Funny how the same word could mean different things in different languages. The word mojo may just be a slang in English to say that someone is trendy. Charming. Has sex appeal. Talented. Enthusiastic. African roots define mojo as some sort of black magic charm and even Spanish it refers to some sort of sauce. But when this word is in Japanese, it is not all goody-goody to a certain group of people. Mojo is short for motenai josei, which means unpopular woman. Ah, when a woman is unpopular, it could mean several things. One of it could be this: Ugly. At least from men’s point of view. Otherwise, you would be having their heads turn when you just walk pass them, right? Which women wouldn’t want to be attractive and popular?

So mojo is the case of this particular girl who just entered high school in Watashi Ga Motenai No Wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera Ga Warui. If that name is too ridiculously long and mouthful for you to pronounce and remember, just call it Watamote for short. That title literally translates as “I am not popular, no matter how you look at it, it’s your fault!”. Yeah. It’s always someone else’s fault. Admit it. At one point in our lives, we yearn to be popular and the centre of attraction of others. We want people to say good things about us and praise us for the trivial stuffs. That isn’t bad if you do it the right way. For Tomoko Kuroki, she thinks she is hell of popular (or going to be one) when she makes her high school debut because she is an expert in playing otome games. You know what they say about games and reality… In actual fact she is socially inept. And so this is a trivial story of how Tomoko goes to great and absurd lengths trying to be popular (when she’s not) and fails badly. Yes people. It’s just a trivial story. Ignore it if you want…

Episode 1
Tomoko searches online the definition of being an unpopular girl. She is confident she doesn’t fit in any of the descriptions! Because boys talked to her 6 times in middle school! Although they are all school related stuffs! Now she is debuting in high school, she is bloody confident she can be popular and score with the boys! Yeah, her experience in dating simulations must have boosted her confidence so much… But 2 months into high school, nobody talks to her! She’s still in denial that she’s having fun playing solo?! She easily criticizes all the other boys and girls who start flirting. But the first guy that ‘talks’ to her is the teacher at the gates while she is leaving. But she has never talked to a guy for so long that she froze up and ran home! Back home, she continues to ponder about herself. She seems pretty fine talking to her mom but she is concern about talking to other people. I don’t know why she dresses up like a slut because when she looks in the mirror, she starts vomiting! Hideous?! Yeah. She hasn’t even looked in the mirror for ages! Still in denial that you’re not ugly? But if she’s short and flat, wouldn’t lolicons fawn over her? (I can’t believe she is this desperate). Thinking it’s her eyes, she covers up wearing spectacles. It works but to take her ‘beauty’ to greater heights, she goes on an internet researching spree to get more ‘knowledge’ to become beautiful. When her younger brother, Tomoki comes home, he freaks out upon seeing who this f*cking ugly b*tch is! Oh. It’s his sister… The heartbreak… So that night, Tomoko enters Tomoki’s room uninvited and wants to talk to him. He tells her to get out and just die. But that girl is so unstable that she might take his words seriously! Okay, okay. Better play along. Tomoko wants him to talk to her since she has trouble talking with people outside the family. Talk to her every day. Till she gets a boyfriend. Oh God. This is like a life sentence. Good thing or bad, she is confident she can nail one in a month! And talking to her is already starting to feel a pain… “Am I cute? Am I pretty? Am I beautiful?”…

Next day, she once more here those flirting boys and girls again and doesn’t have good thoughts about them. When she manages to eke out a timid goodbye to the teacher, she feels she has made a hell of a progress! She stops at the convenience store to treat herself. She finds herself face to face with a handsome cashier. Still nervous and timid, she thinks she made a conversation with him and is on a roll! She thinks of taking a detour and ends up reading 20 book volumes at a bookstore. WTF. Then she hangs out at the fast food restaurant. Despite a lady is taking her order, Tomoko remains nervous and timid. She never thought the burger tasted this good and chomps it down like a monster! Then she sees her classmates entering. Fearing she would be a subject of ridicule, she can’t make her escape as they are seated near the exit. So she decides to change her dress style and pucker up the ugliest b*tch face ever. She walks pass them and she thinks it is working that they didn’t notice. Actually, they didn’t give a damn. Plan is going on smoothly till she sees Tomoki coming in with his friends! Oh God… Then she hears his friend’s comment that this is the ugliest freaking b*tch he has ever seen! So ugly that this type of ugliness is rare! Even Tomoki had to deny he looked at her… Just heartbreaking… Tomoko sits alone on a park swing. Tomoki comes to get her to go home. No more detours, okay?

Episode 2
Tomoko is listening to her CD of yandere guys verbally abusing each other!!! Then she gets a call from an old middle school friend-cum-geek whose grades are just average, Yuu Naruse to meet up this Saturday. Can’t pass up this chance. At school, Tomoko continues to space out in class and not paying attention. Even dreaming up her own fantasy of becoming popular by being the hungry girl. Hearing others talk about group pairing causes her mind to freak out even more to a point she feels sick and had to rest in the infirmary. She sees a boy sleeping in the next bed and thinks she slept with a guy! This should be a topic she can talk about to Yuu. On her way home, a flirting couple blocks her way so she once again goes into that mental criticism of them till she realizes it makes herself sound like a jealous pervert. By the time it ends, they’re already gone. I guess her life is so boring that she has come up with a list on what to talk to Yuu. Besides ‘sleeping’ with that boy, it also includes discovering anatomical models are unisex. Didn’t know that, didn’t she? Because she can’t stand her classmates talk about flirting, she decides to replenish her mana by fantasizing her own fantasy of getting raped by hot guys???!!! She is brought back to reality when a classmate accidentally guts her stomach with the table. Ouch. I don’t know about her twisted thinking because she thinks if losing her virginity hurts this much, she’d rather be a virgin all her life! Tomoko is suddenly called to the teacher’s room along with another guy, Hatsushiba. They are the only ones who haven’t hand in their portrait art assignment and must stay back after school to complete it. Tomoko is thinking too much about this fatso that she unwittingly follows him back to his class. Now it looks like she was trying to hook up with him. Wait a minute. Maybe it’s not that bad. Fantasizing they elope on his bicycle… On second thought, that’s just disgusting!

The duo stay back to complete the portrait. Hatsushiba finishes first and leaves. Thinking he did a half assed work, Tomoko also draws one on his portrait. When she takes a peek at his work, let’s say she becomes the happiest girl in the world and even asks a photocopy of his art! She doesn’t mind becoming friends with that fatso since he is desperate. Really? Tomoko waits to meet up with Yuu and look who comes in? WOOOAAAH! WHO THE HELL IS THIS HOT MAMA???!!! Yuu is exuding lots of moe cuteness! Is this the geek she once knew?! Too many changes! She’s got the looks, she’s got the curves! Everything that a guy would dream of. As they hang out, Yuu is glad Tomoko didn’t change and when she talks about anime and stuffs, Yuu wished middle school would last forever. Tomoko suggests having fun like in those days. So they hang out at the video arcade and karaoke. At the end of the day, Yuu finds it fun and hopes to go out like this more often. Noticing she has been sad all the while, Tomoko finally tells her that it isn’t smooth sailing for her when she entered high school either. However she is still trying and hopes Yuu would do the same too. Yuu feels better. She felt she got depressed over something trivial when she got into her first argument with her boyfriend. Say what… Boyfriend… Tomoko puts on her yandere guys CD and drowns herself in those voices instead of hearing Yuu’s happy ranting. Well, if this world is crashing down on Tomoko, at least she’s got another world to go to. Her only solace is that picture Hatsushiba drew, which seems pretty much an ordinary portrait but if you compare it to Tomoko’s face, I guess you could say it’s cute. In actual fact, Hatsushiba is part of the manga club and the problem is, all his characters have that same look! He doesn’t care since this face takes him the least time to draw.

Episode 3
It’s a rainy day and it messes up Tomoko’s hair. And she doesn’t give a damn. She already looks ugly, right? In class, she realizes she forgot her textbook. She hopes to stay unnoticed but at times like this, the teacher is sharp and reprimands her. If she doesn’t have a friend next class to borrow, then borrow from your neighbour! But he’s a boy… Oh, Tomoko. She must be crying in her heart. After class, she thinks somebody stole her umbrella and curses everyone. Till she realizes it is in the next basket. On the way home, she watches in awe the rising flood waters over the bridge. That same teacher takes her away and lectures her about doing something dangerous. Then her umbrella broke. This is not her day. Taking shelter nearby, a couple of boys do the same too. They try to talk to her but she panics. And when she finally does, they didn’t realize she is talking to them. On the verge of crying but can’t let them find out, she pretends to go to the toilet. Even telling a dirty toilet joke. WTF. By the time she returns, the boys are gone. She falls asleep. Seems the boys have gone to buy umbrellas and one for her because they feel bad for her. Aww… When Tomoko wakes up, she sees the new umbrella and wonders if somebody left theirs so she can use it, in which she does. On her way home, she hopes for boys to be nice to her. Oh Tomoko… You don’t know how lucky you were…

Tomoki comes back from the rain but since Tomoko is hogging the toilet, he develops fever next morning and has to skip school. This enrages Tomoko because she dreads going to school and wanted an excuse to skip it. So she blames her brother for falling ill and not her! She goes annoy him! In class, Tomoko is left out of the basketball team. Yeah. They are one member short and can’t find anyone to play… Not like she wants to play either. She eavesdrop several girls talking about some psychological test. Based on the answer given, it seems Tomoko is an unwanted virgin! She starts fantasizing that she is some hot sniper chick going to assassinate a president of some country. Then she got the basketball slam right into her head. But a blessing in disguise because she gets to go home! Yahoo! But she decides to stay by Tomoki so she could catch his germs and not go to school tomorrow. Yeah, cheesy lines like I want to be by your side. Not amused. She’s a pain in the neck. Might be running up his fever even more. Mother thought she wants to nurse him so she lets her handle taking care of Tomoki. However she is being sloppy… When Tomoki’s girl classmates arrive to hand over printouts, Tomoko becomes jealous and devastated. She pours hot porridge on his face! WTF?! A definite kick in the gut! I don’t know how she manages to hold to porridge bowl but she’s still crying and lamenting her brother is more popular and got girls to visit unlike her. Nobody comes to see her. Yeah. She’s a pain alright. When there is somebody at the door for her, it is only the delivery guy. Even sadder. More pain. Next day, Tomoki feels better and Tomoko blames him a useless piece of sh*t who couldn’t even give her his germs. Because of that she had to go to school today. Then he points out that it takes time for the symptoms to appear. Right after that, she starts feeling it. Now she is sick and there goes her precious weekend… Deserve it?

Episode 4
Tomoko stumbles upon a website on how to have erotic dreams! Something about sleep facedown due to lack of oxygen to the brain thingy. She tries it out but only got bug nightmares! She puts a pillow under her chest for more intensity but got more nightmares about gorillas and crocodiles. Because of that, she lacks sleep and in class is nodding off right in the middle of the test. The teacher thought something is wrong with her till he sees her erotic face!!!!!! Let her be… That was a good sleep and she ponders if it’s because of her sitting position. She overhears the girls talking about being molested on the train so she gets jealous and criticizes those sluts are showing off as it means they’re pretty. Back home, she tries molesting herself! She then calls Yuu to ask her opinion. What’s it like to get molest? Is it okay? Of course not! She lies that she got molested. Suddenly Tomoko feels she is the biggest loser because she is the only girl who hasn’t get molested. While taking a train to school, suddenly the rush hour crowd comes in. Tomoko is squeezed and crushed in between them. It’s amazing her bones didn’t break. Suddenly she feels some rod thing in between her legs. Could it be a molester? She starts panicking and regrets wanting to get molested. She tries to escape on the next stop but it seems the rod curves up and prevents her from escaping! Can that ‘assault weapon’ do so?! Her groin is starting to hurt and she feels like being raped! On the next stop, she dashes out while holding her crotch. Everyone sees her in this funny position but she points out there is a molester. Turns out to be a girl’s kendo sword as she apologizes profusely for the incident. Later Tomoko calls Yuu to tell her she got raped by a kendo sword…

When Tomoko’s classmates are talking about swimsuits, once more miss unpopular snarls that they just want to show off their sex appeal. She realizes they are wearing sexy lingerie unlike hers. Yeah. Her mom bought hers dirt cheap. So she has this rational she can get a boyfriend and put those b*tches in their place if she buys an expensive one. Needing to figure out where to buy them, she calls Yuu, asking what sort of panties she is wearing. But the way she exhales… Sounds like a pervert… Tomoko meets up with Yuu to go buy panties. Just like a country bumpkin, Tomoko is awed with the lingerie shop. She thinks the panties even smell this good! She wants Yuu to buy it for her. She’s fantasizing so much that she says out loud she’ll be turned on if she was a guy. Eventually she got a pair but can’t put it on because it went missing. What miserable luck. However she thinks it’s a blessing in disguise as it will be too embarrassing to wear. Little did she realized, she mixed her panties with her handkerchief and wipes her sweat! A guy classmate sees this and gets freaking embarrassed! Not as embarrassed as Tomoko because she rips the panties to bits in the toilet! With a mad face!!! No more pantsu!!!!!!! To recharge her energy, she buys an otome game but also wins a hand massager that looks like a vibrator at the lottery. Imagine the misinterpretation if people sees this combination. Back home, she uses it to massage her shoulders. So good that she falls asleep while playing her game. Her dad returns and goes to check on her. What is you impression when you see your daughter with a satisfied face sleeping on the floor, the massager on as well as the otome game on screen? He puts her back to bed, turns off the massager and game and leaves. Good night. Sweet dreams. Yeah. She might be having just that.

