These days, there have been lots and lots of animes about cute girls doing cute things. Girls forming a rock group? That’s cute. Girls playing mahjong? That’s cute. Girls drawing art? That’s cute too. Heck, they don’t even need to do anything but even hang out and bum around with their antics to be considered in doing something cute. But do you view girls with guns cute? That would be dangerous, right? Don’t worry. These girls are airsoft maniacs. They love playing this survival game. Wait a minute. Is there anything cute and feminine about a game that needs you to get down and dirty with the terrain and environment while trying to take out the enemy? Well, leave it to Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-Bu to show us the way. A timid girl enters this esteemed school in hopes of changing herself. She gets drafted into this airsoft club and slowly gets drawn into the thrilling and exciting world of airsoft. That’s going to be cute, right?

Episode 1
Yura Yamato is thrilled to have transferred to the prestigious Stella Women’s Academy. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in her life. This is where she can finally change. Till a student asks her for directions to the dorm, she starts freezing up. It took another student to show the directions and Yura is soon forgotten. She is shown her room but her third year roommate, Sonora Kashima is currently away at her hometown. To her surprise, she sees a gun underneath a pillow. Oh sh*t… And the entire wardrobe contains army fatigues… Oh my goodness… Elsewhere we are introduced to a bunch of crazy and weird girls of the academy. They belong to the airsoft club called C3 Club. Karila Hatsuse, Rento Kirishima, Honoka Mutsu and Yachiyo Hinata admit they are weird deviants because they love playing airsoft. They lament not many girls like to play this survival game. So desperate for new members, they even plan how to snag new first year students after the opening ceremony! Just hope they don’t kill them! Of course they don’t think this is going to work out and the best way to release their frustration is to play a survival game. Rento goes back to Sonora’s room to retrieve her gun when she sees Yura playing Rambo all by herself!!! OMG! She’s fully dressed up and she must have been influenced by the Rambo movie she just watched!!! Rento immediately jumps with joy because she has found another weirdo. Yura is brought to C3 Club but she’s not saying anything. The rest try to tempt her with goodies but the only reason why she isn’t reacting is because they pronounced her name wrongly. They think she is in to cakes when she reacted. It’s because Rento pronounced her name correctly. Yura thought this is some snack club where you get to laze around and enjoy eating snacks. Till she is explained that this is an airsoft club. You ‘die’ when you get shot. Can you blame Yura for freaking out?

Back in her room, Yura laments she can’t make normal friends. She feels lonely when she hears other girls next door striking up friendship. As she walks outside, she sees a cake on the floor. She takes the bait and falls into Rento’s trap. So does she really react to cakes? Rento pleads to her to join but she is reluctant. It is when she hears how the other girls are making great friends that perhaps Yura’s loneliness kicks in and decides to try it out. Yura tries out her first survival game called Rambo. One of them will be Rambo and the rest sheriffs. If Rambo is shot, he loses. If all sheriffs are shot, Rambo wins. Of course it may seem unfair but Rambo is allowed to equip himself with some heavy machine gun. Karila, the club’s ace becomes Rambo as the rest get into position. Yura is taught some of the basics of airsoft game as she witnesses the true survival game before her eyes. Karila uses deception to trick her enemies like abandoning her gun so she could move faster. One by one, Yura’s teammates get eliminated so Yura starts fantasizing Karila as the macho Rambo and she herself trying to take on her with her pea shooter. What are the chances?

Episode 2
Yura is back in her room, unsure this feeling she has right now. By the way, she lost of course. Sonora comes back and the duo get to know each other. Sonora tastes her handmade onigiri and finds it firm without being stiff. She remembers her master made her make perfect onigiri before letting her handle a gun. Because that was the key to understanding the basics. When Sonora asks if she has joined a club, Yura mentions trying out a weird club playing a survival game. She admits she did have fun. And guess what? Sonora is the president of C3 Club. Of course she is invited to join but Yura is still undecided, fearing she wouldn’t fit in. Soon the other C3 Club girls heard Sonora ends up rooming with Yura and thinks she has a plan to recruit her. On the contrary, she has none. So the girls become desperate in trying to make her join by wearing in cheap disguises and forcing her to sign on a club application form cheaply disguised as a survey form, etc. I think this is scaring her off more. Because she still can’t make up her mind, the only way left to decide this is via survival game. Yura is tasked in protecting Sonora and avoid getting the ‘VIP’ shot while making their escape out from the old building. If Yura wins, she doesn’t have to join but otherwise she will have to and in addition to that, Sonora will have to clean their guns in her swimsuit. Sonora is confident they’ll win without touching her gun.

The game begins and despite the first opponent Yachiyo in their way, Yura is nearly in panic mode but thanks to Sonora guiding her, they manage to use an old empty drum and ricochet the bullet back at her. Down to the next floor, Rento is confident Sonora is going to use the window due to her unorthodox method. Surprisingly, she used the stairs normally! They trick Rento and Honoka into shooting each other. In the final floor, Sonora knows Karila won’t be easy pie. She plays dirty by cutting a hole in the wooden floor! Too bad Karila also thought of the same and they’re under attack. Great minds think alike, huh? Sonora and Karila face off in an acrobatic showdown as Yura is awed with what she sees and starts fantasizing. Sonora gives Yura the confidence that she can do it and with her guidance, they win. At the end of the day (after getting reprimanded by the teacher for that hole in the floor), Yura finally speaks up her intention that she wants to join. But she won, right? It doesn’t matter. Because she has made up her mind. And so the C3 Club girls are overjoyed that they have gained another weirdo. Oops, I mean member.

Episode 3
Yura is taken to her first major airsoft tournament, which is capture the flag style. Despite a little amateur bloopers and hiccups (she actually apologized to the enemy for shooting at him!), Yura is getting the hang of the battlefield. Of course, no need to say for Sonora or Karila because they’re the ace and I think they can even defeat their enemies with their eyes closed. It is a great boost for the girls when they win their first match and they manage to reach the finals. But C3 Club throws caution at their strongest opponent, Meisei Girls’ Academy. They are so strong that the last 4 times they fought each other, it ended in a draw. Their ace, Rin Haruna was once Sonora’s airsoft partner in the USA. Wonder how this girl looks like? Well, Yura gets a chance to see her in person when she accidentally drops her bottle and Rin picked it up for her. Rin and Sonora renew their rivalry. That smile on their faces can’t mean a good thing, can it? C3 Club makes a risky move by moving all out to attack the enemy’s flag and leaving none to safeguard theirs. But Meisei also moves equally at lightning speed to impede their advance. Slowly one by one the C3 Club members get taken out including Karila. Yura is all that is left. Then she hears the Meisei girls wanting to end this by taking their flag but Rin doesn’t care about it and will take out every last C3 Club members. Yura becomes scared and surrenders. At the end of the day, Rin calls her despicable for giving up. Even Sonora agrees with her. What Yura did today made her comrades’ sacrifice in vain by running away. I mean, was she that afraid of losing? If she can’t fight alone, she can’t fight as a team either. She warns her never to do that again. The girls soak in the hotspring and Yura still feels guilty over her actions. The rest give her encouragement that from Sonora’s words this means she has been given another chance. Yura apologizes and after deeply reflecting on her actions, she has finally made her resolved. Next day, the girls are surprised to see Yura cutting her hair short. Looking very tomboyish… Heck, I thought she was a boy! I guess it’s her way to say she’s taking airsoft seriously from now on.

Episode 4
C3 Club is in anther survival game of their own and as usual, Yura starts fantasizing like they’re in one of those World War trenches. She relates this world to the rest but they laugh it off, though Sonora believes in what she saw. Because Yura had the most fun, they declare her the winner. Sonora and Rento bring Yura to a shrine that houses archery practice. Sonora borrows her a Czech made Skorpion gun. Climbing up the stairs, Yura thinks she saw a white fox! At the practice area, they talk about this shrine who houses another god warrior, supposedly a nameless young handsome warrior who died in some battle in some era. I’m not sure if Sonora is trying to scare to not say as she please about this god or else she’ll risk being spirited away. Sonora and Rento demonstrate how they can hit a tiny 5 Yen coin from hundreds of metres away. And they make it look so easy. For Yura, she begins much closer as Sonora explains about being one in the battlefield. Thank goodness I’m not the only one who didn’t get it. Rento didn’t either. So what are the chances Yura would? Yura is thought to be patient and not seek for success because it will naturally come. Once she manages to hit it at first go, she is told to take 3 steps back and continue the process. Before she knows it, she’ll be far away. They thought Yura is a genius and this training will end in no time. However before she begins her next shot, she sees the white fox and then a masked warrior before her eyes. She couldn’t hit the target anymore and the day is getting late. When they leave, Yura realizes she must have left the gun back at the shrine and rushes back there alone just to get it! She sees the warrior who calls himself Choujirou before her. Yura thought she is so tired that she is having visions and thus not taking him seriously. Choujirou decides to show her the true meaning of power since when a human enters the domain of a god, they share a connection with them.

Yura finds herself in Choujirou’s battlefield but the world looks like those water colour art. This is his world as she is told and is resonating with his. As he is constantly fighting, he knows if he loses, he dies. He tells Yura to shoot the enemy but she remains hesitant. Seriously? Using a gun in this era? Choujirou tells her this world takes care of everything for her. This is her escape from reality. She has been here many times even when she was young (this explains all the surreal fantasies she had). He adds her power is capable of engulfing reality and not to run away from it using her imagination. Then, the world will become what she envisions. Because Yura still couldn’t fire, the enemy shoots Choujirou and he dies, sending Yura back to her own world. Yura returns to Sonora waiting for her. She is surprised to learn the gun’s name is Choujirou. Yura tells Sonora what she saw and seeks her advice but if she really wants to find out what happened, she has to return to ascertain it herself. Sonora continues her story how her master was an American soldier but was killed in action. She stopped playing airsoft for a while before picking back up. Yura couldn’t understand because if she said one wins when one has fun, then that makes Sonora always losing, right? Everyone has their own way of playing airsoft and even though they seem like playing the same game, it’s totally different in their minds. Sonora and Rento wait for Yura to finish settle her stuff at the shrine. Rento wanted to give Yura something she forgot when suddenly she is pulled into that world! Yura fires to destroy the enemy’s arrow. Choujirou lives and it rains gold. Everyone is happy. Yura relates this to the other girls but Karila thinks she has old men complex. Wasn’t Choujirou a young handsome guy? They tell her he is an old dude who lived on to fight many wars. Get your history right! Oh… Don’t tell me history is changed too? Sonora gives Yura her Skorpion gun.

Episode 5
Stella’s airsoft girls are heading to a remote island where they will play a friendly with the Seto family (coincidentally everyone here has the same surname). They are the best and fastest airsoft team in Kansai. I guess that’s why the raft they peddled was faster than the cruiser the Stella girls were on. On the first day, both sides enjoy a team deathmatch and it ends in Stella’s victory thanks to Yura who made lots of vast improvements. She is given the honour to blow the whistle to signal the end of the match. That night, the girls have fun together, eating BBQ, play fires, hot bath in the barrel and gaze upon the starry sky. Yura dreams of heading into tomorrow’s game. Because she cannot find her aim and runs away, the rest feel disappointed and leave her. Yura wakes up believing she is a changed person and no longer the pessimistic girl she was. While having their breakfast, it seems the flag for today’s match is missing. Thanks to Seto accidentally burning it for their bath last night. Don’t worry. Sonora has made some adjustments. She uses Karila and Honoka’s bikini top as the flag! Well, they have the biggest bust and it draws attention. Today’s match is a different capture the flag. This version only has a single flag. Teams will slug it out to get that flag and bring it back to their own base. The person carrying the flag if shot is out of the game but the flag stays there. Sonora has devised a strategy to take on the Seto family. Karila and Honoka are having a hard time trying to keep their ground and Seto’s leader, Aoi takes the flag while her teammates cover her. Yura is in a rush to aid her friends that Sonora notices she is reckless in not noticing her surroundings. Seto family has another skill that makes it look like there are multiple shooters. They can fire using both their feet! Are they monkeys?! Aoi is on the home stretch when Stella catches up so she has to drop it and take cover. While both sides trade bullets, Yura runs and brings the flag back to her base, securing another win for Stella. Everyone is amazed and praises Yura but Sonora doesn’t seemed impress. It ends with a group photo.

Episode 6
Honoka isn’t going to allow her friends to buy anymore snacks otherwise they won’t have any funds for the 24-hour tournament. Although the little funds they have is reserved for the upcoming cultural festival. They can only do either of one and not both. They insist they want both! Greedy, aren’t we? Sonora has an idea. Use the funds to buy stuffs for the cultural festival, then use those proceeds for the tournament. Great plan. Now, what are they going to do? First they try goldfish scooping but Rento bought a lobster and it ate up everything. Next, they try a haunted house but they get freaked out when a cockroach lurks so in their panic, they destroyed the entire set. The ‘cockroach’ turns out to be the lobster. You mean, nobody has eaten this guy yet? Honoka is going crazy. They have zero funds left. All the money wasted. Yura asks what they did last year and it was some dance but they needed a month’s practice. Looking at what they have left, sweets, guns and cosplay costumes, Sonora comes up with a cosplay shooting café. Sonora borrows some high tech equipment from an acquaintance for this gig. As the festival gets underway, their café is not having many customers. Maybe the female judo and gymnastics club beside them are drawing in the customers. Honoka sneakily comes up with an idea. She charges a customer for every extra like being taught by a pretty girl. And it is going to cost more if he wants to pick a girl of his choice. He doesn’t mind… Isn’t this ripping off? Oh well, as long as the money is coming in. A couple of good looking guys (so handsome that lots of girls are swooning at them outside), Daiichi and Aira enter the club. Although they are from the Extreme Club, they are also into airsoft and are here to scout them out. Aira is Karila’s twin brother. They mention they will be participating in the 24-hour tournament and Rin is going to be in it too.

Honoka has realized that ripping off too many customers is causing them to lose more of them. They won’t have any more by the time this ends. She initiates Operation Wet. A couple of girls will engage in a water pistol fight before the crowd and the winner goes to the one who manages to shoot and wets the bullseye of the opponent. When it gets wet, it falls off and reveals their bikini top. Guys like that, right? They even get Daiichi and Yura to advertise for them since they can’t resist being in the spotlight. Yura spots her old classmates as customers and she remembers the trauma of being bullied (not sure if they remember her). She is snapped out since it is her turn to take on Sonora on stage. Using her fantasy to turn the scene into a Wild West Mexican standoff, Yura wins her match. Seems Sonora lost was because she got distracted when a kid bumps into Rento and she almost spilled the glasses on her. At the end of the festival, the airsoft girls watch the fireworks on the rooftop. Honoka announces they have enough money for the tournament so everyone dreams that they can continue doing this café for real and the kind of position they’ll take on. When it’s time to clean up, they want to play one last shooting game before sending the equipment back. However it is not working and then it falls apart! How did the water get inside? Seriously, it’s flooded inside. The girls get freaked out and tear the place apart when they see the ‘cockroach’ running about. There goes the expensive machine too… Hey… Do lobsters run that fast?!

Episode 7
Sonora tells Yura that an airsoft gun seller has been caught for illegally modifying the gun which could make it dangerous. However the buyer is still out there. As they walk back, they suddenly have to run for cover when somebody is sniping at them. Noticing the intensity of the bullet’s impact, they think it must be that modified gun. Sonora wants to retreat but Yura is adamant in catching the culprit. So much so she disregards her safety and could have been run over by a car had not Sonora dived to safe her. As a result, Sonora is unconscious. The sniper got away. Happy? As the ambulance wheels Sonora away, Yura thought she saw Rin passing by. Couldn’t she be the one? The girls visit Sonora in hospital and she looks good. Just that she has sprained her ankle and suffered a mild concussion. That means she will have to sit out of the tournament. However she wants her team to participate and have fun in her stead. But the rest have no confidence since without Sonora, it’s like they don’t stand a chance (what is Karila for then?) and even thinks of withdrawing their participation. Yura feels guilty and vows to carry on Sonora’s will in her place. So when we see her ignoring the C3 Club girls and stuffing books in her face, she wasn’t really studying but coming up with tactics and strategies for her team. She really came out with lots of them and with various scenarios! Hey, hey. Are you sure you’re playing airsoft? Yura is motivated to win this for Sonora but does she have to become the strict Spartan to her friends? Isn’t this too much? Nobody is perfect, you know. So the girls train hard in preparation for that ultimate day. And that day has come with the girls minus Sonora arriving at the camp. It’s like a festival atmosphere and they want to have fun. All except Yura. Such a spoil sport. Don’t think you can have fun without Sonora around? Whatever.

They don’t bother with her and go have their fill. Daiichi and Aira’s team are also here. They introduce their other members. Hibiki Tsubaki the geek sniper, Miyagi Mochizuki the attention seeking brat who is a big fan of Sonora (why is she squeezing Yura’s hand so tight?) and her ‘cool’ handsome brother Yoichi. Without Sonora, they think they have no chance even if they disregard Rin’s team. We have a quick look at some of the other weirdoes. Oops, I mean teams. Some feels like cosplay and some from the uniformed services. Man, those guys really take their guns seriously. Do little girls have a chance with experienced SWAT team? I think we know the answer. As they go hand in their participation, they see Rin. Seems she is mocking Sonora for pathetically getting injured. Though she admits she was there at the scene, Karila jumps to conclusion that she is the culprit who injured her. It doesn’t help when Rin puts it ambiguously that she will do anything it takes to crush Stella’s team. Karila is still mad and questions her friendship with Sonora. Well, they used to be friends. And it is precisely that reason why Rin can’t forgive her. She’ll say no more than that.

Episode 8
The tournament’s format will be something like musical chairs. With limited flags dropped in each round, the first team that brings them back into the safety zone advances. The first round begins with 57 teams. Stella girls come into Daiichi’s team and steal their flag. Yura’s plan pays off but they think there is another team in the midst. It is revealed that Daiichi’s team were changing uniform just to confuse them. Karila was supposed to head to the safety zone with the flag but she returns saying it has been stolen. However Yura knows this isn’t the real Karila but Aira in disguise because she ordered Rento to be with her and never come back alone. Stella clears the first round and the other teams keep streaming in. One of the teams they learn got disqualified because one of their members lied about getting shot and continued playing. Desperate to win? Well, don’t look too far because Yura seems to have that feel too. As Stella advances and the day is setting, Yura continues to be strict with her teammates. Even if their formation position is off by inches or if they are slow by a step, she reprimands them. WTF? Doesn’t she know Rento is injured? Apparently not. This causes the other girls to feel bitter because they don’t feel fun anymore with winning only on Yura’s mind. The game resumes till night fall and some of our girls are feeling sleepy. Stella is in the final round and of course the other team they will face is Rin’s Meisei. Before it begins, they receive a message from Daiichi and Aoi’s team supporting them. Aoi’s team who lost to Rin’s team mentions how Rin was merciless as she completely annihilated all her opponents. Because some teams got greedy and decided to take more flags just to reduce the number of rivals in the next round, they risk themselves in the open and got taken out. They thought Rin was going too far just to win and it hit Yura that she is acting something similar but stop short and notes she is still different.

Then Yura goes to talk to Rin about airsoft. What? To Rin, airsoft is like war. It all boils down to winning because it is pointless if you don’t. But Rin is smart enough to know this is not what she wants to ask and is must be about Sonora’s sniper. She didn’t give a clear answer and even hints it might be her. She asks Yura what she is fighting for and did she enter this tournament for revenge. She also knows Sonora would tell her team to go out and have fun instead, which she thinks is ridiculous. She advises Yura that if she continues to follow Sonora’s way, she will never defeat her. When Yura returns to her teammates, they are furious where she went because the match is about to start. Yeah. Now everyone’s upset about something. The match begins and Rin’s team is well coordinated that they’ve got Stella surrounded. Despite retreating, Meisei didn’t back down in hunting them all down. This makes it easier for Yura because if they’re not taking the flag, they know they can go all out and fight back. Stella retreats into a building. Meisei enters and the gun fire begins. Karila squares off with Rin in some gun-fu but ultimately it is Rin who gets the better of her. When Yura sees Karila out, she gets mad. She charges straight at Rin and another round of gun-fu begins. However Rin runs out of bullets and Yura sees this as a chance. One of Meisei’s girls shoots and hits Yura. However she didn’t admit being hit and quickly fires one at Rin. Rin admits defeat and mentions they are alike because she too did whatever it takes to win. While Stella is declared the winner and Yura’s teammates glomp her over their victory, Yura is left stunned and not too happy about her victory. She cheated, right?

Episode 9
Yura’s conscious is killing her. Very guilty feeling. Sonora has been discharged and is buoyed that Stella won. She has Yura tell everything that happened. Everything except for the zombie part. So while the girls are revelling in their victory and shiny gold trophy, here comes Yura coming clean with them. She admits she turned into zombie against Rin. The rest are shocked and find it hard to believe because if it was so, Rin would have already sounded it. Anyway Yura has already called the organizers and they will look into it. Looks like their title is in risk of being stripped. When they call Rin, she denies there is any cheating. And so Stella gets to keep their title but still, Yura is not satisfied. Even if the enemy doesn’t call her a cheater or the organizers didn’t see her cheat (weren’t there supposed to be videos?), Yura can’t leave it like this. She wants to fight Rin and Meisei again as she can’t accept this. Honoka tells her off that Yura went overboard at the tournament. She was strict and didn’t even know Rento was injured. It wasn’t fun. Yura still wants to fight. Before Karila gives her a knuckle sandwich, Sonora cools everyone down. She is okay that the fact she turned zombie and regretted it. It’s no surprise since she’s a beginner but never do it again. Yura then goes to see Rin. Seems like she was expecting her. Yura asks why she didn’t call a foul then. Because she thought that was what she wanted. Yura requests to fight again. Now? Rin is ready. Look how cool she is, pointing one gun at her head and then taking out another and shooting all the bullseye without even looking! Does she have eyes on the back of her head?!

The Stella girls are having their flowing soumen event with a little airsoft twist. Shoot the package hanging on the tree to earn the food. But Karila gets all the weird ones. Eggs? Cake?! A full nabe pot???!!! Who put those things in there?! Everyone had fun except Yura. Sulking girl continues practising her aim alone. She doesn’t join them and leaves early. On her way, she sees a news report that the serial sniper who has been targeting high school girls has been arrested. They are interviewing Rin who had a hand in apprehending him. Her answer of having steady hands and your shots will hit even if you’re not looking baffles the interviewer. But Yura remembers something of the likes that Sonora said. Later Sonora meets Yura at the shrine. The latter wants to know all about Rin and what went between them. She’s serious so she can move on. Sonora was best friends with her. They first met when they were in America but Rin was gloomy then as she couldn’t speak English. But when they both trained under the same master, Rin began to open up and became livelier. Those were happy times. Rin smiled a lot. Then their master got killed. Rin blamed that weakness for his death and changed ever since. She aims for victory in everything and that includes airsoft. Yura thanks Sonora that meeting her changed who she is. But she wants to walk her own path. She demonstrates by shooting with her Skorpion. With her steady hands, all the bullets precisely hit the coin! However she notes if she can’t improve further, there is no reason for her to remain in this club. She puts down the gun and walks away.

Episode 10
Yura has joined Meisei’s airsoft team. Daiichi and Aira are watching Meisei in action and are surprised to see Yura on their side. Yura did a self-sacrificing move to take out the enemy to win the game but this doesn’t impress Rin. When Karila gets word that Yura has joined Meisei, she and the rest thought of bringing her back but Sonora wants them to leave her alone. In another battle that has the medic format (when a player gets shot, a medic comes to that player’s rescue and puts on a band so he/she can continue playing. The winner is the one with the lesser accumulated bands), Yura is made the medic based on her last battle’s performance. She is not happy as she wants to be the attacker. During the match, he grumbles a lot about her role that it took several times for her comrades to call for her attention. In the last 5 minutes, medics are allowed to enter the battlefield. Yura goes all out and ignores her comrade’s call. She finally relents to go attend one when she kept calling for her. At the end of the match, Meisei lost by 1 band. Yura is unhappy. She didn’t shake the hands of her opponent. No sportsmanship. Then she confronts Rin about making her medic. Because she believes they could have won if she was on the attacking side. Wondering if she did something wrong and what needs to be done, Rin replies that only she can answer that herself. Yura thinks she didn’t do well enough and must get stronger. She trains herself harshly to the point she can even fire accurately at the bullseye blindfolded! But her hand is bleeding! Does she know it? Or is she ignoring the pain? Worried Rento sees her and is saddened to see her so thin. She is concerned of her well-being and if she is ever coming back to C3 Club. Apparently she won’t. Because they acknowledge her victory here. That’s just sad, isn’t it? So it is no surprise that Yura’s stats of accuracy, speed and stamina increase but Rin isn’t impressed either.

In another match before Rin could finish her briefing, Yura begs her to be the attacker. However she is made the medic again. Yura will convince her by winning the game as the medic. Meisei wins the match. Yura even kept count of how many each of her comrades hit! But she is still made the medic in the next match. She is told off if she is fighting for the team or just bragging. Realizing the number of hits won’t count, she decides to take into account utilization. She helps out her comrades when they are in a pinch but when one of them ends in an accident, she didn’t view it as a medic call and continue to go after her enemy just to get one last shot. Yeah, she sure did. When the rest (including the enemy) attend to her injured teammate. Before the next match, Rin takes Yura off the team. She demands an explanation because she thought winning was everything to her. Rin counters that she forced her ideals on Sonora and her. She tried to prove her existence through victory but is only forcing herself on others. While Yura continues to deny all that, Rin continues that despite she seemed like doing something for others, she demands something in return. In the end, she only cares about herself. There is no place for her on this team. Yura goes home. She feels lost. Thinking back of everything she went through and the words Rin and Sonora said, she realizes that she made a mistake. Remember all the good times she spent with C3 Club? Oh, those were really great times. She was like family, no? Too late to open her eyes now but it’s good that she did. Because now she realizes she can’t show her face to them again. Meanwhile Sonora is on the phone with her mom. Something about going overseas but she would want to stay in Japan a little longer. She sees Yura coming into Stella’s gates. Very downtrodden.

Episode 11
Sonora relays to her friends that she will be leaving for America to study abroad by the end of the month. No use in getting emotional to convince her to stay back. All they need is to play an airsoft game as a fitting farewell party. That’s how it should be. But Sonora has something to care off first so the quartet plays by themselves and don’t find it fun. Rento goes in search of Yura and finds her playing a shoot’em up zombie game at an arcade. She tells about Sonora’s predicament and despite Yura saying she did nothing but trouble and didn’t belong to C3 Club, Rento tells her to shut the f*ck up. It may be okay for her to run away but please consider how the rest of them feel. This really sucks. I guess those words struck too deep in her heart that even seeing the C3 Club girls, Yura gets scared and runs away. Rento blames herself but the rest don’t think so. Sooner or later somebody would have told her off. Sonora is packing her things and nostalgia has her thinking the sound might be from Yura. Nope. It’s a cat. Then it’s Rin. She apologizes for sending Yura away. She thought with that kind of strength she could save her but unfortunately it didn’t. Although Yura’s skills were unpolished, she improved daily. She was enthusiastic and really loved the battlefield. Just like Sonora in her old days. The other C3 Club girls plan to get Yura back in the club by showing her nostalgic items. But Rento feels this is bound to fail because it’s like they’re being selfish and forcing her to come back. It is better if she comes back on her own. But no time to be down because Sonora messages them to give the green light that she is ready for the final airsoft game.

Meanwhile Yura sits alone dejectedly. To a point she sees her friends face in everybody. The dog looks like Rento??? Seriously… Everywhere she wants to go, it is either closed or out of order. Then it rains. Tough luck. She is sad she doesn’t belong anywhere and has no place to go. Her wandering brings her to the shrine where she hears Choujirou’s voice. She tells him about his problem and doesn’t want to go back to her own world because she has no place in it. He says if she others can’t accept her, why not accept herself. Because, if you can’t accept yourself, how can you accept someone else? Yura is afraid to go back to C3 Club after what she did to them. Choujirou reminds her that they belong in different worlds although it is in harmony. The world she created is not a mere delusion. He tells her to accept herself and others. Only then the world will become a place where she belongs. The rain lets up and she picks up the Skorpion before her. Meanwhile Sonora is on a roll. She’s so damn good that nobody could even get close. She even tells them what to do if they want to beat her and can even sense them! I mean, she could hear Yachiyo’s breathing! What is she? Some sort of super human now? Nobody is good enough to defeat Sonora and they’re all panting like hell. Is this all they’ve got? Who else is there to best her? Oh. You forgot one more. Hey look who is back? Yura gears up and gets ready to face off.

Episode 12
It’s just Sonora versus Yura. Yura certainly looks comical trying to avoid the rain of bullets Sonora fires at her. The others are watching the intense fight despite Sonora is the one having the advantage. Rento realizes Yura not firing back and like as though they’re telepathic buddies, she realizes she is out of ammo. Rento decides to go down to the battlefield and deliver the supplies. Without words, you know they’ve buried the hatchet and Yura thanks her for inviting her to this club. Of course, Rento can’t resist and joins in to team up with Yura. This is followed by Karila as she slips into gear and joins Sonora’s side. Finally the remaining duo give in to temptation. Are they on Yura’s side? Nope! So it’s Sonora’s? Nope! They’re a team of their own. Yeah. A three way battle for supremacy. The bell rings and before Sonora could announce game over, Yura tells her not to. She still has ammo and can go on. There is no such thing as final games in C3 Club. Yura uses her power to transport everyone into her world. Actually it is the grounds of Stella Academy. Then she has all the girls in the school play airsoft with them. So… It’s C3 against the rest of Stella students? How many are there? 1,800 students… Wow. What are the odds? Who cares. They love it! Let’s go! At the end, everyone is happy and catching their breath, thinking what kind of locations they shall play in. But I guess that will do for today. For today. Sonora suggests they visit her abroad because she’ll be waiting. Can students like them travel abroad? And so Sonora has left. Honoka sighs more than usual because they have lost a member. They’re lucky to recruit Yura with her and can’t even imagine how next year will be. But there is no use thinking so much because all they can do now is play a game of airsoft. However they notice Yura is late to the club. That’s because she is trying to invite some new members to join the club. She has changed so much since she first set foot here, hasn’t she?

Episode 13
There are no more bullets left for any airsoft game for C3 Club. Because Karila and Yachiyo ‘wastes’ them all. They never heed Honoka’s advice to save them and they even fooled around and spilled a box filled with it. Contaminated bullets can damage the gun so ‘recycling’ is not a good idea. Sonora suggests entering the Survival Game Field Queen Contest. Think of it as an airsoft-cum-beauty contest. The winner gets a year’s worth of bullets supply and a new gun. Game for it? Karila thinks she’s damn hell of a pretty and will win it while Yachiyo thinks loli is the in-thing today. Counting their chickens, eh? So our C3 Club girls become the 16 finalists for the event. Except for Sonora because she is last year’s winner (really) and has the honour of becoming the commentator alongside Daiichi (he loves so much attention that he hogs his face close to the camera). Sometimes Sonora just commented too much… Other familiar girls included in the fray are Aoi and Rin (her juniors put her up to it). Wait a minute. Why the heck is Aira in?! Is there a category for trap? So the first part begins with the girls trying to appeal themselves to the crowd. And please, no advertising like what Rento did. I don’t know what green furry monster suit Yachiyo is wearing. Yura becomes the clumsy girl in bloomers. And oh. You won’t guess what Rin become. Have ever seen her being super shy?! And she’s a natural. Absolute moe! Yeah. Totally out of character. But we love it, don’t we? I guess the biggest winners are the audience. The second part has the contestants in a survival game. Thankfully none of our usual girls face each other in the first round so they easily ‘terminated’ the other unknown. There is also something special about this contest because if a match cannot be settled in 10 minutes, the winner will be chosen via audience’s vote. The final first round match is between Yachiyo and Aoi. Victory goes to Yachiyo because she tricked the Tarzan with her flashy magical girl with high tech gadgets. Yeah. That.

In the quarter-finals, Karila ousted Yura, Rento got owned by Aira, Rin bested Yachiyo and Honoka won over some unknown whom we won’t care. The first semi-final sees Karila against Aira. Since the siblings cannot settle it, this is where the vote comes in. At first Aira is raking in all the votes and leading like hell! WTF?! Do the people have trap fetish???!!! Unbelievable!!! And then when Karila realizes her clothes have been torn from the battle, she turns from a crude tomboy into an embarrassed tsundere. All of Aira’s votes transferred to her. WTF. How fickle are these people? Well, it proves they are perverts anyhow. The other semi-final is between Honoka and Rin. However Honoka plays some psychological mind games with Rin. Especially regarding Sonora. She let her guard down and goes out. Surprised?! This head strong girl easily lost to psychological warfare? And so it’s Karila versus Honoka final. Both are going great guns and all out at each other. Time is up and so the votes will be counted. Karila is confident her natural blonde beauty and tsundere attitude would clinch her the title. But Honoka who has been giving fanservice shots throughout the match, with all the boobs shot thigh shots and all her sexy curves purposely showing to the audience, she clinches it when she takes off her glasses. Girls with spectacles look cuter when they take them off, right? Well, I thought her racks were the main heavy guns and lethal weapon that sealed the crown. Flawless victory. Rin ponders revenge on the Stella girls but her juniors will always consider her a winner in their hearts. She felt embarrassed by that and ‘punishes’ them to do more training. After taking a group photo, what else there is left? Go for another game of course!

Always Stick To Your Guns!
Well, I’m not really impressed with the series but I wouldn’t go so far to say that this series sucks. Maybe calling it mediocre would be too much too so I would stick my overall comment to just being okay. For this type of genre where sports is the theme, there are 2 ways one can go about. Let’s talk about the first one being the sport itself. Now, I’m not really into airsoft or any survival games like paintball shooting and such so I’m not knowledgeable in this area. So what am I trying to say? In short, the airsoft action in this anime doesn’t really feel exciting nor could you feel the thrill of the game. At first it might be thrilling to see Karila taking up the role as Rambo as she owns the other girls. But that was because it was the first time. Definitely we are thrilled by new things, right? So that was really okay. But as the series progresses, the charm and thrill of the airsoft action just fades. There isn’t anything special about the characters jumping into action, diving into action, shooting their guns, hide behind obstacles, communicate with their comrades, run here, run there, shoot some more. Feels mundane, doesn’t it?

And so there is this dilemma that many matches ended too quickly and you don’t actually feel the effort our heroines put in to make it feel like they actually slog it out and work so hard that they deserve to advance to the next round. But it is also a good thing too because you don’t spend an entire episode (or many episodes like in some other animes) on a particular match. You want to get somewhere in the story by the time the anime ends, right? That’s why with the girls entering tournaments and the series skipping showing us the early rounds is also a blessing. Would you really care about the unknown opponents they gunned down? I didn’t. So important matches especially with Meisei or Rin are given much prominence but even so, I just don’t feel the magic anymore. Run, shoot, run, shoot. Somebody gets hit. Out you go. Even when the Stella girls draw up some tactics, it still doesn’t feel satisfying.

The second thing is if the sport itself isn’t going to be the main focus of the anime, then the task of turning the anime into something interesting or at least retain viewers’ attention should be the characters. I know that the C3 Club girls are close but we just don’t feel it. Besides, there isn’t anything much on the rest of the girls as it is pretty much focused on Yura. Of course she is the main star. We see her totally changed from the first day she stepped into Stella. You can say that she has become a better person after going through all that. At least she is not afraid to speak out unlike her initial timid self. Of course she is not perfect and got lost along the way. She lost sight of what is important when she became obsessed of wanting to grow stronger just to be accepted. She would sacrifice anything and that includes the expense of her friends just to achieve what she wants. But is that what she truly wanted? And even so and now that she has achieved them, now what? She almost lost something precious and irreplaceable in the name of friendship. What she truly wants is to be accepted and she learnt the hard way that she needs to accept herself first before others could accept her. Sometimes there is no need to change because true friends will accept you for who you are.

The other thing that bugs me about Yura is her supernatural ability to draw in the fantasy world. I think this issue wasn’t really addressed here because after her historic changing feat with Choujirou, you won’t really see this magic fantasy of hers again. Okay, maybe for that one last time she turned Stella into a big battlefield for her club members to play with. There is an air of mystery to it and at first I thought she was just some airhead who has got a vivid imagination. You think it’s just all in her mind but as proven it is real. It would have been interesting if this ability to turn the world into what she envisions had a little more focus on. I mean, if she really had full control of this, I think she can easily turn things in her favour. But then again, she was in a period of confusion so I don’t think this magic of hers would even activate. Besides, she has powered up and improved so much that I don’t think she needs to envision the situation to her favour. Unless she feels like wanting to shoot space aliens on planet Krypton. I also think that single episode bringing in the supernatural element really felt out of place with the rest of the theme of this anime. We got characters and plot that is down to earth and then you throw in spirits and dreams? Just strange.

Yura’s other friends in the club don’t really have anything deep to tell us. Yeah. How can you tell everything with just 13 episodes? As usual, a club with eccentric people is interesting with several unique personalities. Aside Yura the newbie, Sonora the confident and cool leader that no one can best when it comes to airsoft (she makes it look so easy). Rento has that dreamy voice and feel to it and sometimes it makes her sound like a cute airhead. Even cuter because she has this friendly disposition. Then you have a tough tomboyish foreigner blonde and Honoka as the observant one from the pact. Yachiyo feels like she is there to satisfy the loli criteria and I thought it is pretty ironic that for the smallest and shortest girl in the club to be the one specializing in long range or sniper position. Sometimes I feel that it is too bulky for her to carry and run around her sniper gun.

Then there is Rin and despite she has a mean face. And I mean that as she doesn’t smile often. Smile, as in a friendly cute smile and not that rivalry grin kind of smile. If she really does, go buy the lottery. I know she’ll be prettier if she smiles but can you blame her making a resolve not to show any weaknesses after her master’s death may have ‘maimed’ her smiling muscles. But she isn’t a bad person. From what I see, she’s just playing the villain especially in Yura’s case just to make her come to her senses. It is more effective that way to realize your mistakes oneself instead of somebody telling it straight to your face. Other characters feel pretty so-so. Aoi feels like an extra after her only episode featuring her Seto family. Daiichi always wants to be in the spotlight but since this isn’t his anime, he’ll just be hogging the spotlight for comic relief purposes. Aira is there just to tease and to a certain extent awaken the trap fetish in us. The rest of their team members are really quirky too but it’s too bad we won’t see and hear much of them.

Although I have said that I am not a person who is into airsoft (even watching this anime didn’t inspire me a bit to get hook into it or look up more on it), I feel the series did a decent job in explaining some of the basics of the game, especially the basic game modes and its rules as well as game ethics or etiquettes. Thus there is a sense of realism in regards to the game. It isn’t some sort of mindless shoot to kill or charging in and shoot anything that moves. Airsoft can be really complicated if it gets competitive. Also, there are a variety of guns used and shown here. This adds to the realism with the guns being referred to their model name and decent detail being given to its physical attributes. Of course the guns are modified for the airsoft game and so don’t go freaking out when you see girls with guns. Heck, some of us might even think how moe it is.

The drawing and style of course fit the theme of cute girls. I guess this is what is supposed to be the selling point of the series. Every girl is somewhat cute. You have tough cuteness in Karila, loli cuteness in Yachiyo, positivism cuteness in Sonora and even dark cuteness in Rin. Cute, no? Produced by Gainax who has a reputation of making weird animes like Medaka Box, Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, Mahoromatic and Abennobashi Mahou Shotengai, as well as epic animes such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I guess it was weird to us at first for them to make slice of life anime with cute girls. I still prefer Yura with her long hair because cutting it short makes her look so tomboyish. At times I could mistake her as a boy. Sonora is tomboyish too. Heck, all the girls in C3 Club can be considered so. But since that was how Yura was introduced, giving her a new haircut for a new look somehow didn’t quite fit it. They changed the opening credits animation for it but they left the ending animation credits with long hair Yura? Odd. Maybe it’s something they ‘leave’ behind for those who still prefer Yura with long hair.

In the voice acting department, Rima Nishizaki as Rento makes her character sound quite dreamy. There is that dreamy feel to it when she speaks. This is her debut and so far her only role in voice acting. Miyuki Sawashiro as Sonora sounds pretty generic like many of her other roles I’m used to (Tsugiko in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Inaba in Kokoro Connect) and Chiwa Saito as Honoka (Natsumi in Keroro Gunsou). Asami Seto as Rin sounds different from what I used to recognize her as Chihaya in Chihayafuru and Konatsu in Tari Tari since she is putting on a lower voice and more serious expression in her character. Other casts include Yui Makino as Yura (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle), Ai Kayano as Karila (Mei in Sukitte Iinayo), Madoka Yonezawa as Yachiyo (Ui in K-ON!), Kana Ueda as Aoi (Rin in Fate/Stay Night) and Wataru Hatano as Choujirou (Yuuto in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu). The opening theme, Shape My Story by Anna Yano sounds like generic anime pop while the ending theme, Hajikero! C3-Bu by the members of Stella’s airsoft club girls feels like they are having fun with the lively song. Remember, if you’re going to dance around with guns in your hand like that, remember to put it on safety mode or at least take out the bullets.

So overall with the action being just okay and the lack of character development, quite disappointing especially the one on Yura’s delusion ability because it feels like a side distraction now if you think about it and it doesn’t go anywhere by the time this anime ends, some funny bits here and there to tickle our funny bones, uninspiring or too little fanservice (the beach episode with the girls in bikinis wasn’t really a turn on – and they leave it too late and too little with that Honoka’s fanservice moments), that’s why I consider this anime to be just average. Don’t get me wrong. This anime isn’t bad. You can learn a thing or two like when you observe Yura when she starts straying so you won’t be like her. There isn’t anything special that moves me or to even get me thinking there should be another season. Just consider this as a show of friendship with guns. Woah. That sounds ironic, doesn’t it? You can make friends with guns and by shooting each other? Hope it doesn’t send the wrong message. Well, if only real wars were substituted with airsoft games. Airsoft, just like war but we just don’t die. The world would be a happier place? Maybe we need Yura’s magic for that world to come true.

Hana Yori Dango

February 23, 2014

I guess this love story back then was popular enough. So well-liked that it spawned several live action sequels as well as live action series in other language. Yes, Hana Yori Dango may have debuted in its manga form 2 decades ago (1992 feels like a very long time) and after its anime adaptation in 1996, it spawned a Taiwanese version (Meteor Garden – oh, how I remembered my relatives watching this) and a Korean version (Boys Over Flowers). And very much recently, there is an American adaptation as well! Boys Before Friends? Well, I won’t have the luxury (or the right) to compare these series altogether since I didn’t (and probably won’t) watch them. Seeing that this old school love drama has caught my attention, that is why I decided to check out the anime version.

For any love dramas to be successful, I suppose there is going to be lots of obstacles in the way of our budding protagonists. They have to be different like day and night. They can’t click at first. They hate each other’s guts. After all that squabbling, misunderstanding, close encounters and love polygons, it’s time they finally realize that they should just stop beating around the bush and come clean. Yeah. That’s what sums up this show. Another reason why I think it’s popular is because the lack of reverse harem in that age. Hana Yori Dango has a single female protagonist surrounded by 4 hot handsome hunks. You read that right. Not one or two but four. Of course she is not going to fall for all of them.

The plot: Her life is made a living hell when she a nobody crosses path with the spoilt rich quartet kids of a prestigious school. They are like kings and do as they please just because their daddies hold power, money and influence. Other students are afraid of them and the teachers dare not take any action because their parents fund the school. Don’t want to be the case of the biting the hand that feeds you, eh? But our heroine is no pushover. Maybe that’s the first mistake she made. Instead of yielding to them, she goes against them just to stand up for what she believes in. And soon the war against love slowly turns into somewhat a war on love. As usual, with 51 episodes in its belt, it’s hard for me to remember everything. Therefore, an excuse to take the short cut by relying on somebody’s episode summaries. If you are still an obsessed fan of the series even till today, this Emily’s Hana Yori Dango Page site has some pretty decent episode summaries for you to refresh your memories (and mine). I usually only blog the so called ‘important’ points that I remember. Feeling lazy…

Tsukushi Makino – The main heroine of the series. Despite coming from a very poor family, she manages to enrol herself into the very prestigious Eitoku High School. I know it goes to show that with perseverance and hard work, you can still get into such school but there is an ulterior motive for this. Her parents hope she would snag a rich man, marry him and set for life. Such parents… But can you blame them since they’re always short of money?

F4 – That stands for Flower Four and refers to out spoilt rich brats of Eitoku. They rule over this school. Nobody dares crosses path with them. Till Tsukushi came along. F4 consists of Tsukasa Doumyouji (the not so very bright leader because he sometimes uses the wrong words – shows you why studying is important than goofing around), Rui Hanazawa (the more quiet and distant member of the group who is a great violinist), Soujirou Nishikado (biggest player in the group) and Akira Mimasaka (most mature in the group).

Yuuki Matsuoka – Tsukushi’s childhood friend and one of the very few friends she can trust. Despite trying to support Tsukushi, there is only so much you can do when F4 is involved.

Red slip on your locker – It is a sign that F4 has declared war on you. Once this happens, you’re finished. Everybody will be ganging up against you to a point you will quit school forever. Tsukushi earns this when she defends Makiko Endou after the latter accidentally bumps into Tsukasa. But instead of succumbing to pressure despite the constant bullying, she is adamant to complete her schooling years and prove that F4 can’t do as they please.

B*tch trio – That even itself is an understatement. Yuriko Asai, Minako Yamano and Erika Ayuhara at first seem like genuine girls wanting to make friends with Tsukushi. They trick her into attending a jeans party so when Tsukushi arrives casually, she is stunned to see everyone in beautiful gowns and dress. Despite the trio trying to humiliate and make fun of Tsukushi as a stern reminder she does not belong to their class, she turns the table on them by humiliating them back in their own game. Who would ever want to date these b*tches because their goal is to snag rich men for their money (especially F4). They love bullying Tsukushi due to their over jealousy of her closeness with F4. Usually their plan backfire and are made to eat humble pie.

It’s all in the kick – Probably the reason why Tsukasa started to develop feelings for Tsukushi because of her kick to his pretty face! I guess she’s different than the rest of the other girls who either fear him or try to put on their fake friendly face just to get close to him.

Extreme makeover – Suddenly Tsukushi is whisked away to Tsukasa’s mansion (where he lives alone because his parents are always busy working overseas and his sister is married to some famous American hotel heir) where she is given an extreme makeover from a plain Jane into Miss Universe potential. Can Tsukushi get used to this? Probably not. Oh, trying to give an excuse that he can hang out with him in his mansion instead of school is not going to cut it.

Who’s that guy? – Tsukasa looks very much different (if not, much better) when his hair is down. This only happens when his hair is wet. Otherwise, it’s back to that natural curl.

Emergency exit door – Rui’s favourite place to hang out and bum around staring into space. Is it just more than coincidence that Tsukushi always finds herself drawn to this place? Or him?

Kazuya Aoike – Another childhood friend of Tsukushi. One word for this guy: Wimp. A bit of a retard too if you ask me because the way he acts, it’s like his role is to be the comic relief of the series. Secretly likes Tsukushi but what are the chances of that being reciprocated? He enrols in Eitoku because his family recently became rich. However after Tsukasa sees Tsukushi hanging out with this wimp, he earns a red slip. Just for that? He didn’t even know what hit him. Tsukushi vows to protect Kazuya from the torment of others.

Is this first love? – Tsukushi has always noticed Rui acting different from the rest of F4 because there is a little kindness in the way he acts. When Kazuya gets a red slip and the duo on the run from the very persistent Eitoku bullies, suddenly Rui stands up to tell them to stop this childishness. Not up to going against an F4 member, eh? Because Rui continues to help Tsukushi, Tsukasa sever ties with him and they are not on talking terms.

Shizuka Todou – The beautiful model currently based in France is Rui’s first love. Guess what? She makes a surprise return to Eitoku. What does this equate to? Possible love triangle.

House visit – Have you ever imagined the president of USA suddenly visiting your little home? This isn’t what Tsukushi have in mind when Tsukasa suddenly drops by. Worse, her parents try to kiss up to him like mad because they know he is the son to the great Doumyouji Empire and if Tsukushi marries him… Tsukushi is surprised that Tsukasa displays his politeness and mannerism. Maybe this guy isn’t such a brat after all.

Atami over Hawaii? – Poor people like Tsukushi and Kazuya go to the local Atami beach for the holidays. Rich kids like F4 go to Hawaii. But when Tsukasa hears the duo going there, he too decides to change his plans and bring his luxury cruise ship (sticking out like a sore thumb in the eyes of the commoners) and his friends to this new holiday destination. Hawaii is getting bored, huh? Or is it someone interesting there?

Kiss in the dark – Tsukushi is forced to join a party on board Tsukasa’s cruiser. There is an event where the lights go out and anybody can do anything. Tsukushi fumbles and accidentally her lips meet with someone’s. When the lights come back on, oh dear, did she just kiss Tsukasa???!!!

Fishing is a man’s game? – When Kazuya learns of this kiss, he wants to fight one on one with Tsukasa. Via fishing. Eh? What? Well, at least Kazuya can fish out squids compared to zero Tsukasa. And this odd scene somewhat turns them into friends. Okay, maybe not. Tsukasa’s arrogance continues to mock Kazuya when he learns that wimp likes Tsukushi. In the end, Tsukasa gathers everybody to get a taste of grilled squid. Rich people don’t know what they’re missing… But this eases the tension between Tsukasa and Rui.

The b*tches are back – The b*tch trio still want to cause trouble. First, they try to stir things up by telling Tsukasa that Rui and Tsukushi are in love. They even have a video to prove it. However Tsukasa is having a bad day. He just witnessed Rui and Tsukushi talking casually at the former’s frequent hangout and is certainly feeling the green eye. After watching the video, Tsukasa gets angrier and breaks it. The b*tches add more fuel to the fire by making patronizing comments. Then he slaps one of them and sends them flying! (I revel in this!).

Killer eyes – Akira and Soujirou express shock because they know that Tsukasa with these eyes, he has become a killing machine. When he is in this mode, he once beat up a guy till his stomach ruptured and was hospitalized!!! So when Tsukasa meets Tsukushi, she can’t get away from him or his grasp. He punches the wall till his fist bleeds. Then he gets rough with her by forcing his way to unbutton her shirt. Then he suddenly calms down seeing the tears in her eyes (she thought she was a goner). Surprise comes when he kisses her and promises not to hurt her anymore. Wait a minute. He was trying to kill her a second ago and now, he becomes an angel that soothes her heart and a vow to protect her?

You’re invited – Tsukushi and her friends are invited to Shizuka’s birthday party. While Tsukushi is unsure of how to face Tsukasa, there is a bigger issue looming. Shizuka makes a surprise announcement that she wants to quit being a model and become a lawyer in France. Though her father disapproves of it, Shizuka shows her resolve by cutting her beautiful long hair and sever her ties with her family.

It’s none of your business – Rui is acting like nothing after Shizuka’s announcement. But does Tsukushi have to butt in to tell Shizuka to stay here for Rui’s sake? I’m guessing that with Shizuka around, she doesn’t have to sort out her feelings to fight over Rui. Because she knows she can’t match up to her. So if Shizuka leaves, it’s fair game for everyone for him. So Rui blows his top at her for interfering.

Last chance for goodbye – F4 minus Rui along with Tsukushi and Kazuya see off Shizuka at the airport. After she leaves the gate, only did Rui pop out. Why so late? Actually he was here earlier watching from behind a pillar. Tsukushi once more becomes emotional to tell Rui to go after Shizuka if he loves her. I think he already planned this because he shows them his air ticket to France. Go get her!

Can’t hear you – The airplane noise drowns out Tsukasa’s invitation to Tsukushi that he wants to go out on a date with her.

Dating for dummies – Yeah. That’s what Tsukasa was reading before his supposed date with Tsukushi. But he doesn’t need that crap because Akira and Soujirou are going to teach him all that they know. Leave it to the experts.

Out in the cold – Tsukasa actually waited for 3 hours for Tsukushi to show up. I guess it must be her gut feeling that made her show up. Otherwise she would have continued shopping with her mom. This causes him to have a little cold.

What’s going on in the elevator – Tsukushi doesn’t want Tsukasa to take her to a posh place and instead knows some snack shop. However they get stuck in the elevator for hours. Feeling guilty she made him sick, she tries to warm him up while learning about his past that his parents has only been home to see him once a year. That busy, huh? Just before we can see them kiss, the construction workers force open the door and it seems Tsukushi got her facts wrong because this building is supposed to be demolished.

Did pigs fly? – Why are the b*tch trio treating Tsukushi so nice? Giving her their stuffs and all? Why is everybody respecting her? Because someone posted up a picture of her and Tsukasa on that ‘date’. Wow. She just gained a lot of respect.

Sakurako Sanjou – She is the girl that Tsukushi saved during Shizuka’s party. She has just transferred to Eitoku and is grateful for what she has done.

Thomas – A foreigner whom Tsukushi meets at a nightclub. The reason why Tsukushi is ‘attracted’ to him is because he looks very much like Rui…

I don’t remember what I did last night – Things start going downhill when Tsukushi passes out at the nightclub only to find herself in a hotel bed and almost close to naked.

Never judge a book by its cover – Where do I even begin? Thomas lives with Sakurako. Thomas despite his handsome looks has bad table etiquette (slurping, burping, farting?!). Sakurako despite her innocent angelic looks, turns into some acid tongue devil woman when she dances at the nightclub. She even reduced some veteran fierce nightclub ladies into tears!

Scandal – Everything starts going downhill when a picture of semi-naked Tsukushi is pinned up the bulletin board sleeping next to Thomas. Suddenly everybody starts treating her bad thinking she has betrayed F4 by sleeping around.

I didn’t recognize you – Tsukushi confronts Thomas to demand why the f*ck he did this to her but he seems confused. That’s when Sakurako shows her true form. It was her that put Thomas up to it by drugging her drink and taking a photo of her in bed (although nothing more than that happened). Because she can’t forgive Tsukushi for being with F4. So what’s her problem? Another one of those girls who don’t believe low class weeds should hang around F4? Sakurako wants revenge against F4 and used Tsukushi for it. Sakurako met F4 when she was young and let’s just say she didn’t have that cutie face. Because Tsukasa commented she was ugly, it really got to her. So she underwent plastic surgery to make herself look more beautiful. That’s why Sakurako was very reluctant to show her photo album because she looked very different.

Bullying is bad – I don’t know what Eitoku teaches but it looks like everybody is teaming up and hunting down Tsukushi like some witch hunt. Even the boys have no honour because they really want to hurt her. WTF. Tsukushi can still put them to shame with her make-by martial arts but how long can she last? Meanwhile Sakurako tries to confess her love to Tsukasa but he continues to believe in Tsukushi despite still in confusion. Trying to force kiss him didn’t work either. Because he has already decided. The final straw came when Tsukushi is tied to a car and the students drive and drag her. That’s when Tsukasa show up and gives everyone the shock by punching those who bruised her. Everyone runs like as though they saw Jesus. Tsukasa hugs and apologizes to her. He has decided to totally believe in her. Next day, those bullies get what they deserve because Tsukasa hangs them upside down on the rooftop!

Rui is back! – Just when Tsukushi thought it is going to be something straight with Tsukasa, Rui comes back from France. But he has changed. Rui flirting around with other girls? He even asks if Tsukushi likes Tsukasa. Well, you don’t think she could answer that straight, right? Rui is happy she isn’t and wants to date her. What?! This coming from Rui’s mouth?

New bully victim – Sakurako becomes the next target bully but the b*tch trio after her photo album has been circulated around Eitoku (how did this even happen?). Even if Tsukushi can’t forgive her, she still stands up for her. Despite the uneasy truce between them, Sakurako still won’t give up on Tsukasa.

Private island – You know Tsukasa is so rich. Now you’ll know how much richer he is when F4 including Tsukushi flies in his personal jet to his vacation villa on a private island he owns. Kazuya and Sakurako also arrive (much later) because they took a much slower tugboat.

Tryst in the night – Tsukushi can’t sleep and while strolling on the beach, she sees Rui sitting alone. They talk and one thing led to another. Okay, so they just hug but Tsukushi must be startled since Rui is the one that is starting to cry. She learns when he went to France, Shizuka welcomed him and they spent lots of time together. However Shizuka was working hard to be a lawyer so was out to school while he just bummed around. And then Shizuka received a marriage proposal by a French politician rumoured to be next presidential candidate. His world came crashing down despite knowing about his (it was the talk of the town in Paris). He felt hurt and returned to Japan. I mean, even if he comes from a rich famous family in Japan, who is he in France? A kid against some big shot. Might as well return. She has to cut short this embrace when her pager rings because Tsukasa is looking for her. She lies to him about her whereabouts. The next night, the same tryst with Rui happens. The duo are just feeling sad in their own ways and try to console each other. That’s when Rui kisses her. I’m sure this will be the shock of her life. No, not the kiss. Because Tsukasa is watching them. He can’t contain his anger and punches Rui! He also doesn’t want to speak to Tsukushi too and goes off angrily.

Left behind – That’s what Tsukasa did when he flew off from the island himself leaving the rest stranded. If not for Kazuya’s tugboat, they’d be stranded here for who knows how long. When Akira and Soujirou learn what Rui has done, they obviously get mad because they all know better that Tsukasa is in love with Tsukushi and he knows better than to do this. It’s like he can’t have Shizuka and is gunning for Tsukushi instead, which is true.

Date with Rui – It’s odd. Now that Tsukushi has finally dated the guy whom she admired first, she feels he is different than Tsukasa. She compared their kisses and Rui’s wasn’t as warm as Tsukasa’s! Even when Tsukasa was in his killer mode then, his kiss was warmer. Rui doesn’t seem like very considerate of Tsukushi too since he walks at his own pace and he walks in while she is using the toilet at a fast food joint (though his excuse was he was tired of waiting for her. WTF)! And then when they’re back at his house, Rui just falls asleep. Nothing much happens after that. Well, don’t want another scandal, don’t we?

Tsubaki – Tsukasa’s sister has returned home and she is not afraid in slapping her brother when he isn’t putting on his right behaviour. Even so, he doesn’t give a damn. Tsukushi’s fate in meeting this woman is when some guy persistently tries to hit on her but was told off by Tsubaki. She takes an interest in Tsukushi and brings her back to her home, something that Tsukushi wouldn’t want to now since she just saw Tsukasa doing well getting along with Sakurako.

F3 –Tsukasa kicks out Rui from the group. Oh dear. How can this be? This is going to cause a big shock at Eitoku. And I don’t know if this is a joke or not but somehow Kazuya was considered to be Rui’s replacement! How the heck did this come about? I don’t really think it will work out…

Expulsion – Tsukasa is dead serious in wanting Rui and Tsukushi to be expelled from Eitoku that he threatens the principal to do it or he will cut the school’s funding. No amount of arguing can change this guy’s mind. Sure, they’ve got people to quit Eitoku and that’s what makes them cool (which I think not) but expelling them? This is going too far. When Tsubaki learns about this, she storms in and the siblings become loggerheads.

Slam dunk! – There is only one way to solve this and it is going to be 3-on-3 basketball. Rui, Tsukushi and Kazuya versus Tsukasa, Akira and Soujirou. F4 does have experience in playing basketball but what about Tsukushi and Kazuya? Looks like training is going to be tough. During the game in which Tsubaki is the referee, Rui seems like doing all the work, Tsukushi trying her best and Kazuya is just being a doofus. Tsukasa’s team is doing great and leading by a mile. Till Rui has Tsukushi conspire with him to get very close. This riles up Tsukasa as he loses his focus. But this isn’t enough for them to win. The students are calling for their expulsion. Tsukasa suddenly doesn’t feel like playing and abandons everything. So their expulsion doesn’t matter anymore?

New York, New York! – Tsukasa decides to leave Eitoku and live his life in New York instead for the next 2 years. Before that happens, Tsukasa and Rui made up and become friends. That means, F4 is back, right? The former doesn’t blame the latter for what is happening and has planned this even before the basketball game. Rui also will give up on Tsukushi seeing he realized he is still in love with Shizuka.

It’s a sin to be poor – Tsukushi’s family is having their own problems. Daddy lost his job. They’re surviving on what mommy earns in her part time job. Food on the table is so pitiful and the pressure is even greater on Tsukushi to marry a rich guy. Yeah, who says being poor but as long as you’re a family is happy? Things take a turn for the worse when daddy gambled away he borrowed. They lost everything. The family is in the midst of breaking down when Tsukushi gets a call from a saviour… Not. Why on Earth is that dude calling her at her most frantic hour?

