The Games People Play…
Pretty much expected. Nothing much happens. Nothing serious. Nothing dramatic. No bad guys to fight. No storyline development. Just plain fun and games for our problem kids. There is nothing lost if you don’t watch the TV series but jump straight in to watch this OVA since it is like a filler and a standalone episode. Of course it is better you watch the TV series too. Nevertheless, this OVA is enjoyable by itself for those who love to see the problem kids flaunting their super powers in a badass way (which is of course legal in this world) and winning the Gift Games that they play. Black Bunny is still perhaps the ‘best’ character to tease and toy around with especially Izayoi. Who wouldn’t like to see rabbit girl’s reaction when being teased? Just like in the TV series, the explanations to the puzzle are based on some legend or fairytale. Since I am not well read, it takes a little enjoyment out of watching this OVA as I couldn’t really understand or connect the explanation at the end. It should have made me do at least a little research on it but in the end I got so lazy and didn’t even bother to even Google it. That’s why in the event if I ever participated in such games, I might just lose interest and opt out halfway or even before the start. And games that require some knowledge and thinking… Mmm… Not really my cup of tea. Not really qualified. I think I’ll pass even if the grand ultimate prize is a harem of beautiful 2D girls.

Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge

November 10, 2013

Have you ever wondered if criminals were born or made? More importantly, what about the murder tools they used? If you have ancestors who commit brutal crimes against humanity and inherited such murder devices, what would you do? Theoretically if your ancestor is a murderer who kills others with knives, if you become a killer, would you be using that knife passed down too? Too bad I had no time to wonder all that even though watching Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge was the reason why I came up with such thought. Our protagonist kid has some sort of weird fetish. He likes to cut hair. Yeah. How many people in the world have that kind of freaky hobby? I bet he would want to grow up to be a barber and his favourite customers would be Rapunzel and werewolves because they are hairy all over. Haha! Jokes aside, this kid owns a pair of scissors that is not a mere ordinary one. There is a dark history behind it. Some sort of a cursed tool if you want to put it. After meeting a girl whose hair his scissors can only cut, he unwittingly enters a life and death game whereby other people with similar cursed tools want to rid of this girl and he is her only protection. Armed with the scissors of course.

Episode 1
Kiri Haimura got off the wrong stop and stumbles upon a girl with a very long hair in a greenhouse. Because of his love of cutting hair, he gets this urge of wanting to cut it. Feels like a serial killer taking out his scissors, eh? Their eyes meet and he fumbles, banging his head into the glass door. Iwai Mushanokouji notices the scissors in his hands so he explains his hair cutting fetish. He used to cut his family’s hair till they stopped and patron the salon instead. His fetish didn’t die out, though. He gets excited when she allows him to cut her hair. If he can but she doubts it because her hair is cursed and no scissors can cut it. Opening the drawer filled with scissors, she lets Kiri cut her hair but it couldn’t. He tried all the scissors but not a strand was cut. I guess he settles for caressing her hair then. He loves it. Just then twin sisters, Houko and Yamane Byouinzaka barge in and are surprised to see her with a stranger. After explaining, they tell him to leave right now. As he picks up his jacket, Iwai tells him the sisters are descendents of murderers and are watching over her via some scary organization. In the bus, the sisters laugh off Kiri’s question about them being killers. They add she has no family, her father died and the organization is taking care of her. Kiri is warned to stay away or he will die. On another day, Kiri visits Iwai again. He learns she has never cut her hair since birth and only went to elementary school because all the kids keep taunting about her hair. Feeling isolated, sometimes she feels she wants to die. When the sisters visit again, they continue to mock Iwai. Kiri won’t take more of this and slaps her hand off Iwai’s hair. When they say that her father is dead, Iwai mentions that he was killed by them and their inherited Killing Goods. They think she is taking her father’s place and acting tough so they beat her up and tell this Hair Queen not to impose the burden on others. Kiri is advised not to intervene or else it is a sign that he is going against them. Kiri goes home, upset he couldn’t do anything. Grandpa notices this and asks if it’s about his name he is upset about. He reveals their ancestors own a killing tool that has killed people. Grandpa also tells him that his name was named after a serial killer who likes to chop his victims up into parts with a scissors. Kiri realizes his scissors may be a Killing Goods. That night, Kiri heads to Iwai’s place ready to ‘kill’ her. Of course that meant cutting her hair. He takes out his scissors and snips a part away. It worked! Iwai is so happy that he is the first person to ‘kill’ her, she decides to call his scissors Crime Edge because it did a ‘crime’ of ‘killing’ her. Remembering the serial killers traits of chopping victims up to pieces, Kiri adds to its name: Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge (The Severing Crime Edge). Iwai requests Kiri to cut the rest of her hair and he gladly obliges. How does it feel to take all that weight off your head? Okay, he didn’t cut her bald. At least above her shoulders.

Episode 2
Yamane is shocked to see Iwai’s short hair. She calls Houko for help on what to do next! But she tells her off to decide herself since she is the Injection of Coma Death. Now with her hair cut, Iwai is able to go to school and with the paperwork done, she is in the same class with Kiri. Well, she looks like a kindergarten kid. But all the girls love her small size especially her hair and start rubbing it. Except for Kashiko Misumi. She’s probably jealous that she has such a beautiful hair. Why not? Her family runs a hair salon and she’s a model so it’s no surprise when there’s somebody else who has better hair than her. Kiri tells Kashiko not to lay a finger on her and this has the class misinterpret the kind of relationship they are in. Later Iwai talks to Kiri about the Killing Goods. As it is strengthened by its past, Killing Goods choose its masters termed as Authors. It will slowly taint the Author’s mind by recalling past killing sensations and turn the Author crazy. Also, Killing Goods cannot rot, break or be destroyed once it has chosen its Author. However she doesn’t feel that in Crime Edge. When they bump into Yamane, she seems edgy. She starts talking about her ancestors working as medics in the army. They administered drugs that weaken. However only a couple died and the curse remained. Yamane is about to inject her syringe into Iwai’s neck but Kiri stops it with his scissors. Yamane starts hearing voices urging her to kill. She can’t stand it. She wants to kill. Kiri is worried if he will be absorbed into such madness. As he fends off her syringe attack, he hears her saying that the owner of the Killing Goods that kill Iwai will have any wish granted. She adds her abilities include ensuring the effectiveness and increasing the potencies of drugs. Yamane stabs the syringe into his neck. She remembers how she killed her parents in the same manner. She was so distraught so Houko (after strangling her parents to finish the job), tells Yamane to stop listening to the voice and just believe in what she says. She vowed to lift her curse by killing the Queen. If it comes down to it, she’ll take her hand and do it for her.

Kiri wakes up and is surprised to find himself alive. He sees Yamane inserting her syringe into Houko’ arm (there are lots of needle points too) and licking it like a psycho while Houko grimaces and endures the pain. Professor Kanae Sumeragi comes in to explain Houko is Yamane’s Instead. Because Authors calm down by imitating murder on a regular basis, Instead acts as the ‘victim’. Otherwise, Authors will be ruined by the impulses of their Killing Goods and go on a killing spree. What was in Yamane’s syringe was just saline solution. Professor claims he is Iwai’s guardian and when he heard about Iwai’s condition, he came rushing to save her. But from what Houko puts it, he is just a lolicon. Iwai walks in and it seems her hair has grown back. It always does every night that’s why Kiri always comes to her home every morning to cut them. Professor takes them all to the library to show them a book that contains an ancestor of Iwai, Zewulfa the first Queen. She had 2 abilities. One, giving special abilities and curses to those possessions we now know as Killing Goods. Two, uncuttable hair passed down to her descendents. Thus the beginning of an endless killing game. Thus the only way to lift the curse if the Queen dies. But Professor quips it is no fun since Iwai can’t protect herself. He has been waiting for someone whom she can trust, take her out of the house, protect her with a weapon. Guess Kiri is that lucky guy, huh? Claiming to be from an ideological organization called Gossip, they get a kick seeing murder cases. And so the game begins. Kiri’s mission is to protect the Queen from those who seek salvation. Authors will come after her with their Killing Goods. Back home, Iwai wonders if her death can at least save someone so Kiri rubbishes her thoughts. Whose hair can he cut if she’s not around? For that selfish reason, he wants her to be around. She is happy that she has a reason to live and to be needed. Later on the news, a mysterious big hole has popped up on a thick concrete wall. Professor calls Kiri that a convict has escaped. He is an Author with a hammer as his Killing Goods. You can guess what this is all about. Although the convict doesn’t know where Iwai is, Professor hints wouldn’t it be great if he came here? I know Kiri won’t.

Episode 3
Kiri and Iwai visit Kashiko’s family beauty salon. Seems her mom has requested them to test out to be the salon’s test models but Kashiko asserts she doesn’t want to carry on the family business and wants to live a more colourful life. At first Kashiko seems to have low morale about her own beauty but when she hears her friends complimenting how beautiful she is (especially Kiri), she is encouraged although she still doesn’t want to inherit the business. When they leave, Kashiko asks Kiri if there is something wrong with Iwai’s hair. Because no matter how much care you put into it, the hair will still age. In Iwai’s case it is like as though she still shines like a baby’s hair. She finds it odd even if she has beautiful hair, she still admires hers. On their way home, the duo see a crowd gathering at a crime scene. Blood everywhere. Big hole in the wall. Oh no. Yamane is here (because Houko tells her to) and explains the Author of the Sledgehammer of Crushing Disintegration doesn’t know about the Queen and won’t come. Because he lacks an Instead, he is forced to randomly kill people to relieve himself and the impulse of his Killing Goods. However she cautions he should be with Iwai just in case. So he stays over at Iwai’s place for the night. What do boys and girls their age do over the night? We are tempted to think of something ‘wild’ but they just played Uno under a very tense atmosphere. When Iwai takes a bath, Kiri (they didn’t go in together, mind you) explains his ancestor is a serial killer named Norma Grayland, the original owner of Crime Edge. His great-great-grandfather was a foreigner and was forced to flee the country after being branded as a criminal. Why not? He has established himself as the greatest killer in history.

Then the place blacks out. What a convenience. Sledgehammer guy is outside too. Iwai is afraid of the dark and rushes to seek solace in Kiri’s arms. Naked. When the clock strikes midnight, her hair instantly grows long. I guess it’s like sex for Kiri as he caresses her hair and wants to cut it. But can he do so after she puts on some clothes. Then Kiri sees a big hole in the wall. What the? How can he not hear the crashing sound?! I know there was lightning but due to the vicinity, they could at least hear something as loud as the thunder. And there the big guy is, standing right behind Iwai. Kiri takes her and run. I thought I find it redundant that Kiri keeps locking all the room doors they hide into. Because that guy can just smash anything. Kiri strengthens his heart and resolves to protect Iwai. He would become a murderer to protect her. He charges but doesn’t know how he dodges the sledgehammer swings. Did he power up somehow? Seeing the convict isn’t listening to his warning, Kiri easily cuts him up like cutting hair. This is the power and true nature of Crime Edge. Though, Kiri lets him live. Next morning, Professor pays a visit and is glad that everything is alright. I think he got his kicks. However he notes the convict escaped without his sledgehammer and thinks the influence of the Killing Goods on him was weakened. Kiri admits he felt the evil in the cursed tool. Even so, he will continue to protect Iwai. He’s got bigger problems in school because everybody thinks his relationship with Iwai has progressed to a ‘dangerous’ level and bug him for details. What to do? Run! Lastly, the Byouinzaka sisters get word from Gossip that the convict is dead. Not because of blood loss but via suicide.

Episode 4
A month later, Kiri and co become third years. Everyone except Kashiko ends up in the same class. Tough luck. But Yamane is in the same class although she assures Kiri she won’t do anything dangerous. She won’t mix around either as she considers herself abnormal and shunned. Yamane and Iwai take the first step to become friends as Yamane tells her it wasn’t them who killed their father but another Author. Iwai invites Kiri to accompany her to a bar her late father used to frequent. Kiri didn’t expect Kashiko, Nigi Ubusato and Kotarou Naruto to come along. What was he expecting? Quality time alone with Iwai? I know her hair ‘belongs’ to him but not all of Iwai, right? ;P. The gang are greeted by Hitomi Karuko who is blind. Kiri notices a white piano in the corner so Hitomi offers to play for them after her colleague-cum-piano-tuner Houichi Koizumi finishes tuning it. Though everyone is enthralled, the beautiful piece ends halfway. Kiri notices a guy, Seigi Nakajima sitting as a customer at the next table leaving. He has an uneasy feeling with this guy and follows him out. It is then Seigi explains about a judge named Garibaldi. He was hanged for killing 20 people. Seigi laments every era is littered with souls pitying criminals and thus why filth of society can never be wiped out. He adds the beauty of the Hair Queen somehow attracts Authors to her. Kiri takes out Crime Edge just in case but Seigi mentions he is not after the Queen. He has no interest in any sort of wish and assures he just wants to convict brutal criminals who come after her.

A policewoman comes crashing into the scene (sorry about the bike she trashed). Kozakura Zenigata is here to arrest him because Seigi kills criminals before they can be brought to court. Though he claims he is the police’s ally, she views him nothing but a hitman. But why is she shivering while trying to arrest him? Seigi reads out his Killing Goods, Rulebook of Sentencing and Execution to her for abusing authority and disregarding traffic safety. A noose is formed around her neck as she struggles. However it breaks. Seigi explains Rulebook only judges those who commit crimes enough for capital punishment. Otherwise the rope will break. Kiri returns to the rest as Hitomi explains she never finishes her songs because it makes customers want more and thus will have to come back. Though Iwai prefers the song to be finished, Hitomi has already decided she wants them back and can’t finish the song.

Kiri sends Kozakura to the hospital and partly thanks to the help he got from the Byouinzaka sisters. I guess he doesn’t know who to call regarding those about Killing Goods. Houko thinks Kozakura is Seigi’s Instead. Kozakura explains what she knows on Gossip. They are higher ups the police department has connection with and consist of influential world leaders. Houko adds that they are just an observation group and although they don’t directly do anything to Authors, they control the flow of information and love encouraging Authors to kill the Queen. Kozakura thinks Seigi’s act of killing criminals is just a facade. In order to use his Killing Goods, he is trying to make Authors commit crime in front of him so he can catch them in the act and sentence them. She vows to stop him no matter what. Hitomi talks to Houichi about Iwai. She can tell from the touch of her hair she is the Queen. But Houichi cautions her that they don’t want to kill her to fulfil their wish. They know many parties are trying to get them involved in the game. Just like this corpse Houichi is getting rid now for snooping around. Ironically, Houichi mentions he is deaf. I know he can read lips but the way he interacts like as though he can hear. Get what I’m saying? Houichi allows Hitomi to play her Pianissimo of Ecstatic Symphony because he is her Instead. Later Iwai visits Hitomi and talk about stargazing. Although Iwai doesn’t like it, ironically Hitomi enjoys it despite being blind. She enjoys it even more if she gets to do it with her friends. She advises Iwai she should invite someone she wants by her side and it might just blow away those gloomy feelings.

Episode 5
Kiri’s school is taking an orienteering trip. They have to walk while the graduating seniors get the comfortable bus ride. I wonder how far the picturesque place will be. When student council president Romio Zaiga mentions about tomorrow’s event, his vice president, Ruka Shihoudou wonders if he is referring to the stargazing or killing the Queen. Romio takes out his Killing Goods, an S&M whip as he explains about a brutal murderer during the feudal era known as Lord of Pigs. The feudal lord will keep his victims in a dungeon under his room and they die a twisted death of love by making them subservient like pigs. The duo proceed to play their kinky S&M game with each other. Kiri meets Iwai in the woods after midnight so he could cut her hair. She talks about how she was always stargazing alone till Kiri came along. Kiri’s hope inflates when she mentions about stargazing with the person she loves. Could it be him? To his disappointment, that was a general statement and she hasn’t had time to think about love and such. It would be odd if somebody comes to ask her to be by her side. I think this just ruins it for Kiri. Was he trying to confess? Now he is all heartbroken and ends up sulking in his bed for the rest of the night. Or morning. I hope he doesn’t turn into a gay since he mentions all girls should drop dead! Meanwhile Nigi is scaring the girls with her story but Yamane can easily sleep through it. Seems Nigi is an occult and horror fan. Her favourite personalities include Hannibal Lector, Tobin Bell and Norma Grayland… Oh… She also mentions Kotarou not only her neighbour but her childhood friend.

Next day, Kashiko tries to ask Kotarou if Kiri had any plans tonight (hint, hint) but all that guy knows is he is sulking since last night. Iwai sees Ruka being asked out by other guys. Clearly she doesn’t want to entertain them so Iwai goes to tell them off to stop it. Ruka then takes Iwai out on a boating ‘date’. Meanwhile Romio visits Kiri because he heard he isn’t feeling well and wants him to come to the seniors’ cottage later. Ruka complains to Iwai about how boys always flock around her. She is sick and tired of it all. They don’t really love her and just want to flirt. All boys can drop dead! Then she pushes Iwai into the lake! Next thing Iwai knows, she wakes up back in her bed in the cottage. She knows the drowning did occur. Then she sees a message by the door from Romio, claiming it is her destiny to be alone and nobody will save her no matter how much she struggles. She goes to look for Kiri but finds the place devoid of people. She sees Crime Edge lying on the floor and picks it up. Then Kiri walks in. She realizes this is not the Kiri she knows because the way he touches her hair is different (also his cheeks are swollen red like as though he got slapped around in a comic manner). She runs away from him but is cornered by other seniors who are acting like zombies trying to rape her. When Crime Edge cuts one of them, she gets the resolve to fight back and escape. She believes Kiri is being unconsciously controlled like the rest but his soul is inside Crime Edge. He is still right here with here. Knowing Romio and Ruka are Authors, she needs to find Kiri, bring him back to his senses and escape this place. She kisses Crime Edge and makes her way forward. Meanwhile Seigi has just arrived on scene and can’t wait to judge the criminal.

Episode 6
Kiri can’t remember what happened to himself. He can’t control his own actions and can’t help listen to a voice which tells him to assault a girl. And right now he is about to strangle Iwai. If this guy doesn’t come to his senses even after hearing the loli pleas and loli tears, he’s one useless bastard. Well, he won’t have that chance of fighting back since Ruka whips him smash through the window. It is revealed Ruka is the Author if Pet Whip of Submissive Butchery while Romio is her Instead. A few hits from Pet Whip allow her to control minds and her wish is to dominate others. That’s why she is going to kill her because Iwai’s existence attracts attention away from her. Iwai knows they are trying to break her spirit so she stays strong. But when Ruka orders Kiri to cut her hair, Iwai can’t take it anymore and starts calling him names. That’s when Kiri snaps out of his mind control and pulls out Ruka’s loose ends. Ouch. First thing when Kiri and Iwai reunite is to start arguing about the name calling. Iwai makes it clear she wants him to save her so he goes into action but gets pinned down by Romio’s immense strength. He feels his head on the verge of being crushed. In order to get out of this, Kiri turns into a bloodthirsty killer to cut Romio all over till he is incapacitated. Ruka stops her attacks and head to his side. Suddenly a noose is formed around Kiri’s neck. Seigi wanted to judge Ruka but it seems Kiri showed his murderous intent (although it’s to save the Queen) and thus in agreement with Rulebook, they agree he is to die. Suddenly Kozakura through Houko’ handphone through a megaphone through Yamane disrupts his concentration, screaming he should resort being a vigilante and to give himself up. Kiri is broken free so Seigi has lost interest and leaves. Ruka confirms he is the one who sent them the message. Adding salt to her wounds, Seigi slaps her and calls her a loser.

She sits there dejected and it is odd the Queen goes to console her. At least that’s what she thinks. The Queen pitying her. Flashback reveals she couldn’t get the role of the princess in a school play. Romio her childhood friend was popular among the other girls. The class leader wasn’t happy about it and made all the boys vote for her to be the princess role. Ruka fell into despair and that’s when she first came into contact with a Killing Goods. Weak and miserable, she thought by becoming strong and dominant, she would get everything she wanted. She realizes Pet Whip only gives her the illusion of dominance. What she really wanted was someone who truly loved her. Romio says he always have and declares this victory to Kiri. Kiri notes how everyone under the spell of Pet Whip was never chained down although they never escape. The only one chained down was the Author. Iwai and Kiri are devastated that the stargazing event is long over. It’s cloudy too. That didn’t stop them to go watch the sky. At the same time, they apologize to each other for saying things they don’t mean. When they reconcile, the clouds clear up and they dance underneath the starry sky.

Episode 7
Romio and Ruka assure they won’t attack Kiri and Iwai anymore. Ruka only wants to ‘hurt’ Romio and that she has felt the corruption of the Killing Goods ceased. They have stated to pull out of this game to Gossip and return they were given a letter for Kiri. Inside is a pair of coins belonging to Gossip and the letter states of a party they are throwing to welcome them. The Byouinzaka sisters also receive the same. Kiri notices Houko in a bad mood and she tells him he can always keep his personality the same around Iwai. It’s like they’re carefree and have time to flirt with each other. Unlike herself who is an Instead, she tries to forget the everyday misery of being Yamane’s ‘victim’. Back home, Houko gets upset when Iwai calls her on what to dress for the party. Houko feels she doesn’t qualify to be her friend after all the horrible deeds she has done. But even before there was Kiri, Iwai was happy to see her. Houko breaks down. Despite saying she was just doing what the Professor told her, in a way she can’t stop caring for her. Houko lets Yamane’s usual killer instincts take over as she starts injecting into her arm. Yamane remembers how Houko always calmed her down when she starts hearing voices in her head to kill. Tonight, she looks much gentler than before. Meanwhile Kashiko is cutting Kiri’s hair. She doesn’t know he is going to a party and speculates it’s a date. Flashback reveals the first time Kashiko met Kiri in her family’s salon. I don’t know how he fell asleep and her mom got the guts to go out shopping and leave her customer snoozing on the chair. So when Kashiko returned and tried to finish the job, Kiri awakened and got fascinated by her hair and starts caressing it, pushing her against the wall. He wanted to cut it. Yeah. He sounded like a perverted stalker. Enough to think it is going to be a rape scene next. Kashiko thought he was a scary person at that time but as she got to know him, he’s just some ordinary and unreliable guy. She hints that sometimes they’re growing apart. Big hint… Professor drives Kiri and Iwai to the party at the posh hotel. The Byouinzaka sisters are beautifully dressed. Eye opener for Kiri. Jealous eye for Iwai. They show the coins as invitation proof and wonder how the people of Gossip will look upon them. They’re in this together and they’re going to find out the true meaning of what they possess and who their opponents are.

Episode 8
Almost everyone knows who they are. Who else has the longest and most beautiful hair? There is a play on stage depicting a queen jealous of a witch’s long beautiful hair and had her executed. Iwai knows this is a play of her story. The duo are led to the backstage by a hotel staff and put on some outfit. A wolf’s fur for Kiri and a pair of lamb horns for Iwai. They realize they might have to go out on stage an act! But Kiri recognizes a familiar voice in the corner. It is Seigi and he is the one who called them here. He wants to continue their judgment on that night. I wonder if this is just an act. Seigi drops a cage to trap Iwai. Then he reads out Kiri’s crimes of wanting to flaunt his scissors power and satisfy his lust for blood. A noose forms around Kiri’s neck as the curtain rises. The crowd thinks this is all part of the play. Kiri plays dead to fool Seigi so he can charge up to him. However the noose is restricting his movements and as long he is suspended from the rope, Seigi can’t kill him. Even so, the lack of air will kill him if he doesn’t end this quickly. Kiri’s blind swinging of his scissors didn’t do him any good since Seigi still has the upper hand. He continues to read out his crimes via scissors and thus killing him will only allow him to bask in magnificent glory. But Kiri won’t give up yet. Thinking back at all the times he has spent with Iwai, there is no way this is as far as he goes. He riles Seigi up by calling him a coward. Because if he wants to kill him so badly, do it with your own hands. Seigi charges towards him and Kiri cuts his side. Although this apparently isn’t enough because after all that struggling, Kiri drops his scissors and stops struggling. Seigi thought it was his victory when he suddenly felt a painful cut on his thigh.

Episode 9
Seigi tries to use his Rulebook on the person who tried to murder him but the curtain suddenly comes down leaving the crowd puzzled. In the dark, Iwai feels Kiri’s body before her but thank goodness he is still alive. Barely. Seigi drags himself away in the dark when he is confronted by Lady Violet Witchy, the leader of Gossip. She reminds him he was to just introduce the Queen to the Gossip members and to restrain himself. She also heard he has been less cooperative with the police lately and his actions have gone overboard. Because Seigi refuses to listen and cooperate, Witchy has her ‘hands’ pour some liquid into his mouth, causing him to bleed all over. Then she rains knives into his body. Kiri is appalled to see Seigi in this state. Seigi tells him to remember Witchy’s name and that he has been taken down by Authors under her command. He doesn’t want Kiri to take pity on him. He doesn’t want to die in misery and will hold his head high till his last breath. After he’s gone, Witchy appears before Kiri to tell him the play isn’t over. Zewulfa lost her sanity after that incident and went on to torture women with beautiful hair. Dissatisfied with just killing them, she started wishing she could continue doing it forever. When she turned into a brutal murderer, the curse came into existence. Gossip was put in charge of overseeing the Authors, their Killing Goods and the Queen every time she was reborn. She regrets having to kill him and sympathize with Authors and the Hair Queen as they are victims of circumstances. Her ancestors has been doing this since they’re part of the Witchy family line. Kiri understands she is trying to say the Queen is at fault. From what he sees, shouldn’t it be the witch the true culprit behind the curse? Iwai comes in between and hopes she doesn’t take the person she holds dear away from her. Witchy leaves and hopes they will enjoy the rest of the night uninterrupted.