Episode 5
After 3 months and Tomoko wonders why she isn’t popular. Yeah. I wonder… She sees an anime about some alien girl and thinks she needs some personality. She goes for the expressionless quiet type, saying nothing or just a few words. So when Tomoki accuses her of stealing his sports drink, her little words did nothing to ease her trouble. Face grab! But she has to be patient because today she vows to play the emotionless type. However life in school goes on the same. She is being ignored and left out. Hardly any different than before. Be strong! Then she decides to hang out that a coffee store thinking this is where such characters go to relax. She fumbles at the counter thinking the ‘G’ size is for Giant instead of Grande. Noticing how bitter it is, she mixes some of the seasonings. Heck, she mixes everything! Now it’s become some sort of poison! Definitely tastes horrible. She is about to blow this joint when she trips and falls hard on her face. I don’t think she can keep up with that expressionless character anymore. In the end, she laments that such character is only possible if you have a guy who likes you. Bummer. In class when she hears her classmates talking about photo prints, she decides to get one with Yuu seeing she has never done it before and she is going to be an animated girl with a cute smile. Unfortunately Yuu has plans. She then goes to bug Tomoki to come with her adorable sister. Not interested. She even bought Coke to make up for that sports drink fiasco. Not interested. She opens it for him and the Coke spills all over his carpet. Get out please. Just get out. And so Tomoko goes solo into one of those booths and finds it overwhelming because there are instructions on what pose to do. Too fast for you, girl? Yeah, all the faces she makes looks creepy. When Tomoki enters his room, he sees Tomoko’s photo prints all over his furniture. Even his photos and football posters are plastered over with them. There is always a limit how much people can take…

Tomoko watches a TV programme and thinks working at a cabaret club will improve her social skills. Thinking she will be subjected to a series of tests, she first buys a lighter to improve her cigarette lighting skill. At the park, she seems slow in trying to light the lighter. She perseveres till she is fast enough to light it. Hah. She doesn’t even light that guy’s smoke. To practice serving and mixing drinks, while Tomoki goes to refill sugar, Tomoko hijacks his drink, dumps ice and stirs it for him. Face grab! Because of that, she thinks she is hell of a qualified to work at a cabaret. She makes her way to the red light district to check it out. The police siren even makes her jumpy. Are you really ready, girl? She observes a handsome host guy trying to hit on a woman but she ignores him. She hits the panic button when the guy approaches her. Turns out to be hitting on another woman. The fright of her life. Noticing the other shady adult stuffs around her, she feels scared and wants no more of it and rushes out to the main road. You just realized how wrong this city is, huh? And you too. She gets a call from mother asking her to come back for dinner. Yeah. She’ll gladly come back to home sweet home any time. Oh, and please stop by to get some eggs.

Episode 6
In addition to playing her otome games, she brags to Tomoki like she’s hell of a knowledgeable on the subject of love. Who the f*ck invited her to talk in his room?! While in the toilet, Tomoko suddenly finds her face smooth. What caused her to be cuter? Eavesdropping some girls talking, she thinks it’s because when a girl is in love, she becomes prettier. She then reads from the magazines about the estrogens the body releases when one is in love. But the ultimate estrogens secretion is when you have sex! Her conclusion? Because she fell in love with her otome game guy and had 2D sex, she became beautiful! So if she continues playing it, she’ll continue to be beautiful! Some twisted logic. But she’s bloody confident it will work. So happy this chick that her smile is just grossing out Tomoki. Good day for her. Bad day for him. She then hears the horoscope and it seems luck is on her side. Unfortunately she only meets a string of bad luck. The canned drink splashed in her face, left out in class and gym again and the ants crawl up all over her! While she laments her bad luck, a guy sees an ant crawling up her back and wanted to take it away. Tomoko misinterprets this guy is trying to hit on her! She can’t concentrate in class and thinks the guy next to her wants to really ask her out to the fireworks but hold back because he was shy. Actually it was because he spotted an ant crawling on her arm and wanted to warn her. She even thinks the guy sitting next to her is complimenting her beauty when it is actually a pretty hot chick sitting on his other side. With Tomoko’s confidence boosted, she continues to splash her face with the canned drink. She goes to meet her beloved brother but he freaks out seeing all the ants crawling all over her!!! Too in love to notice them crawling? After Tomoko plays the same otome game, she continues ranting to Tomoki the boringness about dating the same guy over and over again. Oh yeah. Tomoko the expert and miss-know-it-all.

Today is the last day of school before summer vacation kicks in and Tomoko realizes not a single guy has asked her out to the fireworks. She gets desperate enough to think that anybody will do. It doesn’t matter who you are, please ask her out. Thinking the kind of loners are those in the library on the last day, she sees a boy and a girl. Since she can’t approach the guy, she thinks of ways to approach the girl. Before she could ask her, the girl’s friends come to pick her up for some mixer. In Tomoko’s mind: She’s a slut in disguise. All that’s left is the boy. Desperate for him to ask her out, eh? So she sets the bait by feigning that her ‘friend’ on the phone couldn’t make it for the fireworks. Yeah, she’s spelling it out loud that anybody will do to take her to the fireworks and she’d be happy about it. Tomoko waits…. For 3 hours!!! Nothing happens. Because that guy already left. Bummer. So sad girl walks back alone to some rooftop, her only place of solace she once spent with Yuu. Then a couple of young boys come in. She is saddened that this place is no longer her own. She is about to leave when she begs if it’s okay for her to stay. There is no reason for her not to let her, right? And so happy Tomoko realizes that it wasn’t just the fireworks. Perhaps she wanted somebody to watch them with. And it turns out that Tomoko is suddenly peeping with the boys because there is a love hotel across! Holy cow! Is this what she came to watch? The free show is starting and they’re getting down and dirty! Then it hit Tomoko. She wanted to have a good time with someone but she couldn’t find that stuff in otome games. Curses!

Episode 7
On the first day of summer vacation, Tomoko spends the entire day playing her otome game, surf the internet, watch her anime and read her magazine. And she considers all that fun! You really want to tell her to get a life. And she’s so happy that she’s crying in bed! Sure those aren’t tears of sadness and frustration? So noisy that it’s annoying Tomoki next door. It’s the same thing for the next 6 days! Even Tomoki at least has his friends over. Can her summer vacation end like this? So scared that she has done nothing, she’s going crazy! Somebody save her! So she looks up the internet on what solo people do on summer vacation. Let’s say everything doesn’t suit her style and before she knows it, it is already noon. Half the day gone. Then she orders a video camera to do live streaming and be the new internet charm. Because she looks freakish, she decides to put on a mask. After setting up everything, the thought that the people pushing her to take off her mask and the fact she doesn’t know what topic to talk has her close her application and return to the safety of boringness. On second thought, this is much better. Since she can’t let it end this way, she remembers she bought some game that comes with a ticket for a handshake event and mini recording session with the lead star, Jun Ishimine. Fans are free to record anything they want Jun to say. Searching for hints online for what he wants him to say, this leads her to horror sites. She is so scared that she can’t budge from her place. And she needs to go to the toilet! Guess what? She wakes up her brother just to accompany her to go to the toilet or else she will do it right in his place! It’s 3am in the morning for crying out loud!

Tomoko waits in line for the special handshake event. She ponders what she wants him to say and before she knows it, she is already next up. She heard the girls ahead of her boldly requesting him to stay naughty stuffs and even sneers her for having no shame! But come her turn, what is she going to say? More importantly, she panics! Her hand is sweaty and she can’t possibly do it. However Jun is a professional and shakes her hand without any disgust. As for the words she wants him to say, she imagines a whole lot of dirty lines of depicting Jun in various scenarios. Heck, she wants him to say it all! The girls behind her must be feeling disgusted! Jun really did say all those lines so Tomoko is listening to them over and over again. It’s like sex for her, right? Since she didn’t wash her right hand, it means patting her own head is like Jun’s hand patting it. Yeah, it looks like she’s playing with herself. She gets this idea of adding her own voice and makes a story with this recording. Meanwhile Tomoki comes home to find mommy watching an old footage she found while cleaning. It is when the siblings are young and Tomoki is fawning all over Tomoko and wanting to marry her! OMG! His day just turned for the worst. Tomoko is done and starts listening when her mother comes in to call her for dinner. She hears the entire edited story of Tomoko being raped by Jun. Oh God… As consolation, she pats herself with her right hand. There, there… While Tomoki ponders about that disturbing event in his room, Tomoko makes him watch her play sparklers alone since he doesn’t want to join her.

Episode 8
When mommy mentions Kii-chan, Tomoko’s younger cousin will be visiting, she starts panicking. Yeah. That little girl looked up to her with total respect when she bragged she had a boyfriend who bugged her for sex all the time. All lies! Now it’s coming back to bite her. What is she going to do? Tell the truth? No way! Be a b*tch herself! And what better way than to ask one that is no other than Yuu. Unfortunately she is away to the beach with her friends. I guess she has to rely on herself. First, she needs to dress like a b*tch and heads to the store to get clothes. She sees all the young girls there dress like one and eventually gets pretty decent ones at decent prices. Now she needs to plant kiss marks over her body. Since her mouth has not enough suction, she uses the vacuum cleaner. They look like circles, don’t they? When mother sees what she is doing, she reprimands her but Tomoko tells her to f*ck off!!! OMG! She said that to mommy dearest?! Guess what? She gets slapped. Now there’s a slap mark too. When Kii-chan arrives, Tomoko accompanies her to the library. While waiting, a guy named Kosaka talks to Tomoko. He is the one who bought and left her an umbrella that day. Maybe he is hitting on her? Keep dreaming. She starts panicking. Because Tomoko’s shy voice is so soft, Kosaka mistakes her names as Momoko. Since he did say he will be seeing her around (he lives nearby), Tomoko jumps the gun and thinks this will lead to a date and then sex. After Kii-chan has borrowed her book, she asks Tomoko about that guy she saw talking with him. The lies return. Yup. That’s her boyfriend who always bugged her for sex. You can see Kii-chan’s amazement in her eyes.

Next day when they go return the book, they see Kosaka with another girl. Oh God… Is Tomoko going to be alright? Well, she’s going crazy in the toilet. I wonder how many toilet rolls she’s putting out. Kii-chan then confronts Kosaka and hopes he would not cheat on his ‘girlfriend’. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Tomoko is devastated to see Kii-chan taking things into her own hands. Her life will be over if everything is revealed. So Tomoko wants to talk to Kosaka privately and tells Kii-chan to wait somewhere else. Of course Kii-chan is worried so she takes a peek to see the progress. To her horror, she sees Tomoko prostrating pathetically before Kosaka! It’s like suddenly her world starts crumbling! All those respect points… Gone! Despite Kosaka lets her go and wants to put this incident behind, when Tomoko returns to Kii-chan, she lies that they decided to break up. But look at Kii-chan’s eyes! They are like yandere potential! Tomoko fears that her secret is out because the way she coldly ignores her. She thought of pacifying her by taking her to a snack store and buy her snacks (she’s only willing to spend 100 Yen on it?). She shows her last year’s card game rankings in which she was first and dubbed the Queen. This is no lie because all the young boys are ecstatic to see her return. Tomoko acts the arrogant Queen she is and rejects weaklings with no standings. She takes on the next strongest player, Yotchan. Seems Tomoko is losing badly but the boys are confident she will make a comeback like she always has. True enough, she does and wins the game. But to Kii-chan’s horror, she saw how Tomoko used a hidden card up her sleeve! Cheater! And you thought at least she has some respect back. Yeah. She cheated just to win against a kid. Despite this heartbreaking revelation, Kii-chan realizes she was only trying to show her, her cool side. When Kii-chan leaves, she hopes Tomoko would come to visit her place next time. Tomoko gets this weird feeling that Kii-chan doesn’t look up to her with that same respect as before but with that sympathizing look. Yeah, Kii-chan is going to be really nice to her from now on.

Episode 9
Tomoko is looking forward to go out with Yuu to the movies tomorrow. However it has to be cancelled when Yuu has to help out at her uncle’s cafe. Tomoko is most devastated but Yuu will treat her to cake as apology if she comes. And so here comes Tomoko at the fancy cafe with fancy boobs jiggling Yuu serving her. She has a hard time pronouncing the French cakes. Sounds like a dirty word, doesn’t it? While eating her cake, she observes all the fancy things around her and attributes it to Yuu’s successful high school debut. She concludes if she surrounds herself with fancy stuff, there is still a chance for her to be popular. So she asks mother if she knows any friends who can teach her how to make a cake as she is interested in working part time. She has a friend. Tomoko can’t wait to start as she fantasizes the perverted moments that will lead to fated encounters. Then here comes reality. Turns out she will be making cake in a commercial cake factory! Like a robot, isn’t she? See the shock on her face? It’s like time stood still on that expression. And the rest of her colleagues are middle aged women who smoke and gossip on break time. You got to be kidding me. Yeah. And after a day, she quits. Because she is bumming around the house pondering about her summer days ending soon, mommy calls her to scrub the toilet! She has nothing else better to do, right? Make yourself useful and do some housework! I guess this is a lesson for also quitting her job so soon.

After that, mommy wants her to clean the windows! Tomoko argues why the hell it need to be so clean. Mommy tells her she cleans the house every day! Furthermore, Tomoko wanted to push the responsibility to Tomoki but was told off he is studying for his exams. She used this trick the last time when she had hers so Tomoki did all of it. Now it’s her turn to return the favour. To add salt to injury, mommy says Tomoki cleans his room and cooks himself better unlike Tomoko who is a girl who doesn’t even do it but laze around! So true! This has disgruntled Tomoko to rush up to her brother’s room and blame him for being better than her! WTF???!!! Of course mommy whacks her. So Tomoko doesn’t have to help around the house anymore (she won’t be useful anyway) but clean up her own room instead. She goes through a box of old toys and whatever weird things she made. Brings back memories? Nope. Throw it away. Throw them all away! She sees a box containing lots of cicada shells she and Tomoki used to catch in hopes of selling. Then she finds an old diary of Tomoki and hopes to find something embarrassing. To her surprise, he wrote how he loved his sister because she is a kind person. He really loved her. Really. Doesn’t it warm your heart? I guess she wanted to go see him but he already went out with his friends to see the meteor shower. So our poor unpopular girl accompanies herself, eating instant noodles at the park to watch the meteor shower, shedding a tear or two just to make us feel pity of her as she ponders about her uneventful summer days. With the meteor shower in sight, Tomoko makes a wish to see this with a boy. Not like it will come true anyway. A cat comes up to her and they spend the rest of the evening watching the stars. Hey, she didn’t specify the boy to be human, right? When Tomoki comes back, he sees a cicada shell on his table. What the hell? Tomoko’s sign that she’ll break out of her shell for the new term? Don’t count on it.