Welcome to Canada – Shocking as it may be but I don’t know how he screwed it up because Tsukasa ended up in Vancouver, Canada! Oh, he agrees to give Tsukushi his ‘pocket money’ to clear off her family’s debts if she comes to get him in Vancouver. So is she going or not? She might still dislike this jerk but if that’s the only way to get the much needed funds to save her family… And so, Tsukushi along with the other F4 guys, Yuuki, Sakurako and I don’t even know how the b*tch trio too end up arriving at Vancouver’s airport and at Tsukasa’s Canadian mansion. This guy even has a house here…

Out in the cold part 2 – The b*tch trio are up to no good again. They trick Tsukushi that Yuuki might still be outside in the blizzard and she takes off just to go find her. And before she knows it, she collapses in the bitter and dark winter snow. The F4 are not happy when they learn of this. Tsukasa does another reckless move to search for her.

Body warmth – It must be a miracle for Tsukasa to find Tsukushi (after he crashed his snow mobile, that is). I wonder how he could see that little blinking red thing from her toy when she’s covered with snow. Anyway he carries her to a nearby cabin whereby the strip to semi-naked (leaving their pants on for obvious reasons) and as reluctant or stubborn Tsukushi may be (she’s got to be a dirty person if she can even worry about him doing ecchi stuffs to her), she has no choice but to let this guy warm her up with his body warmth. Next morning, they get a rude awakening by a couple of skiers who probably came in to use to cabin.

You get what you deserve – When Tsukasa returns to his mansion, he reprimands the b*tch trio (something that I revel in). They are made to work hard breakfast for them with Sakurako supervising them. Tsukushi and Tsukasa are embarrass about the cabin embracing incident though Akira and Soujirou get a little naughty in teasing them what might have happened. Later, Tsukasa once again tries to say his feelings to Tsukushi. But something loud always drowns out what he says or something else distracts Tsukushi. Maybe it’s just not to right time…

Junpei Oribe – This nerd in glasses wants to be Tsukushi’s friend. And he doesn’t fear F4 too. You know what this means when Tsukasa sees her hanging out too much with him. One day Junpei brings Tsukushi along to his workplace. Somehow he gets her to help him out and little did she realize that he is actually some hot magazine model. That picture of Junpei and Tsukushi ends up as the magazine’s front cover. Of course this leads to a showdown between Tsukasa and Junpei. Junpei asks if she likes Tsukasa but she is confused. She starts crying after Tsukasa beats Junpei to a pulp. Junpei goes to console her and vows to protect her. And all of a sudden, everybody in Eitoku recognizes him. What the? Just because he puts on some glasses, they couldn’t see his handsome face?

Bad luck? – Junpei saves Tsukushi several times from being hurt like a flowerpot almost dropped onto her. Tsukushi and Junpei’s locker receives a red slip. Maybe Tsukasa is really out to get them. And then… Tsukushi gets kidnapped!

It’s right under your nose – Tsukushi wakes up in an abandoned warehouse surrounded by her kidnappers. The ringleader turns out to be… Junpei! Did you see this coming? He admits he is the one who set up all the mishaps and the red slip. Apparently Junpei is using her to as bait to lure Tsukasa here and get back at him. Remember the guy that Tsukasa beat up so bad and hospitalized? Yup. That’s his brother. Someone Junpei looked up to and was affected by that humiliation. Junpei tries to force kiss her but was bitten. Tsukushi is sure Tsukasa won’t come after all that has happened but surprise! Here he is and alone too. With Tsukushi as hostage, the other ruffians beat up Tsukasa. He takes all the beating and doesn’t fight back! Tsukushi is reduced to watching and screaming in horror but Junpei and co won’t listen and beat him up to their heart’s content. So are they done yet? Junpei is about to beat him with a chair when Tsukushi comes flying to be his body armour. I guess that’s enough for today. After they leave, Tsukushi wants to know why he didn’t fight back. He could have easily defeated all of them singlehandedly. It’s to protect her. If he fought back, it’s his loss. Then he collapses (what do you expect with broken ribs?). Now she doesn’t want him to die.

Tsukasa dies! – When Tsukushi visits Tsukasa at hospital, she is shocked to see a white cloth over his face and his F4 pals are crying over his body! Gasp! Say it’s not true! I guess when a person is dead, you tend to say things when you don’t when he is alive. Suddenly Tsukasa bursts back to live and his pals start laughing! Psych! She really had it…

Look who’s back and then gone – Surprisingly, Junpei comes visiting Tsukasa. But he’s not here to seek revenge but to apologize and rant about his brother, the reason why it led up to all this. After all that? Suddenly a change of heart? Yeah well, maybe to Tsukushi for using her. I suppose Tsukushi doesn’t trust this guy anymore and wants him to leave even though he has seemingly reflected over his actions. It’s just too bad that he lost a valuable friendship. Oh, his other ruffian friends got easily beaten up by F4 and their head shaved.

Brand new look – Tsukushi cuts her hair shorter. Note: I still prefer her with long hair. Period.

Mother-in-law – F4 knows Tsukasa’s mother, Kaede is one scary mother. Elegant. Perfectionist. Arrogant. Snob. She owns the famous Maple Hotel chains around the world. Tsukushi’s first meeting with her began when she is invited to Tsukasa’s birthday party. I’m not sure what their intentions here for inviting Tsukushi to the party knowing well that Kaede won’t allow such low class girl to even go near her son. So when she approaches Tsukasa seen mingling with Tsukushi, she wants to know who this woman is. His reply? The most important woman in his life. Akira and Soujirou try to cut in and give in excuses but were immediately shut told to up. No talking back. Kaede is unsure of her family status as she has never heard the Makino name before. Rui lies that Tsukushi’s dad is the president of the Makino Corporation. Kaede wants proof. If she is a daughter of an elite family, she should be able to play a music instrument. Can she? Well, she just simply pounds away! I guess that says everything. Mother’s verdict? Her son is never to see her ever again. Since he insists he likes her, he got slapped. Tsubaki can’t stand this torment anymore and with the rest of F4, they help Tsukasa and Tsukushi get away in a taxi while they hold of Kaede’s bodyguards. They both end up and spend the night on his cruiser. But Kaede isn’t going to give up yet. She has her men gather information about Tsukushi’s family and she has a plan…

Calm before the storm – While on Tsukasa’s cruiser, Tsukushi manages to give him her handmade cookies to him which she never got the chance to (because she was being tsundere). Anyway the cookies look like his face! He starts mocking it and she tries to take it back. While doing that, he kisses her. What a looooooooong kiss… Is it any wonder why this kid has a big happy smile on his face? Next morning when he sends her home with a message that says “I love you”, that dense girl doesn’t understand what it means. Duh? What else could it mean? And Tsukasa is so happy that he had to go bug Rui in his sleep. It’s 6.30 in the morning! Come on!

Money talks – Tsukushi and her family are stunned when Kaede and her bodyguard enter the house. She wants Tsukushi to break up with Tsukasa and never see him again. Of course, she is willing to offer an incentive. A suitcase containing 50 million Yen! OMG! This would solve their financial woes. Guess what? The next shocking move sees Tsukushi’s mom pouring up a cup of sugar over Kaede’s head and tells her to take her money and leave! OMG!!!!!! She, doing that?! Never seen it coming! And you’d thought those money hungry parents would straight away do it for the money. Kaede maintains her composure and leaves. Just when Tsukushi is going to have a new respect for her mom for standing up to her, her true colours are revealed. She rejected the 50 million because if she marries Tsukasa, they could get more!!! GREEDY!!!!!!! WTF???!!!

Meet the fiancée – Apparently Kaede isn’t going down with a fight yet. First, she has one of her men invite Tsukushi to come to one of her hotel chains. She is surprised to see Tsukasa in a traditional wedding outfit although he is struggling that he is against all this. And then another party pops in. She is Shigeru Ookawahara and is Tsukasa’s fiancée! Arranged marriage, I take. So this is Kaede’s plan to shoo off Tsukushi?

Elope – Tsukasa takes Tsukushi by the hand and escapes out into the freezing night. Thing is, he took the wrong hand and dragged Shigeru’s instead! How the hell did he screw this up? He ignores her but the monkey girl keep pestering her to take responsibility and even jumps on his back and bites his ear! He shakes her off and leaves her but she finds him an interesting guy. Seriously? After that kind of treatment-cum-abuse and she takes a liking for him? And thanks to this little mistake, Tsukushi just can’t get that scene out of her mind. So… If she doesn’t care about that jerk, why get so bothered thinking about it? Yeah… We all know why…

Best friends, best rivals? – Somehow Shigeru ends up becoming Tsukushi’s best friend and is interested to know her so she can know Tsukasa better. Well, she even asks if they already had sex before. Since Tsukushi continues to assert she isn’t in love with Tsukasa, I guess this is good news for Shigeru because she wants her to collaborate so that she can get Tsukasa. So much so, Shigeru even joins Tsukushi and her family with dinner at home. Of course, you can tell the kind of reaction mommy puts on when she realizes this is Tsukasa’s fiancée. Should have taken the money, no? Really, this mother has no pride…

Another quiet moment with Rui – While Tsukushi is spending her usual time with Rui at his favourite place, somehow she trips and falls but he catches her and in this kind of position, you know that it will lead to that. If you stare at each other too long… Oh wait. Rui snaps out of it and lets go of her, making her head hit the stone. Ouch. Jerk.

Tears of joy – Tsukushi is surprised to see Shigeru crying. Did something happen between her and Tsukasa? Apparently he asked to her to go out with him. Wait a minute. Did I hear that correctly? I guess I did. So no wonder that girl is crying. Though, I won’t count on it since you know, Tsukasa is just ‘willing’ to go out with Shigeru just to get back at Tsukushi who has been a pain in the ass for not noticing his love.

Lover’s quarrel? – Even if Shigeru and Tsukasa are going out, the latter still acts nonchalant and doesn’t care about her. It’s just like he’s tagging along. She even has to fake some tears just to get his attention to care for her. Then as Tsukushi and Rui are hanging out their usual spot in school, they hear Shigeru yelling to Tsukasa. Shigeru wants him to kiss her as proof that he loves her. He does that. So why is Tsukushi feeling all so uncomfortable in her heart just at the sight of this kissing scene if she doesn’t care about that jerk. Yeah… We all know why… Oh, did I repeat myself with this line before?

Forced vacation – Tsukushi was out with Rui in a café. Somehow the next customer who came in turn out to be Shigeru and Tsukasa. Oh boy. Suddenly Shigeru gets this idea of a double date and what’s more invites them all to go to her villa. Before you know it, Tsukushi is whisked away in her limo and to her home complete with hotspring.

Things that go bump in the night – These only things ‘memorable’ on this trip. Tsukushi stayed in the hot bath too long and passes out. Shigeru panics and runs out close to naked to seek help. Tsukasa upon hearing Tsukushi in danger immediately goes to her rescue. What does he see? Rui carrying unconscious Tsukushi and brings her to his room. When Tsukushi comes to, she realizes she is sleeping naked in Rui’s room. She becomes an irritated annoying girl throwing a tantrum that a guy has seen her body. It can’t be help, right? As for Shigeru, she is concerned that Tsukasa harbours feelings for Tsukushi. She got desperate enough to disrobe herself, throw herself around him. She wants to talk about their marriage but she is not ready to hear this answer. In fact she doesn’t want to hear it and knows what it is. Yup. Tsukasa tells her right in her face that she is not the one. I think there’s a fit of rage somewhere, Tsukasa throwing a chair through the window (possibly thinking about Tsukushi and the possibility what she might be doing with Rui). So Tsukushi was worried enough to go see what the loud crash was about and when she enters Tsukasa’s room, only to see Shigeru on top of him, barely clothed. I guess the broken window didn’t matter anymore. Sorry for intruding. Well, it certainly was one hell of a trip. And for the next few episodes, Tsukushi has a hard time about the Shigeru-on-top-Tsukasa scene. She can’t stop thinking about it. It’s really bugging her. Really. Was it the sex scene or was it Tsukasa she’s worried about?

Home alone – When Tsukushi returns home, she is shocked to see her family packing up! Running away from loan sharks? Well, since daddy failed to land any job since he got fired, the family is going to move back to the countryside where one of their relatives resides. Papa can try his luck being a fisherman. However Tsukushi will only be staying back because mama thinks she must not give up on completing her studies in Eitoku. So hard to enter that school and you can’t just walk out due to circumstances, right? After all that she’s been through, quitting now is not an option, don’t you think? But look on the bright side, she has got some privacy and a chance to learn to be independent. And just like that, her family moves away. Start missing them? Or feeling the taste of freedom?

New kid on the block – There is a little commotion at Eitoku. Several bulldozers are tearing down old parts of the building because new ones are set to be there. Tsukushi is shocked to learn the sponsor of this new block. Does the name Ookawahara ring a bell? Yeah. In addition, Shigeru has transferred to Eitoku and she is already wearing their school uniform. And you thought things won’t get any worse, right? Well, it did. And Shigeru is doing this not to give some rivalry to Tsukushi. Rather to e close to Tsukasa 24/7. I guess she’s not going to give up on him easily.

Triple threat – After a long absence (rather, she became a minor side character), Sakurako somewhat returns and with a bold declaration to Shigeru to stay away from Tsukasa! I guess she accepted when she ‘lost’ to Tsukushi but when this new player comes in and to be Tsukasa’s number one, I suppose that’s when Sakurako had to draw the line. And guess what Shigeru’s reaction is? She’s happy instead because Eitoku is filled with interesting people! So she’s saying her old school was a boring place? Yeah. She should have heard the time everyone turned into a murderous bully against Tsukushi. In addition to her smiling face, Shigeru hugs and comments on Sakurako’s cuteness. Just WTF.

The return of the lady – Rui is hanging out in his usual favourite spot when suddenly there is this beautiful elegant lady before him. Looks familiar? Of course. It’s Shizuka! She’s back from France to get him! I think I have never seen Rui pulled off this very shocking look on his face. But that guy is still unsure. What can he do for her? Is he good enough for her? Say, what happened to the guy she was supposed to be engaged too? Anyway, Shizuka mentions he can play his violin for her. Is that the only good thing he has? Well, it’s enough to convince him for them to start anew.

Bonjour! – Yes. Rui is going to leave for France to be with Shizuka. But there is this test for students who are interested to be in a study exchange programme in America. All expenses will be paid for. Tsukushi is of course interested because as a poor girl, money is a big motivation. But you know that is just an excuse to run away from her feelings for Tsukasa (after all, Rui’s comment on how something she love is right in front of her and couldn’t even reach out to grab it really hit her hard). Because that cocky guy mocks her and doesn’t believe she can make it, Tsukushi is going to make him eat his words and show it to him. I have a feeling that the rest of them want to sabotage her exam because on the night before the exam as Tsukushi is trying to cram in last minute everything, Shigeru and the rest come to her house to party as an early celebration for passing the test. Counting the chickens? Obviously Tsukushi is in no mood and has to put up with the antics. She didn’t get much sleep. Can she make it for the test? When the results are posted, Tsukushi has passed!

Last goodbyes? – Those who believed in Tsukushi congratulate her. Those who don’t (like certain b*tches) claim she cheated. Shigeru doesn’t want her to go now that she has transferred here but Tsukushi has made up her mind. Tsukasa even congratulates her, teases her and hugs her. He doesn’t want her to go too (of course). But you know… She’s made up her mind.

It’s all a scam! – Tsukasa learns that having Tsukushi go overseas was part of mommy’s plan. I mean, how could a girl like her ace such a tough exam and she was even sleep deprived on that day. And so Tsukasa lashes out at Kaede without mercy. She thought she had given him the freedom, live, etc and this is the thanks she gets? On the contrary, she was never there to raise him and when she came back, she screwed up his life. He never considered her his mother. Then he throws the towel in her face. Unfaithful son? But there’s lots of truth in what he said, you know.

Please don’t go – So Tsukasa comes knocking on Tsukushi’s door, telling her not to go because this is all part of mother’s plan. She still wants to go because she thinks it will change her and that he has Shigeru. But after Tsukasa explains that night he confessed Shigeru wasn’t the one and hurt her feelings, he admits that he loves Tsukushi and all those other sweet words (he’ll chase after her till the end of the world and if she doesn’t come, he’ll come into hers). To shut her up, he kisses her. I guess after all that resisting, she must have realized it is futile and gives in. So she’s ready to stay and start a new relationship with him? That easy for a weed who has been defying for a long time.

Brand new girl – Wow. It’s like Tsukushi turned into another person. She feels so happy and can’t wait to see Tsukasa. All this time she’s been pushing him away and now when she really wants to see him, he isn’t around. Tsukushi has also been so cheery that she plays hopscotch herself and leap frog with her friends. WTF. She also doesn’t scorn the b*tches when they tease her. She smiles back and it gave them the creeps.

Prison in your own home – When Tsukasa is thought to be playing truant from school, Shigeru comes to tell Tsukushi and F4 that there are bodyguards all over his residence and she wasn’t given a clear answer. Of course, this is mommy’s doing to make him realize his own place and what he is doing will ruin the family’s name and what she has built up. It’s all about her, isn’t it?

The confrontation and confession – Tsukushi, Shigeru and F4 make their way to Tsukasa’s mansion. It’s the only thing to do. Surprisingly, they are easily let in to see Kaede who tells them there is nothing to worry. Really? That’s when Tsukushi goes up to Kaede to tell her about the different world they’re both in. Tsukasa has always jumped to her aid in times of her need and she kept pushing him away. Blah, blah, blah. There are things money can’t buy. Yada, yada, yada. Mommy is afraid that there will come a day Tsukasa won’t need her anymore. Kaede thinks her son’s love is just temporal but Tsukushi replies even if he does come to know she isn’t worth it, it will be on his own realization and won’t be forced upon.

Slap this b*tch! – When Tsukushi mentions if she loses her family name, she loses everything, Kaede slaps her. Tsukushi slaps her back!

CRASH! – Well, Tsukasa must have finally got tired of his cage so he throws the furniture through his window to break out. Then he comes crashing through the glass window just to see Tsukushi. Yeah. He’s like a bull.

Game over –So the duo have a nice talk together. Tsukushi tells him the wonderful feelings she had and the thought of starting things anew. However if things go on the way they are now, it will never end. Neither of them will last. That’s why she wants to call it quits. She walks away, thanks him, wishing him goodbye. Tsukasa didn’t go after her because he finally realizes how she feels.

The simple life – The normal life that Tsukushi always wanted. Without drama. No excitement. Nothing. Happy?

Life goes on – Rui joins Shizuka in France. Tsukasa and Shigeru stopped coming to school and so F4 becomes F2 with only Soujirou and Akira left. But really. Do these 2 really matter? The b*tch trio found somebody new to bully and it might be bad hearted of Tsukushi not to go stop them but I guess she has had enough hell with them and wants to stay out of it. Kazuya and Sakurako are hanging out more often together. Just short of being publicly called a couple. Tsukushi’s family are adapting well to the countryside. They may just become a great family of fisherman. Also, Tsukushi gets a 50 Yen raise in her part time job, which is a bloody miracle considering her poor status. And what’s this? Tsukushi is interested in a guy and ponders if she should go out with him?! Well, at least he’s a nobody. We don’t even know his name. Do we care?

Getting married – Haven’t you heard? Tsukasa and Shigeru are getting married! But they’re still in high school! And they’ve got Eitoku to have a grand send off on their luxurious liner for their honeymoon. But why Tsukushi isn’t looking happy? Why isn’t Tsukasa looking happy? Lingering feelings?

The letter – Before the ship departs, Tsukushi is delivered a letter supposedly from Tsukasa. Its contents read that Tsukasa plans to disappear to another country after the ship departs. He’s getting out of this marriage and will return once everything cools down. Tsukushi is so enraged that she runs from where she is and jumps onto to the ship, grabbing the rope like Tarzan! Woah! People, don’t ever pull off this dangerous stunt.

That familiar kick in the face again – That’s what Tsukushi did for Tsukasa. She wants answers about his actions and to think what will happen to Shigeru if he does that. Tsukasa isn’t sure what the hell she is talking about.

You’ve been had – Shigeru reveals all this was an elaborated setup to outsmart Kaede. After Tsukasa rejected Shigeru, she felt the need to get him with Tsukushi together. Tsukasa fell into shock after being rejected by Tsukushi so Shigeru hired some actors and friends for this plan. Thus the wedding is not real. The letter was Rui’s idea and he wrote it imitating Tsukasa’s handwriting. I guess his handwriting is that terrible. Oh yeah. All their other friends had a hand in this. Then Shigeru does another stunt that should not be imitated by others because she jumps off the liner into the ocean! Though she is picked up in Kazuya and friends’ tugboat.

If you can’t beat them, join them – You think Kaede is going to be a real b*tch and stop the ship. Because when she calls the ship’s captain, she hopes to leave her son and daughter-in-law in his care. Wohoo! Is this the sign of approval?

The long stare – That’s it?! That’s what Tsukasa and Tsukushi did as reward for us fans in the end? No kiss? Maybe they had a couple along the way but really… No happy ending kiss?

Love Is Simple. Human Complicates…
I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of this series (hey, I never said I was one) so please forgive me if my end review sounds a bit bias to the negative side. After many episodes, I feel that the series has turned boring and draggy. Even the ending shocker wasn’t enough to move me but at least it made me go “Huh? What? She really did that?” since I didn’t see it coming. Heck, I was yawning for many of the episodes so it is no surprise that I wasn’t really going to see anything for the last one. Was it a good ending? Well, I’m sure Tsukasa x Tsukushi fans would get really riled up had the guy end up with Shigeru. So yeah. It took a good damn 51 episodes just for their next romance chapter to begin. That’s a long time considering in anime context. I suppose you need to read the manga if you want to fully appreciate the entire story but you know in my case, that’s not going to happen.

At first it was amusing to see how Tsukushi went up against F4 because unlike all the other rich kids, she had nothing to fear. It was when she got closer to F4 (or rather F4 takes an interest in her) that I felt where the mundane and boring level sets it. Because for most of the time (if not every time), it is just plain Tsukushi denying her feelings. It was understandable and okay but to do it for the rest of the series? I mean, doesn’t she get tired? Don’t tell me her denial is that strong. In that case she must have been running away from reality for a very long time. So it gets somewhat annoying that she continues to deny her feelings for Rui and Tsukasa and using some sort of excuse (like it is Tsukasa is the one who is chasing after her) to not confront her own feelings. That’s why it led to so many problems. Had she been straight, they wouldn’t have been going through as seen. Other than this love problem, I think Tsukushi is a strong and sticks to her beliefs. Well, some may call her stubborn. I would only in regards to the love department. She is a tough girl and won’t give up without a fight. That’s why she is different than the rest of the girls who only know how to suck up to rich boys. Isn’t it any wonder why F4 takes an interest in her? Because she is poor, she is realistic in her approach. Sometimes it’s a sin to be poor but it’s also a blessing because you don’t waste and appreciate the minimal stuffs you have. There are things that money can’t buy. Can’t buy me love. Yeah, if it was only easily understood.

F4 may appear to be that snobbish bunch of rich boys doing as they please. Well, aside some of their behaviour that isn’t role model material, they are good guys. Mainly I see it’s mostly about Tsukasa and Rui. Soujirou and Akira feel like, how should I put it, just extras. It’s like they really don’t matter to the main thing. I don’t really feel Soujirou and Akira having an impact in the overall series as much as Tsukasa and Rui. Maybe it’s because they aren’t as romantically involved with Tsukushi as those two. I don’t know if I should say this but because of Tsukushi, F4 undergoes a few bad patches especially between Tsukasa and Rui. Yup. Because of a girl, F4 wasn’t really a whole at one time with Rui being expelled by the supremo leader Tsukasa. Because of a girl, this led to some tension between them. So was it all Tsukushi’s fault? But without her, F4 wouldn’t have been as pleasant as we see them. They might have continued their high and mighty attitude without a care. So it takes somebody of a different class to make things interesting. She’s like a blessing and a curse. Of course Tsukasa got the biggest blessing in the end. Shigeru is a fine girl too. She tries hard to understand Tsukasa, make him look her way and perhaps like Tsukushi she was in denial when she knows he is not in love with her. It’s quite noble of her to do everything after that for Tsukushi’s sake. She is not obligated to bring them back together but she did. Even if she has lost, she doesn’t want others to lose so in the end, even though her best friend got her ex-fiancee, it’s still a win-win situation for her. Shizuka exudes that beauty and grace but too bad she doesn’t appear often.

Other characters aren’t so prominent since the big focus is on Tsukushi-Tsukasa-Rui relationship. Some even I feel don’t feel significant anymore. Like Sakurako, she was causing a hell lot of chaos with that fake scandal. After she has been busted, her role has been significantly reduced to the level of Kazuya. Just short being a retard for comic relief. Yeah. That’s what that guy is all about. In the end, I notice he even didn’t go calling “Tsukushi, Tsukushi-chan” as often as he did. So really? Kazuya x Sakurako? That’ll be another story. Tsubaki too I feel, when she first appeared, she was like the only fierce thing aside Tsukushi that could stand up to Tsukasa’s bad attitude. Then when Kaede came into the picture, she became docile, a lost lamb. What happened to that fiery woman? Kaede and the b*tch trio are characters you would love to hate because one is very imposing and controlling and the other bunch are just a bunch of bullies-cum-vampires (they want leech of the rich, right?). It is hard to say wrong or right of Kaede to want to protect the family’s name thought I can’t say that her methods are right. After all, she is still his mother despite never being around.

Of course, the biggest disturbing thing in this series is the bullying. The b*tch trio are already a handful themselves, what more the rest of Eitoku students ganging up on Tsukushi on that episode. Is this what kids learn in school these days? I mean, even if F4 declares you the enemy with the red slip, does it give them the right to attack like savages? Maybe it has become like Pavlov’s bell. Fear of being bullied, might as well be you than me. So somebody gets red slip, we get the hell out of you. Remember people, bullying is bad. Say a big NO to bullying! Tsukushi’s parents are amusing because mommy is always bugging her daughter to marry a rich guy (in a sense she is looking out for her future) and daddy is always unemployed. Will their financial woes be solved if Tsukushi snags a rich boyfriend? Well, maybe that chance seems possible now but as poor people, they should know better than to take the easy way out. It’s always hard work that pays. Greed doesn’t. Mommy learnt that the hard way, didn’t she? Only crazy people would reject 50 million Yen… That chance is so never going to happen again.

Some other characters made me think whatever in the world happened to them. For instance, Junpei. For that short arc, he became the ‘antagonist’. Then after everything has settled, you don’t see him anymore. Same case with Thomas. He looks like a cool guy but when the cat is out of the bag, he’s just a big wimp. Good riddance he is never mentioned after that. It’s like he never existed. Which brings me to some of the plots that really didn’t make sense. Maybe it’s because I think too much. For Junpei’s case, how can a hot and famous young model that every girl would swoon over in a second be so unrecognizable at school? Don’t tell me he is pulling off that Superman-Clark Kent spectacles disguise. And after his arc is done, where did he go? Didn’t hear of him transferring out whatsoever. Nobody spoke of him again so it’s like he never existed. In Shizuka’s case, her return to get Rui feels fishy. I mean, wasn’t she engaged to some high profile politician? Unless they broke off somewhere but usually that kind of high profile news, everybody would have get hold of such news. Oh wait. I remember the internet wasn’t that advanced yet back then. And after all this time, why now? Why come back to take Rui back? If she loves Rui, shouldn’t she have come to get Rui when he left? Shouldn’t she have read the signs that Rui as a guy felt useless to do anything for the girl he loves? Unless she was so engrossed studying law that she didn’t realize he had gone back.

I guess in contemporary animes, romance has evolved to become more complicated and sophisticated than this. You can say that this one is just a simple love story with lots of denial and at some points a love triangle or polygon. I suppose back in those times with not much great romance stories around, that is why the series became quite popular with many fans. Personally, the draggy romance is the main thing that had me classified this series as so. Tsukushi and Tsukasa are so hot headed and always arguing just about anything and you know, with Tsukushi always in denial, it makes it even harder for everything. Tsukasa isn’t as bright as he thinks he is but he doesn’t give up but still have that obnoxious attitude. Rui is so in a world of his own that it’s hard for us to tell what he is thinking. His gentle demeanour is so different than Tsukasa. Rui might be gentle and soft but the way he treats a girl is so cold (aside Shizuka). Tsukasa might be a little brute and crude but he knows how to handle and give that warmth feeling.

The drawing and art is of course old school so after seeing so many contemporary Japanese anime style drawings, this one really feels old and brings about ‘that era’ feel. The main characters of course look good in that era’s standard but at other times I thought it was hard to tell the difference between some of the characters because they almost look the same. For example, Sakurako before her change in hairstyle, I thought she looked like one of the bullies from the b*tch trio. Because Tsukushi and Shigeru have short hair, at certain angles I thought they both look alike. On a trivial note, I still prefer Tsukushi with her long hair. As for the background and scenery, some of them look like water colour paint job not done well. It’s like the scene is just a piece of art and the characters is on one big stage. I know it’s that style from that era but seriously, I thought they could do better if they can make guys look handsome and girls looking beautiful. I don’t know if the mid-intermission serves as some sort of fanservice because we see Tsukushi enjoying herself soaking in the bathtub. Then we have the F4 guys with that ‘bewildered’ look, ‘spying’ on her bathing before she gives them the tongue. Just huh?

The opening theme, Futsuu No Nichiyoubi Ni by Tomohiko Kikuta sounds pretty fine and pleasant. Though it won’t end up in my top 100 of favourite anime songs but this is worth listening again and one of the more interesting parts of the series when it started to get draggy. It’s just odd to see the characters of the series dancing together. If only everybody was this happy and friendly with each other. The first ending theme is a slow pop ballad, Kenka No Ato De also by Tomohiko Kikuta. I guess this one is not bad too and gives that romantic feeling. I wished that they remained this song till the end of the series but they had to change to another ending theme after 3/5 of the series. Todoku Ka Na by Cayoko is a rock pop kinda piece and I didn’t really like the sound of it. It somewhat ruins (or should I say ‘disrupts’) the overall romance feel of the series. Especially the singer’s voice during the chorus, I thought it just sounded a little unrefined. Besides, they put in some sound effects (for the anime ending credits) and I thought the cry of the seagull was a girl giving a blood curling scream! It made me go “What the hell was that” at first. Of course I got used to this second ending but if you ask me, I still prefer the first one a lot. As for the background music, although there are a variety of them, the most ‘noticeable’ ones are the dramatic orchestra type. Maybe dramatic is understating it. Hearing some of them, I thought Jaws was coming! Or Dracula is here! And it gets loud enough to make me think that the computer ramp up the volume by itself. I know it’s for the dramatic effect but I can’t help raise an eyebrow or two each time I hear such pieces.

There isn’t anything much I can say on this series. Though I said it is boring, it isn’t that bad either. You can learn a thing or two. Like bullying is bad and that you should be humble and remember your roots. So what your daddy’s a rich person, owns properties around the world, sits in the highest position in the company and has lots of money five times over than the GNP of the poorest African nations combined. It’s not yours, right? Still, you’re a human being. You still fall in love with an ordinary plain girl. It just proves that opposite attracts. Rich guy loves poor girl. Poor people want to fall in love with rich ones. The grass is always greener on the other side. The rich can use money, power and influence to bring you down if they don’t like you. See, we can learn a lot about life and love from this old classic anime. Ah love. So simple yet made so complicated. Will I ever find mine? At this rate, I’ll turn out to be anime over girls.

Kimi No Iru Machi

February 22, 2014

It’s a good thing that Kimi No Iru Machi received a TV adaptation in 2013, over a year after the twin OVA episodes were released. Now they can expand the long distance relationship between the main characters as well as add other love triangles into the mix. Yeah. That’s what I really was hoping to see in this romance drama. Although I don’t remember much of the OVA, as I was watching the TV series, I was left wondering if this is a spin-off or some other later or earlier chapters. Because I don’t read the manga, so I wouldn’t know. As far as my memories remember, the OVA was about the boy who came to the big city via school trip. This time round, he transferred here on his own. And at both instances, the boy and girl are really hard to meet up. Like as there is some hidden wheel trying to block their fate in having a good ending in their romance. Just to make it clear to myself, the OVA takes place before the TV series. So this is somewhat a sequel in this sense.

Episode 1
Haruto Kirishima just arrives in Tokyo and is picked up by his sister, Aoi. First thing she dumps to him is to clean up the messy apartment! Thanks sis. After finishing up, he is suddenly attacked by a burglar. The ‘burglar’ is Asuka Mishima who thinks Haruto is the burglar because she believes Aoi lives alone in her apartment just like her. After Aoi clears up the misunderstanding and explains Asuka is her neighbour and often dine together for company, it is obvious that Haruto and Asuka hate each other’s guts especially Asuka mocking Haruto’s Hiroshima accent. Aoi hopes they can get along because they are going to be classmates tomorrow. Just great. Their friend Kyousuke Kazama comes by for a visit. Unlike Asuka, he instantly becomes friends with Haruto. Aoi thinks her brother should make friends with them and sends him out with them to buy stuffs to cook. On the way back from the errand, Haruto and Asuka continue to trade barb wires. Like little kids fighting, no? When Haruto doesn’t believe Asuka was once popular in school, she becomes desperate for him to believe so she squeaks out her Iwaki accent. Now Haruto has something to say about that. Kyousuke explains that Asuka lived in Iwai till she was in middle school and that accent slips out when she gets excited. When she came here, she didn’t talk much during her first year because she didn’t want to say anything till she changed her dialect. With the duo continue to mock each other’s dialect, Kyousuke thinks they get along pretty well. Haruto introduces himself in class and he seems to be getting along fine. Just that he seems to be putting on that pensive look from time to time.

One day, Haruto turns down his classmates’ invitation to have a welcoming party. He returns home to cook dinner for his sister instead. Asuka after bumming around in her room decides to pay him a visit. Aoi is still not back. Hmm… After a while and having dinner with him, she asks him what he is up to seeing his friends went to great lengths to organize a party and yet he turns them down. That isn’t a way to make friends. Somehow there is this guilt in her tone. She is saying that she understands his situation. From her experience, she thinks he might be afraid to speak up, fearing that others would mock him for his accent. Haruto doesn’t mind all that and thinks Asuka should speak in her Iwaki accent because it is interesting and it makes her cute. Sure he’s not making a fool out of her? Asuka hopes he will have more confidence in himself since he came all the way here. Next day, Haruto stumbles into Rin who is quite surprised to see him transferred here. She thinks he is desperate to be with his sister but the truth is he wants to confirm the truth from Yuzuki Eba herself. That’s the reason he came here. Rin finds it creepy and probably the reason why she is avoiding him.

Episode 2
Rin tries to turn him away that her sister has already forgotten about him, have a new boyfriend and he could stalk her instead. Even so, he wants to hear it from her. He is ready to give her up if it’s true. Otherwise he wants to help her with whatever trouble she has. Rin continues her ‘barrage’ on him, wondering if he plans to cling onto Yuzuki or he is just out for revenge. All he wants is to confirm her feelings since she suddenly ‘vanished’ on him. If that’s the case, Rin goes to call her sister. Haruto sees Yuzuki from the window. Now we go into flashback mode of how they met. When Yuzuki first arrived in the countryside to live with his family and attend the same school (there was only one in this rural area by the way), Haruto wasn’t really thrilled. Their fathers were good friends it seems. Haruto is forced to take her around on his bicycle. When he sees Nanami Kanzaki, he instantly stops and pretends to check for a flat tyre. Yuzuki goes to get acquainted with her, much to his dismay. Later, Yuzuki could guess that Haruto likes Nanami. He learns Yuzuki once came to this town before and came to like it. That’s why she came back. Yuzuki accidentally falls into the pond so she has to take a quick shower. Because her clothes haven’t arrived yet, she has to wear the same one. She desperately wants Haruto to take her to the convenience store. Why should he? To buy some underwear. Wow. See him peddle at full speed. Along the way, they meet Haruto’s friend, Takashi Yura but Haruto isn’t really interested in wanting her to meet his buddies in fear that they might get the wrong idea of seeing them together. That’s his concern? On the way back, the wind blows up Yuzuki’s skirt. Haruto takes a loooooooong glance but to his surprise (or disappointment), she wasn’t going commando. There is no way she was going to do that, right? She was wearing the same one which was dripping wet. After smacking him, Yuzuki still thanks him for trying to protect her.

On the day she is supposed to start school with him, he sort of turned into some grumpy guy telling her to wait at the convenience store and walking to and fro from school. Don’t want to risk being seen together, eh? What’s the use of the bicycle then? But Yuzuki is a natural in making friends as she gets acquainted with another of Haruto’s pals, Akari Kaga. After school, Haruto rushes to the convenience store. Yuzuki isn’t there but Nanami. For the first time, they had a normal conversation as Nanami points out despite going to the same school for 3 years, whenever they meet, his eyes always avert to another direction like as though he hated her. But she’s glad he doesn’t. They hear Yuzuki scream. She was hiding behind trees and got attacked by some bugs. She was doing so because when she came, she only saw Nanami and with Haruto coming, she thought it would be bad if Nanami saw them together. She’s just taking his advice, right? Since Yuzuki wants to go to the public bath, the next thing Haruto knows, he is also there with them. Gender separate baths of course. Nanami goes to talk to Haruto as Yuzuki continues to soak longer. To Nanami’s horror, she finds Yuzuki fainted in the bath for soaking too long. Luckily she is alright and on the way back as Haruto reprimands her for that, he finds out she was forcing herself to stay longer so he could talk longer with Nanami. That’s when he realizes Yuzuki has always been thoughtful of others to the point she suppresses her own feelings.

Episode 3
The flashback continues. One day Haruto was just grumpy in everything he does. It’s like as though he’s doing a favour. He didn’t even respond to Nanami’s gesture. And then in class, he collapses. Well, anybody could have told that he wasn’t well. He is recuperating back home as Yuzuki and Nanami come to visit. When Nanami goes to answer a call, Yuzuki gets mad at him for saying nothing. He couldn’t understand her anger when she suddenly kisses him. She tells him it’s her way of saying thank you (which is a trend in Tokyo) and going out his way for her. But Haruto is not amused. He thinks she is making fun of him as though he is a country bumpkin (which I think he is). Any guy would be happy to get a kiss from this cutie but him? Nooooo… He had to scold her. Who the heck is she? Who the heck is he? It ends with them in argument that they will leave each other alone. But still, why can’t Haruto stop thinking about her? One evening Yuzuki hasn’t return from school and the call from Takashi said that Yuzuki told him Haruto was supposed to pick her up. He peddles all the way and finally sees her walking from the other direction. He scolds her for making him worry and all. But she breaks down saying she can’t do anything without him. She needs him. Now he’s all sorry for whatever. He gives her a ride home. Back in present time, Haruto might have seen Yuzuki from the window, but isn’t sure if she’s crying like that time. Rin pops out of the door to say her sister is not home yet. Lying? In any case, he hopes she could inform her he will be staying in Tokyo. Rin hopes he could send her a message first if he’s coming next time. She’ll let him know if her sister is around.

In class, a classmate, Mina Nagoshi wants to ask Asuka out to KyouOu cultural festival. Asuka wasn’t interested but Haruto is so he pleads her to take him there. Kyousuke knows that Haruto wants to meet somebody there because he would have spoken to him for it as he has the tickets too. At KyouOu, Nagoshi seems to be reprimanding Haruto as her ‘boyfriend’. He might not consider this a date but she seems to hint that he has potential. He’s earning negative points in her books. Being late, not leading, looking at his Smartphone instead of her, etc. The list could have been longer. The haunted house is his last chance. She’s clinging on to him like a leech. She even notes he should be happy about this. A ghost pops up to give her a real scare but Haruto somehow trips on a wire and I don’t know how on earth he pulled up her skirt right to the top. She slaps him hard and ‘disqualifies’ him. Unknown to them, underneath the ghost facade is Yuzuki. When Haruto learns that Yuzuki is supposed to be in the haunted house, he rushes back but is told she is no longer around. The school must be big because he keeps searching and searching but to no avail. At the end of the day when he is about to give up and resigning to the fact he will never see her again, there she is. She wants to know why he came here because she thought if she stopped any form of contact, he would eventually forget her. She apologizes that she is going out with someone else and hopes he would forget about her.

Episode 4
You thought Haruto would give up on her after that, right? Well, let’s say he isn’t going to accept it. So he looks pretty depressed in class, causing Asuka to wonder if something happened. Since he sincerely apologizes to Nagoshi and she is willing to give him a second chance, Asuka smells something fishy. Kyousuke can tell from his sullen face that he must have met his ex and got rejected. Oops. He’s in no mood for it. Haruto wants Kyousuke to hang out with him and go karaoke but he has a better suggestion and do a threesome with this babe he knows. Turns out they’re going bike riding. What was Haruto thinking? At the river bank, the guys stop and talk as Kyousuke gives him some words of encouragement about life. Is that what Haruto needs? Enough for him to open up and tell him his long distance relationship failed and his ex ditched him for another guy. Despite promising himself he would give up on her and wishing she’d get a better boyfriend, when she rejected him, he felt so disappointed. In the end he realizes he’s just a horrible guy who’d wish for her to be unhappy. So it’s no surprise she wants to ditch him. Kyousuke remains positive that he can move on to find a new girl. If not, try his best to snatch his ex back. Because it’s better than sulking and thinking what to do when he should be doing what he wants to. Either way, Kyousuke will support him. It made Haruto feel better. If all else fails, Kyousuke even mentions of throwing in a mixer for him. Seriously? Yes, he is serious. As they prepare to return, Kyousuke tells Haruto of his dream to become a pro racer. He wants Haruto to become a cook as he needs a sponsor. He’ll paste the name of his eatery on the most obvious places. When Kyousuke reaches his bike, he suddenly falls over and collapses! This is no joke!

We see Kyousuke up and doing well in hospital. He just had anaemia and nothing serious. Yeah. He’s acting like it was nothing. Even got the cheek to say luckily it didn’t happen while they were riding or it could’ve been double suicide! Haruto was so worried to death. Kyousuke’s mom couldn’t be sorrier for her son’s actions. Asuka even rushed over and all her worries were for nothing. Kyousuke then blabs all about Haruto’s confession, the reason he transferred here and how he got dumped. Thanks for all the juicy info. Asuka somewhat understands why he was desperate then. She thinks his ex is heartless and is taking Haruto for a fool. Kyousuke adds that Haruto has said it himself. He didn’t want her to be happy. He didn’t just transfer here so as to verify she had a boyfriend. What he really wants is to make up with her. And suddenly Yuzuki comes rushing in worried about Kyousuke. Oh gosh! Imagine the moment Haruto and Yuzuki see each other. So Yuzuki is Kyousuke’s girlfriend! What a small world. Yuzuki pretends she doesn’t know Haruto and introduces herself. Kyousuke is about to tell Haruto’s love story but he takes his leave. Haruto realizes Kyousuke is clueless about everything and so as not to say anything unnecessary, he too introduces himself to Yuzuki. Kyousuke hopes the next time they meet, they can talk strategy to snatch back his ex. That doesn’t sound too good… On the way back, Kyousuke thinks of giving up on Yuzuki for good because he’d trouble her at this rate. After the guy friendship they’ve been through, there is no way he can snatch his ex from him. If he really cares about her, she should leave her alone. Haruto looks through his messages sent from Yuzuki about the breakup. He was about to delete it when he remembers something. Yuzuki told him she wanted to try going out with a guy he rejected and given up during middle school, the reason she can’t go out with him anymore. On the other hand, Kyousuke mentioned that he didn’t stand a chance with his current girlfriend at first but after lots of desperate persuading, she gave in. Haruto realizes something amiss and runs out of his apartment.

Episode 5
Another flashback episode back in the countryside of Hiroshima. Yuzuki seems to be in a hurry that she forgot to bring the homemade lunches despite Haruto’s reminder. Nanami thinks she interrupted something between them and starts acting weird. Later Takashi tells Haruto how it is obvious that he and Yuzuki are looking a lot like a couple. The lunches, the bike rides, it’s too obvious. Probably Nanami thinks that way too. Haruto tries to clear up the misunderstanding with Nanami but didn’t get any reaction. Takashi thinks that Nanami isn’t interested in him to begin with. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Yuzuki seems to be happy planting rice because it’s her first time. Tell me about it if you’re doing it day in day out for the next 10 years. Haruto sees Yuzuki practising riding on his bicycle. She wants him to help her and she can’t slow down or else she will fall. Well, there’s her logic. Did anybody teach her how to use the brakes? So it was a happy feeling when she manages to balance on her own. For 2 seconds. Haruto thinks she is doing all this to clear up the misunderstanding but she disagrees. She is doing this so that he would think better of her. Still don’t get where she is going? It’s because she likes him. Someday she will make him love her and hopes he will be prepared for it. Still don’t believe it? Too bad, it’s his loss then. Back home, Haruto, Yuzuki, Takashi and Akari are looking through their old albums. I’m sure the friends have lots of embarrassing stories on Haruto that would make that guy embarrass. They notice one of the group photos has girl looking like Yuzuki (want to bet it is her?) but Haruto doesn’t think so because he only met Yuzuki in high school.

While cleaning up the barn, Haruto discovers his old picture diary. He wrote on that day of the festival about a girl named Yuzuki he met. So he did meet her then. Another flashback in time. Young Haruto saw little Yuzuki lost and crying. She didn’t like this place and wants to go back. Thinking she is belittling the countryside, he takes her to a secluded spot to show her a rare flower to cheer her up. It made her feel better as they return to the festival and had their group photo taken. Haruto notices she is smiling now and thought she hated this town as she wasn’t before. She says there are many things she didn’t like but somehow thought everything would be alright. Before she leaves, Haruto says if anything happens, she should come back here again. Yuzuki sees Haruto reading the picture book and it dawned to him that she remembers every part of it. She didn’t mention about it because Haruto seemed to have forgotten and it would be embarrassing for her to say it. However Haruto feels something amiss. Did she come back to Hiroshima because something happened? Is there something she can’t tell him yet? Back in present time, Haruto chances upon Yuzuki on the streets. He reminds her about their first meeting and for her to return if anything happened. When she suddenly disappeared from Hiroshima, he followed her to Tokyo. It’s not like her to do this. He wants to hear the truth. Likewise, she too wants to tell him something. It’s about Kyousuke.

Episode 6
Another flashback when Yuzuki returned to Tokyo. She was a loner and rarely smiled till Kyousuke came over to be friends with her. Although it made her happy, she still pushed him away. I guess he was too annoying each time he pestered her to join him. So one day when she told him off to leave him alone, he coolly said he just wanted to be friends and go out with her because he likes her. He said that right in the middle of everyone? She instantly rejected him. But that guy kept being positive saying that was only practice or whatever. One day Yuzuki was having lunch alone and once more there is a cruel message from Rin wanting her to just die. Yuzuki couldn’t take the torture anymore and breaks down. Kyousuke was there to give her a shoulder to cry on. She instantly hugged him and felt his warmth. It was what kept Yuzuki sane and able to move forward. She wanted to do the same for him when she subsequently found out he is dying of a terminal illness. Of course he didn’t say anything to anyone as he doesn’t want them to worry. That’s why Yuzuki wants to support him the best she can and hopes Haruto won’t say a thing. Haruto understands. He remembers when he first met Yuzuki at the festival. She was crying because her mom just died and her second visit was because her dad found a new wife. She had 2 kids, a big brother and a little sister. The little sister hated Yuzuki. When Haruto returns to his apartment, Asuka is seen waiting outside. He asks her a hypothetical question about his situation but she quickly catches on. She can guess Yuzuki is his ex. He doesn’t know what to do because he doesn’t want to betray his best friend. Her reply is that they can’t be true friends anymore since he’s thinking like that as his heart is not open. It makes them only like good friends on the surface. She can’t do that and can’t stand to see others like that because they’re precious to her.

And so Haruto waltzes into hospital just to tell Kyousuke in the face that he is declaring war on him to take back Yuzuki. She is surprised at the turn of events and although Kyousuke is shocked to learn Yuzuki is his ex, he accepts his challenge since it was his idea to have Haruto snatch his ex. Yuzuki has no intention of going back to him but Haruto is just here to tell Kyousuke this. He won’t hold back whatever disease he has. Kyousuke too hopes he would act fast because it is Haruto who doesn’t have much time left. Does Yuzuki have a say in this silly contest? Apparently not. And then Asuka learns about Kyousuke’s terminal illness. She’s sad. She’s about to beat up Haruto. I mean, wasn’t he just taking action based on what she said? That’s how he felt, right? Since they couldn’t be friends, it’s better to go all out. If he talks to him, things might work out. Because if he doesn’t do anything, he might lose both. Haruto and Asuka return to visit Kyousuke. Haruto made fried eggs for Yuzuki (he considers it his weapon) but Kyousuke hogs it and takes a bite and shares it with Asuka. Mmm… Delicious. Haruto doesn’t want to leave yet because he fears Kyousuke would do something funny to Yuzuki but he assures him he won’t do anything to the girl he loves. After they leave, Kyousuke lets Yuzuki try the last fried egg piece. What he wanted to see was her smile. It makes him happy. When she leaves, she sees Haruto outside. He has something to say to her. She shouldn’t look so depressed in front of him and put on some better than a bitter smile. Is Kyousuke that boring? As he is happy to see her smile, she should do so for Kyousuke so he can be happy too. With that, she puts on her usual smile and thanks him for the fried eggs.

Episode 7
Haruto thinks Kyousuke had him make some beef dish just to keep him away from visiting. It took him 2 days for that. But why did he oblige then? Suddenly some girl, Kiyomi Asakura barges in. She is mad that Kyousuke isn’t undergoing surgery that could save his life. Sure it could but the possibility is very low. The chances of surviving diminish at each passing time. Yuzuki thinks the decision is for him to make but Kiyomi slaps her! She calls Yuzuki that it is people like her that messes with Kyousuke and calls her a murderer. Haruto ticks Kiyomi off that even so, this doesn’t make her decision right. Kiyomi cries at the thought of Kyousuke’s death and runs away. Haruto goes after her to talk. She mentions Kyousuke never listens to her as his childhood friend but Yuzuki seems to be the only one he ever listens to. He guesses she likes him because it’s the same for him. I don’t think it’s in a gay context. They talk about each other’s crushes and they feel like idiots for still liking people who are already in love with others. When Haruto returns, he hears Yuzuki talking and laughing with Kyousuke. Yeah. Telling embarrassing stories of Haruto, eh? That happy look on her face. He didn’t have the heart to interrupt and leaves. When Kyousuke is discharged and returns to school, the best friends have another round of talk. Haruto mentions how happy she was with him and it’s been a while he has seen her smile. He blames himself that she never smiles. On the contrary, Kyousuke says she smiles a lot when she talks about him. He always wondered if Yuzuki went out with him out of pity. It makes him feel bad and wants to clear this up. That’s why he is going for the surgery. It will be clear that he is the one that Yuzuki chooses. Haruto also agrees to this as he has a chance of stealing her back once everything is over. He supports him to undergo the surgery and promises won’t lay a hand on her till then.

On a rainy day. Gloomy. Haruto and Asuka are seen making their way as they ‘don’t want to keep Kyousuke waiting’. Asuka seems to be spacing out on her journey. Then it hit us. They are heading to Kyousuke’s funeral!!! OMG! He didn’t make it :’(. Haruto talks to Kiyomi and the latter says Kyousuke was happy as he got to eat food from someone who would grow up to be a good chef. She says Kyousuke left something behind for him at the altar. Turns out to be his helmet and in the front spot, a reserved space for the name of his eatery. Doesn’t that just make you shed a tear or two? Haruto wonders why Asuka can be so calm because she was the one who cried the most at the hospital. She feels Kyousuke would get mad if she looked sad and thought he would be happier if she laughed. Okay, that’s the cue for her to break down and cry. Soon, Yuzuki calls Haruto to meet. She gives him Kyousuke’s helmet. She feels guilty for not being assertive enough to oppose the surgery. Haruto doesn’t want her to feel depressed because it is not her fault. Kyousuke managed to date her and he didn’t want it to be over just after a year and took the path that had the best hope. He wants her to smile for him. Then she wonders if they’ll ever see each other again. Haruto’s heart just stopped for a moment there.

Episode 8
We go time skipping a year and a half later. Haruto is now a university student and Asuka his girlfriend! I guess they’re close enough for her to kiss him and he doesn’t freak out. As Haruto promised to bring Asuka somewhere for a vacation, he works part time at a convenience store. He didn’t end up as some chef or in that line of work because he doesn’t see himself doing that kind of job no doubt cooking is his passion. While working, Rin stumbles upon him. Though it’s been some time they’ve seen each other, she gets really close to him. Of course they have to talk about Yuzuki and how she’s doing. She seems not too happy when Haruto isn’t really that concerned over her sister anymore. It’s like when his rival died, he pulled out of the game too. Rin wonders if he still loves Yuzuki but he doesn’t have that sort of feelings anymore as he has his own girlfriend. Haruto remembers Rin telling him how she hated his sister and wanted to drive her out of the house. When Haruto finishes his shift, Rin happily thought he was going to see her but instead it was Asuka who was waiting for him. Rin bitterly sees them walk away hand in hand like a true blue couple. I don’t think Haruto even saw Rin. Back home, Haruto and Asuka could have had an intimate moment. He accidentally saw her naked. She tries to beat him up with a bat. She slips. He slips. Floor all messed up with his spilled pot. Asuka on top of him. Could have gotten further if not for that damn phone ringing. Seems it is Haruto’s senior and he needs his help to come to a group date as they lack numbers. Haruto is about to decline but surprisingly Asuka gives her permission as long as he comes back early. Can he? Can she?

How funny fate can be because one of the group date girls turns out to be Yuzuki! She looks mature right now. But both exes didn’t freak out. They play it cool and even had no trouble the rest about their past relationship without breaking into any sweat. Haruto and Yuzuki leave the group date early. They catch up on things and it seems Yuzuki is getting along fine with Rin. At least they’re on talking terms. Thanks to Rin, Yuzuki also knows Asuka is his girlfriend. She gets nostalgic about Hiroshima and the likes and it makes Haruto wonder if she is hiding something bitter again. They exchange email addresses before they part. Just in time, Haruto gets a warning message from Asuka to come back o else. See, what did I tell you? Haruto is working at the store when Asuka pays him a visit. Shortly, Rin comes in. Asuka meets Rin for the first time but the latter knows about her thanks to Haruto. It’s like Rin wants to pour fire on oil so she mentions about Yuzuki at the group date. Suddenly the atmosphere changes. You can see Asuka uneasy though she is trying to hold it in. She leaves. Haruto goes after her to clear the misunderstanding. Why didn’t he tell her? What do you mean you forgot? Okay, so he didn’t want make her feel uneasy. She forgives him because she was the one who told him to go on the group date and her jealousy proves that she loves him a lot. When Haruto finishes his shifts, Rin is seen waiting for him (she pins it as an excuse that she’s passing by). He has to play the good guy to escort her home so she uses the chance to get clingy with him since it’ll be ‘safer’ if they look like a couple. Yeah. Haruto is in danger. Asuka seems to badmouth Asuka and wonders if Haruto really loves her since he once loved Yuzuki so much. Haruto says he was rejected and didn’t want to push it further but Rin believes Asuka is not the right one for him and he might just be a girl nearby and just compromising. Haruto stands firm that Asuka is his girlfriend and they’re happy together but Rin believes he is scared. Because there is a chance she could make him happier than Asuka and his feelings would sway, thus scared of trying. I don’t what this guy is trying to prove because he dares her. He agrees to take her out somewhere tomorrow since it’s a holiday.

Episode 9
This time Haruto tells Asuka about his ‘date’ with Rin at Fantasy Land before he leaves. Sure she is shocked but I guess since he promised, she allows him. In exchange he must buy a rare handphone strap for her. Haruto waits and Rin is running late. Oh look. There is Yuzuki waiting there too! Smell something fishy? They are surprised to see each other and say they are waiting for somebody. Then they simultaneously receive a mail from Rin that something has come up and that she can’t come. So as not to waste the tickets, she hopes they can go together instead. Yup. A setup. They both were about the leave and go home when Haruto remembers he has to buy that strap and with that lame excuse, the both of them head into Fantasy Land, not knowing Rin is watching them from afar. At the end of it, Rin calls Haruto to ask if he had so much fun that he forgot about Asuka. He is somewhat ‘disappointed’ because he thought it would be more fun if it was Rin. That’s sarcasm back at Rin. But she isn’t going to give up yet so she goes bug him at his workplace. Thanks to Yuzuki, she also knows the flimsy excuse of getting Asuka the strap just so he could date her sister. Rin continues to annoy him so he says that he could have gone with anyone. This prompts her to call him unfaithful. She then teases him by showing a little of her breasts (because she isn’t wearing any bra) and then accuse him of being a pervert. After he kicks her out, she asks if it’s a wise idea to give the strap to Asuka after he bought it with his ex like as though nothing happened.

Haruto returns home to give the strap to Asuka. She is very happy. But he lies that he was out and about with Rin and it made him tired. They’re supposed to discuss details of their next trip but he falls asleep on her. That tired, huh? The phone rings and Asuka picks it up. Next morning when he is fresh and ready to discuss for real, it’s Asuka’s turn to look grim. She asks if he really wants to go on a trip with her. Of course. That’s why he is working, right? Later he thinks what made Asuka say that and he thinks Rin must have told her what happened despite promising she won’t. This time Yuzuki enters the store. She mentions that with the upcoming summer vacation, they plan to visit Haruto’s parents back at Hiroshima. Is this one of Rin’s crazy ideas? Not quite. It’s been a long time Yuzuki has returned and at least wants to show the sisters are on good terms. She wonders if he can come too but no can do because he will be on a trip with Asuka to Okinawa. Even if Yuzuki accepts it with a cheery face, something tells me that she really didn’t. Back home, Asuka makes a big apology to Haruto. Because her grandma is hospitalized, she can’t go for the trip. That is why she was worried this morning. Haruto understands since family is important. But the trip will be wasted, right? Summer vacation may be over then but they don’t necessarily have to go to Okinawa. As long as he gets to be with her, he is happy. They have enough time to frolic around. With a little case of déjà vu. This time Haruto lands over Asuka after they trip. Hope no damn phone interrupts. His horny side is awakening because he is about to take off her bra. And she allows him. Then Aoi had to come back. Sorry for the intrusion. See her smirk when she leaves? Later Haruto thinks of using his earned money to buy something for Asuka. This makes him remember he bought a present for Yuzuki but never gave it to her since she suddenly left for Tokyo. He wants to throw it away but couldn’t. Seriously, he’s been keeping it all this time but can’t have the heart to throw it away. So why now if he does?