Police arrive to investigate the crime scene of Seigi’s murder. Kozakura takes statement from Kiri and Iwai. Kiri thinks it must be hard on her the most thinking she likes him. But she laughs it off. She just thought of him as a little troublesome brother and feared he would get himself into trouble one day. Because he was really killing people, he didn’t need an Instead as there was no need to use surrogate actions to contain his urge to kill. But something was strange. Though he managed to keep himself under control, he didn’t kill many people. Kozakura thought she was his Instead. She always went after him and while she got lynched, he ran away with that sourpuss look on his face. Despite this short comical relationship, she enjoyed it. In short, she likes him, huh? And now it’s over. After she leaves, Kiri and Iwai talk about the lousy feeling of seeing somebody dead before them. Kiri hates to admit that he is like Seigi. When he first met Iwai, he was happy to have somebody to use his scissors on. He got upset when Seigi said the truth but also thought he was feeling high due to his Killing Goods, the reason why he pounced on him so eagerly. He fears if he continues to use Crime Edge, he might die and not cut her hair anymore. She also feels scared and hopes he could stay by her side. She collapses into his arms and that’s when he realized he only touched her hair but never her body. He was afraid he would end up doing something he shouldn’t. But now he doesn’t seem so scared, eh? Because he’s starting to lick her hair! His perverted switch must have turned on because he can’t hold himself back and stars licking her skin and biting her ear! Somebody arrest this guy! It’s a crime to sexually harass a loli! And after all that daring move, he can’t plant the ultimate kiss on her lips?! Just her forehead? What a letdown. Iwai embarrassingly mentions that her lips will be waiting for him so make sure he won’t die. Yeah. Sure. Who is going to cut her hair then? They make a promise as Kiri understands what it means to protect her.

Episode 10
Iwai wakes up a happy girl but realizes something amiss. Her hair is only waist length long! Shouldn’t it have grown till the floor? Because of that, she had to text Kiri that she had something to do so he can’t come over. What a sad morning for that lover boy. Elsewhere, another loli, Emily Redhand is cleaning her knives. She is going to get her revenge. Because Iwai starts being clumsy, she decides to go out herself to take a breather. She sees Emily sitting at a corner of a shopping mall and thinks she is lost. She got very happy when Emily calls her onee-chan and decides to take her around to look for her father but it seems Iwai is the one having fun while Emily is putting up that annoying face (something what Ixion Saga’s Ecarlate always have on her face). At the same time Kiri is also there and he thought he has having some sort of Iwai symptoms, thinking he is starting to see visions of her. In the toilet, when Emily tells her to stop treating her like a plaything just to distract her feelings, Iwai mentions about the shocking thing this morning. Emily replies the Zewulfa inside her is frightened. Iwai realizes she is another Author. Emily admits she is a professional killer and her target today is her. She inherited the Killing Goods knives from Papa and although she took great care of it, he ended up sleeping with the stars. Kiri has some sort of in-built Iwai-in-danger sense so he rushes over to the toilet (I guess he heard Iwai’s scream and realizes he wasn’t hallucinating) to stop Emily from slicing Iwai. Like an agile monkey, Emily flips out and escapes through the window. Kiri is glad to see Iwai alright but is shocked to see her hair. He understands why she wants to hide it because he too would have done the same thing if he couldn’t use Crime Edge. He tells her to stay put while he tracks Emily up to the rooftop amusement park which is closed.

Kiri confronts Emily and learns she doesn’t need an Instead. She claims she is different and can live without one as this is how her Killing Goods work. Introducing herself as Crimson Red Gloves, she puts on her, well, crimson red gloves and introduces her Killing Goods, Opener of Bloody Dissection. Unlike other Killing Goods, hers is specifically crafted and made-to-order. That’s why she is a specialist when it comes to killing people. Kiri is hesitant to fight or even kill her seeing she is such a young child. But if Emily is serious in killing Iwai, he won’t hold back. Emily will show her strength. She hides around the place as Kiri chases her and wonders if she is just imagining herself as an Author since the Killing Goods’ influence isn’t having any affect on her. The real fight begins to see if knives or scissors hurt more. Emily is a swift little kung fu kid that could be on par with Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee. She is well skilled in handling multiple knives as Kiri is pushed to a corner and had he not been quick on his feet, he could’ve died many times. When he loses Crime Edge, he starts feeling scared. Then he picks it up and runs away! Uncool. Iwai brings the police and they see his arms badly sliced. Behind the door, Emily tells Iwai that Papa loves Emily. Whenever he talks about onee-chan, he always looked sad. Oh. What does this tells us? Kiri thought his injuries were just small cuts. Really? I think the wound is opening again. Emily notes how weak Crime Edge is and returns to the hotel where Witchy is. She notes she was to threaten Iwai only and feels she should kill her on Papa’s death anniversary. Emily is happy to be greeted by her pet dogs. She considers them her very important family. She is angry at Iwai because she looks so happy like as though she has forgotten about Papa and all she thinks is Kiri. She won’t forgive that and will kill her.

Episode 11
Witchy wonders why she is attached to Papa since she is made-to-order Author and doesn’t need an Instead to suppress her urges. Simple. Papa was always kind to her. Flashback time. Similarly, Iwai enters her father’s study to read his diary. Emily was born in the slums. So poor that she resorts to stealing and crime for survival. One day, a man whom she now calls Papa took her in and gave her everything. Something he believed she met the requirements of becoming the Author of some magical artefact. That artefact was given to her in hopes she will be able to cut his daughter, Iwai’s hair. Emily was happy whenever Papa who was also a businessman stopped by each time he was around the area. But one day all means of communication broke off. He must have died and maybe because of the Hair Queen. That’s when she started taking up the art of killing. Her wish is to resurrect Papa if she kills the Hair Queen. Witchy wonders if she can defeat Crime Edge for good but Emily is confident that he is incompetent and hopeless after their bout. She has used Opener on him and although he won’t die, he won’t be able to fight properly. Kiri has a lot on his mind. Then he realizes his bathtub has been soaked in his blood. It is Opener and the reason why Emily inflicted so many cuts on him. Because his wounds cannot heal, he will die a slow death of blood loss. Next day in school, he is accompanied by Yamane to the infirmary. She finds his wounds strange so he tells her what happened. Yamane wonders if he can stay strong before her next match with Emily. Who knows when that is. More importantly, can she beat her? Because Kiri and Yamane share the same blood type, Yamane uses her syringe to inject some of her blood into him. I guess it’s like killing 2 birds with a stone. Prevents him from getting more blood loss and she gets to satiate her fix.

Yamane couldn’t understand his feeling of wanting to protect Iwai because her own emotional growth is stunted. Like other Authors, they would dream of the original Author. They would approach you slowly and start whispering words to kill. Before you know it, they find it hard to maintain consciousness and succumb to their words. Although each effect is different for each Author, she can’t understand why Kiri seems fine. Yamane starts feeling dizzy because she too has lost some blood! As she sleeps, Kiri ponders if not having to dream of Grayland means he is and incomplete Author. If he starts dreaming of him, would it mean he would be stronger? Who is the best person (no Wikipedia) to ask about this Grayland guy? Nigi! She is glad to spill all the grotesque details and would happily rant about it because Kiri asked. She knows this guy so well like as though he is her grandpa! After school, Kiri goes to Iwai’s place. She sees her sleeping after a long tiring day of research. He reads the marked pages and the picture becomes clearer. He asks Professor the location of Iwai’s father’s grave. Regarding made-to-order, he doesn’t know much except it was some secret plan by some Gossip people with unusual tastes. He also heard incomplete ones were disposed. There are 3 of such Authors and their Killing Goods are knife, gun and poison. No prize to guess which one Kiri encountered. Kiri wonders if Professor is one of those people who want to kill Iwai. He isn’t. Why? Let me rephrase his answer: Because he is a lolicon! Speaking of which, he heard Emily is a loli too and wants a pic-… Kiri isn’t interested in that. As Kiri makes his way to the grave, he is surprised to see Emily preparing a tea party at the tombstone while she happily dances in the soft breeze. Like Alice In Wonderland, eh?

Episode 12
Nigi remembers she forgot to tell Kiri an info about Grayland. Because stories of him vary, he might not even exist and is fictional although all historians claim he does exist. I can’t believe Kiri actually snaps a picture of Emily dancing just for that lolicon. Kiri thinks Emily is like Yamane who has her emotional growth stunted. She probably can’t understand what death is. He will try to at least make himself look like a threat in hopes her desire to kill would waver. He starts playing the villain by trampling on the flowers. At least she can be mad. Now it’s time for their Killing Goods to do the talking. Kiri thought that hiding in the trees would at least give him an advantage. How wrong he was. No matter where he is, Emily will always find him. It’s one of her abilities. She reveals she is the one who killed Seigi and gives Kiri the choice of a slow or fast death. Anyway Kiri gets a taste of all her knives raining on him. Emily states her reasons of being strong as a made-to-order Author, blah, blah, blah. Kiri says he has the legacy of Grayland as the most brutal murder. However Emily rubbishes his claims that Grayland ever existed. Crime Edge is just an ordinary Killing Goods. Even if Grayland does exist, killing 200 people is definitely exaggerated. The scissors’ steel would have been dulled after cutting so much human flesh, fats and blood (I thought a Killing Goods do not get destroyed?). Therefore she thinks his title as the most brutal murderer is gravely exaggerated. Kiri loses his confidence and ultimately Crime Edge again from his hands. He feels weak. His mind going blank. He starts dreaming. Realizing this is the first person view of Grayland, he is forced to witness the gruesome cutting up of his victims! This would definitely give him nightmares. This is already far by one. Iwai wakes up and realizes somebody has read her notes. I think she too has this in-built Kiri-in-danger sense so she decides to head over to the graves. Emily thinks Kiri has died and tries to burn his body, believing Grayland’s legacy is just crap. To her shock, she sees Kiri getting up and picking up Crime Edge with his mouth. He’s like a wild beast and lost all common sense. He slashes her as she remains in shock she has never seen someone in this state before. Then she realizes another thing. If the special abilities of Killing Goods are shaped by the crimes of the original Author, Crime Edge would be taking pleasure in inflicting great pain. In other words, enhanced pain. She starts feeling great pain and perhaps the first time in her life never has she felt such fear. Now the tables are turned and roles reversed. Kiri the mindless killing machine while Emily the helpless loli. For every slash she receives, the amount of pain is immense. When Iwai arrives on scene, she is shocked to see Emily in a mess. It’s like she’s been through hell. A moment ago, she was cold and heartless. Now she is reduced to a sobbing snivel. She’s raging how the legacy of Crime Edge as the most brutal is true.  And it’s all thanks to Kiri. You heartless loli killer! That’s what I think Professor would say if he sees this…

Episode 13
As narrated by Witchy and Professor, there were only 2 successful made-to-order. All unsuccessful ones were disposed. Shortly after that, a third one appeared and no one knew how that happened. Emily is ironically rescued by the person she wanted to kill. Iwai caries her away and explains how Opener was given by her father to Emily, mistaking it as some magical artefact since he was searching for something that would bring about a miracle. Kiri appears before them. This mere sight is enough to send Emily into a traumatic bug. Iwai tries to reason with him Emily is no longer a threat but her words didn’t reach him. He crawls up close to her. Then he caresses her buttocks and tummy! WTF?! In a reckless move, he snips a part of her hair and leaving a flesh wound before collapsing. Did the spell wear out? Iwai notes that even though there are no nerves in the hair, she felt pain when he cut it. As though her body has been sliced to pieces. It was like she was being cut by a wild beast. When her hair stopped growing, she wanted to be cursed all over again because she was happy when Kiri was there to cut them. Speaking of which, her hair starts growing again. Iwai breaks down and cries like a kid. Ironically it is Emily who rescued them and brought them back to Iwai’s house. The girls take a bath and reconcile. Emily has made her peace with Iwai. She shows Opener, the only link to her Papa. Now that she is calmer, she always wondered why she is so angry. Perhaps it was the thought of Papa being stolen away by her. They talk how kind their father was. Because of that, he was respectable and always busy. The mere mention of Kiri’s name is enough to send Emily into trauma. I hope this doesn’t get worse. Iwai believes Kiri hasn’t really changed and will be gentle to her again. Speaking of him, Emily wonders if they have kissed or even go as far as having sex. What do you think her reaction is? Emily decides to give up her wish on bringing Papa back because if she kills her, it would be like denying her existence. Wow. You’ve never seen such sisterly love between them before.

Kiri wakes up in hospital and remembers Grayland’s memories especially his ability of pain augmentation. He realizes Witchy has eavesdropped and learns about that ability of his. She is here because this hospital is owned by Gossip. Noting Emily has been defeated, she explains about made-to-order. Her predecessors made them. Descendents of brutal murderers become Authors of Killing Goods. In order to create a Killing Goods, create a murderer first. They used drugs to manipulate and kill, leaving little sense of self control. The next step is to make them have children and then wait. Although the rate of success is low, there is still a chance of producing a child who becomes an Author. Unsuccessful ones are disposed. Of course if you produced hundreds of them, there is bound to be one there is successful. Witchy start calling him derogative names just to work him up (while pushing her boobs on him to seduce him). But Kiri isn’t fazed. He is going to fight with this ability. He puts on his mad killer face and wonders if Witchy wants to have a taste of pain. Witchy makes a surprising move by kissing him on his lips!!! Didn’t see that coming? There goes his chance of first kiss with Iwai. She admires his strong power and brute force and warns there are 2 more made-to-order. If he is still alive, she hopes to meet him again. Just to two of them. Witchy leaves and narrates Kiri’s journey is just the beginning. He must fight those who want to kill and to continue killing them in order to survive. No matter how many he kills, the journey won’t end because never has there been a Queen that has ended this journey alive. When Iwai visits Kiri, he is one happy dude because he gets to cut her long hair. Feels good to hear the snips of his scissors, eh?

A Cut Above The Rest?
Well, from what I can see, this series even though has interesting premise, certainly had some potential but too bad it had to end on such an unsatisfying note. A very big hint at the end credits of the final episode indicates several scenes in the future. Like as though there is going to be a sequel but so far I haven’t heard of any in production.  From the series’ synopsis, I thought I was going to watch almost every episode seeing Kiri trying to protect Iwai and taking out desperate and evil Authors. So far he only has battle experience with a handful and except for the escaped convict and Seigi, the rest didn’t die and somewhat gave up their goal to have their wish fulfilled. I supposed it would have been in a way boring if we would just see Kiri cutting and snipping through his enemies. So in order to build a strong foundation for the future, that’s why this season there are lots of drama and build-up. Thus, the slightly disappointing ‘ending’. But like I said, there are some potentials here so if they carefully craft this one, future sequels would be very much interesting.

Due to that too, many of the characters introduced felt like they were under-utilized. For instance, Hitomi and Houichi. Their appearance for this season might seem somewhat redundant but I am guessing that even though they are an Author-Instead pair who are not interested in Gossip’s sick game, I have a feeling that they will eventually cross paths and swords (Killing Goods rather) with Kiri and Iwai. Otherwise, why introduced them in the first place? I’m just wondering if it would be feasible for Hitomi to go around with her piano since this is her Killing Goods. I don’t think so. People will have to come to her instead. If they don’t cross swords with Kiri and Iwai, perhaps they will be their allies instead just like how Emily did in the end. Kiri’s classmates also too have this feeling of being under-utilized although they might just serve as minor characters. Take for example Nigi. She is a fan in the occult and hearing her having deep interests in Grayland means that there is more than meets the eye to this girl despite her cheerful outlook. I speculate there could be some twist that she may turn out to be an Author or one of the remaining made-to-order. Then there are the Byouinzaka sisters. After Kiri’s first battle with Yamane, they become quite docile later. They just bum around especially Houko seemingly hanging around Professor. I suppose Houko is in a dilemma whether or not to kill Iwai although she gives excuses that she is ‘protecting’ her from other Authors so she could kill her herself one day. When will that be? How many Authors are there in the first place? I think it won’t be soon because from what I can see the way she is Yamane’s Instead, she somewhat enjoys playing the victim. The look on her face tells us she is feeling ecstasy. It’s like sex to her. Really. So is she willing to give this up and turn her sister back to normal and risk losing this ‘pleasure’?

I thought Seigi would at least become a regular. Just like the sisters, he is neither ally nor enemy to Kiri but surprisingly he was taken out early. Unless you tell me there is a way to resurrect dead people. But that’s another story. With Seigi’s demise, I guess there won’t be that amusing cat and mouse game with Kozakura anymore. More like girl chase boy thingy. It was fun while it lasted. Is there any more reason for that policewoman to show up in future episodes? The people under Gossip itself are shady. Professor might seem like on Kiri’s side but the way he speaks and acts like as though he is not either. Same case with Witchy. Despite showing interest in Kiri, it makes you wonder if her feelings are genuine or just treating him as something part of the game. So it’s hard to tell with these characters and the rest on what is really going on in their mind. You can’t tell if they are really friend or foe but I am sure that they’re doing it for their selfish ulterior goal.

Mainly this season puts more focus on the relationship between Kiri and Iwai and before I knew it, it seems like they have advanced and ventured romantically with each other. Well, at least that is how I look at it. There are scenes to indicate that they are heavily on each other mind. Iwai’s jealousy when Kiri started staring at the Byouinzaka sisters’ dress. Kiri always looking forward to go visit Iwai at her home and I am sure it is just more than wanting to cut her hair. Although they might have not properly kissed, seeing Iwai allowing Kiri to caress her hair and sometimes do funny stuffs with her body (short of being hentai), it somewhat shows that Iwai has accepted him. They’re just short of confessing those 3 magical words to each other but I suppose that will have to wait for the appropriate time. I can imagine what will happen if Iwai finds out about his first kiss. Something deep down in my heart indicates I wish that would happen. I’m such a sadist… Kashiko isn’t to be left out in this love triangle. From the way she acts towards Kiri, there is a big chance that she has a crush on him.

Kiri as the main protagonist felt somewhat weak. I guess that is fine since he just an ordinary teenager with hair cutting fetish. You see him stumble in trying to protect Iwai but some mysterious and unexplained force makes him acrobatic and able to move and dodge faster. It’s like imputing some cheat code to make him do that. I figure his ‘downfall’ came when he had his fight with Emily. He knows he had no chance with her and I don’t blame him for going with his guts to run away like a loser dog with its tail between its legs. He has become quite reliant on Crime Edge to a point that he might be complacent as long as he holds it, he can protect Iwai. It’s going to take more than confidence and guts just to keep the loli safe. Then in the last episode whereby he transformed into a mindless sadistic beast, it sometimes made me wonder if he became stronger or not. On the outside he does look stronger since his common sense is casted away. But at the same time it makes him feel weak because it shows he is unable to control the power and easily succumbed to being dominated. In the end, he wasn’t the real hero and it took Iwai’s bravery to confront him. Even when he wanted to play the villain for Emily’s sake, his plan somewhat backfired. Didn’t think it thoroughly enough, eh? Emily is the best character especially when she displays her chops and acrobatic skills. I like it when she goes into combat mode because she seems pretty invincible and cool showing off those slick moves. I hope losing her killing intent doesn’t dull those skills because I do certainly look forward to see her do more of that if ever there is a sequel.

There are a few points that I started pondering at the end of the anime. If Witchy claims that no Queen has ever survived the journey, this means that Authors must have been successful in killing the Hair Queen and thus their wish being granted, right? Or unless the wish granting thingy was just a lie and to serve as motivation to kill so that those sick people in Gossip can enjoy their blood sport. Even so, Authors killing the Queen should at least have their name etched in a small part of history, am I right? Maybe they do. Just that Gossip doesn’t release such information. So who was the previous Queen before Iwai? Was it her mom? Don’t see her in this series nor was it mentioned. The only other probability I can think of the way the Queen dies without the Author killing them is via suicide. That seems possible. They can no longer take the pressure of people hunting them down and probably the weight of hair on their head is giving them lots of headaches and migraines. Just kidding on the last bit. So if Iwai is going to remain sane for the rest of her life, she herself really needs to be strong and Iwai more competent than he is now. Talking about suicide, the first Author Kiri battled killed himself. I felt something strange about it. After all this time, imprisoned and then released, after a short bout with the scissors kid and lost, he kills himself? Not so tough considering he is quite a hardened criminal, eh? So did he really kill himself or just another cover up from Gossip? After all, this information was from them. Then there is the case of Kiri not being influenced by his Killing Goods. Was it the tool that enabled him to move faster and fight better? As seen, because of his weak state, he might easily get corrupted by Crime Edge’s influence. Now that he has his first dream of Grayland, will he continue to have more dreams and succumb into madness like Yamane? Unless you tell me cutting Iwai’s hair soothes his soul and the Queen is like somewhat his Instead for this case.

One thing that I sometimes find annoying is when the action begins, usually Kiri begins his life and death game with another Author, the screen’s colour would turn into sepia-like or in shades of grey. Can’t I watch the fight in full colour, please? Probably there is one reason why they do this. Maybe it is to lessen the effects of blood. I won’t say that this series is going to be bloody but when you have Authors possessing Killer Goods, you expect blood to spill, right? Even so, not every scene is bloody or has the characters getting cut, sliced, slashed or incised. At first I thought it was my hardware but I soon realized it wasn’t. Maybe just one off? But happening in every fight scene makes it really irritating. I’m not sure if you buy the DVDs, they will add colour to it. If this is the case, this would remind me of how Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls did it. They make the great big battle in the last episode all black and white and put it in colour for the DVD and renamed it as an OVA. What shameless tactic. I thought the action was pretty okay but after seeing Emily’s one, the rest pales in comparison. Suddenly I want the next Authors that fight to display such cool moves. Otherwise, I would perceive the action to be bland. Thanks for getting my hopes up on this section (read sarcasm).

I never thought this series would have fanservice but it seems there are a few subtle ones in the beginning and when Emily made her debut, it went full force and became very obvious. Suddenly there are loli panty shots of Iwai. Suddenly there are light censors when ‘natural censors’ cannot be in place to block out those parts. Suddenly a considerably long bath scene time with Iwai and Emily in the end feels like to satiate lolicons. Thank goodness I’m not ;p. For those who aren’t lolicons, there is busty Witchy to satisfy those who prefer mature women with her gravity defying and unrealistically humongous boobs. Did she use some sort of Killing Goods to support it? Haha. Just joking. Speaking of censors, they not only work on the fanservice but for some violent scenes as well. For example, when Yamane injected her blood into Kiri, that part of showing her syringe being injected into his arm is obviously censored out. For me it’s a good thing because I hate needles and can’t stand them even if it is just watching someone else doing it onto somebody. Hey, at least I know this fear keeps me from being a drug addict. Haha. I also wonder if the DVD would take out such censors.

There is something about the drawing and art. I’m not sure how to put it but I won’t say that it doesn’t stray too much from your typical Japanese anime style. But something makes me feel that some of the characters look somewhat simple and lacking details. Or they just look odd (Seigi looked like he has shark teeth). Or maybe it’s just me. The more I see Kiri, the more I start to think that he is a chubbier version of To Aru Majustsu No Index’s Accelerator. Just less crazy. And when he becomes possessed with Grayland’s memories and going berserk, I thought he looked very much like those Hollows from Bleach or those BETAs from Mu-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. See those big white scary teeth? I also thought Iwai looked a bit like Kamisama No Memo-chou’s Alice. Just put in the smile and take away the mockery. The bags under Yamane’s eyes make her look like she can go crazy any time (she looks like one anyway). Perhaps yandere too. Not enough sleep because of her desire to inject others? So when she starts smiling or gives the slightest smirk, it makes her look weird because we’re not used to seeing emotions in her. When Houko first came into the picture, I thought she was a grown up and meaner version of Little Buster’s Rin. Romio like Ixion Saga’s KT. That’s the thing about watching too many animes. Characters start to look like they’re been ripped off from somewhere.

There is something about the next episode preview. While it doesn’t narrate anything about it (only pictures), the only words you will ever hear is the creepy echo of this series’ title. The way it echoes and is being repeatedly said gives this eerie and ominous feel. Well, thankfully not spine-chilling enough to frightened me. I think. Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge. Dansai Bunri No Crime, Dansai Bunri No, Dansai Bunri, Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge, Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge… Is this what Authors here in their heads? Who wouldn’t go crazy after hearing such repetitive words. Speaking of spine-chilling, I thought when Emily broke down after seeing the wild animal that is in Kiri, I thought that was creepy. More heat breaking in fact. I guess it shows despite being a very trained and professional killer, deep down she is just a little girl after all. Let me assert again that although I am no lolicon, seeing her (or any other girl) in such a pitiful state really breaks my heart.

It seems that the vicious cycle of killing and murdering will go on since Killing Goods cannot be destroyed. This means more people will become Authors and go on a crazy killing spree. More everyday items will become Killing Goods. In fact, anything can become a killing weapon. It is how one uses it. Since anything can become a weapon, I have outrageous thoughts of what happens if a certain tool becomes the choice of weapon. Say, a toothpick. Can you imagine how comical that would look? Having a bloodline and legacy of a famous murderer may not sit well in society but you can’t deny that it is part of you. It might become a social stigma like AIDS and LBGTs. Could you blame it all in the genes or in the tool then? Seriously, I wonder how a pair of little scissors would fare against a bloody raging chainsaw.