Episode 10
The new term starts and Tomoko is confident everything up till now was just warming up. Now it’s the real deal. Yeah. Believe it. But it couldn’t get off to a bad start because the class’ sitting arrangement changes. Tomoko who is seated at the far back of the window edge in class is now put somewhere near the middle front! She’s surrounded by other people talking casually as though she’s not there! Out of place? Even if they did talk to her (which is their first time), they really tease her. This is her place for the entire semester… Feel like a stomach ulcer coming up? Because somebody always borrows her chair during recess (hey, she doesn’t ‘exist’, right?), she finds a secluded spot near the rooftop to have her lunch and play her game. This will become her favourite spot till one day those table and chair there are removed. I don’t know why she couldn’t eat her lunch then so much so she collapsed during gym and is sent to the infirmary. At least somebody notices her. It would be troublesome if a girl actually dies. Tomoko is advised not to skip meals so she returns to her classroom and eats her late lunch. I guess nobody is around now. After school, she heads to the video arcade. She wins a plushie in a crane game only because the previous couple almost got it but failed. Despite attracting attention as she needs to carry the big plushie home, it did cheer her up and boost her confidence. This will be her new friend. Suddenly it hit her. It just makes her feel even lonelier! Loser!

Tomoko’s class has yet to decide what to do for the cultural festival. She hopes it isn’t a haunted house as she doesn’t have fond memories of it. Especially how she made a straw doll out of real hair and people freaked out. She never understood why people never appreciated her doll. Yeah. That. Seeing everyone prepare for the festival only makes her feel lonelier. Then she sees posters of club recruitment and daydreams the kind of activities she would do with her members if she was in a club. Then she had to go psycho realizing she was just a delusional loner. She decides to form her own club. It’s called the Every Day Club. It’s Goal? TBA. This way too, she doesn’t have to take part in helping her class prepare for the festival. She hands in her application as she dreams about the lovely and tranquil times she spends in this club with her members. Yeah. No goal yet but they’ll take their time to find it because the most important thing is to be together. We even have a soothing and calming insert song to go with that fantasy. But you know how reality always comes crashing in for Tomoko. She is snapped out of it when mother calls her to come down for dinner. Didn’t hear it while she was playing tea with her plushie dolls, eh? Next day, she sees her club’s application status on the student council’s notice board: REJECTED! Reason? Unclear goals. Life sucks… Welcome to reality.

Episode 11
Tomoko’s class will be doing cosplay cafe. Everyone is working but I figure they didn’t notice Tomoko so she doesn’t get any job to help. Yeah. She even prays they will forever reincarnate as sh*t! So desperate for a job that she hints to some girls searching for people to cut up posters. Yeah. They didn’t notice her at first. They even think she’s forcing it and wants to give it to those guys who are free. Tomoko isn’t going to lose and insists. So she gets the job but decides to prolong it to make it look like it’s one tough job. She’s got it all planned out till a couple of boys came to help as instructed. Yeah. The job is going to finish soon. When the cosplay outfits come in, Tomoko gets distracted and accidentally cuts her palm. Since it’s bleeding badly, she panics and runs to the infirmary. She bumps into a festival committee member, Megumi Imae. She sees the blood all over and quickly takes Tomoko to get treated. Tomoko becomes the timid girl and apologizes but Imae is glad nothing is serious. Tomoko hears the announcement to help out in arranging chairs at the gym and goes to assist. Imae notices Tomoko helping and thanks her for it despite being injured. She hopes this festival will be a fun one. When she returns to class, nobody is around so Tomoko takes a maid outfit back home. She wears it and sends a picture of herself to Yuu. She finds it cute and wants to come visit the festival. Well, you can’t say Tomoko lied when she told her she helped out a lot. A lot. On the first day, Tomoko is free. I guess nobody assigned her anything. She got taken in by some hot guy selling takoyaki and buys them. Then at the light music club’s performance at the hall, she must be swaying too much with the crowd that she throws up! Smells like takoyaki… Tomoko sits alone in the aftermath like as though she’s got a hangover when Imae comes to check on her. Tomoko turns shy and runs away.

Tomoko thinks of bragging and showing off to everyone when Yuu visits. Yeah. This b*tch is my friend. On the second day, Tomoko once more is not assigned. She meets Yuu as the latter gives her a big hug. I guess this surprise activates Tomoko’s perversion because with her big boobs pressing all over her body and that lovely feminine scent, Tomoko is going to take this chance and molest her butt! But the hugging stops. As they go around the fair, Tomoko is thinking of ways to get that hug. What better way than to do it in a haunted house, right? Unfortunately, the scare factor is so mild that it only serves to piss Tomoko off. Meanwhile Imae is looking for Tomoko at her class but the classmates don’t remember assigning her to any duty. Forgot somebody? Tomoko continues to find ways to get Yuu’s hug. In hopes of bribing her of a hug, she buys her lots of snacks. But Yuu returns to favour and buys Tomoko… Takoyaki. Disgusted? Continuing their tour together, Tomoko realizes that despite in this same damn school, the fair seems fun. Is it because she is with a friend? Definitely. At least they’re having fun. When Yuu leaves at the end of the day, it’s back to gloomsville for Tomoko. Imae borrows the mascot, goes up to Tomoko, gives her a balloon and a warm hug. Tomoko might not know what that was all about but it made her day.

Episode 12
Life returns to normal after the festival. More accurately, Tomoko is back to familiar territory. She continues never to exist in the minds of others. She fantasizes the what-if situations if she had (imaginary) friends and all the fun things they would do. Such pale in comparison. Thinking back the things she did, it’s like her life flashed before her eyes. It was like life or death situation, eh? She reasons the past is the past. Time to step forward and look to the future. First, fill in her future survey. She calls Yuu for suggestions and she clearly remembers Tomoko told her she wanted to be an arms dealer. Yeah. She sounded pretty knowledgeable about guns then. Unless you tell me she was just bullsh*tting to Yuu. Must be. This breaks Tomoko’s heart because the past always catches up with her. She laments Yuu has bad grades but good memories in this kind of stuff. Now she goes bug Tomoki. She’s acting high and mighty. She wants to spend time together because they’re family. Whatever. But when Tomoki notes she has just been talking to herself the entire time, he asks her what she really wants. Think she’ll come crying to him as gratitude? Well, she is confident she doesn’t need him anymore! In school, Tomoko thinks she needs to be another archetype character that doesn’t need much effort. She observes Imae talking to her friends. She is helpful to a point where her friends talk good and praise her name when she’s not around. Is Tomoko going to be like her? More accurately, this is what is going to happen. First she hides her handphone in class just to record what her classmates say about her. She will adjust her behaviour according to that and soon will have complete control over their thoughts! How foolproof is this plan? While listening to her recording in the toilet, she remains positive that nobody is talking bad about her. That’s because they aren’t even talking about her!!! That’s what you get when you don’t put in any effort.

Tomoko is on the verge of breaking down thinking she’ll go through another semester unnoticed. Suddenly the class is in chaos. There is a giant cockroach flying around. Tomoko thinks of using this perfect chance to kill this bug and earn their praise. The cockroach flies around causing mayhem till it flies near Tomoko whereby she steps and squishes it! Yup. All that happened except the part of her classmates praising her name. They’re noting how gross it is as the teacher tells her to go was her shoe. Yeah. Those praising sounded so good and real in her head. When she returns, she thinks she’ll be the talk of the class. Everyone seated beside her now moves their desk further. Tomoko continues her hidden recording. Nobody talks about her again… Oh wait. There is one! But it’s about how disgusting she was stepping on the cockroach! Too much attention this time? When it’s time to go home, Tomoko sees Imae and realizes she did take the initiative to talk to her. Perhaps she wanted to return the favour and talk to her but after tailing her and summoning up all her courage. By the time she opens her mouth, a gust of wind blows, revealing to us the much needed panty shot fanservice of Imae. Tomoko suddenly panics and runs away. Screaming. Imae’s friends wonder who that girl was and her reply is that Tomoko is a cute girl who is always trying really hard. That’s why she can’t take her eyes off her. Tomoko could have been a marathon runner as she panics and runs all the way back home. Not even Yuu could catch up. Oh, she was distracted by a cat. Late that night as she looks up the definition of mojo, she laughs it off and doesn’t care for such trivial stuff. That’s the way to go. Or is it?

Since You’re Unpopular, You’re A Miss-fit – And It’s Your Own Fault!
It was really hilarious watching Tomoko and her failing methods. Sometimes you can’t help laugh out loud at her twisted thinking and trying to take the short cut in achieving it but ends up failing miserably. Worst off than before. At other times, you can’t help feel pity for her because she really tries hard to get noticed but it is just sad that nobody gives a damn about her. Because I myself isn’t that popular, I can understand how she feels when she is down and close to tears. But then that sympathy quickly vanishes when you realize this ‘3Ds’ that she is. 1) Dumb. Not only lazy, does she even pick up her books to know basic things like how catching someone’s cold takes time? 2) Desperate. Seriously, she would even accept lolicons to love her? 3) Denial. Has she taken a look at herself in the mirror lately? I mean, really take a look at herself and not just reflect what she has been doing. And I really mean, really, really, really reflect what she has done all the while. Therefore it is hard to sympathize with her when she ultimately fails because at the end, you too will end up telling her that she deserves it. You reap what you sew. Simple as that. And so she is 4) Damned.

However Tomoko has a few good points in her. If I shall call it that. Firstly, her so called confidence. I don’t mean the kind of confidence when she wants to talk to a stranger but the kind when she sets her goals. I mean, for a girl who is in denial, she must be really confident that she can snag a boyfriend in a month. I know it is unrealistic for a girl like her but you have to give it to her that she has confident. Because if you’re not, you already lost half the battle. And several months passed… Where is her boyfriend? Care to readjust your objective? Secondly, she never gives up. Persistent to become popular no matter what. She has failed so many times that you would have probably lost count. This kind of losses that seriously affects one’s morale and esteem, many would already have given up and resigned to their fate. But not Tomoko. That’s the only good thing she has about her denial. Although whether she learns from it is an entirely different matter. Lastly, at least she has a dream and a vision. It might be laughable that Tomoko wants to be popular, but everyone has their own dream. This is what keeps Tomoko ‘alive’ and go on in life despite all the embarrassing outcome and things that don’t go her way.

Ultimately, what I think Tomoko wants is just for somebody to call a friend. She is just a lonely soul who wants company. However she is to warped in her twisted objective of becoming popular that she doesn’t realize she has a handful of friends around her. Not many, you probably can count them with your fingers and still have leftovers but it is better than none. Yuu as I can say is her best friend. But it’s just too bad Tomoko sees her as a b*tch since she ‘upgraded’ and only uses her that she deems fit for her own gain. But in the end, it is always Yuu that stands much better than Tomoko in everything. I don’t know if Yuu is being naive and gullible but she is really a sweet girl. Tomoko should really be grateful she has a pal like her. Hey, she gets to call her any time she wants just to ask silly questions, right? And she would reply her anyhow in the nicest manner. The other potential friend is Imae. A person like her is rare because she really cares for Tomoko and looks at her from a different angle. Again, Tomoko blows it each time she wants to speak to her. Imae isn’t pushy so she isn’t going to force Tomoko to come out of her shell. Take her time. She’ll do so when she’s ready. Yeah. Like in another 50 years. She’ll be an old hag by then! But Imae will always be there whenever Tomoko needs her and sometimes she’ll just prod her a little to give a little encouragement.

I am wondering about Tomoki. Whatever happened to his love for Tomoko when he was young? Maybe growing up and watching how Tomoko turned into a mojo suddenly made him lost his respect? Just like how Kii-chan did, eh? Welcome to the real world. Sometimes you feel bad for Tomoki because he has to put up with his sister with one-kind attitude. To me, I think he has done his best in being patient with her. You can see him trying his best not to lose his cool whenever big sister comes into his room uninvited just to talk trash and ruin his day or night. Of course sometimes he can’t tolerate anymore and lets loose a little steam to remind her sister of her place. Then there is Kii-chan. She might be innocent and cute but not the naive and gullible young cousin she once was. Her recent visit to Tomoko’s house shows that although she still respects her, she doesn’t believe her lies word for word. And then when she realizes the bitter harsh truth, can you blame her for turning yandere? In the end, she didn’t really resent Tomoko over the lies. Now she views her in a different perspective. I think this is much better this way. Tomoko who is already having a hard time making new friends (despite it’s her own fault), does not need family members to ignore her. That will be like adding fuel to the fire. Tomoko’s parents are equally worried despite being shown that they don’t really care as they leave her to her own devices. I mean, she’s already a grown girl, I don’t think they want to impose so much control. Maybe that’s where she went wild. You can see their disappointed look on their face and voice when they catch Tomoko in her perverted act in her room despite not really saying anything after that.

Watching Tomoko and her antics has made me think that there is always a little Tomoko inside all of us. Firstly, we want to be popular and even dream of ways how we would end up in the eyes of others. But there is always reality check. What Tomoko dreams of in her mind is totally different than the outcome in reality. Everything she envisions is so grand and perfect. But when it comes to the real deal, she turns into a timid girl. So soft her voice that you think a mouse sounds louder than her. Another Tomoko characteristic inside of us all is that we tend to jump and criticize others quickly. Notice how Tomoko often does this and fails to look at herself? Because if she wants to become popular, she is going to be a b*tch and slut just like how she labels her other classmates, right? Then there are times when she brags and lies about stuffs. We do it too, right? Ironically it seems she has more confidence in doing this than trying to be more sociable with others. But always be careful. Because one day that lie is going to come back and bite you in the butt.

I find some of the dialogue in this series especially those coming from Tomoko to be funny and amusing to hear. They are worthy enough to end up in quotable quotes section and compile them into a mini booklet. Like how she quoted about lolicons supposed to love her or how she came up with an excuse to go to the toilet so she can take a messy sh*t dump! Or what about how she really would have her life shortened just to have those flirting guys die and reborn as poo again and again? Classic. Masterpiece quotes. Hilarious? Cringing? Disgusting? Well, Tomoko never fails to amuse me with what she says.