Episode 10
Asuka leaves for her family. Aoi is cheeky enough to suggest Haruto to go with her and get to know her family since he ‘planted his seeds inside her’. Asuka feels lonely for parting with him but whispers when she comes back, they’ll continue with ‘that’. So what does Haruto do on his own? He calls Yuzuki to meet just to give her the pendant. He explains it’s supposed to be her birthday present which he never got to give her. Thanks. Two years late. Haruto believes he has finally settled his feelings for her by passing it to her. Or so he thinks. Haruto makes his way to Hiroshima since his old friends ‘forced’ him to. It’s been a long time he has seen Akari, Takashi and Nanami and it feels like a little class reunion. So we’ve got Haruto reminiscing of the good times with Yuzuki as he cycles around town. Especially a river which he showed Yuzuki some ice flower before she left for Tokyo. He told her not to leave and wanted to date her. He was willing to even go to Tokyo with her. But we know it didn’t turn out that way. Haruto sees Yuzuki at that spot and notices her wearing the pendant. It feels nostalgic being at this place. Yuzuki wants to move forward with him. As friends. But of course. They pass their old school, another place filled with old memories. Especially after the festival, desperate Haruto ‘cornered’ Yuzuki and wanted to go out with her even if it’s only half a year. But she couldn’t because if they do, she can’t return to Tokyo. Then Rin had to break up those nice memories, teasing him that he is thinking of his first kiss, etc. She gets very clingy to him. Trying to make big sister jealous? She’s glad they’re getting along well. Seems like it. Rin meets the rest of Haruto’s friend and from first look, she can tell Nanami is Haruto’s type. What is she? Some kind of evil fortune teller? Takashi obviously wants to hit on Rin but she makes it known to him that she doesn’t like the kind that immediately tries hitting on her. There goes his chance. Yuzuki helps Haruto cook but a slight moment where their hands meet cause a little spill. It’s like fate is giving them an excuse to go out together and buy stuffs. More reminiscing of that past. As her ex-boyfriend, Haruto is worried that she hasn’t got a boyfriend yet. It’s not that he’s looking down on her but I guess Yuzuki would love to have a guy. As long as he is better than Kyousuke. Ah. Who could ever top that guy? When they return, Rin continues to tease the suspicious duo. They are distracted with Takashi’s fireworks blooper. Yuzuki tugs Haruto’s shirt and mentions there is something she’s been meaning to tell him all this time. That look in her eyes…

Episode 11
On second thought, she changed her mind. WTF. Tell or don’t tell? That night Haruto and Yuzuki visit the festival stalls. Haruto spends a lot on the balloon fishing but I guess he sucks. So much so the stall owner pities him and gives him an apple candy as consolation. He gives it to Yuzuki and this makes her happy. If you’re wondering where Takashi and co are, they’re heading to the festival too but are stuck in a massive jam. There’s a jam in this small town? As the duo watch the fireworks, this makes Haruto ponder about Yuzuki’s erratic behaviour. She was such in high spirits when he first met her and then when he fell in love with her, she pushed him away. When Kyousuke died, they agreed to part and never meet again. Now that she’s back again, what is she up to? Suddenly Yuzuki cries. She dismisses anything but trips. He catches her. Cue for hug scene. He wants her to stop blaming herself about the time he and Kyousuke fought over her. Yuzuki blurts she wanted to be with Haruto all this time. He thinks this is what she wanted to say then and shouldn’t let it bother her anymore. They should move on and be friends. But what she wanted to say then was that she loves him. Oh dear. Those 3 magic words were enough to reignite the flames? Yuzuki can’t stop thinking about him so she thought of coming her one last time and etch those memories in her heart. Once she returns to Tokyo, she won’t see him again and won’t intrude on his happiness. She throws away the pendant into the river but he dives in to retrieve it. He doesn’t want her to say such things and wants her to hold on to this pendant no matter what. While we have flashback clips of their younger days together, they could have gotten closer and even more had not for the damn phone ringing. I’ve been meaning to ask this, is there reception out here in the wilderness? Hey, it’s from Asuka! She’s calling to say hi. What? Can’t say hi so late? When she asks where he is, he lies that he is at home and a bit busy. Oh no. Something tells me it’s a bad move. Look at Asuka’s surroundings. Seem familiar? No wonder she doesn’t sound too good after that. Haruto and Yuzuki walk back. Remembering more of the old times? Haruto is in a dilemma. He never knew he still had feelings for Yuzuki and because he feels guilty of what he is doing to Asuka, he tells Yuzuki that he wants to give a proper answer and to wait. Okay. When they return home, they are surprised to see Asuka sitting at his doorstep! I knew it! See that disappointed look in her eyes? She’s right to call him a liar. Sh*t is going to hit the fan.

Episode 12
Haruto didn’t stop Asuka as she leaves. That night when he is thinking by himself, Rin pays him a visit and makes him tell what happened. Seems that Haruto has realized he loves Yuzuki and doesn’t want to part with her again. That’s good, right? Nothing to worry about. All he needs to do now is break up with Asuka. So why still worried about Asuka? He continues to tell all the good points about her so Rin had to lift her skirt to show him ‘other options’. He scolds her for fooling around but she tells him off that from the looks of it, he is the one fooling around. He doesn’t want to hurt both but it’s too late. She loves his expression of feeling like a trash. This is what happens when you keep trying to play the good guy. Back at Tokyo, Asuka and Haruto talk. Well, not really much of a conversation because Asuka is talking while he says nothing. She wants him to give an excuse so she could hit and forgive him. And when he finally opens his mouth, he wants to break up. Unacceptable. But there is no other choice. He has already decided. Asuka is left crying. Later he meets Yuzuki. She tells him Akari told her how Haruto’s breakup with Asuka went. It was horrible. She was told if she would be happy this way of stealing somebody’s love. Of course she couldn’t. She could never be happy for the rest of her life. But she doesn’t care what others say as long as she has him. This is what she longed for. He corrects her that this is what they longed for. They will take on everything together. Sometime later, Haruto bumps into Rin again. She can tell he argued a lot and deserved it but couldn’t understand why he isn’t happy since he already made up his mind. She asks who is most important to him because if he doesn’t treasure the love he shares with someone, it’s as good as not being in love at all. He thanks her for the advice because she always makes things seem clear. Haruto thinks of moving out to live on his own as he is tired of living with his sister. Do you know how expensive the rental in Tokyo is? Another chance meeting with Asuka, she too ponders if she should move away to forget everything. However she couldn’t and cannot bring herself to hate him. She feels in a quandary that since the duo are moving ahead, she feels left behind. If she had knew all this would happen, she would not have fallen in love with him in the first place. Of course Haruto denies all that, mentioning she did a lot of great things for him. So they still love each other but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Asuka kisses him one last time and says if things don’t work out with Yuzuki, he can always come back to her. Because she’ll turn him down then.

Always A Place In Your Heart…
As I read from the comments online, many fans of the manga didn’t like how the anime was adapted. Firstly, it started in the middle (assuming at the current time of the anime’s airing, the anime is the ‘middle part’ of the overall released chapters) with the Tokyo arc. Many didn’t like how the previous arcs were told in flashbacks. Well, somehow I agree too. Although they didn’t spam us with lots of flashbacks but I thought it was somewhat confusing. It’s like those who only read the manga would understand what had happened and for others who don’t (like yours truly) who only watched the OVA and jumped straight into the TV series, there are parts that don’t seem connected and you’d be wondering why this and why that. Secondly, how the anime ended wasn’t that satisfying. Of course the manga is still on-going but as far as the anime itself is concerned, it still leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. Because it’s like the ultimate goal of this TV series was to reunite Haruto and Yuzuki together. Whatever happened to the others don’t really matter. And after spending a dozen episodes away from each other, they finally be true to their feelings and be a couple. End of game. Doesn’t it feel like that? In short, it just feels mediocre.

So incomplete that it makes you feel what actually happened between Haruto and Nanami. Didn’t that guy had feelings for her before Yuzuki? Feels like something missing when you think back, what happened to his feelings for her? Where did it go? It feels like there is some sort of link missing here. And what about Nagoshi? That girl seemed to have potential in liking Haruto. But after the cultural festival, you’ll never hear of her again. Kiyomi? I have a feeling that she isn’t just going to be a character that dies along with Kyousuke. During my ‘research’, I stumbled that she too like other characters like Takashi and Asuka do play a part in the romance between the characters (in future manga chapters, that is). But as far as this anime is concerned, after Kyousuke’s death, Kiyomi is never heard off again. It’s like we are allowed to forget all about her. Because these characters don’t really have any major impact in this TV series. Because as said, a big part of the show is about Haruto and Yuzuki. A little bit of Rin here and there and the second half pulling in Asuka.

The big mystery and probably annoying thing in the overall series has got to be the complicated love relationship between Haruto and Yuzuki. Okay, saying their love being complicated isn’t quite accurate because it is the pair who made it complicated. For almost the entire series, it’s like when the guy likes the girl, the girl pushes him away. Vice versa. They come up with some sort of vague excuse why they can’t be with the other. See, at first Yuzuki really liked Haruto and wanted him but he was such a jerk to notice her love and ignored her. Then when he realizes he loves her, she has got to go back to Tokyo and his love is unwanted. At that point he seems like desperate. Then he goes to Tokyo just to confirm if it’s true. And so it seems true, which really isn’t, that Yuzuki has somebody else important but he doesn’t give up. And after some dude died, they remain distant while the feelings of their heart never really disappeared. It took just a spark of the moment to reignite it. Somebody got hurt in the end and they end up together. Happily ever after. For now. Complicated, no?

It’s hard to feel anything for Haruto and Yuzuki when they are both apart and finally together in the end. Most probably the way they played out the drama and the romance part, it was somewhat a little draggy. No exciting twist in the plot whatsoever because it is already embedded deep in the back of your mind it is going to be Haruto x Yuzuki eventually. And you know, Haruto isn’t exactly your gentleman or perfect guy. He has his own faults and thinks he can do it by taking in some responsibility but he ended up hurting everyone including himself. Because in reality you can’t make everyone happy. Harem series avoid this problem but fell into the same pitfall when they don’t choose anybody. That is assuming the girls consider themselves as friendly rivals. Friendly rivals? At least not the case in here. At least they try to put some realism into the romance but still it wasn’t enough to do justice. Yuzuki too tried to play heroine. She thinks others can be happy if she suppresses her own feelings but in the end it took a toll on her and suffered silently. So when these two eventually get together, there have been a few battle scars made. Did their love come to realization at the expense of others? Was it worth it? That depends on where you stand. If they can remain faithful to each other for the rest of their lives, then I would consider it worthy. Otherwise, it would just suck big time. A big waste of time.

There is something about Rin that makes her a mystery. She comes to us as some sort of a little devil. It is unclear what her actions of stoking up fire especially with Haruto. It’s like as though she likes to see others suffer and my guess is that since she had her fill with Yuzuki (driving her out of the house was probably the clincher and thus ‘ended’ the hate game for her step-sister), now she turns her attention to Haruto. Sometimes it is hard to pin her as the villain although what she says may be provocative but there are some truths in what she says. Because Haruto himself is indecisive and an a$$hole. That’s why he’s so much fun to ‘hang out’ and flirt with. She gets to tell him off and see his guilty sh*t expression. Still, I feel Rin isn’t the kind of girl I would want to end up with. Never!

Kyousuke is the coolest character and the best friend that every guy would love to have for his best buddy. He is always there to cheer you up and while his words may not be sugar coated, at least he makes you realize something. He’s sporting and cheery and definitely a good mood maker in any sort of group. So when he died halfway through the series, I thought it was really a big blow and big tragedy for such a cool character to go. His demise didn’t bring so much shock to me because I somewhat already knew beforehand. Yeah. When I was searching for information on to whether the TV series or OVA came first, I accidentally stumbled upon this little piece of information and I was in ultimate shock then. Of course there was this little hope in me that the producers might just change the character’s fate but I guess they wanted to be true to the manga. Thus when Kyousuke really did die, the impact of the shock didn’t get to me while I was watching. Otherwise, if I know myself well, I would be ‘paralyzed’ for the next few episodes. Therefore in order to ‘forever’ remember him, the second half of the series’ ending theme features his voice singing. Really.

Something about the art and drawing of the background of the series. I don’t know if this is a trend these days because I seem to notice more and more anime adopting this. Sceneries in the background tend to have this water colour feel or some oil painting. Like as though the artist didn’t really put so much effort in it and thought he could pass it as the background as the focus will be on the characters in the foreground instead. It’s really odd if you try to reconcile the combination of such art with bishonen and bishoujo characters. Also, when I learnt that the author of this series is the same as Suzuka, suddenly it dawned to me why some of the characters in here look like those in Suzuka. Especially why Nanami looks like that titular character. See the striking resemblance? As for the fanservice, there are a few obvious and deliberate fanservice scenes too like Rin lifting her skirt or Haruto accidentally pulling up all the way Nagoshi’s dress and even some on Yuzuki and Asuka. Mmm… Don’t you just love those scenes?

The opening and ending themes are ballads, which are somewhat fitting for this romance drama genre. The opening is Sentimental love by MimimemeMIMI though it is more of anime pop. Somehow I feel that the guys singing the ending themes didn’t quite fit in. Yoshimasaya Hosoya (voice of Haruto) sings the first opening theme which is the same title as this anime. The song is okay but personally I feel that his voice isn’t really suited to singing so it sounds like there is a mismatch between his voice and the song. This goes the same for the second ending theme sung by Daisuke Ono (voice of Kyousuke), Dear Friend. Sure, this guy has got a nice gentleman voice but I would rather prefer him in voice acting rather than singing. In this case it also sounds like his voice isn’t suited for singing. There are a variety of insert songs in the series ranging from slow ballads to anime pop but I don’t really find them that attractive.

Old feelings of the heart seem hard to die. Especially if it is your first love. We see how stubborn the characters here are in denying those feelings and also how stubborn those feelings are remaining deep inside their hearts for a long time and never went away. Yeah well, easier said than done. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are really in love or just in love with the idea of being in love. So what is love? Is feeling happy being in love? Is feeling sad and pain being in love? Is feeling jealous and distrustful part of being in love? Well one thing I know, it’s hard for me to love this anime no matter how much I try and want to… I just couldn’t…

Date A Live OVA

February 21, 2014

Because there wasn’t enough screen time for Shido x Origami, Date A Live OVA serves to do just that. Well, at least for the first half of it. And yes, also as an appetizer before the start of the second season. You need to refresh your memory and whip up your appetite before the second round of main course arrives, right? Well, don’t bother about the serious plot or any kind of storyline development in this OVA. Because this OVA serves to do what its name suggests: Date. Yeah. Shido on a date. That’s what we all are here to watch, right?

Date To Date
It starts off with Shido telling Origami that he is a lolicon. Guess what? Origami approves! Then he goes on to elaborate the extreme mother complex and siscon fetish he has to the point that average viewers would find it repulsive that he mentions about putting her panties over his face. And so? Origami approves! But his playboy excuse of visiting go-go girls doing the lambada dance pouring champagne all over did invoke some sort of reaction. Exterminate all of them! Shido is now panicking. Kotori tells him not to lose it as they’re in the middle of a date. So it all began when Origami wants to go out with him and he has no chance to say no. Because he felt guilty of giving her the wrong idea that he likes her, he can’t toy with her feelings anymore. Kotori will help him out and suggests he makes her hate him. At the park where she waits, Shido enters the scene and as instructed, does not compliment her dress. So what should she dress? Let the experts handle the options… The results? Dress in a swimsuit with dog ears and tails! Think Origami will hit and hate him? She runs off to the store and comes back dressed as one! There is such a store nearby? Instructions to mock her got worse. She really gets down on all fours and acts like a dog! She then steals his belt and uses it as her collar! I wonder what everyone in public will think. They’re into this kind of play, eh? At the café, Origami wants to go to the toilet but Kotori instructs him not to let her. Her reaction? He wants her to do it right in front of him?! She’s really going to do it when Shido tries to stop her but trips. He accidentally rips her skirt. She’s willing to get down and dirty with him. This confirms it. ORIGAMI IS A PERVERT!!!!!!! The only way left is to date her and then dump her. So Shido is left to practice his lines. Meanwhile, Touka was sent on a shopping errand so as not to interfere with the date. Because there is an item on the list she is not familiar, she calls Shido for help. Unknowingly, she hears him say those break up lines. It hurts. Shido realizes too late it is Touka on the other line. A mini explosion is heard nearby. Shido is forced to go sooth her because if her mental spirit declines, it will become unstable and you know what kind of disaster will happen. Shido finds the park she is at a mini crater. He becomes the smooth talker that he doesn’t hate her and will forever be with her. Although this cheers Touka up, suddenly Origami comes hugging Shido. She heard everything and is certain what Shido said was towards her (somehow Shido left his handphone on when Origami called him earlier about his whereabouts). The girls get into an argument as Kotori discovers Origami’s enjoyment level has topped up to the maximum. She really enjoyed everything, didn’t she?

Now it’s Shido’s turn to date Touka. After all, you can’t leave this pair out. We see Touka taking out her frustrations at the video arcade. Yeah. She even destroyed the machine. Felt good, no? It all began when as usual in class, Touka and Origami are at each other’s neck again. Accusing the other for being in the way. Because Shido wasn’t paying attention to this, he receives word from Kotori that Touka’s mental condition is becoming unstable. The Spirit power he sealed may flow back in reverse so it’s good to let her let out some stress. And that means taking her out to the video arcade. For every game she plays, Origami is envisioned as the enemy as Touka happily takes this b*tch out. Including breaking the machine. That really hits the spot. Don’t worry. Ratatoskr has made arrangements with the video arcade to replace damaged machines. Reine detects that despite Touka’s mental spirit improving, her uneasy stats remain high like as though she is worried about something. Touka wants Shido to take a photo with her but since she is too embarrassed she takes it alone. Then at the crane game, Touka wants to do it by herself or else it won’t mean a thing. Though she it is successful, it got stuck halfway. Leave it to her to beat up the machine! There you go. At the end of the day, Touka gives the handphone strap prize to him and hopes he won’t hate her. Where did she get this idea? Origami told her that humans will not accept Spirits who will destroy this world. Therefore Shido hates Spirits too. Of course Shido brushes that off. If he really hated her, he wouldn’t have dated her. Really? Really. Really for real? Really for really for real? Really for really for really for really for real? Yeah. We get the point, Touka. And so her uneasiness fades away as he lets her keep the prize. Back in class, everyone notices her good mood. She ambiguously explains how Shido took her to a fun place and there was hitting that made her feel ecstasy! It felt so good! Everyone is starting to suspect what kind of freakish hobby they had when the picture falls out from the pocket. It’s Touka posing naked! Why naked? Because Reine told her to do that when taking photos. Shido runs for his life before the class bays for his blood. Along the way Origami stops him to hand him her handphone strap which she won at the same crane game yesterday. Now they’ve got a matching set. When Touka sees it, she notes it is a matching set too.

Date To Dead…
As far as this single OVA is concerned, everything was pretty much fun. The dating woes he has to do just to settle the issue. I suppose this is what happens when you let a bunch of ‘experts’ make the decision instead of yourself. But would it be better if Shido made his own? At least Shido didn’t try to date both of them at the same time. That would have been a real disaster. Origami’s over the top weirdness would make everyone confirm that she is some sort of masochistic pervert. Maybe she’ll only be in this mode with Shido around. She is not shy or embarrassed to do what he wants, which actually throws Shido off his balance. And she does it with great confidence despite that deadpan face. That’s what makes her scary. You don’t know what she is thinking or going to do. But expect her to do the unexpected. It is going to be really interesting to see this girl sticking around in his harem. Touka on the other hand felt and sounded like a total (cute) retard from start till finish. The kind that needs reassurances from Shido if she’s going to stay happy like a child. So much so in a way that I may have forgotten that she was a Spirit with the possibility to destroy Earth with those spacequakes. But isn’t Touka mostly like that after her powers were sealed by Shido? Well, there weren’t any other dangers for them to transform and fight so I guess we won’t see her serious side. Fans of Yoshino would be sorely disappointed that she doesn’t make a single appearance here (the opening credits do not count). Though, as far as I remember she isn’t the front runner for Shido’s attention compared to Touka and Origami. So when it comes down to dating girls, you must be prepared for the unexpected. Know the girl you are dating and always be yourself. See, I’m already an expert.

Kiniro Mosaic

February 16, 2014

Seasons in and seasons out, animes with a group of girls doing things together without a specific plot has been churning out like a dime a dozen. Kiniro Mosaic is no different because it features a group of girls and their antics. So what’s new? Well, they bring in a foreigner this time. Not just one but two foreigners! How is that going to be different? I am guessing that the laughs will come in the form of the foreigners lacking knowledge of Japan’s custom and all. Maybe. If you’re also thinking that this is going to be like Ikoku Meiro No Croisee, but unlike in that anime whereby a Japanese girl goes to France, we have English girls coming to Japan instead. Will it be Earl Grey tea over green tea, fish and chips over onigiri or scones over mochi? Mmm… Yum! Oops. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love blondes, right? Right?! With my past experience of such genres, something in my gut tells me not to put too much high hopes and expectations in this series if I want to ‘enjoy’ it and not end up with any big disappointment. But just like how blondes are believed to be good looking and all, don’t judge a book by its cover. Let’s see if this series has what it takes to be stand above the rest. Of course, there is no harm in being a little cautious.

Episode 1
Shinobu Omiya leaves for England for her homestay programme. She lives with her mom’s friend and is eager to meet her daughter who is also the same age. But the same can’t be said for Alice Cartelet because she is quite shy. To her, Shinobu looks like a kokeshi doll! Oh, the haircut… It’s like both sets of worlds clashing and they don’t really understand each other because Shinobu is conversing in Japanese, something that Alice hardly understands. And when Alice is talking, she speaks in English. Can they really understand each other? Well, Alice’s friend Karen Kujou once gave her a funny charm that supposedly even if they don’t speak the same language but if they try to listen to each other’s hearts, they can communicate. Well… Something tells me it’s going to be a tough road since Shinobu’s eager beaver cutie cutesy acting is freaking Alice out. I hope she doesn’t have an impression that Japanese girls are scary. Wait till you see Akihabara… Shinobu gives her a present, which is a traditional hairpin. Even Shinobu doesn’t know how to use it and thinks it is used to stab in the neck! After making a call to her sister (I wonder if that fixed land line is going to cost a bomb), she gets an idea on how to use it on the hair. I guess she doesn’t know how to tie it probably that it always propels off. Alice wants to play a traditional Japanese card game with her but Shinobu doesn’t know the rules. This makes her doubt if she is truly Japanese. True blue 100% Japanese girl, believe it! And so the girls spend their days doing lots of fun things together, bake together, bath together (okay, maybe Alice is just feeling dizzy after soaking for too long), sleep together and talk about visiting Japan one day. Of course that day to leave comes. Shinobu takes a picture and will send it to her later. After all this time staying together, you’d think the only words they really learnt and use with confidence are “Hello” and “Konnichiwa”. You’re using them wrong, girls! That’s not for farewells!

Shinobu is back in Japan. She is late to meet up with her friends Aya Komichi and Yoko Inokuma because she received an airmail from Alice and is eager to read it. Thing is, it’s all in English. Bummer. I don’t think her friends can do much help in trying to read it too. Even Aya’s translation sounds half bake. While Shinobu changes her shoes at school, her friends are approached by… Alice! Her Japanese is fluent now and is looking for Shinobu. She doesn’t have a picture but takes out a kokeshi doll. Yup. That’s what she looks like. Insulting? But the teacher calls her and she has to leave. In class, the teacher introduces Alice as the new transfer student from England. The best friends are happy to see each other again. After introducing herself, Alice mentions she did inform of her transfer in the letter. But it’s in English. Oh, there’s a second letter in romaji. Doh! Later when Alice gets to know Aya and Yoko, they comment how she has doll-like features. Not as scary as Shinobu’s comment of wanting to dress her up, keep her in a glass case and stare her all day long! Are Japanese girls this scary? Alice meets Shinobu’s mom and she will be staying at their place. I guess when you put your mind to it, mastering a language like how Alice did for Japan is a piece of cake. Yeah. She even wore a kimono which brings back lots of awful traumatic memories… Never knew it was this tough, eh? Alice hands Shinobu a gift. Don’t hope for anything English because it’s just a Japanese red bean paste pancake she got from the airport.

Episode 2
Alice is getting used to life in Japan. I hope she won’t take after Shinobu’s habit of being a sleepyhead in the morning and then go back to sleep… Alice briefly narrates about her friends that include Shinobu’s older sister, Isami who works as a model. Shinobu must be joking when she asks how old she is going to be this year! Aren’t they in the same grade? Can’t blame her since Alice is short and due to that she has some sort of height complex. Because Yoko has got the proportions, she wonders if bust size and height are related. Certainly not. She shows Aya as an example. Meanie! English is Shinobu’s favourite period because she loves her teacher Sakura Karasuma. In order not to lose out to her enthusiasm, Alice speaks out boldly in class and they are impressed. And made to do additional work… Aya is upset because her friends are late. Or is it she arrived an hour too early? When Shinobu arrives, they are shocked to see the kind of dress she is wearing. Is she cosplaying as some sort of maid? Goth loli? Actually she is dressing up as a westerner. What age is she in? Even Yoko notes her love for western stuff is hitting an all-maniacal high. Yup. She’s reading an English newspaper but with that I-don’t-understand-a-thing look on her face. As Shinobu brushes Alice’s hair, she mentions she wants to dye her hair after graduation to blonde. Won’t look good. Her friends don’t want to break her heart but Alice tells her straight it is a big no despite her looking good in western clothes. So remember, don’t ever dye your hair blonde!

Because Alice has never written a future job survey before, Shinobu writes it for her: Her number one dream job is to be a human! She’s missing the point! Shinobu’s dream is to be a translator and is confident she can translate what Alice says. But she already looks lost after the second sentence… Too fast! Stop! Yoko teases Aya that she wrote ‘wife’ as her future dream job. Aya takes the eraser and erases what she writes. When Alice feels tired, the rest misinterprets that she is homesick and wants to cheer her up. It ends up like them looking like pesky stalkers! After Alice brings the class log to Karasuma, she is being asked rabbits or cats. She picks the former and is made to wear bunny ears. WTF? Karasuma comments she is fitting in here well and has made lots of friends. Alice remembers what her friends were trying to do for her and when she returns to class, she sees them deciding if Alice is better being a hamster or some furry creature! She asks Shinobu what she thinks for her and the latter misinterprets it’s some sort of confession. Alice misinterprets it as heartbreak rejection when she replies she can’t answer that now. But she notes she is her good friend. That beats being a bunny or hamster, right? Shinobu also says her dream came true because she wanted to visit Alice in England again when she grows up but she came here instead. Karasuma hands back the English quiz and Alice scores perfect. The class is amazed and she gets praised as usual by the teacher who took the liberty to doodle cute things on her paper as reward. Alice feels she is being treated like a kid sometimes. Well, she looks the part, right? Who can’t resist this moe loli?

Episode 3
Alice now feels homesick and misses her mom and dog. Don’t worry. Shinobu will be her temporary mom and dog! Oh God… Alice shows her photo album and there is a photo of her with Karen. Why the hell must Shinobu feel depress thinking Alice had friends in England? WTF?! Alice explains Karen is a halfie as her dad is Japanese and was the one who taught her the language. We know Shinobu is back to her typical idiot head because she hopes to meet this Karen girl and be surrounded by blonde beauties. One morning when the friends leave for school, Yoko is telling how she saw a certain blonde. Speaking of which, there she is. Hey. Isn’t that Karen?! It is her! The blondes happily reunite and there is no place for Shinobu to get a hug from either one. Group hug will do? So what brings her to Japan? Airplane. No, try harder. Because Alice left without saying goodbye, she asked her dad and because she seemed interested in that place, her father decided the family to go live there for a while. Just like that. Yeah. Just like that. The friends notice Karen in their school uniform. Yes. A transfer student but in a different class. Imagine how distracting it will be for Shinobu if there are 2 blondes in the same class. But it seems Shinobu is fawning over her blonde dream every time Karen speaks and this makes Alice feels jealous (though she won’t admit it). So much so she is just acting weird and everyone can tell. I mean, she really wants Shinobu to demonstrate she’s like a ninja and can climb walls because her name sounds close to shinobi.

When they part ways after school, Karen pecks Shinobu a goodbye kiss. Shocking?! Hear Alice scream her head off! Shinobu is probably far away in dream land. Karen seems to be having a hard time making friends in her class so she asks Shinobu and co for advice. It’s probably her halfie status. Try imagining a lion and a group of deer. Yeah. That. They have Aya explain because she is the ‘expert’ as she was once from another town and transferred here. So we have a peek at how Shinobu and Yoko came ‘barging’ into her life with their liveliness as Aya was particularly shy. Yeah. Filled with lots of friendship drama. I don’t know how many of it was made up or exaggerated because Aya is vehemently refuting it. Alice becomes a stalker because she sees Shinobu chatting with Karen casually. When asked if Karen is going to join any clubs, Alice mentions they are in the Shino-bu (Shino club) because all they do is talk with Shinobu, eat with Shinobu, etc. Sounds like a fan club? Great. Count Karen in! And who made Alice the president? With Karen all fired up, she will try talk to her classmates. She goes up front and introduces herself and hopes to get along. Everyone is impressed and in no time she has her own circle of friends. Alice praises Karen about her good points and gets hugged. Shinobu wants one too and gets it. Alice not happy…

Episode 4
Aya hands over a present to Shinobu. Alice didn’t know it was today so she sings a lame birthday song. When Shinobu asks how old she looks, the rest guess (or tease, rather) she is around 30. It all began when Isami noted this morning she is turning 36! She thinks she has an old soul. Sure, she may be joking but is she really so when she thinks the perfect gift for her would be a bonsai plant? So the friends discuss why Shinobu has this old feel. Maybe it’s the way she talks. Shinobu tries talking like a high school girl but it doesn’t quite cut it. Alice wants to be old but from the looks of it, she might only qualify as elementary. Yoko then snaps some pictures of her and thought she really didn’t have what it takes to be a model like Isami. Alice really wanted to buy a gift for Shinobu but the latter mentions having her here is already a very good present. Aww… In that case, she wouldn’t mind giving her a strand of her blonde hair, no? Isami gives Shinobu a snow globe while a mini bonsai for Alice. Alice hugs her and we didn’t hear Shinobu bugging for one because she has already accepted the ‘defeat’ to her big sister. Shinobu doesn’t know how to use a computer because her sister told her it is infected with virus. Heh. But Aya thinks calmly the good reason for this ‘preventive measure’. Imagine her blonde folder will be filled to the max with blonde pictures! Good move. Alice and Karen end up quarrelling in public who acts more like the older sister. I guess Alice is quite sensitive to this and INSISTS she is the big sister. I don’t think nobody would believe that. Yeah. Alice used to act like the big one for Karen but before she knew it, she grew up faster than her. Karen seeks Alice help over one of her subjects: English! WTF?! She’s been speaking Japanese so often that she is starting to forget English! Alice thought she is academically superior to Karen. Even so, she feels jealous that Karen and Shinobu are talking in the same wavelength. When Karen gives Shinobu foreign stamps as birthday gift and the blonde lover starts fawning like mad, I guess this is the last straw for Alice. A drama nearly unfolds when Alice wonders if Shinobu likes Karen more than her. Then I think Karen also wants to play along so the blondes fight over Shinobu! It’s like a dream come true for Shinobu. Of course Shinobu wants to be fair and tells them not to fight over her. She points out Karen came all the way for Alice and this prompts her to remember how they vowed to be best friends forever. Alice realizes she had been jealous and they made up.

Shinobu is sick so she can’t attend class. Yoko is so excited (and very noisy) because she got a love letter in her shoe box. Or so she thinks. It’s just a plain letter but if it’s in a shoe locker, what are the chances? Aya is suspicious of it and thinks it’s a misfortune letter. She is about to read it but was reminded the letter belongs to Yoko. Since then, it has been bugging Aya about the contents. She’s really acting like a stalker hoping she would read it. And for the entire day, Yoko didn’t. Getting anxious, aren’t we? And we know Aya is feeling jealous that somebody, boy or even girl may be confessing and thus taking her Yoko away from her. Yoko is still excited at the prospect of her confessor and thinks of becoming more feminine like Aya. Only thing is, that isn’t really how Aya acts. Aya continues to be anxious about the letter’s contents that she can’t concentrate in class. At the end of the day when Yoko is about to read it, Aya suddenly congratulates her (but with tears in her eyes). Yoko says that was uncalled for because whoever this love letter is from, she is going to reject it as she loves Aya more. Great relief? Now see Aya turn into a tsundere. So here is the content of the letter. It’s from Shinobu… Asking about England and the weather… And to translate this into English. WTF… WTF???!!! Confirming with Shinobu, it seems she wanted to talk to Alice’s parents and thus wrote a letter for Alice to translate. She put it in her shoe locker just to surprise her like as though it’s a love letter but she got the wrong locker. The rest are so disappointed and disillusioned about love letters now. Thanks Shinobu… For breaking the girls’ dreams…

Episode 5
Shinobu gets embarrassed after realizing she mistakes calling Yoko as her big sister. As explained, they have been friends since elementary and when Yoko met Isami, she hoped she would take care of Shinobu while she is not around. Yeah. She gave a personal alarm while at it. Is that how you use it? Shinobu flops her test. She got zero! Not okay! Aya coaches her and I think Shinobu learnt everything even Aya’s slip of tongue, thinking it would be in the makeup test. When the friends arrive at Shinobu’s home for a group study, Karen’s English suddenly becomes flawless because she is a big fan of Isami and wants her autograph! When it is lunchtime, Aya’s stomach growls but doesn’t want to admit. She shifts the blame onto Alice but since she is so panicky (and cute too), Aya feels guilty and admits it. While Yoko tries to be reserved on Aya’s cooking, the blondes didn’t hold back and say how bland it tastes. Karen accidentally stumbles into Isami’s room and sees a camera on her table. She gets freaked out when Isami returns. Even more so when the telephone rings because she thought she has called the police! It’s her friend lah. Karen suggests taking photos and since the place is too small, they head to the park. Karen thought she had practised her modelling pose but Isami points out the way she is posing isn’t natural. At the end of the day, the blondes really hope Isami would send their pics to her cameraman. Who wouldn’t love to dream of becoming a model? Isami’s friend notes her sister has an English friend staying over. Isami says it feels like she has 2 sisters, prompting her to comment she is has siscon fetish. Isami narrates she used to look after Shinobu a lot when she was younger since she was clumsy. Now that she has found her passion, she is glad that she is becoming more independent. But then again, she is even more worried because she sees her trying to put dress up Alice… Be very worried…

Aya fixes Yoko’s clothes and reprimands her to dress better. For that slight moment, their face was close enough to… Sorry folks, no yuri moment. When the blondes come in, they couldn’t recognize Yoko! Is this a joke?! Alice challenges Yoko to arm wrestling? Serious? Since she is so cute trying all her might (it’s not budging), Yoko lets her win. Even cuter… Alice is now confident to take on a bear! Stop with that! Yoko offers to help Karen carry heavy books to a room. She didn’t expect she has to carry Karen too. Haha. Good one… Karen notes Yoko is like a convenience store because she always there to listen and always smiling. Then she prods her flabby belly and would like to order a nikuman. Not a convenience store… And not funny either! Yoko wonders what kind of person herself is so with Shinobu’s graph chart, it seems it is 100% tsukkomi! Karen has also observed her all day long and comes up with her own graph chart. 50% tsukkomi and 50% kindness. Not bad for a joker like her. Karen also does one for Aya. What is this big unnamed portion? It’s Yoko! In her embarrassment, she crumples the paper and acts like a tsundere. Because the blondes and Aya are the only child in their family, they want to call Yoko their big sister as she feels like one. Alice happily hugs Yoko the big sister. Wait a minute. She has no more qualms of wanting to be the big sister? Yoko feels empty when Shinobu doesn’t need her guidance around school anymore. Maybe little sister has grown up. And with Shinobu looking like the eldest compared to the blondes, Yoko visions Shinobu as being a captive alien! WTF?! Aya assures Shinobu will be fine no matter what. Whether she is stranded in the desert, shipwrecked lost in the jungle… Isami’s friend notices her handphone screensavers consist of Shinobu and her friends and thinks she really has this siscon fetish.

Episode 6
Alice and Shinobu are naming cute things. Eventually they name themselves too often that the cuteness just feels… Ugh… Summer holidays are here and Yoko and Karen end up arguing where to go. The beach or the mountains? Karen suggests a card game whereby they go to where the winner suggests. Despite she lost, everyone decides to go with Karen’s suggestion of mountain hiking. As the friends gather, Shinobu gives us a shocker because she is wearing some hooded cosplay dress! This is what a forest fairy is? Karen pulls up in a huge luxury truck driven by her dad. I see why she was really adamant wanting to go hiking. Yeah. He sets up everything for the girls too. They reach their destination and after much hiking (it’s amazing Shino didn’t faint in all that heat), they rest and relax at a mountain stream. We see Alice trying to compete in fishing with Karen to impress Shino but Karen is obviously the better one. So she tries to catch them bare handed… Alice thought a mosquito is on Shinobu’s face and slaps it! Oh, please don’t think the blonde hates you! Shinobu slips and falls into the river. Her entire dress ruined… And then everyone takes a tumble too. Back home, Karen notes Shinobu’s love for blondes and shows her an anime with other hair colour (Yuyushiki?). Suddenly she feels blue hair is not bad! Alice panics and doesn’t want her to be ‘corrupted’ with other hair colour! On another evening, the girls meet again for the festival. Shinobu’s cosplay yukata version may spell blasphemy to some. And so the usual fun of eating lots of delicious food and playing lots of typical festival games. The candy drawing is pretty amusing because while everybody’s candy breaks, Shinobu completes hers as she made a perfect cut of Eifel Tower!!! Holy sh*t!!! Yoko notices Aya not feeling well but before she could ask, the rest distracted them in doing more fun stuffs. Not until after the festival ends that she finds out her feet has been sore ever since she was waiting for them. She didn’t want to say anything as not to ruin the fun. After spraying some disinfectant, the girls play fireworks. They are joined by Isami who has brought watermelon. Shinobu has brought lots of candy souvenirs for her too but I think a model like her would prefer to watch her waistline. Shinobu notes it’s the best festival ever because she gets to go with Alice. Sure it’s not her blonde head? Karen has lighted up a big firework and doesn’t know what to do with it. The rest run for it. Don’t come close!

Episode 7
The class has singing practical. Aya hates singing… I guess it shows how bad she is. The girls would love to hear the blondes sing a duet. They sing out a lovely tune but Shinobu had to ruin it with her “Blonde hair” background vocals. Alice forgot to bring her gym clothes despite making several personal reminders. Don’t worry. Karasuma is glad to lend hers. Since they’ve got no longs, I guess Shinobu’s summer shorts will do. And the temperature outside is freezing… Also, Aya hates gym! Her body can’t stretch and she really looks like in (overreacting) pain while stretching with Yoko. Aya thought she is running the slowest but Shinobu and Alice are way behind her! When they catch up, Aya is surprised to see Shinobu’s face not breaking into any sweat. She can keep this up for 3 hours! What stamina! Oh, Alice looks like she is ‘dying’… In class, Aya sees a couple trying to feed each other and decides to do the same to Yoko (she finished her lunch earlier and hoped the rest would ‘donate’ some food). However she sounds like a maniac screaming… Karen is happy the girls gave her lots of their homemade snacks till the rest warned her about putting on weight. To stem this problem, Shinobu puts a sign over her that reads “Please do not feed Karen”. Is she some sort of animal? The blondes go to seek advice from Karasuma (caught in the act of doing a little exercise). After that, Karen is frank to tell her how big her butt is! Alice puts it in a more reserved way that she has child bearing hips. I don’t think that helps either. In the end, the girls go weigh themselves. Aya goes first and of course, she blames the scale or her clothes. Karen is relieved her weight is still the same as before and can now eat all she wants. Aya turns into a runaway cry-baby after learning their weight difference is ‘great’. Yeah. How many grams difference? Shinobu makes decoration in her rice bento. It is supposed to be the kanji word for rice but it looks like the Union Jack… See the resemblance?

The friends have to study since autumn is exam period. Karen says she loves exams because it is so quiet that she can nap! Do the questions please! Aya reminds Shinobu that with her kind of scores, she better pull up her socks. Is she even serious about tutoring Alice? And because she easily dozes off while studying, Alice feels pitiful and allows her to copy her answer sheet! And when Karasuma learns Shinobu is trying hard to study, she breaks down in tears that she believes in her! Wow. Just what is her impression on this girl? Shinobu returns with this dead serious look that she wants to study and wants Alice to teach her. So seriously motivated that she looks like a different person! Who is she?! Seems Shinobu is studying so hard that she is… Speaking French words???!!! Oh sh*t!!! Did she study the right materials?! Alice is freaking out with this confident and smart Shinobu (she really looks different) so she distracts her with a look-over-there-pretty-blonde and suddenly all Shinobu has learnt vanish!!! Her head is empty! During the test, Yoko stares hard at Aya’s back in hopes of seeing her answer. She too can feel the piercing stare and tries hard to concentrate. Meanwhile Karen is using the pencil to guess her answers. She’s doing it so often and when it’s so quiet, the class just realize what she is doing. It is a big relief after the exam and Shinobu is looking close to a zombie… But a few days later when the results return, she scores a high 96 marks for English! The highest ever in her life! Wow. All that studying did pay off. But the most emotional one goes to Karasuma. She never knew this day would happen, eh? But then, she only scored a paltry single digit in her other subjects. Ah, that’s the Shinobu we all know…

Episode 8
Since the cultural festival is around the corner, Alice and Shinobu won’t give in for what they want to do. It’s a maid cafe for Shinobu or else she won’t let Alice use the toilet at night! It’s a Japanese sweets cafe for Alice or she will hate her! Boy, these girls are stubborn! Since it’s heartbreaking to see them fight, Yoko suggests combining both and do a fusion. See, solves everything. Karen’s class is doing a play and she hopes they can come and watch her. She really thinks she can shine as an actress. No, really. Karasuma thought of using one-liners to be popular with her students. Aya sees her in the act and doesn’t know how to react. Was that even a joke? Aya then takes Karasuma to see the best person who can retort her jokes: Yoko! The class makes headway in preparing for the festivals. The night before, Alice mentions about a special day tomorrow. But Shinobu doesn’t remember even if she was hinted it is a celebration day. She can’t really remember. She feels she needs to figure out quick before Alice gets mad but she falls asleep soon after. Next day in school, Shinobu becomes so apologetic to the point she gets down on her knees and to even hit her as she pleases! Turns out that celebration day is the day Shinobu came to England for her homestay. They celebrate it every year and call it Shinobu Day. Seriously. The festival gets underway. While Shinobu has no qualms in a maid outfit, Aya is certainly embarrassed. But given time, she gets used to it. After all that mumbling and nervousness. Isami disguises herself to visit the cafe. She starts taking pictures of Aya and Yoko in their maid outfit. Aya becomes frightened by this ‘stalker’ so Yoko goes to tell it to her. Till Isami reveals her identity. She compliments everyone in their maid outfit except Shinobu. Because she’s always wearing them at home and it’s like normal, right? Karen hopes Isami could come to see her play and puts on that eager beaver star actress face again. After the friends take a look around the festival, they attend Karen’s play. Aya is a hopeless romantic and is looking forward to this Snow White play. But then when you see Karen as some samurai dude slashing away in this twisted version… You just go WTF…  Alice is nervous of wanting to give her present to Shinobu. So much she stalks around her and Shinobu thinks some grim reaper is whispering death words to her! Eventually Alice summons her courage and hands it over. As gratitude for the hairpin souvenir, Alice has got her a ribbon. Shinobu is happy to wear it every day till her other friends laugh and comment on her funny hairstyle…

Episode 9
Aya’s parents will be away for work so she hopes her friends could come for dinner and stay over. Yes. Please come. Please! Shinobu and Alice begin their journey but stop to pick up Karen from her house. Shinobu wonders which floor Karen lives till Alice points out the entire building is Karen’s house. Oh sh*t!!! Aya must be so eager for her friends to come over that she waited outside in the cold just for them to arrive! While making dinner, the blondes remember seeing a TV show how a guy cracked an egg with his head. Let’s say it didn’t go too well for them. Before they sleep, Aya is trying to give her grateful speech but it seems the rest are already preparing to tell scary stories. Next morning, Yoko sees Aya with a bed head and tries to push it down. Embarrassed Aya misinterprets and slaps her hand away. In school, Aya notices Karen always energetic and pleads for her to teach her ways. Aya wants to become like Karen? Sure. But wearing her clothes won’t just really cut it. Next step is to speak broken Japanese. Something which Aya really did but only greeted with puzzled reactions from her fellow classmates. For the rest of the day, Aya stays away from Yoko and continues to be under Karen’s tutelage. I guess trying to do something different is tiring as Aya realizes Karen is the sportswoman type. I suppose she can never be like her. Karen mentions she likes Aya being her traditional self and this causes Aya to break into tears. She reveals she was mean to Yoko and regrets it. Karen gives Aya her final mission to go make up with her. After all that bundle of nerves, Aya finally apologizes with all her might to Yoko. It was for slapping her hand away that morning. Yoko doesn’t mind and to patch up their relationship, they buy matching notebooks. After Aya thanks her, she realizes Karen and co were watching them and impressed with everything, much to her dismay. Later Karen does her impersonation of Aya, which really isn’t anything different than her usual self at all. While Aya treasures the notebook, it seems Yoko accidentally spilt tea on hers, making it so dirty that the friends end up arguing. Now they’re back to how they were before.

After school, the friends decide to play hide and seek in school. Yoko becomes it. Karen hides in a nearby closet, confident Yoko won’t think anybody would be this dumb to hide somewhere so close. Unfortunately she was the first one to be found. Meanwhile Aya is hiding in the library and remembers traumatic memories of playing this game. Kids gave up looking for her and went home totally forgetting about her. Then here comes Yoko and Karen. They didn’t put in much effort to look and decide to search elsewhere. Aya is appalled they’re giving up so easily but she is more jealous seeing how close Aya is to Yoko and thus gives herself away. Yoko notes Shinobu will be hard to find because she has this ninja feature that hides her presence. Really? Aya has a solution to that. She asks Karen about her cute British handkerchief and suddenly from out of nowhere (maybe it was in the tree), Shinobu pops out and with lots of enthusiasm asks for Karen’s permission to touch it. Meanwhile Alice is waiting in the art room. Yes. She’s waiting and buying her time by drawing instead of hiding. She falls asleep and when Karasuma does her rounds, she misinterprets and thinks Alice is dead and her doodle is some sort of death letter! Before she can turn a molehill into a mountain, Alice wakes up. Karasuma learns what is going on and to make up for her mistake, she will help her hide. Alice is horrified now she can’t get this game over. When the gang comes into the art room, Shinobu spots Karasuma. The teacher feels guilty that because of her big size, she couldn’t hide Alice and tells her to run. Of course this means giving away her hiding spot because Alice was small enough to use Karasuma to hide!

Episode 10
Karasuma narrates how she loves her students. One day she thought her students brought the wrong textbook. Turns out she entered the wrong class! Doh! Karasuma talks to Alice and notices how much she cares for Shinobu. She also expresses she likes Shinobu but this only results in jealous glances! Because of that, every time Karasuma talks to Shinobu, you can see Alice hiding in a corner, giving Karasuma that death piercing stare! Yoko picks up a photo Karasuma dropped and it turns out to be a photo of her pet rabbit. She is reluctant to say its name. With Alice continuing to stalk her, Karasuma finally summons her courage to confront her (after using a rabbit doll as a simulation). Does she hate her? Not really. Though she can’t say she can’t stand her being so close with Shinobu. Karasuma reveals her rabbit’s name is also Alice but this only freaks her out. Yoko gets another photo from Karasuma during her school days. But it turns out to be some cosplay party. WTF?! Alice is sad that her horoscope for today is bad luck. Because Shinobu’s horoscope reads good luck, she tries to stick close to her. They manage to escape all sorts of bad luck by the skin of their teeth? Could it be Alice? Amazingly Shinobu manages to stay positive despite all that. Later the quintet play baseball before heading to the bookstore. It’s not like Karen loves reading. It’s because her favourite manga is out. Aya sees a picture of Isami modelling in one of the magazines. She turns to the horoscope section as Shinobu wants to find out her luck today. Not good. But she is still optimistic because as long she is with Alice, she is fine as she views Alice her good luck charm. Alice just feels strange… Meanwhile Karasuma learns her lucky colour today is orange but since she has no orange clothes, she brings an orange with her. Does that count? Alice sees the similarity in Shinobu and Isami when they both wake up as sleepyheads. Shinobu was spouting Elizabeth in her sleep and it turns out to be a name of an expensive antique doll. Isami wonders how much Shinobu would buy Alice if she was a doll. Hundred thousand? So cheap? Isami then had the cheek to say friends aren’t supposed to be for sale. Alice hugs her and Shinobu realizes the con woman Isami is. Karen is taking a morning stroll and sees a white cat. She follows it and by the time she grabs it, she realizes she is lost. Which harbour is she in? Aya finally sums up her courage to call Yoko and hang out. Typical tsundere flustering. Thing is, it was her brother who picked up the call. She hung up. The quintet unexpectedly meet when they all had the idea of going out shopping together. Aya had to remind them to study for tomorrow’s English quiz, something Shinobu had completely forgotten. As for Karasuma, she starts crying thinking how her lovely students will someday graduate and leave this school. Aren’t they just freshmen?

Episode 11
It’s getting colder so the girls dress up in thick clothes. Alice is shocked that Yoko put on more clothes. It makes it sound like she never wears one. Because Yoko puts it in a way that she is quite macho without her coat, Alice wants to be like her and is going to take her coat off till Aya stops her, commenting Yoko is an idiot because she couldn’t catch colds. In class, they see Karen dressed as Santa Claus. Is this allowed? They discuss what they want for Christmas. Love. Yeah. More love. Everyone gathers at Shinobu’s house for a Christmas party. Next day when they open their presents, Alice is disheartened to find a rock! Shinobu says it’s a rock she got from England and it is her prized treasure. Alice is in a dilemma. She doesn’t want the rock but it’s from Shinobu. Oh what to do? Isami happens to come by with photos of last night’s party so Alice quickly shifts her attention to her. On New Year’s Day when Shinobu and Alice tug in for the night, Isami suddenly hears Alice scream. She rushes into the room only to find she had a bad dream. Then she takes out her wooden sword and with that expression that says don’t-you-scare-me-like-that-again-brat, I think Alice can’t contain screaming again. This one might sound scarier. And do you believe it that Shinobu was sleeping right through all that commotion? Karen comes to school in her kimono on New Year’s Day. She wanted to tell her friends about her dream when Shinobu walks in looking very sad. It seems Alice is speaking in English and dressing up like an English girl! Does she have amnesia and forgotten her Japanese? Well, that is what Karen’s dream was. Wow. Suddenly all her English words seem too difficult to comprehend! Shinobu thinks it was the nightmare on New Year’s Day she had and she had been gloomy ever since. Maybe she is jus testing if Shinobu’s English has improved? Don’t think so.

Shinobu has Karen and Karasuma translate for her. I think they too don’t even know what she’s saying (for Karen’s case, she might be so Japanese-sized that she have forgotten to speak English!) so they pin the blame on Shinobu and consider this her trial that only she must overcome. However Shinobu can’t flip the dictionary pages fast enough and catch all her words so she breaks down wondering if Alice hates her. Alice suddenly refutes and returns to her normal self. She thought Shinobu hated her. Alice realized that her stay here has caused her to become more Japanese than the Japanese themselves. Then that night she had a dream. Remember how Shinobu loves everything English? Yeah. Because of that, she dreamt Shinobu casted her away for another English girl. Both the girls made up and Shinobu comments no matter how Japanese she becomes, she will always love her for the way she is. Karen thinks if she becomes a samurai she can be more Japanese because after so long, her Japanese still sounds broken. Graduation day for the seniors come and although the juniors feel sad, Shinobu looks on the positive side that they will have juniors next year. Later Karen has another dream whereby all her friends become family members. Yoko the grandpa (WTF), Aya the mother and Shinobu the daughter. Alice thinks this would make her the younger daughter but to her horror she is the pet!!! It is Karasuma who is the eldest daughter as Shinobu focuses all her attention on her instead of the ‘pet’. This causes Alice to wake up crying from her dream. Here we go again?

Episode 12
It’s the new school term. Everybody is so excited with everything new. Except for Aya. Such a pessimistic person. What gives? She fears they’ll be separated. Alice is confident that they’ll be as connected as the sky. However true enough the friends got separated in different classes! Ultimate horror for Alice because she ends up with Yoko while the rest in another class! Aya too is horrified because she is now separated from Yoko. But why Shinobu isn’t raising any alarms? I guess she’s got Karen with her. A blonde will just do, huh? Alice can’t handle the separation and goes into mental breakdown. Seriously. Aya hints to Yoko if she is sad that they are in different class. She isn’t because she’s got Alice with her. This only further upsets Aya. Yoko gets the wrong idea that she wants to be with Alice so much. And so for the rest of the day, Alice and Aya are like 2 lifeless girls lacking any form of energy… Where’s the motivation to look forward to school anymore? But Yoko seems to notice Alice handling her ‘trauma’ well. Has she gotten over the separation? Actually, she brought a kokeshi doll with her… Looks like it might have gotten worse… But her loneliness is dispelled when Alice talks to Shinobu because she doesn’t look sad at all. Her reply is that Alice came from overseas to see her so this little parting is nothing compared to it. Besides, their class is just next to each other. Just a wall separating them. And so Alice tries to plead to Karasuma to join in her class to be with Shinobu. Not going to work!

One morning, Karen comes in with an eye-patch because she has read some manga and is taken in with the protagonist. It’s that chuunibyou thing. When they read a novel, Shinobu can’t contain her attention and her eyes suddenly feel sleepy. It is suggested she writes a story and reads it aloud. Karen also suggests to fantasize more by using the people they know. As expected, Aya has to use Yoko, does she? Everyone starts believing when Shinobu mentions Alice is the robot she created! But the next story narrated by Shinobu feels like a musical play (which surprisingly is amusing and fun). About Shinobu and Alice as blonde princesses. Being blonde is a treasure? So it’s no surprise that Karen the pirate threatens them to hand over the treasure, resulting in Shinobu being kidnapped. The duo then go on a world travelling adventure and one day Karen’s ship sank due to a storm. Shinobu was saved by Aya the mermaid. She is of course in love with the handsome prince who is no other than Yoko. Then a ship battle between the prince and pirate becomes inevitable as both sides trade cannon balls. They’re not going to stop. Isami the giant sea witch will grant her wish provided Shinobu gives up her most precious treasure. And so Shinobu cuts her blonde hair and with the princess losing it forever, the world is in peace and everyone lives happily ever after. WTF. But don’t laugh, because the blondes are getting emotional with this amazing story! So amazing that not only it attracted attention of their other classmates but other classes too! Shinobu the storyteller? Alice wonders if both princesses will ever meet. Of course they can. Just buy a plane ticket to see each other. There goes the excitement. Back home, Alice and Shinobu reminisce a letter Alice wrote and posted to Japan when she was young. It was that letter that led to their friendship.

Blonde Bond
Although this series isn’t that boring, I won’t say that it is that awesome either. One reason why it didn’t fail as badly as my stint with Yuyushiki was because of the spontaneous and quick jokes that the characters make. In a way, it keeps things fresh and fast so you don’t go yawning or your mind go wandering every few seconds. Sure, there are some jokes which I didn’t get but overall, the impulsiveness of the gag which makes you burst into a short fit of laughter is what really makes this series funny. But I still consider YuruYuri funnier than this. Then there are short skits in between the episode (might not be related to the main story) that provides short jokes in their typical fashion and some variety. Therefore Kiniro Mosaic isn’t as boring as I predicted it would be but still, nothing special about everything in general either. Just like candy without putting in any excessive sugar.

The cute characters of course are pretty unique and each has their own quirky traits. In a way it might make them seem generic like other animes but I guess in every girl group you need to have an optimistic airhead like Shinobu. I can’t say how big her love for anything blonde is but at least we don’t see her being the obsessed type because if she was, she would have dyed her hair blonde and this would make her look like a delinquent. Cute delinquent girl? Weird combo mix. If Alice dyed her hair into another colour, I think she will freak out and die of a heart attack. Yeah. You can say she probably loves Alice for her blonde hair more than anything else but as seen, Shinobu does care for Alice as herself. Being blonde is just a big bonus. A very big one. Ironically, Shinobu being a Japanese herself is lives a more westernized lifestyle. From the amenities in her home to the way she dresses up like those Victorian ladies in her free time. But still, her English sucks… Don’t worry, she’ll get better in time with more practice. Make that another 100 years! Haha!

Alice the cutie of the group provides the moe factor because of her petite size. You get to see her cute frantic reactions from time to time and it makes you want to go “Awww…” although it freaks her out. Don’t you love to see that cute side? Staying too long with Shinobu has made her have a Shinobu complex because at the height of it all, she really gets jealous no matter who it is whenever is seen talking more casual and friendly to her best friend than her. Even if you’re the President of USA, be careful if you want to talk to this Shinobu girl because a little blonde loli can suddenly become stalker material. Karen’s role in the group as the energetic and carefree girl (sometimes to the point of being blunt and in-your-face) while Aya is the tomboyish one. It is becoming obvious that Aya is harbouring some secret feelings for Yoko although this girl is quite oblivious to it despite many hinting. Tsundere is definitely the right word to describe her. Sometimes a little pessimistic and not true to her feelings especially when it comes to Yoko, just like the rest, she treasures the friendship with her friends a lot. Although another of Aya’s role is to be the main tsukkomi character, I feel that the other characters too had their turn in doing the comebacks, hence not relying on Aya for this sort of jokes. Everyone in the group is in their own way a weird girl. Karasuma feels like she is more of a student than a teacher because of her absent-mindedness and the way she meekly speaks. I don’t know how bad Isami’s siscon fetish is but from the looks of it, she isn’t really the extreme type and is more of a cool beauty.

It’s a good thing that despite the girly friendship between the quintet, there is no yuri-like relationship. Well, there are close moments of yuri scenes but nothing that is suggestive. Unless you view that moment where Yoko has her face close up to Aya as one. Then it must be your imagination running wild. You can imagine it if Aya has her way with Yoko. In short, no fanservice. No blonde bombshell. Do you expect such when everything in this anime is already painted cute? With everybody looking so cute and exuding a lot of moe charm (heck, even Karasuma-sensei had that sort of feeling), it would only mean death by over dosage of moe-ness if such fanservice is ever applied. So cute and moe that it would never cross your mind that there are dumb blondes but only cute blondes to begin with. Yeah, everybody is pretty ‘dumb’ in a certain way but that word has been substituted for cute. If the moe art and drawing of the characters feel somewhat familiar, it is because this series is animated by the relatively new production house Studio Gokumi who did A Channel, Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru and Saki: Episode Of Side A.

The series did take the trouble to have some of the characters speak in English especially the scenes in England. I won’t say that my English is so good but I suppose I can say that it is a good try. Of course it feels like there is the Japanese accent when the ‘English’ characters speak English so it makes the English conversation sounds a little odd. Moreover, when Alice is speaking in English, sometimes I feel the way she speaks it makes as though she is speaking for a children’s TV programme! But then again, it’s a good try for Manami Tanaka as Alice (Manami in Sacred Seven) who is making a debut as a major character, in squeezing all the moe elements in her and making her sound oh-so-cute. You can say that any expression Alice does, happy or freaking out, she is just so cute and adorable. Like a bunny. Haha! Yukari Tamura as Isami wasn’t so obvious at first since she didn’t put up her trademark squeaky voice like Muromi in Namiuchigiwa No Muromi-san but after a while, veterans will know it is her. The liveliness of Nao Touyama as Karen would starkly remind us that she is the moe version of Yui of Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru. Other casts include Asuka Nishi as Shinobu (Rika in Hataraku Maou-sama), Risa Taneda as Aya (Xenovia in High School DxD New), Yumi Uchiyama as Yoko (Nagi in A Channel) and Satomi Satou as Karasuma (Wendy in Fairy Tail).

Both the opening and ending themes are performed by Rhodanthe, which are actually the seiyuus of the main quintet. The opening song, Jumping!! is actually quite a lively, fun and exciting piece. With its upbeat tune, you can’t help feel like wanting to get on your feet and do some exhilarating jumping as well. The ending theme on the other hand is Your Voice. This one sounds more like Broadway or a stage musical with a little jazzy feel (somewhat reminds me of Sengoku Collection). Though at a moderate pace, I don’t find this as appealing as the opening theme. Maybe I’m not into musical type of songs after all. I noticed that there is a wide variety of background music ranging from cute casual pop, calming acoustic pieces and even dramatic orchestra. Neat.

So it goes to show that the cute girls doing cute things formula always work (well, most of the time). As long as you can keep your audiences with all the cute and moe factor, it doesn’t matter what the girls do or what the setting is. Heck, don’t even need any sort of complicated and twisted storyline to further the plot too. Because people especially otakus won’t get enough of just staring at cute 2D girls as long as they can. Hmm… That sounds creepy. I suppose it has become an addiction since I did say seasons in and season out there are lots of such shows under this genre coming out. Even right now as I speak, there are one or two shows of this category being aired. I’m sure we’re trying to have as much golden time as possible but try not to have too many blonde moments. Cheerio!

The boy band phenomenon hasn’t died out yet! Actually, it is more like the idol sensation. Can’t we ever get enough of them? So many idols today. A dime a dozen. So many idols come and so many go. But how many do we remember that leaves a lasting impact for the rest of our lives? How many of them have hits that will be evergreen? It’s testing times for our idol boys in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 2000%. Now that they have graduated from school with their superb debut concert, they will be making their debut in the real world. This is where the real challenge starts. Can they maintain their momentum and etch and leave an impact in the hearts of those who hear their songs? Well, even if their songs don’t make it, I’m sure that with such good looks, the girls will have their hearts melt like a hot knife through a hot butter. But seriously, they have such melodious voice, that it will be double treat for their fans, visual and aural candy. Looks good, sounds good and even act good. Wow, if this really was a reverse harem romance story, it will be a race to see which girl can marry any one or all of their ideal prince. Since this is not, let’s just enjoy the musical and adventure in store for them.