Hayate No Gotoku! Cuties

November 9, 2013

After the lukewarm third season, I thought I was being overly sceptical when the fourth season was announced. Sceptical about if this fourth season was supposed to make amends and make up for the mediocre third season. And so with such feelings that I decided to give Hayate No Gotoku! Cuties a try and didn’t put my hopes up too much for it. After all, there is a saying about disappointment when you set the bar too high your expectation. Based on ‘historical track records’, the first season had 50 over episodes, the second had 25 and the third only a dozen. Going by this dwindling trend, it would likely to expect that there will only be 6 episodes, right? Well, no. It’s not going to look like OVA-like style number of episodes. It is still maintained at 12 episodes. But it’s not the number of episodes that determine the quality and enjoyment of this series.

As I read, the fourth season is somewhat a continuation of the third season (thankfully not a reboot) and takes place some time after the end of the events of that. Mainly it is because many of the characters that appeared with a decent amount of screen time back in the third season, also have their fair share of screen time this time around too. But you won’t see any other plot furthering here because as far as I can see, they are bringing back the randomness of the series by giving a character an episode to focus on. You can tell which character is going to be the main star for that episode when you see them introducing themselves with their brief specs of themselves flashing across the screen. Also introducing a new character which I believed only made a very short cameo at the end of the second season. The blonde loli named Athena Tennousu or A-tan as she is fondly known as. Hmm… Cuties… I can only think why the second title is named so because the girls are going to take centre stage. As is, QT, Quality Time. Geddit? Besides, there aren’t any notable guys in this series, right? Hayate? Everyone loves him when he cross-dresses, no? So cute enough to be a girl. Should have been one. Maybe it’s not too late…

Episode 1
Hayate introduces himself and his predicament including his special talent: Misfortune. And he is already getting into one by the way. We see Hayate working hard as the butler for Nagi and the rest of the apartment residence. Maybe Nagi is just a little irresponsible. She blames Hayate for not waking her up when he already tried to. So after a hard day’s work and putting back Nagi in her bed, Hayate goes to study for his exam which happens to be in 2 more days. He gets a little help from Hinagiku which stretches way past midnight. Then he continues more on his own. By the time he turns in, it is already 3.30am and he only has another hour of sleep before waking up to start the day with duties as a butler. However he notices something strange. Hinagiku who is usually up this early is nowhere to be seen. And then he sees Maria. She looks awful. She’s sick. If she is sick, could it mean Nagi is also sick? His worst fears come true. Soon, every other resident is also sick. Except for Ayumu. But she feigns illness when Nagi can even quip idiots like her won’t catch a flu. Hayate takes care of them for the entire day. A-tan warns him about his important exam. He will be expelled if he fails. Because he has a knack for attracting misfortune, she didn’t mince her words to tell him at this rate he will catch a cold and fall sick on exam day! And then A-tan catches a cold. So it’s nonstop work for Hayate to nurse everyone. On the important day, Hayate feels he is starting to get sick. Everyone is better but because Nagi is very worried and feeling guilty she might have passed on her cold to him, he had to put on his pride and stay strong that he is alright. He continues to put a strong facade in front of the rest that he is alright. After parting with Nagi at Hakuou, Hayate still has some time but he can’t rest because that’s where the jinx begins. He sees Fumi in some stupid stomach pain. Obviously he doesn’t want to help her but Fumi accuses him of turning a blind eye and being inhumane!!! If she had so much energy to accuse him, why didn’t she just walk herself to the infirmary? Why not ask Sharna?! And so Hayate has to take her there. Wasted energy. Wasted time. But that’s not the end. He is forced to help Saki read out some paperwork or else as she hinted it will be on his conscious if she dies in some freezing country… Then… Forced to fight some monster as requested by Isumi and Sakuya that requires his blood. Oh God… Hayate makes it in time to the exam room. But he can’t concentrate because stupid Yukiji is making bored sounds and then playing her stupid portable game. When she loses control of it and hits his head, Hayate didn’t lose his cool but breaks the handheld! That showed her. Somehow he manages to finish the exam. What a day. When he goes back, he is surprised the rest have prepared a meal for him and Maria some medicine. It is what they call, you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. But he can’t rest since Nagi mentions they are out of soy sauce so he goes out to buy them. Not without the misfortune coming along of course.

Episode 2
Nagi tells us how she is going to be a manga author but is spending her time playing video games. If Hayate’s gentle reminder won’t do, Maria just unplugs everything. There’s your answer. Nagi wakes up early on one Sunday morning perhaps because of her growling stomach. She sees Hayate in the kitchen and he cooks for her. She thinks it’s a ploy to get her sleepy again. She tries to resist by doing exercise but gives into the temptation. Yeah. She said she was just napping. When she wakes up, she heads over to Wataru’s store to rent some DVDs. She spots an R-18 video in the midst and is curious. To cover up her intention to rent this, she rents a whole stack of other DVDs as well. In her private tree house, she acts out that she rented so much and accidentally might have rented an R-18 video and thus no harm to see what’s in it. Nagi finds the disc differently labelled than the cover but proceeds to play the video. However it is not porn as Nagi will find out but the scariest horror movie ever! So scared she become that she wants Hayate to be with her for 24 hours! All the time. Does this mean even sleeping with her? At least till she falls asleep. But how can she sleep when Maria and Hayate are asking her if she has fallen asleep every second and talking if she had rented some R-18 video? So once she has fallen asleep, Hayate notices her murmuring in her bad dream and whispers to assure he has defeated all the bad guys. Next day when Maria is cleaning the tree house, she spots the R-18 video and decides to watch herself. After that she doesn’t want Hayate to leave her side… That scary, huh? Nagi won’t go to school since it’s raining and holes up in her room to sleep. Isumi suggests a famous quote to get her motivating since she is a simple minded person. Hayate tries one about hard work and there is a little reaction. So Hayate calls some of his friends to help out with famous quotes but Hinagiku’s is too advanced and Ayumu is just missing the point. He uses Chiharu’s quotes about being a loser and although this manages to get Nagi up, this makes her even wanting more to stay inside and play her video game. Maria comes back and Hayate tells her the problem. She gives Nagi some money and tells her to count it. Imagine it represents life and that amount represents her life till she lives till 80. If she turns her days into yen, she only has enough to buy a video game console. If she thinks she can afford to waste any of that, feel free to use any amount she pleases because that amount will not increase. What you spend is up to you. Nagi realizes the weight of her words and the importance every moment her life is. This has her fired up to go to school. Well, that did the trick and taught her a valuable lesson, didn’t it?

Episode 3
A-tan can’t explain much to us due to her lost memories as she is now Athena Tennousu (Alice version) but manages to tell us she is living in Hinagiku’s closet for some reason. While she is a sleepy head one morning, a big white dog ‘tackles’ her. Just to give an idea how big this dog is. It is the same height as her standing when it is sitting. Hayate finds a lost dog poster so that afternoon they try to find its owner. However it won’t take long because we see Fumi come running to claim her Armageddon. What a name… A-tan feels sad to part with it despite saying she doesn’t care for it. Fumi assures Armageddon loves her because of her hairstyle which resembles its favourite bread chocolate coronet! Wataru is surprised Sakuya left him some operating funds. In cash! 100 million! Then Hayate comes in to return Nagi’s video. Wataru is obviously worried if he is the one who is going to help bank in the cash with him. A debt ridden butler holding 100 million? Very ironic, isn’t it? And so worried Wataru goes Hayate and Saki to deposit but loses the suitcase of cash when Armageddon ‘tackles’ him. It ends up in Yukiji’s hands. Surprisingly, she gives it back and never wanted to steal it! Is this the Yukiji we know? Armageddon brings the suitcase back to Fumi, whom upon opening suddenly realize the sh*t she is getting in. Before she can wash her hands off, Sharna accuses her of stealing it! Even if Armageddon did it, since it is her dog so it makes her the one who also steals it! Sharna scares Fumi that if she is caught, she’ll be executed! Hayate searches for the suitcase and finds Fumi in panic mode. She really needs to find the suitcase so she can wipe off her fingerprints!!! Saki blames herself for being careless and if it is truly lost, she will quit the store and work hard to repay that amount. I wonder how long she will live. Armageddon brings the suitcase back to A-tan. Hayate calls the rest to assure the money is safe but A-tan points out the suitcase is empty. Dang.

Fumi forces Armageddon to talk Japanese. Woof! Woof! Who else can speak animal language? Hayate brings out Tama (in disguise – so as not to shock everybody about a talking tiger) and after a little quarrelling, it is revealed a couple of guys took them while Armageddon was passing the alley. A-tan has Armageddon sniff the suitcase for the scent and has the dog lead them. After several false leads (I guess Armageddon is hungry – always ending up at some food stall), they arrive at the abandoned building. Hayate sees Wataru there too. But they are most surprised to see Yukiji beating up the robbers to claims HER money! Had the duo not show up, she might have taken it and not give it back so obediently. Saki is relieved that the money is found. Wataru tells her never to say to quit because as long as she is with him, he doesn’t mind. Fumi is puzzled that Armageddon likes A-tan more than her. She concludes it’s her chocolate coronet hairstyle. A-tan changes her tone and curses the dog. Later, Nagi and A-tan find that they need to microwave some meat buns for lunch since Hayate and Maria are out. However they don’t know how to operate the machine and the buns end up melted. They get this idea to visit the cafe Hayate is working (to help out Ayumu) but it seems they lost their way. They thought they could rest at the vending machine. Either it doesn’t accept credit cards or they don’t enough credit in their pay cards. Always carry small change. As they hike up the slope, the last stretch to the cafe, they are tempted to enter the convenience store. But they resisted and continued their way seeing they want to taste Hayate’s cooking. So when they finally arrive, they start becoming demanding customers. What will they have for lunch? Meat buns!

Episode 4
Sakuya forces Isumi to do a joke with her to appeal to us how funny they are but it backfires on her. Isumi talks to her mom asking why she doesn’t have a maid like Nagi and Sakuya. It’s because she is responsible. Nevertheless, mommy goes to Hayate to request him to find a suitable maid for her daughter. Him? He too doesn’t think she needs one but on the contrary she points out she is not good using Smartphones. But do you need a maid to teach her that? So when they put up flyers for recruitment, guess who instantly took up the job? FUMI! Even Isumi has reservations on her judgment. How the heck can she pick a dud? Well, mommy feels her face is so much like those Smartphone emoticon, thus she is the best person for the job! WTF?! But when it is time for her to show her ability, Fumi tells them to Google it. I think her contract ends here. That night when Isumi gets a call from Sakuya. She didn’t pick it up because she thought her Smartphone was spoiled as it is ‘shaking’. Sakuya remembers how she hired Chiharu as her maid. When she showed no shame in front of her butlers while in her undies, they decided to begin a groundbreaking project to find her a perfect maid. So, how many millions have they ‘invested’ in this monitoring system spying on a maid cafe? They think Chiharu who works there is perfect but Sakuya thinks she is boring. However she sees her change in character when she dons the maid attire. Very much like having the qualities she desire. Still, she is sceptical. She goes to Nagi’s place just to complain that if only Hayate isn’t a butler but a maid. Yeah, I’m sure Nagi and Maria won’t mind that. Asking Nagi how she hired him, she replies it was fate. Later when she plays at the arcade, she didn’t how to play a gun shooting game. So happen Chiharu was next to her and teaches her. She even got the wrong idea when Chiharu mentions about protecting her (in the games sense). In the end, Chiharu is that nice and funny person she likes and hires her to be her maid. Back in present time, Sakuya visits Nagi who is having writer’s block for her manga. She is happy Chiharu is here to help with some ideas but Chiharu is surprised to see Sakuya. She reminds her that being her maid is supposed to be a secret from Nagi. Sakuya wants to help but Nagi scoffs her off as useless. Sakuya wonders how Nagi came to rely on Chiharu so much when she once relied on her. But this complicated feeling turns into annoyance because Sakuya is going to show how useful she is. However she can’t understand a damn thing when she reads Nagi’s manga. Even Hayate can explain all the complexity. Even Isumi points out she is one boring person not to really understand it. The only way to cure this is for her to wear a funny chicken suit. Then while she is dancing, doesn’t she look funny? On this basis, Isumi thinks she can understand the manga better. Of course not! When Nagi and Chiharu returns, Nagi wants Sakuya to read her work because she believes her good intuition. Isumi is proud to present Sakuya as an advanced manga reader. However Sakuya still can’t understand… Looks like she has a long way to go.

Episode 5
Yukiji convinces Hinagiku to film her for the school guide. Now will she do it in bikini? Suddenly coupons for Hinagiku’s forbidden swimsuit DVD come falling out of her sleeve. Oh shiii… Hinagiku isn’t fond of her 3 stooges fooling around. What more, she sees Hayate giving Miki a shoulder massage. She too would like to have one but is too shy to approach him. She really needs one and thinks of a way to make him offer one. Her chance came when he has her help him study. After all that hinting that she needs a shoulder massage comes to nought because that guy is too engrossed in his studies. Even if she needed one, her automatic pride has her say she doesn’t need one. Bummer. Hinagiku is suddenly called by Hayate. She is not happy it is a ploy by the 3 stooges to get her come to play at Nagi’s indoor resort. But appearing before them is Hayate’s rival, Gilbert (bet you didn’t remember him. So do I). Hayate easily beats him up so this loser wants a handicap by playing two-on-two beach volleyball (since he can’t best him one-on-one). Gilbert has a giant robot as his partner. Who will be Hayate’s? Gilbert thinks Hinagiku looks fragile and picks her. Everyone snickers with glee he just dug his own grave. But Hinagiku is happy to hear everyone calling her a fragile girl because it makes her look so feminine. Or so she thinks. Miki is upset Hinagiku didn’t wear a swimsuit but just t-shirt and shorts. Since when playing beach volleyball must always be played in swimsuit? When the match starts, Hinagiku tries to live up to her fragile girl status (so as to make Hayate look her way). So much so her acting is so bad it’s just horrible. Is this the Hinagiku we know? Till Gilbert gloats he knew she is fragile from the start because of her puny boobs! That’s when she snaps and fights back, destroying his robot. The sore loser summons more robots so Hinagiku pounds them till the robot is cowering in fear! Is this even beach volleyball? Gilbert then says she is breaking a fundamental rule! What rule?! Have they even been abiding it from the start?! The rule she violated is that she is not wearing a swimsuit. Hinagiku casts away her pride and rips off her t-shirt and shorts to reveal the swimsuit she is wearing and defeats the losers once and for all. In the end although Hayate thanks her, he lectures her about her sense of shame, feminine side, blah, blah, blah. Can you blame her for not turning into a wild beast and let him feel the same fate as those robots? Back home after bath, Hinagiku feels her shoulders stiff. To her surprise, Hayate is here to offer a shoulder massage and she accepts it.

Episode 6
Risa and Miki aren’t happy that Izumi introduces the group as Izumi and the rest. Risa is desperate to seek Hayate’s help. Though, he doesn’t look interested in what this idiot has to say. Anyway he has to since she is stealing his milk. Risa is concerned that people are labelling them as the idiotic trio (you mean you just realized this after 4 seasons?) and she thinks she is smarter than the rest. This causes Miki and Izumi to end up arguing with her so it is suggested that they compete to see who the king of idiots via video showdown is. The one who gets the least views online will get the honours and will have to do a punishment game with Hayate. Oh. He has to be involved somehow. Izumi shows Hayate the plant growing footage she is doing. How long will that take? She thought of speeding it up and accidentally snaps it! Game over. Then Miki shows her chicken eggs incubating video. But she got the eggs from the supermarket, right? That means they aren’t fertilized and are just rotten eggs. Wasted… Finally Risa shows off some cool contraption that launches balloons but failed. Boo hoo. So none of their videos worked out. What do we learn? They are all equally idiots! They won’t accept this comment from Hayate and make a fool out of him. While the 3 stooges are studying for a supplementary exam, Risa mentions something unforgettable for her birthday this year. Hayate wished her but gave no present. After pestering, bugging and making a big fuss about it, he just gives her a bookmark. Yeah. She won’t accept this discrimination. Miki thinks she needs to be popular so Risa calls Hinagiku but gets scolded to return and study. Then she calls Nagi and based on her manga magazine, she has to be cute. So if you blush, you’re deemed cute. Huh? With Hayate walking in at the right moment, they ask about his most embarrassing moments. It was so plain that they ignored him and have Izumi tell hers instead. Risa thinks Izumi is a panty flashing pro and wants her to experiment by letting Hayate lift her skirt. Why her? Because if she does it on herself, she can’t see how embarrassing she is! Idiot’s logic. Izumi disagrees and will lift it herself instead. But she becomes embarrassed so Risa and Miki are impressed with that look (Hayate wasn’t watching by the way). But they have to get back to studying since the test is coming up. Didn’t memorize anything, eh? Izumi is tasked to take some sheets to the classroom. She cannot lose them as they are sufficient for each student. However she got distracted by Shiranui and didn’t even realize the wind blew some away. Because of that, she is punished to clean the classroom herself. She accidentally drops a video camera in one of the desk. Trying to make sure it is still functioning, she records a test run. Since it is okay and that nobody is around, she films herself in a serious of impersonations and probably some (erotic) love drama with Hayate. She is freaked out when Shiranui taps on her shoulder. Then she realizes it is late as she cleans up but forgets all about the camera. Next day, she finds that the camera belongs to Miki. Worried that she may see everything since she didn’t erase it, to her relief the memory card is missing. So it was never recorded. Was it? The memory card is in Hayate’s hands…

Episode 7
Ruka’s manager is excited that Ruka has been booked to do an energy drink commercial. But Ruka doesn’t seem happy. So she visits the apartment to tell Hayate her dilemma. She can’t ride bicycles! Because riding it is part of the commercial. I guess there is only one way left since the shooting is tomorrow. But Ruka is pessimistic of her chances and even so is choosy about riding with training wheels. Leave it to Hayate to become the Spartan coach. Since they can’t practice in the apartment grounds (because Ruka trampled all over Maria’s farm!), Hayate takes her to practice at Hakuou’s grounds. First he asks if she would like the kind or strict way. Viewing herself as a pro idol, she chooses the latter. Hope she doesn’t regret it because Hayate really becomes the Spartan coach. One wrong move and he’ll shoot her with his water gun. First, he ties her hands to the handle and pushes her downhill! People tend to do the impossible when they face death? Hope she don’t die first. Ruka thinks she is going to crash but Hayate has got a firm grip on the bicycle. After some words of encouragement, looks like she has to go again. Well, practice makes perfect. Later, Nagi hopes Hayate could teach him too so he asks if she wants the kind or strict way. On another day whereby Ruka is supposed to perform a concert, Hayate is called to her dressing room. Why is he made to put on a maid outfit? Apparently one of her dancers for the last act fell sick. I guess nobody but Hayate could look good in a maid outfit while having exceptional butler skills. Hayate realizes Ruka’s left shoulder is in pain. During rehearsal she fell but as a pro, she has to hold it in and give an astounding performance to her fans. She also requests Hayate to be the one to help her change her dress after every 3 songs. He might be shocked to see her taking off her clothes before his eyes but he can’t be enjoying it seeing Ruka is holding in her pain and trying to do her best. On stage, Ruka continues to wow her fans like as though the pain never existed. During the penultimate song, Hayate spots Gilbert (a Ruka fan, I take). Gilbert thinks Hayate cross-dressed to trick him (because he loves girls) and summons his robot to beat him up. But Hayate won’t let him interrupt the concert and takes out the robot. The staffs mistake the robot as one of those final act dancers. When the final song begins, Hayate wants Gilbert to take it away but his controller broke. Before it could go haywire, Hayate kicks it off stage and then joins Ruka and the other animal dancers to cap a fabulous night. Back home, Maria is so enthralled in seeing Hayate’s cross-dressing (I bet she enjoyed it more than the concert) that she wants him to put on a female sailor uniform. Maybe he should just become a girl.

Episode 8
Ayumu is proud to tell us she knows Hayate the longest apart from the rest. Then she gets embarrassed at this rate the entire Japan will know she likes him (like, we’ve known it for ages). When her stomach growls, she is further embarrassed that Japan will further know her as a glutton. When Ayumu weighs herself, she is disheartened to know she has gained additional 3kg. She thinks the source is Hayate’s cooking for her whenever she works at the cafe. She tries to refuse his offer but can’t bear to let his hard effort goes to waste and eats it. Now here are more handmade cookies… On Ayumu’s birthday, she is sad nobody remembers and hopes at least Hayate would. He is up early baking cookies but I suppose jealous Nagi tells him just giving someone a present and be done with it won’t just cut. Chiharu suggests throwing a surprise party. Easy to talk because she lets Hayate do all the work. At the cafe, Hayate plans the party with Nagi, Hinagiku and the 3 stooges. However Ayumu walks in. In order for their plan not to be busted, they feign ignorance. At the same time, Ayumu is desperate for them to realize today is her birthday and tries to press real hard. The girls give all sorts of excuse on that date and then excuse themselves. Alone with Hayate, Ayumu isn’t going to waste this chance and at least make him remember. But Hayate must feign ignorance. He has to hold out for 2 hours! Thus it becomes a psychological battle and an intense one. Ayumu tries to lead him on but Hayate defends and ignores like hell. In the end, Ayumu loses out and leaves dejectedly. Hayate then calls the rest to prepare the party and when it is done, Nagi has the honours to call her to come back with an excuse she forgot something. But Ayumu doesn’t mind anymore. She has no heart to come back tonight. Till Nagi sucks in her pride to tell her off she wants her ass right here right now because she is lonely and needs somebody to talk to. Ayumu returns and is given a birthday surprise. She is so happy and hugs Nagi. I think she got the wrong idea.

When Hayate is about to leave for the night, Ayumu seizes this chance to walk home with him with an excuse that Japan is a crime laden nation. Yeah, with all those espers and evil super organization, nobody is safe at night especially if you’re a lone girl. Ayumu treasures this moment and doesn’t want to speed up walking home. She gets to prolong that chance when she remembers she left a notebook in her classroom. Hayate agrees to accompany her so she can retrieve it. At school, Hayate had some serious thoughts. If his parents never left him with this debt, he might have enrolled in this school and probably be going out with her now and didn’t reject her like that last time. On the way out, they realize something amiss. Sneaking in was too easy and where was the teacher supposed to be on patrol? Maybe a thief broke in and tied him up? You don’t say… There’s the teacher all tied up!!! Ayumu rushes ahead to get something to cut the rope when the big bad thief (seriously, isn’t that a Hollow from Bleach in a knight’s armour?) is about to chop her. Hayate in his reflex uses Ayumu’s notebook as a sword to put him out of commission. He warns not to touch her because she is an important person to him. Although her notebook is destroyed, she feels very happy. And she thinks she lost some weight during the chaos too. Double happiness.

Episode 9
Hayate hosts a talk show with Chiharu and Kayura as guests. Since the topic is on maids, Chiharu tries to pretend she doesn’t know but I guess her natural experience makes her a dead giveaway. Chiharu is caught in the act by Aika, acting out some manga she just read. This prompts Aika to comment she is cute when she is unguarded. That, is the word of this episode. Chiharu sees Nagi playing her handheld and thus her panties are ‘unguarded’. She flusters when she realizes too late. They think they connect when they realize they watch the same anime. However they soon argue as their opinions differ. Chiharu acts it out and Hayate sees this. Unguarded. Embarrassed? Chiharu walks on and realizes that there are many others who are shamelessly unguarded. Hinagiku whom she thinks is the most unguarded is well, the most guarded because even though she doesn’t look like it, she catches the baseball with her hand before it smashes into her face. Chiharu plays at the arcade to relieve some stress. Nagi is there too. Don’t tell me she’s here to relieve stress too. So the girls get into some intense racing while arguing about that unguarded topic. So much so the arcade employee had to tell them off not to be rough with the machine. Since there is going to be a BBQ gathering, Chiharu has Hayate accompany her to shop for ingredients. She notices his consideration for girls and asks him what happens if a girl confesses to him. He replies in a stupid question instead. Ruka is here for the gathering as she talks to Ayumu. She asks her if Hayate would be her boyfriend if she confesses! Shock! Did you see this coming? Ruka realized her feelings for him when he taught her how to ride a bicycle and thought of deepening their relationship. Ayumu is on alert mode and needs to stop this idol so she gives excuses her confession will futile because Hayate who lives in the apartment with different girls has not even made a single move. Ruka concludes that confessing is not enough and wonders if a kiss would do. Ayumu smacks her! Calm down.

When Hayate returns, Ruka asks him what happens if a girl confesses to him (I guess there’s no stopping her even if this seems like an indirect confession). But Hayate thinks this is a joke because Chiharu just asked the same thing. The girls realize there is another rival. Hayate adds that there is no way Chiharu would have feelings for him because it would be plain embarrassing. Shock? That’s good and bad news, no? Ayumu and Ruka spy on Chiharu and Hayate making the BBQ ingredients together and realize there is nothing going on. They start to pity Chiharu and conclude any girl who falls for Hayate will have it rough. But their bells are on alert again when they see Kayura interacting weirdly with him. They think it is her way of attracting his attention by assuming some weird character. Hayate and Nagi remember how Kayura first came to this place. She put up a tent in the yard. She was an oddball then as she is now. She considers herself a genius since she skipped grades to enter Hakuou. Hayate didn’t seem as surprised as she hoped. Nagi extends her hand to be her friend but Kayura views it as cheap. Hayate takes Kayura to tour Hakuou’s ‘famous attractions’ including the sleeping and drunken Yukiji. Kayura is happy to view the city below atop the clock tower and feels she will enjoy it here and makes friends with Nagi. But Nagi quips she doesn’t go to school often… Kids, don’t do that. Then Hayate brings Kayura to see the famous Hinagiku-halfway-changing-behind-the-door. Funny. He didn’t even bat an eyelid while doing that. It’s like he’s taking all this normally and as a joke. But it’s not funny for Hinagiku as she beats him up. Back in present time, after the BBQ, Hayate goes upstairs to return Hinagiku’s shirt. The talk about unguarded with Chiharu must have distracted him because history repeats itself when he opens Hinagiku’s door and she is in the midst of changing. Again, that silly grin. Again, that frustrated Hinagiku. Again, the beating. Next time, please knock.