Izumi Nitta perfectly plays Tomoko and for every darn expression this unpopular girl makes, it is hilarious and yet convincing. Well, Izumi Nitta did play another delusional anime character: Cordelia from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. But this one is not as bad as Tomoko (although they’re both useless in general). Thus it was a surprise to hear her voice Tomoko because in every aspect she doesn’t sound very much like the Cordelia character I know. She really makes Tomoko sound like a deranged, desperate, perverted girl. That includes going crazy, very embarrassed, timid and soft-spoken, cursing and all the other weird emotions this girl went through. I don’t think it’s easy trying to sound like that for a dozen episodes. Kana Hanazawa and Rie Kugimiya voice Yuu and Kii-chan respectively and they put in a lot of moe into their characters to make them sound very cute and lovely. Well, at least no retard mode for the former and tsundere lolis for the latter. Yuuichi Nakamura as Tomoki, sometimes you feel like his character wants to explode and start yelling like how he does as Kyousuke in OreImo but so far so good. Not to the point he goes into that kind of rage. Initially I was surprised to learn Jun Fukuyama was behind the voice of Kosaka. Hearing back his lines, yeah, it’s him alright. Probably I was focused too much on Tomoko and being amused at her speech tone instead of realizing who Kosaka is voiced by (thinking he would probably be voiced by a nobody). Thankfully I managed to recognize Ai Nonaka making her cameo as Imae as well as Tomokazu Sugita as Hatsushiba (sounds like when Gintama’s Gintoki is going deadpan).

The opening theme song which is the same damn long name as this series by Konomi Suzuki and Kiba of Akiba, opens with a screamer! Yes, you’d start thinking that this is some sort of punk rock music! I think it leans more towards heavy metal rock or something like that. You can see the insanity and madness when the singer screams his opening lines and Tomoko animated as some sort of frustrated criminal. Yeah. Her sin of being a mojo. Can she break free from her chains as a mojo? But hear the lyrics too. It’s amusing as it’s about Tomoko’s outtake on herself and society. Nothing unusual. She’s ordering everyone to love her as well as criticizing society for being ignorant of her hard work. What hard work? There are a few ending themes. The main one is a variation of this series’ name, Dou Kangaete Mo Watashi Wa Warukunai (No Matter How You Think About It, It’s Not My Fault) by Izumi Nitta. Despite being anime pop genre, what makes it amusing is the way she sings it with that voice. I think she uses double voice for this so there is one that is a little cacophony but it makes her sound funny (like an idiot). There is also the lyrics that has her blaming everything including the mirror on the wall. In the end, she even considers herself an idiot.

The other ending songs only last for an episode. Musou Renka by Velvet.kodhy has hip-hop elements in it and again the amusing part is the lyrics. As usual from Tomoko’s perspective. The corrupted word. Being betrayed. But butt grabbing? And yeah. Cursing this world and wanting to end everything. Taking everybody down to hell with you, eh? Yoru No Tobari Yo Sayounara despite also sung by Velvet.kodhy, I thought it sounded pretty funny because it’s like a tenor singing a pop song. As usual, the lyrics is also something to pay attention to as it’s about the red light district and how Tomoko feels she doesn’t belong there because she is pure and innocent. Define that. Natsu Matsuri by Utsu-P & Minatsukitoka featuring Hatsune Miku as I found out is a rendition of the popular song of the same name back in the 90’s by Jitterin’ Jinn. Not that I have heard the original anyway. Finally, Sokora No Kigurumi No Fuusen To Watashi by Velvet.Kodhy and µ sounds like generic anime pop.

Tomoko isn’t actually ugly but because she is surrounded by normal and plain people (and some prettier ones), she is of course casted as an ugly b*tch. Especially with her unkempt hairstyle and those dark bags under her eyes thanks to playing otome games late into the night. I don’t know, she looks a bit cartoonish so much so I keep thinking that Tomoko is a character that comes out from that Peanuts comic strip. Of course there are the other faces of Tomoko especially when she runs crazy. Her eyes become like a chameleon’s and her face looks like those troll faces! Really! Hilarious? Cringing? Disgusting? I know it’s funny. And when she is really ‘broken’, her portrait becomes those even more twisted than of Picasso. Picasso could have been a multi-billionaire had Tomoko became his art subject. Priceless expression. I don’t know why Tomoki also has bags under his eyes. Is it because of Tomoko’s constant annoyance that he lacks sleep? Why not? She can even be a noisy irritating girl tossing and turning in bed while thinking of the unthinkable. Tomoki having such bags under his eyes got me thinking that he looks like Staz from Blood Lad. Or even maybe his twin.

The only other gripe that I have with the drawing is the lighting glow. If that is what it is called since I’m not sure of the real term. It’s something like this. You know those light emission you see from street lamps and also your Smartphone? Notice that kind of lighting emitted from the device when you’re in a dark room? Well, let’s say those kind of lighting glow in this anime seems somewhat like polygon. It is odd because it makes it feel like as though there is a mini border around it. The disparity between the glow and the background or other parts that are not is quite obvious. To a point where I think it isn’t ‘smooth’. Just imagine there is a hexagon shape border around your Smartphone. Those inside this shape look obviously brighter than objects outside it. I guess that is what happens when you only have dual tone in lighting instead of something gradual.

I can’t help think that whenever Tomoko enters Tomoki’s room to do some talking he doesn’t want to hear, it somehow reminds me that this scene brings back that familiarity of that Life Counselling session like the one we see in OreImo. Heck, even the brothers in both series are voiced by the same person! Instead of having a big brother who would do anything for her obnoxious sister, we have a desperate sister talking to herself and not listening while he plays the tsukkomi part. Yeah, this Life Counselling thingy is also made like the next episode preview. But don’t hope for anything about the next episode except for Tomoko blabbing about her goal and confident in achieving it. Well, that’s Tomoko for you.

If you look at it from another perspective, Tomoko is just a sad case and a reflection of how society has become to be. I’m sure there are a lot more similar, if not even more serious cases than Tomoko. We see hot supermodels in magazines and television and so we become stereotype to what constitutes being beautiful. We all do want to be surrounded by beautiful people and know such people, don’t we? Where does this leave ‘ugly’ unpopular girls? Though we have the right and freedom to choose our friends, sometimes our stereotypic views get in the way. And with the way online social media is ‘revolutionizing’ the way we communicate and interact with people, direct interaction seems to be lesser these days. But ironically for Tomoko, she doesn’t seem to be using social media. Heck, she can even give up due to pressure from her own negative thinking. So you think she is fit to have a Facebook or Twitter page? Well at least in this anime, I can see other students interacting normally via old fashion face to face instead of stuffing their face with a Smartphone. Too bad Tomoko isn’t part of it. It’s not that Tomoko is a character that can be classified as non-existent. The kind that nobody notices like YuruYuri’s Akari. Just that nobody gives a damn about her. Really. Why should they? And so Tomoko’s loneliness and quest to be popular continues…

The ultimate bottom line and moral of this story is to always be yourself. You might not be popular, you might not be beautiful but that is what makes you, you. Tomoko wouldn’t have been the ‘loveable’ girl we all know had she been one of those beauties in her fantasies. Okay, maybe it would. But the point is, trying really hard to be someone you are not will leave you as the biggest loser in the end. So just be yourself and you’ll find that there are those who will accept you as you are. Okay, maybe that isn’t so straightforward for Tomoko. She just needs to try a little hard. But not too hard. That’s just pushing it. But that’s just something trivial you don’t want to waste your attention on, right?

Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen

March 23, 2014

I was jumping with glee when I heard Rozen Maiden will be getting a long awaited sequel back in 2013. Oh yes. How I missed thee, my beloved Suigin Tou. Once more I get to relive my nostalgia for the series. But to say Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen (or simply Rozen Maiden 2013 if that word is too hard for you to pronounce) is a reboot of the series is a little inaccurate. As we know, the previous seasons of the Rozen Maiden anime deviated from the manga and ended in an unsatisfying way. The kind of way that no matter how you think of, you won’t be able to fix it. As I found out, the manga series was divided into 2 parts. I didn’t read the actual manga but I read from summaries online that the first series ended very abruptly with our young hero Jun going off to save the dolls. That’s of course when the second series takes over. And so it seems there is a parallel world alongside the one we know because in the second series, we have Jun all grown up and a world where he didn’t get involved with the Rozen Maiden dolls. And now he will get to know them and get involve too…

The German word of Zuruckspulen as I found out means to rewind. From first impression, that means to rewind things that have happened to a point where you want to chart a new different path. So that is like a reboot, no? As I said, not quite. Not at least in the context of the anime franchise of the series. In this new season, we get to see how both worlds come together and perhaps this new Jun would want to rewind his life and redo things again because he isn’t doing well either. What happens when a world that should not know and is void of the existence of Rozen Maidens suddenly has the dolls coming in? Feels like fate is going to rewind things to where they were to correct the inconsistencies. But otherwise, everything else you need to know about this series still remains the same. The dolls and Alice Game. Ah yes. That cruel game to see which last standing doll can become the perfect girl as father wished…

Episode 1
This is actually the recap of the first series of the Rozen Maiden manga and NOT the anime. Jun just woke up from his sleep and sees a letter with a choice to wind or not. He circles to wind. Next thing he knows, he gets a briefcase with a little life-like doll, Shinku. He winds her up, she comes to life and slaps him for handling a lady like that. He is forced to become her servant and do her bidding. They are attacked by Suigin Tou. Shinku engages in battle and explains to us the brief of Rozen Maidens, their destiny to fight each and the last standing one will become Alice, the perfect girl and a whole again. After Suigin Tou retreats, Suisei Seki crashes into Jun’s room. Desu. Not another nuisance doll. She is troubled because her twin, Sousei Seki became subservient to her master, something Suisei Seki was against. For the first time in their lives, they parted and so she came here to seek Shinku’s help. Suigin Tou makes a deal with Sousei Seki regarding her sister’s whereabouts. Both sides enter the N-Field. The twins risk fighting each other but Suisei Seki wants them to forever be together. Her tears break Sousei Seki’s heart. She concedes defeat and wants her to take her Rosa Mystica. Unfortunately Suigin Tou snatches it for her own and devours it. Meanwhile, Hina Ichigo is the doll of Tomoe but she is always left alone in her room. She doesn’t want to feel lonely again but Tomoe has no choice but to lock her away as she doesn’t want others to find out. Because of that, she is tricked and drawn to Kirakishou, the seventh Rozen Maiden doll. As she lacks a physical body, she can only exist in the N-Field. She possesses Hina Ichigo to realize her goal of becoming Alice. Hina Ichigo’s artificial spirit, Berrybell goes to see Shinku and tells her what happened. She lets Shinku have her Rosa Mystica because she likes her. On a side note, Kanaria does make her cameo and as usual, she’s like a joker. Oh Kanaria… Jun is shown a door by Laplace Demon. A door which connects 2 worlds together. To open or not to open? He opens.

Episode 2
The second series starts here. In an alternate timeline or world, Jun didn’t choose to wind and circled unwind instead. Because of that, he didn’t get involved in Alice Game and grows up to be a lonely university student working part time at Takiwa Books. Wow. Jun is really gloomy. It’s like his life has no meaning. The bookstore manager, Yamaguchi enjoys badmouthing him due to his low academic results (Jun quit middle school and never enrolled in high school) and never does any work (leaving it all to Jun) besides flirting with fellow colleague, Saitou. Even the university students comment how creepy he is as he is always by himself. Wish they all would just die, huh? But Jun doesn’t give a damn. He just goes about his mundane routine. Life sucks. If only he could redo his life. Is that what he wished for? One day Jun sees a returned package. Yamaguchi sent it back due to the unknown publisher but was returned. Jun opens it and finds a weekly series on how to make a girl. He reads the brief introduction of what Rozen Maidens are and could a feel something familiar that he had been asked a question before. Back home, he is surprised to receive another package. It is the series’ second volume. He needs to collect the doll parts and complete them. He has received parts of Shinku. Soon Jun becomes obsessed in completing the doll. His mind is elsewhere at work and couldn’t concentrate. All he thinks of is going home to complete the doll. Every night, there will be new packages and new parts as Jun diligently makes them.

Saitou has been very concerned about Jun and walks home with him one night. She apologizes for being mean to him with Yamaguchi but had no choice because she doesn’t want to risk getting fired or else she will have no money to pay for her training fees in a drama troupe. So she can’t afford to be picky on her job. Jun sees the key hanging on her night and somewhat becomes interested. They chat for the duration of their walk. She envies that he has the freedom to do whatever he wants. When Jun returns home, he is surprised there is no package. Then he gets a message from an unknown recipient. He is shocked to learn that this email address is the one he used during middle school. Even more surprising, the person at the other end claims to be himself of the past! Can he believe this crap? I guess he is just going to play along. As time runs differently in both worlds, adult Jun is the unwind one and the one he is corresponding with now is the wind one, who is still a middle school student. This Jun explains that Kirakishou has become too powerful and needs his help to rescue everyone. He briefly describes the 7 Rozen Maiden Dolls and the Alice Game they are playing. Each doll needs a human to act as a medium to draw power. Because this Jun decided to wind, he became Shinku’s master. Each doll has one master. The other dolls are incapacitated by Kirakishou and Jun himself can’t move around much. Before he could tell something important, the message is cut off. Adult Jun hears somebody stuffing something at the door. An envelope package. To his horror, a letter saying that the how to make a girl series has been cancelled. All that time and effort for nothing, eh?

Episode 3
The message continues that due to Kirakishou’s interference, the delivery of the remaining parts were unsuccessful. But he can still get them in N-Field. All that is left is the left foot and head. Jun is so tired that he dozes off and finds himself in a land filled with doll parts. Phew. Just a nightmare? At work, Jun receives another message from himself. Three important things he needs to do: 1) Create Shinku; 2) Awaken Shinku and 3) Most important… Why does the most important part have to be cut off? Jun is not sure how to create Shinku but his other self is confident he can. It is not how well it is made but rather who makes it. That’s why it has to be him. Only he can make a vessel that will summon Shinku. Nothing is impossible. Easier said than done, right? This reignites Jun’s passion to finish Shinku so much so he requests to take the day off (since Saitou will cover for his part, I guess Yamaguchi is okay with it) and doesn’t attend classes. Jun’s first task is to create a dress for Shinku because as mentioned, she’ll be mad if she wakes up naked. Jun starts sewing though he isn’t sure if he can pull it off now. He was once good at it as a kid. But he stopped because it brought back traumatic memories. Flashback time. Jun was very adept in designing female clothes. His friends tease him but he denies for fear of being ridiculed. One day, one of his classmates has been elected to represent their grade as some princess for the cultural festival. Each grade will be responsible for submitting the dress design before the committee. Jun unwittingly designs the dress in his notebook. Next day, he finds his design pinned up on the board for everyone to see! How could this be? He remembers he might have forgotten to erase it and handed the book to the teacher. At the assembly, the teacher mentions about that design and pinned it up because he was moved. He encourages everyone to send in their creative ideas and credits that design to Jun. Some are shocked but mostly they mock Jun that he is some sort of pervert. Jun couldn’t take the humiliation and vomits right where he stands before passing out!