Episode 1
What a better way to start the series with Starish having a performance to their screaming fans. And it’s not just the 6 of them! Why, Cecil is part of Starish and that makes the boy band idol group to 7! As narrated by Haruka, they have already graduated and are taking their first step in the working world of show business. To support fresh graduates, Shining Agency has a system to support them called the Master Course. Haruka, Starish and of course her best friend Tomo are all under this programme. Haruka gets lost on her first day to the dorm she’ll be staying but I guess it is fated because it is somewhat an opportunity for her to meet the other Starish guys along the way. So people. Do you still remember Otoya, Sho, Natsuki, Tokiya, Masato and Ren? They still cherish our sole female and they are looking forward to work together again. Despite Starish will be living in the same dorm with Haruka and closer to her, the rule of forbidding idols to fall in love is still enforced. Haruka surprises everyone when she has written songs for each one of them to sing! That’s 6 of them! But our eccentric Saotome had to make his usual flashy grand entrance to remind them that even though they did well, reality is that many bloom splendidly but fade like fireworks. So in order to help them continue shining, he will be introducing someone important for this. And boom! Herald senior idol professionals as they dance their way and charm our newbies. It’s like magic, no? Hey! I thought there were 4 of them? Suddenly when the show ends, there are only 3? The trio will be assigned to Starish. Reiji Kotobuki gets Otoya and Tokiya. Ranmaru Kurosaki assigned to Ren and Masato. Ai Mikaze will have Sho and Natsuki. Guess what? The seniors (with the exception of Reiji) are not happy to have juniors and even view they won’t get far if they start relying on others. They don’t care about them. But our juniors tell them they aren’t doing this half hearted and are serious. Of course they won’t be a pushover and will work hard themselves too. All the seniors need to do is to observe them. Also, the seniors will be living with their assigned juniors and this means the latter’s space and all are reduced to a miserable corner. That night when Haruka unpacks and sees the clover leaf memento she got from Cecil, she heard the sound of Kuppuru meowing outside. This leads her to meet Cecil again and he is pleased they have reunited as he kisses her hand.

Episode 2
Cecil thanks her for saving him. Her songs she writes did so. He’s been waiting for a day like this to come. Before things can get steamier (Cecil touching her all over), Haruka wakes up from her dream. She is called to Saotome’s office and he requests her to write another song like Maji Love 1000%. Haruka says she didn’t really come up with that song herself and a prince in her dream who taught her. Well, would Ringo believe that? Ah, such a romantist. Outside, Haruka and Starish hear a very nice and warm singing voice. It leads them to Cecil hanging out on a tree branch. And this is not a dream. Because Cecil is touching Haruka like a romantic, our jealous Starish rush to pull him away and protect their Haruka. Yeah. Who needs the extra competition, right? Again, Saotome barges him to introduce Cecil as the Prince of Agnapolis, the land of music. A real prince, huh? And starting today, he will be a member of Master Course! Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. So some of our Starish guys are not so happy to welcome this dude. Cecil is like playing fortune teller because he can tell their personality and what awaits them in the future. All good readings, though. Haruka reveals that Cecil was the one who advised her to choose all of them during that graduation audition and thus the person responsible for forming Starish. They won’t be here if it had not been for him so she hopes they could have some faith in him. However Cecil isn’t interested in becoming an idol. All he wants is to combine his poetry with the music she writes and sing. His family have been serving the Muses for generations and her music has guided him here. He shocks everyone by confessing he loves Haruka! No shame in doing that? Yeah well. Starish was so reserved in saying those magic words and this new guy just comes along and easily says it right in her face? Before he could get close to her again, Starish pulls him away.

Count of the Silk Palace, Camus makes his frosty entrance. He has been assigned to be Cecil’s senior. Cecil rejects him but Camus reminds him this is necessary if he is to stay in this course. Plus, can an amateur like him compare himself to a professional? Cecil is confident that the Muses are smiling on him and can sing better than everyone. Everyone! Wow. Such confidence. They have their first special idol training. It’s some sort of twisted and bigger version of karuta. Shouldn’t they be battling with songs? As Camus puts it, they’re too inexperienced for that and must start with the basics. Cecil vows to win and prove his love for Haruka so this gets Starish motivated to win too. Haruka will read the cards and the juniors need to run and grab the correct cards. Cecil outruns everyone. Man, he is fast. But because of his unfamiliarity in kanji, he picks the wrong cards. The final card seems to be hanging on a tree. Cecil gets there first. Sho shakes the tree and this throws him off and falls into the river. Seems this guy has a fear of water and fish! Well, the water is only ankle deep… You can stop pretending to be drowning now… He runs away after he sees a fish out of water. To the horror of everyone, Cecil is seen napping inside the dorm. He still doesn’t respect Camus so he drags the prince away to make him learn some respect. Starish comments they have an unbelievable kid among them but couldn’t have imagined what would have happened had he won the training. That night, Cecil visits outside Haruka’s window. Because he lost to Camus, he will obey him. He was also told romantic relationships are forbidden here and laments she saw his embarrassing side today. Though the song he sang today was wonderful, singing to him is as natural as breathing. All he wants is to sing the song she writes.

Episode 3
Sho is happy that he has been selected to play a big role in Ryuuga’s movie. Don’t worry, he won’t be cross-dressed like a girl again. A real manly role this time. Saotome comes in. He heard they rejected their seniors and reminds them about that fading thingy again. In that case, he wants them to claim this title called Utapuri Award that is only granted to brilliant new idols. This title will open their path to be a true idol. Tokiya notes what Saotome is saying isn’t entirely wrong because Starish is not as popular as they think. The quickest way to be an established idol is to get that title. Of course it won’t be easy or just about CD sales. Everything in what they do is taken into account and each individual will also affect the overall performance. Sho is at the movie set and is excited to be co-starring with Ryuuga. He profusely thanks him that his dream came true. However Ryuuga tells him off to stop acting like an amateur because they’re already professionals. They should be rivals instead. This jolts Sho’s confidence but this doesn’t stop him from doing his best. Till the ultimate scene that he needs to jump quite a distance. Because Ryuuga’s words are still ringing in his ears, he fails. Sometimes I think that it is partly of his short stature… He tries again but fails. The only option is to use a stuntman but Sho pleads for another chance. Ryuuga talks to the director. Sho works hard as the rest notice how hard he is pushing himself and not relaxed. Next day, Natsuki brings Cecil along to the movie set so they can help Sho relax. The training continues but Sho is still unable to meet that required distance. At the end of the day, Cecil takes Natsuki away because there is nothing more they can do for him. That night, Haruka comes looking for Sho at the set to bring his new clothes. I don’t know how she ended up on the wrong high end of the set. She realizes it is too high and almost lost her balance. However she wants to save the bag she brought for him! WTF?! She would risk her life for that?! Because of that, she is hanging precariously for her life! Sho’s desire to protect her makes him do the impossible. The leap of faith! Manliness! He manages to jump across and pulls her up. He hugs her and is worried if anything should happen to her. Haruka’s words later calms Sho and made him realize something. Next day, the shooting continues. Everyone rejoices when Sho successfully jumps and reach the other end. Ryuuga then shakes his hand and apologizes for pushing him away when he was admiring him. He is a true man now. Sho is grateful he learnt a lot. Later Sho talks to Haruka and tells her he was singing the song she wrote for him during the shoot. It calmed him and thanks to her words, she is able to be his usual self. Nobody understands him better than she does. He will be an idol who doesn’t forget what it’s like to be a fan. Haruka wants to join his fan club (if he forms it) so he gives her his hat as certificate of membership.

Episode 4
Masato will be auditioning for a historical musical play and thinks of using Haruka’s song. If Masato is successful, Starish will be one step closer in obtaining Utapuri Award. The rest of Starish start fantasizing their own period drama. But the most hilarious one has got to be Tokiya acting as Masato’s lover! Yup, that is going to be the main scene. Masato needs to embrace passionately. Obviously he has problems of hugging a girl he will just meet despite this is just acting. He doesn’t think he needs help but he looks obviously troubled. He visits his grandpa’s grave and remembers some of his words about performing arts. It is not something to be done alone but to be made together with those performed with, being supported with and those watching. Camus visits Haruka’s room and gets all clingy over her. Could have gotten steamier had he not spot that clover memento. Haruka treasures it a lot so this prompts Cecil to ask what is so great about them. They sparkle and make her want to watch them forever. Cecil thinks she is their prisoner. When Masato returns, he finds the rest of Starish preparing to help him out in his practice. Tokiya willingly dresses up as a lady for that embracing part since he has the most experience in acting! Cecil is brought in to watch the practice. Masato of course still has problem with the hugging scene, so much so Tokiya even starts doubting if his own acting was perfect. If it was, Masato would have embraced him, right? Or maybe too perfect that Masato sees him as a woman! Or don’t want to gay? Cecil suggests asking Haruka (since she is a girl and they can use her instead of a guy to act) and would you believe it, nobody thought of that? But Masato doesn’t want to bother her and will think of something himself. That night, Cecil talks to Masato and the latter explains how a fateful meeting with a certain girl led him to this path. Cecil says if he imagines the other actor as the girl she likes, he will easily embrace her. Masato remembers grandpa’s words that a good actor enters the world of dreams with his audience and enjoy the fleeting dream together. Masato’s mind is clear now and knows what to do. It is Masato’s turn at the audition and he performs so brilliantly and ends the clincher with the passionate hug (he uses visualization of Haruka as his motivation). The judges are so impressed that they are moved! Needless to say, he passed. Haruka congratulates him as he thanks her. He wants her to come watch the play once the date is decided. Cecil realizes that Haruka is the girl he loves but is puzzled he won’t confess his feelings to her despite being so close. It’s not because of the forbidden idol love thingy but because those feelings are important to him, he cannot say them. He is connected to her through the bond of music. By singing her songs, he believes he is firmly bound to her.

Episode 5
Cecil somewhat ends up in the same variety show as Otoya. He does an impression of Saotome, which sends the female audiences bursting into laughter. He’s so spot on! Haruka got lost on her way home from an errand. But this causes her to stumble upon an orphanage whereby she sees Otoya being flocked by the kids. After introducing herself (to dismiss accusations she’s a suspicious person as the kids pointed out for sneaking around), Otoya explains that his mom died when he was young and never knew his dad. This is a place he called home so he sometimes stopped by here. He tells her they’re going to do a bazaar for the festival. Also… A haunted house. Can this work? The kids tease Otoya and Haruka as an item. Flustering time. The duo stay behind and help the kids setup their haunted house. They also become their first test subject. Couples must go through the haunted house together, right? So young and they already know these kind of stuffs. It is somewhat a little emotional roller coaster ride. One moment Haruka is scared to be in the haunted house, the next she flusters to be next to him. But when he holds her hand and takes her through the dark corridor, she felt calm and warm. At the end of the passage, the room turns into a bright, colourful and happy place. There is a note from the kids expressing their thanks. Haruka notes Otoya has always been their family since he is kind, cheerful and warm. She is glad to have come here and felt she has understood him better than before. Otoya wanted to confess something but it’s taking too long so the puppet ghost Cecil made sprung down and scared the daylights out of them. I guess that scream is proof of success. Cecil too had lots of fun and hopes tomorrow there’ll be lots of customers. However come tomorrow, not a single soul at the bazaar! Turns out there is a flea market nearby. To cheer the depressed kids up, Otoya starts singing. And what do you know? His lovely voice attracts customers to the bazaar! Wow! Hey… Noticed most of them are females? Otoya thanks Haruka for the song she wrote for him but she credits it to his singing power that gives everyone strength and energy. The rest of the Starish guys soon drop by to help out. Dressed in coloured bear outfits? Later, Haruka hands Saotome several songs she wrote. But instead of choosing one of them, he wants her to write more because this is a battle of numbers. The more she writes, there is one that is bound to be a hit.

Episode 6
Ren has been invited to participate in a famous fashion show, Japanese Boys Collection. It is a show that not only has professional models but singers and actors taking on the catwalk featuring real clothes for young men. However Ren is not too thrilled because the sponsor of this event is his family’s conglomerate and his older brother whom he is not seeing eye to eye right now, Seiichirou is the CEO. Of course Ren’s pondering has him stumble upon Haruka writing her songs. Their usual talk. Thanks to their meeting, they changed and would not have become the person they are today. Haruka notes how his song heats up her heart. I hope he doesn’t get the wrong idea about this. Once the show is over, he wants to sing it to her and give it back with full of love. Did Haruka understand that? Ren also bumps into Cecil and he tells how he was forced by Seiichirou to join Saotome Academy to become the company’s poster boy. Haruka meets up with Tomo at the fashion show. Ironically, all the audiences are females… Cecil is also there and he knows a lot about Tomo because he knows everything about Haruka. Get it? Tomo got the wrong idea and warns him not to do anything funny to Haruka. As the show starts, the girls are already screaming. And when Ren takes the stage, the screaming decibel just increased. It’s a scream fest! The more he poses, the louder! Suddenly the place blacks out. As the people are starting to panic, Ren remembers Haruka’s words and calms the crowd down. He is going to sing for them and light up their hearts. I hope it’s not a pun because it is dark or something. Haruka instantly gets the message so she rushes down in hopes she can play his CD but was stopped by the guards. Seiichirou happened to be there and when he learns she is Starish’s composer, he immediately takes the CD and dashes to the hall’s operator room, the only place where the other PA is still working. It looked like a funny scene, him trying to run there but tripped (how the heck this happened? I thought girls only look cute in this) and how he slam dunked the CD into the player once he reaches the room. Ren begins singing and it’s like everybody had some sort of automatic candle in their hearts as it lights up the dark hall! Wow. Magical. At the end of the day, Ren thanks Haruka and was even going to kiss her. But seeing her so innocent, I guess he isn’t going to spoil her and wait till she grows up. Seiichirou comes in to talk to him. Ren notices he hurt himself trying to play his song. But Seiichirou didn’t do this because he is CEO. He did it for him because he always loved his songs. It wasn’t his parents that supported him but his songs. They have the ability to draw people but that isn’t the reason he wanted Ren to become the company’s poster boy. As he was rebellious back then, he couldn’t think of any other way to tell him about joining the academy. Ren realizes he has been watching him and his grudge for forcing him to join the academy subsides.

Episode 7
Natsuki gets an offer for an advertisement. The kind that needs to be strong and manly. Natsuki? Strong? Manly? Unless you’re talking about… SatsukI! Fearing this might happen, Sho and Haruka reveal to the other guys about Natsuki’s dark alter ego. Since Sho is busy on the shooting day, he has Haruka accompany him. Natsuki shows her the lyrics he wrote for the song. She is impressed that it is overflowing with lots of strength. However he doesn’t feel so and it’s like there’s someone protecting him all his life. He wants to grow stronger. As the shooting starts, Natsuki doesn’t seem to be in the groove. During the break, Haruka encourages him that he could do it. He gets a little motivated and thinks of taking of his glasses like the cameraman suggested. No, wait. Oh sh*t!!! Hello Satsuki. He’s back! He didn’t hesitate to get rough with Haruka and claims he will protect Natsuki especially from people like them whom he considers as most dangerous. Flashback reveals some teacher gladly wanted to help Natsuki write a song but when he does, she stole it and disappeared. Satsuki was born out of his despair and will stand in for him. Satsuki wants to force kiss her but Sho and the rest come in to check on things. Upon seeing him without glasses, they go into alert mode trying to put it back on him. His piercing stares are deathly! You’d get scared the moment he looks back at you! Satsuki is like a monkey. In terms of agility. Nobody can put the glasses back on him. Not even calling Ren and Tokiya as back up. Not even their hot guy combo can do it. Now it’s Haruka’s turn. When Satsuki tries to go back to the shoot as Natsuki’s replacement, Haruka tries persuading him to have faith. Then she shows the lyrics Natsuki wrote. These are his feelings and she hopes he could protect them. He is trying to change and become stronger. Satsuki is puzzled that he is trying to change without him looking and always thought he would be fine as long he is around. So happen, Cecil just came in. Wearing cool shades. Satsuki now understands why Natsuki likes her and takes Cecil’s sunglasses and put them on! The shoot continues and Natsuki is oozing with hot and wild pheromones! That’s not the sissy boy we know! But he’s cool! In the end, Natsuki thanks Haruka for her help and the shoot was a success. The other guys wonder if he has changed. Fundamentally, no. Haruka thinks Satsuki must have understood Natsuki’s strength and hence the change affected the latter. Lastly, though it may be late, Haruka hands Cecil her personal she song she wrote for him.

Episode 8
The gang are brought to the agency’s villa for some respite. Last time it was an island of their own, right? Now we’ve got a cabin kingdom in the lush jungle! How big is Shining Agency? But Haruka continues to work on writing more songs but feels something is still lacking. Haruka gets some motivation when Starish leaves a card with words of encouragement. Starish finds out Haruka has written a song for Cecil and gives him support and to ask them for anything should he need help with the lyrics. But Cecil feels lost. Viewing Haruka as always important, she gave him lots of love and saved him. He was freed from his curse by the power of her music. He wants to return the favour, the reason he entered Master Course. So when Haruka happened to pass by, Cecil instantly hugs her! He can’t hold back his feelings anymore. He came here to make her happy but he can’t forget the smiles of other people too. He wants to see all kinds of smiles and not just hers. He wants to be an idol and make people happy. Did I hear that right? Haruka relays this good news to Starish and though they are surprised of his turn around, they are glad he has finally decided to become one. Cecil uses the power of the Muse to write him the lyrics. Seeing Starish in their work made him realize how wonderful it is to be an idol. He feels grateful to them and starts singing. His beautiful voice echoes through the area and everyone heard it. Starish even joins in the singing. At the end, they notice how good they sound together. That’s when Cecil realizes the Muse’s lyrics contain a hidden meaning. It wants him to sing with others and not alone. Haruka also realizes it was Cecil’s voice that is missing from her songs and hopes he could join Starish so she could write more wonderful songs. The rest agrees seeing they want to find out if this harmony is indeed genuine. When Cecil returns to his cabin, he sees a letter from his king. He has learnt Cecil’s curse has been lifted. He wants him to return to Agnapolis now since he plans on passing the crown to him. Camus sees Cecil alone leaving that night.

Episode 9
Morning comes and everyone is so excited that they couldn’t sleep last night. However they are shocked when Camus tells them Cecil has returned to Agnapolis. But they feel something odd. Why did he leave behind his music sheet and pendant? Is he trying to forget everything that has to do with music? Starish starts thinking the good fellow Cecil is (cue for some previous episode clips). No point feeling sad about it so Haruka pounds her piano away to compose a new song. She completes it and gives it to Starish. They really want to sing it but can’t do so without Cecil. While they believe and wait for his return, they will write their share of the lyrics. All that is left is Cecil’s portion when Saotome makes his flashy entrance. He has decided the song Starish will sing from the bunch written by Haruka. Haruka wants him to hold his horses and mentions about the newly composed song that would sound good with Starish and Cecil. However Saotome says Cecil has returned to his kingdom and is living a new life. So forget about him. Even if Cecil is here, Saotome won’t accept it because Starish have been nominated for the Utapuri Award. He won’t allow anything to jeopardize that so any further crazy request from them, he will decline their nomination. They remain stubborn and will believe in Cecil. Saotome is about to announce the unfortunate news of making them spectators for the award when Cecil skydives from a plane! WTF?! With a loud speaker in hand, he tells Saotome to listen to this beautiful harmony otherwise he will regret it. So our gang starts singing this song (which is the ending theme) and this sends everyone listening being wrapped in some harmonious wave! Such ecstasy! Such happiness! Guess what this song is called? Maji Love 2000%! But of course. At the end, everyone is amazed how good the 7 of them sound together. Cecil expresses he wants to continue singing with them and bring more smiles to others. He also admits he was jealous about the bond Haruka had with the other guys but the rest are cool with it. Cecil requests Saotome to make him part of Starish. Since Saotome has heard this happiness and can’t let this chance slip, he makes Cecil part of the brand new Starish. Rejoice! He is about to get down to work for some diplomacy thingy but no need for that because Cecil has brought a scroll as proof from the king himself, permitting him to be part of Starish! How? Reiji sent the music sheet to Agnapolis out of curiosity. Wow. Snail mail so fast? I believe he didn’t send it via internet either. Suddenly an announcement is made. There are 2 idol groups who will be vying for Utapuri Award. Of course Starish is one of them and the other half is the 3-member group, Heavens.

Episode 10
The live broadcast is switched over the Heavens’ concert. When asked about their nomination, Eiichi Otori becomes arrogant. He is not pleased that they are being compared. The rest of the group members include taciturn Kira Sumeragi and cutie brat Nagi Mikado. Just hear the girls screaming in the background… Of course Starish also gets their live broadcast. Right now? I guess that’s why Ringo and Ryuuga tag along with Saotome. Soon Saotome hijacks the interview and introduces Cecil as the new member of Starish. Wow. I think they might have raked in a few new fans seeing how some of them are already swooning over this new guy. I never noticed this but with Cecil completing Starish, it seems their initials are the ones that make up the group’s name. Now it’s Raging Otori’s turn to barge in. He is the big boss of Raging Entertainment, the industry’s greatest agency and Heavens’ creator. He is also Eiichi’s father. You can tell Raging and Saotome are big rivals. Saotome throws down a challenge that their groups will sing the same song written by the same composer. That’s right. Haruka! He throws him all the songs Haruka has written and gives them the freedom to rearrange or do anything with it. Is that why he asked her to write so many songs? Raging agrees to do it so as the expose their differences and also announces that if Heavens lose, they will disband. Because his agency doesn’t need losers. Saotome also agrees that if Starish loses, they will disband. What?! No way! Think of all the fan girls out there having a heart attack now. What happens if you’re fans of both?

Due to this shocking announcement, the media makes big changes in their schedule to do special focus on both the groups. Tomo sees Haruka and Starish to give her support. They talk about Raging and Saotome’s rivalry that goes back a long time ago. Raging was the top idol before Saotome came along. Haruka spaces out due to the dilemma but Starish is confident they will win. Cecil thanks Camus for everything and though the latter feels he doesn’t have anything to do with this, Cecil disagrees since he was the one who taught him the basics of becoming an idol. Had it not been for him, he would never have been one. Also, Cecil didn’t abandon his throne, he is merely postponing it. Starish just finish their recording and as they exit, they come face to face with Heavens. Nagi didn’t mince his words to mock them all. So arrogant this little guy that it’s just annoying. After learning Haruka is their composer, Eiichi riles up the guys by putting his hand on her and wants her to become their composer. Eiichi loves to see those upset faces of Starish and wants to see more of their expression. He is bloody confident both the award and Haruka will be theirs. This motivates Starish to do better to protect Haruka. Meanwhile Tokiya is still having problems with his ‘assignment’. I take it as the song Haruka wrote for him. So he is practising singing it outside in the gardens late in the night so he can make it a song he can be proud of. He sees Haruka ahead but with a gloomy expression.

Episode 11
Saotome wants Tokiya to appear in an advertisement so as to draw in as many fans. Meanwhile Haruka is burning the midnight oil just to pen and arrange her songs. Not hitting anything, isn’t she? The guys know Haruka is trying to shoulder everything herself and wish there is something they can do for her. Haruka has written a bunch of songs and shows them to Ringo. Although she is impressed she feels it lacks some sort of excitement. Seeing Haruka gloomy, Tokiya wants her to come to a certain place where he will sing his song. That place is in the streets where she first met Hayato. And soon Tokiya starts singing on screen. All the girls just went wow over his new song. Because of that, they didn’t realize he is disguised among the crowd as he takes Haruka away to a nearby festival. So they have fun and she feels better. Later Tokiya reveals the need to change something to sing that song. As he has always been curious of Hayato, he was born within him and needed to accept him as part of himself just to sing this song. Haruka is amazed he has been working hard all this time (hasn’t everybody else too?). Though Haruka is determined to write a song that will beat Heavens, Tokiya calms her down. He says he loves the music of her true self. Those words were what Haruka once said to him. He took those words to heart and promised to use his voice to make others happy. Thanks to her, he is now here. Haruka breaks down upon realizing she lost sight of her goal (to write songs for the happiness of others and not to beat somebody in some competition). Great chance for Tokiya to offer his words of comfort-cum-encouragement and to also not shoulder everything by herself. So as not to make Tokiya hog the limelight, we have the other Starish guys start their group singing for Haruka. It’s the only way they know they could do for her. They wanted to let her know how much they care for her. This time Haruka breaks down into tears of joy. She will put all her feelings into her arrangement. And to top off the night, we have a lovely fireworks display. Isn’t this just perfect?

Episode 12
Haruka has written great songs for Starish and now it’s up to the guys to put in the lyrics. Ringo and Tomo have made costumes for them too. As Starish begins their dance practice, it seems Cecil only knows how to spin around. It’s the sacred dance called Agnadance. Apparently princes are taught how to dance when he is old enough and it is to pay tribute to the Muses. It’s the only dance he knows. Just great. They have no trouble sounding good together but they didn’t foresee this problem. Don’t worry. Sho will personally teach him. To think that he is the one most loggerhead with him to be teaching him dancing. We take a side distraction to Starish’s seniors. Camus talks to Ranmaru about Ai’s strange behaviour. Ever since they heard Maji Love 2000%, they have been acting strange especially Ai who is watching Starish practice without orders from Saotome. He never cared about others before. And Reiji, he is already quite carefree and he is even more so while believing in Starish. Though Camus stops short of saying he is affected. Oh, really? He also notices Ranmaru also acting strange. Not wanting to admit? Anyway, he thinks back how the band he was in broke up despite being friends. Haruka and Starish come to peep on Cecil working hard on his dance. Looks like their worries were for nought. Next day, it is the final showdown for Utapuri Award. As Haruka makes her way back from the studio, she bumps into Heavens. As arrogant as ever. They force her to follow them so they can show her their rehearsal and a fantastic dream. They are put a stop by Ranmaru who tells them to settle it via their songs. They are confident the match is already settled. Ranmaru asks her what friends mean to her. People who feel each other’s passion up close. She’s not talking about sex, right? Whoops! Sorry, my bad. The performance gets underway but first without the big bosses of both agencies laughing like mad men. Heavens kicks off the night with a sterling performance. I wonder if they are singing a musical or doing some action adventure fantasy because the effects must be so superb that a blue dragon is blowing flames to everybody! And the girls just go wilder and wilder! In the end, everybody is amazed at their performance. Even Haruka and Starish themselves. Oh no. Looks like they’ve got an uphill battle.

Episode 13
Eiichi is cocky in his after-performance comments. He thinks this competition is a waste of time since the outcome has been decided a long time ago. Counting his chickens, eh? He revs up the crowd and wants to perform their own concert right now. I guess those screaming girls don’t mind. Meanwhile backstage, Raging is thanking Saotome that because of this, it empowered Heavens a lot. On the other hand, Saotome is also grateful that his experiment worked out. He wanted to see if Haruka’s song would disappear when others arrange it but it didn’t. It proves that Haruka is one of those few who possess the Happy Pulse. Those who hear her music will be sent into the kingdom of happiness. Saotome has been experimenting and trying to capture this wave and although he only has a little, it was enough for this experiment. Raging thinks he has gone mad and no longer views him as a threat. While Starish is worried if they can match up to Heavens’ act, here comes Heavens just to further mock them and claim Haruka as theirs. However Haruka asserts she will always be Starish’s composer no matter what. She believes they can sing her songs more wonderfully than anyone else. Wow. So much confidence. If that doesn’t move Starish, I don’t know what. In short, Haruka rejected Eiichi. And so Starish vow to do their best and sing for their fans and deliver their music to them. Starish bursts onto stage with some kung fu and acrobatic moves and just like the opening scene, Maji Love 2000% has the fans screaming along. At the end of the song, everyone is suddenly engulfed in white lights! Those are the happy waves?! Even the enemy can’t contain their happiness! It feels so gay… Everyone spinning to the stars while they are wrapped with white lights that ecchi fans would think it’s some sort of light censor.

So happy that everyone has been brought to the edge of the universe! It’s resonating throughout the universe!!! Will the aliens here it and be brought to their knees too? JUST WOW!!!!!! Such shocking happiness!!! It’s a miracle!!!! Even Starish couldn’t believe how much happiness and warmth their song brings. And with everyone recovering from the happiness, it’s time to judge who is the winner. While the votes are still counting, Raging then hops onto stage and I thought he was going to admit defeat. He didn’t. He’s just here to tell his Heavens about the desire to make others happy with music. The results should be obvious after seeing Starish perform. The final votes are in and Starish wins! Heavens can’t believe they lost. That’s what you get for being arrogant. Raging announces their disbandment. But wait! To show how angelic our Starish guys are, they plead not for Heavens to disband. Because in music there is no winning or losing. Besides, can you hear all the fan girls screaming and crying not for those hot trio to disband? Saotome comes in and he says that the winner also has other ‘prizes’. One of them being any wish will be granted for the victor. This means Heavens need not disband! Hooray! Raging accepts Saotome’s proposal because he doesn’t want to owe him anything and will return the favour to him one day. Of course Heavens doesn’t think this is over and Starish says the same too. It’s just the beginning. Starish also wants to do another performance. This time they sing the song that started it all! Oh yeah! Maji Love 1000%!!! Not only is Cecil is singing with them this time, the entire audience. And this includes Haruka, Tomo, Ringo, Camus and the rest, Heavens and Raging with Saotome. Just everybody! Wow. That song brings everybody together. Oh yeah. People, are you ready? I said, are you ready?! Let’s sing along!

Sing, And The World Sings With You!
And so as expected, Starish becomes the most famous idol band around. They even defeated their main cocky arrogant bastard rivals and at the same time show mercy. Isn’t that great? Yeah well, like they said, it isn’t about winning or losing but in reality, that isn’t really going to happen. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and you need to stay on top if you are going to be relevant in the hearts of the people for a long time. Because you know, even despite the millions of female fans screaming Starish or Heavens’ name, I bet that if there is some other hot idol group that pops out, they would quickly shift allegiance. Well, I won’t totally say that they would be abandoning Starish or Heavens for good but they’ll just be thrown into one dusty corner while they focus all their screaming attention to the new one. Yeah. I think it’s like that. The only thing that I tried predicting for this season’s ending and didn’t come true is that Heavens didn’t join Starish after their defeat. Woah. That’s like 10 hot guys in a group, right? That’s nothing compared to Super Junior… In the event if they do join up, I think fans of both divide will be very pleased. Overjoyed in fact. Now they don’t have to pick which one is superior and they can love them both the same as one. And while at it, I think I have come up with a new name for them: Starry Heaven! Haha!

I felt that the seniors for Starish are somewhat redundant. The only reason I can think of is to add more handsome and good looking bishonen to the list. We don’t really see them act like seniors since they don’t really enjoy working with others. Heck, they don’t even have any decent screen time besides their debut as we mostly see Starish left to their own devices. Maybe they did something together in the background but from the way I see it, Starish and Haruka made it by their own efforts and the seniors have nothing to do with it. So when I thought that these seniors in the fray, maybe they will have a dedicated episode each just like how Starish have theirs with Haruka last season and also for this one. But nope. Just hanging around, watching their juniors, not very pleased. What’s the point? Even if Saotome assigned them to it but since they didn’t do much, it feels like they’re wasting their time, right? With the exception of Reiji, the rest are just snobs and arrogant. They don’t even work with each other so it bugs me how come they are successful idols. Unless they’re just putting up a façade in front of their fans and return to their sullen mood once it’s over. That’s not good right? So with the penultimate episode, just to show us that they are totally not jerks, we see them changed after hearing Starish’s new hit. They started caring and although if it is just a little, it is better than they never did in the beginning. Yeah. Even the seniors eventually learnt something from their juniors. Heck, even Cecil too started changing. From someone who boldly gets physical with Haruka and stating early intentions of never wanting to be an idol, looks like even a prince can grow up and do things for the sake of other people’s happiness. Is this the miracle that is Haruka? No. I think this is Haruka and Starish together. You could say she changes the lives of others that she touches. An angel? It depends how you want to view it all.

The only reason I can think of that the guys in Heavens (Eiichi and Nagi in particular. Kira feels like a robot…) are being made so proud and spiteful is to make us viewers support for Starish. This is after all their anime series. Imagine if these set of trio are nice guys like their counterparts, I’m sure viewers would be torn as to who to support. With their boastful and overconfident outlook, it only makes the victory for Starish at the end sweeter. Their downfall teaches us never to count your chickens before they hatch and also to be humble. After all the confident boasting and what they said, it’s just a big smack in the face that they lost, right?  But something in me tells me another reason why their bad behaviour is a blessing in disguise for Starish. In order to improve oneself, you need to have a villain to push you forward, right? So did Heavens unwittingly play the villain part so that Starish could get all the will and determination to do their best? I am sure they will even if they weren’t but with Heavens being such a$$hole$, there is that motivation to do even better because you know, Haruka is at stake. Of all the characters, the best still goes to Saotome because of his colourful and flashy expressions. There is never dull moment when that guy is around and despite his playful appearance, he has got a deeper and serious intention behind it all. Raging could have been on equal eccentric with Saotome but when you see a guy in shades, fur coat and smoking a big bad cigar, the owner of a cocky idol, well, you’re going to think he is the big bad boss for this anime. Well, even he too was humbled. Nobody stays at the top forever.

As usual the story and flow of this season is somewhat predictable and the challenges didn’t really feel, well, challenging. Like how Starish was first assigned to seniors but as mentioned, they didn’t really play an active role in their development even if they were just told to observe them so it was forgettable. Thus for the first half of this season, we see the usual Haruka and one of the Starish guys having their focus episode (also to showcase the individual songs that Haruka wrote for them). Seriously, I don’t really feel the impact that their relationship has deepened because from the last season they have gotten really close enough and we know their relationship is like that so with such focused episode, the impact isn’t just there. Of course this time Cecil has got his own episode but by that time, I was wondering if they forgot to put in Tokiya’s because of the little issues that cropped up such as Cecil leaving for Agnapolis and the Utapuri Award that pits them against Heavens. Of course eventually they can’t really forget about this guy that Haruka once loved as Hayato but even so, I feel his focus episode wasn’t anything much. In fact, it might be the weakest among the members of Starish. I suppose Tokiya doesn’t really have issues like the rest such as Natsuki’s alter ego or Ren’s family business problem so he doesn’t have that much to tell. Even Sho’s acting or Otoya’s orphanage adventure wasn’t so bad. Tokiya cheering up Haruka at the festival might bring lots of relief to her (isn’t that the case with every other guy in Starish?) but somehow I feel that doesn’t cut it as compared to the rest.

So while Haruka is a true blue composer of Starish and her new rare ability of Happy Pulse is revealed, I thought it was really silly to see how everyone was engulfed in the light of happiness. It felt cartoonish and funny. Really. I think they want to show us the ultimate greatness of Starish and that they have reached the maximum of putting all their love, heart and soul to sing the songs to their fans. What can be the only thing that beats out of this world? Out of this universe, of course! Next I think they’ll try to envision something godly. Yeah. I can’t really imagine that. Maybe people will just die and go to Heaven! Haha! And it’s not Heavens who are sending them there. Imagine a song becoming a murder tool just because you are too happy and died. Hmm… Murder, she wrote? But I suppose that is not too bad since you can die happy. Seriously. It’s better that than a painful and ugly one.

Therefore in terms of this season, I would say that everything is just okay as there is nothing really groundbreaking besides Cecil being added to the team and Haruka’s improvement in her song writing. You just see this season for the hot looking guys and probably if you’re a reverse harem fan. Speaking of which, the romance just like last season doesn’t feel really the romance type. The guys are so close to Haruka that it is unthinkable to see which one ends up with her. That would make fans of the other guys green with envy. That’s why I still feel that the rule of no romance allowed, whether they were in the academy or under the Master Course, it serves as some sort of ‘barrier’ so that our main guys don’t compete for Haruka’s affections. Heck, you would even forget there is such a rule. So I guess for now their first true love is making music for people and making them happy. Yes people. It is music that makes people happy. Not money, material wealth, fame, power or even Haruka x (insert Starish guy’s name here of your choice). If only the real world was this easy. If only such singing can bring such happiness and stop all the wars. Oh Haruka, we need you! If she only really existed in real life…

With last season’s seiyuus maintained for this season, as usual the best one still goes to Norio Wakamoto as Saotome. You got to love the way he speaks with passion. I couldn’t recognize Tomokazu Sugita as Raging because he was putting on a scruffy voice instead of his trademark Gintoki from Gintama or Inu x Boku SS’ Kagerou. Adding to this seasons casts include Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Ranmaru (Yuuji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Shoutaro Morikubo as Reiji (Shikamaru in Naruto), Shouta Aoi as Ai (Matsushita in Kimi To Boku), Tomoaki Maeno as Camus (Junichi in Amagami SS), Hikaru Midorikawa as Eiichi (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Daisuke Ono as Kira (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji – speaking of which, don’t both characters look and sound similar?) and Tsubasa Yonaga as Nagi (Tsutomu in Chihayafuru). This season’s opening theme is also sung by Mamoru Miyano (voice of Tokiya). However I find Kanon somewhat almost similar to the first season’s Orpheus as they both are the dramatic rock piece. As we know, the ending theme is of course by Starish, Maji Love 2000%. Personally, I think Maji Love 1000% sounds much better as I find this one a little gay. Maybe they’re singing too much with their overflowing love so to me it sounds one kind. Full power full throttle we love everything about you 1000%. Ba-bang. Ja-jang. Love you. Yeesh… Almost got my hair standing on end. Despite still being the energetic idol group pop song, I don’t find it as catchy as the previous season’s one.

So what is next for Starish? Taking on the world? Maybe landing Utapuri Award already made them an overnight sensation. They’ll be in the top spot for a long time to come until the next new sensational idol comes in. But that is looking at things too far. For now, let’s just all basked in the glory and all the songs that Starish has to offer us. They are the voice of happiness so won’t you lend your ear and hear some? Oddly, it didn’t make me over crazy about them or go into K-pop. Maybe I didn’t hear enough of them singing because when everyone in the anime was sent to Heaven, I certainly wasn’t. I was here, sitting at my chair, laughing at how ridiculously good their song could send others into. Whoops. Last time I said if we are ready for a new music revolution. Now, are we ready for a new form of happiness revolution? I guess we’ll have to check it out then. Are you ready for it?

Senyuu

February 14, 2014

A demon king once terrorized the world. Check. A legendary hero who vanquished and sealed the hero. Check. But now peaceful times is in danger once more because the demon king is going to be awakened. Check. The hero or his descendants must take up arms to defeat the threat and save the world once more. Check. Sounds like a typical role playing action adventure anime? Well, no. Not if you are watching Senyuu. Sure, you have all that but this anime that lasts around 4 minutes per episode serves more like a joke and comic relief than anything. You can tell that everything goes when the jokes breach the fourth wall. Yes people. We are going a journey of laughs. Not a journey to reseal the demon king and save the world. So arm yourself with lots of laughing space instead of swords and shields because the quest is about to get crazy. Oh wait. It already has.

Episode 1
Alba the hero is fresh from killing a slime. However his royal guard buddy, Ros seems to be mocking him he has slime fetish, etc. When Alba faces off with a Nisepanda monster, Ros beats him up just because he is wide open. Then he levels up. WTF. As narrated, a big hole appeared in the world and this causes all the demons to emerge from the other side. It is suspected that the demon king Rchimedes who was sealed by the hero Creasion 1000 years ago must have revived. The only way to defeat him is to send the hero’s descendants. Yeah. All 75 of them. That’s good, right? The more the merrier. Have they ever heard of taking the DNA test? The only clue to what the demon king looks like is some funny looking hook or reverse question mark on his body. And so all the descendants rush to defeat the demon king because whoever slays him will be given great wealth on the title of True Hero! Are you game? And so this is how Hero #45 Alba begins his (comical) quest with Ros. Yeah, he just stood there watching the Nisepanda owning Alba.

Episode 2
Alba heard there are monsters terrorizing nearby villages in the Black Cave. However it seems to be lively with people. Are they having a festival? Alba bumps into a lot of people and ultimately the one who stepped on his foot was no other than Ros. Did it on purpose, didn’t he? Alba loses motivation and wants to go home but Ros for once gets motivated to remind him about his mission. On the way out, Alba gets accidentally stabbed. Yup. Ros again. Alba throws a tantrum and while doing so, he flings the dagger into a kid, Rchi! Now she’s dead. Ros tries to make him feel guilty before reviving her. When Rchi sees Alba’s hero’s seal, she shows him her demon king mark on her hand. Oh…

Episode 3
Rchi goes off but Alba doesn’t want her. He pulls her cape off and since underneath is nothing but a naked loli, he gets thrown into prison! He is lamenting his end when suddenly an alien enters the scene to beat him up. Ros in disguise? Oh, how can he tell? They leave with this hole and rendezvous with Rchi on the other side. Seems this is her teleportation power of making such holes anywhere. Of course, getting him arrested was so he would have a criminal record! Rchi explains her grandpa Rchimedes did try to take over the world but her father was successful and kept human and demon worlds separate. They even run a balanced and sensible government. As for the demon disasters occurring now, it’s because she tried to make popcorn but accidentally made it in the demon summoning pot. So it’s basically her fault. Ros defends her that she is taking responsibility by going to seal all the demons. Till Alba had to rip her clothes. Does he have to bring that part up? That’s why Ros is going to help Rchi for world peace. But wait. What are all those moneybags behind them? Did they just rob the bank? World peace my foot!

Episode 4
Another hero, Foyfoy and his royal guard, Rudolf are watching Alba and co. Foyfoy wants to murder them and take the money but Rudolf won’t allow him to hurt the young girl. Foyfoy accidentally kills him in the struggle. Then when he goes to kill them, Rudolf revives and blocks the swing from Foyfoy. That is, if he was tall enough to block it because Ros’ head is split in half! Seeing Rudolf is determined to protect the young girl, Foyfoy mentions the Rchi is actually a few hundred years old. True to his loli soul, Rudolf loses motivation and feels like going home. Lolicon!!! Rchi uses her portal to save Alba before he gets sliced. He berates her about her useless power when she blurts she recently only got this demon king and is only 10 years old. See the life in Rudolf’s eyes light back up? Alba and Rchi laugh when they hear Foyfoy’s name. Rudolf beats up Foyfoy and vows to protect Rchi. True lolicon indeed…

Episode 5
Before Alba and Foyfoy could enter a serious match, they see Rudolf and Rchi in a lovely picnic together! Alba forces the old pervert to finish this first so he rants about only being able to love girls younger than 12 and willing to die for the women he loves. And there’s that loli soul tattoo on the back of his neck as proof. Whatever. He gets easily owned by Ros. He just revived, no? Purposely got in the way? He corrects the old geezer’s words that if he truly loves someone, he should live for them, not die. Ros than powers up to unveil his ultimate technique. Foyfoy is about to do the same but before he could finish saying the name, he got owned. You didn’t think Ros is a fair person, didn’t you?

Episode 6
Rudolf will bring Foyfoy back to the king and report him. The rest will head into town but Ros wants Alba to change into a funny dress since he is in prison suit. Of course it’s a prank and he nearly put it on for their amusement. Meanwhile Rudolf tells what is happening and suggests to call off the hunt by the heroes and have them help Rchi (I think it’s because he’s a lolicon rather than saving the world thingy). After mentioning Rchi is with Alba, the king decides that Rudolf has done his many years of service well and kills him!!! May he rest in peace… Alba and co prepare to head into town as we see a poster of Alba as a wanted man for betraying the kingdom by helping the demon king.

Episode 7
Rchi explains that demons with low magic can be easily sent back but those with strong magic can b a problem. Especially those 12 demons. I don’t know. Does one of them look like Doraemon? And guess what? The trio are sitting in prison! Ros is bored so he pokes Alba’s ribs. Yeah. Because those who go through Rchi’s portal without some sort of suit will have their ribs broken. He’s been through that a few times, no? While they continue to tease Alba, Rchi suddenly feels a great magical power nearby. A power that goes up to 530,000! He is Janua Ein… And looks like he has been captured and being put in a cell too…

Episode 8
Janua is put in the next cell but to them but easily breaks the wall to join them. He got arrested because while he was eating at the burger shop, he reached out for the ketchup but accidentally starts tripping so all the furniture starts falling in domino fashion. Really. Rchi warns of his powerful ninjutsu but it seems he is just ‘cloning’ his arm while spinning it fast. Dislocated his shoulder, didn’t he? Then everyone gets into this ninjutsu thingy because everything is a ninjutsu. Shoulder dislocation, sucking up, grab where it hurts, etc. Well, they don’t really look like ninjutsu, don’t they? Janua has a request but they ignore him and throw him into the portal. But he forces his way back out with brute force ninjutsu. Say what?

Episode 9
Alba has retorted so much that he has lost his voice. Not some kind of ninjutsu, mind you. Janua takes Rchi hostage to get them to listen to his demand. Rchi is scared of heights, no? Just lift her up a little… Anyway Janua can return to his world any time. Just that he made a friend. He wants them to take care of his cat, Mii-chan. Real name: Michelajul Lortelia. He talks. And is a big time masochist! He prefers being kicked in the shin rather than the pat on the head. Meanwhile the king is left to rue his decision to kill Rudolf because he listened to Dezember Zwolf. He assures him everything is proceeding as planned.

Episode 10
Rchi is abusing Mii-chan as he wants. It’s time for Janua and the cat to say goodbye for real. Suddenly Janua is pierced through the chest because this loli Februar Zwei can’t have him leave as he is part of the 12 demons. Don’t worry, she hasn’t killed him. However Zwei seems to be an old woman because her hip joints are aching and her fake dentures are falling out! Then Ros steps on her tentacle and kicks her through the walls just to see how far is stretches. Very far. Ros wants Alba to escape as there are no guards around because Zwei has taken care of them. Why escape? So he could see his front page picture of how this convict escaped! He is really looking forward to it, huh? Meanwhile another hero, Ares and her very armoured royal guard, Hime have seen the wanted poster and are patrolling the area when they see Zwei. Another surprise is Rudolf is still alive and he is upset fate is telling him to fight a loli.

Episode 11
But Ares tells him she is actually a 200 year old witch and predictably, Rudolf regains his composure. For world peace! Alba is shocked that the rest are playing dodgeball. Because it’s fun. Janua is alive thanks to some memento from his friend he put in his pocket. I’m very sure Zwei’s tentacles pierced right through him. Meanwhile Ares thinks tentacles are sexy and in turn teases Hime about being a shy student and the possibility of seeing her in a cute dress, etc. Suddenly Zwei lunges her tentacles right into Hime’s head. Guess what? Ares starts laughing like mad! The one in shock is Zwei. Ares in quips that Hime is the character armed to her teeth and the first one to get killed! Ironic, isn’t it? Of course she is not dead. Don’t even ask how she’s alive even if the tentacles are right through her head. As revealed, it’s a decoy so that Rudolf could capture her.

Episode 12
Rudolf meets up with Rchi and is glad to see her. However he beats himself up for having dirty thoughts of her. Foyfoy is here too as he explains the king is behind all this. They were almost killed by him and ran away. As for why he is beaten up, it’s because of Hime. Ares tease her she is a tsundere who likes Foyfoy. Hime beats her up to a pulp while denying all that. Now that her face is covered with blood, Hime accuses Ares as the one who likes Foyfoy. Yeah. Tsundere. More tsun than anything. Dangerous. However Zwei has a trick up her sleeve. Because she stuck a tentacle in Janua, it brainwashes him into his minion. Yeah. The tentacle on her shoulder is talking too. Rudolf gets owned with Janua’s knee kick to his face. And Foyfoy is using excuses of his body hurting to stay out of this fight. Some hero…

Episode 13
Ares, Hime, Rudolf, Mii-chan, Rchi and Ros get serious to fight against Zwei. However she initiates a teleport magic and Rchi, Mii-chan and Ros are gone along with her. Rudolf falls into his despair that his loli vanished. Foyfoy explains that they are probably back at the castle. The king wants to become like the legendary hero Creasion who sealed Rchimedes in a dimensional rift. Now he wants to be the legendary king too and is working with demons to bring back Rchimedes so he can seal him for himself. If you think about it, if Rchi used a pot to make popcorn, what is a pot that hasn’t been used for 1000 years doing in a place that someone like Rchi could make a mistake? Did somebody use it and not put it away? In short, the heroes have been used. Alba won’t believe this story without proof as Foyfoy points out that Hime is the king’s daughter. And out comes this blonde from her armour. It’s like she’s piloting a robot, no? Ah, that’s how she survived… Meanwhile Mii-chan and the rest are fine. Except Janua who may have dislocated his shoulder and Zwei hurt her hips.

OVA
We see how Alba got beaten up by Nisepanda while Ros just stood there watching… Then he goes in to easily kill Nisepanda. Why the long wait? Because heroes must not rely on others and must be reliable! There is no point if he is the one defeating everything. So does this mean all the wicked stuffs Ros did to him were part of this philosophy? Nope. Those are his hobbies… Also, it is narrated why Nisepanda has such long necks. They were once short but a fire destroyed the plants they feed on and were forced to grow long necks as part of evolution to spot fires. Yeah, they eat bento from the convenience store nowadays… They also have long ears to sense danger. But now those things grew shorter because they didn’t need them and it was a pain to draw them long…

Episode 14
We start off with some retorting action by Alba and the narrator to kick start the second season… That’s what this series is all about, right? Meanwhile Rchi and co are experiencing some strange body parts because Janua’s teleportation magic disregards the law of physics, blah, blah, blah. Mii-chan tells them off Janua is sulking because they called it magic as he wanted it to be ninja. That’s why it was ninjutsu and stuff, no? Ares seems to have turned Hime’s armour into some flower pot. Some high speed transformation for her? Hime blows her top about not reading the manual and that she left her cream bread behind in which Ares denies (bad liar she is). Foyfoy doesn’t want them to fight but Hime flusters and whacks him with the robot arm. Ouch. Meanwhile Rudolf is searching for Loura. Loli + aura = Loura.  Back to Rchi and co, it seems they are not at the castle but caught in some dimensional rift. Everything around them is empty. This is where Rchimedes was sealed. Rchi can tell because that’s her grandpa sleeping there.

Episode 15
Mii-chan purposely criticizes Rchimedes’ fashion sense so Rchi can beat him up. Zwei is going to get him but is zapped by a barrier. As explained by Dezember to Juli, an eternal sleep spell was cast on him and thus nobody can get close. There are other ways to revive him, the reason why he assembles the 12 demons. Juli thought it’s pretty redundant since the king is going to seal him back afterwards. Of course Dezember says what he told the king was just a lie. Mii-chan purposely gets zapped by the barrier… Ros notes they must leave quickly because time flows differently here. Hours in here can translate to days in the real world. Suddenly Samejima pops in and punches the hell out of Janua! Who is he? The guy who gave him that memento.

Episode 16
Alba and co head to Mechanical City of Turtle. Hime fears the guard will recognize her and needs some decoy. Ares stabs Foyfoy and throws the knife at Alba! Holy cow! Murderer! The hero framed! There’s your decoy. Zwei thinks Samejima is a descendant of the demon king but he denies and is here because his friend is in trouble. But to punch him? Yeah. To wear out the brainwash effect. A real man’s fist can do that. Alba has run far enough and waits for the return of his pals. He is approached by a bounty hunter, Elf November who disguises himself (poorly) as Foyfoy. Elf is going in for the kill but realizes the suit has no eye holes for him to see. He gives up. WTF?!

Episode 17
Elf makes peace with him till next time when he’ll kill him for real. So when they shake hands, this is a trap by Elf to glue their hands together as there is a bomb in his suit. But doesn’t mean this will take him out too? Alba manages to escape because of the loose glove and Elf feels the explosion himself. Still not wanting to give up, he tries to make peace with him again though Alba is more cautious this time. He is going to help him enter the city. How? They dress up as a Centaur but the guards instantly kill them. Ares has fixed Hime’s armour. Looks shinier and more metallic but feels the same. However when she pushes a button, it transforms to some cool bike. I wonder how many bones she broke just to contort to that bike shape. Samejima warns Zwei he is only interested in Janua and tells her to scram. At first she agrees but is only a trap to have him off guard as she lunges her tentacles at him. Missed?! Janua explains some mumbo-jumbo that he is bigger than what we see. Now it’s payback time because Zwei gets zapped by his manly energy beam.

Episode 18
Janua’s magic brings them back to their world. He realizes his shoulder doesn’t hurt any more. Then he remembers that Samejima has the ability to take on other people’s injuries upon himself. Meanwhile the king summons Dezember and he is furious if he is doing his job as he went through lots of trouble putting bounty on the heroes. Don’t worry. He already sent one of his men to go kill them. And that man is Juli as he attacks Janua’s team. Elsewhere, Alba is thrown in prison with Elf. Yeah. They got into the city, right? After a few teasing form Elf, he is willing to let Alba free. Using his ability of imitating Alba’s face, he will stay here to pretend him while the real hero gets out of here.

Episode 19
Hime wakes up from a beautiful dream of running through the flower field with Mr Death. WTF?! Actually she was almost buried alive by Ares! Trying to cover up evidence that she almost mistakenly killed her?! When Alba meets up with them, they don’t remember who he is. Meanwhile Janua and co are okay. Did Juli miss? No. Samejima absorbs the attacks. Now he is a bloody pulp. I guess the most upset one is Mii-chan not because a friend sacrificed for them but I think it’s because he didn’t get to feel the pain. Janua is also upset and is about to get serious with Juli. But the latter explains when Rchimedes was sealed by Creasion, he changed himself into a sword stabbed into his chest. Because if Rchimedes is awakened, Creasion too will revive. However Janua remembers not seeing any sword in Rchimedes’ chest. Juli continues that Dezember summoned the 12 demons to revive Rchimedes. Each has their own role to play. Janua to provide a portal to the dimensional rift and Zwei to brainwash anyone who opposes him. So what is Juli’s role? To kill anybody who gets in this way. Wait a minute. Is this show turning into something serious?!

Episode 20
From Janua’s last attack, Juli can tell he has never killed anyone before. Juli lunges at him. Meanwhile Rudolf is upset that he can’t stay in town because the lolis are having some field day. Curse you Dezember! They rendezvous with Ares and co. More like Ares riding on Hime the bike and crashing into them. Then she hooks Foyfoy and makes him run all the way! How fast can his legs go? It’s a good thing Hime’s thick helmet can’t make her see anything or else… And why is Alba sitting inside the cannon? Not enough seats? Back to Juli, he is puzzled that he was certain he killed Janua but that dude is alive thanks to Ros coming to the rescue. What magic did he use? Dezember is on scene watching them and he couldn’t believe Ros is here.

Episode 21
Elf is cursing himself how his disguise got found out. Maybe it’s because he is having half faces of them? He is complaining and whining so much so the guard who didn’t care much just feel like stabbing him. Meanwhile, Foyfoy has been dragged for so long that he doesn’t feel the pain anymore. Yeah. His soul is already out of his body. Ares needs to speed up and press the booster switch. Oops! Wrong button because Alba is fired away! Dezember drops in and wonders if Ros has changed his name. He looks like he is panicking while saying all that. Flashback reveals when Rchi told Ros she saw him in her grandpa’s album, he replied he doesn’t know because before he knew it, he is already back in this world. He went to the castle to find out more information but only saw lots of excited people claiming to be descendants and wanting to kill the demon king. He joined one of them on a journey for the time being. Dezember thinks that if Ros has revived and so should the demon king but why hasn’t he? Is it because his heroic powers are still asleep? Because Ros is the legendary hero Creasion! Surprise?

Episode 22
Dezember deduces that his magic powers aren’t small because he manages to save Janua from Juli’s attack. This means he is trying to conserve it because if he uses them all, the seal on Rchimedes will break. But they can reseal him again, right? Unfortunately when magical powers grow too great, it will affect the world and just the power of the hero could rip through Earth itself. So can they defeat them without putting Earth at risk? Dezember is not worried because he orders Juli to kill Ros. Either he uses up his power to protect his own life and die or die while fighting Juli since his power isn’t strong enough. Juli is about to kill him when Alba comes crashing head on. Saved by the hero? Yeah. They don’t even remember him. Juli gets up to kill Alba but thanks to Samejima who was revived by Ros earlier on, steps in to protect the hero. Of course with Alba and Ros reunited after so long, it didn’t take long for the latter to conduct his usual tease. Dezember is pissed because everyone ruined his fun. He is about to get into killing mode when he is run over by Hime.

Episode 23
Dezember is pissed. But Ros tells him to cool it because he’ll get a chance to see the power of a new generation’s hero. When Alba wonders who this dude is, Ros explains this big bad guy was the one responsible for him being given a bounty, arrested and have a criminal record. However stripping off a loli’s clothes was Alba’s fault entirely. Oh yeah. Remember that one? The most pissed one this time is Rudolf. Fire wings of rage! Dezember gets mad that everyone is fooling around and ignoring him. He summons his shadow weapons but was trapped by Zwei’s tentacle. They knew how he attacks so they split into 2 and waited for a chance to sneak into his shadow. Because they were bragging so long, Dezember cuts them in half! The brainwasher got brainwashed themselves… Then he makes Alba his next victim and cuts him in half too!

Episode 24
Alba is dead???!!! Dezember thinks this is too easy and orders Juli to kill the rest. He then mocks Ros for being in shock for real. Yeah. Who else is he going to be his butt of jokes? Ros could have died by Juli’s death move if Foyfoy hadn’t swiftly moved in. Foyfoy is about to use his ultimate technique but remembers Ros destroyed it way back… Now he’s going to be dead meat too… Suddenly the seal on Ros’ arm breaks. Juli is cut in half and Alba suddenly in one piece again and back alive! Dezember revels that he has figured out his magic: Time control. Everyone realizes Ros is Creasion and because he used his power, Rchimedes has revived. Ares tries to suck up to Ros that she knew it from the start. However Ros says he never had children… Haha… So all the descendants are never heroes to begin with! Since it has come down to this, Ros will defeat Dezember and seal the demon king. Dezember is still cocky but before he powers up, he suddenly finds himself slammed into the rock! OMG! Was Ros this powerful?! Just a swing of his palm and there goes Dezember flying! And that villain starts ranting how he is not strong enough and this will interfere with his plans, blah, blah, blah. I guess when you lose, you have lots of things to say.

Episode 25
But something baffles Dezember. If his power is to control time, why hasn’t the world been affected yet? Simple. Whoever said his power was to control time? His real power is… Anything he wants!!! Oh sh*t! He’s like God, no? He can cast any kind of attack, any spell to undo anything or even give Dezember a bad afro. Dezember is not pleased that his magic and everything had no effect on him. But why didn’t he want to use his power? He thinks it’s because the demon king is more powerful than him and thus fear him. However Ros summons Rchimedes here and beats him up! The demon king is a cry-baby?! Dezember is devastated that nothing works on Ros. Before he powers up and goes all out, Ros zaps him into smithereens. Rchimedes becomes a pathetic scaredy cat after witnessing Ros’ power. He uses his useless power of seeing into his short future. Yeah. He saw it coming. Getting punched in the face by him. He is going back to the dimensional rift to seal him. Alba still reeling from the shock of the events, mentions that they need to seal the 12 demons. However Ros tells him he can do that on his own. But Alba can’t since he is not his descendant and doesn’t have a hero’s blood. What’s the problem? Go be your own hero. He believes he can do it. And just like that, Ros gives his simple goodbye and vanishes before Alba’s eyes.

Episode 26
Everybody wonders their future now. Because the demon king is sealed and Dezember lost. Will there be peace? Because the heroes won’t be getting paid as the king wanted glory. Alba says he will revive the demon king. Am I hearing this right? Yeah. So happen the king agree with his statement and tries to push it but was eventually punched in the face for being an annoying jackass. Alba doesn’t care about whether it is the demon king or hero, title or money. He wants to go back to retrieve his friend. He thinks the world isn’t at peace since Ros isn’t laughing. Meanwhile Ros is about to seal Rchimedes together when suddenly Janua enters the scene. Actually he is Elf in disguise and wants to see his true power. Ros blasts off his arm. Ares replays Alba’s words and laughs. Yeah. She is sure Ros is laughing now. At him. Nobody seems to be taking Alba seriously that he is going off to save Ros. How long will that take? 30 years. Because that’s the time he has to spend in prison for punching to king. See you for the sequel in 30 years!