Episode 10
When Maria introduces herself, Makimura butts in wondering if she has a boyfriend. Is she here just to show off her robotic Eight boyfriend? When Makimura fixes Yukiji’s broken walkman, she thought she is a genius but Makimura points out somebody else was better than her. She is Maria and she was the student council president of Hakuou and Makimura as her vice president. Due to her exceptional results, she skipped grades and thus she is younger and petite for a person for her grade. Makimura has recorded several embarrassing videos of Maria (like a stalker) since she has her own set of (otaku) fans. Upon seeing them, Maria instantly throws it at the wall. Her hands slipped. When Makimura leaves for a while, Maria tries to record her voice although embarrassed. Makimura returns in the midst of it and she instantly slams it on the ground. Her hand slipped. Back in present time, the tape is with Makimura but she never knew what is on it since the recorder was broken. Never bothered to try on another player? Yukiji wants to hear but suddenly Maria pops up to retrieve it. What? How? If she wants to hear, be her guest. But her hand may slip… Maria is surprised Hayate receives a love letter. But that guy wants to know how to reject the girl despite Maria advising he should at least meet her and date her if she’s cute. She’s joking, right? However inside the letter is written with nothing but “I love you!”. Gosh. Yandere material! Since there is a returning address, he wants to write the politest reject letter. But Nagi won’t have it that way and writes it for him before posting it. I’m not sure which anime influenced her now. When they get back, the reply letter just arrived in their mail! Super fast. This time it is written “I’ll kill you!” all over! In red! True yandere material! Nagi’s solution is to do a classic romantic comedy. Say what? Ayumu is walking in the streets and dreams of a romantic comedy with Hayate when she sees Maria in such classic scene meeting up with Hayate. Can this be true? What gives? Seems this is all part of Nagi’s plan to make them date so as to make the yandere stalker give up on them. Provided if she is watching. Well, it’s not Ayumu even though she’s tailing them like a stalker.

Hayate and Maria feel awkward trying to follow the script and hold hands. Unknown to them, all the guys are burning with jealousy for him to hold hands with this super cute maid. Another revelation is that the love and yandere letter was written by that father ghost (I forgot his name). He wrote that letter since Isumi gave him stationery and he was bored and wrote it as a prank. Now he is upset Hayate is out on a date with Maria and vows to put a stop to it. As part of the date, Maria wants Hayate to cross-dress! Must he? Do it. When Ayumu sees this, look how disappointed her face is. Next in the plan is for Maria to try a swimsuit. Hinagiku is nearby and sees them. Because Maria is so embarrassed and keeps telling Hayate not to look, what does this scene look like? See the disappointment on her face. Ayumu takes Hinagiku along to spy on them. Now we have 2 stalkers. After Maria buys and wears new clothes, the final plan is at the aquarium. Hayate saves her from being splashed. Their face got too close and they fluster. Maria can’t believe she flustered over that and feels the need to act mature. When she says it’s not like she has any feelings for him, it made her sound like a tsundere. Father priest disguises as a penguin and plans to jump into Maria’s arms. No one can resist a cute penguin, right? When he leaps, Hayate catches him instead. Maria uses this chance to quip how childish he looks. A devastating blow to father spirit. He won’t be back. They bump into Ayumu and Hinagiku who wonder if they’re on a date. Hayate explains and clears up the misunderstanding so off they go. On the way back, Maria notes she enjoyed the fake date (don’t tell me because Hayate cross-dressed) and hopes she’ll find someone like him.  Make it simple. Why not him? She gets embarrassed when Hayate wonders if she said something so she chides him off for lacking delicacy. Maybe not just yet.

Episode 11
As far as I understand this couple of final episodes are an original story from this series’ creator and serves as an alternate ending to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. It’s quite hard to understand what is going on (since it goes back and forth between the dream and current situation) so to sum up in a nutshell: Hayate tries to kiss a girl! Woah! It all starts with Hayate having this weird dream inside the black camellia and meeting a pair of freaks, a tanuki doll and a clock with limbs. After he wakes up in the morning, first thing he asks Maria if she has kissed anyone. Klaus serves kisu fish to Chiharu, Ayumu and Kayura but the former duo flusters because it sounds very close to the word kiss. At Hakuou, Hinagiku, Sakuya, Isumi and the 3 stooges are discussing that they have this weird dream of kissing Hayate. Izumi is targeted by her idiots to kiss Hayate so they can upload it on the internet. Although Hinagiku is embarrassed to have such a dream, she didn’t expect Hayate to come in and ask her to kiss him! He almost got sliced by her sword! The gang continue to talk about this and whoever wants to kiss Hayate at least needs to be in love with him but as Aika points out, nobody will since he is indecisive, dense, insensitive and broke. She hit all the right points. Kayura disagrees and shows proof that there are people twisted enough to love troublesome guys like him. Case in point: Kaoru tries to ask Yukiji out! Seriously?! Him?! I feel Yukiji is only in because he agrees to treat her to booze. Hayate realizes with so many of them having that dream, maybe what those freaks said were true. So when Hayate dreams of them again, he wants to know what’s going on especially since the powers of the black camellia should have subsided. They tell him he has got not much time left to fool around.

Hayate ponders if anyone really loves him when he bumps into Ayumu. She too had that dream. Then she realizes this is the exact same spot they first met. Hayate remembers it was when he had to quit ordinary school and end up being Nagi’s butler. He thinks she would be okay for him but they had to break up when stupid Fumi starts pointing out that they were going to kiss. And why is she so disappointed that they separate without kissing? Whose fault is that? Hayate soon creates a list of those he failed to kiss. That’s almost about every main girl we know, right? Yeah. He got a taste of A-tan’s taser. But he notices Maria didn’t have the same dream like the rest. Talking to her, he realizes that the time limit to this kissing thingy is true. He gets an idea to surprise kiss her and then shrug it off as an accident but do you think a guy like Hayate can pull that off? So he goes off to who knows which girl’s place to ask for a kiss and of course gets violently rejected. Maria calls Hinagiku about Nagi. Next day at school, Isumi detects some bad omen so Hayate is made to tell everything about the tanuki and clock freak. To Isumi, it is a clear sign of something ominous. When Risa mentions Hayate tried to kiss her in her dream, Hayate remembers the time limit of midnight if he doesn’t get the kiss done, he will forever be separated from Nagi (as shown isolated and happily playing video games unaware her subconsciousness is trapped inside black camellia). It is his last chance to cease the cries of the black camellia. The scene suddenly changes as we see cross-dressed Hayate fighting against the drunken monster known as Yukiji. Is he seriously aiming for this drunkard?! I know he is desperate and probably a drunkard won’t mind or remember a kiss but Yukiji of all people?

Episode 12
These are the events that led to that scene. Maria sees Nagi uncomfortably in her sleep and senses something wrong. Hayate goes home and tries to get a change of clothes when A-tan comes up to him. She doesn’t mind kissing him and since she understands it’s to help Nagi. Before they can do it, father priest stops them and gives his stupid 1001 reasons why he can’t. A-tan is annoyed and zaps them both. Armageddon then steals his new butler clothes. Hinagiku couldn’t get Hayate and wonders if he has kissed yet. She bumps into Ayumu along the way as well as the 3 stooges at the diner and they talk about this. Soon, Ruka joins them after sneaking out from her tight schedule. She is here to return his butler uniform. Going back further in time, when Ruka was shooting her energy drink commercial, she accidentally crashes into Hayate and he fell into the river. The only clean change of clothes that fitted him was her idol outfit. She also knows about the dream and is willing to kiss him. Before they can get to that, Kayura beats Hayate up and lectures him why he can’t do that because of her status as an idol. Imagine the rage it will cause when this leaks to her fans who treat her like God. Kayura tells him to kiss Chiharu because she is weak and will do it under pressure. Hayate calls her but she is in the midst of her job and can’t leave so they agree to meet at the park later when her replacement arrives. Meanwhile, Isumi and Sakuya are at Yukariko’s grave and pick up the watch (black camellia). At the park, Hayate calls Chiharu but she is still not off from her job. He waits but he is attracting stares from others. Chiharu calls him and since time is running out, Hayate says he wants to kiss her and this takes her by surprise. Hinagiku gets a call from Maria about Nagi acting weird. She is determined to help him even though it is a dream, she wants to do all she can for him. Ayumu and Ruka support her so everybody gets up to head to the park.

Hayate is desperately seeking for anybody to kiss at the park. God answered his prayers: Drunk Yukiji sleeping in the bushes. Yeah. Anybody. He is going to kiss her but Yukiji wakes up and dares him to challenge and defeat her if he wants to kiss. That’s when the battle starts and Yukiji is quite good with her drunken fist style! In the end, Hayate wins because too much alcohol took effect. He won’t be able to kiss her since Kaoru is looking for her and brings her home. Hayate is at a loss on what to do. Then all the girls converge and ask him to decide which one of them he wants to kiss. Wow. Now he is spoilt for choice. So why hesitate? Ah, the ‘battlefield’… The freaks are watching him and feel pity. Perhaps it was too much for him. Nagi who has just finished her game sees what is going on. She is going to do something about it. Before Hayate could decide (not like he did anyway), Nagi is seen hobbling towards him (with Maria’s help). Hayate sees black camellia in Isumi’s hands and realizes Nagi is actually still trapped in it. Nagi wants to go home but Hayate is still worried about the kiss. She tells everyone off if they are okay with that. Kissing someone for that kind of reason. She doesn’t mind staying trapped in black camellia although she won’t be able to watch her animes or read her mangas because Hayate is more important to her. She isn’t worried because if anything happens, she has him. This made Hayate open his eyes. He catches Nagi as she returns to her slumber. Realizing it was wrong to ask for a kiss easily even if it’s was her sake, a kiss is something that everyone treasures and not to be taken lightly. Since he doesn’t want her to sleep forever, he kisses her. On the forehead. Nagi wakes up but the other girls are somewhat surprised. They didn’t think it was a kiss on the forehead. What kind of kiss were they expecting? Embarrassed yet relieved. If he had been clearer from the start… With the curse lifted, Shin (the clock) and Yukariko (tanuki) move pass on.

Cute But Not Beautiful
I’m not particularly that thrilled at how the special twin original episodes ended this season. Somehow I feel that the magic of this series is slowly disappearing. Maybe it’s my fault on my part because even though I said I wasn’t putting much expectation into it, I still can’t help hope deep down inside my heart that there will be something that would surprise or amaze me. Only the part whereby Ayumu and Ruka ponder about Hayate being their boyfriend. I thought it would be interesting seeing Hayate had a serious thought there for the moment about who would have been his girlfriend had he not walked this path in life. I thought there would be finally some sort of love polygon involving Ayumu, Ruka and Hinagiku. And though it really seemed interesting, thinking back the kind of guy Hayate is, I don’t think we’ll ever see him getting a girlfriend. Of course with Nagi being his master, there’s this tendency for many to pair them together but what are the chances? Maybe they can do alternate spin-offs for that. Multiple ending routes for Hayate for different girls. Sounds interesting?

In the end, those hoping to see Hayate getting closer to any one of the girls would be somewhat disappointed. Last season he had that sort of date with Hinagiku and in this season, it is Maria’s turn. It feels like they’re trying to tease us and making our hopes go up that some sort of romance would blossom. As when Hayate seriously ponders such thought, it is just the spur of the moment and no follow up after that. No doubt that almost every main and supporting female character in this series has a liking for Hayate. Some are more obvious than others and even those who don’t look like it can be said to suspiciously have them. Like the 3 stooges, their overall personality are comical idiots. There is a high chance you might not think they have a thing for Hayate. But as seen in that short delusion of Izumi, one can speculate that there is more going on beneath their idiotic looks. Being idiotic is just their characteristic which might not necessarily be the same with matters of the heart. As long as Hayate doesn’t commit, everyone has a fair chance. But they’ll have to wait till kingdom come if he is to decide. If he decides. Thanks to his density and strong sense of duty and loyalty, it’s safe to say that this won’t turn into a harem romance anime even if the setting is begging for it to be turned that way.

Putting in character focused episodes seemed like fun and reminiscent of how the earlier seasons of this series was about (at least that is how I remembered them) and I personally I liked it better than the black camellia alternate ending since it was a bit confusing and I don’t really remember much of the plot for Can’t Take My Eyes Off You although I watched that not too long ago. It’s nice to see that the main characters have their moment of limelight but seeing that this series had too many characters, the number of episodes that permitted perhaps couldn’t possibly quite cover them all. For instance, what happened to that sister Sonia? She is totally missing in this season. What about those butlers from season one that has more limelight than their young masters, Nonohara and Himuro? Maybe they are just very minor characters but somehow I can’t help think and thought they are big supporting characters (is it because they are butlers like Hayate?). So far they have not appeared in subsequent seasons thus I think they are really just minor characters. Tsugumi and Dolly from Can’t Take My Eyes Off You did not return here and not even mentioned. It’s like as though they never existed. I thought Klaus won’t be appearing this season but since his very brief cameo in the final episode, I can’t say his appearance was just limited to his name appearing on a wooden block in the first episode. I have a feeling that they don’t want to make this old geezer the butt of butler jokes so there is no comical feel to him. Tama at least made a dialogue appearance as opposed to last season even if it’s for just a few lines.

A bit of a disappointment for me is the character A-tan. I thought that she would be a regular and was hoping to learn more about her. Like how she ended up living in the Hinagiku’s closet or her relationship with Hayate as his first girlfriend. None of that is ever addressed partly due to the character focused nature of this series. Maybe I should just go read the manga, eh? And then just when I resigned to the fact that she would just make cameos in episodes that is not her focus, after her own focused episode featuring Armageddon, she ‘disappeared’. The one character which I hoped for to have her own focused episode but didn’t is Fumi. I love this crazy girl (especially made crazier and funnier by Kana Asumi’s joker voice). I had a feeling that she might not get such a dedicated episode but since she is making short cameos in every episode, I also thought it would be suffice that her appearance would be that way. But after that maid hiring fiasco row, she ‘disappeared’. Man, I really wished for her to have her own spin-off series. Although still over the top wacky, at least in this season we don’t hear her spouting about her feuding family like how she always subtly hint in the previous season. That’s the thing about having too many characters. With Hayate as the main character, many of such characters are like on and off. Even I feel Nagi and Maria aren’t as prominent.

This season also has its funny moments and just like last season, the mid-intermission is a couple of Commercial Connecting Theatre and features short comical skits. There also lots of trivia and parodies (including famous quotes from other animes) for you to spot and even though it is not as much as the first season. Partly due to my lack of knowledge in this area too but I did manage to spot a few like that Hollow from Bleach, the parody manga of Baka To Test To Spice (Horo? WTF?!), Sailormoon’s trademark mini skirt dressing, Kayura dressed as Kyousuke from Zettai Karen Children and a parody of that anime called “Zettai Curry – Chilled, Even?” (cleverly parodied!). It is also fun to spot worldwide famous companies with their parodied names (to avoid lawsuits of course) such as American Exponents (American Express), Cutbank (Citibank), Samy Malkman (Sony Walkman), 8-Eleven (7-Eleven), PFP (PSP) and Ybox (Xbox 360).

Since every episode is character focused, to add to the ‘unique’ feature of this season, every ending theme is also different and is sung by that character’s seiyuu. Ranging from typical anime pop to slow ballads, each song serves like a character image song. Those that don’t sound too bad are Maria and Ruka. Also, the ending credits animation is ‘spammed’ with those characters (although other characters sometimes appear but to a minimum). If you really love them and can’t get enough, here’s your chance to feast your eyes on them. Heck, you can just Google it and download such related images. There is only one opening theme, Haru Ulala Love Koi by Hinagiku’s seiyuu. Sounds okay but not that appealing to me. With Ruka as the idol, there are a few insert songs during her focused episode but again, they don’t sound that attractive to me.

Maybe as the seasons pass, I feel the more it has caught on Hayate’s misfortune due to the declining charm that I once found in the series. If there are future sequels or OVAs, it will be down to solely nostalgia and ‘past glory’ reasons that I will continue to watch this. Is there anything that Hayate can do to reverse this misfortune? Perhaps if he starts cross-dressing maybe that will turn things around. At least for many of the girls who would love to see him permanently in a dress. One’s misfortune is the pleasure of others. Because Hayate can do and overcome anything that is thrown to him. Except clearing off his 150 million Yen debt. Well, it proves Hayate is at least still human despite some of his exaggerated superhuman feats. To borrow a trademark line from To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Touma: “Fukou da!” (“Such misfortune!”).

Tenshi No Drop

November 8, 2013

Sugar, spice and everything nice. That’s what girls are made of, right? If you’re a loli pervert, then I guess you’re going to find Tenshi No Drop to be somewhat that too. This special only lasts 5 minutes and after watching it (because there is no harm in watching an anime that lasts less than 10 minutes – so I think), it made me go WTF. What the hell is this anime about, I don’t know. All I know is that it feels like it is made for lolicon perverts. This is how the short synopsis went: “Botan Ichige has just enrolled in St. Asmaria All-Girl’s School where angels are said to live. It turns out that angels do indeed live there, and after an accident, an angel named Un offers Botan her halo as a snack. After eating it, Botan discovers it had some bizarre side-effects, causing her to regularly “give birth” to colourful mushrooms. Is this the life of an angel!?”. Yeah. I’m not surprised if you’re already going WTF.

It starts off with Botan dreaming of having the nicest tea party. But her friend Shinobu Itoko adds that she would also love to have a pantsu party and proceeds to almost yuri kiss panicky Botan. Whether their lips met or not is up to our imagination. The duo are amazed with their high quality furniture in their room. However the same cannot be said for the floor because their legs crashed right through it! If they were boys, their manhood could have suffered seriously. Yeah. Very serious. Cheeky Shinobu even makes such a cheeky statement how their balls will go bust if they were boys and this freaks out Botan a lot. Then a pair of legs comes crashing down from the ceiling. Seriously, this dorm needs to have its floor remodelled. So perverted Shinobu is, she thinks those dangling legs belong to Botan and gets excited seeing her no-pan. This girl drops down on Shinobu and she turns out to be Un the angel. Shinobu hugs her like a cuddly teddy bear but get s punched away. She offers to let the girls eat her halo which looks like a doughnut. Then they start to feel strange in their stomach. They want to pee! Un tells them not to hold back and they start peeing coloured mushrooms. Botan is devastated the snack they ate were pees.

Shinobu decides to call this club Angelic Menses Phenomenon Club and upset Botan finds it very perverted because won’t it be strange for a club whose objective is to strive and pee? Botan is close to breaking down seeing this is happening to her. Shinobu explains to Un that Botan put up an ahogao face. The face you put on when you feel good. I thought it literally meant stupid face. Un thinks they should rename the club to Ahogao Club. She also adds that their wish will come true if they bear lots of eggs. How many? 100,000 angelic eggs!!! So Shinobu starts laying those mushrooms till in hopes they can wish for that tea party and crashes through the window. She thought she put up a good ahogao but Botan wonders if it looks more like a cute face. Un calls the club Ahegao Club (Ahegao = the face after achieving sensual orgasm…) but Shinobu soon corrects her back to Ahogao Club. And so… 99,950 angelic eggs left to go… I’m not sure what this last scene is about because Botan is blindfolded trying to escape and she’s like complaining about not wanting to be stripped naked. Hibachi watches her and is so turned on that she wets herself.

Fallen Angel?
Really. I don’t know what else to say. If this ever gets turned into a TV series adaptation, I can have an idea what it will turn into. You’re going to see lots of yuri, omorashi and all sorts of other perverted fetishes and sex jokes to only true deviants can enjoy. Trying to put coloured ‘candies’ as excretion may seem funny and cute at first but when you realize it, it is somewhat gross. Unless you have such fetishes. I’m already having this unsettling feeling in my stomach as I type this. Seeing the way they are going to continue and excrete the mushrooms, I think it’s going to get dirtier and dirtier with the perverted characters that has appeared. Shinobu is already a perverted, Hibachi has her own quirky fetish and Un isn’t really an angel either. Botan may seem normal but how long can that last when she is in the company of such perverts. In no time, she will also be awakened to her true calling. Oddly, I didn’t know that you can eat an angel’s halo. Of course it is just a story for this series but seriously. It tastes sweet? It makes you want to ‘conceive’ and excrete weird stuffs? Goes to show that you just can’t pick up anything and put it in your mouth. If you need to excrete cute but gross things and 100,000 of them just to get a stinking wish fulfilled, I think collecting 7 Dragon Balls would be much easier. Making a contract with Kyuubey would be less hassle. Killing the Hair Queen would sound so much better alternative. Or even finding a genie’s lamp. I don’t know why they need 100,000 just for one wish but good luck in trying to excrete that much. And then they can all have one big yuri tea party like they want with their excretion as snacks. Just gross. If this is the life of an angel, I’d rather go to hell! Because as it is, it’s already like hell but only in a cute way, right?

Namiuchigiwa No Muromi-san

November 3, 2013

We have heard so much myths and legends about mermaids. We heard stories of how beautiful and enchanting they are and we have heard how some entice and lure us to our deaths at sea. But have you ever heard one with an attitude? Well, take Namiuchigiwa No Muromi-san for instance. Not your typical goody-goody mermaid like Disney’s Ariel. She’s just… Weird. I suppose people who get to see a mermaid in their life would be jumping with joy and perhaps keep one. Unless you are talking about Muromi. A boy’s encounter with this mermaid would probably hint to us why he didn’t make this mermaid his prized pet or go bragging around town about his catch. More importantly, can he escape from this mermaid’s attention? With 13 episodes of 12 minutes each, this short series is nothing more than fast paced nonsensical and random comical misadventures of them and the other scaly friends of the sea.

Episode 1
To his disbelief, Takurou Mukoujima AKA Takkun fishes out a mermaid! Herald Muromi! After introducing herself, she eats all his worm baits. Tastes good? Because she is so bored, she starts throwing starfish like shurikens to him. Then she purposely lets him hook her bra before easily falling victim to a fake bait. Muromi is attacked by seagulls but luckily Takkun protects her. He wanted to put some ointment on her for the wounds and she thought he was going to rub her in a sexy way so he throws it to her and tells her to rub it herself. Muromi wants to repay him for saving her life so Takkun thought just like in fairytales, she is going to take him to the underwater palace of Ryuuguujou. Does it really exist? Not really. Having a mermaid standing by his side already defies this fairytale thingy. Muromi says the palace does exist but was gone a long time ago and now it serves as a memorial. Yeah. There’s a mall located right next to it. Muromi fears another predator: Cats! Oh no! How low are mermaids on the food chain? Later Takkun realizes he can’t fish as the sea is being occupied by jellyfish. He sees Muromi getting stung and wonders if she is immune. Actually she isn’t but I think she is an ‘M’ seeing she loves the pain. Speaking about jellyfish, their appearance was due to global warming. Muromi explains about Earth’s history and cycle of being destroyed and recreated. This has been happening since the dinosaur times. It occurred to Takkun that Muromi lived through those ages! How old is she?! Till she points out she learns history from school from a guy called Poseidon. The Greek God? Takkun is smacked in the face with a jellyfish when he tried asking her age. Never ask a woman her age. He wants to leave but she wonders if he’ll stop by again. Of course he will. And when he does, she has a favour to ask: Fertilize her eggs!!! NO WAY!!!

Episode 2
Because of the mermaids’ singing, it was the reason why Japan was saved from Mongols invasion!!! For real?! So how old is Muromi actually? Don’t ask her age! Muromi gives Takkun her number and they can exchange mails. Oh no. Wait. Mermaids have handphones? She wants him to text her on just about anything. He’ll try. Next day, Muromi is upset that he did not send a single mail. And there she was sending him 372 texts and each hitting the 5000 character limit and he still had nothing to reply?! I can see why he had nothing to say… Later Muromi’s friend, Sumida notices her engrossed with her handphone and finds out this boy she likes. Muromi types a long message about this and that. Finally she is happy to receive a reply. “Okay”. Oh, the heartbreak… He’s not much of a talker, is he? Takkun thought he fished out Muromi again but it is a different mermaid, Levia. She is Muromi’s senior and was to meet up with her using Takkun as the meeting point. Takkun realizes Levia is that sea monster named Leviathan that breathes fire, though Levia says she hasn’t done that for a long time. Looking back at one of the photos (they have that hundreds of years ago too?), a photo of Levia destroying a city brings back fond memories. What city? What civilization? Mu continent? Super advanced science? Overthrowing gods? Olympus? Valhalla? Odin? Zeus? Are we even talking about Earth?! It’s like the serpent fighting and defeating some alien life form with her fiery breath! Takkun is disheartened that the mermaids played fireworks and didn’t clean up. I mean, he doesn’t want the ocean polluted and guess who will be affected most when the sea is dirty? Talking of fireworks, they remember watching the lovely sky lit up with them. Till Takkun realize those ‘fireworks’ were actually arrows on fire at the Battle of Troy!!! Though Muromi likes fireworks, she doesn’t have good memories of fire. Because she was once put on the stake at France and accused of being a witch! Shouldn’t she be afraid of humans? They’re much scarier, right? Anyway Levia didn’t like it and rained fire on everyone. That led to the abolishment of witch trials. Wow. I take that back. She’s much scarier. When it’s time to leave, Levia hugs Takkun and hopes he would look after Muromi. She might run around cheerful but she’s quite lonely at heart. The same night, Muromi enjoys playing sparklers with Takkun.