Adult Jun also tells about his miserable life to his other self. Sister Nori is a normal office woman. Past Jun wants to be careful because if Kirakishou finds this message, she’ll try to kill them. Finally Jun finishes Shinku’s dress and snaps shots of it to send it to his other self. Not bad. When he falls asleep, he finds himself in the land of doll parts. But this is not a dream anymore. It is the N-Field where dreams and the subconscious mind are linked. The past Jun can’t communicate with him anymore as Kirakishou has found out and is going to kill them. Adult Jun must find and complete Shinku. What? In this pile? No way? Impossible. Nothing is impossible. And so the big grinding starts. Seriously. Can he find the real parts hidden here? Better than doing nothing. This left foot doesn’t fit… This one too… Nope, not this… But after persevering (despite being pessimistic and all), he finally finds the left foot. His confidence grows and thinks the head must be nearby. He caresses one and feels from the texture this had to be the real Shinku. He puts it on. Perfect fit. With that, Shinku springs to life. So how is he going to awaken her? Well, some shaking here and there and just like magic, she opens her eyes. Remember the third important thing that adult Jun never got to know? Well, it’s to defend himself. Because Shinku slaps him for mishandling her. It’s just embarrassing to be slapped by a doll, isn’t it?

Episode 4
Jun is reduced to a pathetic apologizing dude when Shinku lectures him. Noticing that white vines are covering them, she says that he has been bound to the world beyond the portal. He must once again choose. He wakes up in his room. Shinku is unconscious as he inspects her. She feels so life-like and though he knows he made her, the fabric he used somehow turned into higher quality. Wondering how to awake her, an artificial spirit, Hollie shows him the winding key in a box set. He takes it to wind up Shinku. This time his reflex is fast enough to avoid her slap. Another round of lecturing and apologizing. Since he is spamming her with questions, she shuts him up and then explains Hollie told her about everything Jun did. She commends him. Noticing his handphone is the only tool that connects his other self, ever since Jun hasn’t been able to contact him. Since Shinku is going to be living in this ‘shed’, she makes him her temporary servant and demands tea. Tastes horrible. Jun then goes off to work and wants her to wait till he returns. What has a little doll got to do alone by herself? She’s too short to reach anything, huh? When Jun returns, Shinku indeed was sitting waiting for him. As Jun is still unable to get into contact, Shinku concludes Kirakishou must be behind this. Because of her scheme, the other sisters have been taken hostage. Hina Ichigo and Sousei Seki have retried while others except Kanaria have been trapped. Shinku is in the same predicament. She is here now because this body is not her real one. Before she got trapped, she ordered Hollie to transport her Rosa Mystica to a temporary body. There are a few risks if she is not in her real body. Now it’s tea time. It’s bitter this time.

That night when Shinku sleeps, Jun does his research on Rozen Maiden over the internet. No such entries exist. Because of his choice, Rozen Maidens do not exist in this world. So his choice determines that? I guess that means no Rozen Maiden anime and manga too. Next morning, Shinku wants to follow Jun to buy a teapot. Fed up of drinking his teabags, huh? It would be odd to see a little doll dragging a big guy around so Jun puts Shinku in his bag. Shinku didn’t like the teapot he chooses since it’s got a cat picture (she’s scared of them) but that guy is being stubborn and buys it anyway. He can’t afford others. There aren’t any others either. Next, to get tablecloth. He sees Saitou trying to buy cloth for her costume material. Jun becomes an expert in explaining the fabric and effects. He once sew as a kid, remember? Saitou thanks him. So you can say that this brightens up his day and even gets a quip from Shinku about this ‘girlfriend’ of his. Well, if she isn’t his girlfriend, why blush? She feels the other Jun was shyer. Now even with a teapot, Jun still uses teabags. Yeah. He forgot to but tea leaves. Another round of lecturing. Even after all that is said, she still drinks his tea like always. Later Jun ponders how his life has changed since Shinku came or how different he was as his other self. At least he feels nice to have someone to talk to. Shinku takes note from Hollie that she has 7 days left the most and Kirakishou is creepily watching her.

Episode 5
One morning, Jun receives another box series but Shinku doesn’t want him to open it, thinking it could be Kirakishou’s trap. Still curious, Shinku will tell him what he wants to know about her sisters. Jun would like to know about the elegant Suigin Tou but this pisses her off and tells him to go make tea. Looks like he hit a sensitive topic. At work, Saitou thanks him for the design advice and shows what she has made of it. Her troupe was impressed and she hopes he could give some advice before the play. Yamaguchi observes and didn’t like how the duo are getting along well. Meanwhile Shinku hears something from the toilet and to her surprise, here is Suigin Tou! OMG! The best doll has arrived! (I don’t care what you say but Suigin Tou is the best doll ever!). After exchanging ‘pleasantries’ to piss each other off, they start fighting. When Jun gets home, he gets enraged to see the place filled with rose petals and black feathers. WTF. Looks like they’ve calmed down and sitting facing each other’s backs. But in no time, Suigin Tou starts making Shinku mad again and here we go again. This time Jun is so mad that he tells them to stop and clean this mess up. Really. Shinku sweeping the floor? We take a detour to Suigin Tou’s story. Megu is a girl always sick and confined to the walls of her hospital room. She wants to die and hopes some dark angel will eat her away. When she received a suitcase containing Suigin Tou, she is most happy despite Suigin Tou obnoxiously wants her to put on a ring so she can absorb her life force and win the Alice Game. However Suigin Tou is surprised instead because Megu loves the idea of dying and calls her an angel. Suigin Tou is not pleased and finds her odd. She continues to observe Megu as she expresses her desire to die and spread beautiful wings and soar out of this place with her. And Megu wants her to quickly use up her life because eventually she’ll die so it’s best to get it over with.

I guess Suigin Tou didn’t want to get involved with this crazy girl and tries to flee. Probably the heavy suitcase slowed her down and thanks to her artificial spirit, Meimei, Megu finds her and brings her back to the room. Megu becomes a bad girl with an attitude because she throws tantrum and tells off the nurse. Even when her father came to visit, she tells him to get out. Why bother since he never visited her frequently (he claims he was busy with work) and distanced himself from her. One evening, Suigin Tou decides to make the contract and puts the ring on her. Immediately Megu collapses but white vines wrap around them. Kirakishou takes Megu’s soul into N-Field, much to Suigin Tou’s dismay. Back in present time, Jun learns Suigin Tou came out from the mirror of his toilet. Shinku explains the N-Field is connected to reflective objects and even closed eyes (dreams cannot be reflected if the eyes aren’t closed). Shinku has Jun hold her up so she can test touch the mirror but Suigin Tou says it’s not a proper portal. When she was in N-Field, she was frantically searching for a way out and stumbled out here. The only thing they can do is wait for both worlds to line up again. She doesn’t intend to stay here forever. Shinku also expresses she wants to reunite with the other Jun. Six days left…

Episode 6
Jun ponders that Shinku will leave him for the other Jun. What does he got that he hasn’t? They’re the same, right? Jealous of himself? Saitou brings Jun to her troupe and introduces him to her brother. Such a big guy… He isn’t part of the acting but the props crew. He mistakes Jun to be some worker and puts him to labour. Jun doesn’t mind. I guess it takes something off his mind. Meanwhile, Suigin Tou continues to provoke Shinku. She loves it, doesn’t she? Suigin Tou brags how she took Renpika (Sousei Seki’s artificial spirit) and feels great that she has 2 artificial spirits. At first she didn’t believe Shinku took Hina Ichigo’s artificial spirit (currently Berrybell is in the other world). Whether she does or not, she continues to taunt Shinku and loves to see her put up those eyes. Now Shinku can’t hold her anger and is going to fight back. Eh? They pull each other’s hair? WTF. So when Jun gets back, he sees the sisters in bad mood. Another fight. Well, he can’t complain since they didn’t mess up his room. I think Suigin Tou takes a liking for the rooftop. That’s where she ‘resides’ while staying here to piss off Shinku. Otherwise, why couldn’t she just leave this place? I guess she couldn’t. And they only have 5 days left. That is when the moon fades to nothing. Next day, Jun gets another box set delivery but doesn’t tell Shinku. After he goes off to work, once more Suigin Tou comes in to piss her sister. She’s at the mirror pondering if she could leave. Suigin Tou starts it by spraying the shower at her. Shinku does the same. Then it descends into fist slaps! WTF. Now they’re all wet and waiting for their clothes to dry, they talk about Kirakishou who seems to be targeting their master instead of the doll. Suigin Tou also notices this because Megu is in grave danger just as with the other Jun. Shinku finds it odd that Suigin Tou cares for somebody. They need to return to their world soon because since there can only be one Rozen Maiden existing at the same time, Shinku’s body is a replica and once it fades, her Rosa Mystica will be vulnerable. She allows Suigin Tou to do whatever she wants if that happens but it still doesn’t change the fact she has to save her master. The only way to solve this is to call a truce but Suigin Tou refuses. I guess that‘s that.

Jun and Yamaguchi are the only ones working. However Yamaguchi knows his mocking comments about him doing all the work and what a jerk he is. It’s as though he could read his mind. Not only that, once he learns there is no progress between Jun and Saitou, he lectures Jun that people like him who look down on others end up forgetting how worthless they are. He must think his boss must be a lazy bum with no education and shouldn’t be in this place. Well, keep dreaming. Because Yamaguchi has got friends, does what he wants at work even if it’s ordering others around (he in-your-face admits it), does he think he is better than him? Welcome to reality. Don’t even hope for a miracle that a girl like Saitou would be attracted to him. Jun is upset but what he says has some truth. Back home, Jun wonders if he should do something about it but Shinku tells him other worlds doesn’t branch off into others indefinitely. Because if it did, the ends will get weaker and eventually disappear. He is disheartened he can’t change anything and laments once Shinku returns, his own doll will no longer exist. He gets a rightfully timed message from his other self. If his world has no possibilities, just create them. If he has his own doll, he should be able to change his own world. So Jun takes out those unopened box sets to create his own doll. Can he change his world? By contacting his other self and creating Shinku, he already did. He could even change it if he becomes part of the flow. Or even bring forth a new world that branches off elsewhere. As thanks for creating Shinku, he sent doll parts for him to create his own new doll. While Jun starts making it, Shinku dreams about the day Hina Ichigo pitifully gave her artificial spirit to her. It was sad but Shinku vowed to end Alice Game her own way.

Episode 7
It’s like Jun knows how to become Shinku’s servant. When she wakes up, he already sets the table and tea nicely. It even tastes good! He leaves without saying anything. I guess even if he’s gotten good, he isn’t happy. Shinku hears from Meimei and Renpika that Suigin Tou has collapsed on the rooftop. Because a Rozen Maiden needs her beauty sleep in the suitcase to function well, Shinku lends her suitcase to her to sleep. Since when they’re in a truce? Jun buys a book called The Pocket Doll as present. He is surprised to receive a box set at work and another at home. Two in a day? He gets another email from his other self about changing the world. He remembers that traumatic moment at school where everyone laughed at his drawing. Although the teacher was impressed, Jun told him off he didn’t want to be praised for something that will make others laugh at him. He locks himself in his own room after that. Now Jun is tired of living with such feelings. Even working hard and making it into university didn’t change anything. The world is so unfair. He gets a call from Nori who is checking on him. Later Jun gives the present to Shinku. She has him read the book with her. She then asks why people leave behind things in words. Because you die, you disappear. It’s a way of remembering something. Everyone forgets. Shinku says even if she disappears, it doesn’t change the fact that the time they had together was real even if the world forgets. She hopes he won’t forget about the doll he created.

That night, Suigin Tou is up and well. She finds it repulsive for sleeping in Shinku’s suitcase. That’s some gratitude. She goes to check on her but sees Jun secretly making the doll. She tries to make a deal that she won’t tell Shinku about it if he agrees to lend his life for her power. Jun isn’t cowed because he has heard from Shinku about her case. She’s desperate, right? But he is willing to lend her his life with a condition. Sleep in Shinku’s suitcase during the day because it’ll be troublesome if some doll shrivels up on his roof and don’t interfere with his work. Meanwhile in N-Field, Laplace tells us that Kirakishou just like other dolls, rely on humans for her power source. This place too is filled with human souls. One of the door leads to a place filled with computers. This is where the original Jun is. He has been trapped here for who knows how long. He came here to save Shinku and the rest but was saved by Kanaria and brought here. Seems the emails he sent to his other self isn’t getting through and is communicating via Micchan. But he feels odd his other self keeps sending him weird emails but somehow they sound genuine. There are 2 possibilities. The emails he is getting are fake or the emails and doll parts his other self is getting are fakes. Because clearly he didn’t send additional doll parts after he completed Shinku. He deduces that there is a fake Jun sending those fake stuffs to the adult Jun. I think we could guess who that faker is now. See all those white vines covering over adult Jun while he is making the doll? I’m guessing Kirakishou is tricking adult Jun into creating a body in this world for her to manifest. Young Jun hopes his other self won’t create the doll and tries to send emails to him but again it fails. Then Kanaria floats down to check on any updates. She introduces herself as the smartest and craftiest doll. Some things don’t change, eh? Yeah. She thinks it’s time for her debut but Jun ignores her. Oh Kanaria…

Episode 8
Indeed, it is Kirakishou watching over Jun and hopes he complete her second vessel soon. Jun continues to help out with the troupe as well as work at the bookstore. He seems slightly happy. But one day Yamaguchi couldn’t tally the stock and wants Saitou to stay back with Jun and trace it since it happened during her shift. And without overtime pay too. Of course Jun is not too happy about it since he can’t complete his doll. So he tells off Yamaguchi it may be his fault since of the way he input it in the computer. Jun has kept a personal manual record of the daily sales so this shouldn’t take long. Saitou thanks him for bailing her out the second time. Jun denies he is a good person but she disagrees. Because he could have gone home himself as this wasn’t his problem. The work he put in the props was also good. Therefore he is a dependable and kind person with no selfish reasons. Shinku learns about the theatre performance tomorrow but Jun says he is just a backstage worker. That night Jun continues working on the doll and notes the last piece left is the head. Suigin Tou also pays a visit after Jun goes to sleep. She sees the doll he is making and feels this is doll is somewhat familiar. Next day, this is the last day and Suigin Tou is happy. Because it will be the day Shinku might disappear if the N-Field door doesn’t open. But it’s sad she won’t be around to see it because she’ll be sleeping in her suitcase. Oh, she’ll keep it as her memento when she’s gone. Shinku is so pissed that she wants Hollie to tape the suitcase and set it on fire! Shinku hints that she really wants to go to the play. She drags the bag up to Jun and sits at the door drinking at tea. I guess he has to give in or he’ll be late. He warns her to stay in the bag. She watches the preparations as she notes Jun has lots of potential he is unaware of. Once he opens that door, he is going to stop playing with dolls and go out into the world. Before the play starts, a crisis looms. The antique doll that is vital in the play was left behind in the storehouse. They won’t make it even if they drive back. Shinku purposely makes her presence known although she continues to act like a doll. Does she want to be in the act that bad? Everyone is amazed with this beautiful doll. So pretty. So life-like. They hope Jun would lend her and promise they won’t ruin this ‘present he got from a relative’. Suigin Tou has followed Shinku here because there is no way she is going to miss the final spectacle of her disappearing. She also brought the suitcase with Jun’s incomplete doll. It is as bait to lure Kirakishou. As she is a doll without a physical body, she had a doll made so she could come into this world like Shinku. She is definitely going to make her appearance here.