And The World Is Saved…
So…? That’s it? I should have known something like this would happen and being a comedy anime with no particular purpose and the plot just flying everywhere, I can forgive them for making such an ending but really, I just thought it really sucked to see Alba and Ros actually parted ways. Maybe that was intentional. Besides, the end battle with Elf seems like something grand. Unless everything was just exaggerated like how every other thing in this anime was. Somehow I just feel that it was left hanging and thus I wasn’t really satisfied about it. Hey. At least they didn’t introduce a new character in the last minute as a cliff-hanger. Phew. Saving the world and sealing the demon king seems like a secondary plot and one that is forgettable because we were overwhelmed by the antics of these jokers. But overall there are lots of laughs coming from each episode (especially Alba being the butt of jokes) so it is enough to cover for the ‘disappointing’ last episode. Unless there is going to be another season that will come in less than 30 years.

What can I say about the characters? Alba as the main hero isn’t really a hero because he always gets picked on by his partner Ros. It is like his destiny to be picked on. It is like his destiny to retort. Yeah, retorting seems to be Alba’s main job rather than being a hero. Ros is the coolest character (and the main hero) because of his sadistic nature that is the cause of Alba’s pain and misery in everything. Yes. Blame it all on Ros! It is like his destiny to piss off Alba. The mismatched couple are so odd that they fit with each other well. That’s why I think when Ros said his goodbye, despite all the torment and mockery Alba has been through, it is that twisted bond of friendship that he wants to go retrieve his pal back. In a way, I think Alba might have become a masochist and a slave to his bullying. Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it either. If you notice that Alba spends most of his time in prison especially the second quarter of the series which has the gang in one cell. Heck, Rchi hasn’t changed her clothes since and Janua is only seen in prison clothes ever since his debut. It’s like his main uniform. And now it ends with Alba back to where he once belongs. Got nothing. Lost everything. That sums up what Alba is right now. Won’t his emoticon mummy come to his rescue? Also, I feel Ros is the most powerful character because of his power to do anything he wants! Yes. Anything. That’s like the ultimate and God himself. And he is wise not to show off and keep it a secret till the big revelation thingy. You better think thrice if you want to mess around with him. But it’s okay for him to mess around with you. Thank God I’m not Alba…

The other characters are memorable due to their quirky personality. But that is so much about them because for example Rudolf will always be a lolicon grandpa. Rchi will always be the moe cute demon king’s granddaughter. Ares will always be the sadistic hero who loves to torment Hime whenever she has the chance. Hime in turn is always the tsundere and beats up Foyfoy for just about anything. Mii-chan is always the masochistic cat. Samejima the manly man. And the rest like Foyfoy and Janua, they seem so generic that I don’t know what to describe them. Some like Rchimedes himself isn’t what we think of because when we think of the demon king, he is some ferocious and evil dude but he turns out to be a pathetic wimp that could be Ros’ replacement for Alba in the other dimension. Of course there are some mysterious characters like Elf whom I believe was mentioned to be part of the 4 greatest demons along with Dezember. What he exactly wants is also a mystery. I thought I would see the last of him when he helped Alba escaped from prison but then he had to add to the mystery with his final bout with Ros. I’m curious about the 12 demons and I don’t think if you count them all, you’ll even reach half of it. So where are they? Maybe just to tease us.

Besides our hero being thrown into jail, what will the others be doing? I’m guessing Ros will continue to ‘sleep’ with Rchimedes (and open up a possible yaoi moment), Rchi will continue to wander around (perhaps looking for popcorn), Rudolf would continue to stalk lolis (it’s amazing this guy didn’t get arrested for being a paedophile), Mii-chan will hopefully want to get beaten up, Foyfoy will continue to get beaten up (by a certain tsundere princess), Ares will continue being a pain in the ass to Hime and possibly take over Ros’ role of being the instigator and piss off Hime just for fun. The king will continue to rule his throne for many more years with a big swell in his face. Hopefully Zwei’s hips didn’t break for good as with Janua’s shoulder. Dezember and Juli… They’re dead, right? And all those other so called descendants of Creasion didn’t really matter anymore because as revealed, they aren’t blood related to that legendary hero so it makes things easier. How they were traced to be the hero’s descendant is anyone’s guess. Or maybe they just got plucked out from the crowd or the minister lazily doing his job eenie-mini-mai-ni-mo a field of people.

The jokes are spontaneous and funny. It has to because this series is already so short, dragging the joke longer than it should would mean the episode would have already ended. Maybe that can be a joke itself. As said, many of the jokes come from Alba being mocked by Ros and his retorts to them. Since this is a funny show, nobody would conclude that Ros is a big bully. Because he himself too is a cool character and without that, people might have just looked at him as a big bully sidekick. Slapstick comedy is also abundant in this series with lots of bone breaking and some blood spilling violence. All in the name of comedy. Don’t worry. They aren’t that gory after all. Even if things turn serious, it would be just for a second before going back to its usual silliness. Like as though they’re just teasing us that this show might actually become serious enough. Try not to fall for it. I almost did… Then there is breaking the fourth wall with the narrator telling us audience to buy the DVDs or even not to give away spoilers (for those who already read the manga).

Although the art and drawing of the characters are simple and cute (unimportant ones sometimes turn into stick people – like the other descendants of the hero), somehow I can’t help feel that the characters resemble pretty much like other characters from other animes. Maybe that’s what happens when you’ve watched too much. Like Alba, I thought he was a cross between Sword Art Online’s Kirito and Asuna. It’s like he is a product of them if they really had a son instead of a virtual daughter. Ros feels like a sadistic version of Fairy Tail’s Gray (coincidentally, they’re both voiced by the same person) and his big sword reminds me of Bleach’s Ichigo’s Zanpakutou. Ares looks like a Miyuki Sawashiro-voiced character such as Kanbaru from Bakemonogatri. Hime a spunky fashion tween but when she is in her armour, it brings back memories of Fullmetal Alchemist’s Al. Zwei looks like a kid who popped up from the Lucky Star series. Rudolf an armoured seven dwarf from Snow White (really!). Rchi like Lamia from Beelzebub, Foyfoy like Sting from Fairy Tail or any badass blonde boy, Janua like Luppi from Bleach and Dezember like Kuroro Lucifer in Hunter x Hunter. Does Mii-chan remind you of Puss In Boots? Wow. They all really seem close. Those were the characters that were brought to my mind when I first saw them. Perhaps the only ‘original’ character that doesn’t have me thinking it looked like some anime character is Nisepanda. Big yellow creature with long necks and eternal smile on its face… Oh… Wait… I’m starting to see shades of Pokemon…

Hiro Shimono as the voice of Alba brings back memories of characters who often blow their top like an idiot such as Akihisa from Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu. Yuuichi Nakamura does Ros and something different than the ‘angry characters’ roles I used to hear him like Minamoto in Zettai Karen Children and Gray from Fairy Tail. Tomokazu Sugita as Samejima sounded as though he could turn into Gintama’s Gintoki. Other casts include Ai Kayano as Rchi (Inori in Guilty Crown), Jouji Nakata as Rudolf/Narrator (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Emiri Katou as Hime (Kagami in Lucky Star), Yumi Uchiyama as Ares (Yajima in Genshiken Nidaime), Kenichi Suzumura as Foyfoy (Sougou in Gintama), Takahiro Sakurai as Janua (Suzaku in Code Geass), Youji Ueda as Mii-chan (Usui in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Yuka Terasaki as Zwei (Bevel in Suisei No Gargantia), Takayuki Kondou as Dezember (Oishi in Prince Of Tennis), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Juli (Shinpachi in Gintama) and Seirou Ogino as Rchimedes (Himekawa in Beelzebub). The first season’s ending theme is Believe -Eien no Link- by JAM Project and although I am not used to hear them sing slow rock pieces, at least this one sounded much better than the second season’s ending theme, Questers by Alba’s seiyuu because this one sounds quite comical. I know it befits the silly nature of the theme but purely in terms of the song, I didn’t quite like it. There were supposed to be opening themes for the series as so I read. However the version that I saw did not have them.

I don’t know if Alba could be termed as an anti-hero because his character as a hero isn’t the general definition of it (the classic and traditional traits of what we define a hero). I know, he looks more like a clown and bully victim. Plus, he doesn’t look fitting under the anti-hero too. I know anti-heroes generally have this badass and brooding appearance. For example, Sagara from Full Metal Panic, the quartet in the Saiyuki series, even Homura from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and yeah, everyone in Bleach. Because Alba has a criminal record and have been in prison many times! How often does a main protagonist and hero get that? Well, handling a bunch of jokers that are on your side seems to be much harder than facing off a powerful demon king and sealing him back to his slumber. You know what they say about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. Today’s foe can be tomorrow’s friend, vice versa. I’m sure Alba will have lots of time to think about this in prison…

Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi

February 9, 2014

Have you ever thought that the day would come when God would abandon men? No, I’m not talking about those men from different sides fighting each other to the death in some meaningless war and the one on the losing side screams to the Heavens that God has abandoned him. There would be no Judgment Day or Apocalypse to come too. It is just the plain Almighty leaving us for good and we are free to be left to our own devices. We cannot die and we cannot produce children for the next generation either. It is quite a pretty interesting concept in Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi (Sunday Without God) and in this fantasy world setting, God has seemingly done that. At first it might seem cool because as the saying goes, when the cat is away, the mouse is out to play. But when the cat never comes back, you start feeling something is wrong. Really wrong. Sure, it’s cool that you can’t die and head over to the afterlife in this ‘new world’. Bet you never knew the pain of living forever, don’t you? Don’t worry, before God left, he granted us a little ‘respite’. Gravekeepers as they are called are the only beings that allow us to seek death if you get ceremoniously buried by them. And you thought dying was easy, huh? A little girl named Ai is one of those but she will soon realize that the world isn’t just confined to her little village in the mountains and she will go on a journey that will discover the truth about this world and ultimately herself.

Valley Of Death Arc

Episode 1
As narrated, God created the world on Monday, etc. But come Sunday, God abandoned it after He realized the other side is full. Thus, nobody is able to die despite all the injuries or things that could kill. That makes us like zombies, right? But God granted us a respite. The restless souls can seek peace if being buried by a Gravekeeper. Ai is a 12 year old Gravekeeper and has taken over this duty ever since her mom, Alfa died. Nobody in her village died ever since. She takes pride in her job although she is tempted to be spoiled by the villagers’ treats. Can’t resist a candy, can’t you? Her foster parents, Youki and Anna took her in after Alfa’s death and it is mentioned Ai’s real dad, Hampnie Hambart is out there in this world. Ai is told she would one day reunite with him. One day after digging enough graves for the villagers, she returns to town only to find it empty. Then she bumps into this handsome guy who asks her if she knows of a woman dead or alive called Hana or with certain traits and such. Ai doesn’t know. I guess Ai is taken in by his handsome face so she asks about him. He pulls a fast one that he is Hampnie Hambart. She really believes him! Coincidence that he shares the name as her real father? Oh wait. Couldn’t he be her father?! I guess this guy’s teasing backfired. How can that even be a real name? How can she even mistake this guy as her dad when she had always envisioned him as someone tough? Think Rambo. But Hampnie (let’s refer this handsome guy as such) has a request of her. A job that Gravekeepers can only do.

Ai is devastated to see everyone in town dead! Only her uncle Yuuto is alive but even so, half his head is gone! Yeah, he can’t remember the threat in this village and his zombie-like acting is scaring Ai. Hampnie warns Yuuto he has 3 seconds to do whatever he wants before he blows his brains out. Yuuto jumps to protect Ai. He is shot in the head. Hampnie says he made sure everyone else is dead by taking out their brains but somehow got careless on Yuuto. Ai becomes upset and accuses him of killing everyone. On the contrary, he says he only immobilized them and only a Gravekeeper can kill. Angry Ai attacks him but is kicked unconscious. It’s just heartbreaking to see a loli fighting with a handsome guy… When she wakes up, she is of course still mad and says he isn’t her father. Isn’t that what he had been telling her? After Ai buries them all, Hampnie tells Ai that she isn’t a Gravekeeper. Because Gravekeepers do not have parents. They just pop up like flies. Hampnie wonders what the villagers are up to when they made Ai believe she is a Gravekeeper. Because she is clearly human. And she’s got parents. Did she ever consider they were lying all the while? What proof did they have to convince her she was a Gravekeeper? When Alfa told her about her dad, the name Hampnie Hambart comes from a fairytale of toy that moves for eternity without a spring. Just like her, he simply borrowed that name. Still don’t believe? Hampnie continues that Gravekeepers will never have hatred feelings, will never strike a human and if you want to see what a real Gravekeeper looks like, there’s one right now popping up.

Episode 2
This Gravekeeper looks quite pretty and calls herself Scar. She had many other names but never had a first name. He inquires about the woman he is seeking for. Although Hana had 8 possible matches, there are none that matches those traits. He wants her to bury the villagers but Scar mentions they have already been ceremoniously been buried. Does this mean Ai is really a Gravekeeper?! Seems like it. After Scar leaves, Hampnie asks Ai her future plans. Because she wants to continue as a Gravekeeper, he punches her and points his gun. He warns her the cruelty this world has and wants her to forget she is a Gravekeeper. She will not survive long with such mentality. She doesn’t want to die but that isn’t a good reason for him not to kill her. It should have been she wanted to live. Suddenly Hampnie is shot in the chest. A man with a rifle quickly takes Ai away. Hampnie recognizes him as Yuri Sakuma Dmitrievich the hunter and his friend. Yuri recognizes Hampnie as the Eternal One (which means he can’t die) and his enemy. Yuri holds him responsible for killing his wife 6 years ago. Hampnie explains his family is dead and were living in the deep mountains. He hates the dead and can’t stand the way they’re carrying on living even if they are happy with their ways. He knows Yuri is here so that he can be killed by him and revenge is just an excuse. Hampnie knows he has a daughter. He has been living peacefully with her for 6 years and all of a sudden out of the blue, he is seeking revenge? She must have died, right? In short, having lost his reason to live, he came to die by his hands and with a reason that he died while trying to avenge his wife. Yuri then takes Ai hostage! Yuri will grant him his wish but it will be a meaningless death. If he still wishes to fight him, then face him at the town square tomorrow at dawn.

That night, Ai sees Hampnie leaving town. Clearly he is bailing on the duel as he doesn’t want to kill Yuri. This is just a head start since it won’t be long Yuri will be tailing them. Ai follows him since she wants to be a Gravekeeper and help those who need her. During their journey, Ai trips but is embarrassed Hampnie is willing to give her a piggy-back ride. Who is going to watch? When she does, he jumps off the bridge! Piggy-back ride of her life! As they rest, Ai is suspicious of him. First he wanted to kill her but saved her. If he wanted to get away from Yuri, he would have left her behind. When Hampnie learns her age, he realizes why she is a Gravekeeper. When God abandoned the world 15 years ago, those left behind couldn’t reproduce too. Thus there can’t be humans around Ai’s age. This means Ai must be conceived between a human and a Gravekeeper. Hampnie talks about how he and Yuri were once friends and went to the same school and then the words God said on the night when He abandoned the world. Thing is, those words were only said after He well abandoned it. No one actually noticed that day came. Hampnie has a theory. He probably lost interest in our world despite having all the laws, order without contradiction, it must have lacked something interesting. So in the end He decided to grant our wish and that is not to die. He isn’t sure how humans stopped reproducing, though. Of course when you become an immortal, you would have that desire to ultimately die. And so He granted Gravekeepers. He might not be doing a good job but at least He is trying to grant people’s wish. Hampnie adds about himself as an albino and weak from the sun. Around 17 years old, his body started to stabilize and made a wish how this day would last forever. That would probably be the reason he can’t die. After that, the epidemic of Half Dead Fever swept the world and the living had to put up with the undead. Although those who just died won’t have their personality changed, over time they will mentally and physically change and their survival instincts take over. Once that happens, it goes downhill. That’s why he had to kill Yuri’s wife. But why Ai’s villagers? Even if he doesn’t answer her, she’ll find that answer on her own one day. That includes the secret that was sealed within that village.

Episode 3
Alfa once told Ai she wanted to make this village look like Heaven so that this place would serve as a beacon of hope. Ai wanted to help but was told to look for her own calling. Ai continues her journey with Hampnie as he searches for Hana, the woman he loved and spent a short time with before she mysteriously disappeared at the height of the chaos 10 years ago. He is also searching for something else: A way to die. Because he likes people, he doesn’t want to be the last person left on this planet. You can see him shaking in fear just at the thought of that. Ai understands that’s the reason why he wants to become a monster. Suddenly a projectile is shot in the sky. Hampnie thinks he has screwed up and pushes Ai off the bridge and down into the river. When she wakes up, Yuri is by her side and the first thing she wants is to teach that jerk a lesson. Yuri tells her Hampnie saved her because after she was thrown off, the place became a warzone. He talks about Hampnie, despite being heartless he doesn’t like meaningless violence. Back in those days he was much tolerable. Yuri shows the picture of his love and it turns out to be Alfa. So Hana is Alfa? Ai is convinced he is her father. Currently he is being captured by a group of people whose only way to defeat him is to capture him alive. Because if he dies, he’ll come back alive as good as new (Hampnie used a grenade then). Ai wants to save him before his mind warps and turns into a monster, which of course she knows he isn’t. Yuri will also help since despite everything he has done, Hampnie called him his friend. They also meet Scar. Meanwhile Hampnie is being held captive by a group of freaks led by Hiko who proclaims to be his number one fan. He wants to be like him. But the immortal part was tough. That’s why his group even gave up their lives just to catch him.

Hiko goes crazy when Hampnie mentions that he doesn’t want to just die. He wants to die content. Someone by his side when he passes away, those left behind will grieve of him and there is a sense of regret lingering. Hiko doesn’t like his normal death route but Hampnie’s wish now is to live a happy life and die happy. Hiko is not happy over this betrayal and is going to kill him when Scar breaks down the door. She has come to bury them. Ai explains her mother’s traits to him (couldn’t she recall them when he said them the first time?). That’s why they are not strangers. Hampnie realizes Hana is Ai’s mom and his daughter really is a halfie. Born between a human father and a Gravekeeper mother. Ai understands the secret of her village. They were dead for a long time but never wanted to give up on their Heaven. They acted like they were alive and she was too naive to see the truth then. Hiko breaks up this touching moment and is going to kill Ai, thinking torturing her will make Hampnie happy. Yuri’s bullet strikes away his gun. It descends into a big brawl. Ai and her comrades against Hiko’s freaks. Hampnie has time to reflect how Hana did everything without telling him. Left him without telling him. Bore a kid without telling him. Died without telling him. After they free him, Hampnie tells Ai something he never told anyone. His real name is Kizuna Astin and that makes her Ai Astin. He can’t contain his conscious and dies. But he wakes up again as a deceased and for that one day, father and daughter spend the day together like there was no tomorrow. It was as though he wanted her to have some memories to look back on. Ai wanted this moment to last forever but somehow couldn’t ask for it. After that, Ai breaks down uncontrollable after burying him. Yuri asks Ai about her plans. She wants to continue being a Gravekeeper. Even if God has abandoned this world, she will save it.

Ortus Arc

Episode 4
Ai now gets to travel the world! Courtesy to Yuri’s van. She’s really awed at how big the world is. Really. But Scar points out what they’re supposed to do with the boy sleeping at the back of the van. Boy?! He wakes up, then falls back asleep again while spewing a long list of nonsensical words that might probably be his name. Maybe not. He thought Ai looks like the princess. As they continue travelling, Yuri mentions that kid has been drugged, most probably by bandits. Then he warns her not to tell others she is a Gravekeeper because many of the deceased in this world still do not want to go to the next and will kill her. When he wakes up, he introduces himself as Kiriko Zubreska, an apprentice in a government office of Ortus. That place doesn’t bring good memories to Yuri. Kiriko can tell the odd bedfellows these travellers are. Yuri and Ai are definitely not blood related and Scar is a Gravekeeper. Because Yuri is giving him a suspicious stare, he shuts his mouth. Yuri will only drop Kiriko at the gates of Ortus and not go in, much to Ai’s dismay. She really wants to see the city. Why can’t they go in? As soon as they arrive, they see a large hectare of graves. Ortus is the world’s largest city of the living dead. The citizens hate Gravekeepers and want to live on forever. The graves belong to Gravekeepers who are tempted to enter and bury the dead but they got killed instead. Speaking of which, Scar is feeling the need to bury them. Not one, ten or hundred. But a million of them! Oh sh*t! Outside the gates, Kiriko explains a huge statue overlooking the graves. She is Koroshiohake, the guardian goddess of Ortus. As Ortus has a history of oppression, everyone yearned for her because everything about her is death. She is the only one that became a guardian for the deceased.

Kiriko is greeted by this… Uhm… Halfie? Half man, half woman? Pox the castle’s lieutenant of guards and Wreck the Ortus gate’s Minister of Special Foreign Affairs. They are happy to see Kiriko and glad he is back. They are grateful to Ai and even more when she considers them not a monster because a human is still a human. Don’t you just love her and want to cuddle her? To show their appreciation, they will grant her anything. Anything? How about letting them inside Ortus? Yuri reminds Ai about everything again but even so, she wants to see the city where the dead lives. The city that her mom dreamt of making. She’ll somehow think of a way not to let them discover she is a Gravekeeper. Yuri agrees to it since this journey belongs to Ai from the start and will do as she wishes. Plus, the van needs to be fixed. As for Scar, she could hear a voice calling to her and is drawn to it and thus wants to stay. And so as they enter, Ai is thrilled to see the dead thriving with life. Oh, the irony… Next morning (noon actually) she wakes up but sees Scar uncomfortable. Is she sick? She’s been like this since hearing that voice. As Yuri has already gone out for a long time to seek arrangements for the van’s repair, Ai has been told not to leave the building. What a bummer. She mixes around with the inn’s caretaker, Kera and since she really wants to go outside, all she needs to do is put on a mask like everyone else. And so our little Gravekeeper frolics around town with delight. Awwoooo… Child going wild? She sees someone distributing flyers of a play between Koroshiohake and the princess of the deceased when somebody snatches the flyer from her. She follows him, Szaddo Varus to an alley whereby he tells her to get out of Ortus because she doesn’t know the darkness Ortus harbours. Meanwhile Kiriko sees the princess, all wrapped up like as though this is some dangerous mental asylum. He notes she is the only one who can save the world. Her presence itself does that.

Episode 5
Ai meets up with Kiriko and the latter notices her enjoying herself. Why shouldn’t she? It looked so much fun despite everybody being dead. Besides, she was raised by deceased people. She then tells him she is a half Gravekeeper because she likes his smile. Noting how the deceased acts differently from her village, Kiriko briefly explains the system and the science of keeping their bodies dry and such. Kiriko admits he is also one of the deceased. Long ago, a group of 5 people were very close together. They talked about marriage and having children but the latter never came to be because God abandoned the world. So they seek a witch’s help. She can grant that wish but in a twisted way. She took different parts of their body and created a child. Kiriko is that child and the sixth person of the group. Ai has already met Pox and Wreck. The rest are Diva, Orias and Veruela. The 6 of them are known as Lapstar the Lacking Pentagram Star. Ai thinks he is born among the living but he disagrees. Created 13 years ago, he should have aged but didn’t. Learning that Scar is sick, Kiriko knows the perfect doctor who would treat her without any discriminating and keep her secret. Pox is the doctor? No, it’s Diva. Wait a minute. Wasn’t she attached to Wreck yesterday? Ah, never mind. Diva is the castle’s physician and places great importance on health and hygiene. There’s a difference being unhealthy dead and a healthy dead? Yes. Otherwise you’d see people become mindless zombies walking around, lacking life. It’s her job to prevent that. Diva diagnoses Scar that she has imaginary pregnancy. She is not pregnant but showing symptoms of it maybe because she yearns for a child. She thinks the voice she hears from time to time might be related to it. After the diagnosis, Diva continues to fawn over Ai’s cuteness. She thanks her for being friends with Kiriko and suggests to be friends with the princess too.

Kiriko takes Ai to see Princess Ulla Eulesse Hecmatika. She speaks via Kiriko or writes on her notepad. Despite Kiriko being strict about wanting Ai to mind her manners with her, Ulla seems to be very casual with her. Just like how girl friends should be. Ai returns home and tells Yuri the new friend she made today. He says the van is nearly fixed and should be living the city. Ai is sad that the living and dead cannot coexist in Ortus. Yuri explains how the dead suffered discrimination at the hands of the living and worked hard to achieve Ortus as an independent nation. That’s why the living are not welcomed here. When Ai talked to Ulla, it hit her that all she could do to stay is to become the dead. Yuri adds he once tried to live here with his family since his wife was dead. However it never worked out because he couldn’t force her to give up her life. Suddenly they hear the bells ringing. Kiriko says Ortus is under martial law. All gates are blocked and all foreign visitors are under house arrest. Yuri knows there will be a ceremony called Admission of the Living. As Kiriko puts it, a group of 105 living people have lost the means to support themselves and have decided to immigrate to Ortus. They will be bestowed peaceful deaths. In short, they’re going to be killed. Ai feels confused. She thought how the dead needed a happy end but after seeing the people in Ortus, they don’t need one since they’re already perfectly happy. However does it mean it is right? All Yuri can say is that the choice is for them to make. Ai feels Ulla doesn’t know this because she is of the living. She needs to tell her and rushes to the castle. But it seems Ulla is about to begin the ceremony.

Episode 6
Ai watches how Ulla taking off her masks and everything and with just a single gaze, all the immigrants drop dead before coming back to life. As Ulla is about to look at Ai’s direction, Yuri swiftly takes her away. Szaddo says Ulla is Ortus’ darkness because she is Koroshiohake. Anybody she looks at, hears her voice or touches will die. Szaddo knows it because he was alive till a year ago. Children before the age of 15 have a choice to stay alive or dead. He chose the former. Because it’s his dream to become a mask craftsman in this city, he went through this ceremony. Even if Ai and Ulla had quite a time together, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that she is Koroshiohake. But Ai wonders if Ulla knows her power and that she is surrounded by the dead. She believes Ulla would if somebody would just tell her. Kiriko comes into the scene, aware that Ai has figured out everything. Ai feels Ulla is the same as her because they grew up surrounded by the dead. Kiriko disagrees because his lies are different. Because one day all the living will die, Ulla will lose the meaning of her existence. He lies to protect her so she wouldn’t get hurt. But what happens when that time really comes? She is the only one left standing because the dead don’t age and she’ll realize she will be all alone. That might be so but Kiriko will still protect her as he has been in charge of her education and has been deceiving her since young (as per the elders’ request). Kiriko admits he loves Ulla and therefore will protect her. If Ai was in his shoes and had a chance to protect this innocent girl from the world’s cruelty, would she do it? Can she stand by her without lying? After all that, Ai goes to talk to Ulla. She reveals her true identity and the village she was raised in. Then she tells her the people she thinks who are alive are actually dead. Anybody coming into contact with her power will die. Although Kiriko has been lying to her, it was to protect her. Kiriko laments that is the truth and understands if she hates and won’t forgive him.

But Ulla wonders why they have sad looks on their faces. She loves them both and not to be sad. Because she knew it before Ai told her. At least half of them. She always knew her power had some effect on people but not sure what it was and didn’t know how she was doing it. She didn’t tell anything because she was okay with it. If people don’t want her to know, she’s fine with that. She has seen people joining Ortus and some leaving. All of them she noticed have that relieved expression like as though they have been freed of something. She notes Ai travelling to make sense of what she doesn’t understand. Although they’re the same, they are still different in the sense that Ai is a bird flying free in the sky. Ulla on the other hand loves this cage called Ortus. And she has gentle Kiriko to protect her. However she has 2 regrets. One, she can’t see Ai and second, she can’t hug her. So she has Kiriko be her proxy. The next day, Kiriko and Ulla bring the gang to a room. There is an infant named Celika sleeping in a capsule. She is Ulla’s twin sister. Ulla’s mom hated everything when the world changed. What she hated most were the twins in her womb. When she was giving birth (and died after that), she cursed and cursed that all humans would die. Ulla listened to that wished but Celika went against it. Celika somehow stopped her own time to wait for someone but Ulla understands what it means now. This infant is the voice that Scar hears. Scar considers Celika her daughter and as the gang leave Ortus, Ulla hopes Scar will take care of her. Meanwhile a boy named Alis Color and his ghost friend watches Ai and co leave and is impressed there is someone else seeking the same dream as him.

Gola Academy Arc

Episode 7
Ai meets Alis in a clock tower. We go a little back in time when Yuri asked Ai if she wanted to go to school. There won’t be any chance in a few years’ time since there won’t be any more kids. There is a last middle school left Ai can attend and a friend he wants to see but as he goes to make a call, a couple of guys kidnapped Ai. Yuri fears those guys from Gola Academy. In that school, Ai is strictly welcomed by the teacher-cum-dorm supervisor, Magiita Houzento. Ai seems to be okay with this since she gets to wear fresh clothes. School uniform… She makes a few friends but when is told those who enter Gola Academy can never leave, Ai thinks they’re joking because she needs to leave this place or else she can’t save the world. Before Magiita puts a bullet in her head, her friends take Ai away to the bath. Ai learns that this isolated institution houses kids with special abilities. Like Volrath, she has super strength. Twins Mimi and Meme are actually their third sister Momo who was buried by a Gravekeeper. Confused? In short, Momo lives inside them. Multiple personalities? Run can breathe underwater while Tanya is blind so she ‘sees’ objects in the form of sound. Suddenly a loud crash is heard. A hole emerges. And popping out is… Alis! Is this guy a peeping tom? The girls start throwing stuff and he is knocked out by Volrath’s might. He and the other guys, Hardy and Gigi are roped in. Accusing them of trying to peep on them, they are going to punish them for this and won’t hear any excuse even if they say it’s a misunderstanding.

When Alis finally gets their attention, he reveals they were digging a path to the sewers that would have them escape from here. Thanks to Hardy’s power of eating up inorganic stuffs (he devours the earth they dug). Alis wanted to complete the tunnel with a big explosion but his calculation was off. The girls wonder why Alis wanted to leave since he was only transferred here last week. Because he doesn’t like it here, duh! Ai wonders why the school is doing this so Tanya explains because with people stopped dying, children stopped being born and this causes a decrease in number of students. The government has a policy that pays a hefty amount to the school per student. So now you know why they want to increase the number of students? I don’t think the government is that stupid considering the situation now… Alis blames the ghost for this mess up, Dee Entzie Stratmitos. She makes herself appear (freaking out some of them because she walks through walls!) and reveals she thought the girls should also know about this plan, that’s why he led him to blow a hole in the bath. She explains she can appear anywhere irrespective of place and time while lacking a physical body. She can do lots of things like whisper trivial or important information to people and can even take control of them. In a way, she is like granting people’s wishes. She is here because she is currently possessing Alis. Dee was the one who whispered to Ai to come to the clock tower by Ai asserts she never heard her voice and went there out of curiosity. Dee doesn’t believe her. She also mentions she has been observing Ai since she came to Ortus and that the meeting between them and Alis was fated to happen.

Episode 8
Ai is really excited to start the meeting on their escape. What’s there to discuss? They’re already in the final stages. The question is, who wants to tag along. It seems Tanya and the twins do not want to leave as they have family problems. Ai thinks what they want is to live with their parents and it’s like their dream. She encourages them to do what it takes to reach them or create a new one. Nice words but Tanya is still not convinced. Later Ai personally talks to Tanya. She is still stubborn. Unlike Ai who has her fellow travellers to return to and are worried about, Tanya herself doesn’t. She was born blind and always heard her parents in sadness. Even if they accepted her sound sight gift, the villagers did not. She came here on her own accord. Ai then tells her story of the village she grew up and the Gravekeeper she is. She buried everyone in her village. That’s why she knows Tanya will also be fine. Alis has finally broken the metal cages that will lead to their freedom. All that is needed is to escape at 3am where Magiita is asleep and the security is low. The twins have changed their mind and want to escape with them. All that is left is Tanya. Ai wants to postpone the plan to tomorrow. They agree since it is better for the entire class to escape. Ai tries to talk to Tanya but she locks herself in her room. Ai leaves but tells her the time of the escape and hopes she’ll be there. Ai meets Alis at the clock tower. No, she’s not here to confess his love. She is in a dilemma about saving the world. She wanted to when she left her village but at Ortus, someone told her it was impossible. Alis mentions his dream is also to save the world but his concept is different than hers because he wants to destroy it.

He explains by hypothesizing 2 worlds. One world without ‘observers’. A universe that can go on by itself without humans. Another is with ‘observers’. And by that he means people like them. For some reason they cannot accept the world as it is. In short, people see the world as what their brain interprets. Basically it’s one’s point of view. Just like how Ai once viewed her small village as her world, Tanya probably viewed her parents as her world. Most people would think of their immediate surroundings as their world. Thus he concludes this world can be saved by destroying it. To answer that further, I guess Ai will have to wait another time. The time to escape is here. Tanya doesn’t show up so the rest goes ahead. But Ai wants to stay back as she doesn’t want to leave her behind. Good thing she doesn’t have too because here comes Tanya. Changed her mind? Who wouldn’t after hearing Ai’s encouraging words? As they make it out of the gates, suddenly the main gates open and Magiita gives them one last chance to return or else. Since nobody is budging, she draws her gun and fires. But Alis is swift enough to draw his and precisely hits all her bullets! Magiita notes his Buzzer Beater power, the power of ultimate accuracy and precision. I guess that’s why in the opening of this episode, we see him shoot basketball shots in every angle and every shot went in! Magiita then turns back and gives up. What? Just like that? Yuri arrives in time to pick up the kids and continue their journey. Ai notices Scar is not around and as Yuri puts it, she’s away learning how to raise babies. Wait a minute. A Gravekeeper raising a kid?

Story Circle Arc

Episode 9
Alis talks to Ai that his world is just a cooperative body and thus his dream to destroy the world to save it. He wants Ai’s help and she agrees. But first they need to find Scar for that. As the gang continues their journey, Ai writes her usual letter back to Ulla and Kiriko about her recent adventure. It seems Alis and Dee only remained to travel with them as the rest stayed back at Tanya’s village to walk their own path. Scar disappeared while she was at Gola and they are using Celika as a guide since she was attracted to her back in Ortus. Baby pointing the way? Sure, she’s just not playing around? Yuri has his doubts if they should find Scar because as a Gravekeeper, it’s her job to track down the dead. Even so, Ai wants to hear it from her mouth and wants to see her. Yuri laments he should have looked out for Scar more often. She was unstable then. One moment, happily with Celika, the next she would abandon her and start trembling or get upset. When they pass by a signboard with a cake, Dee suddenly screams! What gives?! She remembers it is Alis’ birthday! Actually it was yesterday. And Ai is making such a big fuss to celebrate it. Not even her birthday… Alis doesn’t have time to do such trivial things because saving the world is more important. However Ai doesn’t want him to be like that. Just like how her father once acted. And so eventually they celebrate his Alis’ belated birthday. Not the best looking cake Yuri made but hey, you can’t complain.

As they continue their journey the next day, they enter a valley of desert. Yuri slams the brakes and it seems there are lots of craters and crystals. They almost got hit by a lightning as they witness the phenomenal birth of a Gravekeeper. Lightning hits crystal. Crystal gets warped. Crater on ground is formed and there is your Gravekeeper. But now, there are like 2 or 3, no wait. Hundreds or thousands of identical Gravekeepers being born! Yuri and Alis recognize this place as Story Circle, the place where Gravekeepers are born. Ai wonders if Scar wanted to return to her birthplace. Celika seems to be pointing the way ahead but Dee feels it is a bad idea to go on. See the big storm coming? She wants to leave but Ai hopes she would since they’ve travelled together. Dee slaps her. Did she feel a thing? Guess not. Her ghostly hand just went through her face. Hah. Is that a joke? Dee then flies off into the sky. The rest trudge forward and vision is getting harder as the mist thickens. Suddenly Ai sees visions of her father. Likewise Yuri sees his wife and Alis… A window? Ai seems to be blaming her dad for destroying her mom’s dream till she remembers mommy’s words about her dream and job as one and daddy’s words to live. She snaps out of it and reunites with the rest. They see Scar sitting in a crater. I think she is in a dilemma of wanting to continue her job as a Gravekeeper. Ai doesn’t want to force her (oh, like how she ‘forced’ Tanya to come along?) but Yuri gets strict with Scar. He asks her what she is going to do about Celika. She doesn’t want the baby and should be doing her job as a Gravekeeper. Before a lightning strikes her, Yuri saves her and then vows to protect her. Scar cries in his arms. He notes Gravekeepers don’t cry. The kids cheer the old man for his ‘brave confession’. Yeah, he’ll protect them too. With Scar back with the travelling gang, Ai remembers Alis telling her his friends from class 3-4 being held captive in the city called Ostia.

Class 3-4 Arc

Episode 10
Class 3-4 seems pretty upset that Alis has burnt down the entire town! But suddenly everything returns to normal. Alis mentions how the situation backtracks and resets itself. It’s the same with humans. He takes out a gun and starts shooting everyone! Only Dee is left. Maybe he ran out of bullets. But there is only blood on the floor. Where are the bodies? The next time he looks back, the blood is gone, the place back to normal and he sees his friends entering the school gate, waving at him as though nothing happened. Alis and the gang arrive in Ostia. Scar doesn’t sense any living or dead. Alis leads them to where class 3-4 is. Only it isn’t really class 3-4. Get it? There seems to be a black barrier into this class. From what I understand, the world of class 3-4 is sealed here and it’s like a separate world once you go through it. He warns them that those not from class 3-4 cannot get out of here till the phenomenon is solved. Now he tells them. Oh well. They’ve gotten this far so no use to back out now. As they step in, they enter another world. The kind where Ostia is still thriving with life under this snowy environment. He brings them back to his place and they are surprised to see Dee (in human form) and she is glad to see them too. As the rest notice that time stopped 14 years ago, they want Alis to explain but he won’t. He wants to know their feelings first and then will explain everything once it is settled because he doesn’t want them to have misconceptions. So while Yuri and Scar spend quality time together with Celika (they’re like a family now, aren’t they?), Ai joins class 3-4 and becomes pretty popular. Which cute little girl wouldn’t? Dee hopes Ai could join her baking club but she has other stuffs to do. Dee knows she is concerned of what Alis say but is confident she will grow to like this place because it’s a good place.

Ai observes the place and then tells Alis that this is a world probably created by someone’s wish. Jackpot. And so Alis explains this world indeed was created by the powerful wish of class 3-4. A fictional world that binds everyone here and a world fabricated with lies. 14 years ago, this place has been stuck in a one-year loop. Actually less than that. Every time it reaches July 28, the time resets back to April. Thus the reason the seasons here and outside do not match and everyone has been reliving the year over and over again. Nobody apart from Alis and Dee remembers perhaps it’s part of the wish. Metaphorically speaking, this world is a cage made by class 3-4 who are the prisoners, wardens and cage themselves. After going through the loop twice, he stumbled upon the world’s truth and at that time it only had people from class 3-4. He and Dee desperately tried to find a way out and when they did, somehow Dee didn’t have a physical body and became a ghost outside. Ever since, Alis has been searching for ways to free class 3-4. He tries to overload it by bringing lots of people but he discovered many things. The dead cannot cross over and thus only the living can be brought here. Likewise, people with special abilities cannot cross over. He has brought 35,695 people into here!!! He also learns if bringing anything that isn’t supposed to be here, the place becomes unstable but then stabilizes itself over time and the loop begins again, including the people who came from outside. Alis doesn’t want to be stuck in the same age forever because it’s illogical. Besides, they just celebrated his birthday, right? He also mentions in this world he has an enemy: Dee. Seems Dee was changing curtains and slipped and fell out the window.

Episode 11
As explained by Alis, before the reset happens, he left clues of what happened in various places in the library. However Ai won’t find them because Dee has burnt them all. All 35,695 have failed and Ai as the 35,596th person is no exception. She will make her stay. And soon a month passes and Ai celebrates her birthday. Ai and Alis talk and she notes she is happy that she sometimes forgets she is a Gravekeeper. Alis hopes she won’t change wherever she goes. He hopes saving his world isn’t her wish. He views wishes as something meant not to be fulfilled. Because they don’t get fulfilled, people work hard and move forward. Once it is so, there is nothing left to work for. That’s why he doesn’t want her to say saving his class as her wish. At least say it’s a stepping stone for something. The reason Dee became her enemy was because she changed. When they first found a way out, they were always together and she helped him out but she soon changed and started thinking this confined space is better. Alis still regrets killing his friends once despite knowing it will reset because there are things humans can’t do. In class when they vote for what to do for the cultural festival, because of Ai’s vote, the world seems to becoming a little unstable. As mentioned by Alis, the difference between Ai and the other 35,695 people is that she became part of class 3-4. As the choice is always tied and they ended up doing the play in the usual loop, Ai’s vote changed that and the world is trying to come up with an excuse to return to its original way. It will struggle to control factors that weren’t here originally. We see Alis putting clues in the library. This is followed by Dee taking them away so when Ai reaches there, the clues aren’t in place. However there is one spot Dee misses and Ai reads the clue. 14 years ago on the day before the cultural festival, a student died and 17 others went missing. Guess who is that student?

Dee catches Ai in the act and explains. When she first appeared in her ghost form, she wandered around with Alis unsure of her existence. Slowly as she finds clues together with him to save class 3-4, she finally understood. Her memories came back. She was changing curtains not realizing the window was open, she slipped and fell to her death. At that time the class was horrified and wished how it never happened and things to stay like they were forever. That’s how the world was created. That’s how she came back alive. That’s why she is against Alis in destroying this world because it would mean destroying her. Back at Gola Academy, Alis mentioned about saving this world by destroying it. Truth is, she doesn’t care about the outside as long as she has this one. That’s why she became a ghost that whispered to others to destroy in hopes that world would fall apart. She’s doing this for Alis’ sake. She’s been watching him and hardly spoke to him. He is always helpful and loved basketball though he wasn’t good. He tried so hard despite knowing he’ll never get into the team. Just seeing him smile made her day. In short, she’s in love with him, right? Ai doesn’t want her to give up and believes this class can be truly saved even if it’s destroyed. So let’s find a way to save the class, save her. But Dee knows Alis will make sure she will disappear just to save the class and this means he doesn’t need her. She is scared of that. She doesn’t mind if she doesn’t end up being his special person or if she just sits in one corner, as long as she is in his world, she’s fine. She once killed Alis with her hands before. Because he looked so painful in trying to save his class, she put a bullet through his head. Of course the world reset. She begs Ai to help her instead of Alis. Of course Ai didn’t promise her anything nor did she say anything to Alis. Dee remembers how Alis got his Buzzer Beater one day and scored an important victory for his basketball team in the dying seconds. He felt he lost the most important thing to him. It isn’t fun anymore after having his wish fulfilled. Dee thought she understood Alis better than anyone but apparently it seems Ai beat her in playing basketball with Alis today. They look happy talking together. Starting to feel the hate? Ai asks if he would sacrifice somebody just to save his class. It doesn’t matter because he will save everyone from class 3-4 even if it means sacrificing anything for that cause. That’s basically a yes, right?

Episode 12
Seeing them both so close makes her feel like there is no space for her in that world. That’s why Dee decides to create a new one by ending everything else. Later when Dee talks to Ai, she wants to reveal everything to Alis. But she wants Ai to hear it to and be by her side when she says it to him. Something is wrong when Dee didn’t turn up. That’s because she heads into class 3-4, fires her gun at one of them. The rest are shocked but not as shocked when they see him getting back up and not remembering he was being shot. Dee is going to tell them everything. Actually they have forgotten about it and will just refresh their memory. And so they remember the day Dee died. So much blood. It must be a lie. They wanted to forget about it. They made a wish for that never to happen. Dee notes that they wished for an eternal loop and could have just wished for her to return back to life. As they are still in this loop, she suggests that they redo everything again from the beginning. The world begins the change and because of too many contradictions, it is beginning to reset itself. Alis knows this is Dee’s doing and rushes to the classroom. Everyone is in the midst of replaying the moment Dee is about to die. Well, looks like bad acting. Can you blame them since they know the outcome? Dee falls out of the window hoping the start everything all over again but to her horror sees Alis’ dead body below. She is pulled back up by Alis but he slips. Thankfully he is saved by Ai and the rest of class 3-4. The mist that is to reset the world recedes.

Ai now knows the truth. It wasn’t Dee who died then but Alis. He tried to save her but fell down in her stead. Alis apologizes that he had not realized she mistakenly thought that she herself had died. He assures her she won’t disappear and will return to the real world. This is still not good for Dee and wants everyone to reset it again. Alis disagrees with this because if she does so, all the things they have done together including the travelling outside will never have happened. He wants everyone to return to the real world outside and age properly. Hopefully they will remember him even if it’s just a small part. Ai wants to find a way to save him but as Dee points out it is impossible. He’s the kind of person who’ll work hard for the sake of others despite knowing he himself will disappear. Alis is glad that he got to travel with Dee. Just about any door or window becomes a portal to the outside. Everyone makes their way into it as the world crumbles. Ai is the last one left with him and calls him an awful person. She feels he brought her to this world just to make him disappear. She knows he wants to be with everyone and don’t want to disappear. Alis mentions his grave is in the other world and already buried by a Gravekeeper. Still, Ai wants to save his world even if the world rejects it. One last hug before Alis pushes Ai through the portal. Everyone is out and safe. The last scene sees Ai and Alis’ grave. I’m not sure if she buried him again or something else and he is ‘not happy’ because he didn’t ask to be saved.

Life After Death
I really thought the show as something quite engaging and very interesting to watch. The only ‘big problem’ that I have is some of the unexplained that somewhat leaves pondering and asking more. It left me quite dissatisfied not only at the end of the series, but by the end of the arcs too. I thought there would be a final episode that explains it all or at least for the most of it but it was not to be. It’s like as though such unexplained events are not important and trivial and viewers are forced to accept them without questioning. Take for instance the half bodies of Pox, Wreck and Diva. As we are told they were put together in this twisted form by a witch. We first see them as Pox-Wreck and suddenly another day it is Pox-Diva. How did this happen? Maybe it is not important to the storyline but I really would like to know because it would feel complete so that the witch story won’t feel completely far-fetched. It feels like when Kiriko explained that Pentagram nickname thingy, it’s like plucking the story out of thin air. Heck, if you are having dead people walking around, might as well add some magic and witches too. So really, how do they switch between the people? Is it by free will or there is some sort of time or condition? Another case is Gola Academy when the kids escape. When Magiita confronted them and made a short final showdown, she lost and gave up so easily? It makes me wonder if this scene is even necessary. Or just to showcase Alis’ unusual power. Nobody escaped before and it was made to sound like it’s some inescapable fort. And when the kids do really escape, she gives up without trying hard and it makes it feel she wasn’t that desperate to keep them after all. Hence there wasn’t so much mystery about Gola Academy that I was hoping there would.

Thus I think it wasn’t really so much about the mysteries and events of the arc that Ai encounters during her journey. I didn’t feel it was so much about discovering about the world and its truth either. Each arc feels like a standalone story on its own. They are simple and without any sort of complicated twist and in this aspect, it keeps the story interesting but like I said, the unexplained stuff just took some of the fun away. Especially the final arc with that twist of Alis who died instead of Dee. I thought they were screwing with my head because I find it hard to understand trying to put the pieces of what happened before and the revelation. At first it didn’t make sense. But nobody ever said it was Dee who died and it was made to make us greatly assume that Dee had died. But why is it that only Alis and Dee are the ones who retain their memories unlike their classmates? Since Dee is part of the class, she may not have wished the same and slightly differently. But even so, I still can’t understand why she is the one who can go outside of the world as a ghost. As for Alis, maybe he is dead, the reason his memories didn’t affected. But as he said the dead can’t pass through, how did he then? Unless it’s part of the eternal loop wish of his friends. And if he’s dead and buried by a Gravekeeper, how can he still walk around like normal in the outside world? Well, that really screwed up my mind again. Thinking too much about it hurts. I want to stop thinking about this but I can’t because I’m so curious but it ended like that and it just felt like big downer. And it is more confusing of what Ai did at the end. Did he really save him? Unless you tell me he wasn’t properly buried by a real Gravekeeper and assumed (or lied) he was. In that case, shouldn’t he have gone over to the next world? What is he doing standing next to her? Is there a way to bring back the dead? Don’t tell me Ai has this special feature. I’ll scream and pull my hair out.

Another thing that is bugging me is about the deaths in the world after God has abandoned. Well, the premise and God himself said that the other side is full, right? I don’t know how big the other side is but with that statement, it shows there is space limitation. Even when mankind stopped reproducing, shouldn’t God be able to at least take in the last of the few billions (assuming there are this much humans in this world) of humans left? Unless you tell me that God really did not calculate and foresee this, which is ridiculous, right? So having the excuse of the other side is full also sounds fishy. Because if that is the case, where do dead Gravekeepers and those they have buried go? Is there another dimension or other worlds? If that is the case, shouldn’t God have put them there? Unless you tell me that those buried by Gravekeepers do not really go to the other side but cease to exist. Meaning, it is like totally be erased. And the dead Gravekeepers? My only theory is that they have no soul as they have no emotions but as seen in Scar’s case, I speculate some may grow to have feelings and soul when they spend too much time travelling instead of burying.

So, enough of the mind boggling parts already. Otherwise I would really give this anime double thumbs up for its fascinating storyline. But for all that has seen happened here, it makes me wonder even if the premise of God has abandoned this world is really true. I believe there is something more than meets the eyes to this. Maybe that it just a statement to lead us astray and to believe-cum-assume God has really left. But there are things you just notice like wish granting mechanism. Even after He left, wishes are still sort of being granted and just like Hampnie’s theory, maybe He is just watching us because it is more interesting that way. So, the question is did God really forsaken us despite we do not hear any respond or answer from Him or the fact we can’t die normally? I mean, God painstakingly (it could be just a piece of cake for Him, but let’s just say this for argument’s sake) created the world only to leave behind one of his finest creations. That doesn’t make sense, right? And even if he didn’t want this world anymore, he could have just erased it and nobody in this world would even realize they existed or died. No trace of such world ever. That’s why don’t you think that it smells fishy that God just abandoned the world? Therefore, I theorize it was just an excuse humans came up later so that our puny brains can understand the mysterious phenomena that is occurring.

I don’t really know how Ai is going to save the world seeing that she herself have no clue on how to do it. I suppose it’s the case of crossing the bridge when you get there. Besides, the story arcs you see her in don’t really see her in trying to do stuffs to save the world, right? Or at least it doesn’t seem to be on a big scale. She just handles the current issues faced and it’s sufficient for the time being. Ai as the protagonist is really cute and at the same naive but caring. The rest of the world may not seem to care anymore but she takes to heart the little bits of joy in life even if it is trivial like Alis’ birthday. I guess if she looked like a very serious loli trying to rescue the world, she wouldn’t seem as fun as she is now. It’s a good thing that she starts travelling because the world is just more than the borders of her village. There is so much to see and learn and sometimes she may be like fish out of water. I’m sure there will be lots of eye openers and things Ai could learn even if the world continues to remain stagnant or on a slow rotting path to destruction. It was a surprise that Hampnie died for real. I was really hoping he would end up travelling with Ai and co because I really think he is a cool character despite being cold at times (that can’t be helped since the world is like that). Alas, destiny wasn’t mean to go that way so it’s a sad thing father and daughter couldn’t end up longer together. In a way, it forces Ai to grow and make her own decisions.

Travelling companions, Yuri, Scar and Celika feel redundant especially in the final arc. It’s like the final story could have been done without them. Whether they stepped into the other world with Ai or not doesn’t really matter. They’re just shown from time to time like a family so that we don’t forget about them. It makes me wonder if Gravekeepers after travelling or being too long in this world would change. All of the main Gravekeepers we know are somewhat ‘unique’. First there is Alfa who really has this dream of making a place call home for the dead. Not really Gravekeeper-like if you want to follow the traits that Hampnie said, right? After Scar met Celika, she developed some kind of motherhood symptom. But why go back to her birthplace? Torn between becoming human or Gravekeeper if I am not mistaken this is where her character is going. Even so, is it possible for Gravekeepers to give up their role and become human? Is Scar still a Gravekeeper? Because I noticed after she along with Ai buried Hampnie and the psychopaths, she didn’t bury anybody else despite having the urge and then till she came to Story Circle. Ai is understandable because she is conceived between a human and a Gravekeeper. Speaking of which, how can this even happen if all sorts of reproduction is ceased after God abandoned the world? Even if there is going to be an offspring between man and beast, the current condition of the world just won’t allow that, right? Yeah. Blame it on the wish thingy. Maybe Hana or Hampnie really wanted to have a child whatsoever and Ai was born. Unless… A sudden revelation Ai is not their child and something else! Stop! Don’t think too far about this.

Despite the fantasy theme, it isn’t your typical fantasy world with floating islands or magic filled dungeons. Instead, we have a desolated world on the verge of decaying into nothing. There are certain areas where there are lush greens but those are because there are a few humans (or deceased) living in the area. Otherwise, there is this bleak outlook in decimated towns and dilapidated buildings lying to waste as there were signs that it was once full of life. Also, the names of some characters are really unconventional. The short ones that is only one word long are okay but there are those long ones too. It’s like as though someone just simply typed precariously or casually uttered gibberish and then strung them together. I know it’s not that bad but still, I never find it easy for tongue twisting fantasy names to stick in my head. What was Dee’s full name again? Because of the romanization of the Japanese words, there is no standard spelling for some of the characters especially for Yuri and Alis. The official English version put them as Julie and Alice respectively. I don’t know. It makes those guys sound so feminine. So I stick with the direct original romanized form just so it would ‘look and sound’ better :).

Aki Toyosaki is perfectly casted as Ai and because of her voice, it makes Ai really cute and sweet. And I mean in a different kind of cute and sweet unlike airhead characters like Yui from K-ON! In addition to that, her other emotions especially when she is unsure or sad, it makes Ai sound like a vulnerable person. Hats off to her. My favourite Mamiko Noto is casted as Scar but her roles are somewhat limited so I don’t really get to hear her as often as I wish I could :\. The other casts include Keiji Fujiwara as Yuri (Sven in Black Cat), Kouki Uchiyama as Alis (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Eri Kitamura as Dee (Cana in Fairy Tail), Mikako Komatsu as Ulla (Neko in K), Tetsuya Kakihara as Kiriko (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Daisuke Namikawa as Hampnie/Kizuna (Waver in Fate/Zero) and Rina Satou as Hana/Alfa (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun). I couldn’t recognize it was Eri Kitamura singing the opening theme, Birth. Because with all the church choir voices in the background that is partly distracting me and I suppose to some, they have separate voices for singing and voice acting. The ending theme, Owaranai Melody Wo Utaidashimashita by Mikako Komatsu is a calm and very beautiful piece. I can’t help feel sad while listening to it right after each episode ends. It makes you appreciate life. On a trivial note, I personally feel this is the better song sung by Mikako Komatsu compared to those I heard in K’s ending song and Mouretsu Pirates’ special ending themes.

There isn’t much difference in life on this world even after God walked out on it. It is only different because the people viewed it differently due to the slight ‘modifications’. Those who were once alive never felt more ‘alive’ after they have died. Those who are alive are clinging on to their remaining years that will eventually run out. So what is life or death? As said, the world depends on that person’s views and stereotypes so it varies. It is how you make out of life that counts. Not your life status or how many more days you have left before you turn into a zombie. Thus the moral of the story is to appreciate the little (and sometimes big) things in life. You’ll find wonders in such little happiness. It takes away the worrying and anxiety on the topic of death, etc. Maybe God giving up this world is a blessing in disguise because those left behind can show Him how they can manage on their own. But I don’t want the biggest shocking revelation to turn out like this: This entire world is just a big elaborated fabrication and dream of some ditzy high school girl who just woke up and heads off to school nonchalantly! Everything we saw was fake. No way! No to lazy writing! JUST NO WAY!!!

Recorder To Randoseru Mi

February 8, 2014

Remember the big guy who is the little kid and the little girl who is actually a high school student? I’m sure you’d remember Atsushi and Atsumi Miyagawa if you have seen this short (no pun intended for Atsumi) anime lasting only 3 minutes each. Now they’re back again for a third season in Recorder To Randoseru Mi. Because their age does not match their body size in society’s norm, they are often mistaken for a flasher or a kindergarten kid. Are we going to see them in a dozen more episodes of mistaken identity? Well, let’s find out. If their different size and stature already wrecks havoc in public, imagine how their relationship with their friends would be. Life is just so weird…

Episode 1
Once again, Atsushi has been brought to the police station by mistake. The usual policewoman duo takes him to the back of the station (must be a scary walk for a kid) and introduces him to their new colleague, Aono. Yeah. She’ll be seeing more of Atsushi in the future. Aono didn’t waste her time shooting her mouth that her colleagues were desperate enough to get 10 years olds into the mixer. But that shows they aren’t prejudiced, right? Haha… Later Atsushi and friends sneak into the video arcade but Futami is waiting for them. They feel bad and apologize but Futami allows them an hour but they’ll have to go home after that. Atsushi is so happy that he touches her hand. She freaks out since she has fear of men.

Episode 2
Atsushi, Hina, Atsumi and Sayo are caught in the rain. While drying at home, Sayo mentions how big Atsushi’s clothes are. And it smells like snacks… Atsushi thinks Sayo likes snacks too and would gladly share some rare snack stick with her. But he won’t get the chance because Sayo and Hina are leaving. Sayo doesn’t know what to feel because she really likes Atsushi but he is really a kid and acts like one. Maybe she’ll wait 5 more years and his personality will catch up. But the thought that Hina will grow up into a sexy babe freaks her out. She realizes a snack in her pocket. It’s supposed to be from Atsushi. He is frantically searching for it and wanted to give it to Sayo. Oh well, she has already taken a bite.

Episode 3
Yoshioka could have been the handsome ace basketball player that everybody loves. Just one little problem: He’s a lolicon! And that means he loves Atsumi. She’s the best because not only she is a lolicon, her age means she is legal! Best of both worlds? Loli is justice! Meanwhile Atsumi is riled up to see another short character! Well, Makoto Kobayashi isn’t the shortest but second shortest in the grade! Character overlap? Yeah. You could mistake that guy to be Atsumi’s brother. Things get complicated when Yoshioka thinks Kobayashi is playing cupid for him. He misinterprets that he shouldn’t rush things. After all, Atsumi can’t go anywhere, right? Her body size, he means. Yeah. He can wait as long as it takes. Atsumi’s legal body is forever! Furious Atsumi blows her top that she hasn’t finished growing yet. Oh? Has it even started?

Episode 4
Atsushi’s class gets a new teacher trainee, Miss Kawauchi. When she sees Atsushi, it’s like she instantly wants to get this man. After introducing herself and learns his real identity, I don’t know how her face contorted but Atsushi reports back to his friends that her face was scary! And so Kawauchi has near misses of being misled that Atsushi is a handsome guy before realizing he is actually a kid. Face of ultimate frustration… At the end of the day, Futami sees how downtrodden she is and is going to cheer her up. She knows it because she was in her shoes before. But then she hears Kawauchi say she wants to eat Atsushi! OMG! Did she hear right?! Calm down sensei!

Episode 5
Sayo spots a gloomy look. She’s still in a dilemma over her love with Atsushi.  So much so she starts hearing the inanimate objects talk. Yeah. Some are telling her to go for it, some why it’s impossible. Face reality. And some even rap to it! Yo! Yo! She starts thinking if she truly loves him, a miracle will happen. Just then, a beetle lands on the back of her head. She fears she can’t take off this evil thing and hopes it will fly away but it crawls into her dress. Now she can’t make any sudden moves and fears she can never go home and see Atsushi or Atsumi ever again. She wishes for Atsushi to come save her and suddenly that guy pops up and grabs the beetle. He wants it for his catch. Sayo starts crying in her relief but Atsushi is confused and didn’t know what he did to her.

Episode 6
Take is dressed well in a suit. Does this mean he has a job? Nope. He is going to his 100th interview! He lands a part time job as a waiter as Atsumi and Atsumi patron the store. Take says each time he has a relationship with his colleague, they break up and he had to quit. That’s why he thought he would work in a place without women. Doesn’t this store fit the bill? The manager wonders why he gets dumped so often since he is quite good looking. He suggests Take date Atsumi but the latter couldn’t because she views him like her brother. Take also agrees but this riles her up and smacks him with a board. Maybe it’s the way he said it… Atsumi continues sulking, blowing bubbles in her drink as Take mentions he can’t date Atsumi because he doesn’t want her to go through the same thing like he did with his exes.