Episode 3
A couple of dolphins are doing well for a sea show. Muromi showed up to mock the good life they are having. Seems as pointed out, Muromi has this deep hatred for aquatic mammals especially fish who develop lungs. She wanted to give them a piece of her mind but the park keeper stopped her, thinking she is some cosplay freak. She goes on to rant about the sensitivity of dolphins but this has Muromi further insulting dolphins as blood sucking profit makers. Why the hatred, babe? Flashback 200 million years ago (wait! How old is she?!). Muromi liked some monster dolphin ancestor. However he got bored with her and went out with his own kind. He called her a stalker. And after all these years, the hate still lingers on. She never got over it, eh? Hii-chan is the opposite of Muromi and loves dolphins and whales. She wants to help Muromi make friends but the pissed mermaid breaks their ribs instead! They did no wrong! For that moment, she was persuaded to pet one of them but the thoughts of her ex-boyfriend changed her mind. Another set of ribs broken. Noting the problem is worsening, Hii-chan pleads to Takkun to help Muromi overcome her hatred of dolphins since he is the best human who understands her. He doesn’t even know what’s going on… Before Hii-chan reveal further, Muromi screws her from the back to mind her own business. Dismissing Hii-chan as her little sister but just somebody who grew up together in the neighbourhood. Hii-chan tells this problem to Levia and Sumida. They agree to help out and invite her under the pretence of a mixer. Levia explains there are land creatures that evolved into sea creatures but has never the other way round. So for her boyfriend, he either evolved into something else or died out a long time ago. Muromi realizes her hatred has been misplaced for such a long time that she swims away in embarrassment. To recover from the shock, she stays by Takkun’s side for a while. But when she returns, her view of aquatic mammals didn’t change. She continues to yell at dolphins for no reason. Hard to change a 200 million year old habit, eh?

Episode 4
Takkun is happily fishing away when a weird girl appears behind him. She is Yeti, a well, yeti from Himalayas and is here to meet her friend Muromi who said to meet her at the fishing boy. Used again, huh? How did she arrive in Japan? Illegally via hiding in the aeroplane’s crate. Anyway Muromi wants Takkun to come along sightseeing with them at Kyoto but he refuses. So the girls went off by themselves. Some time later, Muromi returns a happy customer with lots of Shinsengumi souvenirs. Yeti has returned to the Himalayas and is crafting a Shinsengumi sword! She handles it well and cuts loose a harpy in a trap. She brings it to make friends with Muromi but since Harpy is part bird, you know what this means. Look who is looking good as dinner? Muromi is keeping her distance and her worst fear comes true when she sees the predatory eyes in Harpy. Yeti tells Harpy that Muromi is her friend and not to eat her. But after 3 steps, she forgets and starts biting her! I don’t know how she survived that but she’s real messed up. How does a mermaid taste? I guess she can’t escape the food chain’s curse because here comes Harpy biting her once more. Yeti brings Harpy to Takkun. Why are more mythical creatures slowly starting to enter Japan? Takkun introduces himself to her but after 3 steps, Harpy forgets. Remembering birds and mermaids don’t mix, Yeti believes she can drill it into Harpy’s mind that Muromi is not food but friend. Suddenly Muromi jumps out of the water with a surprise attack on Harpy. Clearly she has no intentions of getting along. Both sides fight but in the end it is Harpy that emerges victorious. Muromi beaten to a pulp even when she is in her underwater home turf. Pathetic. In the end, Takkun feeds Harpy some food and the latter perfectly understands Muromi is her friend and cannot eat her despite looking delicious. The rest are appalled to realize that to train something, food is always the best start.

Episode 5
Muromi excels in jumping a great length over water like a flying fish. Another record? But Fuji feels envy of her body because her small boobs that have less water resistance allows her to jump and swim far. I’m not sure if Fuji is intimidating Muromi because she’s groping her own super size boobs while saying that. Obviously Muromi doesn’t like it and abuses-cum-insults her. Muromi breaks Takkun’s concentration to go ask him if he prefers small or big boobs. He starts thinking different scenarios and realizes they are all bad end! So which answer? Run away! Humans run faster than mermaid on land, right? Fuji sees Muromi dancing and swimming in the water. Her tail makes her look so beautiful. Fuji wants to be like her. When she follows Muromi up to land, she is shocked to see how tattered her tail is, thanks to dragging it on land all the time. Muromi is not interested in her lectures that their bodies are meant for water and smacks her boobs (because she is somewhat flailing them). Fuji starts hating the land for changing Muromi. But each time she badmouths about the land, Muromi targets her boobs. Big is easy target, right? So Fuji goes to check out this Takkun. Normal guy. He made the right decision to escape before he gets caught up in some misunderstanding but Fuji won’t let him leave. Because Takkun says the mermaids always put him in a fix, Fuji hopes he can say that directly to Muromi in hopes she will stay away from the land. But Takkun is sharp and can tell what she is trying to say. Fuji explains about Muromi’s tail but this is Takkun’s chance to run away before he gets caught up in something weird. In town, he sees Muromi skateboarding! I don’t think the heat is getting to him or everyone. Because everyone is friendly with her. He notices her ragged tail. Fuji wants Takkun to persuade Muromi to stop coming to land when Muromi once more targets her boobs (sea urchins?). They argue and of course they want to hear Takkun’s opinion. Takkun says the tail belongs to Muromi and what she does with her own body is up to her. This is what it means to be friends and to respect that decision, right? While Muromi is awed by his mature words, Fuji isn’t as she rattles his brain. In order for him to get away, he throws his bait into the sea and the mermaids fell for it! Well, how did this even happen? The bait getting hooked in both their mouths?

Episode 6
Takkun is talking about men even though they have ventured into space, the deep sea remains as the last undiscovered frontier. What gives about this documentary? Because he just fished out a rare oarfish!!!  You only find those in the deep sea, right? Or at least in the Ryuuguujou legend. And it’s talking too! But as Muromi points out, this oarfish once worked at Ryuuguujou before it went bust. Yeah, it was a sleazy joint. Anyway the oarfish is bugging Takkun to give him any work to do. What kind of work can a fish do? Why not Muromi do it herself? Well, she did but everywhere she brought him, he was turned down. When she mentions about the oarfish’s ability to bring rain, it suddenly rains and Takkun throws him back into the sea! I guess this is why fishermen hate them. But Muromi says it is more than a curse inflicted on Otohime rather than a blessing. Otohime the slave driver? Yeah. She really ran that sleazy joint, eh? Next morning, Takkun is surprised to hear the weather report about a sudden downpour yesterday in the Kantou region. When Takkun is getting supplies at the fishing store, he notices the employee’s name as Otohime. Could it be? The way she denies and reacts pinpoints that she may be the real deal. Later he confirms Muromi of Otohime’s whereabouts. Although the palace went bust, the assets sold off to repay debts, she has no idea where she is accept that she has fallen from grace. Next time he returns to the fishing shop, he makes her feel more uneasy especially when he talks about the oarfish and Ryuuguujou. Before he knew it, Otohime treats him like some sort of stalker because he has been coming here all the time (it’s the only fishing shop in town). She throws a tantrum that he is planning to do something and to at least blackmail her to put her heart at ease (WTF). In order to free himself from this misunderstanding, Takkun wants her to follow him after her shift. He takes her to see Muromi, the one who told him what he knows. Instantly, both girls are appalled to see each other and start squabbling. Muromi blames her for kidnapping men and sucking their life essence. Otohime blames her for spreading rumours that closed down her palace. Even Otohime did a bone breaking submission move on the oarfish and dislocated its joint! Brings back painfully familiar memories, eh? I don’t know how Takkun was able to stop their squabbling and name calling. And so he gets an earful by Muromi to not get too close to her because nothing good comes out from her, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. A lot of things to say about the person you don’t like. But at the fishing store… Otohime lectures him to stay away from that mermaid because she does stupid things, blah, blah, blah… I guess Takkun can never be free, huh?

Episode 7
Muromi purposely dresses in a school uniform to let Takkun peek underneath her skirt. Nothing but scales… When Takkun is fishing at the river, he thought he could relax but fishes out Muromi! Tail slap! Apparently mermaids can live in both salt and fresh water. Muromi is on her way back after meeting a friend. When she starts sneezing, she takes off her top and wants Takkun to warm her up! Suddenly a kappa appears before them! Another mythical creature! Kawabata looks very muscular and has this yakuza-like attitude! Don’t like Takkun very much… Scary! He is one of Muromi’s friends and passes some medicine to her before diving back down quickly. Muromi hopes Takkun won’t take it the wrong way because he doesn’t like humans (he almost killed Takkun just now!). One reason was because his brother was persecuted by them. And now his body is being treated as some religious artefact in some temple. At least it’s being preserved. Later Muromi swims up to Kyushu and meets with her tsuchinoko friend, Houman. Together with Kawabata, they pick poisonous mushrooms. Why do all the mushrooms give out a piercing shriek when they get pulled out? They have a feast with their abundant catch and get high. Like drugs? Takkun gets the fright of his life when Kawabata suddenly appears behind him! Can’t run! He is here to see Muromi but Takkun doesn’t know if she’ll turn up. So as he sits there fishing, he is afraid on how to handle this scary guy. Kawabata gives him a cucumber. Not to offend him, Takkun eats it even though it is raw. Kawabata is impressed he can tell its true taste unlike those mass produced and starts talking about cucumbers this, cucumbers that. He loves cucumbers, doesn’t he? Takkun can’t maintain a proper conversation and an eerie silence is what they usually have. Seems Kawabata has texted Muromi (even kappas have one of those these days) about meeting up but she still hasn’t turned up. Takkun starts to panic and for once he really wished Muromi is here to save him and tries to call here. He hears a familiar ringtone nearby and to his dismay, Muromi and her friends were hiding nearby and eavesdropping on them! So Muromi consoles our pretty frightened by relieved kid. Kawabata hands Muromi his harvest, a sack of cucumbers before diving back into the sea. Muromi points out even though Kawabata doesn’t like humans, Takkun is an exception. He shared with him his cucumber and you have to be pretty close for that to happen. Although Takkun still doesn’t understand him, he feels Kawabata is a nice guy.

Episode 8
Muromi seeks Houman’s advice since Takkun isn’t paying attention to her. She suggests giving him a present. Guess what? Muromi wraps herself as the present. But Takkun won’t fall for it and can tell someone gave her that weird idea. Muromi swims to Antarctica but is surrounded by penguins. They’re birds, right? Food time! No matter how hard Muromi tries to escape, she can’t outrun the group. She lies on the ice awaiting her fate to be eaten and become the most beautiful penguin poop in the ocean when Levia happen to pass by. Because Muromi is being negative that she will always be bullied by penguins, Levia will help her out. First she warns the penguins not to bully her friend anymore. And then she transforms into her true form and fires a warning shot! NO!!! Don’t hurt the cute penguins!!! The penguins scurry for their lives. Levia decides to take a nap and wants Muromi to wake her up if anything happens. But she is too deep in her sleep that she can’t hear Muromi warning her about a polar bear! Why is there a polar bear in Antarctica?! Fresh fish food… Takkun sees a seal at the pier. He thinks it is one of those friends Muromi is supposed to meet. He calls her but it seems she knows nothing. Oh, she’s in Easter Island now. I don’t know if she entered a magical portal or not, because how can she suddenly appear from Takkun’s behind when she’s at a place with 14 hour time difference? She rushed back because she didn’t want some funny creature to steal her Takkun away. But all the seal is interested in is biting her tail! Fish food… Takkun wants her to lead it back to its natural life. Muromi wants a motivation present to do that. Say, a kiss. But all he does is gave her a fish bait. So disappointing… A few days later when Muromi returns after sending the seal back, her body is one big mess. Big struggle, huh? Hii-chan tries to coax the living fossil fish, Coelacanth to come up to the surface but it asserts it is scared and swims away when Muromi arrives. Hii-chan blames her for scaring it off. As they ponder why it doesn’t go up to the surface, Sumida is surprised Muromi has forgotten. Oh no. Sounds like it is her fault. Flashback a few hundred million years ago, Muromi and Sumida tried to help the Coelacanth go up to land. But soon, Muromi experienced her heartbreaking break up with her dolphin boyfriend.  When Coelacanth was inches away from breathing air and reaching land, psycho Muromi grabbed its skull and drag it back deep into the sea while drilling into its head how scary the land is and that the bottom of the sea is the best and happiest place. So yeah. It’s Muromi’s fault. So scary that the trauma has become something of a genetic level! Hii-chan wants her to take responsibility so Muromi tries to persuade the fish but they all swim away in fear. It’s all in their genes… Scary…

Episode 9
Takkun fishes out Muromi’s top but he is unfazed with her silly ploy. He’s not giving it back unless she comes to get it herself. Wouldn’t that expose her top? She’s been so daring recently so what’s there to be shy? To stop her blabbing, he hooks her nose!!! Takkun notices Muromi’s shell is like Doraemon’s pocket and can keep anything! She won’t let him see so he entices her with that same bait trick. However he can’t see anything since it has some security feature. Muromi tells him some guy made this for her and even her handphone and the technology mermaids have now. Remember the Mu continent? Yeah, one of those guys. And some crap about why he has been forbidden to be in contact with humans. Takkun wants to see this guy but Muromi becomes arrogant. No choice, he has to play along with her. Now in a good mood, she shows him his picture. He’s an alien???!!! Although, his body has rotted and now has taken a mechanical form. Muromi takes Yeti to go see this guy, Wiseman so that she could have a handphone of her own. Yeti is afraid to see the little mechanical spider. More scary is his perverted otaku fetish! Loli? Shota? Cross-dressing?! Yeah. Even if he digitized his brain, I figure it must have been short circuited somewhere. If Yeti wants her handphone, she must put on a tail. Whether she needs it or not doesn’t matter. What will it be? Cat? Dog? Rabbit? Muromi picks rabbit and because Wiseman becomes a pervert, Yeti slices it to bits. Don’t worry. There are lots more of himself around. He cloned himself. Scary, huh? Because Harpy hasn’t been giving Yeti real answers lately, she fears someone has been sneaking in to teach her weird stuffs while she is out. The only way is to fix a tracker and to see Wiseman. Oh no… On second thought… Before she could say no, Muromi brings them there again. But Wiseman is now a stylish android? He says if she wants a tracker, Harpy must take off her panties. Yeti slices him open. The little mechanical spider crawls out. I guess he’s still the same pervert. Harpy doesn’t like the tracker on her feet as it is too tight. Yeti is appalled she spouted several bad words. Where did she learn them? Wiseman admits he is the one who taught her. When Yeti was away, Wiseman sent one of his drones to go talk to her. It is his way to protect and alleviate her loneliness. Yeti will not tolerate this crap and hacks and slashes Wiseman to bits! Cool!

Episode 10
Takkun felt hungry so he walked into a tempura store and ordered a mermaid tempura meal. Guess who that mermaid is? Don’t worry. It’s only a dream. An island girl sees Muromi beached on the shore. She doesn’t look too good. Had too many drinks perhaps. After getting her coconut to drink, she witnesses Muromi slicing it with her fins, talking to her friend via handphone and trying to make an appointment for a mixer (they’re at Malaysia and she’s pondering which direction is the best to reach the Baltic Sea) especially trying to teach that Kraken some lesson. At the end, the girl is so dumbfounded so Muromi gives her scale as her token of thanks. The girl happens to meet Yeti and they happen to know each other. The girl is waiting for Muromi to give her shell collections as thanks so Yeti mentions Muromi is based often in Japan. How to get there? Just then, Sumida is beached on the shore and doesn’t look too good either. Had too much drinks too… After giving her a coconut, they ask her to call Muromi. She too isn’t looking good. I don’t think she’s in a mood to receive any presents because both mermaids continue throwing up. The girl gives Yeti her shells instead. Back home, Yeti remembers how she first met Muromi. She plucked her out in some frozen ice during her journey. As thanks, Muromi gave her a scale in which she keeps in a jar. She always cherishes it. One day when Yeti went out for a delivery, Harpy is left alone to guard the house and so happen they ran out of food. See where this is going? When Yeti returns, she is disheartened to see Harpy eating the scale! She is so sad that she calls Takkun in the dead of the night. What else can she do? Besides, how the heck did she come up with that hologram visual?! Does Takkun handphone have this feature?! Yeti tells him her problem and he believes she has nothing to worry about since it is Muromi they’re talking about. Next morning, Yeti is suddenly hugged by Muromi. Takkun called her after that and told her everything. Muromi is so happy that her scale meant so much for her. Muromi and Harpy start hugging and kissing Yeti with lots of love. Yeti later calls Takkun to thank him but he is embarrassed since he is attracting the stares of other students with this visual feature. Even after school when he is fishing, all the other mermaids start ‘video conferencing’ with him.

Episode 11
Before you’re wondering if this Masuda guy working as the convenience store clerk is going to be a new character or not, Muromi puts a stop to this comedian wannabe. I don’t get the joke… Takkun buys a popsicle but realizes the seller is no other than Otohime! It’s not like she can’t have more than one job, right? So she needs the money that badly? For Ryuuguujou’s revival? Well, more importantly her goal is to dominate the land! However bad decision making during the Great Depression and Lehman Brothers scandal caused her to lose everything. During the ECO (Economic Convention in Ocean), the other mermaids brushes off her plea for assistance and mock her. That’s when Otohime vowed to become better on land and beat them. Wow. She’s burning with hatred. But Muromi wasn’t part of those mermaids and in fact sometimes helped out with the business. Yeah, she made humans go broke (even losing their clothes) and somehow they won’t hate her. But it is after some false rumours, Muromi spread them and Ryuuguujou went under. Takkun wonders why she just couldn’t tell her it’s a mistake. That’s because she believes you can only clear up misunderstandings through action. No matter what you say will only come off as an excuse. Takkun buys another popsicle but surprises this one as Otohime’s treat. Later when Otohime and Muromi bump into each other, war of words start brewing. Let the insults flow! It ends when Takkun baits Muromi. Otohime then leaves. Takkun learns that Muromi doesn’t really hate her and although she says she only cares about Ryuuguujou and not Otohime, without her running the place doesn’t feel right. Oarfish had to butt in to comment they’re both not honest with each other and gets a bone breaking manoeuvre. I think his sternum is done for this time. Takkun walks into the conveniences store and is surprised to see Levia making her purchases. Even more surprising, she is a regular customer here as pointed out by Masuda. They realize behind them is Otohime. Levia invites her to drink together but the latter refuses. Takkun realizes there are hints of undertone seriousness in their speech. And it is going to get worse if Muromi joins in! Otohime wants to leave but Levia won’t let her. And they ’party’ outside the convenience store till morning and Masuda had to clean up the mess…

Episode 12
The mermaids are enjoying their cucumbers. This lead them to talk about if Kawabata and Houman are in some sort of lovey-dovey relationship. While their imagination goes wild, in actual fact, they’re not really sleeping together in some love hotel bed. Because Kawabata makes a grave-like tombstone for Houman to hibernate. Fuji and Muromi seem to have opposing views about human. Wondering why the former hates humans so much, Sumida hints because that the person she likes was taken away by them. Fuji thought Muromi is sympathizing with her but it turns out she is just abusing her boobs! She’s going to tear it off! I’m not sure if it’s pain or pleasure Fuji is feeling. Later Fuji talks to Kawabata and Houman if there is any medicine to help heal Muromi’s tail but they think it is up to how Muromi takes care of her body. Fuji then wants Takkun to help her out in her plan to make Muromi’s tail look beautiful. Why not ask her herself? Fuji believes Muromi will listen to him. Suddenly Muromi uses an octopus to attack her boobs. She doesn’t like Fuji trying to devise such a scheme behind her back. I guess seeing Fuji in such pitiful state, Takkun intervenes by saying he wants to how her beautiful tail once looked like. But Muromi tells him off for thinking such a way because it is the inside and heart that counts. She’s not the one to speak… Muromi decides to rip off Fuji’s tail to let her have a taste of what it feels like. I’m not sure if this scene is about Fuji in pain or pleasure while anticipating her tail going to be torn off. Maybe it’s both. Takkun stops Muromi and of course the latter mentions she was only joking and won’t do it. Takkun feels a spiteful glare from Fuji towards him. What just happened? Did he just save her or ruined her fun? Although Muromi makes funny faces at Fuji, Fuji notes that she wouldn’t mind if she was the one doing it to her. I guess this proves she is a masochist. Whenever Fuji wants to join Muromi, she realizes the sudden distance between them. It’s growing bigger by the second…

Episode 13
Takkun ponders about his future so Muromi lends an ear. Getting advice from a mermaid? Won’t hurt, right? Of course the concept of future differs between men and mermaids. Muromi takes Takkun and dives into the sea together to have fun. Then she wants him to relax and take it easy. It’s her way of saying that sometimes if you struggle, you’ll drown and it’s better to do nothing and go with the flow of the current. She understands that humans have a short lifetime and the reason why they are always busy. Takkun should take his time to float around. If he finds something he likes, he should swim for it with all his might. I guess the first thing he needs now is a warm bath! He’s going to catch a cold after jumping into sea at winter! Next morning, Takkun returns to the shore but sees Muromi doing a lame Merlion joke. It’s for her year-end party. She misunderstands humans’ Christmas party is all about orgy. Takkun gives her a charm made out of a broken hook as thanks for yesterday’s advice. But Muromi is upset that he doesn’t want her orgy present in return and blames him for leading him on. I think his brains will loosen if he shakes him like that anymore. Muromi does her Merlion joke at the party and all the mermaids burst into laughter. She thought Takkun didn’t have a good joke sense. All the mermaids are soaking in the hotspring for the New Year. Yeti can’t take it and goes out (she’s only used to cold places). The heat must be getting to Fuji’s head because she’s seeing how sexy Muromi’s flesh is. Otohime is also invited but remains distant. Only Levia is not around because it is not hot enough. She is currently soaking in lava bath! Oh, the water is too hot for Hii-chan’s dolphins too. How the heck? Once done, they prepare to go watch the sunrise. Kawabata and Takkun are waiting at the shore. Once more, that kid feels the awkwardness between them and can’t help feel so relieved when Muromi and co arrive. Never been so grateful in his life. As everyone watches the first sunrise, Yeti gets the honours to pound the mochi. But she pounds too hard that it is knocked into the ground. So they have nothing to eat… Happy New Year everybody.

The OVA lasts twice the length of its TV series. I guess more of wacky Muromi the better, huh? It begins with Muromi playing a sleeping Snow White. It’s one of her failed attempts trying to get Takkun to kiss her. However the seagulls and cats are gathering and ready to pound on this easy fish! Can Takkun give her the much needed kiss before she becomes fresh food?! Well, Takkun doesn’t give a damn so Muromi gets bitten everywhere! Poor girl. She deserves it. After beating him up for spurning her advances and not kissing her, Takkun find out that the idea of Snow White’s story originated from her. Seriously? Around 150 years ago, she was lying on the shore and had this urge to be kissed (WTF). Somehow the Grimm Brothers stumbled upon her and liked the idea and stole it. She is still sore they died and she didn’t get a single penny for royalty. WTF. Takkun thought of cheering her up by saying if the story of The Little Mermaid was by her too. However that only brings back painful memories. Flashback time. Long ago when the world’s continent was still as one, the Pangaea Super Continent. There was the Pistachio Kingdom where humans and mermaids lived harmoniously together. WTF?! Civilization?! Venice?! WTF indeed. Muromi and her pals were school mermaids. She didn’t get along well with Fuji then and they always argued about breast size with Muromi using Mana as the perfect example of a washboard (something Mana is proud off too – heck she has legions of fans!). I’m not sure if Takkun is transported back into this story because there he is, a tanned version named Takkukun. We are introduced to the other male humans in Muromi’s class like Oohashi who got permission to touch her hand but gets disappointed on the idea that touching any part of her skin is like molesting her boobs and nipples (but of course), Tooru who somewhat plays the straight guy, another weirdo called Sudou and Masuda who is a big Mana fan (trying to get her to sell her swimsuit?). Levia is their teacher and for some reason when she enters class, she initiates some passionate lovey-dovey thingy with her students because she loves them all very much. So much her love that she doesn’t mind burning down the world for them. Scary.