Episode 9
Suddenly the computer that young Jun is working off turns off. Kanaria thought she could be an IT expert and suggests if it’s plugged in. To her surprise even Jun knows this ‘issue’. But seriously, do you see any sockets her? The place then experiences an earthquake. Seems something is happening in the other world and Jun fears his other self may have finished assembling Kirakishou. Jun watches the play underway. He is surprised to see Suigin Tou watching beside him. Shinku knows that she will come and hasn’t given up yet. Jun must be really worried because part of the play involves pulling Shinku from opposite ends when the characters fight over her. Funny, no? Suddenly time stops. Only Jun and the dolls are able to move. Coming through is Kirakishou and she greets Jun her master. Suigin Tou remembers when she abducted Megu, she followed her into her N-Field. She is shocked to see many past Rozen Maiden masters crystallized underneath her. Kirakishou is collecting their bodies as nourishment. Because of that, Suigin Tou pities her that as the only doll who did not receive a body from their father, she is nothing but a junk and pitiful illusion. Kirakishou is not please to hear those hurtful words and attacks them. Because now she has a body as vessel, her power has fully materialized. Jun realizes the new doll he assembled was her. He feels guilty for doing that just because he wants his own doll and never realized the trap he walked into. But Shinku wonders as she was sent to this world like her and should be just a replica. Suigin Tou doesn’t think so as it feels genuine. What if the parts she sent over belonged to one of their sisters?

Suigin Tou asks why she has no interest in seeking the Rosa Mystica because it is their natural desire to become perfect and be with their father. Kirakishou may not have a body and her existence is sustained by those bodies so what use is Rosa Mystica to her? What she really wants is an inorganic body. Hina Ichigo’s purity, Kanaria’s pleasantry, Shinku’s nobility, Suigin Tou’s gallantry, Suisei Seki’s ferocity and Sousei Seki’s sincerity. She wants to become someone who can become anyone. This is her vision of a perfect girl. Suigin Tou calls her a broken girl and a monster. She didn’t like those hurtful words again. Shinku and Suigin Tou reluctantly cooperate to take her down but the latter mentions she hasn’t fully merged with her body and is trying to buy time from afar. Therefore they must attack the body. However Shinku can’t because she thinks that body belongs to Hina Ichigo. Jun has had enough. He created this problem and he wants to help. What can he do? Shinku seems reluctant to tell him to form a contract. Kirakishou won’t allow it either. Suisei Seki crashes in. First, she criticizes Jun! Then she surprises her sisters and won’t let them attack Kirakishou! She’s not budging from her decision. Because that body belongs to Sousei Seki! Kirakishou then starts absorbing Jun’s life although no contract is formed between them.

Episode 10
Still feeling guilty over everything, Jun wants to make a contract with Shinku. She warns there is no turning back if he kisses the ring. He’s willing to take that risk but Kirakishou won’t allow him. She wants him all for herself because it was he who created her. But Suisei Seki tells her to hold her horses. She wants Jun to make a contract with her to take responsibility of this mess. As Kirakishou’s body is Sousei Seki’s, the contract will allow her to be with her twin again. Suigin Tou reminds Jun about his promise to be her medium. So which doll is it going to be? Choose! Wow. This guy is popular. I never knew Rozen Maiden would turn into a harem series. Shinku mentions her time is up in this world and when time resumes, her replica body will disappear. Was this the clincher that made Jun decide? Or was it because she is the first doll he created with his hands. So much for freedom of choice because Kirakishou won’t allow him to make that decision. All their artificial spirits start outdoing each other to bring the ring to Jun. He breaks free from the vines. Whose ring did his lips contact? Kirakishou?! More accurately it is Sousei Seki’s. Because Kirakishou was made by her body so the ring belongs to her. Suigin Tou could feel Renpika resonating within her as Sousei Seki starts taking over the body from Kirakishou. All that is left to return her artificial spirit but Suigin Tou won’t allow it. If that’s the case, Suisei Seki uses her own to bring her twin back to life. This causes Jun to be separated from the dolls. The dolls wake up trapped in Kirakishou’s world. She has no more physical form in her own world because the master form a contract with Sousei Seki, the real owner of the body and thus Kirakishou was tossed away. Sousei Seki is up and running at the expense of her twin who is now in comatose state. Kirakishou goes into hiding probably to restore her power. The rest can’t break through the thick crystals.

Meanwhile Jun is in the zeroth world where one world perceives another world. He meets Kanaria and his younger self. Because time doesn’t run here, young Jun hopes to talk and find out more about himself. Adult Jun rants about his uneventful and depressing life. This causes young Jun to be depressed. Why not? That’s supposed to be him, right? It made adult Jun realize he shouldn’t be telling sad stories and blaming himself. He becomes positive and that’s when the zeroth world shatters. He remembers Shinku telling him the world is always branching off due to choices he makes for himself. Once he realizes that, he will be able to control his world. Adult Jun thanks his younger self and can take it from here. He’ll turn everything around. See you in the future. Sousei Seki explains why she can exist despite her artificial spirit is in Suigin Tou’s possession. Due to the fact they are twin dolls and very close to each other, their Rosa Mystica is completely identical. So it works for either doll. That is what father told them. Of course everyone’s Rosa Mystica should be rightfully be in their own place but they need to get out of this mess first. Adult Jun and Kanaria are trying to find a door to his own world. Kanaria doesn’t think he’ll go back to the way it was because as Rozen Maidens do not exist in his world based on his choice to unwind, now that Shinku appears, it has distorted his world and thus a time limit for how long she can be there. That time limit ran out during Kirakishou’s fight. Once it does, everything will go back to where it was like as though nothing happened. Everything. All that hard work he put in to create Shinku too. But he needs to find her first. Noticing something shiny in his sleeve, it is one of Kirakishou’s threads. This leads him to where the other dolls are. However the thick crystal walls are preventing them. Kanaria shows she is useful for once as she plays her Pizzicato to break down the crystals. Reunited and it feels so good? Sousei Seki introduces herself to Jun and calls him her master. She recognizes those soft fingers that tenderly caressed her body. Sounds so horny… Jealous stares from Shinku and Suigin Tou. Kanaria points their ticket out is through that clock.

Episode 11
Making the clock work again is the key to going back to their world. Kanaria goes off to find and inform young Jun. She needs to do it while Kirakishou is at her weakest. Yeah. Leave it up to them on how to make the clock work, eh? Young Jun is trudging through the endless dead forest. Despite finding Kanaria annoying, now he feels lonely without her! Gosh… He finds unwanted company in Laplace. He has no time to talk to someone whom he can’t tell is ally or foe. That’s what being a referee is, right? Jun is looking for something he lost and when he reaches a deep abyss. He sees something shiny below. Laplace borrows his magnifier and he sees Shinku’s body lying below. Back to the other dolls, Sousei Seki has what it takes to move the clock but she can’t do it alone and needs Suisei Seki’s help. You know what this means, don’t you? Suigin Tou isn’t going to hand her Rosa Mystica back and mocks the twins they can’t do anything without each other. Sousei Seki mentions when she snatched her Rosa Mystica, she felt pain in her chest. She can help relieve that pain. She makes a deal that once the clock starts moving, she’ll return her Rosa Mystica to her and concede defeat. Suisei Seki is brought back to life and the twins’ Rosa Mystica back in their rightful bodies. They have Jun give them an order. More than just fixing the clock. He wants everything to be put back as it was and the play reach the end. The twins weave their magic as they bring the clock to life. Kirakishou will not allow it and clutches Sousei Seki with her vines. Jun asserts Sousei Seki is his doll and is her master. Kirakishou is disheartened to hear those words. Didn’t she change the world like he always wanted? She sure did. But he doesn’t want that anymore. It will be meaningless if he can’t change it himself. He doesn’t need her anymore. Those words are sharper than any knife, piercing through Kirakishou’s heart. She lets loose a painful scream of despair before dying. When Kanaria finds young Jun, Shinku’s body at the bottom floats up. They realize Berrybell has always been protecting her body all this time. In the other world, Shinku’s body starts to collapse and fall apart. I guess her time limit is up. Suigin Tou notes it is what he gets for choosing his world. She wants Sousei Seki’s Rosa Mystica as promised. Suisei Seki is devastated to hear the deal but Sousei Seki is one not to lie and lives up to her end of the deal. In addition to Jun in shock, we have Suisei Seki like a broken recorder not agreeing to this. Iiya desu… Iiya desu… Iiya desu… Desu combo…

Episode 12
Young Jun remembers Hina Ichigo visiting him. She is happy to see him awake because of her fear of always being left alone in her suitcase. When morning comes, she’ll think how silly everything was because she has everyone to come wake her up. She likes him. So if he ever gets scared of bedtime, let her know. She’ll be there to wake him up. Back to the other Jun, he is regretting about the decisions he made. He hears the voice of himself dropping down from the sky not to give up. Young Jun throws the suitcase containing Shinku’s body to him. He wants him to put together Shinku’s body. While he is at that, Kanaria explains how Hina Ichigo gave Berrybell to Shinku and has been guarding her body hidden by Kirakishou. This surprises Suigin Tou because this means she gave her Rosa Mystica on her free will. Unlike her who snatched Sousei Seki’s, could it be it rejected her? Was that the reason behind the pain in her heart? Is this the true purpose of Alice Game? Once adult Jun puts Shinku together, he gives the winding key to young Jun. Now it’s his turn to awaken her. Shinku revives. Everyone is happy. But Shinku slaps both Juns for taking so long to bring her back. That’s Shinku for you. Sousei Seki is about to resume giving her Rosa Mystica to Suigin Tou. However she has a change of her and will let her off for now. She doesn’t want her to get the wrong idea. She just wants to think over a few things. She still believes in Alice Game and that the dolls were made to fight each other. The last one standing is the strongest. Sousei Seki’s Rosa Mystica still belongs to her and is only letting her hold it for a short while till she finds what she has lost. She then flies off alone.

She remembers the time spent with Megu. She was singing that song and combing her hair. She talked about the wilted flowers but they bloomed so beautiful. Megu shows her crazy side by throwing the flower vase on the floor, shocking Suigin Tou. She hopes when the real day comes, she will come to take her life and not leave her and disappear somewhere. Suigin Tou really thought she is the only person crazy enough to call her an angel despite her black wings. What is she going to do after she gets Megu back? She doesn’t know but she’ll live up to that promise. We are left with a teaser as we see white vines sticking out from one of the doors. Adult Jun says goodbye to his other self and the Rozen Maiden dolls. They’re going back to where they came from. Adult Jun has handed Sousei Seki’s ring to his young self. He will be her new master although technically they are the same person. Of course, you can’t have a goodbye without one with Shinku. She hopes he will remember the dolls he created, the happy times they had together (I thought most of them were annoying to him). After they part, adult Jun finds himself back in his seat and the play resumes perfectly till the end. Shinku and co are also back in their world. She remembers telling adult Jun that if he feels he is starting to forget, look deep into his heart. He will find his childhood memories and those of the Rozen Maiden. As long as he remembers them, the world will always be branching off because of his actions.

Episode 13
Life returns to normal. Jun attends the after-party with the troupe. Since everything ended well, he even wonders if the Rozen Maiden dolls were real. The troupe then gives him back his doll. However it is not Shinku but another doll. He realizes Rozen Maiden was real after all. But Jun is still being harassed and given workload by Yamaguchi. The latter is going to take some time off when the bookstore president comes in. Suddenly he is scared sh*t. Because he hasn’t handed in his report yet. Then about some stock thingy, Jun offers to do it because he knows his stuff. Saitou even shows him the notebook that he indexed. The president is impressed and wants to borrow it. Later Saitou tells Jun why she did that because she wanted to show who is the one doing the most work around here. You can’t let that lazy bum win all the time. As the duo walk home, Saitou wonders if he would like to officially work for the troupe. But she is also worried because he has not been turning up in university. She mentions he is not only good in making props and sewing but creating his own place. Just like the troupe and workplace, those places can’t function properly without him now. Jun attends university but he hardly feels any different. It’s that alienated feeling again. This reminds him if Kirakishou felt the same way. One day, the bookstore president talks to Jun privately. He wants him to consider his offer and doesn’t have to give an answer right now. He likes how hardworking he is and his notebook is a wonderful idea that has been the talk of the board. He even hints he could be the next manager. But Jun remains humble and mentions about his chances of dropping out of university and lacking academic credentials. However the president doesn’t care about it because he too was a university dropout and is doing fine. There are always a few options in life.