Episode 7
Looks like another argument is about to blow up between Atsumi and Kobayashi but it seems the latter suddenly asks her to go out with him!!! WHAAAT?! Actually it’s like this. It’s not he wants to date her but rather Yoshioka. He fears that if Atsumi rejects him, he’ll look for a new love and this one may be illegal! He hopes she would keep an eye on him till the next basketball tournament. Later Atsumi and Sayo discuss this request. Atsumi is not thrilled to be ‘sacrificed’ to oversee the pervert. She is not happy that her appearance is the deciding factor and not her age. Looks matter more than age, right? Right?! Atsumi calls Yoshioka a sexual deviant. Sayo mostly agrees with her and doesn’t count herself a deviant like him. Really? So what’s her love for Atsushi all about?

Episode 8
As we know, Hina is supposedly Atsushi’s ‘girlfriend’. Now she wants to break up because she can’t take it anymore. Every time they’re together, he gets whisked away! He takes her hands and doesn’t care. He wants to be with her! Think somebody is going to report him? Well, actually here comes Yoshioka as he commends his soul brother! However he thinks Atsushi has gone too far by wearing a backpack and such. Till he sees how friendly he is with the police. Yoshioka then claims himself to be a virtuous citizen to the policewomen (liar, liar!). Then Yoshioka’s older brother pops up. He sees the policewomen and suddenly proposes to marry one of them. Well, she might think her days of being single is over but then when we discover this guy has a fetish for old mature woman (40 years and above are his liking), I guess everything just feels so sick and disappointing.

Episode 9
The gang decides to check out a haunted house-cum-kimodameshi attraction. Atsumi is not pleased Yoshioka joined him. What is he? Stalking her like a real criminal? As they have to go in boy-girl pairs, Sayo thought this is her chance to be with Atsushi (legally) but it seems he went in with Hina. Bummer. Now she’s stuck with Kobayashi. Atsumi ends up with Yoshioka (dream come true!) since she wants to keep an eye on her brother. The ghosts aren’t enough to scare adults but the scary one has got to be Yoshioka because he is calmly taking videos of Atsumi!!! Sayo fears the worst that may happen between Atsushi and Hina and takes Kobayashi’s hand and make a run. Atsushi and Hina are frightened by Take. Part time ghost? If you noticed why he never had eyes, that’s because he never had them!!! BOOO!!! Haha… Just nice makeup. In the end, Atsumi-Yoshioka pair won and the lolicon gets some creepy doll prize. He thinks it is proof of their love will treasure it forever… Forever… Forever… CREEPY!!!

Episode 10
Yoshioka and Sayo lament their unrequited love. The world is so unfair! Yoshioka thought they’re on the same wavelength but Sayo doesn’t want to be categorized the same as him. As she leaves, she murmurs for her love to hurry and grow up. Kobayashi mistakes she is talking about him. She asks Yoshioka’s advice how to grow taller. Yeah. He should’ve known better. Yoshioka put a lot of effort. He wanted so much to see the other side of the elementary school wall (something to do with lolis of course) that he stretched and stretched and ‘evolved’. WTF. Sayo visits the siblings and sees Atsushi playing with his voice with the fan. He invites her to join in and to play the role of the villain. Sayo somewhat agrees because she considers herself a baddie for hiding such feelings and will let the evil flowers bloom. In an alien voice, it’s like she confesses her true feelings via a play like she wants her ideal man and loves him. But Atsushi zaps the alien back and ‘kills’ her. And peace settled upon our world. WTF.

Episode 11
Kawauchi is now a cram school teacher as she relaxes by the poolside. Meanwhile Yoshioka is in a slump. The coach wonders if anything can be done. Yoshioka suddenly sees a loli cheering for him and this gets his spirits up. He is all fired and gets back into the groove of the game! Actually that was Kobayashi cross-dressing as a kindergarten loli! Humiliating… At the end of the game, Kobayashi is surprised that Yoshioka mentions he knows of the disguise. However he mistakes the cross-dresser to be Atsumi and has fallen for her all over again! Looks like another round of trouble. While Atsumi, Atsushi, Sayo and Hina are at a karaoke, Atsushi’s friends get scolded by Futami because they are seen talking to a suspicious person. The policewomen go into action to nab the culprit and thank God that he isn’t Atsushi.

Episode 12
Atsumi fixes Atsushi’s backpack so it won’t be so tight. Yeah. It’s the new school term and he’s grown a little bigger. This reminds Atsumi of Atsushi’s growth chart on the wood. He just kept growing and growing… Sayo waits for her pals at the festival. She is glad to see Atsumi and Atsushi but when she sees Hina holding Atsushi’s hands, suddenly it doesn’t feel fun anymore. Jealousy kicks in… The look of disappointment… But she feels better when Hina holds her hand and they watch the fireflies. Why are the fireflies attracted to Atsumi? Lastly we see Atsushi rushing-cum-chasing his friends to school. This time the adults don’t call in the police and arrest him because they know who he is. We see the beetle Atsushi framed up on his wall and he credits it from Sayo. Likewise, Sayo frames up the snack wrapper and credits it from him. Oh, and Atsumi records a tiny growth… Sure, she’s not cheating?

Episode 13 (OVA)
Holy cow! A gender swapping episode?! Fancy seeing Atsushi a busty elementary kid?! Atsumi is still the high school student but still as short and petite as ever. What about Take as the 32 year old single woman who is still trying to find a job?! Hina is a boy but I thought he still looks pretty girly. Then there’s Atsushi’s friends turned into girls but something about them technically still remains the same: They are totally flat! Moriyama is now a guy who is afraid of girls while Sayo is a high school boy and Atsumi’s friend who isn’t afraid of bugs and is in love with Atsushi. Still the unrequited love… Yoshioka and Kobayashi are not left out too as they are now part of the women’s basketball team. Yeah, Yoshioka is ogling at boys leaving kindergarten… Aono is the new and innocent police officer in charge. When Atsushi and Hina pass by him, they didn’t get arrested! Nothing suspicious! Holy cow! If a grownup girl is seen with a little boy, it doesn’t amount to a case of paedophile? Oh, the discrimination! And so the town is as peaceful as always because as the narrator says, this universe might exist somewhere. Might…

It’s The Inside That Counts!
For one thing, it is somewhat good that we don’t see Atsushi being mistaken as a perverted flasher or a paedophile in the eyes of the public. At least for this anime. It would be really boring and done to death if we were to see this recycled joke of him being arrested as a loli flasher. You’d think that after being arrested so many times, the people and authorities would have wised up and at least recognize who Atsushi is. Unless you tell me there are always new strangers in town. That would be suspicious, right? I don’t think Atsushi as a kid would really stray so far from his home. It would be just dumb if he continues to get arrested and the joke would have been really stale past its expiry date. Since I saw the first and second season at one go (that is more than 2 dozens worth of episodes) over more than a year ago back in 2012, watching the third season somewhat feels short (sorry Atsumi, no pun intended. Really). Before I knew it, the series is over and there isn’t anything much difference except you see the size-mismatched siblings and their interactions with those around them.

Oh, there is one surprise which I find hilarious. Yoshioka and Kobayashi! These 2 new characters if I should say are the funniest. Yoshioka is just cool-cum-creepy because of his obsession for lolis and his favourite one being Atsumi AKA the legal loli. Yeah. It’s like having the best of both worlds. He can conduct his unholy activity and not get caught by the law. Imagine if all the girls in the world were like Atsumi, it would be ultimate paradise for this dude. The way he fawns on the lolis makes him look creepy but yet funny. That’s why I say he is the funniest character in this season, if not for the overall series. I’m wondering if Kobayashi likes Yoshioka because I observe that he is always trying to look out for him. No doubt he’s trying to stop his loli fetish but it feels like it is some excuse so that he could be next to him. They’re always together, notice? And if you put Yoshioka’s brother who has mature women fetish… Oh God… I saw him going after an elderly aunty in the last episode!!! Yeah, with people like these, you’d be going “What the hell is wrong with this people/society/world?!”.

The other characters still remain the same. Atsushi still your innocent kid acting like one. It would be okay if he wasn’t so big. Hina also another innocent girl with pure friendship with Atsushi but if you ask me, she’s more of a side character in this season and doesn’t play much of an impact just like Futami. Atsumi still the caring big but small sister and Take the ever jobless neighbour whose permanent job is his part time job. Well, he’s still at it as seen in the final episode. It goes to show that even if you’re handsome but can’t land a stable job, girls don’t really want you. Haha. That’s just highly speculative but seriously… I thought Kawauchi too had some sort of potential but she just appeared for 2 episodes (1 was just a short cameo which amounted to nothing) and that’s it. I thought she was into Atsushi just like Sayo since she wanted to ‘eat’ him. Unless that has a different meaning. Maybe seeing the contradiction in Atsushi made her go crazy. She won’t be charged for doing something illegal to a minor as long as nobody reports it, right?

I was expecting to see something of Sayo since in the last season, she realized Atsushi’s true identity and was in a dilemma. Her dilemma continues her but this time she has got a rival (Hina) to think about. Just like Yoshioka, if she could have her way, she would have dated him without any repercussions from the law. Ah, the law. It’s convenient to some but bothersome to others (like our main protagonists). So it is a little disappointing that Sayo continues to lament about her situation and Atsushi’s. Maybe there is nothing much she can do. She really likes him but you get that feeling when reality slaps you in the face after seeing Atsushi’s kiddie behaviour. You sink back into reality. It’s hard to give up on someone you really like, right? Yeah, I don’t blame her. At least she still gets to be close to him. Another thing I noticed about Sayo is that she likes to hold and hug Atsumi like a doll, putting her on her lap and such. I know Atsumi is small and cute like one but doesn’t it bother her? Guess not.

The ending theme for this season is One Two Hello by Ishifuro and in some episodes by Nanami Kashiyama (voice of Aono). I find this piece to be quite nice because it is a mix of rock ‘n’ roll with a little funk. The special ending theme for the final episode, Teenage Nekura Pop by Ishifuro is also catchy as it has that little rock ‘n’ roll feel in it. Too bad it’s just too short. Oops. No pun intended again. Just one complain about this season is that I seem to notice that the quality of the art and drawing somewhat decreases. Because I thought Atsushi, Atsumi and the other characters are looking a little different than before. I know the characters do look simple and cute but this one is obvious. Atsushi didn’t look as handsome as before. Don’t tell me he grew up. Also, the colour was also not as sharp as before and somewhat dull. It’s like they didn’t put enough effort like before and wanted to release it quick.

I guess in the end, nobody has changed much and everyone still pretty much the same. The old important lesson of never judging a book by its cover still stands. Everyone is unique in their own way because if God wanted to make us really equal, He would have made us all look the same, talk to same, act the same, etc. That would be so boring wouldn’t it? That’s why in life there are a few deviants from the norm. Okay, maybe not so few since everyone is a deviant in their own way. That’s why there are so many sick deviants with weird fetishes walking around. So you can’t blame the authorities for catching suspected paedophiles at first. Better be safe than sorry.

War is bad. No sides really ever benefit from it without having lost something. Therefore, it’s a lose-lose situation. What better way than to end the mindless attacks just to dominate by calling a truce and cooperate and share resources with each other? I’m not talking about civil wars or wars between nations. It’s the war between gaming consoles! Oh yeah. That’s what I thought Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation to be. I never owned a game console before (since I am more of a PC person) but I suppose with the tight competition between the console wars, trying to get more market share from your opponent is much better. In the real world, that’s another story but as far as this anime is concerned (which is based on quite a popular role playing game of the same name), the world of Gaminindustri (gaming industry, geddit?) has been fighting for power for so long that they’ve decided that enough is enough. They’re going to work together for the good of all nations and its people. Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, it takes them to uncharted territories but I guess it is more fun and exciting following this way.

Episode 1
After many years of strife, today is the historic whereby the goddess of four countries, Lastation (Black Heart governed by Noire), Lowee (White Heart by Blanc), Leanbox (Green Heart by Vert), and Planeptune (Purple Heart by Neptune) sign a peace treaty to prohibit forceful taking of Share Energy. No more wars! Hooray! After the signing ceremony, the goddesses return to their true form and celebrate. But after month, Histoire is pissed because Neptune has been spending her entire time playing video games! Unplug it! Neptune and her sister Nepgear are summoned before Histoire and after a long lecture of who knows what, she shows them that their Share Energy is declining. Because the people’s belief in their goddess dictates how much Share Energy they get, it is not a good sign since it signals people are starting to lose their faith. This means Neptune has to work harder, right? Of course she doesn’t want to but she suggests doing training with Noire. That is just a blatant excuse to get away from Histoire’s nagging because she is napping in her country! Uni, Noire’s sister comes in with some documents. However she laments that whatever she does, doesn’t earn her praise. Nepgear comforts and if it’s any consolation, she along with Ram and Rom can’t transform either. Meanwhile Ram and Rom argue with their sister Blanc that they can’t go to other countries since the treaty was signed. But Blanc tells them to shut it since she is busy. Noire gets a monster hunting request from her citizens so she brings Neptune along. As usual, Neptune is not interested… Noire transforms into her goddess form in front of her awe struck villagers so as the let them bear full witness of her majesty. The field is invaded with lots of… Erm… Cute slime doggies? Anyway they are needed to be dealt with so Noire orders Neptune to get the job done to increase her reputation.

Neptune and Nepgear go into action slicing those cute creatures. Since there are too many of them, IF and Compa also join in. Then the doggies start to get perverted on them… Now I understand why they are in liquid form… IF becomes a killing machine when she couldn’t take the perversion anymore. Uni wants to help out but Noire wouldn’t allow it because the point is for them to deal it themselves. When the doggies are done, Noire chides Neptune for being the best slacker around and had others do the job for her. Noire decides to settle the rest herself and enters a nearby cave to fight off other ferocious beasts. She encounters an ancient dragon but her goddess form is nullified by some kid. Before she gets owned, Neptune comes to her rescue and this is where she transforms into her goddess form to kick ass. Noire saves Neptune from getting nullified so the latter manages to slay the dragon. Neptune knows Noire’s intention that she selected this area so that when rumours spread across the nation, Neptune could replenish her Share Energy when people hear her valiant efforts. Neptune returns to her original cheeky form and teases she is going to tell how Noire got her butt kicked. Anyway the rumours got out of hand in the sense that the villagers are in super awe that the duo kicked ass. Magiquone and Warechu are impressed the goddess cleared the cave for them. Now they don’t have to search so hard. Back at Planeptune, Histoire thinks it is Noire that did the job that made their Share Energy increased. Not convinced that Neptune was the one, eh? However they hear Nepgear’s scream and it turns out those ‘pervy’ pictures of her were uploaded on the internet. So this is the reason why their Share Energy went up? Goes to show the people are perverts. And guess what? Neptune thinks of spreading them even more to increase their Share Energy! Do it for our Share Energy! Worried about the direction of this country is heading? Absolutely.

Episode 2
Neptune, Noire and their sisters are on their way to Lowee. I guess Ram and Rom got so much free time that they could play a trick on the maid and even doodle in Blanc’s books. Hey, she’s turning mad just like in their drawing! When the gang arrives, Neptune wants to head to the newly opened amusement park. Blanc tells them to take her sisters too and cites her work as reason not to come. I know she should take her work seriously but sometimes you got to relax too. Of course, don’t be like that Neptune slacker. At the park, Ram and Rom happily go collect coins (I thought this park resembles a bit like Mario’s world). However they got kidnapped by a lolicon monster called Trick and his assistant, Linda. He’s licking all over the girls! Nepgear and Uni saw them being kidnapped but couldn’t do anything. Worse, Trick doesn’t want those ‘old ladies’! The gang return trying to talk to Blanc but she has locked herself in her room blaming herself for not looking after her sisters. Suddenly an annoying loli, Abnes (supposedly some famous web idol) barges in to interview Blanc about her sisters’ kidnap. She is against lolis being goddesses and thus tries to drive a point in the interview this goddess thing is bad. Neptune comes in to kick her ass and both girls start calling each other little girl (case of kettle calling the pot black) before Abnes and her crew are kicked out. Blanc then collapses and they fear it is her Share Energy running low since her people saw the interview and lost faith. Vert doesn’t think their faith could sway easily and feels the need to rescue the sisters. She reveals the plan she and Blanc had been working on. Lowee had some satellite imagery service but it was low resolution. Leanbox has analyzed the data and with some software, turned to images of the land into high resolution. After having the maps of the world, they wanted to share it with the other countries. This was supposed to be the surprise and was looking for a good opportunity to announce it.

Soon they discover the kidnappers’ hideout, which is under the park’s construction area. Vert heads in first and offers her voluptuous body. Unfortunately, Trick who was happily licking the lolis (Eww!) turns her down because he isn’t into such ‘cancerous growth’. Vert blows her top when the lolicon comments about her sagging. She transforms and beats the crap out of him and sends him flying away. However he had the sisters in his hands. Or tongue. Meanwhile Noire and Uni confront Linda. She tries to weasel her way out by saying they were doing this due to some request of a mysterious woman. Even so, no mercy. She’s sent flying too. Trick is going to ‘rescue’ his lolis but is stop dead in his tracks when Blanc arrives. She’s mad. Nobody touches her sisters. Since he is flattered of being called a pervert, now it’s time to be flattened by her hammer! She transforms and sends the lolicon flying again. Blanc immediately apologizes to her sisters and they give her the rare coins they collected. Elsewhere, the maid turns out to be Magiquone and she has obtained a little rock called Anti-Crystal. Back at Blanc’s place, she reveals she collapsed due to lack of sleep. When Rom and Ram doodle her book since there are so many of the same copies, the rest realize she is doing her own doujinshi. Blanc gets further embarrassed when they start reading it. Girl who fell from the sky. Boy with special powers. Save the world together. Destiny. New power awakened! Stop reading!!!

Episode 3
The gang minus Vert are at Leanbox to attend a concert by 5pb while Warechu is underwater looking for an Anti-Crystal. After that, they head to Vert’s home and try to find where the heck she is only to discover she is busy playing her online games. She is supposed to hold a welcome party after the concert but it looks it has to wait after she topples the enemy castle. Seeing they have come all the way here, they don’t want to waste the party and start cleaning up and prepare for it themselves. Rom and Ram slack around (doodling in books) and I’m sure Neptune wants to slack too but with Noire in command, she can’t. Compa bumps into Warechu during her errand. The mouse accidentally drops the Anti-Crystal. Warechu is smitten by Compa’s kindness. Love at first sight. Nepgear touches the Anti-Crystal and she suddenly loses all energy. Warechu snatches it and runs away. Back home, Vert welcomes them to her party despite not doing a single sh*t. The party begins when she uses some 3D technology to turn Neptune and Noie into slime dogs for their own fighting game. Meanwhile Warechu returns to Magiquone. Now that they have 4 Anti-Crystals, she is going to change the rules of this gaming world. Our goddesses’ party is cut short when they receive info that a large amount of monsters are showing up on a little island known as Zune. Due to the low tide, the island is connected to the mainland. So the big sisters transform and head there to deal with the problem, not knowing it is a trap set by Magiquone to lure them. IF receives information from her informant, Otome that Warechu is actually a wanted criminal and blacklisted in every country’s list. Compa is shocked that the cute mouse is a villain. She realizes that the monsters at Zune were spawned by somebody on purpose. IF is going to check things out but Nepgear wants to tag along. The goddesses easily destroy the monsters. When they least expected it, they fall into a trap. Wires bind them and they can’t break out since Magiquone unleashes the Anti-Crystals to drain their power. As long as Share Energy is the power source, they will be helpless against it. Warechu takes pictures of them in embarrassing positions to be uploaded to the world. So this is their plan? I believe that instead of losing followers, such ambiguous sexy pose might just increase the love and faith in them! Anyway, IF and Nepgear arrive at Zune. Nepgear is disheartened to see her sister like this.

Episode 4
Magiquone and Warechu are among themselves about their importance since they did their fair share in finding the Anti-Crystals. The goddesses return to their original form as IF takes Nepgear and flee as they are no match for the monsters. Magiquone lets them go since she doesn’t consider them a threat as they can’t transform. Back at the house, IF reports this to Histoire and hopes she could find information about the Anti-Crystals. It’ll take her 3 days. The sisters are to return to their respective countries but they won’t go back without their big sisters. Nepgear blames herself if she had only spoken up when she touched the Anti-Crystals then. Uni gets upset that it turned out like this so she takes out her frustration on Nepgear that she should have been in Noire’s place. Neptune seems to be optimistic, ignoring Magiquone and calling her names. But the goddesses note that something is slowly dripping from within them. All I understand is, once it accumulates, they’ll die. After Noire apologizes for her outburst, the little sisters discuss how they always rely on their big sisters. Since they want to save them, they just need to train until they are not afraid anymore since they think fear is a limiter that prevents them from transforming. They use Vert’s game for training when Abnes suddenly barges in. Oh God… Meanwhile Warechu is trying to upload pictures to the internet but it’s going to take time because he is only connected to a 56k modem!!!! Holy sh*t!!! I just remembered how old I am!!! Ah… Those modem beeps trying to establish contact still rings fresh in my mind…

With the goddesses gone, Abnes feels this is her chance to bring back Rom and Ram (she considers the rest of the ‘grown ups’ as no hopers) back to the girly ways. However she can’t refuse their offer when they say they want to play Vert’s game. And so Abnes is made into a punching back as the girls do their training on her. Take it all out on her! They could have used the AI but we all know why they want to just beat her up… At the end of the training, IF shows them an uploaded picture of the goddess. If it spreads like wildfire, there is going to be lots of panic and Share Crystals crash. They have to get moving and save their sisters before it happens. Neptune continues with her blind optimism. She might be giving false hopes but it’s better than being gloomy, right? Then they talk about their sisters and how much they love them. It is perhaps they want them to stay that way, the reason they can’t transform. The little sisters arrive on scene and get into action fighting the monsters. But they are too overwhelming and at this rate they will die. Nepgear feels guilty she will cause their deaths and calls out to her sister. She realizes she is once more relying on her and the reason she is scared is because not losing her sister, but becoming stronger than her. But her determination that she wants to become stronger than anyone else in the world and bring her back causes her to make her first transformation. Nepgear kicks ass!

Episode 5
Nepgear destroys all the monsters and they make way to where their sisters are being held. Magiquone’s evil introduction is dampened when Warechu starts fawning over Compa. Magiquone’s intention is to create a world where anybody can be a goddess. In short, she wants to be a goddess, no? She doesn’t mind anybody stronger than her knocking her off the throne if it ever happens. At first she was jealous about the goddesses’ power but not anymore. Because now she has obtained them! Her ability is to copy others so she unleashes the finishing techniques of the other goddesses upon their little sisters. Nepgear takes a beating. Rom and Ram couldn’t bear see this. They hate the baddie so much that they transform. But still no match. Uni continues to hesitate and laments she is the only one who can’t transform. But when she concentrates and clears her mind, she finally transforms. The new goddesses fight back but it seems the drip has accumulated so our trapped goddesses are being swallowed by the darkness. IF has Compa distract that love stricken mouse so that she could tell the goddesses about the bad news? Histoire says that not only Anti-Crystals sever links with their Share Crystals, it will convert them into Anti-Energy, thus killing them. After being totally swallowed, the quartet find themselves in some suspended animation but they manage to unite and resonate with each other. Magiquone is about to send Nepgear to where her sisters are but the latter stands back up and fights back. Because glimmer of lights are shining from within the Anti-Crystal barrier. As the Share Energy is resonating with the little sisters, it disperses the Anti-Crystal. Magiquone flees but they are not going to let her get away. Nepgear kills 2 birds with a stone when she uses her blast to destroy Magiquone and the Anti-Crystal barrier. Learning that their big sisters are doing fine and well, the little ones emotionally reunite with them. Since Vert has no sister, Nepgear also hugs and thanks her. But it’s not the end of the villains yet. Thanks to Warechu, he manages to get away and bring wounded Magiquone along. Some villainy friendship thingy he’s quoting. Yeah, they got time to jab at each other too. Back at Planeptune, though their Share Energy didn’t go down that much, Histoire is still worried that they are still on the declining trend. The other nations too had their decline but they took steps to increase support to recover them so it’s back to square one. Neptune, Nepgear, IF and Compa are having a picnic when suddenly an eager beaver loli, Peashy finds them. Who the heck is she?

Episode 6
Unknown to Noire, somebody is secretly watching her change via hidden camera. Meanwhile, Peashy is currently living with Neptune and co and nothing much is known about her. Peashy is so active and bratty that she forces Neptune to play with her. How to when she is so engrossed in her video game? Cut the cable! Yes, not unplug but cut! Think Neptune can get this brat? Wait till she gets a taste of her super punch. Blanc discusses with Noire that there are traces of security breach in Lastation’s server. Noire doesn’t believe it because the chances are like a person falling from the sky. Speaking of which, here comes Neptune crashing into Noire from the sky!!! Such precision. What was she saying about chances again? The goddesses discuss about the breach and based from Vert’s specialist, they determine the hacker’s whereabouts. Meanwhile Peashy gets acquainted with Ram and Rom and the loli trio run riot with their bandicoot pet, Clutter. Nepgear and Uni test out a hidden camera trick when they suddenly see several different angles from inside the house. They realize there are other hidden cameras too! They try to trace the hacker but see the goddesses flying away. Thinking they’re on the say case, they follow them. The goddesses find the hacker, Anonydeath the drag queen in his hideout. He admits he is Noire’s fan and shows all the pictures he has of her! Embarrassing meter on the rise. Noire tries not to get distracted but Anonydeath shows more pictures of her sewing and cosplay. Wow. A side you never see of Noire. Now into meltdown mode. Anonydeath can’t leave this place because if he does, automatically the pictures will leak to the internet. He thought of keeping it for himself but now the thought of spreading Noire’s cuteness to the world doesn’t seem bad (though it’s just a lie). While the goddesses have to handle the pictures attacking them, Anonydeath makes his escape. He is tackled by Peashy who came chasing Clutter. Man, that loli really packs a punch. Anonydeath somewhat recognizes her but when Uni sees the photos of her sister, she gets angry and transforms to beat him up. With Noire and co coming into the picture, Anonydeath gives up. After he gets arrested, Noire is going to have an uphill battle about those photos. It’s not likely they’re going to forget what they see. When Anonydeath is in prison, he contacts somebody to inform that after all the hacking he has done, he found a certain someone easily through other means. Uni supports Noire’s passion to cosplay but this moment is ruined when a girl comes crashing onto Noire from the sky! Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice? She is Pururut and claims to be the goddess for Planeptune. Eh? What?!

Episode 7
Everyone welcomes Pururut (acting like a retard) and over dinner, Neptune is not amused since her most hated dish eggplants are served. Meanwhile Histoire speaks to her mini counterpart who was responsible in sending Pururut here. They are from another dimension. It seems she has detected a large flow of energy into this dimension. It’s like someone moved it here. It holds so much energy that if they let go, their world would run out of energy to sustain itself. That’s why Pururut is sent to look for that missing thing and bring it back. When IF and Compa are riding out, they are ambushed by Magiquone and Warechu. IF becomes her hostage and her picture is sent to Neptune and co. When IF wakes up, she learns that Magiquone is going to have a revenge. She thinks she can defeat Neptune? Yes. She has bought this large piece of farm land of eggplants!!! Then she forces an eggplant down IF’s throat. I don’t know if this scene is supposed to be erotic or not… When Neptune and co arrive, Neptune is weakened by the smell of eggplants that she loses her goddess form. She might dislike it but can it kill her? Oh yes. Magiquone transforms the eggplants into eggplants with lances on Pegasus? WTF. Nepgear is the only one doing the real job dispatching the eggplants since Neptune is only running away in fear while Pururut is just being useless standing there and getting poke. Magiquone tortures IF by forcing down more eggplants into her throat. That’s when Pururut gets pissed off. Her stomp nearly causes an earthquake and when Magiquone admits IF is her hostage, Pururut transforms into her goddess form (I thought she looked like Accel World’s Black Snow Princess). Man, she is totally a different character because she is a sadist! She enjoys beating up Magiquone! Neptune and Nepgear take care the rest and rescue IF. Magiquone has an ace up her sleeve. She transforms into a giant eggplant! That’s her ace? The rest mock her (and even the pun she put in her name). In an instant, they took her out. So much for that. Meanwhile Compa wakes up beside Warechu on a straw roof. That mouse wants to express her feelings by trying to defile her with a kiss. Unfortunately the mouse is stopped when the sadist arrives to beat him up! Oh sh*t! Mouse abuse! Compa is impressed his body is like rubber. I don’t think that’s the problem. Back home, Neptune finds Pururut terrifying and will next time try to minimize her chances of transforming. More eggplant dinner is served since Peashy requested it. And you thought Neptune had overcome her phobia, eh? Not. But the most traumatic one is IF because she starts screaming at the sight of eggplants. Poor girl… As for Magiquone and Warechu. They’ve decided to give up world domination and harvest their eggplant farm. She has put all her money here and has nowhere else to go. Can you blame her after all that sadistic beating? For the first time, she felt alive.

Episode 8
What’s yours is mine! Why does Peashy always wants Neptune’s pudding? Neptune and Peashy are in another one of their kiddie arguments and it ends up with Peashy running away in tears. The rest sees this and comments on Neptune’s immaturity and big bully. But they have a bigger problem. They have to head to an island called R-18 as it is believed to be housing an artillery battery like as though somebody is getting ready for war. I guess this is your fanservice episode with the goddesses plus Nepgear heading towards the island to do their investigation. Because Blanc and Pururut’s breasts are close to non-existent, can they go in as adults? Apparently the system security doesn’t believe them so Blanc destroys it! There’s your authorization. They are greeted by Linda but she asserts she has turned over a new leaf. She brings them to a famous beach spot where everyone is in the nude!!! Thanks to those shiny light thingy who love to cling around lewd body parts, I guess everybody can boldly do as they please. Neptune, Vert, Pururut and Nepgear start stripping to join in the fun. They try to entice Noire and Blanc but they see through their ploy because those girls used mirage like as though they’ve taken off their swimsuit but are wearing swimsuits underneath those lights. It seems only Nepgear is the one who fell victim to this trick. After some fun at the beach, Linda drugs the drinks and Neptune chugs it down first. Then she starts acting embarrassed. Not the Neptune we use to know! They suspect Linda and true enough it is her. Blanc wanted to give her a piece of her mind but was upstaged by Pururut. Since Linda admits she is a true blue villain, Pururut transforms into a sadist. No turning back. Get ready for hell. I’m sure those who have seen Pururut in her true form would think twice about letting her transform again. After the punishment, Linda has really changed. Wow. She’s now like a robot as she brings them to the artillery battery. Turns out to be a giant bubble maker with everybody discoing and partying. What a let-down. Noire thought she is seeing things when she thought she saw Anonydeath. Meanwhile a woman, Rei Kiseijou enters Neptune’s home to see Peashy, claiming to be her mom. When Histoire goes off to get something, Rei lets Peashy smell something and it turns her under her command. Peashy acknowledges Rei as her mom and wants to go home. When the goddesses return, they are shocked to learn Peashy has left so abruptly without saying goodbye. Not as upset as Neptune because I guess they haven’t settled things between themselves. Rei brings Peashy to Anonydeath. She feels guilty in doing this and starts asking about but he tells her to only do so when there’s a point in hearing the answer.

Episode 9
Neptune and Nepgear have been going out on patrols early every day. Neptune? Doing her job? Yeah. Something is eating her. IF, Compa, Uni, Rom and Com have traced a satellite imagery of Peashy’s whereabouts. They enter a building but there is nobody in but lots of poster and banners with anti-goddesses words. IF and Compa remember being hand out such flyers. Meanwhile Rei laments how she got involved in all this. She hates goddesses and is just a social activist and thinks she is being forced to do them. She wants to leave but Anonydeath tells her she is an accomplice for kidnapping Peashy (undergoing some test). Anonydeath doesn’t know his client’s true identity. All he knows is that they pay well and will get the job done. Neptune seems to be aggressive in killing monsters even if they are not threatening. Pururut doesn’t like Neptune lying to herself. So she fights her as an excuse of wanting to bully her more. In the end, Neptune breaks down and regrets not spending enough time with Peashy. If she had only told her to stay. Pururut offers the comfort in her boobs but she transforms back. I guess Neptune fears the other form so the washboard will do. Nepgear then receives a call from Histoire that a new country has been formed on R-18. The usual goddesses return to R-18 only to be greeted by Anonydeath. He declares this island a new country called Eden. His body in prison is just a double. The goddesses are not amused because they have no goddess or enough Share Energy to defeat them. On the contrary. Suddenly a goddess falls onto Noire! Not again! She is Yellow Heart, Eden’s goddess. Doesn’t she sound familiar? Because the goddess wants to capture Anonydeath, Yellow Heart becomes agitated and fights them. Doesn’t her power punch sound familiar? Despite just swinging her punches around, she doesn’t take any damage and wants to have more fun playing with them. Meanwhile Pururut confronts Rei who dismisses she knows anything about the cannon. Then Pururut transforms… Oh no… Pururut hates lies…Yeah. Rei spilling out everything she’s got. Pururut also hates those who play the victim. Before she could punish Rei, Yellow Heart attacks her. It seems there is somebody who can match up to her power! When the 4 goddesses corner Yellow Heart, they pound her down into the sea. When she emerges, everyone is shocked to learn she is Peashy. She returns to her papa (Anonydeath) and mama (Rei). Even more shocking for Neptune that Peashy tells her to go away and hates those who hurt her parents. Neptune thought Anonydeath has done something to her but he denies and is just a consul. Reintroducing Peashy as Eden’s goddess, he makes Rei read aloud an important announcement. Eden demands permission to export adult goods manufactured here to other countries in unlimited quantities. Otherwise it will be considered a declaration of war. The question is, can the girls risk going to war against Peashy?

Episode 10
Eden’s army is moving towards Planeptune. The other nations can’t help because they have their own problem. Their own citizens are rioting due to some protest of some freedom thingy. This is of course orchestrated by Anonydeath. Nepgear is forced to hold the fort alone and fight Peashy (enjoying the fun of ‘playing’ with ‘bad goddesses’) since Neptune is just stoning in her room. Meanwhile Histoire’s counterpart mentions her world is on the brink of destruction. Peashy is that energy thingy and the reason she recognized Neptune and co was because they looked their counterparts in the other dimension. Whatever. Pururut must bring her back even by force but she isn’t quite happy about this. Neptune gets a call from Noire, a pep talk about sulking but that isn’t even enough to change her. Till Pururut mentions she doesn’t need to and can just stay back and relax, play her usual games. Slacking is cool too? That’s when Pururut realizes she is running away from reality. Before Nepgear gets pounded by Peashy, she is saved by Neptune. This time she will be her plaything. Neptune transforms into her original form and lets Peashy beats her up. She won’t fight back and wants Peashy to remember her. However Peashy asserts she doesn’t know who she is although bits and pieces of her memories are confusing her. Neptune takes a real beating and doesn’t let go of Peashy as the latter continues to whack and whack. Noire and Pururut are at the artillery but their presence is discovered when Linda discovers them. Anonydeath tries to fire the cannons at Noire as she is reduced to just evading them. Thanks to Linda’s info, Pururut is able to find a way in exchange for leaving alone Linda’s chastity. She made the right choice. Noire has also managed to enter the fort by smashing her way in. They wreck the building apart and surprised to see a machine creating Share Energy. This is the source of Eden’s power? Guess what happens when they destroy it? Only one way to find out. Soon all the rioters are snapped out of their brainwash and Peashy returns back to her loli form. Despite her still throwing a tantrum and hating Neptune, Neptune on the other hand loves her and doesn’t mind if she hates her as long as she is here. Things soon return to normal but only Peashy’s memories never returned. On the day Histoire’s counterpart, Pururut and Peashy are to return to their own world, everyone except Neptune sees them off. I guess the heroine always arrives late. Neptune gives Pururut a hug and Peashy a pudding. Right when the portal closes, that’s when Peashy remembers who Neptune is. Bye…

Episode 11
Thanks to the end of Eden’s invasion, Planeptune’s Share Energy skyrockets surpassing many times the other nations. To thank her people, Neptune plans to hold a big time celebration at an amusement park. She even invites the other goddesses to come but they are not thrilled. No mood for celebration. It’s like trying to show off just because your Share Energy increased. They decline her invitation and leave citing their busy schedule. Meanwhile Rei is in prison lamenting her fate. At the amusement park… Oh no… I really totally forgot about her but… That annoying Abnes is back! She is going to reveal the conspiracy this amusement park has since it’s gathering lots of lolis. Too bad when she bumps into Neptune and Nepgear, they don’t remember her and thought she’s a volunteer to help out!!! Neptune then gets a call to meet Blanc. However the latter suddenly attacks her. She accuses Neptune of stealing their Share Energy because coincidentally Lowee’s Share Energy decreases by the same amount that Planeptune increased. Same goes with the other countries too. Neptune doesn’t know anything about this but Blanc doesn’t believe her. Rom and Ram stop the fight so Blanc stands down and warns her if she continues to feign ignorance, she’ll declare war. Noire is called to see Anonydeath in his maximum security cell. Since he had so much time on his hands, he investigated his client and it turns out to be Rei. Wasn’t she jus a social activist who got dragged in? Apparently Rei must be a very good con person and she is more sinister than she looks. Speaking of which, Rei gets engulfed in some dark aura and breaks free from her chains. A floating island rises from within Planeptune’s grounds. When Neptune returns, she confronts Rei in her goddess form. She claims she is the goddess of Tari, an ancient superpower continent believed destroyed long ago. Thing is, it was not destroyed and was waiting for the right time to resurface. Rei wants all the nations and its inhabitants but Neptune sure isn’t going to hand it to her on a silver platter, right? To demonstrate she means business, Rei fires a powerful laser beam at the amusement park. Stupid Abnes wants to save her camera when the rook is collapsing on her! It took Nepgear to save her ass. Think that threat would change Neptune’s mind? It only made her resolved even more to protect her people and kick Rei’s ass.

Episode 12
No matter what Neptune does, she can’t break through the barrier and easily takes on damage. With their Share Energy running low, Nepgear can’t transform to help her sister. When Rei decides to fire on the people, the other goddesses arrive in time to lend a helping hand while 5pb gives moral support to the people. They notice a machine that creates Share Energy at the bottom of the floating island. Their goal now is to destroy it but Rei won’t let them close. They realize that machine is stealing their Share Energy and rendering weak. I guess that’s how the nations’ Share Energy decreased too. The laser beam is close to recharge and this time she really fires it. Thankfully (again) the people are saved by Rom and Ram’s power and Blanc destroys the crystal from underground so that she can’t be hit by the barrier’s lightning. With their Share Energy back, the goddesses and their sisters are going to fight back. Rei reveals her true goal in destroying everything. Tari once cracked down on their citizens who showed discontent. It causes the people to lose faith and Share Energy which led to their downfall. She accuses those people of stealing her nation and now it’s her turn to steal back. Neptune pities her that she never had any friends. Even so, she can’t have their world. Neptune and the rest cooperate to destroy the machine and send the floating island crashing down. But Rei still has enough hatred to blow up half the world. She’s crazy enough to do it. All our goddesses hold hands and show us that with the power of love, they can contain this big blast of hatred. In the aftermath, our goddesses are out but not Rei. She still won’t give up. Here comes an unlikely ally. Magiquone tells her that conquering the world is hers so don’t you dare touch it. I thought she gave up? I guess you can’t put a true villain down. She uses her Anti-Crystal to seal Rei’s power. Rei starts screaming when she loses all her powers and reverts to her shy social activist form. Despite Magiquone still considering the goddesses as her enemies, Neptune is nevertheless grateful and thanks her. Many months later, the Share Energy of the countries has stabilized. It proves their people never lost faith in them. Blanc apologizes to Neptune for accusing and attacking her that day. She doesn’t mind and in fact had fun (oh, really?). That’s why she came up with an idea. After officially opening a tower, Neptune declares the treaty null and void! This is because they don’t need something old anymore as they’re already true friends! I guess this also means they can fight each other fair and square. And right off the bat, the goddesses start engaging in an exhibition match.

Have Faith In Your Games!
It never hit me until somewhere in the middle of the series that the countries are closely taken after the names of real life consoles. You know, Lastation as in Playstation? Then if we have Lowee (Nintendo Wii) and Leanbox (Microsoft Xbox), where is Sega then? By deduction, Sega has got to be Planeptune, right? But it doesn’t rhyme or sound close… I don’t think that Planeptune is made in reference to any Sega consoles and I am pretty sure it is on its own. Well, Sega is actually the distributor and publisher (on a trivial note, the reason why Neptune and Noire are close is because this game was released on Playstation platform. See the connection?). Heck, even those consoles match the coloured hearts they were assigned to. At least that’s what I think that black goes well with Playstation, green for Xbox and the whiteness that is the Wii. So is Sega purple? I would have chosen blue due to a certain hedgehog :). Then we have the old continent called Tari which is of course from that old game system of Atari (anyone old enough to remember that?). I guess with Rei trying to revive it and failed, it shows that this console is never coming back.

Then what about Eden? I don’t know if it’s in reference to Smartphones or iOS apps since these mobile devices are now the in-thing for games. Yeah. I don’t even own one of those cool Apple iPods or iPads or Tablets and whatever gadgets young people love stuffing their faces into these days. Or maybe it’s PC. Don’t count computers out when it comes to gaming consoles too. Hmm… This is by a long shot but I think Neptune and Planeptune or Neptunia is in reference to that Sega Saturn console. You know, the planets? Yeah. That. I don’t know how many other game references they made in this anime since I’m not an avid gamer but it made me wonder if this show is filled with them because of Rei’s Pong Laser. Remember Pong, anyone? Those hair accessories on Neptune’s head, don’t they remind us of the gamepad controller’s buttons? I wonder if you can press and enter some cheat code on them… I may be wrong but I think Anonydeath reminds me of Metroid Prime. And Clutter, doesn’t that feel like a resemblance to Playstation’s mascot, Crash Bandicoot? I’m sure that with this game and anime taking place in the gaming world, there must be lots of other references and resemblances to gaming stuff that they are taken after which I’m not aware of since I’m not an avid gamer now and then.

Anyway back to the anime. Overall, I think everything is rather okay (my typical answer for almost every series when I can’t determine it is super good or terrible bad and somewhere in the middle). I didn’t play the game nor did I start falling in love with it that made me want to try my hands on this. The characters are rather fun themselves with most of them having their own peculiar behaviour that will have us remember them for a while. Like our main heroine Neptune who is more of a carefree and energetic fun loving goddess in her other form. Best slacker in town. The kind that you would never see take things seriously or shoulder serious responsibility. It’s like she is some sort of Jekyll and Hyde. Different personalities like day and night. Like her other goddess counterparts, once they transform into their goddess form, they become different than their original girly form. Okay, so Blanc and Noire aren’t very much different but you get the point. When it comes to protecting their friends and people, they don’t goof around (otherwise, fun seems to be the norm for Neptune). Having people believe in you is a serious matter and it’s only right that you reciprocate their trust.

Another Jekyll and Hyde character is Pururut and it is obvious. On one hand she seems to be an even greater slacker than Neptune. She’s got that sleepy and dreamy look on her face that makes you want to assume that she’s a retard. That by far is already her safest form and you better wish she stays like this otherwise her sadistic nature could send you traumatized even in the afterlife. If that’s the case, I can imagine what kind of believers she has. Yeah. The masochist kind. Is it a wonder why she is the goddess of Planeptune of another dimension? It’s a good thing they’ve gone back to their own world. Who knows what will happen if she stayed longer and perhaps would have turned this world upside down. Most annoying character goes to Peashy because of her bratty behaviour but then again, that’s Peashy for you. She’s only a kid. It’s a love-hate relationship between her and Neptune. Maybe it’s their way of loving each other. To annoy the hell out of each other! You don’t know what you’re missing till the other is gone, no? Oh wait… I take that back about Peashy being the most annoying. That title goes to Abnes! Hah. I almost forgot about her. I don’t know what happened to her that she has to make it her personal mission to save little girls from goddesses but from the way I see it, she is more annoying than helpful in any sense. Has she ever thought that little girls like Ram and Rom will grow up? If that happens, will her obsession of ‘saving’ them be abandoned? The sisters of the other goddesses too are trying to step out from their sister’s shadow and walk their own path. Though I feel the part where they all finally transformed into their goddess form during Magiquone’s ambush felt rather rushed.

I think this is just highly speculation because I think villains can change for the better and turn over a new leaf if they come into contact by Pururut! See how Magiquone, Warechu and Linda were tremendously changed after their fated meeting with the sadist? Magiquone may still be putting up her tough villain act in the end and issuing villainous-like statement. Ultimately her hand in helping take down Rei is just as good as her siding with the goddesses, right? I’m still boggled how she became a goddess. Is there some sort of device like the Share Energy machine that can turn you into one? And after her defeat, is she still considered a goddess or have such powers? Well, maybe her statement of making a comeback to take over the world one day isn’t just empty talk. Assuming that her eggplant farm isn’t profitable in the long run! Haha! Also, has Warechu given up on Compa after being abused by Pururut? Because it made him realize he’ll never be good enough for her :\.Now that the threat of Tari and Rei has subsided, did the goddesses take preventive measures so that it won’t happen again? Since we didn’t see what happen to her, I assume that it will be safe since Rei is a pretty remorseful person in her social activist form. I can imagine what will happen if Pururut actually admonished her punishment on her. Even more remorseful? I think Anonydeath will even turn straight if that happens.

Talking about the action part, each goddess possesses their own unique fighting skills and fancily termed as well. Not that I can remember them anyway. It packs quite a power punch but I suppose to fully appreciate or understand the impact of their fighting abilities, you have to play the game where I believe their repertoire is much expanded. I appreciate the comedy parts better since there are some really funny moments. I think some of those funny moments are purposely made into a running joke but not as frequent that it will annoy you. Like for instance, goddesses keep falling and landing on Noire. It’s like she is some sort of beacon that signals to goddesses falling from the sky, “Hey! I’m over here! Land on me!”, kind of thingy. A homing device? Then there’s the part where Peashy always gives Neptune her super punch and you’ll see that incredulous expression on the latter’s face. My favourite comical bit is the next episode preview. Not so much of what is coming in the next episode (there is none, and just next episode’s title), but the blooper scene which happens to be one of the short scenes in that episode. They replay it again but twist it with a funnier outcome. For example, when IF showed the girls the goddesses’ lewd positions being uploaded onto the internet, she accidentally showed them of sexy Compa sleeping in her lingerie. Or when Uni transformed into her goddess form, the little sister goddesses are in awe because her boobs turned small just like them. Or when Rei is about to read the announcement of Eden’s war declaration, she read out her erotic novel instead. Oh, what about the time when Neptune is about to crash into Noire but misses and creates a hole in the ground instead. Homing device off? Before Pururut left, she gave Nepgear a doll resembling her. In this twisted version, she gave one that resembled a blockhead robot. Nepgear is forced to take and treasure it because Pururut is giving her that sadistic stare…

When the goddesses transform, of course their tight and almost revealing outfit seems to be for fanservice bits and despite them looking more ferocious than their original form, I just can’t help eel that their design in the goddess form resembles somewhat closely to those little characters in Busou Shinki. Just without those hideous joint lines on the arms and legs. Speaking of fanservice, there is a handful but not something you should look forward to. With Vert having the biggest bust among the goddesses, I guess it is something she really holds proud of because when Peashy turned into her goddess form with an equally big bust, it seems Vert’s ‘unique’ existence is threatened. Unless you tell me her followers believe in her because of her big boobs and just because some other goddess can match those racks, she is worried that she would lose some Share Energy? Or maybe it’s just her pride of having the biggest. In the initial episodes, Compa or Nepgear was set to become the fanservice girl because of how she frequently accidentally gets into fanservice scenes like those slime dogs and such. Whatever happened to that subsequently? And that R-18 beach feels like a rip-off! I wonder if those lewd loving shiny lights will be taken out in the DVDs and thus a change in the scene and dialogue. Maybe just enough for the required tits dose and make you a little happy. Then there are those transformation scenes into goddess mode although not every character who turns into goddess like Peashy or Rei has a lengthy transformation-cum-fanservice scene.

One plus point of this series I consider is the voice acting part. This series has tons of famous seiyuus lending their roles. But the most intriguing and ‘unbelievable’ one is Rie Tanaka as Neptune. I couldn’t really believe it is her voice behind the pitchy lively voice. At first I thought they used another seiyuu for this Neptune but it is the same person. I still couldn’t believe it. After hearing Rie Tanaka as Maria from Hayate No Gotoku and Suigin Tou of Rozen Maiden, I truly find it hard to believe that it is her voice behind Neptune. I cannot imagine it is her! Really. It is only when she transforms to her goddess form then her voice is back to familiar territory. That is the Rie Tanaka I know. But little Neptune? Really cannot imagine this is really her. Maybe it goes back to the days in Chobits but even so, that character wasn’t really talkative. But still, hats off to her for portraying very different versions of Neptune. Many of the other seiyuus show the flexibility in their voice acting role, especially those characters that can transform into their goddess form. Kana Hanazawa as Pururut, it really brings back memories of her retard or slow characters like Karuta from Inu x Boku SS. Then come to her goddess form, she sounds more dominant and sadistic. Just what I imagine her like Mahiru in Kamisama Dolls. Kana Asumi as Blanc although didn’t portray her joker voice as I love so much, in her original form, Blanc sounds more like the unmotivated Sasami from Sasami-san@Ganbaranai while in her goddess form, there is this feeling of danger just like Madoka in Inu To Hasami Tsukaiyou. Either way, she’s a serious character and no joker parts about that.

Yu Kobayashi as Rei, I thought I would never hear her in her crazy voice since her limited appearance was just confined to that social activist form. She sounds so shy like as though her voice cannot come out. And when she transforms, it’s back to familiar territory. Going crazy, screaming her head off just like many of her wild characters she portrays (think Kaere of Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei). That’s the Yu Kobayashi I know. Aoi Yuuki still has that little girl’s voice and as Peashy she really makes her character sound bratty and at the same time having so much fun. Just think of Senki Zesshou Symphogear’s Hibiki gone wild or reverting to her childish nature. Ironically, Neeko (whose only other major voice acting role was Reborn in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn) who is the voice of Warechu, voices a mouse when her pen name means a cat… The rest of the other star-studded casts that I recognize include Eri Kitamura as Uni (Rin in Kodomo No Jikan), Yui Horie as Nepgear (Kotori in Da Capo), Kana Ueda as IF (Rin in Fate/Stay Night) and Yui Ogura as Rom (Hinata in Ro-Kyu-Bu – if there are any lolis that you need cute voices, this is the girl you go to). Barely recognizing their seiyuus include Rina Satou as Vert (Haruka in Minami-ke series) and Mika Kanai as Histoire (Vanilla/Nomad in Galaxy Angel series).

The rest of the line-up includes Asami Imai as Noire (Chelsea in Shukufuku No Campanella), Chiaki Takahashi as Magiquone (Nanami in School Days), Yuuki Fujiwara as Anonydeath (Belphegor in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Kanako Sakai as Compa (Kikuri in Jigoku Shoujo), Kaori Ishihara as Ram (Konoe in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru), Yui Shoji as Abnes (Nina in Mamotte Lollipop), Junko Minagawa as Linda (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis) and songstress Nao doing her voice acting debut as 5pb. The opening theme is your typical lively anime pop, Dimension Tripper by Nao. I thought being the in-anime idol, she would sing the rest of the songs but apparently the ending themes are sung by other groups. The main ending theme is Neptune Sagashite by Afilia Saga, another lively girl group anime pop tune with the potential of turning this song into a dance machine especially with that infectious pop synthesizer in the background. This group also sings the special ending for episode 10, Ito. A slow parting song needs to befit a farewell scene, right? If you’re too absorbed into this song, you might feel you want to just cry. I didn’t. The other ending theme is Go Love&Peace by Ayane, a moderate anime pop piece.

Well, games are supposed to be fun and relaxing so what is the point of stressing out yourself or vent your frustration at a game when you clearly aren’t supposed to? So the point is as shown in this anime, despite the different countries/consoles and the many different followers/believers, everyone is unique in their own sense and can still come together to have lots of fun. No point outdoing each other or even destroying the entire world because where would the fun be when you don’t even have a place or something to have fun with. But don’t spend too much time having fun because you won’t get anything done. I suppose it is true that a game would last longer and for eternity if they have memorable characters (aside the plot, graphics or gameplay, which don’t amount to anything if you don’t have noteworthy characters to begin with). It’s a reason why a certain moustachioed plumber and a blue speedy hedgehog or even that yellow pallet gobbling circle remains relevant and ever popular these days. They could be even more if they’re personified as girls. Let anime show them how it’s done! Or just think Lara Croft. That would sure bring in the believers in no time. But I’d definitely be a firm believer if a console goddess would be a maid…

Arabian Niiiiiiights. Like Arabian Daaaaaaays. Yeah well. Leave it to anime to turn the Arabian stories into anime adaptation. And thus we have Magi: The Magic Of Labyrinth based on the Arabian theme and adventures. You’re going to hear familiar characters from such stories but don’t think of it as one giant mish-mash of characters in some twisted messed up story. Nothing like Shrek or even Ookami-san to Shichinin No Nakama-tachi. We’ve got a good mix of action, adventure, fantasy and a little bit of comedy in this series. Story wise it may offer nothing new because it is mainly about a boy who finds himself being thrown into fate as he takes up the responsibility of becoming a hero, a typical eternal battle of good versus evil conflict just to keep the world balance in check. And yeah. What are such stories without magic too?

Episode 1
Aladdin talks to giant blue genie, Ugo. He wants to know about himself. Ugo can grant him a single wish and turn it into reality. In the city of Qishan, Alibaba works as a cart driver and is appalled to see Aladdin eating up his watermelons which are supposed to be delivered, like nobody’s business. Who is going to pay for it? Imagine if his fat boss, Budel finds out. Oops. Too late. What’s more, Aladdin can even fondle Budel’s man boobs! WTF?! Alibaba isn’t pleased that Aladdin starts staying with him. He tells the kid of his dream to conquer a Dungeon. Mysterious historical structures that started appearing all over the world 14 years ago and those who conquer it are promised riches and wealth for life. Well, so far those who have ventured in never returned out alive. They bump into slave girl, Morgiana who accidentally dropped her basket of lemons she is delivering. Aladdin didn’t care about that slave explanation and frees her shackles via his golden flute. Morgiana is a slave who belongs to Budel and he warns the crime of freeing one. If Alibaba can’t pay his share back, he will have to by becoming a slave. And a slave’s life is hard. Aladdin isn’t paying attention to what this fat ass is saying and wants him to stop mistreating Morgiana. Because Budel threatens his guards to kill him, Aladdin blows his flute and a pair of giant hands emerges to smack them! Before the commotion gets out of hand, Alibaba takes him and run. He realizes the flute is a legendary djinn vessel and Aladdin might be his ticket to clear a Dungeon. So Alibaba tries to be friendly and persuade Aladdin to come on an adventure with him. He can enjoy food and women all he wants if they clear a Dungeon. I guess the kid has some spare time and agrees to go with him. Budel isn’t pleased to see them having fun and if they have this much time to frolic around, might as well pay him back. Alibaba asserts he is going to clear a Dungeon and pay him back in full. However Budel laughs it off and gives him a choice. Get arrested now to work as his slave for life or deliver the finest grape wine of Qishan’s Lord Jamil to a neighbouring city. What will it be? Isn’t it obvious?

And so Alibaba has to put his Dungeon adventure on hold as he reluctantly drives the cart of fine wines out of Qishan. Accompanying them is a group of slaves to be sold including Morgiana. While Budel is stuffing himself, he badmouths the slaves but Alibaba has no choice but to hold his anger in. Aladdin knows Alibaba is putting a fake façade and tells him if he keeps lying, eventually he himself won’t trust his own words. Along the way, the desert ground starts to cave in because of a desert hyacinth attack. The caravan containing the slaves is hanging on the ledge and a little girl, Mina is hanging on for her life via Morgiana’s hand. Alibaba tries to save her but Budel is more interested to save his wines. Because of that, Mina and Morgiana fall into the pit and are going to be devoured. Alibaba couldn’t stand this anymore and punches Budel. He dives down to try and save them. Aladdin seeing this, summons Ugo from his flute (just lacking a head?) to keep the hyacinth’s mouth open. Alibaba is able to pull out the girls but gets trapped himself. Aladdin turns his turban into a magic carpet to throw all the wine into the hyacinth, making it drunk and thus easier to save Alibaba. Aladdin is amazed by Alibaba’s bravery and wants him to teach him about things that money and wine can’t buy. Minna is tearfully reunited with her mother and Aladdin has one request of Alibaba: Be his friend. This is the same request he told Ugo. They fly away on a magic carpet to go on an adventure, leaving Budel to rue his losses.

Episode 2
Alibaba and Aladdin are standing before a Dungeon’s entrance, right smack in the middle of Qishan. This is it. Once you step in, there’s no turning back. Because Aladdin was dozing off, he pushed them into the entrance. Now there’s no turning back. When they wake up somewhere inside, they have to be quick on their feet or else the flames would have burnt them alive in a few seconds as they were lying in oil. Meanwhile, Jamil prepares to enter the Dungeon and has brought all his slaves. Aladdin and Alibaba by the skin of their teeth manage to dodge danger after danger. Aladdin is hungry because he has used too much power to summon Ugo. That’s why he’s a glutton. Just great. Now they have to fend off giant green ants. When it combines to become some alien monster, Aladdin uses all his strength left to summon Ugo for a big monster battle. They are victorious but it leaves Aladdin very tired and unconscious. As Aladdin rests alongside him, he is shocked to see Jamil has found them. He and his slaves, Morgiana and Goltas. Jamil ignores him while claiming he has found Aladdin the Magi after these long years. Since Alibaba is annoying, Jamil orders Goltas to kill him but Alibaba is able to dodge. For that failure, Jamil abuses this Jason-like guy. Jamil offers Alibaba to work for him. He brought tons of slaves but all of them died and left these 2 due to the traps. When they arrive at a fire puzzle, Alibaba uses his knowledge to translate an ancient Toran language to pass it. However as he switches off the flames to let the rest pass, he gets burnt.

When Aladdin wakes up, he wonders where his friend is so Jamil explains he died and introduces his slaves: Goltas the big and powerful but unable to speak and Morgiana who has powerful legs and hails from a hunter tribe of a Dark Continent. As Jamil takes Goltas forward, he orders Morgiana to watch Aladdin. Aladdin tries funny faces to make her laugh and succeeds in one. He thinks she is pretty when she smiles but wonders if it is because she is from that continent that makes her unable to do so. She describes her beautiful homeland and Aladdin expresses his intention to visit it. However she can’t take him there because she is a slave. Aladdin can cut her shackles again but she reminds him Jamil is a very scary person. He has more chains around you than you think. Alibaba surprises them when he is still alive. At the same time, Jamil runs back like a coward to plead for Aladdin to use his magic and take care of the monster in which Goltas is having his hands full. Alibaba explains how he tricked Jamil about the translation as it allowed him through some secret passage to find the right path. Alibaba and Aladdin fly away. Aladdin hopes they can see the sun together once Morgiana’s chains are broken. For that moment, she dreamt of being free but was ordered to rein the duo in. Using her powerful legs to jump, it is not enough to catch them. Her failure means more kicking abuse from Jamil. The duo are before a door that seemingly needs 2 people to open (because there are two right handprints). Pressing their palm on it, the scenery changes and it’s like they have an aerial view of Qishan although they are still technically in the Dungeon.

Episode 3
They don’t see anybody down below so Aladdin thinks this is Necropolis, outside the Room of Fortitude spreads Necropolis, the city of the dead. Entering the main room and wondering if this is the end, suddenly Goltas stumbles down dead. I suppose after all that stabbing from cruel Jamil finally killed him. Jamil blames everybody except himself. Jamil faces off with Alibaba and thinks his swordplay is superior. Think again. Alibaba easily overpowers him. Even so, Jamil cheats by having Morgiana spring an attack on his behalf and to his rescue. Alibaba tries to persuade Morgiana to decide by herself. Rank and status mean nothing in the Dungeon and she can be free. She doesn’t listen and gives him a good kick. Jamil then wants Morgiana to kill him. She is not a killer so she starts hesitating in fear. Before she could plunge the sword, Aladdin’s magic breaks it. He wants back his flute which is in Jamil’s possession. Since he is doing this the hard way, Aladdin uses more magic to pin down Morgiana. Jamil is awed at his power and remembers the prophecy of what his ex-master once told him. He said Dungeons will shortly appear and in 10 years, a boy will also appear. Jamil gives back the flute and wonders if Aladdin is going to make him king as prophesized. It is the reason why he used people, laid down the rules and turned Qishan into a prosperous city. Aladdin doesn’t know what he is talking about but he knows he isn’t that great to be king.