After class, everyone parties hard at Ryuugujou with wild Otohime leading them all. Muromi experiences her usual hang over after that and as she lies on the beach, she sees a handsome prince on his flying horse. Not just handsome but rich! Love at first sight! Muromi wants to marry him but he refuses, citing he has fetish for legs! WTF?! And so for the sake of love, Muromi wants Takkukun to split her tail into two! It’ll hurt like hell… He won’t do it so Muromi insults him the virgin he is. But the other guys back him and know the pain of that is to be a virgin. Be proud to be a virgin! Virginity rules! Since Mana only understands Muromi, they go on a journey to find pretty legs for her. It brings them to Kawabata and his brother as they advise Muromi not to get close to humans as they will bite her back (Mana eating the cucumber like oh so stimulating…). They also meet Houman but why the hell do they ask a creature without legs for advice?! Anyway Houman can’t entertain them since it’s hibernation time. At the end of the journey, the solution lies within Pistachio Kingdom itself. What a waste of journey. A school girl named Chieri Wakana has Muromi’s solution. In order for some white powder (she claims it is legal), Muromi must give 10 of her scales. Painful as it is as she plucks them out, it’s for the sake of love, right? Before crazy Muromi is going to inject this drug and get her rich handsome prince, Takkukun tells her that he likes her the way she is and shouldn’t resort to such methods. Muromi is so happy but got clumsy and accidentally injects the syringe in her forehead. The results? She has beautiful sexy legs!!! Wow!!! But sticking out from her tail???!!! Hideous! Ugly! Mismatch! It’s like a bad cosplay.

When the prince sees Muromi, he quickly flies to her. Is marriage finally in her hands?! Actually no. The prince falls in love with Mana instead because of her flat chest, swimsuit and backpack. Lolicon?! Wait a minute. I thought he is into legs? Yes, but he likes those fetishes more! Mana agrees to marry him! Muromi is so enraged (could you blame her for all the trouble she went through?) that she whacks the prince. He turns out to be Wiseman in disguise! Now that the secret is out, Mana rejects wanting to marry him and beats him up till he explodes. Muromi reflects on her actions that all this happened just because she wanted to become human and marry somebody rich and handsome. The rest feel pity for her so it’s Levia’s turn to console her student. She’s going to make her forget her woes by messing it up real good. Don’t expect something yuri because what Levia meant was that she is going to burn down the kingdom!!! WHY???!!! Because she loves her students so much that she’ll burn the world down, remember?! And so that is how the Pistachio Kingdom was destroyed and Pangaea split into the continents as we know today. Back in present time, Takkun can’t even begin where to believe such story. Muromi admits that this dumb story is made up and would prefer a man who will accept her for who she is. Takkun agrees and likes her the way she is (I guess this includes how annoying she is). Muromi even tried to publish this story of hers via doujin with her friends having some contribution in making them. Takkun wonders why publishing the story brings back painful memories. During a doujin convention, a guy named Andersen came up to her booth for her signature. Little did she know, he ripped her story off after that by changing bits and parts of it before publishing it as his own. So Muromi is upset she didn’t get a single royalty? She wants Takkun to give her a kiss to cheer her up. She gets bitten by Harpy instead and then bugs Yeti for a kiss. Meanwhile Wiseman continues to stalk Mana and she continues to beat him up. How long has this been going on through the ages?

The Slutty Mermaid
I guess when you live as long as these mermaids do, you tend to get bored with life and doing something different, live for the moment or you just end up hating it for the rest of your very, very, very, very, very who-knows-when-you-will-kick-the-bucket life. Besides, I thought with them having lived so long since the dinosaur ages, I think they may be the first living and intelligent beings on this planet? Noticed how they never aged? Perhaps just a change in hairstyle but everything else pretty much remains the same. So are they some kind of gods? Which makes it ironic because since they are at the bottom of the food chain with so many predators from birds to cats and fellow fish, the same bunch are still hanging around and haven’t been eaten alive yet. Either they must be very lucky or those animals find that mermaids are not digestible. Haha! Have you ever heard of mermaid meat? See how gullible they are to baits? Isn’t it amazing that they have never been caught throughout the ages despite never learning from their lesson?

The nonsensical plot of this show that has everything goes and thrown into it makes me wonder too that if all the fairytales, myths and stories around the world originated from mermaids. Of course I would know better that they aren’t (because in real life, mermaids do not exist, right?) but the way Muromi pulls a fast one and the way she narrates those stories seem to tell us that humans are such sneaky creatures and lack imagination so much so they resort to stealing original works from mermaids and become famous for it like we know them today. Well, only winners write the history, right? Curse yourself for not knowing your rights to copyrights better. And with all sorts of mythical creatures gathering in Japan, it’s like the best place in the world for anything supernatural to happen, no? Otherwise, why would you have demons, angels, aliens, monsters, ghosts and vile spirits attacking the country and you only have high school kids with special powers, weapons or equipment to save the day? Wow. I really need to visit Japan one of these days.

So for Muromi, I think she is one crazy mermaid because she has lived so long and carried the heartbreak of her first love throughout the centuries. It’s a good thing humans don’t live that long. Who knows what kind of grudges we will hold till our graves. I’m not sure if Takkun is the only guy she goes crazy with since he is the only person to be seen fishing at the pier. What else is there for a bored mermaid like her to do than to hang around with him, mess around, play around and maybe get lucky? Don’t get your hopes up. Don’t get our hopes up. Takkun isn’t the kind of guy to fall for a mermaid. At least not after he has seen the kind of wacky attitude she displays. As much as I want to say that Muromi likes Takkun, but that feels it is just to a buddy-buddy kind of sense and nothing deeper. It may be because Takkun won’t allow her to get closer to her despite her bold flirting. But if she was that desperate, she would have made her move a long time ago. So she might just be fooling around just to see his reaction and pass the time. Likewise, Takkun doesn’t really hate her because if he really did, he would have moved to another fishing spot. But since she can travel anywhere as long as there is water, what are the chances he’ll bump into her? It’s a small world after all. So small that she can travel halfway round the world and back to Japan in less than 10 seconds. Really. Absurd. Thus feel Takkun appreciates her company even though she is annoying. I mean, how often do you find boys his age take fishing as a hobby? Those are for middle aged and old dudes, right? But where are they? Therefore Muromi and her friends are somewhat his companion in that sense.

Other than Muromi, her other mermaid companions are zany too but the series is too short for them or the rest of the other characters to have any impact or whatsoever on the overall series. Heck, I don’t think there is even time for character development. Who needs them seeing that we’re here just for the antics and boobs, right? Boobs? Well, I thought Fuji’s role in this series is to provide some fanservice since her oversized breasts are something that could only exist in hentai animes. And the way Muromi abuses it like as though she is extremely kneading some bread dough makes it as though you might be watching some S&M play and it doesn’t help when Fuji has awakened to her true calling as a masochist. So is it true that big breasts are only in the way when it comes to water resistance? That’s why you don’t see any mermaids with humongous breasts, don’t you? Either that or they’d just sink to the bottom of the ocean… Sumida seems like the normal one among the lot as her only quirk (for now) is that she is Muromi’s drinking partner. Seeing mermaids get drunk, vomit and getting the hangover really diminishes your perspective of them. Hii-chan is probably the closest to what we perceive in as a mermaid because of her friendly and innocent nature (I don’t think we ever normally perceived mermaids with oversized boobs). She gets along well with all the creatures in the sea and perhaps maybe in time she’ll get along with humans on land seeing that the people in town aren’t even bothered or shocked with the existence of mermaids (because you would have seen exclusive news coverage and government agencies trying to kidnap them for secret experiments). Maybe they think it’s cosplay.

The rest of the other characters are wacky themselves. It makes you wonder if mythical creatures do act such a way as contrast to our current beliefs that they are to a point dark and ferocious creatures. Of course the comedic nature of this series is meant to portray them as such. I don’t think I have ever seen such a stoic and buffed up kappa like Kawabata in all the animes that I have seen (not that I can remember). I wonder why Takkun feels the need to talk to that guy. Can’t he just sit there quietly with him? Otherwise, if he wanted to talk, there is always Muromi, right? Maybe it has something to do with that man to man thing. Just that Kawabata isn’t any ordinary human, Levia’s good nature now may not reflect her fiery past but it’s better than raining fire and burning everything down. Unlike the large and elusive Abominable Snowman that we know, Yeti is very much smaller and somewhat shy. Likewise, Harpy seems cute and docile compared to the ugly ferocious Greek creature we are familiar with. Except when it comes to mermaids. So far Harpy is making great strides in not trying to eat every mermaid she sees. I wonder how long that will last.

The series has made this a running joke by making the oarfish something that Otohime loves to break and snap his bones. I don’t know if the bones of fish regenerate but that kind of blow can even kill. I know this is a joke each time we get to see x-ray close up of the oarfish’s bone breaking scenes and he limps away (or swims away rather) like as though it is a minimal injury. Maybe the sea water is supporting its bones. Otohime seems to have fallen from grace ages ago and the rate she is trying to rebuild back up from scratch, it’s going to take another age seeing she always makes bad investment. I thought she would have what it takes to be the CEO of some multi-national conglomerate but it seems she is just good to be a small time store clerk. It really diminishes her respectable reputation as told in the legends, eh? Wiseman is the most depraved among the characters. Despite boasting lots of technology and invention, I guess his mindset is like a perverted otaku. Even when his flesh his gone, his digital mind and body still remain dangerous. It is somewhat a good thing that he is forbidden to come into contact with humans otherwise mankind will fall faster before Armageddon arrives. I thought Wiseman should change his name to Pervertedman, or Perman for short. Oops. Forget it. That sounds copyrighted! I suppose thanks to Wiseman’s advance technologies, he keeps the mermaids ahead of time with all the modern conveniences that humans only now have access to.

Yukari Tamura did a splendid job in voicing Muromi thanks to her trademark squeaky voice, especially when she throws her tantrums or in one of her mood swings. She’s like the mermaid version of B Kata H Kei’s Yamada. Daisuke Sakaguchi as the oarfish didn’t sound like his usual such as the rebutting Shinpachi in Gintama because he sounded like an old man instead. Other casts include Takahiro Mizushima as Takkun (Furuuichi in Beelzebub), Ai Nonaka as Hii-chan (Tama in Sasami-san@Ganbaranai), Sumire Uesaka as Sumida (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Mai Nakahara as Levia (Juvia in Fairy Tail), Hitomi Harada as Fuji (Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Saki Fujita as Otohime (Ayano in YuruYuri), Chiwa Saito as Yeti (Aika in Aria The Animation), Kanako Sakai as Harpy (Kikuri in Jigoku Shoujo series), Kenji Hamada as Kawabata (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Yuka Inokuchi as Houman (Tabitha in Zero No Tsukaima) and Houchu Ootsuka as Wiseman (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge). The craziness of this series can be seen reflected in its opening theme, Nanatsunoumi Yori Kimi No Umi by Sumire Uesaka. If the crazy lyrics doesn’t get you, then seeing how crazy everything is from Muromi’s funny faces to ultimately saving the world from a huge Earth sized meteor crashing into the planet and then having everyone zooming past and barely missing the camera (except for Muromi who smacks right into it) should give you an idea what to expect. Just too bad it would have been super epic if there is an episode about the meteor crashing one.

Seeing Japan is a melting pot for all sorts of mythical creatures to meet, it won’t be surprise to see other creatures like Nessie, unicorns and leprechauns to appear. Don’t even discount vampires, werewolves and zombies too! Ironically, making plain Takkun as a landmark has those creatures easily finding their way. Maybe Takkun isn’t such a plain guy in their eyes. He has got this ‘talent’ to attract such creatures because ever since he fished out Muromi, he has been meeting one weird creature after another. Theoretically if you need to prove an existence of some life form, just get him or get whatever to go meet him. It will be easier than spending millions on research and yet yield nothing. And if science really does find mermaids like these, it might just shatter the world’s perception on them so I think it’s best that there are things we are better off not knowing. What you don’t know won’t ‘kill’ you.

N/B: Here’s a ‘related’ joke: What do you call maids who work at sea? Mer-maids. Nyuk Haha! I hope not only mermaids get that joke.

Here comes the bride… All dress in white… Eh? What do you mean they are not married yet? I thought judging from the title, Muneakira would have been married to Juubei or at least with one if not all of the other females around him! I guess it is partly my fault for trying to judge the storyline based on the title. Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride indeed is the sequel to Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls but this season it is not about seeing which of the girls fight over Muneakira’s attention and becoming his wife. The threat over Great Japan still looms. Yeah. Even if our heroes barely managed to save the day with the skin of their teeth in last season’s finale from the rampage of the deadly Shiro Amakusa, there are still other threats that want to bring Great Ol’ Japan down. What is it that makes people want to crush Japan? Why is it that some hate it so much and others love it obsessively? For the latter, I know it’s because of anime, manga and games! Wohoo! Ahem… And so it is up to our heroes once more to save Japan. But what does this bride thing has got to do with it anyway?

Episode 1
Nia and her army take on the Dark Samurais at the grave. Muneakira has finally returned after a trip that lasted him 6 months. It also has been that long since the events of that last battle and he has trained and improved himself to prevent Amakusa’s revival and protect Great Japan. Back at the dojo, he meets Matabei and summarizes his journey. Though he has lots to learn, he notices the mushrooming of maid cafes all over Japan and is glad it hasn’t caught up back here. Looks like he has to eat his words because the dojo has turned into a maid cafe! True Shadow Maid Cafe welcomes you! Juubei in a maid outfit too?! So what happened when he was gone? Apparently Yukimura invested her shares and bonds and due to the Leiman Shock (that’s Lehman, right? Nyuk, nyuk), she lost all her investment so this maid cafe is a way to make money. Shouldn’t they get some reward from the government after that last heroic battle? Apparently they got nothing because Yoshihiko was declared the hero and gotten all the reward. Sen and Yukimura blame each other but Muneakira hoped at least they would do something more respectful to make money. But they want fast money. Easy money. Plus, they have put the dojo as collateral for loan to open up the cafe so if everything goes bust, so will the dojo. Just great. No choice, Muneakira has to resign to fate, cast away his samurai pride and work alongside them. He feels somebody is missing. Darn right. Apparently the girls sent Kanetsugu to hand out flyers of their cafe’s opening at the graveyard!!! Will she invite ghosts? What a way to get rid of that annoyance. Anyway, Kanetsugu really thinks there are ghosts because 4 Dark Samurai babes see her flyer but are interested to know the location of Yagyuu Dojo. Imagine their shock when they find the place as a maid cafe. This can’t be it, right? Since they’re here, they become customers and because they have that super black credit card, wow, superb service. Especially Juubei with Moe-Moe-Kyun-Kyun omelette rice special. And the rest are scheming to increase fees and service charge. Ripping them off… But they got our heroes’ attention when they are looking for Juubei. They don’t believe this maid to be the real one. However they realize Muneakira is the real deal. Finally Kanetsugu returns but sees no one in and thinks everyone is slacking off while she works her butt off. Oh… They’re outside preparing to fight. Don’t want to wreck the collateral, eh?

Kanetsugu is not happy that she has been tricked and on top of that, she is being insulted by her comrades that she was the one who showed the Dark Samurais the way here, she decides to take things into her own hands and charge at her enemies. However she was easily taken out. This has the gang look at them seriously. Sen detects their power on par with Master Samurai. Muneakira wants all of them to transform into Master Samurai but it seems Juubei can’t transform. Could it be for real that her other self has left since that last battle? The Dark Samurais are getting impatient to face the real Juubei and know they are lying about her taking a trip. They claim they are stronger than any Master Samurai. To prove that, Musashi Miyamoto easily nullifies Muneakira’s General power and blasts him away. Then Kojirou Sasaki easily penetrates Yukimura’s defence to defeat her. Mataemon Araki is faster, more powerful and strikes Sen out with a single blow. Inshun Houzoin binds and absorbs Muneakira’s essence. There are chains over his arms and this is a sign that his General powers have been sealed. It will become permanent if he doesn’t do something about it. In the end he will lose all his General abilities and never wield a sword again. They will wait for 1 month for them to bring the real Juubei to them. Muneakira admits defeat that they are not strong to beat them. The curse is real and it seems he can’t even hold his sword. They really need the other Juubei. Next day, they are surprised that Musashi returns. Hey, nobody said she couldn’t come back as a customer, right? Besides, she didn’t pay yesterday’s bill. It’s going to be hefty since Kanetsugu’s bill costs a bomb. But that was her own fault, right? And all because of money, they have to serve her as usual. Yeah. Musashi likes that Moe-Moe-Kyun-Kyun spell… Can you believe it? They lost to somebody like this. Don’t tell me they’ve gone weak.

Episode 2
Yukimura and Sen notice the Master Samurai seal on Juubei’s cleavage which proves that Muneakira’s General power still remains. They need Juubei to transform if they are to stand a chance with the Dark Samurais. There seems to be an intruder breaking in and only stealing Yukimura’s panties. She is somewhat happy and happier if the culprit is Muneakira. What makes her think it’s him? He has been journeying alone for so long and deprived of female contact and so when he returns, his horniness takes control. Some theory. Sen does not approve of it and in the event if it’s true, she’ll dance naked in front of everyone. Better hope it isn’t true. So while Yukimura hatches her plan to seduce Muneakira, Sen tries to find out where Muneakira keeps the stolen panties in hopes to clear his name. So far so good. When Matabei is doing the laundry, she senses something steal Yukimura’s panties she is about to wash. Muneakira stumbles upon a funny looking monkey outside and since it is hungry, invites the monkey to eat some fruits. Matabei reports to Yukimura and this leads them to think this is an inside job. Because Matabei’s smelling sense is like a dog, Yukimura makes her small her panties so she can sniff out where the perpetrator is. Muneakira notices the monkey’s bag and opens it to find panties. Yeah. That’s when the girls come in and misinterpret the situation. Muneakira the panty thief? The monkey tries to escape in the midst of the chaos but was caught. Yukimura recognizes it as Sasuke Sarutobi. Before she and Matabei left for the academy, Sasuke tried to follow but was banished. Sasuke is the one who is stealing all the panties because she was desperate to see them and had to stave off her loneliness and resort to stealing. Ironically, Juubei is the only one who can understand monkey language. I guess they are familiar in that sense. But Juubei doesn’t make a good translator since her Japanese isn’t so good. Back to square one. Sasuke found this place when she was lost in the graveyard and a girl (Inshun) pointed the direction.

Kanetsugu is one unhappy girl. Because this place is not enough for 2 pets! Yeah. The dog and the monkey. So she admits she’s a dog? They become great nemesis. And you thought cats and dogs were natural enemies, huh? But Sasuke proves to be ‘smarter’ than Kanetsugu and manages to get the dog to get all riled up. When Musashi visits the cafe again, Kanetsugu is bent on showing she is the number one maid. She didn’t realize Sasuke stole her panties so Kanetsugu flashed her naked butt at Musashi!!! Late that night, Sasuke tries to leave the place because she overheard Yukimura concerned about their living expenses. If Sasuke stays, their food expenses will increase and they are already in the red zone without the monkey. But Sasuke bumps into Juubei and Muneakira. Juubei can tell she is leaving and doesn’t want her to. Kanetsugu heard the ruckus and won’t allow the monkey to leave after that humiliation and have a score to settle. She manhandles the monkey and throws her back into the dojo so Muneakira tries to catch it but trips and falls into the pond. At the same time, his lips meet with Sasuke’s and the monkey transforms into her human version of Master Samurai! Unbelievable! Hanzou confirms her Master Samurai attributes and this proves Muneakira’s powers are still working. Thanks to Sasuke, their maid business thrives because all the girls are flocking over to see this cute Sasuke. Whether in human or monkey form, they love her! Kanetsugu is sulking as she is worried she will be kicked out at this rate. But if she has time to sulk and slack off, might as well take a first class ride back to her hometown! Get your ass moving!

Episode 3
Kanetsugu comes up with a maid competition. The one that generates the highest revenue will be number one and the lowest one must leave the dojo. Obviously, a ploy to kick out Sasuke because she is confident she is still a monkey. Easy victory? That’s just in theory because Sasuke is clearly leading the competition! Not only Kanetsugu is in dead last but her score is negative!!! Don’t blame cheat codes or anything! Kanetsugu spies on the rest and they are doing relatively well. At this rate, she fears she’ll be the one sent packing. Thinking it is because Sasuke had Master Samurai powers, Kanetsugu plans to seduce Muneakira. That’s one hideous makeup she put on. She creeps in only to hear something disheartening. Despite the increase in sales, they are still making losses because of Kanetsugu! She is the root of the problem as Sen and Yukimura point out. Every time she screws up, the deficit increases. They can’t afford to keep her any longer. Muneakira doesn’t think so. He views her as one of them and came up with this competition to save this dojo. That’s why they can’t afford to lose such great comrade. Touching. After he leaves, Kanetsugu continues to eavesdrop the girls. They know how Kanetsugu thinks and can guess she is planning to become Master Samurai. When her cover is blown, they tell her not to do stupid things that put them into more debt. The truth hurts. And it must be really hurt deep inside because Kanetsugu is not reacting back with her idiotic behaviour. And so Kanetsugu packs her stuffs and leaves. Sasuke sees this and follows her. The rest realize Kanetsugu is gone for good not only she isn’t to be found anywhere, the dog kennel she lives in is also missing! They go in search for her and hope Sasuke is with her seeing the monkey is not around too.

I’m not sure if Kanetsugu got lost but she bumps into Mataemon who seems to be exuding some blood thirsty evil aura. She is going to kill Kanetsugu but Sasuke transforms to fend her off. Muneakira and Juubei see banana peels and realize Sasuke must have left tracks for them to follow. Sasuke’s transformation is limited so Kanetsugu has to fight back herself. Unfortunately her hammer broke when she charges straight in. She gets beaten up so that Sasuke could escape. It’s not that Sasuke really wanted to escape, it’s just to bring Muneakira and Juubei for help. By the time they arrive, Mataemon has thrown Kanetsugu into the river. Muneakira dives in to bring her back up. However she is not breathing. He becomes frantic trying to revive her via CPR while Juubei and Sasuke try to hold off Mataemon who is slowly inching closer. Kanetsugu could hear Muneakira’s voice and feel his tears. The mouth to mouth resuscitation is like a kiss, right? And finally it is this joker’s turn to become Master Samurai! Believe it! With her new powers, Kanetsugu is able to go head on with Mataemon. In the end, Mataemon is awakened from her spell so she lets her off the hook by letting them live. And Kanetsugu was so confident she smashed her into a pancake. Ah look. Her new hammer is totally smashed. When the other girls arrive, they are shocked to see Kanetsugu’s transformation. Sen and Yukimura are not pleased Muneakira has kissed her. But that’s due to circumstances, right? A kiss is still a kiss. Kanetsugu’s transformation proves that she still trusts him. Everyone returns home and this means Kanetsugu too. Yes. The dojo is her home. Where would the fun be without the resident idiot?

Episode 4
Kojirou is not pleased that Musashi continues to patron True Shadows and warns her about losing sight of their goal. Yukimura is happy business is making profit but due to the opening of another maid cafe nearby, they need to hire another maid. However Gisen is back! And she wants to be employed! She assures them that Amakusa will not be resurrected at least for another 100 years and has some rather useful information for them. As we all know about Master Samurai, there is also something called Samurai Bride AKA the Sword Princess. It is the most powerful samurai ever and only one can inherit that. However she is not sure of the methods to become one. Though Juubei is willing to accept her, Muneakira can’t easily trust her seeing the last events how she manipulated them with her Evil Eye. Gisen easily unties herself from Hanzou’s S&M knots and will leave. Since they can’t have a dangerous person walking around freely, I guess they accept her employment. She is made to stay in an annex building with Juubei gladly guarding outside. That night, she has Juubei call Yukimura. She thinks she knows a way to become a Samurai Bride and views her as the most suitable one. Maker herself bustier. And so Yukimura starts drinking milk. Can she finish all that? Net, Gisen calls for Sen and tells her the same thing but this time the thing she needs is spirit and endurance. Sen undergoes Hanzou’s S&M training. Lastly Kanetsugu is summoned and is told she needs to do something more than just kissing. She got so embarrassed on what that next step is that her dog kennel exploded! As we all could have guessed, it is Gisen’s ploy to see which of those methods are correct. Or will the General hold the final decision? Juubei also wants to help out so Gisen gives her a task to practice her swings in secret 10,000 times.

Next morning, True Shadow is closed because our Master Samurais were up doing their ‘training’. Muneakira is surprised Yukimura is busty, Sen is elegant while Kanetsugu waltzes in with nothing but her panties! They are trying to seduce him but end up fighting with each other when Kanetsugu spins Sen and unveils Yukimura’s fake boobs. Yeah. There’s no way they could have gone that big overnight. It’s such a sorry state that after getting out of the red, now they’re back in it. Because True Shadow is closed, the customers are upset for waiting so long in line and some don’t even want to come again. Kojirou sees Musashi visiting again despite her warning and vows to kill Juubei. Muneakira goes to see how Gisen is doing but falls into her trap as she tries to seduce him. Sen and Yukimura get their stories straight and realize they have been had by Gisen. They enter the annex and misinterpret Muneakira may be doing something funny to her. Gisen was this close in verifying his General strength. Wink, wink. Of course she flees as she notes she still failed to verify his ability. Kojirou approaches Juubei who is now 9,500 swings and counting. Kojirou mentions she will kill her and puts on her visor that hypnotizes Juubei to die by falling down the stairs. Luckily she is saved by Gisen and snapped out of her spell. Kojirou is surprised to see her alive and not too happy Gisen is on Juubei’s side. Gisen threatens to use her Evil Eye and test to see which of their abilities is stronger. Kojirou escapes seeing Muneakira is coming into the picture. When the other Master Samurai girls arrive to give their piece of mind to Gisen, she suddenly apologizes like a guilt ridden girl. Is she putting up an act? They can’t tell. But they find out she saved Juubei and her punishment will be to work really hard at the cafe. Muneakira concludes she must have lost he Evil Eye because she could have used it but didn’t. He doesn’t think her Samurai Bride theory is a lie and was just using them to test out different methods. She is after all planning to be Amakusa’s Samurai Bride. Sen and Yukimura turn their attention to Muneakira asking him which one of them he should choose to become Samurai Bride. Certainly not a monkey or dog, right? Of course he can’t answer that and runs away.