Yamaguchi must have overheard their conversation so I suppose he is going to be a jerk to Jun. First he blames him how he has to clean up his mess (What mess? I thought he was the one who made it). Then he gives himself the credit by saying if not for him, Jun wouldn’t have turned out he is now. In spite of that, he will let him off. Is that his way of forgiving and saying sorry? Yeah, he wants to show he is a kind person. Well, Saitou gives out the biggest laugh we’ve ever heard. Jun walks home and feels good about the opportunities he has in life. He still has Shinku’s winding key. As long as he looks into his heart, he could find infinite opportunities. Meanwhile, Kirakishou’s white vines are seen seizing Jun’s doll into the mirror. Back to the other world, young Jun is ready to head for school. It must be such a big deal that Nori and his dolls see him off. Yeah. Big deal alright. Jun going back to school. Along the way he meets Tomoe. However on his first day, he collapses at the rooftop. I guess the strain is too much for him. But the odd thing is that he has never awakened since and is in comatose state. Nori stays by his side while Tomoe laments if she had only looked out for him. The dolls converge to discuss there is a possibility that Kirakishou may be behind this and the need to do something quick. Kanaria decides to go home, feeling she can’t leave Micchan alone. She has a bad feeling when she realizes that Micchan is in danger. Suddenly Kirakishou (in possession of Jun’s doll) attacks Micchan. Adult Jun is reading The Pocket Doll when he sees Shinku’s end note to never forget. After so many constant reminders, who wouldn’t? He gets a surprise video call from the dolls. Glad to see them again? I don’t know how they do this from the parallel world but they are using Tomoe’s handphone. Jun of course recognizes her. Tomoe mentions what happened to his other self and is in deep trouble. There is no one else they can turn to and requests his help. He will gladly do so but he has to come over to their side. Shinku will have Hollie guide him. Jun enters the mirror.

Dolls That Play With You…
Hmm… Not how I hope it would end but I somewhat expected something like this either. It leaves us with a cliff-hanger because this time off Jun goes to the other world, his other self has fallen into coma, Suigin Tou continues to search for her precious and the sudden attack on Micchan. I guess if there is a possibility of another season, they’ll continue it from there. The first half of the series may be quite slow and may bore you because it focuses on Jun’s uneventful and boring life while he tries to sink in the fact that he has created a Rozen Maiden and figuring out the mysterious messages from his other self. There is a lot of drama in between so it might get a little draggy. And yeah, the lack of the other dolls making their appearances in the first half also takes away the fun. Because that is what this show is all about, right? So the lack of screen time for the other dolls besides Shinku and Suigin Tou had some effect to the drama and the sluggishness of it. But since I love this series, I am a little bias so I would shrug it off as nothing.

The second half slowly builds up to the battle between the dolls especially Kirakishou as the main and twisted antagonist. However I can’t say much about the fights between the Rozen Maiden dolls this time. In fact, I don’t think there is a proper one. The closest we get to see is Shinku and Suigin Tou’s fist slapping petty fight (?!). Yeah. That was pretty amusing. The ‘fight’ with Kirakishou turns out to be the dolls just trying to escape her clutches and it wasn’t really much. Then Kirakishou temporarily ‘dies’ when Jun rejected her. But when it boils down to the real battle between the Rozen Maiden dolls, I guess it was somewhat disappointing. However I don’t think with many of the dolls having good relationships with each other (save Suigin Tou and Kirakishou), I do not think that they would want to fight each other. At least never on their own initiative. The twins will definitely won’t want to fight each other. Kanaria is the happy kind and not to get into a brawl. Hina Ichigo may have been out but her innocent demeanour would have us think she’s not the kind to pick on anyone. Shinku? I think she prefers drinking her tea. So it boils down to Kirakishou to be the main antagonist and get the Alice Game going. Therefore if you’re going to watch this anime for some doll fights, forget about it.

I know Suigin Tou is a b*tch in this series but I don’t care. I STILL LOVE HER!!! Arrogant and conceited, that is the way I love my number one doll. I would have her no other way. It’s like she has this natural knack to piss off everyone with her acid tongue especially her arch rival Shinku. So much so I would say she’d stay outside on top of the roof so she could stalk Shinku every day and night. That’s Suigin Tou for you. And she probably didn’t want to admit it when she ‘lends’ Sousei Seki’s Rosa Mystica, but to me there was at least a shred of kindness in her. So she’s not all that bad. And the way she spends her time around Megu, even haughty dolls need to have company, right? Probably Megu’s approach to death is what attracts her because for a doll like Suigin Tou to always be commanding and looking down on others, she’d never expect one who would gladly throw her life away. Where’s the fun in that if you can’t see people’s reaction when they are going to die? So it’s no wonder she sticks around Megu. Maybe Suigin Tou is a lonely doll and wants some company after all. Not like she’s going to admit it anyway. Kirakishou as the antagonist also seem to have her own issue. Because of that, she developed a twisted approach. Lacking the all-important body that every doll needs to have, she too has emotions like the other dolls and wants to be loved. She felt hurt when Suigin Tou said those painful words to her. Well, at least in this sense she still has a heart.

The other dolls still feel familiar especially with Kanaria playing the comic relief part. It’s easy to look down on her because of her joker personality but this is who she is. Aside from Hina Ichigo, she is the liveliest among the dolls so it brings much tension relief when she is around. Therefore when she is down and putting on a gloomy expression, it just feels weird. The sunny disposition that is of Kanaria having that worried look? Odd indeed. Then there is Shinku who acts like a noble and treating adult Jun like her servant. Despite so, she treats him fairly and nicely like how a noble would. Though she is still afraid of cats… Did she get ‘harassed’ by one in the end? Suisei Seki’s late and limited appearance means we don’t get to see her nasty side of despising humans. At least not in this time of crisis. Though, she still finds time to mock adult Jun. Sousei Seki’s honest to goodness personality to a point she told her first and last lie to her twin. Hina Ichigo made the least appearance among the dolls and her appearance is only reduced to those in flashbacks. So I thought it was a shame that we couldn’t have the full set of dolls frolicking around. Even if that kind of setting would be just filler and not part of the main storyline, I wouldn’t mind simply because, they’re Rozen Maiden dolls. I don’t really care about this Alice Game. Not that I understand it well. I’d prefer to see them bond and have fun together. But that would defeat the plot of this series entirely. Sighs. Maybe there is another parallel world just for that. Laplace is still mysterious. You don’t know whose side he is on although he calls himself a referee and observes the dolls. Even so, for whom is he watching this game for? Himself? For father? God knows where he is now.

As for this adult Jun in the world without Rozen Maiden, it is without doubt that ever since the dolls came into his life, he seems to be much happier despite the initial annoyance. So my conclusion? You need Rozen Maiden dolls to be happy! Well, if you’re not being used by them, that is. What was once a dull and dreadful life he slogs through painfully, he now seems to be able to hold on and go through life with a better outlook than before. More confidence than he has before. So the key is not be stuck with your past wishing to redo things. But to move forward and make the changes with your hands. With the way things ended and this time adult Jun being needed and heading towards the other world, it shows that his role isn’t really over yet. I’m not sure if the other characters in his world would have anything to do with the main series. Like Saitou, there is this possibility you might think that some sort of romance would bloom but unfortunately, I was just thinking too much. There are hints that Saitou likes Jun but I would conclude it is as far as just being friends and nothing romantic because she admires his kindness and diligence. I wonder if she will be dragged into the other world too. Yamaguchi is your classic case of horrible bosses. Despite shoving all the work to Jun, it is a blessing in disguise because it made Jun a better person. Instead of quitting his job or showing displeasure, he grits his teeth and gets the job done. And you know what they say about reward coming to those who wait. Now he has the eye of the bookstore president. So trivial (and perhaps unrelated) Saitou and Yamaguchi’s appearance in this series that they have the honour of doing the next episode preview called In-store Broadcast. From what I can see, Yamaguchi wants to flirt with her but it is Saitou who is the one at the end who is making fun out of him, refusing him or leaving him out of certain activities she wants to do.

Perhaps I didn’t read the manga so there are a couple of things that I don’t really comprehend. Especially the part how Kirakishou kidnapped past masters and use them as her essence. If this is so, they must have played the game many times before throughout the ages and know every dirty trick in the book, right? Especially about their youngest sister who doesn’t even have a physical form to begin with. Could those masters be from other parallel words too? Because Kirakishou could just sneak into every door and kidnap those masters. And it’s not plausible too because there would be say, 100 Shinkus, 100 Suigin Tous, 100 Suisei Seki (100x ~desu!), 100 Sousei Sekis, 100 Kanarias who would lose their master in their respective world. And then Kirakishou could be the real winner of Alice Game using this method? Looks like she is back in her master related spree with Jun and Micchan as the known victims. Thus if the dolls had gone through ages playing this game, aren’t they tired of it? And since there was no winner (otherwise, why would the game continue if one of them had become Alice? Unless you tell me they can hold that title for a certain tenure only), does it mean they have to do this forever? Besides, how long does an Alice Game last per era?

Then there’s that branching off from the parallel world that gives me headache. Adult Jun’s world is not supposed to know Rozen Maiden dolls. Now that it has, now what? So what if Shinku disappears. Shouldn’t Suigin Tou too? I know Shinku’s body in this world isn’t her own but you’re talking about Rozen Maiden dolls. Which means, real body or not, shouldn’t all the dolls not exist? It’s like destiny is giving them time and deadline to change. But how come Jun still remembers? Didn’t destiny try to correct it? Who the hell is playing God with all these universe and parallel worlds? I guess Jun has made such decisions that he needs not warrant for any memory loss. I can’t say the same for other characters because Jun is the only person in this world to have met the Rozen Maiden dolls so saying they have no memories of the doll is not possible. In conclusion, if a world doesn’t acknowledge Rozen Maiden dolls, all you need to do is do something about it to branch your world off to another path that accepts them. I think. At least this parallel world thingy is not as complicated as the future paradox one. Both Juns meeting each other is okay since they are from different worlds. If it was Jun from the future in the same world, that could be a problem. Another trivial but puzzling thing is the Pocket Doll storybook. Over the series, we are shown short pages of the story. It is about a girl who receives 7 Matryoshka dolls that grants her a wish each. But as each wish she makes, there is some sad twist in it. I don’t know even how it ends. I’m not sure how this is linked to the story of Rozen Maiden.

Somehow the art and drawing for this season seem less refined and sharp than the previous anime. But I guess this is how the original manga looks like. Despite I find the previous season to be better looking, nevertheless the dolls here still look as pretty as they are. My only gripe with the artwork is that some of the backgrounds look terrible. It’s like the artist got lazy or trying to discover a new art style. It’s like as though they didn’t put enough effort into the background and sceneries so much so it looks like some poorly done water colour job or a bad mosaic picture. But I won’t be distracted by it since I would prefer to look at the dolls and their gothic theme dress. They’re still lovely especially the first doll :).

It is good that all the seiyuus of the original Rozen Maiden series were retained. I’m glad to hear Rie Tanaka playing as Suigin Tou again although she won’t be laughing her devilish giggles here. Likewise, the same with Miyuki Sawashiro as Shinku and Natsuko Kuwatani in her shrieky voice of Suisei Seki. Not forgetting Rika Morinaga as Sousei Seki, Sakura Nogawa as Hina Ichigo, Yumi Shimura as Kanaria, Asami Sanada as young Jun, Noriko Rikimaru as Nori, Masayo Kurata as Tomoe and Shiho Kawaragi as Megu. Joining the casts this season are Ryota Ohsaka as adult Jun (Staz in Blood Lad), Chiemi Chiba as Kirakishou (Mio in To Love-Ru), Natsumi Takamori as Saitou (Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo) and Shou Sudou as Yamaguchi (Ikari in Beelzebub).

Once more Ali Project does the opening theme, Watashi No Bara Wo Haminasai. As usual, their gothic trademark is laced all over the song. Although I have not been hearing them for a long time, I find that this song is rather tame and not as naughty as their previous pieces. But it is still befitting this series very much. The ending theme is Alternative by Annabel. A slow piece, there is a creepy feel to this song. If not, I may say an ominous and sad feel too. But the main clincher to me is the background music and the original soundtrack. New pieces were composed for this new season and because they are composed by the same person who did the original Rozen Maiden soundtrack, Shinkichi Mitsumune, there is a very familiar feel to it all. I have fallen in love with a handful of tracks already especially that theme for the dark angel that is no other than Suigin Tou. It is good that there are new tracks and they didn’t resort to taking the easy way out by reusing old soundtracks. However I really missed some of the old favourite like Battle of Rose and Shukuteki and wished they were played in this season as well. However in view that there were no intense battle scenes, I figure those songs can’t be used.

Despite the twisted game of dolls fighting each other in a survival game to be the perfect girl for father, I thought deeply about it (okay, maybe not so deep after all) and think that the ultimate answer isn’t about beating everyone and be the last one standing. Notice how each doll has their own flaws and also their strong points as well as their unique personality? My guess is that it is father’s way of saying that they need to cover for each other’s weaknesses and flaws. So being the only doll left standing could mean a collective term. All of them could be the winner at the end and become Alice. Because by covering each other’s flaws would mean they have achieve perfection in a collective sense. Doesn’t this make better sense? So be good to each other and build that sisterly bond. That’s the reason why they are sisters in the first place, right? The powers they have aren’t for attacking but for protecting. I am sure that he didn’t make those beautiful dolls so they could rip each other apart. Or maybe it’s just this simple. Kill each other and the last one left wins.

I really hope there would be another season to this series because I would love to see the Rozen Maiden dolls again. No, rewatching this series doesn’t count. I’m not that much of an obsessed nutcase. Jun’s mundane and routine life has made me to reflect my own because it’s somewhat similar. Every morning prepare for work. Return in the evening to watch my anime till midnight. Rinse and repeat. Hardly any different from Jun who goes to university, works part time and goes home doing nothing or later on dedicate in making his doll. Wait… Am I seeing a pattern? Since Rozen Maidens do not exist in this real world of mine, could it be that it will happen too if I trigger some flag? Yeah. Maybe. How long must I wait till that happens? I hope to get Suigin Tou as my doll… Or I could just get one off from Ebay…

The b*tch is back. Oops. Sorry I can’t help it because every time I think about this anime, I will always think how b*tchy this sister is. Now she is back in another second season of Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. It takes off where we first left off after the end of the first season after Kirino returns from America. This means big brother Kyousuke has to put up with more life counselling, more of her sister’s problematic attitude, more of her otaku little sister eroge fetish and the likes. Oh yeah. There are other girls in the mix too but when you have a little sister in the title, that says pretty much about it. I just hope that this season, things will get better between the siblings and everyone else so that by the end of this anime, I won’t have any complains to b*tch about. Ever.