A huge genie appears, Amon. Ugo materializes to explain the situation. I don’t know how he does it via body language since he lacks a head. Amon declares this Dungeon cleared by Alibaba and Aladdin. Although this is Amon and Aladdin’s first meeting, Amon knows of him a long time ago. Explaining that a Magi is someone who chooses the king. They are to test, guide and train that person and are also the beloved spirit of Solomon. Before he could finish explaining, the place starts crumbling. Amon senses someone trying to seal off this place so they better get out. Alibaba takes all the gold and riches he can. Morgiana is in a dilemma to stay by Jamil’s side. Goltas shocks everyone by getting up. Even more shocking, he speaks. He tells Morgiana to leave and return to her homeland. He can’t allow Jamil to leave this place and he himself has done lots of bad things. After cutting Morgiana’s shackles, Goltas takes Jamil to their death (Jamil reduced to a senile). Amon prepares to fly the survivors out as the Dungeon crumbles down to earth. Amon attaches himself to Alibaba’s knife. Judal, another Magi is the one responsible for crumbling this Dungeon. He is with Jamil’s ex-master. Alibaba plans of starting his own business in Sindria with his treasures. That country is where his hero Sinbad is. Before that, he plans to stop at Balbadd to take care of things. Alibaba thanks Aladdin for without his help, he couldn’t have cleared this Dungeon and views himself a coward. Aladdin disagrees. He never gets mad when people mocked him but when someone else’s life was made fun, he didn’t hesitate to risk his own to save others. Therefore he is a brave person. Aladdin thinks very highly of him so Alibaba wants to go on more adventures with him. At the end of the ride, the trio are dispersed. Only Alibaba is left sitting in the crater of where the Dungeon once sat. Everyone is impressed he cleared it.

Episode 4
Alibaba is living the luxurious life. He’s got everything he wanted. Even Budel is working under him (since all his debts are cleared). He gets a surprised visit from Morgiana who is grateful for freeing all the slaves. She will be leaving for her homeland too so Alibaba needs to decide quickly. He goes off to find Aladdin. Aladdin wakes up in a tent and next to him is Elder Baba of the Kouga tribe. Seems like him, she can see those glowing butterflies called Rukh. It is the home of the soul and where all living things that have passed shall return to. If the body returns to earth, the soul returns to Rukh. After meeting the other people of the clan, Aladdin learns he is very far from Qishan. About 2 years by foot! Or just 2 weeks by caravan. He wants to go back there as he made a promise with a friend. But for the time being, he stays here and is warmly welcomed. He learns this small clan treats each other as a big family. This makes Aladdin wonder why he doesn’t have one. He remembers he was told he is a singularity. Next day, the third daughter of the first Kou emperor, Hakuei Ren along with her consorts, Seishun Ri and Ryosai meet with Kouga clan to propose that their clan come under their empire because they want to unite the land. Of course they disagree since they have their own pride. Kouga’s Touya treats them to horse milk but Ryosai abuses her, not wanting to give lowly milk to their princess. He continues to impose himself and declare this clan is under their empire. Dolge is going to kill him but Seishun blocks his sword attack and warns killing this man means a declaration of war. Both sides step down for now. Back at the camp, Ryosai doesn’t understand why Hakuei let a perfect chance to rid Kouga slip. She is trying to think about their future and will come up with a plan.

Late that night, Aladdin visits Hakuei. If she plans to take over the village, he wants her to stop because it will make Baba sad. Hakuei promises no one will die and wants to unify the world where needless deaths are done away. Seeing her Rukh, Aladdin believes her. When he returns to the village, he sees a commotion. The Kouga guys are heading out in rage. Their women have been kidnapped. Baba warns them not to kill a single one of them or there will be war. Kouga’s excellent horse riding skills has them catching up in no time. But can Dolge hold back his anger not to kill Ryosai? At the same time, Aladdin talks to Baba about Magi. A long time ago when there were no countries and chaos was everywhere, a young man appeared before the people to come together under a king. His power is gained by overcoming the trials of a tower. Many tried but all failed to return. Till one successfully did and he became king. A country was formed and peace reigned. The people greatly respected that mysterious young man who gave them that prophecy and called him Magi. But right now Baba considers Aladdin as her child. Does he have any friends? Alibaba and Ugo. Then they are his friends. Aladdin says he has met Hakuei and assures there will be no war. The Kouga men return victorious in bringing back the women and did not kill a single Kou soldier. Baba declares they will surrender themselves to Kou. It isn’t about their clan or pride. Their lives are more important and no matter what happens, they must not choose war. Wage war in their hearts to live on as a family instead. Everyone sits around the campfire that night and when Baba goes to sit by herself, she is shot by an arrow.

Episode 5
While Baba is being treated, a Kou soldier reports that one of their soldiers have been attacked by an arrow believed to be from Kouga. Hakuei wants to head to Kouga to confirm and Ryosai wants her to leave the army in his hands in her absence. Of course this is part of Ryosai’s plan. He has set up everything and even Hakuei’s death. He loves war. The men of Kouga are filled with rage. They are prepared to go to war. Hakuei and Seishun are cornered in a valley. She wants to discuss but a Kouga man cuts her as warning. They are shock that she didn’t evade. It is proof she has no intention to attack and only wants to talk. Baba is strong enough to be on scene to tell off her men for such shameful action. And they call themselves Kouga. They must not lose sight of what is important. Baba kneels down and accepts their clan’s jurisdiction under Kou. Kouga holds in their pride and drops their weapons to bow before the princess. Alibaba notes he didn’t have to do anything. The people took their own initiative and courage to guarantee their future. But soon, Baba lies on her deathbed and her family are weeping. Aladdin could see Baba’s spirit nearby and talks to her. Now that she is in this form, she understands Aladdin better. Because Rukh is made up of souls, Aladdin is one loved by the Rukh and able to borrow its powers. He is Magi, one who guides and creates their world. That’s why he will never be alone and Baba will always be by his side.

When Hakuei returns, she sees Ryosai commanding the army. Although she mentions Kouga has come under them via peaceful negotiations, Ryosai believes his version of the story will go like this: Hakuei was brutally murdered by Kouga and Ryosai commanded the army to seek revenge and destroy them. Ryosai adds that if Hakuei had not been in the picture, he could’ve been chosen to lead this army. That sounds like plain jealousy, no? Seishun holds off the army to give Hakuei time to use her power (did she transform into some magical girl?). However there is a limit on to how much power she can use. Ryosai has no qualms in sacrificing his men so Hakuei had to save them, using up more of her powers. Ryosai is about to kill Hakuei when a big explosion wipes out most of the army. Ugo smacks Ryosai away. I think all his bones broke. Aladdin touches Hakuei’s fan, the source of her power. Out comes another blue genie Paimon. She has this penchant of poking Ugo’s nipples? Paimon doesn’t care about the world’ situation as Ugo explained because all she cares about is to support Hakuei as her king candidate who was chosen by the Magi of Kou Empire. Judal sees Hakuryuu, Hakuei’s brother and wants him to go clear a Dungeon to become emperor just like how his sister did. Aladdin learns a Magi’s duty is to choose a king and it seems he hasn’t yet but he has a person in mind. Paimon made her contract with Hakuei when she cleared the Dungeon. Before Aladdin parts with the Kouga people, he learns Goltas was from them (it is a common name among their people). They thank Aladdin for this coincidental meeting but he knows it wasn’t. Remembering Ugo once told him to travel the world to discover himself, on his journey he will meet many people and ultimately himself.

Episode 6
Morgiana joins a travelling caravan and is grateful to Leila and Sahsa for picking her up. Morgiana still has nightmares about being a slave (especially how Jamil abuses her even when he was a kid). The shackle marks on her feet are a grim reminder and aren’t wearing off any time soon. Their journey to Balbadd is put on hold because the only road to it is occupied by lawless bandits. The caravan leader wants to avoid taking that path because many of his caravan friends have lost their belongings and lives travelling there. Morgiana thinks if the bandits are wiped out, they can continue travelling. So she goes there by herself to tell them to leave. Big bad men don’t believe little girl. Wait till they get a taste of her kick. She beats them all up singlehandedly and an effeminate slave trader, Fatima is impressed. He knows she is from the powerful Fanalis tribe and wants her. He uses his eagle whose claws are laced with poison to scratch her skin and knock her out. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a cell along with a little girl, Nadja. Because she is wondering about their fate, she tells the truth that they will become slaves for the rest of their lives. Nadja starts crying and Morgiana feels bad. She too was once scared like her when she was sold off as a slave. Morgiana comforts her and promises to save her. Nadja comes down with fever so Morgiana seeks Fatima’s help for treatment. However Fatima is going to let Nadja be food for the hyenas. Lowly slaves don’t deserve any treatment.

Morgiana is devastated and she can’t break her shackles. Her fear that she can never be free compounded of trauma from Jamil made her weak. She sees a vision of Goltas. He is appalled this is the extent of her power since she can’t even break a pair of leg shackle. She should have already been freed and no longer a slave. There is nothing left tying her down except her fear and past. And those ‘chains’ are easily broken with a blade of courage. Because there is nothing in this world that can chain her down. Morgiana draws her strength and uses her superb leg power to break free. Her howling scares away the hyenas as she frees Nadja. Fatima releases giant white tigers but they too are no match for Morgiana’s speed and power! I think she’s on par with a Super Saiyan! She corners Fatima after all the beasts are defeated. She doesn’t kill him but wants keys to the slaves’ cell. She frees all the slaves and Nadja is reunited with her parents. Morgiana is surprised to see Aladdin among the slaves. A huge rock fell on the caravan he was travelling with and the next thing he knew, he is tied up here. The caravan leader along with his other caravan friends, as well as Leila and Sahsa are charging towards the area. They see Ugo wrecking havoc. But Sahsa knows this djinn is on their side. Seems Sahsa and Aladdin knew each other. They met right before Aladdin encountered Alibaba. Now that the path to Balbadd is free, Aladdin invites Morgiana to join him to travel together.

Episode 7
Sinbad reeks of alcohol and falls asleep. Due to his carelessness, he gets robed. Everything. His clothes, his jewellery. Because of that, you can’t blame Aladdin and Morgiana thinking they’ve met some flasher on their journey. He’s a pretty nice guy once you get to know him. Sinbad borrows Aladdin’s little clothes (it really looks out of place) and he points out over the hill is Balbadd. The kids are amazed at this flourishing city as Sinbad explains some of its history. Although there is some upheaval since the previous king’s death, Balbadd is still a safe place to be. He takes them back to his luxurious hotel where he is staying and will pay for their room but is stopped by the guards thinking he is some sort of weirdo. In that dress? Of course he would be mistaken. It took him his underlings, Jafar and Masrur to quell the misunderstanding. Jafar is not happy that he lost everything. Even the important tools that makes him the king of Sindria. Alibaba asks if there is a ship for Morgiana to the Dark Continent. She apologizes it is rare. Her explanation is similar as follows. At the same time Sinbad sees the Balbadd king, Ahbmad and wants to reopen trade with Sindria. However he declines. Because this city is usually covered in fog, a group of thieves called Fog Troupe equipped with strange magic has been appearing. Although they rob and cause chaos, they only take from the rich and then give to the poor. Chivalry thieves? They are popular among the people and considered as heroes. Riots and upheavals have gotten worse ever since a new guy took over the Fog Troupe’s helm: Alibaba. Aladdin thinks he couldn’t be his friend and just coincidence. Ahbmad still won’t reopen trade with Sindria and find his own solution so Sinbad will take out those thieves himself if that’s the case. However Ahbmad notes even if he is successful, he won’t reopen trade due to some order from Kou Empire. Besides, it will do them some good too with those thieves being rid of.

Later Sinbad properly introduces his introduces his underlings to Aladdin and Morgiana and mentions Masrur is also a Fanalis because they have the same eyes. Because Aladdin shows them Ugo, Sinbad is surprised he is a Magi. But Aladdin doesn’t know who he is. Doesn’t he recognize the guy who conquered 7 dungeons, its 7 djinns and the 7 seas? Apparently not. Ironically it is Sinbad who explains what a Magi is to that kid. Only a Magi can produce enough Magoi to summon a djinn for extended periods. Magoi is the energy produced by Rukh and can be used endlessly by a Magi. He invites them to capture Fog Troupe with him. They agree because Aladdin wants to see his friend again and Morgiana set sail back to Dark Continent. Due to sympathizers of Fog Troupe inside the government, Jafar has got his hands on some information on where Fog Troupe will strike next. Either the mansion of a wealthy merchant Aljaris or noble Haldhub. They wonder if they’re doing the right thing since the thieves are loved by the people so capturing them may not seem wise. Sinbad believes that they are just using what they deem chivalrous to justify their act. They split into groups to guard the mansions. Sinbad and Masrur encounter a group of poor slum people who are struggling and fighting for food. The arrogant merchant throws some food but Sinbad stops the woman who needs food for her baby badly. He tells everyone they don’t need to do this. Because nobles’ wealth come from their taxes, if they don’t like it they should take it back but don’t take their lives. They agree and leave. Masrur wonders if he is doing the right thing and he replies they only agreed to capture the Fog Troupe. A mysterious red mist is causing illusions for the guards over at Aladdin’s end. Zaynab’s Sword of Phantasmal Scarlet is responsible for that while Hassan uses his Sword Corroding Golden Fog to easily rip open a brick wall. Before the thieves could start stealing, Jafar restrains some of them with his strings but is restrained by Kassim’s Sword of Shackling Ebon Fog. Morgiana starts kicking but also meets the same fate. Aladdin summons Ugo when the bandit leader arrives. He unmasks himself and Aladdin is shocked to see Alibaba. It can’t be. Can it?

Episode 8
Aladdin is shocked he is really Alibaba. He wonders if he still remembers their promise about adventuring around the world. Alibaba apologizes he can’t keep that promise. With the guards coming in, Alibaba summons Amon to whisk them away. Kassim recruits a band of brother thieves (the ones who stole from Sinbad) but Alibaba warns them they are chivalrous thieves and if they steal for their own gains, they will die. When Alibaba returns to his chambers, he is surprised to see Morgiana. Because he won’t explain himself, she kidnaps him and takes him back to Alibaba. Jafar reports to Sinbad that Ahbmad has fallen under Kou’s influence since he married a Kou princess. Because Kou is enforcing their paper money in their territories, it is a reason Balbadd’s economy is now in a terrible state. Aladdin is depressed in his room when Morgiana throws Alibaba in. Morgiana forces him to explain himself because of his act, trade has stopped, the government has abandoned its people who in turn are being forced into slavery. Alibaba reveals Kassim is the real leader of the Fog Troupe. The flashback begins. Alibaba and Kassim were childhood friends and grew up in the slums. They were poor but had lots of fun together. Although Alibaba’s mother, Anise is a prostitute, she was kind. Unlike Kassim’s father who is abusive and a drunkard. One day he left the slums and Anise took Kassim and his sister Mariam in as her own children. Happy days didn’t last when Anise died of an illness. Kassim vowed to protect them all and the kids start working hard in the slums for survival. It was not long before Kassim mixed with bad company and resorted to thievery.

One day the kind visited the slums and claimed Kassim as his son and wants him to live in the palace. Anise was one of his maids. Alibaba told Kassim about this and thought he would stop him but was upset he was told to just go. They ended up fighting and Alibaba left for the palace. For 3 years, Alibaba lived the life of a royalty and has undergone harsh lessons. Till one night he snuck out from the palace to visit his old slums but is shocked to see it cleared for redevelopment. He met Kassim there and just like nostalgic old times, they go out for a drink and catch up. Little did he know this was the start of his nightmare. After several rounds of drinks, Kassim wanted to know how he got out of the palace since he was always ‘trapped’ like a bird in a cage. Alibaba reminded him of his childhood skill of digging tunnels. Alibaba is even happier when he was told Kassim’s cold act then was his way of looking out for him. He didn’t realize one of his men followed him back to the palace. Shortly, the king lies on his deathbed. He wants Alibaba to lead the country seeing Ahbmad is lazy and is easily influenced. Alibaba wanted to know his feelings for Anise. Despite they couldn’t be together, he loved her. Alibaba was happy. He then goes to see the commotion outside and is shocked to see Kassim and his men raiding the palace treasury. They came in via one of Alibaba’s tunnels. Alibaba was knocked out but was ordered not to be killed. He was then tied up and helplessly watched the palace burn to the ground. I think the king got a heart attack after seeing this.

Episode 9
Sinbad and Jafar eavesdrop from the next room as Alibaba continues his story. After learning the king died, he fled Balbadd and joined some military. He got fascinated with Dungeons and dreamt of conquering it for its riches. But it remained a dream till he met Aladdin. After their success, he returned to Balbadd only to see the slums decimated. He learnt things got worse after the previous king died and the formation of Fog Troupe led by Kassim. At first he thought he was the bad guy but soon realized the real villains are the government. Kassim showed him Mariam’s grave. A year after Alibaba left, she died of a disease. Because the government cut off the slums and left them without medicine of food, people started dying. After the epidemic, the government burnt down the slums to clean it. Kassim is sad he couldn’t do anything and he formed Fog Troupe to fight back. He knows he’ll get caught one day but what choice does he have? That’s when he invited Alibaba to join and become their leader. Aladdin felt a strange nostalgia with this. Something that reminds him of Kouga. Alibaba’s plan is to swiftly take action to gain the people’s support and in time will reveal his true identity to Ahbmad. Aladdin cautions him if his plan doesn’t work, the result will be very sad. Alibaba breaks down not knowing what he should do. Aladdin says that’s why they are here to help him come up with a way. They are his friends too. Kassim and his men break into the hotel to rescue Alibaba. Alibaba didn’t hear of a raid on this place when Kassim mentions they’ve got info that Sinbad is here. His men are tackling him but they are no match especially when Masrur starts displaying his strength. When everyone is at the rooftop, Kassim uses his sword to tie down Sinbad but he easily breaks his weak magic. But Sinbad wants to settle things with Alibaba. He tells him that the Fog Troupe is doomed and death likely awaits them. But Alibaba is different since he is a prince unlike these people from the slums. Alibaba didn’t like the way he badmouths them as he considers them his family. He doesn’t care if Sinbad is some guy he respected and will fight him. He summons Amon and starts slashing away. Sinbad analyzes his moves and easily knocks him out since he doesn’t know how to control his djinn yet.

Sinbad shocks everyone that he wants to join Fog Troupe. Wasn’t he supposed to capture them? After listening to such a tragic story, he can’t help feel support them. He feels it is better to lend his strength to people desperately fighting for the slums than a stupid king. Alibaba is unsure so Sinbad tells his other reason to join. He wants to stop the abnormalities happening around the world. As king of Sindria, he is concerned of the increasing number of wars and chaos happening. Kassim badmouths him that he doesn’t know what it’s like for people of the slums. Jafar could have beaten him up for showing disrespect of not knowing the sacrifices Sinbad made but Sinbad doesn’t want his subject to dirty his hand. He is fine with it. With that, Sinbad joins them. He knows Alibaba has already gained the people’s support. As an old friend of the late king, he can see the royalty resemblance in him. As of such, being a prince he carries a heavy responsibility. Next day, there is note all over Balbadd asking people who are discontent to gather outside the palace. The note reveals Alibaba as the leader of Fog Troupe. A large crowd gathers and it shows the support Alibaba has. Alibaba seeks an audience with Ahbmad and will agree to disband Fog Troupe if he promises to protect the people. However arrogant Ahbmad won’t listen and thinks a person from the slums has no right to tell him what to do. If not for Sinbad’s protection, he could have ordered off with his head. Alibaba becomes angry when Ahbmad badmouths his own people. Ahbmad notices the Banker has returned. Wasn’t he Jamil’s ex-master? Outside in the crowd, Aladdin notices dark Rukhs when Judal walks pass by him.

Episode 10
Markkio the Banker greets Sinbad and he is the financial advisor for Balbadd. Sinbad realizes Judal is has become the priest for Kou. Ahbmad ends his audience with Sinbad and Alibaba and says trading with Sindria is impossible since he has hand over trading rights to Kou. He continues to not care for his people. Alibaba is depressed that negotiations have failed but Aladdin knows his speech has touched the hearts of many. Sinbad and Alibaba soon announce their failed negotiations to the people (Kassim and his men have left). Sinbad says they have nothing to be ashamed of because they fought fair and square for once. He reminds them their reason to fight and it is to escape poverty. If this country will not accept them, he will accept them into his and will lend his power. Judal drops by not as Ahbmad or Kou’s representative. He couldn’t care less about all that. He just loves war and wants to fight. He wants Sinbad to join him to take over the world. Judal notices Aladdin and is surprised there is another Magi besides him. Judal insults Aladdin by pulling a fake punch. Then he searches for his king candidate and again is surprised to learn it is Alibaba. When he starts mocking Alibaba for being pathetic in front of Ahbmad, Aladdin stands up for him and views him as a hero. Judal blasts away Alibaba with his little wand to prove he is a weakling. Aladdin gets ready to defend his friends so Judal takes this is a sign to fight and tells all the humans to say out in the fight between Magis. Sinbad can’t intervene too because he lacks any Metal Vessel. Because their Rukhs negate each other, Judal suggests fighting using magic. As Magoi is pure power created from Rukhs, they are not very strong in that form. But if a command is given, they can become powerful magic. Judal summons his lightning magic but Aladdin is protected by Ugo. Judal is getting fascinated by the minute. He now uses multiple magic like floating and ice summoning to rain icicles down on everyone. Judal is cocky and underestimates Ugo’s brute strength. Ugo uses his body to protect Aladdin from being impaled by icicles. Aladdin gives some of his strength to Ugo but Magoi is leaking out fast. Aladdin cannot understand why they’re fighting. Judal feels he is so full of power, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Every day is just hell of a boring. He rarely gets chances like this and wants to continue fighting him. Judal is distracted by Morgiana and Alibaba’s attack before being smashed around by Ugo the Incredible Hulk. Ugo will not listen to Aladdin and continues pounding Judal like paper. Judal is mad that the djinn is cheating because Ugo has not been receiving Magoi from Aladdin and yet he moves around so much. It means Ugo is moving on someone else’s Magoi and doesn’t belong to Aladdin. When Judal thrusts a huge icicle through Ugo’s chest, Ugo smashes Judal with both his palms like a bug.

Episode 11
Ugo is serious in finishing off Judal for good but the Princess of Kou, Kougyoku and her escorts save Judal from death. She leaves Ka Koubun to heal Judal while she prepares to fight Ugo since he still wants to have a go. She summons Vinea and with her water magic slices Ugo. Though Ugo returns back into the flute, Aladdin is upset that his friend is hurt. He wants to attack back (blaming their side was the one who started it all) so Kougyoku sends her warriors Enshin, Entai and Engi to kill everyone else while she handles Aladdin. Before she could start to have her fun, Sinbad stops her. He doesn’t view it favourable for them both to be fighting and tells Aladdin to back down too. He assures Ugo is still alive because djinns won’t die easily and it’s not like him to be blinded by rage. Kougyoku and her men leave while Aladdin desperately tries to use his own Magoi to heal Ugo (the mark on the flute is missing). The wounded are being tended to but they notice Aladdin is growing weaker because he is using his Magoi, which is like substituting his life for Ugo. Although a Magi can use the Magoi around them limitlessly, they are still limited by their own physical strength. Aladdin ran out of strength and could no longer draw Magoi from Rukh. He won’t be conscious for the next few days. Alibaba laments he lacks the power to do anything for his people. Because it is Sinbad himself that motivates and assures them that everything will be alright. General Barkak visits the slums and Alibaba is glad to see the man who thought him sword fighting. He is here along with Ahbmad’s advisor, Sahbmad. He has something important to tell. Sahbmad reveals he is the informant who leaked info to Fog Troupe. He thought if Alibaba was the one leading the Fog Troupe, they might do something for this country. Sahbmad views Alibaba was always able to do things he couldn’t and wants him to stop Ahbmad. He is afraid of what the king is going to do and doesn’t know how far this country has fallen.

It all began when the previous king fell sick. That’s when Markkio appeared before Ahbmad and offered to fix their worsening economy. Ahbmad was shown Fuan, paper currency with fixed value backed by the Kou Empire. He was told to use it if they want to trade. Soon, Balbadd prospered using the currency and Markkio was willing to lend them as much as they need. But things started to change when the currency change valuable. Unlike metal currencies, Fuan is just a paper currency and it easily led to inflation and fluctuations. Balbadd’s debt expended and Markkio wasn’t willing to lend any more Fuan for free. They had to use collaterals and gave up their maritime, territorial and trading rights. Because of that the people suffered but the nobles, royals and aristocrats continue to live the wealthy life. In order to silence voices of discontent, Ahbmad blocked off the slums and abandoned all those living there. Because the top people wanted more Fuan and had nothing more to offer as collateral, Ahbmad decided to use his people as collateral. Hand over their rights for more Fuan as there will never be shortage of humans. In short, Ahbmad is going to sell the people of Balbadd and turn it into a slave producing country. Morgiana is upset to hear all this and wants Alibaba to act now and save this country from madness. Everyone turns to Alibaba for his decision. What will he do?

Episode 12
Alibaba must act soon because in 5 days, Ahbmad will marry a princess from Kou and they will sign a contract to turn Balbadd’s people into slaves. Alibaba is still low in confidence. Feeling like a nobody while thinking the charismatic Sinbad has better qualifications than he is. Because Sinbad doesn’t expect much from Alibaba’s low confidence and abilities, Morgiana didn’t like how he insulted the person who freed her from slavery. She believes Alibaba is the one who can save this country. Alibaba and Morgiana discuss with Sinbad about Kou’s increasing influence over the years from a small country to a militaristic powerhouse. Sinbad has recently figured this out that Judal is the source of this. Sinbad had cleared a Dungeon of Judal by himself and the latter didn’t like it so they had many several confrontations. Except for Sinbad, Judal led various people into this dungeon and allowed Kou to develop into a powerhouse. His thirst for conquest shows no signs of stopping and his next stop is Balbadd. It is evident since Kou have been meddling in Balbadd’s affairs by taking many of its rights. Later Sinbad talks privately with Alibaba. The latter still having low morale. Sinbad notes his low confidence is a problem but as long as Ahbmad is king, Balbadd cannot avoid becoming a vassal for Kou. In short, Alibaba must become Balbadd’s king. Sinbad assures he will support him as much as he can. Still no confidence? Sinbad tells him the people who believed in him. Morgiana, the Fog Troupe and all those who gathered at the palace earlier. Alibaba goes to the poor part of town and remembers his younger life. It dawned to him that these people will become slaves too. When they recognize Alibaba, they crowd around him to plead for him to save them. Alibaba is ‘kidnapped’ by Kassim and brought to his hideout.

Kassim left because he couldn’t stand Sinbad. He has heard about Ahbmad wanting to make this a country of slaves and plans to rebel and topple the king via the people. He introduces Alibaba to another shady guy, Arms Dealer AKA Ithnan who has provided them with magical weapons before. Alibaba has a bad feeling of this guy and disagrees with Kassim’s proposal to go to war since many innocent lives will be lost. He wants to try something else but isn’t sure. He is confident he will come up with something and save this country without letting a single person die. Kassim punches him and doesn’t need him anymore. He has no power, no resolve and useless as a royalty. If he plans to stop him, they’ll be enemies. Alibaba returns to Sinbad and requests him to teach him how to use his djinn effectively. Because he still considers Kassim as his friend, he won’t tell him about the situation but Sinbad is happy to help him out. As humans, they cannot summon and use Magoi like Magi so they have to use Djinn Equip to cover their entire body. It’s not possible in a short time but he can start by equipping part of his weapon like Kougyoku did partially with her weapon. Alibaba trains hard to effectively use Amon and gets advice how to replenish Magoi. Next day, a large crowd gathers at the palace gates. They are not happy at the poor state they are in. Since today is the day Kassim will act, Alibaba needs to make his move before he does and sneaks into the palace using his authority as the third prince of Balbadd.

Episode 13
Ka Koubun reports to Kougyoku that since Judal has broken bones everywhere, his full recovery will take time. She ponders about her position as Kou’s legitimate princess and the need for this political marriage to Ahbmad. As explained, if they are to expand their empire to the western lands, a legitimate princess is needed to show Kou’s good faith. Kougyoku has just conquered a Dungeon and she wants to be a warrior. She also wants to experience true love (thinking about Sinbad). She wonders how this Ahbmad person is. Oh, if you only knew the scum he is… Meanwhile Markkio presents Ahbmad the elite warriors of Enshin, Entai and Engi as Kou’s betrothal gifts. As Alibaba has entered the palace plaza, Ahbmad is not amused of this scum and wants him killed. Markkio orders Entai to finish Alibaba. Entai transforms into his powerful elephant form to fight Alibaba. Because Alibaba’s training is incomplete, he still doesn’t know how to effectively use Amon’s power and is pushed to a corner. On the verge of defeat, he thinks back the people who had confidence in him but is confused because he believes what Kassim said about him having no power. Till Aladdin’s words awaken him. He realizes power has nothing to do with it and has decided to move forward no matter what. In a big risky gamble, he uses all he has got to use Djinn Equip. This materializes Amon’s power and his short dagger turns into Amon’s metal sword. He cuts Entai into half. But now he has got to deal with monster monkeys who regenerate when they are cut. He also has to deal with the big monkey boss, Enshin and he is running out of Magoi. Morgiana jumps into the action. She didn’t like Alibaba taking his own action and not telling her about it. If he did, she would definitely want to help. She knows he has things to take care off but they do not involve dealing with monkeys. She wants him to leave the monkey business to her so that he could go settle more important things.

Sinbad learns that Alibaba has intruded the palace. He feels things will be hard to solve politically now but thinks there is still a chance. He heads over to the palace but something strange is happening to Aladdin. In the palace hall, Alibaba is confronted with the leopard faced Engi. Amon’s sword can cut through steel but now he has truly run out of Magoi. Remembering Sinbad’s words on how to replenish them, he scatters oil over the place and lights them up. He uses Amon to absorb the flames and in that short moment, Amon’s sword materializes and Alibaba uses this chance to cut down Engi. Morgiana also ends her match as she builds up her speed and power to kick right through Enshin’s stomach. Alibaba has reached to throne room and as Markkio puts it, despite the elite warriors defeated, he is out of Magoi now. Ahbmad orders his guards to kill Alibaba but they are rather hesitant. Alibaba sheaths his sword and wants to talk but if you were to listen orders from the king or prince, who ranks higher? For once, Sahbmad stands up against his brother. He orders Barkak to disarm the guards and then uses his authority as the deputy king to order there will be no disruption between Alibaba and Ahbmad’s conversation.

Episode 14
Ahbmad thinks Sahbmad wants to do a coup d’etat and become the next king. He disagrees since he has no ability. Ahbmad forces him to sit on his throne and feel the responsibility of being a king. Sahbmad becomes overwhelmed so Ahbmad calls him a coward. Alibaba denies because he took control of this situation and saved his life. He then slaps the king’s fat cheeks and wants him to abdicate the throne so Ahbmad tries to order for Alibaba’s head. The guards no longer listen. Kougyoku enters to see what the commotion is about. When she finds out who Ahbmad is, look at her disappointed face. She is going to marry this piggy guy? However Markkio say currently they have no king and the situation is unclear. They just experienced coup d’etat and Ahbmad going to abdicate the throne. Kougyoku remains calm and will carry out her mission. She wants a new king selected now. Barkak wants Sahbmad to be the next king but the latter feels he doesn’t have the right since he is as guilty as Ahbmad for watching him carrying out his atrocities. He hints somebody. Guess who? However Alibaba won’t be king due to his past of enabling incidents that led to the previous king’s death. However he requests for Kou to annul the treaty to be signed tomorrow. No can’t do because it was formally agreed upon their countries and can’t be annulled so easily. But can she do it since there is no king of Balbadd. No marriage = no signing of treaty. Alibaba then announces that from today, Balbadd will cease to become monarchy and suggests it becomes a republic. A country that is chosen and ruled by the people itself. His journeys have seen many countries abandoning the monarch and turning republic and knows Balbadd can do it. This is what he came there to say. Kougyoku knows if this happens, she won’t have to marry. Sinbad interrupts the conversation and along with him he brought directors from countries of his Seven Seas Alliance. He is here to recommend Alibaba to be Balbadd’s king but now has heard the different method he chose.

Kougyoku reminds them that many of Balbadd’s rights have been transferred to Kou. Alibaba hopes she could pretend those transfers never happened because right now a new Balbadd is being recreated and those rights of the old kingdom that has ceased to exist. Knowing that Kougyoku doesn’t wish to fight or even interested in this political marriage, he hopes that he can push through this unreasonable request. Especially she doesn’t have to marry anybody. She replies that Kou’s goal is to gain this country without bloodshed. If she brings this request back to her father, he might come back and take it by force via his military might. Alibaba also requests he need not do that. In return, he is willing to share profits of Balbadd’s maritime trade since this country is the cornerstone of the southern seas. So if they attack, they will destroy the land and what good will it bring to everyone? Sinbad also thinks Kou’s king won’t take military action because Balbadd will be joining the Seven Seas Alliance. She is surprised that such proposition has been in talk for a long time since Sinbad and Balbadd’s previous king were very close. She decides to leave this matter in her father’s hand and agree to withdraw but with a condition: Sinbad must come to Kou and prove it. Kougyoku is relieved that she doesn’t have to marry that pig and more importantly, quite excited that Sinbad will come and visit her at Kou. Alibaba suggests of forming a temporary government while they recreate the framework of a new Balbadd. As for Ahbmad, the people would definitely want his head. But Alibaba says the country doesn’t have the right to punish everyone and will rewrite the penal code. So they should all work together to rebuild Balbadd. Markkio isn’t confident because from his experience, he has seen many republics whereby the ruler pushes himself above the people, causing the republic to fall. He believes a king will rise this country up again. Alibaba will try and create a country without inequality. Since the people outside can no longer wait, Alibaba goes out to address them that Ahbmad has abdicated his throne and Balbadd is no more a monarchy but republic. At first the people looked stunned and confused. Their kingdom without a king? Can it work? But with Alibaba’s smooth talking and assuring they can do it, the people rally behind him. Meanwhile so much Rukhs are flowing out from Aladdin and Judal that it can be visible to ordinary people. Aladdin’s Rukhs turn into a giant bird. Ithnan is going to reverse the flow of fate as Kassim and his army are marching towards the palace.

Episode 15
When Kassim enters the plaza, he learns the country has turned republic. There goes his reason to fight. However he tells them Balbadd had always belonged to the people in the first place. It is the royalty and government that ruined and took everything from them. He makes the people how they suffered greatly and that the dead won’t come back. Even if the monarch disappears, it doesn’t mean their crimes will. It is an enemy they must defeat. Partly thanks to Zaynab’s sword, everyone is convinced Kassim’s words are true and start revolting. Ithnan gets rid of Markkio to set his own darkness in. Meanwhile Aladdin is in some subconscious dimension and meets Ugo. At least his head. He assures him he is not dead and just asked the Rukh to bring his consciousness here. He tried to bring Judal here too but was unable to. There are people who are trying to reverse the flow of fate. Normally lives move forward and for Aladdin, he has been guided by the Rukh and experienced many adventures and met many people. Reversing that fate means regressing it into nothing and falling into depravity. When that happens, the Rukhs become black and so will the Magi. Aladdin should have died in the fight against Judal but Ugo tried his best to fight against it. Though Aladdin tried to give his Magoi, Ugo is not his djinn and he cannot take it even if it is copy of his master. Since Ugo cannot protect him anymore, he has used every power left to summon him here. He shows the revolt and warns if this goes on, Alibaba will die. And this is not how his fate was supposed to flow. When the world turns into darkness, people need the power to cut it. In short, they need a miracle and it’s a Magi’s job to do that. Ugo sends Aladdin through a door so that he could learn about the world and flow of fate from his master’s wisdom, Solomon. Aladdin flies through space as the voice of Solomon guides him. He will soon be reborn as a new Magi.

The people are killing the guards and making headway so Alibaba gives orders how to contain and regain control of those broken through or injured. He will settle Kassim himself. He confronts the band of thieves and demands his reason for doing this. From the way he says things, does Kassim want to become king himself? Though the bandits overwhelm Alibaba with their fog powered sword, he is able to transform his dagger into Amon’s metal sword. He cuts through all their weapons and warns Kassim to retreat and to call back his troops. But Kassim would rather die than back down and challenges Alibaba to kill him. In the end, he just couldn’t. He still wants Kassim to withdraw and if that happens, he will still have a chance. Kassim isn’t as naïve as him. Now that his men are in the guards’ custody, Kassim has no choice but to curse his own fate. He was told by Ithnan that if wants to do that, he must unleash the power in his weapon. But if he is not the right container, he will die. He surprises everyone by stabbing himself. Bloody. All the broken metal blades absorb into his body. Using his blood to command those vessels and gathering them as one, he has become the bearer of the ebon container and turns into a giant black demon.

Episode 16
The demon is destroying buildings and killing guards. Splat! Although Alibaba’s sword cuts it, it can regenerate due to the black Rukhs spawned by the people’s hatred. Alibaba is in a state of shock so Morgiana tries to do what she can but is fling away. Now it’s Sinbad’s turn to do something to temporarily mess with its Magoi but how long can he stand absorbing the black Rukhs? Sinbad wants Alibaba to kill the demon. He has no choice because this thing wants to kill everyone involved with the monarchy in a bloody revolution. Alibaba tries to pierce through its chest but the dark Rukhs are repelling his sword. He falters when he sees Kassim’s face stuck in the demon’s body. He can’t draw the strength to summon more Magoi so Barkak mobilizes his army to flank the demon and protect their country. Seeing how he needs to get his act together, Alibaba summons all he has got and charges. Unfortunately he is repelled away by Judal. Now his Magoi is close to nothing. Meanwhile outside the palace, the people are still rioting. The kingdom is in one big chaotic mess. Jafar and Masrur are helping to save the innocent people. They see Aladdin flying in from the horizon on some light. Judal takes up Ithnan’s advice to make the demon his djinn. With that, it is now under his command and more powerful. Morgiana takes Alibaba away before he gets zapped by its dark magic but how long can she keep outrunning it?

Alibaba wants her to throw him up to them. He will use all the remaining Magoi inside him to defeat them. Even if this is suicidal, it won’t mean a thing if they fail to protect what they have been working for. Reluctantly, she tosses him up but Judal smashes him down like pancake. Alibaba’s sword breaks. He wants to keep trying but the results are the same. That’s when a great ray of light drops down. It is Aladdin and because he realizes Alibaba was always taking on responsibilities of others even though it is not his, he wants to be that source of strength for him. Judal is happy to see reborn Aladdin and wants to fight using their djinns. However Ugo is no longer here. Judal is disappointed and will kill this useless kid. However Aladdin notes Ugo has left him some power. He materializes a white giant in the form of Ugo but Judal thinks he is just using his heat magic. In a single powerful blast, Judal and his djinn and blown away. However they soon emerge and without a scratch. Aladdin admits his lost and his magic is incomplete. Despite he can’t fight on the same level with Judal, that’s why he needs Alibaba’s power. Alibaba doesn’t have any power left and his sword is broken. Like his spirits too. He can’t fight anymore. Aladdin shows him the rioting outside. There are some people who still have faith in the new country and will fix it with their own hands as they continue to fight the rebels. Thanks to Alibaba’s words, it had sparked that hope within them. That’s why they can fight. Aladdin draws in their Rukhs as an immense power is building up. Ithnan feels this magic is different from the last time and fears he has really obtained Solomon’s Wisdom. I guess that mark on his forehead is just proof of that.

Episode 17
Aladdin wants Alibaba to free Kassim by breaking through his darkness with his sword. But it’s broken. Aladdin’s heat magic reforges it back to normal and although Alibaba pierces through the djinn, he gets absorbed into its body. Aladdin holds off Judal for the time being by making him see some tormenting memories. Inside the djinn, Alibaba meets Kassim. The latter hates him to death because he never lost hope. Although this is the Rukhs speaking, it cannot lie so Alibaba must bear its harsh words. Kassim vents his anger that their fate was decided at birth. If so, he will curse it with his hands. Alibaba disagrees with him because he too had tried his best and went through bad patches. So don’t make up crap about his life to justify himself. Kassim is still enraged, believing they were different since the day they were born. Alibaba is shown the suffering of the people living in the slums. They were losing hope till Ithnan approached them to tell how this is happening all over the world, those at the top exploiting those below. He feels this fate is worth crushing and if they have to will to revolt, he will gladly help them. That’s when Kassim and the rest saw that ‘hope’ and took up his offer. Kassim stabs through Alibaba’s chest. It made him feel what Kassim felt all this time. He may have noticed it before but was too afraid to do anything and ran away. He still believes there is a way for them to live happy together. It dawned to Kassim that Alibaba had always been thinking how to deal with the differences they can’t rid. It made him realize he tried to force himself to stand in his place.

He has found peace and is slowly vanishing into the light. He remembers how his dad returned, still the same useless drunk. Kassim killed him with his own hands when he even thought of using Mariam to entertain customers just to get his alcohol money. Kassim last wish is to be Alibaba’s friend. That’s silly because Alibaba says they’ve always been friends. Kassim vanishes. Judal weakens so Ithnan takes him and flees. Aladdin is glad to see Alibaba back although he is crying holding dead Kassim in his arms. In a remote place, Ithnan vows to crush Aladdin and his candidate king. However his ambition is put to an abrupt halt when he is attacked by Masrur and Jafar before being finished off by Sinbad. Looks like the brother thieves have returned the stolen Metal Vessels to them to enable them to pull off this super awesome power move. But something tells me this isn’t the end of Ithnan yet. See him slither away in his snake form? Aladdin tells Alibaba he can’t cry forever or else Kassim cannot return. Those who die don’t disappear but return to the great flow of Rukh. That’s why although it’s sad when people die, it is not eternal farewell. They are always watching the choices and journey they take. He has all the dead people materialize from the Rukh so they are able to temporarily reunite with their living loved ones. Alibaba sees Kassim reunited with Mariam. The spirits return to the Rukh and Aladdin notes the darkness in his friends in this country has all turned to light. Morgiana happily reunites with the duo.

Episode 18
Balbadd is being rebuilt. After a non-poisonous snake bites Alibaba, a fleet of Kou’s army is seen approaching. As Balbadd is a new state, it is still considered archaic and Kou is going to rein it under its control and gain control of all royalty by forming a puppet government. Sinbad wants Alibaba to leave the country but he will not run away. Sinbad knocks him out. When he wakes up, he finds himself on a boat to Sindria. A month later, Sinbad returns after negotiations at Kou. He rounds up the gang to tell the results of the talk. Kou will recognize Balbadd as a republic but will be placed under its rule. The people will not be forced into slavery but the other rights they lost aren’t so lenient. Alibaba thanks him for making that decision because he has been thinking and no matter what he comes up, he thinks his plan was still the best. Sinbad continues to tell them about Al-Thamen. As wars and other abnormalities are happening around the world, it is by no coincidence. This group is responsible for that and Markkio and Ithnan are one of its many members. There are many others in other countries trying to bring chaos. Sinbad wants them to lend their strength to fight Al-Thamen. But because their powers are incomplete, he has the right teachers to teach them right here in this country. A southern sea monster is seen offshore so Sinbad gathers his Eight Generals for the hunt. Alibaba and co watch and notice the people are gleefully expecting this event instead of panicking. I guess instead of taking it as some horror show, Sinbad turned this into a must-see tourist event. That’s better, right? Sinbad leaves Yamraiha and Sharkkan to deal with the beast. Not only they kill it, they also clean its innards, debone and plate it nicely! Fresh sushi anyone?! Yamraiha will be Aladdin’s teacher and the first thing that kid did was to smother his face in her boobs! How long has he not being doing that? He almost got turned into steam. As for Alibaba, Sharkkan will teach him swordsmanship.

Tonight is also the Maharagan festival where the entire country celebrates. Alibaba is introduced to the rest of the Eight Generals. As we already know Jafar and Masrur, the remaining half includes Hinahoho (large Eskimo), Drakon (dragon man), Pisti (little kid) and Sasan (armour guy). Sinbad adds they are all either members of royal families of his allied countries that refused refuge to them or cannot remain in their homeland for some reason. He considers all his citizens as his family and they love their king. In less than 1 generation that Sindria was formed, things seemed to be flourishing. Sinbad also mentions that another condition during his negotiations with Kou is that one of their princes is coming here to study so he hopes Alibaba can observe him. Jafar wants to know if Sinbad did make any move on Kougyoku but to his dismay, he only went there for diplomatic reasons. No intention of settling down yet, eh? Later Alibaba wonders why Morgiana is sticking with them instead of heading back to her home. She wants to repay her debt to them and now she has learnt about Al-Thamen, she wants to fight those who are oppressed. If that is what she has decided, then she should do so because she is free to choose. Meanwhile Prince Hakuryuu is sailing towards Sindria while Kougyoku is one scary woman because she is going to kill Sinbad! She wants him dead oh so bad… I take it she got rejected.

Episode 19
Aladdin’s magic training with Yamraiha begins as with Alibaba’s swordsmanship with Sharkkan. Sinbad then takes Alibaba to choose a new Metal Vessel to replace his broken dagger and transfer Amon. It needs to be a metal he has emotional attachment to. After Alibaba relates how he got the dagger via his profits from his first successful trade negotiations and thus related to Balbadd’s ex-king, Sinbad shows his knife that the ex-king also gave him. He passes it on to Alibaba. Sinbad also wants Morgiana to choose a Metal Vessel since she is going to be under Alibaba’s house to fight alongside him. The jewellery and metal weapons don’t really seem to fit her but since a condition is to have any kind of metal that touches the body, she decides to use her broken shackles. It contains many painful and sweet memories. Kou’s delegate has arrived. Kougyoku is trying not to lose her cool. But Sinbad must have said the wrong word that made her lose it. She’s going to kill him! She won’t forgive his barbarism. His generals want to know what wrong he has done but he can’t remember. Now that she has reduced to a sobbing princess, Ka Koubun explains on her behalf. A lavish farewell feast was held for Sinbad during his diplomatic mission at Kou. When Kougyoku wakes up, she finds naked Sinbad sleeping next to her. Everyone is in disbelief. Did the king of Sindria just sullied Kou’s princess? Sinbad can’t remember doing any sort of that. It doesn’t help since his generals do not trust him when he is drunk! Turning against him? Even so, Sharkkan and Sasan attest that they see Sinbad off to bed right after the feast. But does it prove his innocence? Now Kougyoku will tell her side of the story. She was hiding in the corner admiring her crush, too shy to approach and talk to him. When she finally gave up and left, she felt someone knock her out and the next thing she knew, Sinbad was sleeping right next to her.

In order to solve this problem, Sinbad must marry her and take responsibility. It’s war or friendship. Of all the problems he had encountered, never has he faced such perilous one, eh? How is he going to get out of this one? Sinbad orders Yamraiha to use her power to prove his innocence. Should have done this from the start. The tales of Sinbad and Kougyoku are retold via their Rukhs. Sinbad went straight to bed after the banquet. Kougyoku was walking along when somebody knocked her out and placed her next to Sinbad. Nothing happened till morning. Ka Koubun doesn’t want everyone to be fooled by this suspicious magic but Kougyoku has had enough. She realized her hair and clothes then were still intact so nothing really happened. Feeling bad for the trouble she caused, she starts apologizing. Wow. A princess doing that in public? Don’t you feel bad for her? As Ka Koubun narrates, he is the culprit that knocked her out and placed her there. His plan was to have Kougyoku bear a child to whoever she marries. Through that child, he will control the country from the shadows. It didn’t work out with Ahbmad but when Sinbad came along, it’s like killing 2 birds with a stone since Kougyoku likes him. Ka Koubun continues to force his way through by insisting Sinbad take responsibility but the guards who were in cohorts with him fess up. There goes his plan. Ka Koubun is going to fight back but was put a stop by Hakuryuu. He apologizes on behalf of his fellow travellers’ misconduct. Now the prince is apologizing. Don’t you feel bad for him? Ka Koubun puts up crocodile tears with Kougyoku to make up for now. Later Hakuryuu talks to Sinbad and is impressed with his achievements. However he knows he is also lying. He views friendly relations as superficial pretence. Though his goal is not to be enemies with him, he is here to share info that an organization currently dwelling in Kou’s shadows is targeting Sindria and has already begun to move. So why the prince personally come to tell him? Hakuryuu’s goal is to destroy Kou.

Episode 20
Sinbad wants him to learn about the world first and be more knowledgeable before engaging in any further discussion. Morgiana shows Alibaba and Aladdin her Metal Vessel shackles. It is now decorated with the fire bird pattern symbolizing the sun as believed by her people. But she is unsure how to use them. Because putting them as shackles almost hurt the guys! Chains wrapped around their head? Comical! Hakuryuu sees them because Sinbad requested him to learn from the trio while accompanying them. A voice in Alibaba’s head tells him to hate and kill Hakuryuu. The prince knows Alibaba still bears a grudge for what Kou did to Balbadd and understands he shouldn’t hold it back. Alibaba collapses in pain. In the infirmary, his left shoulder has been affected with some sort of dark spot. When Sinbad enters the picture, Ithnan emerges from the spot. Sinbad tries to cut him but he regenerates and got his blood spilled all over him. Ithnan is here to invite Sinbad and Alibaba to turn to the dark side. Become dark kings and serve their father. He warns them not to fight it because Solomon’s Rukh and the black Rukh will destroy each other inside and their body will die. Sinbad is also infected with the curse but he notes it is just some dark complicated magic. Alibaba feels guilty but Sinbad notes there is one way to rid the curse. There is a Dungeon lying on the southern island of Toran. Zagan is said to heal any wounds or illness. Sinbad can’t go because there is a limit of how many djinns he can get. I suppose 7 is the maximum. Hakuryuu gets permission to tag along for the dungeon mission.

On the boat to Toran, Pisti assures Sinbad that Yamraiha’s stagnation magic can prevent the curse from spreading for 10 days. When a sea creature attacks, Pisti uses her animal kinship to calm it down. Then she shows her true colours to the guys. Arrogant and haughty, she wants them to show her respect as a big sister because despite her loli looks, she is much older than them. Yeah. She has lots of experience in many areas too. But Aladdin is disappointed and not convinced because she lacks the boobs! When Hakuryuu invites them to eat dinner with him, Alibaba remembers he objected to Sinbad of the prince coming along. He felt his conscious is causing the hatred. But Sinbad believes he can overcome it. Consider this as a trial to learn and forgive him. Meanwhile Sinbad getting cursed was just a motivation for the gang. If Al-Thamen is after them, they’ll be safer inside the dungeon. As the ship arrives at Toran, a little girl, Tiare wants to come along with them into the Dungeon. She wants to rescue her parents. It is rumoured that Zagan eats people and swallows those passing nearby. So much so people become afraid to approach it and all those who entered never return. Alibaba doesn’t want her to come as she will slow them down. Hakuryuu offers to save her parents and if they’re dead he’ll kill everything in the Dungeon. Alibaba, Aladdin, Morgiana and Hakuryuu ride a boat towards the Dungeon but a bright light absorbs them.

Episode 21
Inside the strange Dungeon, there are lots of trees and doors. I guess they’ll have to open each door to see which one leads deeper. One of the doors contains cute turtles who want to eat them? Their bite doesn’t hurt… In fact, all the other doors contain strange creatures who want to eat them! They think this place is their home. When they finally find a door that leads deeper, they are confronted with a bear who is asking them for honey. Sorry, no honey. They hear a singing voice and the bear turns violent. Hakuryuu freezes so the rest saves the day. They enter a garden and to their horror see humans being turned into trees. Zagan appears before them and explains the Toran people provide good saplings to his orchard. He uses their magic to create new creatures and the cycle repeats. They can all live happily in this dungeon since Zagan doesn’t intend to find a king candidate. Why is he doing this? He hates humans. A complicated spell is binding the humans so they can’t easily free them. They can’t get violent too since Zagan is holding Tiare hostage. She was wandering near the entrance when he caught her. He tells them to make it to the treasure room if they want her back. Zagan watches the quartet make their way through the rooms. He ups the difficulty level. While Hakuryuu once more is reduced to a damsel in distress, Alibaba and Aladdin are doing great with their combo. Hakuryuu then has a request. He wants them to stop helping him because as a prince he cannot be contented relying on others. Zagan agrees with him and views that it’ll be troublesome if they cover each other’s backs. He splits them up into groups. While Aladdin and Alibaba are having it easy defeating golems, Hakuryuu and Morgiana aren’t. Only magic can destroy these super hard golems. Hakuryuu remains stubborn that he doesn’t need help but his case reminds Morgiana how similar he is to Alibaba. Hakuryuu uses his own ki for magic but at this rate he might not make it. Though Morgiana cannot destroy the golem with her own strength, she tosses the golem to break the rest. Hakuryuu then collapses. When he wakes up, he is reunited with the rest. Zagan then mocks Hakuruu as playing damsel in distress and a burden to others. Guess what? Hakuryuu starts crying and acting like a child! She starts calling everyone names and throwing tantrum, so Alibaba has to talk to him about his own experience at Balbadd. Oh, now Alibaba too is getting emotional. Hakuryuu calms down and hopes to fight alongside Alibaba. Meanwhile Judal just arrives at Sindria.

Episode 22
Judal breaks through the barrier and wants to see Sinbad. He came all the way here just to ask his opinion on Aladdin? Because he well knows that there is another Magi that exists in this world. Always at a given time, only 3 Magis exist. That has always been the case in history and records. With Aladdin popping up it means one of them had died but since he has heard no news about this, this means Aladdin is the fourth Magi. He suspects Sinbad has plans for Aladdin but Sindria’s king replies it’s none of his business. Judal is lonely and wants to team up with him but was reminded of what he did to them at Partevia. Everyone is still bitter about it. Suddenly Judal starts crying. He was shown his past by Aladdin and realized he had been used by Al-Thamen since birth. So is he to blame for being the bad guy? Then he starts laughing and says he doesn’t care about all that as he’ll do as he pleases. Since Judal had his fun mocking Sinbad, now he’ll get a taste of Sindria’s entertainment with the Eight Generals. But Judal tells him his boss at Al-Thamen wants Sinbad’s head on a silver platter. Blaming it all on him, Al-Thamen is getting serious now since those kids are involved. They are going to declare war. They’re taking this so seriously that they have sent their men into Zagan. Meanwhile the quartet are making headway deeper into the dungeon. Alibaba and Hakuryuu are in sync covering each other’s backs. When they enter Zagan’s room, Aladdin wants to know Zagan’s true form since he got easily hurt by his weak magic. Zagan admits he is just an imposter, a creature created by the real Zagan just to look like him. Alibaba becomes mad that he considers kidnapping villagers as a prank. He goes all out but each time he cuts, Zagan regenerates since his master controls earth. They are dropped down into a deep hole. Alibaba’s turban is shred to pieces so they can’t fly. Morgiana laments she can’t fly like a bird but that’s when her bracelets lit up. The chains activate on its own and grab her friends. She brings them up to the surface and jumps back down to defeat this imposter’s real body. Morgiana hears the voice of the bracelet telling her to ask for power because he is her household. The chains power up, ties up the hideous plant and burns it to smithereens. Morgiana is happy that she used her household vessel and will be able to help others. But she didn’t see this coming because she starts bleeding all over and collapses! The rest climb down to see her close to death. She is out of Magoi after using that crazy attack and will die if she doesn’t get treatment. Tiare is found safe. When the gang enters the door to the treasure room, they are attacked by Ithnan and his men. He reveals his objective is not Zagan but them.

Episode 23
Hakuryuu is ordered to take the ladies to safety while the duo remain and fight Ithnan’s men, Dunya Mustasim and her knight, Isaac. Dunya’s kingdom was once a big country in the west but fell to some other country 10 years ago. She wonders why Alibaba is alive. How could a prince who allowed his country to be overrun and destroyed possibly live with himself. Alibaba denies Balbadd is destroyed and had just become a republic. But that is only in name and it’s under Kou’s control. She views him as a mistake since he is alive and will correct it. She uses her Dark Metal Vessel and stabs herself. Alibaba goes crazy seeing visions of Kassim in her. Then she turns into a giant black djinn who can control magnetism and sand. We take a detour back to Sindria whereby Judal views his new fun now is to kill somebody as powerful as Sinbad. However he can’t do it now as he has other stuffs to do like destroy Sindria’s barrier. Because Al-Thamen is at war with them, Judal wants Sinbad not to get killed by them until Kou comes for him. He mentions the 5 dungeon capturers Kou have, all of them princes and princesses that includes Kougyoku. Speaking of her, she is shocked to hear Sindria going to war. Judal thinks she ran away after making that mistake in Balbadd and wants her to come back. He’ll make her his general. She is unable to say anything and is confused. After Judal leaves, Sinbad calls for an emergency war meeting with his generals. Because the barrier will take a long time to be fixed, he screws it and wants Yamraiha to have those mages fight alongside them. Later Kougyoku talks to Sinbad and she deeply regrets what Judal has done as both countries are in a friendship treaty. I guess she’s really sincere about it since she’s shaking all over. Sinbad says that a time will come when both countries will have to fight to determine which is superior. But for now, the enemy is Al-Thamen. Kougyoku asserts she is not part of it although there are some in the imperial palace who belong to it. Sinbad wants her to return to Kou as she is not safe here but since she insists to be by his side, I guess that’s that. And those Al-Thamen weirdoes are coming…

Back to Alibaba and Isaac’s sword fighting match. Clearly the latter is more superior. The same goes to Dunya over Aladdin. Realizing this sword technique is not suitable for him. He compresses his Magoi and does a Djinn Weapon Equip on his short dagger. He performs better and is able to break Isaac’s armour and cut him to pieces. Because Aladdin has unlimited Rukh power, he seems to be merely shooting weak shots but Dunya’s Magoi is running out and when she is weak, she is pinned down by his magic. Before he can finish her, Ithnan intervenes. He awakens the true power in Dunya’s Dark Metal Vessel (she relieving traumatic memories of her country being invaded) and turns her into powerful form, a combination of herself and the black djinn. Isaac wakes up and his parts reassembled. He uses his repelling magnetic force between his armour and the ground to move at lightning speed. Can Alibaba keep up? Hakuryuu has returned to help seeing he managed to put the ladies safely in the treasure room. Aladdin suggests stalling for time since eventually the enemies’ Magoi will run out but Ithnan doesn’t think it’s a wise move. He shows them a bunch of weirdoes from Al-Thamen making their way to attack Sindria. Ithnan blames Alibaba for this. Because he ran and hid in Sindria that they couldn’t leave it alone anymore. He tries to make him feel guilty that it is his fate that wherever he goes, chaos and death ensue. He should know better than to listen to him. Dunya is going to kill them all with her extreme magic.

Episode 24
Sindria initiates the first attack and some of the Eight Generals are in a fight against the Dark Metal Vessel users. Some won’t take long because like for Masrur, he easily defeats that muscle Mario guy while Sharkkan slices up his pirate counterpart. Sinbad notices something amiss because the army is too small. That’s because approaching Sindria is a giant mass of dark blob. Pisti summons her sea monsters to devour it but they got devoured instead. If that blob reaches Sindria, it will devour everything. Back to the dungeon, Isaac keeps our heroes at bay as Dunya prepares her extreme magic. Alibaba still can think about his fate to fail. Because of that, his hesitation causes him to be just a strike away from Isaac’s sword. Hakuryuu takes the cut instead and loses his left arm. When Dunya unleashes her extreme magic, she thinks everything is over but Ithnan points out she missed. Seems Aladdin used his water and vapour magic to create some light refraction. Alibaba charges and Isaac continues to protect her. However he runs out of Magoi and Alibaba cuts off his head. It is empty. The rest realize he is just a puppet made out of sand. When Isaac crumbles into sand, Dunya becomes distraught because her knight is always by her side. Aladdin knows she has been used by Al-Thamen but Alibaba is getting worked up over this because if she is going to be their enemy, at least act the part. Huh? Little did he know, the poison is slowly covering all over his body. Dunya is angry and so is Alibaba. However Aladdin tells him to calm down. He listens and puts away his sword. Suddenly Ithnan stabs Dunya. That’s it for her. So now Alibaba is sympathizing with her? Holding her in his arms, her dark Rukh start fluttering around. They all see her tragic past, how her country fell and the sad part was how the royal knights betrayed the royal family and killed all the royalty. Even the people hold such grudge towards them. Isaac was slain before her eyes as he protected her. If this was to be her fate, that’s why she cursed it. Alibaba is on the verge of falling from grace too because he is now filled with anger. The poison almost covers his entire body. Ithnan stokes the fire by wanting him to blame him for everything. Because of him, Balbadd went up in flames, his best friend died, Morgiana on the verge of death after using too much Magoi and Hakuryuu lost his left arm. It was him too that led Jamil into the dungeon. Yes. Blame it all on him. He wants Alibaba to stab and kill him. In his rage, he does so. Ithnan welcomes him to their side before he vanishes. Alibaba reborn as Al-Thamen’s new dark king.