Episode 5
Hanzou hosts the first ever M-1 Grand Prix, a competition between maid cafes and the finalists are True Shadow (consist of Sen, Yukimura, Juubei and Gisen) and Kengo Restuden that consists of the Dark Samurai quartet. Flashback reveals that True Shadow is experiencing slow business due to the mushrooming of many maid cafes. Muneakira thought this would be last on their list to participate but Gisen had an idea that by joining and winning would increase their popularity. So with 128 teams in the fray and with matches ranging from the norm of cooking and studying to the ridiculous such as plate spinning (is this a circus?) and sleeping (WTF), the event is narrowed down to 2 teams. Of course there is a reason how those 2 got there. Because Yoshihiko gave permission to use his name and left them in charge of organizing it, Sen and Yukimura used all means necessary to attain easy victory. They also locked up that troublemaker (read: that dog) so she won’t cause any trouble (I guess that’s why she’s not part of the team). However she causes a stir when she comes flying in for being left out but flopped of course. Thank Sasuke for bringing that idiot away. As for the Dark Samurais, they decided to participate because Musashi felt Juubei emanating her own energy. She didn’t felt it at first but her frequent visits showed she had something. That’s why they will participate to find out. Although Sen and Yukimura receive their application, their plan to approve is so that they could observe their abilities. Hanzou is supposed to wait for the right timing to press the button so that the match ups will be advantageous to them. However Kanetsugu interrupted the show slightly. She lost count and they end up in unfavourably line ups. There goes Yukimura’s strategic planning. Matabei has been tasked to record everything from the sidelines. The first match is capture the flag and pits Inshun against Gisen. At first it may seem like True Shadow’s easy victory with Gisen making a fast dash. But she went to secure Muneakira’s ‘stick’ instead! Cool Inshun captures the flag and wins it. And Muneakira gets blamed for sabotaging…

The blindfold battle has Kojirou up against Sen. They must traverse a field with mines to smash a watermelon while having their visions covered. Sen trips at first go. Kojirou easily avoids all the bombs and cuts up the watermelon nicely. Sen thought she eventually hit the watermelon but it was Muneakira’s head. How on Earth? With 2 losses, Sen uses her dirty trick by using a voiceover as Yoshihiko that the next match will be awarded 4 points. Mataemon will take on Yukimura in an endless hula hoop battle. The first one to drop loses. Yukimura teases Mataemon she is not fast enough so the latter spins faster till everybody flies away. I guess True Shadow lost again, huh? With the last match left, once again Sen abuses her authority to make an announcement as Yoshihiko that the last match will get 8 points. All the earlier matches didn’t matter, eh? Besides, there is no crowd. Either they got blown away or walked away due to the ridiculousness of everything. So in this sword battle, Musashi and Juubei must not only fight each other but avoid traps planted in the area. It got off to a bad start when, you guessed it, Kanetsugu rushes in and accidentally activates all the traps. Musashi slices and dices through all of them. Yeah. It felt all the traps were aimed towards Musashi, eh? Once the idiot is taken off by some tentacle squid, Musashi has had enough of this farce and will be getting serious. Muneakira jumps in to concede defeat so Juubei doesn’t have to fight but Musashi isn’t listening. She hits him away and this causes Juubei to get upset. So mad that she emits a deadly aura. This is what Musashi has been waiting for. They collide and it leaves a huge crater in the sand. Musashi walks away and concedes defeat since she has finished her business here. She hopes Juubei will regain her full power by the deadline. And so M-1 Grand Prix is won by the unlikely Team True Shadow! After all the tricks and string pulling, it’s not hard to see why.

Episode 6
Some pretty babe is giving the Dark Samurais a worth of their money. They can’t touch her and her boobs fetish is getting to them. Just when they are about to get serious, she escapes via her badass bike. Kanetsugu is appalled that True Shadow is closed! What gives?! Didn’t she hear last night’s meeting? Yukimura calculated that they have cleared their debts from M-1 Grand Prix’s winning prize money and thus no more reason to continue this cafe. Kanetsugu is not going to accept that but wasn’t she there are the meeting too? I guess she was spacing out and not listening. That’s her problem, right? Also, last night they had a meeting about ki training. Apparently when Matabei showed the footages of the Dark Samurais, they exerted lots of ki energy. It is a reason why they are holding such immense power. Juubei too did emit such ki during the final moments but perhaps she was doing it unconscious. The problem is now learning how to use it if they’re going to defeat the Dark Samurais. They heard this Keiji Maeda of Yonezawa is a great ki master and looking through the records she was once a student of this academy. Since she hates men, a reason why Muneakira didn’t find her during his journey. Yukimura orders Matabei to track and bring back Keiji here since she has a very keen sense of smell and will not be fooled with the master of disguise as well. Instead of waiting, the rest will train and do whatever they can. Kanetsugu can’t take this crap and throws a tantrum but when Muneakira touches her to calm her down, she blasts him away into the sky. So as the gang begin their ki training first with meditation, sour puss Kanetsugu starts sabotaging by pouring slipper oil. If this is what breaks their concentration, they are just no good, right? Only Juubei takes her seriously. Next is the bath but the water is hot. Again, sore loser Kanetsugu is the one behind this. Can stand the heat, ladies? Only Juubei endures it. Then when they meditate under the waterfall, Kanetsugu drops the logs! While the rest ran for their lives, Juubei is the only one standing in place and because of that all the logs miss her.

Fearing the loser will do something to the dojo, they rush back and need to get to her. Sen sends Hanzou in first and she falls for an obvious trap. Shameful. Muneakira wants to sincerely apologize. Had he not listen to Juubei’s warning to duck, he would have gotten a sucker punch in his face when he opened the door. Juubei accompanies Muneakira into the dojo and it seems she can sense all the traps. When they reach Kanetsugu, dog girl is not happy Juubei is the only one who worked diligently. Kanetsugu says she was helping them out with their ki training. Then they realize this Kanetsugu feels different. She is not the loser they know and is more arrogant. Matabei suddenly returns. She couldn’t find Keiji in Yonezawa and followed her scent back to this dojo. Can you guess it already? They say Keiji is a master of disguise, right? Kanetsugu will prove to Muneakira the benefits of her training as she makes Juubei kiss Muneakira. In that instant, Juubei turns into her Master Samurai and other alter ego. Keiji unveils herself disguising as Kanetsugu. The real one is locked up in the storeroom like a real loser. That’s more like it. Oops. She is here because she saw their M-1 Grand Prix victory and wanted to have cute maids fawn all over her only to find it closed. She notes their way of practising ki was wrong but was hilarious to watch. Muneakira thanks her but accidentally touches her so Keiji sends him flying through the roof. After the real Kanetsugu is brought out, Keiji hopes she would forgive her childhood friend. She has to otherwise she might tell an embarrassing episode about their past. Juubei assures that despite her change in appearance, she has been with everyone since the start and did not lose her memories. She will also not lose her memories if she returns to her normal form. When she says onii-chan, it gives everyone the shivers. Yeah. The goofy Juubei sounds cuter when she calls him that. In order not to waste and drain the ki powers, Juubei is advised to turn back to normal. However she can’t. This could be another problem.

Episode 7
Keiji throws a big party. Why? First she records Yukimura transform into Master Samurai. In the footage, she points out that she has already been gathering ki when she transforms. But the problem is when she reverts back to normal. How do they do that? Not too sure. When the fight is over, they just transform back. Keiji points out gathering ki is difficult but releasing is easy. Therefore the party is to help relax and release ki. But in Juubei’s case, she is like a bike on full throttle and a little training to master her ki is required. She’ll teach the girls but not the guy. He can watch though. First, they are made to wear naked apron. There must be some deep significance, right? Nope. It’s just her fetish. Keiji has them undergo retraining of their earlier methods starting off with balancing on a ball. Kanetsugu didn’t like how Keiji is stealing the spotlight and tries to interrupt but backfires. That’s the loser we all know. Same case for the soaking in hot water. Kanetsugu throws in coal but Keiji hits it out back at her. While meditating underneath the waterfall, Kanetsugu wanted to throw chestnuts but accidentally cut down the tree. The ladies are able to sense the ki and deflect the log as well as Kanetsugu. Yeah. She’s the one with the strange ki. Muneakira secretly does his training when Gisen tries to seduce him. But he wants to seriously train together with her as he knows she has something to regain. The Dark Samurais learn of Keiji’s identity as well as her current location at the dojo. Because they also learn the return of the real Juubei, they start making their move.

Juubei excels in her training that her ki is magnificent. But when she tries to undo it, it backfires and causes her discomfort. There is only one way to solve this. Keep pouring your own ki into it. Though this is just to buy time while she tries to control it and in worst case scenario, both of them may lose their lives. Because Muneakira is her General, it is obvious he will stake his life for her. He starts putting his ki into her but it’s not enough. Sen and Yukimura want to help but were told to stay out as they have not mastered their ki and will drain it instead. Keiji will help give a push. Even though she hates men, she likes idiots like him. Keiji may have given a little too much of her ki because she feels weakened but Muneakira feels a great flow of ki flowing through his body. She goes outside to take a breather but in actual fact is to stop the Dark Samurais from getting close to the dojo. They can sense she is weak and do not want any business with her. Despite getting beaten to a pulp, Keiji did not give up and keeps them bust to prevent them from closer. Muneakira is at his limit so Sen and Yukimura suggest he kiss Juubei because that is his General power. When he does, Juubei felt his warmth as well as the duo’s warmth. She is able to regain her power. Musashi is furious when she senses Juubei’s powerful ki gone. She wants to fight her now but was told they had a promised deadline. Even so Juubei is weak and not near her powerful self that defeated Amakusa. If she wants to fight her at full strength, come back another time. Musashi and co leave disappointed and hope by then Juubei will build up her strength. Next morning, the gang wants to give Keiji a feast as thanks but she has already left. It seems her job to teach them about ki is done. Because she loves this country and would do anything to protect it even if it means training those idiots.

Episode 8
When Yukimura and Matabei are walking back at night, they are attacked by a mysterious phantom exuding lots of ki energy. The phantom’s ki is powerful enough to paralyze them and it is looking for some Chingo Stone. But thanks to Inshun’s discreet intervention of light blasts, the phantom retreats. Back at the dojo, Matabei feels sad that she is weak and not able to help Yukimura when it needed most. Hanzou understands her feelings. They fear that if they cannot defeat the Dark Samurais, the curse on Muneakira’s arms would mean he won’t be able to keep the dojo and will leave. This will cause a cascading effect to the rest to leave and no one will be left. They vow to get stronger. Muneakira discuses with the rest about this mysterious attacker whom they believed has been terrorizing the streets too. They think it is the Dark Samurais since its appearance were around the same time Dark Samurais appear but Yukimura doesn’t think so as its ki felt different. Juubei and Sasuke are training at the waterfall when Sasuke notices the crows watching them. They follow it and it leads them to Inshun. Since goofy Juubei had no reason to fight, they become friends and go on an outing that includes having a nice view of Mt Fuji, praying at the shrine, taking fortunes and feeding pigeons. Inshun can’t help smile. Who wouldn’t? Especially with Juubei and Sasuke reduced to being monkeys (okay, so the latter is one), how could you not laugh when even the pigeon purposely farts at them?! At the end of the day, Juubei gives Inshun a charm. She hopes once the battle is over, they can still be good friends. Why not continue to be friends?

Hanzou and Matabei talk about the possibility if Muneakira married their master. What would their relationship be then? It would be more like master-servant relationship. But they believe he will be a reliable guy. Then they see Muneakira telepathically talking to Sen and Yukimura. Because they have controlled their ki, they are able to use Wave Motion Spirit Vision Technique and able to communicate with each other with ease. Midnight, they plan to capture the attacker. Except for Kanetsugu who is soundly asleep in her kennel. I think that’s the best. As they split into groups (Team A? Team K? Team B? AKB?! Seriously?), Sen is suspicious if Hanzou wants to become Samurai Bride. She denies and just feels frustrated at how weak she is. They come into contact with the phantom first. Sen’s arrogance got to her head. She thought she could be different than Yukimura but I guess she got paralyzed and almost tentacle raped too. The phantom noting she is the Tokugawa princess, thinks she knows where the Chingo Stone is and is going to make her tell. Hanzou’s attack was ineffective and had to be saved by Muneakira. When everyone gathers, a bright light once again forces the phantom to retreat and leave no trace of its ki. Hanzou is on the verge of breaking down because she thought she could have lost Sen for good then. Juubei thought she saw Inshun at a distance. They think she is the mysterious attacker.

Episode 9
The attacker’s identity is revealed: Mataemon. However she has no memories when she turned into a phantom whenever she reverts back. Yoshihiko’s priests are almost there fixing the barrier. Only a few more days till it is fully restored. Nia reports to him that Sen is asking for information regarding the Chingo Stone but is told to ignore her. She doesn’t need to know it. As pointed out, the Chingo Stone was damaged during the battle against Amakusa and it caused the return of the Dark Samurais. Muneakira discusses with the rest about the attacker’s intention for the Chingo Stone. Because Inshun is the main suspect, this doesn’t sit well with Juubei. Hanzou and Matabei are in their own training. To kiss each other? Well, it didn’t work out. Sad. Then comes in the pest. Oh no. Kanetsugu. She’s bragging to them about becoming Master Samurai and will gladly teach them. Because Hanzou and Matabei are too deep in their fantasies about kissing Muneakira, they unwittingly take out on Kanetsugu. Judo throw! Backbone crusher! I guess in a way she deserves it. Juubei is sulking by herself when she meets Musashi. Telling her about how Inshun has become a prime suspect, Musashi assures she isn’t and if she is, she will beat her up real good. Because the battle with her is all that matters. Kojirou sees Mataemon turning into a phantom and decides to follow it to see what it does. Muneakira and the rest have another strategic meeting to find the attacker. Musashi senses a great evil aura and is appalled to see Inshun. If she had only make it clear that she wasn’t the attacker, Musashi wouldn’t have engaged in a sword battle with her. Why oh why couldn’t she just say it? With reports that the attacker is within the vicinity, Muneakira and co move out. They find it nearby in the woods and it is looking for Sen. Hanzou wanted to be a hero and initiates the first attack. Futile. She got captured. Now that she is a hostage, Sen hesitated in charging straight and got captured too.

The phantom looks into Sen’s memories for clues of the Chingo Stone. Sen remembers that during the aftermath of the battle with Amakusa, she heard Yoshihiko talking on the phone about some damaged barrier and Chingo Stone. When he realized she was around, he stopped talking. Muneakira is at a lost so Matabei wants him to kiss her and make her his Master Samurai. Finally after all this time, Matabei has turned into a Master Samurai with a giant brush-cum-spear as her power up weapon! She frees Hanzou but Sen is still in the phantom’s grasp. While Matabei is fighting it, Hanzou wants Muneakira to turn her into a Master Samurai. And finally all the girls in the harem have finally upgraded their status to Master Samurai! Hanzou has more power on her data and relays the exact moment when to attack the phantom. Of course Hanzou’s shuriken also powers up and deals a great deal of damage. Inshun was distracted by that loud crashing battle so it allowed Musashi to somewhat defeat her. Although Inshun escaped and this proves she is not the culprit. Everyone is surprised to see Mataemon but she doesn’t know why she is here. Kojirou takes her away. Next morning, the gang discuss that although Inshun may not be the phantom, because the other Dark Samurai was involved, she could still have a hand in it. Trying to put the puzzle pieces together, Gisen voices her opinion. The battle is just an excuse for the Dark Samurais to stay at this dojo. Their real goal is the Chingo Stone. She suspects their ultimate goal is to destroy the stone which acts as a barrier to protect Japan, which will allow them to wipe this country off the map.

Episode 10
Kojirou confronts the phantom at the grave. She wants to know why the Dark Samurais were resurrected, though the phantom does not want to tell her and orders her to just eliminate their enemies. Kanetsugu is yapping and blowing her top for being left out of some top secret meeting despite her status elevated to Master Samurai. STFU, woman. Matabei ‘puts her to sleep’. Muneakira, Juubei, Yukimura and Sen are called to see Yoshihiko. Since it has come to this stage, there is no harm in revealing the secrets of Chingo Stone. If Japan was a human body, it is filled with ki. The country is stable when ki flows normally but when disrupted, there will be natural disasters and wars. To stabilize that flow of ki, that is where the Chingo Stone comes in. It serves as a point where all the ki converges. It is located at the foot of Mt Fuji. Of course some people do not want peace and try to damage the stone. That is why throughout history, humans fought each other with their silly wars. Blame the stone? Amakusa has been a habitual offender trying to damage it many times. Since Japan came close to destruction during World War, the Tokugawa government has ordered a special barrier around it and its central core lies in Buou Academy. It keeps away enemies and as long the barrier is intact, the Chingo Stone will be safe. Because of their last battle with Amakusa, he was smart enough to use Gisen and entered the academy in a pure state, bypassing the barrier unharmed and resurrecting from within. Although the plan failed, damage had been done to the stone and Juubei partly had a hand to play in that too. Because of the damage, it also resurrected ghosts (that phantom) harbouring grudges against the Tokugawa. It has tried possessing humans, animals and reanimating corpse but thanks to Nia, they have been kept at bay. Till recently they did a final attempt by resurrecting 4 of history’s most power samurai. Yup. The Dark Samurais. Their goals are to destroy Yoshihiko, destroy the Chingo Stone and bring chaos. When Nia fought them, she and her army were no match. Musashi thought Nia had defeated the most powerful Master Samurai but Nia as instructed by Yoshihiko when she is backed to the corner, to reveal Juubei’s name as the most powerful Master Samurai. That’s why they showed up at the dojo. But this is to buy time while the barrier is being healed. Yoshihiko would’ve been more grateful had they bought him one more day. Because the barrier is scheduled to complete on the day of their battle. Though it was sheer luck that had them postponed the battle (Musashi’s fixation on fighting Juubei at full power).

At the same time, the phantom tells Kojirou all this and reveals why it possessed Mataemon to do the job. Because she is easier to manipulate compared to Musashi or Kojirou. Plus, Mataemon’s body had some mechanical alterations. As for Inshun, she is just an empty vessel. So the plan now for our heroes is to carry on with their promise and just win their match. Because once the barrier is fully repaired, the ghost will be immobilized and cannot lend its strength to the Dark Samurais. Of course Yukimura needs something to assure their victory and it’s every information on becoming Samurai Bride. Yoshihiko will arrange for every document to be sent to the dojo. When Musashi returns, she sees Kojirou shell shocked. She tells her the truth. When the phantom released Mataemon from its possession, Mataemon was aware and heard everything. She did not repent and liked how her new mechanical body functioned and went off to find the Chingo Stone. She had a pretty good idea where it is since she entered Sen’s mind. Kojirou asks Musashi if she prefers a world of peace or war. She doesn’t care as long as she can fight the strongest. With 2 more days to the decisive battle, everyone enters their own training. Muneakira still can’t lift a sword while Yukimura uses her speed reading to read up on all the details. Kanetsugu is training hard too. Train hard to eat more rice! Finally Yukimura summons everyone and has deciphered the requirements to become a Samurai Bride. Before that, Kanetsugu deservingly gets a kick through the wall because she starts gloating how she’ll be the one, blah, blah, blah. STFU, woman! Anyway, there are multiple requirements to be one. First, there must be at least 7 Master Samurais who have made a pact with the General. Oh lucky. They just got that number. Don’t forget Sasuke! Funnily, I thought they should be forgetting to include Kanetsugu instead of the monkey ;p. Second requirement: All must share a strong bond and trust and must focus on the one intended to become the Samurai Bride. They then must all pour their ki into her and channel it via the General. This is the tricky part. What happens when one is drained of all ki? Not only the Master Samurai would lose their abilities, the General’s life will be in danger. There are cases of death when trying this out. In short, when a Samurai Bride is born, the rest dies. Just great. I didn’t know becoming a bride is such a life and death thingy. Oh wait… There may be some truth in that… Oops…

Episode 11
The death of Generals in such attempts is a reason why there aren’t many around these days. But they have to give it a shot since they have an important match tomorrow. But have they chosen who to be the Samurai Bride? Oh Kanetsugu, please don’t say it’s you! And can somebody please shut that joker up?! Thank you Matabei. Thank you Hanzou. Anyway to be the Samurai Bride, it is only stated that the appropriate person will be chosen at the appropriate time. I can guess who that is. In the mean time, they have to test it out. All the Master Samurais channel their ki through Muneakira but he feels immense pain so they are forced to stop. Inshun returns to Musashi at the graveyard. She is not here to settle their match but gives a talisman that will undo Muneakira’s curse. Mataemon is outside the cave mouth and thinks this is where the Chingo Stone is. Because there are lots of guards. Kojirou stops her and won’t let her do this alone (Inshun was supposed to watch over Mataemon but ran off somewhere). Besides, this is not where the stone is. It’s just a trap. Using her visors, she locates the real entrance and they make their charge. Yoshihiko receives report of intruders so Nia will go face them to buy time. Though she is not in tip top condition, she is grateful to have served him and have no regrets if she dies. Kojirou and Mataemon start hitting the Chingo Stone. Meanwhile Musashi alone goes to face Muneakira and his Master Samurais. Suddenly the sky turns dark. This is what happens when 0.1mm crack is on the Chingo Stone?! Wow. Everyone thought Musashi played dirty and broke her promise but from her reaction, she is unaware what her comrades are doing and is in shock. Musashi laments she is being used and wants to undo Muneakira’s curse but Juubei (the alter ego one) provokes her to fight her. This is what she is here for, right? Juubei chose to fight because last night’s meeting, she deduces the Dark Samurais were chosen not just on their power but their strong lingering regrets. She wants to purge them of those.

While Muneakira supports Juubei, the other Master Samurais rush to protect the Chingo Stone. Kojirou and Mataemon continue to hit it but Inshun stands in their way. Nia evens the odds but Kojirou unleashes Mataemon’s true power as the latter runs rampage and takes out Inshun. The duo then gang up on Nia. Before Nia can meet her fate, Gisen intervenes. She uses her Evil Eye on them but they escaped. When the Master Samurai arrive (no Kanetsugu, they escaped not because they sense you), they conclude they are going to destroy the regenerating barrier. Speaking of which, it is 99.9% complete and one more hour. So far… Feels like an eternity. The phantom feels it is time for resurrection. It gives Musashi a surge of power, enough to blast away Juubei and Muneakira. Musashi tries to fight against it. All she cares about is her fight with Juubei. The phantom burns away the talisman. Musashi says if she cannot have a fair fight, she will kill herself. Before she can do that, Keiji deflects her sword. She tells Muneakira to blow the curse away with his ki. Why didn’t he think of this? It was so much easier?! Muneakira is back to normal but the good news is overshadowed by a bigger bad news. Keiji feels a large evil mass of ki and it is starting to move. The phantom summons all the begrudged spirits and absorbs into Inshun’s body. I guess that’s her role as an empty vessel is for. It also absorbs the other Dark Samurais as it turns into one big bad mother Dark Samurai Knight. Power off the scales!!! The monster is aiming to destroy the barrier but how long can our little Master Samurais hang in there?

Episode 12
Our Master Samurais are no match for the monster and got owned. However the monster didn’t finish them off because its main goal is to destroy the barrier. Though the Master Samurais are okay, Gisen and Nia are missing. So it’s a race to stop the monster. Estimated time for the barrier to be 100% complete: 20 minutes. Estimated time till it breaches through all the defensive barriers of the academy: 13 minutes. You do the math. But that’s no reason to give up, right? Our Master Samurais do all they can to stop the monster. However it proves futile. It begins with Hanzou. She died while trying to protect Sen who blindly charged straight towards it. Then while she is weeping for her not to die, she got killed by the monster. Their bodies are also being absorbed. Then the rest of the Master Samurais fall like flies. Sasuke, Kanetsugu, Matabei and finally Yukimura herself. Fallen and absorbed. Muneakira is so mad that his harem Master Samurais are killed off that he too charges blindly. Yup. He got stabbed. Had not Keiji intervened, he could’ve been a goner. Oh dear. Now it’s Juubei’s turn to get mad. She transforms into her other self and attacks but fails. She is inside the Chingo Stone, which is acting as the monster’s heart. She is happy to see Inshun but the latter wants her to kill and free them. She doesn’t want to be used anymore. Juubei can’t go on because Muneakira is gone but Inshun assures he is still alive. Juubei is purged out and sees Keiji pouring all her ki to bring Muneakira back to life. Juubei wonders if becoming a Samurai Bride can stop the monster but Keiji has her doubts. If it was, why is the title Bride instead of King or Great? She is sceptical that the powers are only those of a bride. I guess for those staying single won’t know the power of getting married, huh? Haha… Juubei doesn’t want to be left alone but Keiji says only they are the ones who can stop it. Four minutes till the barrier’s completion. And three minutes till all the defence are broken down. Oohh… So close… Is that estimate accurate or not? Don’t give Yoshihiko a heart attack!

Juubei’s tears awaken Muneakira. He thought they should get out now but Juubei says Inshun told her how to defeat it. Destroy the core and free the begrudged souls. They kiss and power up. The monster is annoyed by the umpteenth time at those obstructers but now it has Yoshihiko to deal with. He is the last line of defence. Muneakira and Yagyuu enter the core and realize Inshun has been possessed. But they are not going to get absorbed by it yet. Shortly, the other Master Samurais converge. Their mind is too strong that the monster couldn’t absorb them. Juubei didn’t come here to fight but to save everyone. How will they do that without fighting? Beats me. But they all trust Juubei to do her stuff. Everyone pours their ki into Muneakira and he channels it to Juubei. Looks like it is decided. She’ll be the Samurai Bride. Though Muneakira in white may look like a groom, I just thought Juubei didn’t look anywhere near like a bride. Besides her hair being white, she has got fox ears and a badass rocket booster. The duo shoot their light enlightenment at the core. Kojirou and Mataemon try to stop them but felt the calmness of the light and are freed. Inshun and the rest of the begrudged souls are also purged by the light. But the monster is not done yet. Although back in its phantom form, it has saved an ace up its sleeve. Using Musashi, it is going to rid Juubei once and for all. I guess they both get to clash after all. So Juubei and Musashi have their destructive power battle (at least it doesn’t turn black and white like last season’s battle finale with Juubei and Gisen) and in the end Juubei triumphs with Purified Ascension move that also frees Musashi. The barrier is repaired and stability returns to all of Japan. What a great relief. Made it in time. Phew. Good job everybody. And now for some more good news. Remember last season how Juubei sacrificed herself, died but descended from the sky alive? Now it is role reversed because the other Master Samurais are descending from heaven and given a second shot at life. Happy reunion, everyone is happy. Even Gisen and Nia are shown to be alive and well, resting somewhere. Lastly, before you can say, “Oh no!! There is a little crack in the Chingo Stone that is getting bigger!!!”, cheeky Sasuke slaps the talisman to seal it for good. That’s a wrap. Ukki!

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Maids
Well, I thought that they were going to be samurai-cum-maids for the rest of the season. That only lasted halfway and after True Shadow closed down, I thought it would be temporary and would come back up right at the end after some farce. Heh. How did I even come up with that idea. At least it was fun while it lasted. How low can a samurai go and even use the dojo as collateral to operate a maid cafe? Thankfully they didn’t go bust because they might have to do hara kiri for bringing shame and failure to the school and family name. So after True Shadow shuts down for good, the story picks up pace and gets a little more serious with the revelation of the Chingo Stone and the mysterious phantom that just wants to destroy Japan after the first half which seem pretty much like ‘fooling around’. I guess you need some sort of antagonist for this season since Amakusa won’t be waking up from his slumber for a century. And I don’t think it would be possible too if somebody aligned to him would use some fast forward spell to wake him up so soon. Unless Muneakira and his Master Samurais live for the next 100 years, it is safe to say that they won’t be facing Amakusa ever again, right? That will be the next generation to figure out and handle as well.

So I guess for this season, everything was rather okay. Nothing that spectacular. It gives another reason for our heroes to battle evil and save Great Japan once more from another threat. Mostly the characters from the previous season from what I can say remain the same and didn’t change that much. Although there are some that I noticed such as Hanzou who doesn’t display much of her S&M nature as much as I can remember she did in the last season. She still is one but it isn’t obvious here. Juubei remains the carefree and child-like Master Samurai and even though she is still goofy but not as goofy as I find her to be. Is it because I have gotten used to her ways? As of course the most amusing one still goes to Kanetsugu. True to her role as a comic relief and joker, she can even be her haughty self even in times of pinch and seriousness! It is hard to love her and at the same time it is hard to hate her. But it’s not hard to always laugh at her and the punishment she gets as retribution. That’s why even if she is the target of ridicule or even often ignored by the rest, it is hard to kick her out of the group because otherwise, who else would they beat up and vent their frustration? Okay, perhaps they would not have been so annoyed had not Kanetsugu show her stupidity but look at it on a positive side. She’s trying to cheer everyone up. On second thought, maybe not. Maybe she’s just plain idiotic. And when Kanetsugu actually went into depression and tried to leave, I don’t know, funny I felt my heart sank! Honest! I didn’t really want her to leave too! It’s not that I really like her character but I guess I’m a sadistic wanting to see her in her comical ways. In that sense, she is useful, right? Bad me.

Adding Sasuke into the group felt like it was just because the group needed a pet mascot. Ever since Sasuke surprisingly became the fourth Master Samurai, the monkey’s presence felt lacking after that. It wasn’t as significant when she first appeared. I thought that since she can’t really stay long in her Master Samurai form, it is like a reason why she doesn’t join in on the action when the other Master Samurais go into action. With Keiji in the picture, I thought she too will be part of the harem but from her dominant looks, I don’t think she can stand having a man as her master. So she’s just more of a teacher and coach as far as this season is concerned. It still bugs me that with the training of ki, Muneakira can burst out from his curse. I know I said he should have done this from the start but he didn’t probably because he didn’t have the proper ki training. And perhaps he has mastered it unknowingly but the situation turned dire before he could try it out. Casting the Dark Samurais as the initial antagonist, something tells me that we’re not going to see one-on-one matches with the Master Samurais. True enough, the phantom becomes the main villain and used them for its goal. I mean, would it really be nice seeing babes like them lose? Besides, they may act and exude some deadly aura but they don’t look and have the cut to be villains in the first place. And best of all, Juubei gets to save and free their souls. So everything is not lost, eh?

Yoshihiko doesn’t exude that air of arrogance and intimidation that he was in the previous season. Sure, he still looks confident and reliable but maybe because we get to know him as the good guy, that superior exterior doesn’t feel like it is there. Besides, he is ‘kind’ enough to shed a tear or two when Muneakira and his Master Samurais got temporarily killed by the monster. He’s such a great and kind guy, eh? Just like him, I also feel Nia’s presence is quite lacking. She literally doesn’t do much as both their roles are confined in secretly trying to heal the barrier. Gisen felt like she didn’t make an impact. It’s like as though her appearance was just to remind us she is still around but not yet relevant. What is a girl got to do when her beloved Amakusa will only resurrect in 100 years’ time? I suppose bum around like a harmless girl. Heck, can she even live that long? And maybe in the meantime do seduce Muneakira a little here and there. I wonder how Gisen got her Evil Eye back. Unless you tell me it’s that secret training she did with Muneakira. So finally everyone in the Muneakira’s group gets to become Master Samurai except for Gisen. Although she isn’t officially part of the group, but you know, something tells me that she might become part of it despite asserting Juubei is hers, blah, blah, blah. After all, she is still trying to seduce Muneakira, right? Is it really to check out his abilities? Gisen being quite docile doesn’t feel right but I wouldn’t want her to go back to her antagonistic ways either. So maybe, just maybe in the future Gisen would give up becoming Amakusa’s ally and be Muneakira’s Master Samurai. It is unlikely but nobody saw Sasuke becoming his Master Samurai either.

One of the obvious aspects in last season was the fanservice and how those ink blots and strokes serve as censors for the series. For this season, I watched the uncensored version all the way so there are no more those annoying blotches popping up on the screen like as thought the artist had too much ink on his brush and accidentally spilled some all over the storyboard whenever those necessary fanservice scenes are being played. So for ecchi fans, you can revel in the tits galore and panty shots without all the irritating spots. However because of that, I have this feeling that the fanservice is not that much. I may be wrong because last season’s blot censors were too many and thus unconsciously I kept count on the fanservice scenes. No, I didn’t count the exact number of censors, mind you. So without those blotches, it is hard to tell if there were more or less or same amount of fanservice scenes since I wasn’t annoyed that much. And the way some of the girls dressed are obviously for fanservice purposes. Like Matabei still wears the most minimal cloth for her bottom and it makes you feel she is as close as wearing nothing. Then there is Mataemon who does not unbutton her top shirt and let it all loose from her cleavage down to her stomach and midriff. Of course, when Sasuke transforms into her Master Samurai form, the only reason I can think of why she can last no longer than 3 minutes is because she will be running around naked! It will obviously be too dangerous to let her go on for more than that duration, no? Another obvious fanservice point is the nearly-nearly full frontal nudity. You will see this quite a number of times. You see the girls before you naked from top to bottom. There are no censors to even cover that lower female anatomy. Is it because it is not ‘drawn’ at all? I don’t know. It is made to look very close to being hentai if that is the case.

Retaining the style of art and drawing from last time, it is still refreshing to see the water colour-like scenery and background after watching too many conventional Japanese anime art over the years has become somewhat saturated. It is still odd to see modern contraptions in feudal Japan and the mix of old and new devices still brings mix feelings of weird and cool. Of course who would have thought having a maid cafe theme for this season would look even weirder. I know Japanese invented the maid cafe concept but to think it existed this early…  I can imagine what kind of concepts and themes they will come up next if they ever make a sequel. As for the action part, they are still interesting and some to a point a little flashy. You can’t have plain moves when you have upgraded into Master Samurai, can’t you? So great the power of everything that it is amazing the city still stands after all that power destruction. It’s not easy to take down Great Japan and even so you have got to go through these protectors first. When we see the characters upgraded to Muneakira’s Master Samurai (or Samurai Bride in Juubei’s case) in this sequel, we only get to see their cool upgraded move once and that’s it. I know it will be a bore if they keep using the same move over and over again but because of that too, they aren’t really that memorable.

The next episode preview still provides an amusing watch. For example, Hanzou anticipating with glee the kind of title the next episode has that will lead to them becoming the next Master Samurai because in the past, whenever this certain word that pops up, there is a high chance that a Master Samurai will be born. Well, I never noticed. Then there’s one whereby Yukimura and Sen are concerned about their lack of screen time due to the bunch of many new characters. How to solve it? Eliminate existing ones! Guess who is the first on the hit list? Oh, Kanetsugu… Where are you… Hmm… Maybe that is why I felt some of the characters from the previous season lack any impact for this sequel. Then there is Sen making a simple blooper and thus insisting this preview to be re-recorded again and Yoshihiko wanting Nia to be part of his film. Not that she would agree with him since she fears the camera will suck her soul! For a Master Samurai that has vanquished spirits, she is afraid of some modern contraption?

All the last season’s cast were retained for this season. With new characters means new additions. Chinatsu Akasaki as Sasuke (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby, Chiwa in OreShura) must really have the easiest lines because the monkey doesn’t have any proper human speeches! But try going “Ukki! Ukki!” for the rest of the series. You’d go bananas. One thing I am ashamed of myself is that I was unable to recognize Mamiko Noto as Keiji!!! How did her heavenly voice slipped my auto-Mamiko’s-voice-detection?! Indeed she was putting on a lower voice but I should have at least recognized her. Hearing Keiji speak again, it is confirmed that it is really her voice behind the character! So ashamed… Even I could at least identify Haruka Tomatsu later on as Mataemon since she is putting on a lower voice like her other roles, Ranmaru of Binbougami Ga and Yuuka of Beelzebub. Shame on me indeed. Other new casts include Youko Hikasa as Musashi (Mio in K-ON!), Naomi Shindou as Kojirou (Shizuru in Mai-HiME) and Satomi Satou as Inshun (Wendy in Fairy Tail). At first I thought Faylan was the one singing the opening theme for this season again. However to my surprise, AI DO is actually sung by Miyuki Hashimoto. Not that I can identify her voice anyway and it sounded quite close to Faylan. I personally feel that the rock opening theme this time around didn’t match the exuberance and liveliness of the first season. It feels like it tries to retain that but somehow falls short. The ending theme, Kekka, Guuzen De Gozasourou is sung by the trio seiyuus of Juubei, Sen and Yukimura. Sounds like your typical anime pop and of course still sounds silly.

I still do not understand the concept of this Samurai Bride thingy and why it is called so. I don’t really see how Juubei exhibited bridal qualities when she transformed into one. Unless you’re telling me that purifying move signifies the purity of all brides when they walk down the aisle. And the idea that everyone dies and only the Samurai Bride lives might be an indication if that a girl marries the guy, all the other girls ‘die’ in the sense that they have to give up on him. So why didn’t our Master Samurais die? Because they were already dead! Remember? So as not to leave a bad aftertaste in our mouth, they were somehow miraculously brought back to life. Unexplained. Don’t ask. Life won’t be the same if Juubei is the only one who hogs Muneakira. Therefore calling this power up as Samurai Bride may seem a little out of place. Heck, I thought naming it as Supreme Legendary Ultimate Grand Master Samurai would sound better but when you have historical people being turned into girls in this alternative world, I guess it is appropriate to give some feminine title. So what’s the next level after Samurai Bride? Samurai Wife?! I have got a feeling that this is going to be a tougher job than saving Great Japan. Imagine your waifu displaying lots of super human powers that could level an entire city. And when you have a domestic argument on this scale, can Japan save itself from this war?

Cyclops Shoujo Saipu

November 1, 2013

Based on a yonkoma of the same name, Cyclops Shoujo Saipu may not be ‘lucky’ enough to be given the anime treatment but at least it was adapted into an ONA (original net animation). This means animations that are so short that it leaves you going what-the-hell and before you could warm up your seat, the episode is already over. Really. For this series, it just last for 2 minutes. Two stinking minutes! What good will that do? Well, if you’re in a hurry and need to watch at least some anime with no twisting plot and turns, maybe you can just catch this one just for the sake of watching-an-anime-episode-today. Really. Because it only lasts for 2 minutes. Two minutes. I think I take longer time to brew my coffee. Or brush my teeth. Or even drag myself out of bed in the early morning just to prepare myself for the day. Ahem.

As from the title, our leading lady isn’t really a mythical Greek creature (or based off that mutant guy from X-Men – you’re thinking too much if you really thought of this one). It’s just her nickname. Yes, she is bigger than your average girl for her age but because of her hairstyle, she has been nicknamed Cyclops, or Saipu. Wait a minute. Cyclops have hair? I thought they were bald? Anyway, I thought Saipu meant Cyclops in Japanese but it turns out it wasn’t so. So I am guessing that ‘sai’ is the first word from Cyclops and ‘pu’ is derived from buri or furi which means appearance or style. So how does her hairstyle make her look like a Cyclops? Maybe it’s the way her long flowing hair always cover one eye and leaving the other exposed. Yeah. That’s how. Besides, she doesn’t eat people. Maybe… She only wants to ‘eat’ her brother. Get what I’m saying?

Episode 1
When Saipu was young, she wanted to be the bride of her brother, Hikaru. He agreed. Now that she has all grown up, Hikaru must be regretting what he said because she’s really looking forward to it. Yeah. Her boobs have also tremendously grown. People who don’t know her and learn her name might be frightened she is named after a Cyclops. Saipu drinks milk and eat banana together. What does this erotic scene look like? Maybe Hikaru needs more than a box of tissues to stop his river of nose bleed. Saipu wants to give Hikaru her first time. He is embarrassed since they are siblings. Actually it is her first time baking cake for him. What was he thinking? Anyway it’s delicious.

Episode 2
Hikaru tells us that his sister’s real name is Fuuka but is nicknamed Saipu. Another nose bleeding moment for him when she brushes her teeth in a naked dress shirt. Saipu continues to hug Hikaru from behind. It is annoying because her boobs are pushing against his head. She’s not letting go. Later they meet her friends, Rin Fujisaki and Natsu in the streets. Because Saipu is still hugging Hikaru, they cheekily misinterpret they are interrupting something. Hikaru tries to tell them this is a misunderstanding but they don’t seem convinced. In class, Saipu’s classmate realizes he has forgotten to bring his textbook. Saipu says it’s okay because she too forgot to wear her bra!!! WTF?!

Episode 3
Saipu’s class are out camping. Rin is confident that they can put up the tent in no time because Saipu is with them. Because she can quickly ‘erect a tent in any guy’s crotch’! Everyone ignores her. Rin finds a poisonous mushroom but Saipu says it is edible. She shows it to Natsu and since she is wondering why there is a slit on top making look like a penis, Rin gets cheeky it’s because it’s to resemble that ‘thing’ she likes so much. Natsu threatens to shove it down her throat. That night, Rin attacks Saipu while she is sleeping and uses her breast as a pillow. Since Saipu is dreaming of her brother, she pins her head down with extreme force. Pain or pleasure? When Saipu returns, she gives the mushroom to Hikaru as present. He wonders why it has a slit on top. By the way, it’s edible.

Episode 4
Hikaru would gladly treat Saipu to anything at the festival since he just got paid from his part time job. Her friends want in too. Hope he got a fat pay. When her friends are playing goldfish scoop, they realize the water suddenly turning red. I guess Hikaru’s nose bleed is contaminating it after seeing their cleavage. While watching the fireworks, Saipu wants Hikaru to rest his head on her lap. He is embarrassed and refuses but her friends misinterpret they have already gone that far. In the midst of enjoying the fireworks, Hikaru happen to see Saipu’s busty cleavage. Like it’s about to burst out of that yukata any time. It causes his own red fireworks to launch.

Episode 5
Saipu bugs Hikaru to eat watermelon together. He is not interested and continues sleeping. Because she continues to rub him the wrong way, before he gets more excited, he agrees. They had their fill of watermelon. So full that their stomach is bulging. Saipu thinks this is what it looks and feels to carry a baby and hints to Hikaru to make a baby!!! While looking through the old photo albums, Hikaru notices Saipu’s nipples. Thinking she has caught him in the act, actually she hopes he could freely use that photo. Like hell he will. Browsing more of the album and going through the different stages of Saipu’s life. Suddenly there is a spurt of growth between the elementary 6th year and high school first year. Yeah. It feels like there is something in between missing. Did she really grow this big in that short span of time?

Episode 6
The guys admire Saipu’s long hair. I’m sure that’s not the only thing they admire the most. They lament the girls now wear half pants instead of bloomers. Not wanting to lose out, they use their imagination but can’t do it since they’ve never seen them in one before. Rin challenges the guys to a ball game betting their orange jellies (she wants them). They are reluctant to enter because the girls have Saipu. It’s not that they are scared of losing, they are afraid of getting hit by her. You know her serves pack a punch, right? Till Rin slyly says if they win, she would have let them grope her boobs. Suddenly all the guys unite to do their best! Such simpletons. Although we get to see Saipu’s bouncy boobs in every move she makes, the boys don’t really mind losing because it was all so worth it. I guess it’s a win-win because Rin is happy to have gotten all their orange jellies.

Episode 7
Hikaru is out of body soap so Saipu comes in to refill them. She wants to scrub his back as an apology but is making a very weird hand gesture. Saipu is making those very ambiguous scrubbing and talking. So hard. My technique is pretty good. Enough for every pervert to start fantasizing. Just rubbing his back muscles… Saipu wants to wash his front next but is very disheartened to see ‘it’ no reaction. Does she have to put up such despair look? Was she really looking forward to seeing such reaction? After she leaves, Hikaru thinks back all of Saipu’s sexy parts. He notes it was tough hiding ‘it’ with his thighs. That must hurt…

Episode 8
Rin and Natsu are at the karaoke when the former excuses herself to the toilet. Natsu picks up the microphone and wonders if a guy’s thing is this big. Rin catches her in the act. Natsu starts panicking when Rin pushes her down and goes on top of her. Then she confesses she loves her! She’s going to kiss her! WTF is this yuri development?! Natsu certainly didn’t see this coming! But Rin says she is serious. Really? Nope. Just kidding! She starts pinching her boobs when Saipu walks in. She misinterprets this yuri moment and runs away, feeling guilty she might have ruined their mood. While Rin is devastated, Natsu is grateful for being saved.

Episode 9
Saipu is moody? What gives? So Hikaru misses that old sister of his whereby she would hug him all love-dovey? Yeah. Which brother wouldn’t? He sees drinking from the milk carton so uncouth. She’s letting the milk drip all over her boobs and this arouses Hikaru! While he’s trying to calm himself, Saipu calls him a pervert. Guess what? He’s turned on! Still, he is in a dilemma for this disgusting behaviour of his. Because his thoughts were filled with nothing but Saipu, he was up all night. Looking like a zombie now. But Saipu is back to her lovely self! Hikaru is glad to see this side of hers back he can’t stop smiling. Count your blessings.

Episode 10
Saipu listened to Natsu’s advice about giving her brother the cold shoulder for a day because by the next day, he will totally fall for her. However Hikaru is psycho-ing himself he is a lolicon! Does he understand what he is saying?! And so Saipu is left heart broken when Hikaru continues to snub her! Looks like her hugging pillow with a life size picture of him will just do for now. She realizes she prefers her gentle brother who makes comical jabs at her much more. She barges into his room to apologize. Hikaru saw this coming. Probably. Because it was right before his eyes. When she hugs him, he got faceboob. Things seemingly are getting steamy. Boy on top of girl… But Saipu points out their mom is watching. Oh sh*t!

Episode 11
Natsu is shock to see Saipu in a sexy teacher getup. Rin made her wear them. If you’re wondering if the shirt is too small and any moment the buttons might burst out, it’s because the clothes belonged to Rin’s brother. Rin starts groping Saipu, blaming her sexy appearance is provoking her to get horny. Natsu smacks her because she’s the one who made her dress that way. Rin is bored after 5 minutes into the study so she wants to venture into her brother’s room. Natsu thought Saipu sensei is going to reprimand her but she too joins Rin. Saipu is amazed at all the perverted materials in the room. Rin cheekily hints she is has interest in such perverted stuffs. Then she smacks her butt and calls her a lewd teacher! Saipu gets mad because she points out she is Hikaru’s private lewd teacher. Is that what she is mad about? But it proves that she just admitted she is a pervert, right?

Episode 12
Saipu is so depressed… Gloomy… Rin takes advantage of this and gropes her boobs but she too is devastated. She can tell it has gone smaller from F to E! WTF?! Do boobs shrink when you are depressed?! The friends learn the club president stole Hikaru’s first kiss. Rin notes it is only a kiss and not his virginity but the rest say if someone else kissed the person you like right in front of you, of course you’ll be depressed. What’s more, after all that seduction that never worked and suddenly some b*tch stole his first kiss? Oops. But you know what I mean. However Rin is eager to see if they end up having sex. I shiver to think what kind of extreme fetish she has. So depressed Saipu is that she wants to die! Natsu tries to coax her out of it (like she’s the star of this anime). Rin does her part of the coaxing with a fiery suggestion if her brother steals her first kiss, everything will be fine. Saipu suddenly returns to normal. If that is all what it takes to bring her back… Then they discuss the problems of that guy making the initiative to kiss her. Sex appeal doesn’t work and she can’t kiss him while he is asleep in his room since she is scared of ghosts (is his room haunted?). Rin suggests doing a very lewd one in the morning… What happened to the kiss?

Big Girl, Big Smile, Big Boobs…
Is it that bad? Is it that good? I don’t know. I’ve seen so much of such anime that I can’t really tell anymore. I should have been an expert or close to it but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Because it is short and funny, I guess a guy like me who loves comedy would find it acceptable to laugh for the moment while passing the time. There is no plot to care about. Just random antics. Mostly about Saipu wanting to get into her brother’s good books. Like a double edged sword, because it is short, it doesn’t really leave a lasting impression. Unless they come up with more ONAs or a TV adaptation (which was falsely announced in one of the episodes as a fake alarm), then this is just one of those animes whereby you watch and forget. It doesn’t hurt much if you remember it since it doesn’t take up much brain space (unless every space in your brain must be utilized). If people talk about it and you remember, it’s okay. Otherwise, it’s okay too if you don’t.

Obviously one way of leaving this series to last longer in our minds is the incorporation of fanservice element. This is the other reason why anybody else would watch this in addition to the comedy. Besides, it is funny because of the fanservice. Even the guys in this anime ‘exist’ because of her big boobs. With Saipu as a big busty girl (with an equally big cheery smile), it is hard not to NOT take advantage of her huge boobs and sexy curves. If you’re not simulated, you’re either a lolicon or gay. Saipu’s behaviour is also a bit horny especially she wants to appeal to her brother. Is this the only or fastest way? Well, I guess guys are simple creatures. Sex solves everything. Well, almost. So what keeps Hikaru from turning into a sinful brother? Maybe it’s the thought that Saipu is her sister. Imagine if that happens, then it would have turned into incest. Yeah. I guess there are subtle hints of other fetishes like yuri and netorare (Google it if you don’t know what it means). How long more will it take before Hikaru breaks down and gives in to his temptations? Only time will tell. And then maybe Saipu will have her wish of marrying her brother come true. Or not. Because he could be prison by then. Haha!

It doesn’t help since Rin is a troublemaker-cum-pervert. And with Saipu being a little dense, Rin gets her way most of the time by rubbing her breasts. Natsu might be the voice of reason but the rest hardly listens to this ‘normal girl’. She might be a closet pervert, though. Like they say, still waters run deep. Almost every eye-catch picture you see is a sexy fanservice scene of Saipu. Whether in a very revealing or skimpy outfit or in some position trying to appeal to us. Also regarding the eye-catch pictures part, sometimes the way they say “Saipu”, it makes it sound cute but at other times it may sound annoying. Especially when Mai Nakahara (the voice of Saipu – like doing a cute render of Fairy Tail’s Juvia) says it slowly and staggering, it just feels creepy. Although I think she wants to make it sound lusty but the lack of that breathy feel makes it seem more kiddie instead.

I wonder if Saipu isn’t really bothered about the meaning of her nickname. Unless she thinks Cyclops are nice and cute creatures. You can thank anime and Disney for having little girls around the world to have distorted perception of Cyclops. Otherwise, how can a cute girl like her easily accept such an un-cute nickname. Well it is a good thing that hairstyle of hers is only covering one eye. Because if it covers both eyes, it would make her look like Sadako from The Ring! Yikes! That would be much scarier and this would turn into some horror comedy instead. Any seduction attempts would resemble more like a scare. Hmm… Haunting-like girl with big boobs… Mmm… Now that’s a combination I’ve never seen before.

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