Episode 25
Alibaba is so badass that Solomon’s Wisdom can’t penetrate him. At least that’s what the head band is doing. Morgiana has recovered some of her Magoi and goes back to help out. Hakuryuu who has conquered Zagan, summons him for some power. Zagan bestows him an artificial arm made out of wood. Works as good as original. Once Hakuyruu and Morgiana cooperate and destroy the head band, Aladdin uses Solomon’s Wisdom to enter Alibaba’s mind to free him. Meanwhile Yamraiha is having trouble fighting a senile old man on a wheelchair. Yeah, she’s been doing it since last episode. The blob is inches away in touching Sindria. Yamraiha deceives the old guy to deflect his magic and destroy half of the blob. Now that the old guy is out of Magoi, he becomes pissed when Yamraiha mocks him. So enraged that he charges blindly and got stabbed by Sasan’s lance. Good riddance. The others are trying to get rid of the blob. They need to wipe it out in one shot like Yamraiha otherwise it has no effect. Kougyoku lends her power as she summons a huge tidal wave to engulf all the remaining blob. Should have done this from the start, princess. Don’t tell me you were hesitating, too shy or something. Aladdin sees Alibaba sitting alone and he is really pessimistic especially about fate. You know. If fate has already planned it out for you, so why bother? Leave it to Aladdin to explain the true meaning of fate, just seek another answer, blah, blah, blah. And before you know it, Alibaba believes in him, reaches out for his hand and his poison disappears. Wow. Magic. However they still sense a true darkness lying ahead and trudge forward.

Meanwhile Ithnan decides to pull back for today when he is confronted by Sinbad. He is not going to let him leave alive after declaring war on his country. Sinbad does his Djinn Equip and Ithnan thinks he will only aggravate the poison and curse. To his surprise, he gets stronger and it seems he was already cursed and halfway falling from grace. Ithnan’s curse just wasn’t strong enough. And with that, Ithnan gets zapped. Good riddance. Aladdin and Alibaba find Ithnan sitting alone in the depths of the latter’s mind. He is only what remains of the poison as his real body has already been destroyed by Sinbad. He wants Alibaba to kill him to rid him forever. Ithnan realizes Aladdin is representing Solomon. Aladdin wants to know the reason he waged war on this world. To create darkness and free everyone from that prison called fate. To do that, you must fall from grace. Aladdin dismisses his version of fate and talks about Alma Toran (some past chaotic flashback here that I don’t really understand for now). Alibaba could have sealed him for eternity but he doesn’t even want to kill Ithnan. Because he doesn’t want to hate anymore. And that thing about fate too. He sure has taken after Aladdin, hasn’t he? Ironically, Ithnan is sent back to Solomon in a peaceful bright light. Aladdin and Alibaba wake up from their slumber with lots of Rukhs fluttering around. Aladdin sees the Rukh of Kassim and knows he was the one helping to hold back the poison from spreading in Alibaba’s body. Everybody’s back, everybody’s happy. Now to go home. Aladdin and Alibaba talk about their adventures and how far they have come. How long can they do this? Forever. Yes. Seriously. Aladdin believes he can be a great leader and guide many despite he will face lots of trials and tribulations of the backwards flow of fate. He will surpass them all and become king. That’s why as his Magi, he is here to guide him to that path.

Fate/Stay Magic
As expected… Actually, more like it was already notified at the last episode that there will be a second season (which is already in the midst of its run by the time you see this blog). How can an anime with so much potential and characters just end on an unsatisfying note? Yeah. Just take a look at some of the new characters introduced in the final scenes and I figure it is going to get pretty interesting (or messy if you want to interpret it in another way) at how the way things are going. So I guess to avoid us viewers having too much magic overflow, our brains and bodies need to take a rest before resuming. Because you know, otakus don’t really know how to take care of their bodies so if a series is shown for more than 2 seasons straight, you can bet they’ll become a zombie and watch the show faithfully like a cult following. And that can have very adverse effect to the otaku themselves. See those who are currently following One Piece or Naruto? You’re like a zombie trying to follow the show weekly, no? Haha! Wait a minute. Why the heck am I distracting myself with some other topic?!

Because as far as this anime series is concerned, nothing is really finished yet so I suppose my conclusions won’t be so conclusive either. You know me. In short, this is quite an okay series with some bits of action, magic and fantasy of the Arabian kind. I did enjoy some of the moments but somehow I feel that some of the arcs may be played out too long that it has become a drag. Like Balbadd’s arc, it was great and all to see Alibaba reunited with his old friends and pairing up with the great Sinbad. But after overthrowing the fat and shorty king that everyone would love to hate, the fight continues on until Kassim’s anger can be subsided. To me, I thought it was really dragging it out. But of course there is a reason why an arc is divided into episodes and I have said this anime holds a lot of potential. If you want a show and its characters to be properly fleshed out, then such lengthiness is necessary. At least they didn’t take the entire year. (Oh God. Just thinking about that One Piece’s rescue Ace-cum-war of the best arc really got me thinking, “Did I spend the entire year watching this arc?”). So I suppose for the first season, the show has done quite a decent job in gradually fleshing out some of the characters, their past and their future goals, the history and workings of this world although there are more that might be revealed in the next season. Despite the second title of this anime, The Magic of Labyrinth, we don’t really see them journeying an adventure inside Dungeons except for the first (obviously) and last few episodes (so that we don’t forget this). It would be really be boring if we just see Aladdin and Alibaba travelling around the world conquering Dungeons. Though each Dungeon is different, there is only so much you can show viewers their adventures in it. It’s a big world out there so it’s better for them to take their adventures there.

I guess a reason why a story is great is because of its characters. I’m thinking with the large cast of characters in this series, I feel like they are going to make something epic. We have Alibaba’s group in one corner. Then we have Sinbad and his Eight Generals. That makes nine of them, right? Also, we have the Kou princes and princesses and their retainers. So far we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of the Kou Empire and I’m sure there are many more unaccounted characters yet. And that is just the protagonists. What about the antagonists who are the mysterious Al-Thamen? Not much is known about them yet but I can see that they will stop to nothing to bring their version of darkness to the world. Seeing some of the bunch of weirdoes that they have sent into war, it only makes me wonder what more freaks they will send. They can look funny but I hope they last more than 2 or 3 scenes and give the other good guys something to occupy while the main ones handle something else. Even some of the side characters for the particular arc were memorable. For the right or wrong reasons. Kassim was just pitiful but Ahbmad was just plain scornful.

And so our main hero and future king Alibaba is your typical guy with all the goodness in his heart but is not perfect either. Because of that imperfection, it proves he is human but he is willing to learn from his mistakes and get better. Getting possessed and turned into a dark king for a temporary moment may seem he is at his weakest moment but it is also a blessing in disguise because it shows he has friends around him who care and are willing to bring him back to the right path. Then he also grows stronger from it. You can’t blame Alibaba for always feeling sad and blaming himself for being unable to save others. If you have watched the same kind of results event after event, you would even start thinking if this is going to be your fate. But we know how heroes like these will end up in stories like this one. The question is how many more trials and tribulations he will have to undergo. Alibaba isn’t the only character in focus as we have Aladdin and Morgiana too. But they don’t take up as much screen time as Alibaba in terms of seeing them power up or gain extra skills. Still, they do play a great supporting role to him. Sinbad is another great character and he is the best person to be king. He is smart, wise, visionary, sporting and above all, fair. Okay, sometimes a little slip ups too. But when things need to get done, he takes it seriously. His Eight Generals are also cool, each with their own personality and skills but it’s a shame that there isn’t enough screen time to flesh them out properly. Though Jafar and Masrur have the most screen time among the generals, even theirs isn’t really considered enough in this sense.

Judal serves up a potential to be a future antagonist because he is arrogant, cruel and disrespectful. Seems he and Kou aligned with each other because they needed somebody powerful enough to fulfil their conquest ambition. I can see the princes and princesses of Kou appearing in this season to be noble. We don’t see them harbouring intentions of ruling the world unlike some of their subjects. Like for Hakuryuu, he needs to learn to seek help from others and cast away his stubborn pride as a prince. It’s understandable nobody wants to see a weak prince but from his skill level, what can he do? Even if he doesn’t like relying on others, cooperating doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. As for Kougyoku… One word. Cute. Every kingdom needs to have one cute princess and at the same time can be bad enough to kick ass when the time calls for it. It’s fun to see her reaction when she’s with Sinbad. I know. I’m hoping of some sort of romantic comedy here… The djinns of each dungeon are pretty amusing too, each with their own personality, although they (wait for it) don’t get enough screen time. Sometime when I look at them, I can’t help think they are oversized Smurfs… Anyway, it bugs me to see how Ugo ended up headless and to have the flute as his ‘head’ when Aladdin blows it looks pretty funny. Though it was sad that it was really the last time Ugo and Aladdin talked before the latter achieved Solomon’s wisdom. You won’t see that headless genie anymore. Because I think his original face and head looks good. He’d look better if his head and body were one. Duh.

The action and fight scenes are okay and enjoyable. Like when Ugo starts rampaging and trying to do Hulk smash thingy or Morgiana serving up powerful and wicked legs kicking action that would put Chun Li to shame. But not that something I would be in total awe. Since this is a magic themed anime, obviously magic is used in battles and aside the Magi, the human counterparts do have their own ways to use magic in their fights. Nothing flashy but okay by my standards. There are a few terms used in this series but it isn’t that bad to the point that I couldn’t even bother to remember them (think a certain magical or scientific glutton or biri-biri). As for the art and drawing style, the characters although it is conventional Japanese anime, they don’t try to anime-ize it too much and maintain that Arabic and Oriental feel to it. So okay, it’s the same as taking an anime character and clad him in turban, bisht (Arabian type of cloak) and sirwal (Arabian style ‘baggy’ pants). Of course some of them look hilarious and downright ugly. I can’t say about the creatures and monsters like as though they are taken from an RPG game. But then again, aren’t the designs of such monsters in those games based on such cultures? The scenery and backgrounds are okay too but nothing visually spectacular. Though we have prairies of Kouga and the lush island of Sindria, it is mainly a desert city of Qishan and Balbadd that takes up most of the background setting. I’m not sure if they made any trivial stuffs inside the episodes like any references to the real Ali Baba or Aladdin stories. So where are the 40 thieves from Ali Baba? Perhaps the Fog Troupe is made in reference to that. Aladdin’s magic flying carpet? It’s right in his turban.

The voice cast line-up is huge due to the many characters. But I’ll be just selective for the main ones that include Yuuki Kaiji as Alibaba (Akina in Yozakura Quartet), Kaori Ishihara as Aladdin (Azuki in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko), Haruka Tomatsu as Morgiana (Shizuku in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun – Initially I thought it was Minori Chihara…), Daisuke Ono as Sinbad (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Kana Hanazawa as Kougyoku (Maria in Shin Sekai Yori), Kensho Ono as Hakuryuu (Tetsuya in Kuroko’s Basket), Jun Fukuyama as Kassim (Lelouch in Code Geass), Takahiro Sakurai as Jafar (Suzaku in Code Geass), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Masrur (Arata in Chihayafuru), Yui Horie as Yamraiha, Showtaro Morikubo as Sharkkan (Shikamaru in Naruto), Tomokazu Sugita as Drakon (Gintoki in Gintama), Rumi Ookubo as Pisti (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Ryohei Keiji Fujiwara as Hinahoho (Sven in Black Cat), Ryohei Kimura as Judal (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Ugo (Enel in One Piece), Nana Mizuki as Hakuei (Rina in White Album), Shinichiro Miki as Ithnan (Urahara in Bleach) and Kenichi Suzumura as Kakoubun (Sougou in Gintama). The first opening theme V.I.P. by SID and personally I thought this lively rock piece sounds better and more exciting than the rock outfit second opening theme, Matataku Hoshi No Shita De by Porno Graffitti, which somehow feels carefree considering the pace of where this anime is going. The first ending theme is Yubu Bouenkyou by Nogizaka46 sounds like a children’s choir but it actually doesn’t sound as bad. As for the second ending theme, The Bravery by Supercell, I suppose the rock tune isn’t bad either.

On a trivial note, although it has been mentioned from time to time in the series, somehow I just find it annoying that they keep repeating that fate thingy towards the end. I wanted to avoid talking about this but I guess it can’t be helped. Fate, huh? Sure, dumb people like me still don’t really grasp the concept of fate or how one curses your fate but it’s like they’re trying to remind us about this destiny thing and go make it and fight against those who are against it. Huh? What? Yeah. It got me thinking if everything has been fated from the start, does it really make sense to try and change? Would it even make a difference to begin with? What if that has also been fated? Trying to change fate but in the end you end up as fate preordains. That’s like so sad, right? No wonder lots of lost souls want to curse their fate. And that itself may have been their fate too. Get what I’m saying? Yeah. I’m getting confused to. Whether you believe in destiny or making your own, it is still you who is ultimately making that decision. That’s fated.

The people in chaos. The country in turmoil. The continent in disarray. The world in danger. Threatening the fabric of existence. And all it is going to take is a future king and his troops to save the day. Like an epic story unfolding enough to fill an entire bookshelf as long as your Encyclopaedia Britannica. Just don’t fall asleep halfway through. Heck, do kids these days read bedtime stories? Maybe this one is too epic to be confined to just your ordinary bedtime story. If you’re set for a great adventure story with magic, then I’m sure you would want to stick around when the next volume/sequel/season comes out. If it is fate that has this series another season, then fate it shall be that I will be sticking around to watch it. Whenever I have the time, that is.

Fantasista Doll

February 1, 2014

What do you get when you combine Yugioh and Rozen Maiden? You get Fantasista Doll of course! I’m not saying that this series is taken from both animes but it brought to mind such animes because it involves a card game and then we have lots of cute dolls wearing different types of outfits and some of them in gothic fashion. Cute dolls in gothic outfit. Mmm… I suppose that’s the reason why I decided to take a peek at this. Because of the card game theme of this series, I initially thought this was one of the many games to be adapted into an anime. Apparently it was from a manga of the same name. Of course it would be a waste not to turn this into a game and besides the novel and other spin-offs, Fantasista Doll was also released as a game only on those Smartphones. I guess that’s the trend these days. So people like me without any Smartphones would miss out in playing the game. Not that I’m interested in it in the first place anyway.

Episode 1
Uzume Uno is woken up by her sister Miko to go to school. Along the way they meet their friend Komachi Seishou before parting. In the crowded train, Uzume thought somebody wanted to steal her bag but it seems a card device was left in it. At school, Manai Uzuki seeks Uzume’s request to join her Card Club as it doesn’t have enough members. She wants Uzume to join since she has won a big tournament before. That was ages ago. Uzume turns her down. Probably Uzume had watched too many horror movies at night, so she’s quite jumpy when she feels somebody stalking her. She runs for her life seeking help. A voice would gladly assist her provided she completes the entry process that includes her 3 sizes and the age she had her first crush. WTF. Sounds like some fishy scam to me. After agreeing to form a team with them, the process is complete and a Fantasista Doll, Sasara materializes before her. Kagami Totori wants to take a certain card from Uzume and summons her doll, Kunoichi to do the job. Sasara breaks the wall for Uzume to escape but has to stay close to her or else she will disappear. Following Sasara’s instructions, because Uzume had some experience in playing the card game, she re-summons Sasara with some writing card to equip her with the appropriate gear to fight back. Sasara wins so Kagami lets them off for today. Uzume keeps the card of the doll she defeated and with Sasara’s advice, uses a card to repair the surrounding damage. I never knew it could be this useful. Later outside, Sasara puts up crocodile tears to plead to Uzume not to leave her because if bad guys catch her, they’ll do bad stuffs to her. Uzume will think about it. Later she happens to meet Komachi and because she can’t really tell her what is happening (she herself finds it hard to believe), she just explains it vaguely. Komachi thinks that what has happened is fate. By thinking so, she’ll feel much better.

Uzume thought she could relax in her bath back home. However with Sasara coming out, she introduces the rest of the dolls of the cards in her device. They are Madeleine, Katia, Shimeji and Akari. They are her dolls and Uzume is furious Sasara didn’t explain everything to her. The dolls make themselves home as they cram into the little bathtub. Uzume thinks that since she is the master, she can get them to do her homework and clean her room. Obviously, these warrior dolls aren’t going to do her chores and reprimand their noob master! Who is the real master? Uzume can’t cancel them because something bad will happen. So bad that they can’t say it. Gosh. What has she gotten into? Noticing the wound on Sasara’s shoulder, she thanks her for saving her. It is the first time a master ever thanked them. Uzume gets a call from a mysterious handsome guy, Rafflesia congratulating her for getting along with her dolls. As she looks outside her window, a bouquet of flower is thrown at her. He explains the Rafflesia flower represents the boundary between being asleep and awake. It has been bestowed upon her the dreams that are the Fantasista Dolls. He wants her to become a card master. That is her mission. He expects a lot from them and will be watching them.

Episode 2
Uzume undergoes rigorous training to summon other weapon and trap cards. Let’s say Sasara is not impressed with this noob. Next morning, Uzume is too tired to wake up so Akari is in Sasara’s stead to do so. She almost destroyed her bed! I bet she’s fully up now. Uzume tries not to let her family get suspicious of her new friends and skips breakfast. In class, she sees visions of her dolls playing football in her notebook and also in the window pane. It’s really getting to her. Manai approaches her to join the card club again but Uzume says she’ll think about it. Later Sasara and the other dolls confront her. Sasara calls her a liar because of not telling the truth. She didn’t want to join the card club and because she didn’t say no, she gave Manai false hopes. Sure, she wants to be nice but it’s just like running away. Why is a doll lecturing her on this? Besides, Sasara hates those who lie and betray. Uzume also argues back the bad attitude Sasara has. She has had it with her and regrets contracting with them. She doesn’t care about the bad repercussions and wants to return them to their previous owner. Upon reaching the Kawagoe Research Facility, the place seems rundown. The dolls don’t remember the place like this. Uzume walks through the dark hallways and accidentally triggers a trap card. A bunch of German military dolls go into offensive action to take out the intruder. At a lost, Madeleine suggests summoning them as they will never abandon their master. All the dolls except Sasara (sulking in her doll house) go into battle gear. They protect Uzume and in return she too protects her dolls. However a bigger trap card is activated and puts Uzume’s dolls out of action. Before Uzume could be slashed, Sasara pops up to save her. She will fend the enemies off to buy her time to escape. However she will stay on and fight to avenge her friends. She devices a strategy with Sasara to lead the remaining enemies to gather in a small area before unleashing a trap card to defeat them all. When they make their way to the president’s room, it is all clean and nice. Katia accidentally opens a secret room. It contains rare cards and Rafflesia gladly makes Uzume the owner since they have overcome hardship to reach here so it is theirs. The rare cards serve as a symbol of the bonds between them. When Sasara flies Uzume home, both girls apologize for saying too much. Sasara reveals their previous master lied, betrayed and abandoned them. She thinks Uzume is a dependable master. When they land, Manai is before them. Before Uzume gets a chance to explain herself, Manai summons her dolls.

Episode 3
Manai’s dolls are all sports/club related. The one in calligraphy has got to be a big joke because she wrote some poem and sends Uzume into depression. Nice attack! Uzume believes Manai’s mind has been manipulated so she summons her dolls to save with a condition of not fighting back. Huh? WTF? Till Madeleine suggest to use some trap card, the enemy is taken in by the cold desserts and Manai returns to her normal self once she has eaten some. Seriously. Desserts. Manai explains she went to see a fortune teller yesterday as she is curious if Uzume would join the club. She doesn’t remember much after that. Rafflesia notes that it must be the work of an organization called Mutual Dream Assurance Group or MDAG for short (no, it’s not some insurance company). Uzume must be on her guard since they have begun to move and will not stop till they collect the cards. Back home, Uzume is devastated that because she didn’t register in time, her team’s symbol is the first letter of her name. She feels it is ugly. Shimeji offers to draw. Let’s say she has the talent of becoming the next Picasso. Because Uzume feels Madeleine is the only dependable one, she begins depending on her to make decisions. From her class work to her test till the point she became her nutritionist! It’s getting annoying. So much so Uzume talks to Sasara to do something about. And that is locking her in her room! As much as it hurts her, Madeleine has no choice but to accept it if this is what her master wants. Meanwhile a bad master, Kira Kazunari is throwing tantrum and vandalising his stuff. He is trying to instil fear to his useless dolls that they are tools and are supposed to do what the master wants and grant him his wish. Scary dude. He gets an order from the organization for his next mission. Shimeji has completed her drawing of Uzume’s mug and sees Madeleine drawing the same. Madeleine’s is much better. Definitely. Very real. It made them realize they can’t stop thinking about the master. Perhaps Madeleine wants their master to care for them for real as she’s still worried about their previous master.

Uzume and Manai go search for the fortune teller but she is not at her usual place. While taking a break, the fortune teller comes to them. She pleads for them to save her because she cannot stand the cruelty of her master anymore and the way he treats them. The girls are brought to a large aquarium pool and when the fortune teller pushes her into the pool, they realize it’s a trap. Manai cannot summon her dolls since they are in recovery period so Uzume will have to summon hers. But her dolls aren’t willing to fight because they’re afraid of getting wet! Before a killer whale could eat Uzume, Madeleine saves her. Uzume feels bad for mistreating her but Madeleine doesn’t mind. The dolls serve their master because they want to and they would be happy to do so. That is the pride of a pro doll, to always act for their master. Everyone witnesses Kira’s cruelty in harming his own dolls so that he could attack the rest. Katia is complaining that she is soaked so Madeleine suggests using a mackerel card that turns her into an embarrassing mackerel outfit. Vent your frustration on the enemy! Yeah, the enemy is pathetically running away. Kira uses his dolls to conjure a large amount of electricity, which is hurting her too. So to stop this, Uzume must hand over her cards. She throws one at him. Sasara and the rest rescue the unfortunate doll. Kira uses this chance to escape. Back at his base after getting a legendary locksmith to crack open the safe, he gets all emotional clinging on to the memento but needs more points to open another precious box. He hopes he will be able to see his love, Marina. But the dolls snigger he got dumped and then put on their best behaviour when he gives them that evil stare. While Katia still complains the mackerel smell can’t come off, Madeleine and Uzume make amends. Shimeji shows her new design which is a sparrow (suzume) because it sounds close to Uzume’s name. She views them both as similar because they’re small and lack any nose. Is that an insult? Uzume seeks Madeleine’s advice and she gives the green light. As they turn their discussion about Kira and feeling bad for his dolls, Shimeji puts on a sad face thinking about her friend, Aloe.

Episode 4
Uzume’s dolls nearly got spotted by her family after trying to grab some snacks. So Uzume had no choice but to lecture them. Uzume even tries to introduce a take-your-turn-in-the-bath schedule but was quickly shut down (and that spinning wheel destroyed). Who is the real master here? However they notice Uzume acting differently. Shimeji remembers when she first woke up, it was in a lab. She was feeling scared and alone till a little boy came in to become her master. Their relationship quickly grew. Her ex-master had another doll named Aloe. While they were arguing who loves master more, the kid is glad that they both love him very much. Uzume takes Shimeji out to cheer her up. She buys her a ribbon and notices a ring Shimeji is wearing. Suddenly Shimeji becomes agitated. She wants her to stop being nice. It brings back traumatic memories because her ex-master gave her that ring before abandoning her. Shimeji believes Uzume will do the same thing too. She runs away in tears but comes into Kira who is bent on getting the cards to get his wish granted. Shimeji is shocked to see Aloe as one of his dolls. Aloe has no choice but to follow his orders and fight them. Uzume takes Shimeji and run. When they are in an open space void of the crowd, both sides summon their other dolls to fight. Kira uses an instruction card to bind Uzume’s dolls and temporarily restrict their movement. I’m not sure what he is going to do with some big battery to zap Shimeji’s data or something. Uzume tries to help but gets shocked. This pisses off Shimeji so much that she breaks free from the spell, beats the hell out of Kira and the other dolls.

Kira turns Aloe’s clothes into the God of Thunder to finish this once and for all. Aloe grabs Shimeji and at this rate the thunder will destroy them both. Aloe notes after she was abandoned, Kira picked her up but he was a kind master then. Now he has changed because he is chasing his memories of the past. She wants to heal his wounded heart. When Kira notes he doesn’t care what happens to Aloe because dolls are just data and that there are many replacement, that was the last straw for his dolls. They refuse to do his bidding anymore and plead to release them from his contract. Viewing this as a betrayal of his love, he uses some bomb activation card on Aloe. If it goes off, all her data will be erased and she will cease to exist. Uzume’s dolls free the rest but can’t take out the bomb embedded in Aloe’s chest. Not wanting everyone to get caught in the blast, Aloe flies up high in the sky and goes boom. Because Kira shows no remorse over the loss of some data, his dolls kick the daylights out of him. Shimeji shows the frozen card of Aloe. She has ceased functioning and if they don’t do anything, she’ll disappear forever. Rafflesia suggests there is a way. Among the rare cards taken from the lab, there is a recovery card that can only be used once. Uzume uses it and Aloe revives. Shimeji and Aloe emotionally reunite. As the dolls are to part ways, Aloe decides to stay by Kira’s side. She doesn’t think he’ll make it without him and doesn’t mind going through anything as long as she can be with him. Learn a thing or two about loyalty from her, dude. Kira admits his love is not strong enough and as repentance, gives Uzume all his cards. Back home, Uzume presents a ribbon to Shimeji as a gift for helping out. Now the other dolls want one too…

Episode 5
Manai is so happy that Uzume has decided to join the Card Club after considering what happened. Even happier because there is another one who just joined: Kagami. In front of Manai, she is the polite and cute girl. But before Uzume, she becomes the scheming brat that vows to take her cards one day. Better sleep with your eyes open. But the tension between them ease when Uzume returns Kunoichi card to her. Uzume then summons her dolls and she looks pretty angry. Serious. Since she is running low on allowance due to buying too much snacks for them, there will be none till her next allowance. Her dolls are devastated like as though it’s the end of the world. Can’t they wait that long? Manai suggests to do part time. And so we see Katia taking up some delivery job with Uzume and Kagami keeping a close watch on her. It doesn’t take long before they lose her. Since Katia is unsure of the place, she seeks help. That help turns out to be Miko. At the same time, some television crew is doing some street interview and stumbles upon the lolis. Imagine the horror in Uzume when she finds out Katia is on TV with Miko! And Katia is so excited to be on TV. She hopes the other dolls aren’t doing anything weird. Speaking of which, Madeleine is modelling, Shimeji a tour guide, Akari cleaning guns and Sasara fishing. Don’t laugh. These girls are serious. A kid, Yamato Yamada who is playing video games nearby, receives a direct order from the insurance company MDAG that his target is Katia. He is game for it. However it seems all the dolls he summoned meet some kind of bad luck. Whether it is getting bitten in the butt by a dog or the trolley hit a stone and sent her flying into the sea. All without Katia and Miko knowing what is really going on. As explained by Rafflesia, Katia has some sort of unconscious luck ability and it is kicking it. Yeah. It sure makes those dolls look silly.

When Katia and Miko arrive at the address, the owner is out. Katia is bent on completing her delivery job so she summons her wardrobe and puts on wings and takes Miko to fly in the sky! Can she believe what is going on before her eyes? As for Rafflesia, he manages to convince the people they’re filming some sort of movie. I’m sure with his good looks and smooth operator talk, even the old ladies believe him. Katia finishes her delivery but before Yamato could make his next move on her, he is confronted by Kagami. He recognizes her from the same organization. He agrees to play with her to see who is stronger. Obviously Kagami is. He and his dolls are beaten to a pulp. What a rough day. Miko is sad to see Katia on the verge of disappearing (because time on her own is almost up). After being assured that she isn’t going to die and not going away forever, they make a promise to meet again in the future. Meanwhile Kagami contacts MDAG’s director directly that she will personally get the job done and not let others interfere. The other dolls return with lots of snacks. I’m sure they used up their part time pay. Manai has also created a snacks fund so that those who want to eat snacks can contribute to it. She also names the group Masquerade Curry Uki Uki (taken after their first name syllables). I think she needs to work on her naming sense. With only a snack left, Manai breaks them to share among her friends but the dolls also want a piece of it. Even crumbs? Except for Katia. She’s sleeping after a tiring day but a happy smile is seen over her face.

Episode 6
Akari wakes up Uzume the usual devastating way. Bed destroyed. Uzume cowering under her desk. After she prepares herself for school, at the train station did she realize it is Sunday!!! Ah well, routine… Since they’re out, might as well go shopping but her dolls often wander off on their own so it’s hard to keep track of them. Akari meets Miina Rurukawa (holy sh*t! This scene looks like Suigin Tou and Shinku!). Miina seeks her master Ophelia’s answer. Since they are not the enemy, she wants Miina to invite them over to their house. It is filled with dolls (I thought they’re mostly creepy) but Uzume and co are baffled when Miina turns into a real doll after sitting back inside the glass. Back home, Miko comes into Uzume’s room and sees the entire doll gang. But she is delighted to see Katia and so they talk until they tire out. In the club room, Kagami warns Uzume if she has met any weird card masters because she wants to be the one who will take her cards. Yeah, yeah. We get it for the umpteenth time already. As they discuss about Miina, Kagami notes she has heard about her before. A goth-lolita fashionist and a Class A+ card master. Next day, Miina meets Uzume to talk. Miina feels devotion is the most beautiful thing in the world. She views dolls have them. After meeting Ophelia and the other dolls, she wished to be turn into a doll. Uzume notices her bandaged right hand so Miina says it’s just some punishment. Meanwhile Ophelia and the other dolls visit Uzume’s dolls to clarify about themselves. They also have a request for Akari and that is to be Miina’s master. She is assured she will never be abandoned because they are all Miina’s master. Though Uzume’s dolls disagree since they already have a master, Ophelia wonders if their master is reliable. Depending on Akari’s answer, they can order Miina to attack Uzume and take her by force. However they won’t force her and will await the good news. Miina hands Uzume a poster of this weekend’s bazaar and hopes she could come. Ophelia and the other dolls discuss about the reason Miina was made to talk to Uzume because she thought there is a chance Miina could be saved. Miina remembers her mother telling her she is the most beautiful person in the world.

At the bazaar, Miina shows Akari the dolls on sale. They have been abandoned by their previous master for a new one and are awaiting a new master. Sadly, many ended up never getting that. Meanwhile Rafflesia and his colleague, Rinto Mikasa have looked into Miina’s problem. She was taught devotion as the most beautiful thing in the world by her mom who treasured her like a doll. When she was 7, mother left for volunteer work around the world. A little accident happened and Miina burnt her hand in a science experiment. A mark was left behind. Miina asks Akari’s answer and the latter turns down to be her master because she already has Uzume. Relief that they don’t have to fight, Uzume and her dolls leave. Ophelia shows Miina the trade conditions they made with MDAG. Uzume and co suddenly find themselves in a field card. The creepy woods. Only Uzume is afraid… The gang thought they weren’t going to take her by force but it seems now they want to take all of them. As the dolls fight, it is further explained that the ugliness of that burnt mark was probably why her mom left her as believed by Miina. The condition set by the trade was to have a physician completely heal the mark. Akari fights back but gets bound. Uzume tries to help her and expresses she doesn’t want to lose her because they just became friends. The rest try to make Ophelia and co realize if they are okay with the way things are. They know they are trying their best to save her, the reason they wanted to invite Akari to their side. Uzume uses some bind card to free everything and this includes healing Miina’s mark. I don’t get it… Ophelia admits what has been said was true. They don’t want to be her master but her friend. While the other dolls thought Akari lost her chance to leave her unreliable master, Akari reveals she was locked in her room practising to become stronger. If she has the strength to protect her master, she won’t abandon her. Uzume realizes the Card Club is established to make friends. She thinks she should be friends with Kagami. You mean, she wasn’t?

Episode 7
Kiyoshi Kiyomizu from MDAG challenges Uzume to a duel. Uzume’s dolls are no match for his team of rugby dolls because of their mighty scrum barrier. Only when Kagami and Manai arrive to help out, Kiyoshi retreats. Rafflesia throws Uzume a special card. It will only activate when 5 dolls come together in cooperation for it contains a special ability. The card will display its true potential when the hearts of the master and dolls are as one. Back home, they test it out but it summons weird items. Kettle? Wheel? Party hat? WTF?! Meanwhile Kiyoshi is bent on retrieving Uzume’s card to get his wish. Something about turning sports into its true meaning because he has had it with those members who have turned sports into some sort of breeding ground for inappropriate relationships. Uzume and her dolls try to train their hearts to be one. Exercise? Disco? Twister? Human pyramid? But it finally pays off as the items turn into… Limbo Rock stick???!!! After they successfully to the limbo, the items further transform into cannon parts. Because they are unsure of the next step, it reverts into those original ordinary items. Sasara blames Uzume for not being a great master and thinks that she thinks her dolls are not working hard enough. This hurts Uzume and she runs away. Along the way she spots Komachi talking to her friends and thoughts of Komachi suited to be the dolls’ master cross her mind. Of course Komachi as usual talks to her and gives her advice. Uzume can’t be passive with people. If she wants to have someone do something, she too must do it. Her dolls are discussing if they have truly hurt their master this time. Even so, they realize MDAG is coming after her and the only thing they can do now is protect her and fight.

Once again, Kiyoshi faces off with Uzume. Both sides summon their dolls. Sasara assures Uzume they will protect her because it is their duty as dolls. They will buy her time while she figures out about the special card. After seeing her dolls getting blown away by the scrum, suddenly Uzume’s legs transforms into a tank!!! WTF???!!! Her desire to protect her dolls keeps the rugby team at bay. That is when the cannon assembles because master and dolls have their heart as one and Sasara will be the bullet to break through the iron defence. After chanting a long team line (seriously, is this necessary to activate the cannon?), Sasara is fired and the defence is easily broken through. Kiyoshi retreats. Uzume and co’s celebration is short-lived when a mysterious woman, Anne wants to see her strength after being impressed with their team technique. She sends her single doll, Proto Zero to fight Uzume’s. They are all taken out in an instant! No fighting chance. She leaves disappointed. When Manai and Kagami arrive, Kagami recognizes that woman as MDAG’s director. Later, she again sends a reminder to her that Uzume is hers and not to let anyone interfere. Uzume and her dolls take a bath. Sasara scrubs her back as apology. The rest get jealous over the duo being so close and want in.

Episode 8
The Card Club is doing curry cafe for the school’s cultural festival. Rafflesia and Mikasa are wary because outsiders are allowed in and this means Uzume will be an easy target by MDAG. Speaking of which, here is one waltzing in now. A Chinese bimbo airhead named Rin. She enters each club to look for Uzume. Till she enters the cafe with males in aprons. Very demotivating… Also, Rin becomes totally jealous when she sees a poster of Komachi. In some magazine, Komachi ranked first ahead of second placed Rin and she’s adamant she’ll be tops in the next. Whatever. Katia accompanies Miko to the haunted house but since Uzume wandered too far, Katia disappears and is left to venture in alone. Luckily Kagami finds her but soon loses her too. Uzume along with Komachi see a movie by the AV Club. The director is one of the students, Jun Fujihisa and yeah, he looks like a member of MDAG. But he is adamant he will get his wish without MDAG. Anyway, if you don’t get what his movie is about, don’t worry, you’re not along. Nobody did. Imagine his shock when he sees their I-don’t-get-it reaction. But Uzume recognizes the location in the movie. Isn’t that the rundown lab? Now that he is desperate, he is considering doing MDAG’s bidding just to have more audience watch his movie. Meanwhile Rin has been having bad luck trying to find Uzume. At first she thought Miko knew because she heard her say Uzume’s name but each time she loses her. Now a desperate case, she hijacks the PA and with a creepy suspicious voice, sends a message for Uzume to head to the back of the gym. She is waiting with her Chinese zombie dolls but the first to arrive is Kagami. She defeats this weakling. Kagami hides when Uzume arrives. Uzume is confronted with Fujihisa who challenges her to a duel. Uzume’s dolls sends Fujihisa’s movie set crew dolls into defeat when they cut up some onions to well up tears in their eyes?! WTF?! Tragically humorous, I’d say. Uzume learns that Fujihisa made a contact with MDAG just to get more audience. Though Sasara and co didn’t really approve his method, Fujihisa’s dolls stood up for their master about his true passion in making films. Uzume could understand how he feels. Fujihisa runs back to the room and is devastated to see not a single soul. Only Miko is watching. Where did the audience go? They left halfway. Heart breaking, isn’t it? Uzume finally reunites with Miko. When Miko notes how interesting the movie is (did she understand what she just saw?), it sends Fujihisa crying. No, there were no onions causing that. Returning back to their room, everyone learns Kagami had made curry coupons to attract more customers. Uzume shakes her hand.

Episode 9
While Uzume laments the club room is too small since all the dolls are out frolicking, Kagami gets a message from MDAG. They have found information on her brother and thus she needs to complete the requirements if she wants this information. Kagami treats Uzume to parfait. Happy? Now hand over your cards! Wait a minute. You can’t ask like that, can’t you? Uzume won’t give it to her so Kagami gets up and leaves. Enjoy your parfait. As usual Uzume seeks Komachi’s advice and in the end, no use worrying about it and she’ll start talking to her tomorrow. Of course that won’t happen since she hasn’t turn up in the clubroom since. Kagami is at the abandoned tracks. She asks her dolls if they would sacrifice themselves for her wish. They will do anything their master commands. Kagami needs to take Uzume’s cards before midnight because there is a time limit MDAG will be willing to release that information. She is in a dilemma because she has made friends but has lived this moment to find her brother and shouldn’t care about them. So when Uzume is made to confront Kagami, the latter starts going on the offensive. Uzume is shocked and doesn’t want to fight her friend but is forced to. If Uzume had that cannon, Kagami’s is a giant shuriken! Both sides go all out to fight for their master but Uzume doesn’t want her dolls to finish their opponents. The turning point came when Uzume protected Katia and took a blow. This causes Kagami’s will to waver. Although she insists she is still the enemy and wants her to hate her so she can fight and still her cards, Uzume asserts she is not and will not fight her because she is her friends. She got too close that Kagami slapped her. Now feeling guilty, Kagami explains about her beloved brother. He went missing, believed to be kidnapped. MDAG is her only last hope to find him because the police and her parents can’t do much. Uzume will help find her brother and this turns Kagami into an emotional wreck. Friends again? Rafflesia and Mikasa offer their help to find her brother in exchange for some info on MDAG. However, Anne tells them Kagami has been expelled. Kagami and Uzume send their dolls to attack Proto Zero but were easily defeated. Not even the cannon could do the trick. In the end, Madeleine is captured. Anne is impressed that she planned to capture them all but only got one. She is impressed with Uzume’s growth and invites her to join MDAG.

Episode 10
Uzume’s dolls chide their master for being useless since she is doing nothing and leaving things to Rafflesia. But what can she do? Later Uzume receives some package of tea she believes from her uncle. She makes some and tries to entice her dolls out but they’re sitting in to continue their protest. Stubborn? Till Uzume receives mail from Anne requesting for a battle that the dolls decide to do a ceasefire. Because Anne wants her cards and doesn’t want to hurt her dolls, she suggests a different card game: Poker. Yes, plain ol’ poker and no fancy magic stuff or anything. Uzume realizes the tea contains the poker cards and sent from Anne. Before she could get them, her mom Mikoto sees them and is impressed. A tea box turns into a hologram set so Uzume and Anne feign they are friends and are about to play poker. Mikoto is eager to play too and notes she is good in it. Since when did she become a gambler? Since giving birth to her daughters! That’s like gambling, right? So we are given the gist of poker by Mikoto. Unknown to them, Madeleine is with Anne and being treated nicely. Is this some sort of cohorts they’re in? Mikoto deals the cards and Uzume’s hand is the weakest. Mikoto seems like she fails in playing poker since she is acting all too happy with her good cards. She doesn’t even want to change. Uzume has no confidence and folds. Anne is confident in her hands and won’t change them either. But when Mikoto ups the ante, Anne folds thinking she really has a superior card. When they show their cards, Mikoto has nothing!!! Wow. She was really playing poker indeed!

The next round begins. Again, Uzume has nothing. Mikoto once more acts happy but Anne won’t be bought by her trick again. Anne ups the ante and will bet Madeleine’s card. Of course Uzume wants it, giving mommy the reason she is collecting rare cards. However Uzume has no confidence in her hand and folds again. When it’s show time, Mikoto has a straight flush compared to her three-of-a-kind. Man, this mommy is good. Uzume thanks her mom for getting the card but wait… Mommy didn’t say on giving it to her. Since it’s time to make dinner, she can’t play anymore. Aw, shucks… In that case, Mikoto lets Uzume play on her behalf. Whoever wins gets the card. Uzume’s dolls let her know about the background in the screen. They deduce Anne is in the car and from the floodlights behind, they are at the nearby park. The dolls head there but are stopped by Proto Zero. Again, they get owned. They want Uzume to use a trap card so she decides to believe in her cards and use them. Proto Zero is fast avoiding those blocks but no matter how fast, she is going to get caught sooner or later. In the end, she gets cornered by the dolls. The final cards are dealt. Uzume’s luck is sure horrible. Nothing. Anne knows victory is in her hands since she has full house. Uzume of course is going to believe in her cards and changes all 5 cards. An act of desperation? Anne thought she was following her mom’s silly act but it seems she has four-of-a-kind compared to her full house! Anne admits defeat and tells her that the director will pay her a visit soon. Eh? You mean she is not the director? And soon Uzume has a guest at her doorstep… KOMACHI! She admits she is MDAG’s director. Oh sh*t…

Episode 11
Komachi returns Madeleine to her and then unseals the lock on the dolls’ memory. They recognize her as their previous master. Come to think of it, she does have that similarity to that kid… Sasara is not pleased that she abandoned them and of all times, why now? Manai and Kagami are called over as Komachi explains. Her dolls wouldn’t develop further under her command. That’s why she had to ‘abandon’ them. Then a different side of them emerged when Uzume became their master. She apologizes for what has happened and as for if she is their friend or foe, it depends on their stand. Komachi will finish discussion at school tomorrow and leaves with her dolls back to her home. Uzume feels reluctant but lets them go with her. Next day as they head to school, Kagami tries to ask her about her brother but Komachi didn’t say anything. Since the clubroom is too small to house the girls, dolls and even Rafflesia and Mikasa, they do it in the hall. Much better. The guys will not charge MDAG since from their information, they have not broken any law although what they did was morally wrong. It all began at Kawagoe when the people created the devices in some scientific revolution. However they were caught in some international conspiracy and have gone missing. A different group is searching for their whereabouts. They left behind the cards and due to some complex system, the dolls of the cards can grow on their own. To investigate this, they gave various people sets of cards in secret because various nations and organizations have been attempting to steal and analyze this technology. Furthermore, the country’s top brass cannot decide to keep or trade the technology. The developers embedded different cards with different data since they got this idea from one person: Makoto, who is Kagami’s brother. Although he just gave the idea and never had involvement in the technology. Because of that, others kidnapped him in hopes of getting more ideas out of him but when that failed, the released him in some country overseas. And now he has returned. Yes, Makoto was hiding in that mushroom mascot all along. Cue for emotional sibling reunification. Thanks to Komachi’s information, they were able to retrieve him under their custody. They believe this technology should not fall into the hands of outsiders and would like the card owners to stay with their dolls.

Uzume is not thrilled hearing all this. She got caught up in this and then this surprise. She doesn’t get a single thing what they are saying and is saddened Komachi tried to hide all this from her. Why, oh why. Komachi explains she had a friend, Sonnet. She was a doll. She looks like Plastic Zero which was constructed in her design. Unfortunately she isn’t here anymore and because she wanted her back, she started MDAG and trading of wishes. Her wish is to have lots of cards to resurrect Sonnet since she would need the data from the dolls. She tried to recovery card but it didn’t work. Komachi doesn’t want to separate Uzume from her dolls. But she needs the data from them so she can bring Sonnet back. She wants to hand them back without fighting. Unsure Uzume asks her dolls but they ask her back. It’s got to be her who decides in the end, eh? Still unsure, Sasara chides her off that’s why she’s always weak. Uzume says back that they don’t really back her up since they’re always thinking about their ex-master. Since it has come to this, Sasara and co will return to Komachi and want Uzume to terminate their contract. On top of that, Uzume quits the Card Club and runs away. On the train, she is met by Anne (MDAG’s secretary) who tells her about the director. Once she returns to her room, she finds a note left behind by her ex-dolls. They have hidden a birthday present in her room and want her to go on a scavenger hunt. It’s not even her birthday. But upon remembering Anne’s words that when the data is extracted from the doll, they will lose everything including their memories, and that Sasara and co know about this and thus won’t be around during her birthday, Uzume turns her room upside down. She just ransacked her own room, no? She couldn’t find it but Manai and Kagami are here to support her. Uzume confronts Komachi at the stadium and wants her dolls back. But the contract was nullified, right? Uzume borrows her app and recalls her dolls back. They disappear back into the device and this proves they still recognize her as their master. Since Komachi still needs them to revive Sonnet, I guess the only way left is to settle via duel. Uzume says her wish is just to be with her friends.

Episode 12
We see how good friends Komachi and Sonnet were. One day Komachi almost got ran over by a truck but Sonnet pushes her away and got struck down instead. Komachi became devastated watching her friend disappear before her eyes. Kagami and Makoto are looking for Uzume but she’s not home. Anne knows where she is but wants Makoto to trade wishes. Bringing him back to MDAG’s operation room, she wants him to analyze the data regarding Sonnet’s recovery since he knows a lot about the cards’ data. Komachi is ranting about some philosophy about hope and desire. Because desires for each human are different, there is no one true justice. Yeah. Whatever. She thinks humans should consider only 1 thing important because if there are too many, they’ll become selfish and get lost. Yeah. Whatever. Due to some policy of Rafflesia and Mikasa’s organization, they can’t interfere in their battle and can only watch. How sad. So both sides begin their fight but as usual, Proto Zero is too fast and strong. Not even that WTF hotdog, onion or friendship cannon could best her. As explained, after Sonnet died, Komachi received Proto Zero from the original makers. Her void and hollow existence allows her to accept patterns from any dolls and thus the potential to grow infinitely strong. Anne and Makoto televise Komachi and Uzume’s duel to all the MDAG members. But Uzume gets more help when Kagami and Manai arrive to lend extra hands. Despite all their dolls combining to fire one great big cannon, it is still not enough. Goes to show that quantity is not always better.

Since fighting won’t do the trick, I guess the dolls are resorting to talking now. Friendship… Treasure our relationship with our master… You get the idea. Komachi orders Proto Zero to defeat them all but surprisingly she breaks down and cry! I guess Proto Zero is hurting inside because she doesn’t really want to fight. Everyone wants Komachi to think that what she is doing is at the cost of everyone else’s wishes. If Komachi views Sonnet as her friend, then what does Sonnet view her as? A friend too, right? More blah, blah, blah about friends and the likes. Anne and Makoto enter the scene just to tell Komachi that due to some recognition ability in-built in the dolls, reviving Sonnet is impossible because Uzume’s data is inside them. Eh? What? Say that again. Now Komachi becomes an emotional wreck because she came this far only to be told the impossible. But Makoto says there is a way. He hands her an empty card without data. As Sonnet was an early model of a card, her data might still be around on the internet. All you need to do is gather all those information and put them in this card. Are you crazy? Are you going to scour the entire internet just to gather all the data? It’s worse than finding a needled in a haystack. That’s when all the dolls, including all those MDAG losers that Uzume has bested before (except Rin – where the heck is she?), offer their help to find it. Wow. Power of friendship. Power of love. And so all the dolls travel across the internet to gather the data in the form of… Colourful gumballs? All our human counterparts have to do is just wait. It took them till morning. Hey, that’s considered fast already, right? And when they finally return, to Komachi’s joy, Sonnet revives from a rose. And Komachi knows this is going to be a great day because she just found her birthday present.

Fashionista Cosplay Doll
I’m not really impressed with this anime although I won’t say it to the point that I am disappointed. There was nothing that really attracted my attention and if it did, it was just probably for a short span. I was heading down the boringsville road and that nothing would happen because what you normally see here is Uzume bonding with her dolls or fighting with other card masters. It was hard for me to maintain my attention so much so that when Komachi was revealed to be MDAG’s leader, I felt surprised! Serious. Usually I would have guessed it miles away since there were some hints that would have made viewers pinpoint her as the secret boss. Like why was she always around when Uzume needed some friend advice or that flashback kid that resembled so closely to her. Because I wasn’t ‘thinking’, maybe that is why that revelation caught me off-guard. But still, I think the ending is a bit crappy. Because they want to end it with a happy ending for everybody. Uzume gets to stay with her dolls. Uzume gets to be friends with everybody. Komachi gets Sonnet back. All MDAG members are somewhat shown to have turned over a new leaf because of the power of friendship and love. Wow. Too much sugar coating can be bad for health.

It didn’t help since the big mind boggling puzzle was why Komachi abandoned her dolls that now belong to Uzume. Then she had to turn ‘buruk siku’ and want her to return them. Maybe it’s because I’m not paying attention but I remember she said about not developing further under her and thus ‘abandoned’ them. But what makes her think they have the data within to resurrect Sonnet? Had she knew it was them in the first place, she wouldn’t have tossed them away, right? And the way the anime ended felt cheap too because after all the hardship that Komachi went through just to revive Sonnet, she is being told it can’t be done and suddenly our genius Makoto comes up with a never-thought-of-before method that is seemingly impossible to a human but possible to the dolls since they too are made of data. In an instant, the trouble of reviving Sonnet that required time and effort is suddenly solved with this empty card solution and gathering of her data all over the internet. Feels cheap, doesn’t it? Makes you go if Komachi is the smart girl that would do anything to revive her best friend, how come she have never thought about this? If she was that desperate, I’m sure she would have come up with insane methods and tested them out. Clearly, even if she is desperate, shouldn’t she know better than to send somebody else to do the job? Why not take them herself? If she considers Sonnet her most important friend (assuming more important than Uzume), I’m sure she doesn’t really care about putting up a nice and friendly facade to Uzume, right? And if Sonnet is one of the early data for dolls, what makes the other dolls think they know her? I don’t think they were just randomly gathering all sorts of data in the cyber space. It’s a huge infinite dimension out there.

I am guessing that you need to have some knowledge of the game because it is not really explained in detail of the workings. The card masters make it look easy by just taking out their card and swiping them. In addition to doll cards, they got lots of activation cards and trap cards that add to the variety of the battle but somehow I feel it is more of convenience than anything. The cards themselves are not given any prominence or focus so you can’t really feel the impact when they turn the tables on the opponents. Another example is how Aloe was on the verge of being erased forever. Uzume being the noob and amateur would of course panic and unsure what to do. Then for convenience sake, Rafflesia pops up and gives her a card that solves it all. Don’t you feel it is too convenient? Then there’s that bout with Miina. She had lived with the mark on her arm for so long hoping she would get rid of it one day and suddenly it took a rookie to use some special card to heal it. Wasn’t Miina some sort of A+ master? Maybe that doesn’t guarantee you some rare cards. So again, doesn’t it feel like convenience? It’s like they can make up any type of card out from thin air and then thrust it into the episode just to tie things up. Aside cards, the part Kagami was reunited with Makoto too felt rushed. Like all too convenient. He was missing for so many years, how in the world did Komachi get information of his whereabouts (must be trading of many wishes) and then suddenly Mikasa’s organization brings him back. Conveniently solves Kagami’s part, no?

Character wise, they aren’t really that memorable either. Uzume is your typical protagonist who gets reluctantly dragged into this mess but learns to accept her newfound friends despite her shortcomings. Despite a cheerful and friendly girl, sometimes a little too much admonishing by her dolls can hurt her heart. Hey, she’s human after all. It’s funny to see that sometimes her dolls are the ones who take control of her personal life (because Uzume now needs to fork out more and share). Uzume tries to regain control but they shoot it down. Maybe they have the numbers. Or maybe Uzume is just a very accommodating person. Not really. She should sometimes learn how to say no and put her foot down. Her dolls I feel try to give us a variety of personality but they weren’t that memorable too. You’ve got loli Katia, stoic Akari, mature Madeline, upbeat Shimeji and the rebellious Sasara as part of the gang. Though the initial episodes give focus on a doll per episode, somehow it doesn’t just quite feel satisfying. For example, Katia doing her delivery and Shimeji still thinking about her ex-master, I just don’t feel the bond between them and Uzume deepening or whatsoever. Because the other card masters have at least 5 dolls, it feels like there are too many of them so most of them are just there for the numbers and feels like there is no character given to them. Although they follow a certain theme like sports or films, etc.

Kagami was annoying initially, especially how every time she appeared before Uzume, it’s like her role is to remind us that she will steal her cards. Maybe if you threaten somebody on a frequent basis, it would signal that you are serious instead of just fooling around. But Uzume doesn’t seem that fazed, right? Sure, she seems worried about Kagami’s intention at first but she’s not losing sleep over it. And then when she revealed about her quest to find her missing brother, she becomes open to the concept of becoming her friend. If Uzume knew about this, she would have done that right from the start. It feels like a shonen type anime when you see Uzume battling her friends and they end up becoming her ally. Well, Manai was brainwashed so it can’t be helped. But she fits that bill, right? Then you have pain-in-the-ass Kagami before the final showdown with Komachi. There are times when you need to fight your best friend just to renew your friendship. At least, that is what I thought how things ended and was supposed to be. Komachi is just like any other human with her own desires and wishes but so as not to make her be seen as the final boss villain, that’s why we see some sort of reconciliation with Uzume at the end. That’s why despite Komachi being the cool cat and counselling master that doesn’t show us any fluctuation in emotions, when she finally broke in the end, it’s a sign that Uzume had ‘won’. In short, nobody is really the bad guy. As mysterious as they may be, Rafflesia and Mikasa, I feel that their presence is just hanging around and watching over the girls. Comment a little here and there, give Uzume special cards when needed… Feels somewhat redundant. And nobody could tell Rafflesia is Uzume’s homeroom teacher? Yeah. Just put on some visor and some cape, you’ll turn out looking like a different person.

The other characters especially those set by MDAG to steal Uzume’s cards, I thought some of them had potential to be some sort of antagonist later in the series like that Kira dude. This guy is hanging on to his past memories of his girlfriend and needed to open some box. The way they show it makes it look important and his true villainy selfishness seems pretty genuine in getting down and dirty to do the job. And then when his dolls turned against him and he got defeated himself, it’s like he suddenly saw the light. Suddenly he turns over a new leaf. End of his story. So why the heck show his problem or whatsoever? Sure, the other lesser MDAG members too have their own issue, the reason why they want to trade wishes for their own. But seriously, their wishes felt so lame that the only reason why they resorted to this is because they are desperate. Are there no other avenues? Or maybe it’s just a sign to say that you’re not good enough for it. They even lost to Uzume’s dolls, right? A girl who isn’t the best master in the world but treasures her dolls like human friends. Bimbo Rin could have been a really amusing-cum-funny character but her one-episode only appearance also leaves a lot to be desired. What is her relation to Komachi anyway? Or was it just some personal jealousy? I can imagine the comical moments if she were to face off with Uzume. Alas, it was not destined to be. Mikoto is perhaps the most fun character. The way she plays poker is a natural and I’m sure she can teach the girls a lesson or two about poker and its relevance to real life.

I know the dolls are made up of data but it still boggles my mind how they can actually appear anywhere whenever they are not summoned in the real world. It’s like they can appear on window panes and pages. Doesn’t it make you feel creepy? Suddenly they can just pop up and interact with you. Only you can see them so in the eyes of others, you must be some sort of weirdo talking to ghosts! Another weird aspect is that if they are made of data and although materialized as something solid in this world, how can they actually eat real food? Especially Uzume’s dolls who love snacking. Since when it is life and death for a girl to not have their snacks? If you think about it, what happens to the snacks when it enters their stomach? How do they get processed? How does it get excreted? I know I’m thinking too much and that I shouldn’t bother with such details but I just can’t help because you know, they aren’t really human despite acting and looking close like one. Heck, they even develop emotions! How is that for technology advancement? You can give that data growth crap thingy as a reason but still, a doll will still be a doll. Hmmm… Come to think about it, maybe the dolls are more human than the humans themselves.

The way Uzume summons her dolls and we see their transformation scene is amusing since we see a long bullet train running up to the side of the doll and the carriage opens only to reveal a long list of clothes in this wardrobe. Not that they could actually pick out the clothes and wear but I guess in some fashion sense, it gives a little eye candy. I thought it was really fun and a little unique too but then when the same scene is repeated over and over again, it gets tiresome. Even the long winded summoning line that they say, I thought I would be halfway around the world by then. The enemy might have pulled a fast one by the time you even get to reach halfway. Is it necessary to recite such a long line? By right after saying it too much, those lines would have been drilled into my head but thank goodness I can’t even remember a single one.

Action wise, it is nothing spectacular. We see the dolls and their abilities based on the dress that they wear but there is not much variation since the dolls are just confined to just one set of battle outfit despite their train wardrobe containing a variety of other dresses. Heck, I don’t think they even have any special moves to begin with. You’ll always see Akari with her yo-yo and Sasara with her rapier. In group matches, you see them clashing here and there as fast as a ninja but that is about it. Don’t hold your breath. I’m not sure if this series is trying to be comical in some action scenes but there are a few scenes that I really thought it was funny. Like when everyone assembled the friendship cannon, it already looked silly enough that Sasara had to be the firing bullet (an iron helmet to top it off too?), but why do you need the master to do the marching drum? For rhythm? Seriously? Aren’t the dolls the ones who are pulling the string to fire? Uzume turning into a mini tank is also a comical scene. I thought this would turn into Girls Und Panzer… Then the dolls getting owned by Proto Zero is also funny because she is so fast and that the action is done in slow motion, it makes them look so handicap and lame when they get thrown off. And then there’s that morning wake up shock treatment from Akari. I hope Uzume doesn’t get traumatized and lose sleep over it.

As said previously, what the dolls wear are limited and confined. Although there is not much clothing design variety in a single doll, I guess the numerous other dolls make up for it. The designs may not be that unique but at least it gives some eye candy and perhaps one of the main points of this series. That’s why we also have cute dolls, cute girls and even hot looking guys. It’s all in the aesthetics of the visual appeal. But I thought I find it a little odd when the dolls are ‘naked’. It feels that the shirt (if I can call that) somewhat embeds into their skin. To put it in another way, it’s like the chest part and below didn’t manage to get a finished paint job. Slowly as you scroll down, you’ll notice sleeves-like feature. Odd, for sure. This series is produced by Hoods Entertainment, known to have produced some very ecchi anime titles like Aki Sora, Seikon No Qwaser, Rescue Me, Manyuu Hikenchou, Princess Lover and Kagaku Na Yatsura. So if you want to talk about fanservice in this anime, there is literally close to none because I don’t think the dolls in their ‘naked’ form really amounts to anything close to that (though the way they show it to us may tempt us to think so) and the bath scene whereby Uzume and her dolls all cram into the tiny bathtub just doesn’t cut it either. There’s nothing to see so move along…

So magic cards dolls battles thingy isn’t really my cup of tea and thus you might find my blog a little on the negative side. Though this anime still has some enjoyable moments like those comical bits and probably the fashion design of the dolls. Then you have some lessons you can learn too like the power of friendship and love will conquer all but these are done moderately so as not to spam you in the face every minute, therefore not so much annoying. If I wanted to see a card game-cum-tournament, I would go for Yugioh. If I wanted to see dolls fighting, I would go for Rozen Maiden. Combining both here doesn’t really work out. Certainly I wouldn’t go through all the trouble just to steal other people cards just to have my wish granted. Can I wish for the world’s destruction as long as I can take certain cards for somebody? I think stealing and launching a nuclear bomb would be much easier ;p. If you need others to grant your wish instead of yourself, then it is probably not worth as much as you think it is.