Episode 1
There was once a time Kyousuke and Kirino were like true siblings. Taking baths together as a kid. One day, he just didn’t want to do it anymore and tells her off how lame she was. But do you think Kirino is going to cry? Instead, she shoots her mouth back at him over his arrogance. Maybe that’s how the love-hate (with lots of ignoring) relationship started. As we know, Kirino has returned from USA and is busy making calls to her friends to tell she is back. She blatantly ignores Kyousuke and all his hellos. He even tries giving a drink for her only to be told that she doesn‘t need it. Do you blame him for being in bad mood? So he’s talking about this issue to Manami. Over the past year, there is some sort of bond formed with his sister but if this continues (the way she treats him), it’s like the same as she did before she left. Manami is confident that bond won’t be destroyed because he is kind. Ayase is so glad that Kirino is back. She won’t allow that petite Kanako to ruin it and shuts her up. Kyousuke has his other problem. Namely, Kuroneko. He is confused about the mixed signals she is giving him. He asks her to explain but she gets embarrassed. As he is walking home, still confused, he calls Kirino just to ask her how much she loves him!!! I understand why she would hang up. Calls to her are only meant to be emergency, no? Kirino has lots of meetings or gatherings to attend so her dad, Daisuke thought of accompanying her to just about anywhere. Not wanting to let her daughter go again, can he? Late that night when both siblings can’t sleep, Kyousuke asks her if the life counselling isn’t needed anymore. She isn’t sure either. Early next morning, she slaps him up and forces him to accompany her to heaven. Read: Akihabara. Is the life counselling back on track? Well actually, Kyousuke is turned into her mule. She’s going on an otaku shopping spree!!! Poor Kyousuke. Can his body handle all the bags he’s carrying? Are there any limbs or body parts left to hang those bags? Thankfully at the end of the day, Kirino has hired a delivery truck to delivery all her goods back home. And what does he get as thanks? She gives him an eroge to play and must complete it by tonight. Thanks for the consideration. Kirino gets into her groove of playing her eroges. She’s back into her kingdom!

Episode 2
Ayase needs to talk to Kyousuke. This doesn’t sound good. Recently Kirino is being obsessed with her virtual girlfriend. Even when they hang out, she is giving more attention to the pixels than her real friend. And she has that slutty look on her face each time. I guess it feels more like a threat than anything because Ayase wants him to do something about it. Kyousuke goes to talk to Kirino and is shown the game she is playing. Hmm… The virtual girlfriend, Ayaka looks and sounds likes Ayase (want to bet it’s the same seiyuu?). Of course Kirino is also aware of this problem so she hands over the game to him to play. Otherwise she couldn’t get away from this addiction. Plus, she needs a game buddy to talk to. And so… Kyousuke becomes hooked on the game so much so Manami thinks something weird is going on. She saw his creepy face playing this weird game. Kyousuke doesn’t care and dares her. Yeah. Bring it on. She rats him out to Ayase and boy, that girl is furious! How can he solve things when he himself is addicted? Care to explain? Before her punch could connect, he gives a reason that if they need to win back Kirino, what better way than to understand the game. And so… Kyousuke demonstrates the game to her but he is acting so creepy that you can’t blame Ayase for slapping him. Can you blame her for thinking he is trying to sexually harass her, the way she is trying to get Ayaka to do those lovey-dovey stuff with him despite just a game? Guess what? He admits she is the only girl he will ever sexually harass!!! Kyousuke makes some conclusion why Kirino is infatuated with Ayaka. Not only she looks and sounds like her best friend (Ayase definite would love to object to this), when a girl treats Kirino with the sort of affection she’d show a boyfriend, it means Kirino wants Ayase to be her girlfriend. So if Ayase imitates Ayaka, she would be really happy. She is made to practise and act like Ayaka but she can’t bring herself to do it. She can’t say such indecent things to him. Another round of slap. I guess the help ends here. Ayase goes to complain to Manami how Kyousuke nearly sexually abused her!!! Well, he was putting on that perverted face while playing the game… But they can’t throw away the game because it belongs to Kirino. Manami has a plan. Next morning, Manami arrives early at Kyousuke’s doorstep to bring him out and hide at a corner. They watch Ayase trying to act like Ayaka in front of Kirino. Kirino apologizes how she was acting in front of her and Ayase does the same for getting mad over something silly. Ayase must have played the yandere route because she is willing to kill Kanako just to be with her!!! Oh sh*t! Yandere eyes!!! When asked if Kirino notices anything different, is it her creepiness? It hurt Ayase so much that she runs away in tears. Kirino no baka!

Episode 3
Kyousuke, Kirino and Kuroneko are outside Saori’s house unannounced to give her a surprise birthday visit. Suddenly a beautiful girl walks pass them and she gets embarrassed. Would you believe this pretty chick is Saori???!!!! She looks stunning without those otaku glasses. This episode is about her and the older sister, Kaori whom she hates so much. Kaori had so many hobbies, the reason the sisters never spend time together. One night she was brought to her mansion that houses her collection of hobbies. Yes. A huge mansion of all the hobbies she has done. And she’s not done yet. That time, little Saori was always confined to her bed so meeting others was a daunting task. She was scared to meet Kaori’s group circle who shared similar passion and hobbies. She did however get close to a manga genius, Kanata Kurusu (she has many other pen names). Although Kaori continue to bring her to the mansion, it’s like she was just ‘dumped’ there and left to her own devices. Saori grew closer to Kanata as she was the one responsible in bringing out the otaku passion we know Saori as. She was happy. But that didn’t last because one day Kaori announced just like that she will be living overseas. Because Kaori was the glue that held the group together, in no time the circle was disbanded and Saori found herself alone again. She even flew overseas just to confront (and slap) her sister, accusing her of causing them all to drift apart. However she points out it is a circle she created and that Saori stayed in a corner and didn’t do anything for the group. Many years later, Saori has grown up (much bigger literally). She still hangs out at the mansion alone. One night Kanata returned just to hand back the mansion’s key. Because she is going to debut as a manga artist, she can’t come back here anymore. Saori is sad that nobody does that anymore and feels so lonely. Kanata consoles and encourages her but Saori feels she can’t be like Kaori. Kanata believes she will find a way to it because she heard her made a promise that she’ll deal with it and show her sister. As a parting gift, Kanata gives Saori that otaku glasses. And so begins Saori’s drastic change in life as we know her today. Kyousuke and the rest didn’t expect to see Saori naturally beautiful. At the same time, Kaori and her circle came back for some life party. They are her groupies so it’s only natural they are at her beck and call. Saori can now show off her own circle of friends and she’s probably trying to rub it in to her sister on what they’re going to do. Kaori and co are cool about it. Seeing Saori has her own life now, Kaori and her circle leave. Saori chats for a while with Kanata. Although she feels she is still behind Kaori, at least she has made some important friends. Kanata hopes that she would pass the glasses to somebody else if she doesn’t need them anymore.

Episode 4
Kyousuke returns home only to see a naked girl before his eyes. Did eroge just become life-like? Then Kirino walks out in her towel to reprimand her not to do that. And then her towel comes undone. You know what’s going to happen. She is Ria Hagry and was Kirino’s roommate-cum-rival during her stay at America. Kirino once beat this 12 year old prodigy in running before and now she is here in Japan for some home-stay programme. Kirino accuses Kyousuke of being a pervert and lolicon for just about anything. The usual arguing. Till lively Ria flips her skirt and comments on her striped panties. So bratty… Ria meets Kyousuke and he is exactly how she thinks of him. She really likes him and starts hugging all over him. Guess Kirino’s reaction? Kirino becomes Ria’s big sister as they do everything together and Kyousuke gets blamed and labelled the usual for every misunderstanding. Don’t they get tired of this? Of course when you’re in Japan, you can’t miss out on Akihabara so Ria is brought there. She’s like a country bumpkin trying to flip up a maid’s skirt! Ria accidentally wanders to the erotic section and peeps into a book (because the character looks like her). Before she goes into meltdown, Kyousuke snatches the book away but gets a flying kick from Kirino and the usual accusation. In the end, Kirino gives her a keychain doll that looks like her (which actually doesn’t). Eventually it all boils down to another running showdown between the girls. Ria wants to know if her running power was just a fluke. When the run begins, Ria is clearly speeding like a rocket. Kirino isn’t even close. Kyousuke narrates something about Kirino realizing she is being overwhelmed by her opponent’s skill far surpassing hers. He cheers on Kirino and to make it ‘better’, he admits he is not a lolicon but a siscon! Kirino powers up and catches up to Ria. It’s a close finish but Ria won. She starts gloating and Kirino finds her annoying. That’s when she has had it with real life sisters and would stick to virtual sisters from now on. On the day Ria leaves, she tells Kyousuke she wanted to see what makes Kirino run fast and she concludes it is him. He disagrees and argues it is because she didn’t get to play her eroges or talk to her friends during her stay in America, so she wasn’t herself. But then he takes that back and decides to go with Ria’s argument. Ria hopes to grow to love him so she’ll run faster. Then she gets clingy all over him and Kirino had to see this. After she leaves, Kirino requests a favour from Kyousuke: Be her boyfriend. Eh? What?

Episode 5
Don’t get the wrong idea. He is just to pretend to be her boyfriend to meet up with someone. Misaki is from the modelling agency and scouted Kirino. She wanted to bring her back to her agency base in Europe but Kirino cited don’t-wanna-leave-my-boyfriend answer to conveniently turn her down. Misaki won’t give up yet and would gladly offer money to him to break up! That guy almost fell for it. So they try to act they are lovers but it’s not convincing. Misaki wants to try again tomorrow but Kyousuke mentions they have a date. I suppose to convince that they are lovers, they really have to go on one in hopes that Misaki would give up on Kirino. Though, they’re not sure if she’s following them or not since there is some fashion show she should be attending. But you can never be too careful. So are the duo looking like a genuine couple? If they could stop making their arguments look like siblings quarrel. Manami happen to see them and is shocked. Kyousuke can’t explain himself in fear that Misaki may be around and it would blow their cover. But Kirino relishes in seeing Manami’s expression. Priceless. Oh, she had a very late freaking out reaction too. At the café, they happen to see Kanako there. She thinks Kirino really has a boyfriend when it might be possible she have forgotten how Kyousuke looks like. They also meet Kanako’s colleague, Bridget and she wants to explain why they like each other. While Bridget is just awed with their unconvincing answer, Kanako doesn’t really feel they are like lovers. After taking photos at the booth, the bump into Kuroneko. The looks on her face is so traumatic! Can’t believe your eyes, huh? She just stood there speechless. Dropped all her coins too. Not picking them up?

Back home, whether or not Misaki was watching, it seems she has given up but Kyousuke is suspicious since she gave up too easy. After that they argue and Kyousuke tells her to take her complaints to her boyfriend and not her brother. He won’t be playing her boyfriend anymore that’s for sure. She slaps him. Maybe she’ll ask her real boyfriend next time. Not so funny now, huh? Kyousuke talks to Kuroneko to explain what happened. They discuss if Kirino really had a boyfriend. Though she points out Saori and him would be sad and less time to hang out with them, she feels she would be happy for her. But she’s not saying that with a smile. Kyousuke is so worried if Kirino has a boyfriend that he blocked the stairs and grabbed her wrist tight just to ask her. He feels guilty for doing so and she laughs at his twisted behaviour. Whether she has one still remains elusive. The gang meet up at summer Comiket since Kuroneko will be publishing her doujin. Kirino wrote the story. Kuroneko turns up in a white dress (feels a little scanty) instead of her dark gothic. That is not cosplay. This was a dress that Kirino bought her but never thought she would wear it today. As Comiket opens, it seems disheartening that nobody is buying their work. But after one buys it, it gives them hope and by the end of the day, it’s a complete sell-out. I guess they’ll be looking towards the next volume and see you at winter Comiket then. While Kirino is watching her favourite Meruru anime at the public area, a guy recognizes her. She is surprised to see him here. I take it, this is her actual boyfriend? Kyousuke’s face doesn’t look so good. If he was older, you could’ve seen his wrinkles. Haha!

Episode 6
He is Kouki Mikagami and a designer hired by Misaki’s company to design some jewellery. Seems like a pretty nice guy. Kirino seems to be getting along with him. Back home, Kyousuke gets this tempting call from Ayase to meet her at her home. Can you blame him for jumping to perverted conclusions? He takes up the offer and what do you know? He gets handcuffed! Is this some S&M play she’s into? On the contrary, she wants to know about the sticker that has the siblings’ face in it. And they seem pretty close. Now she’s looking scary. So scary that Kyousuke is panicking! After he explains, he asks if Kirino has a boyfriend. Wrong words. Now she’s even scarier. There’s no way Kirino could have a boyfriend, right? Kyousuke and Kuroneko are walking back. She admits she likes him as much as his sister does, if not more. So it must be the real deal when she kissed him then. The romance could have developed if Kirino had not witnessed the disgusting act (see her disgusted expression?). The gang are supposed to celebrate their Comiket success but it’s so awkward between Kirino and Kuroneko that you can feel a war is going to break out. And it did. Kirino announced she is in a relationship with Mikagami and have already hold hands and kissed. Kuroneko didn’t like her attitude so she leaves the party. Then the siblings start quarrelling about relationships and it’s-my-business-who-I-date so it’s none-of-your-business. After mocking her brother that he is not as good as her boyfriend, she leaves the party. Now Saori has to clean and pack up. So much for the celebrations. And so Kirino brings Mikagami back home and her mom is thrilled. Dad locks himself in his room and gets drunk. Accept reality, man! Kyousuke gets rude with Mikagami so Kirino slaps him and tells him to get out.

I guess the guys are feeling left out so father and son have a talk. Dad isn’t happy that from the way Kyousuke says she is acting mature for her age, he takes it as he is supporting their relationship. Dad throws a fit that he doesn’t like his daughter dating anyone. There goes his pride. Kyousuke assures he is on his side and will talk to Mikagami. But we see him on his knees apologizing for his rudeness. He expresses his true feelings that despite he has no right to tell her who she dates, he still can’t accept the idea that some guy will take away his sister. Sure, it’s not his business either but it still affects him. Since Mikagami admits he likes and respects Kirino a lot, Kyousuke agrees they have a lot in common and he has a lot more to offer. But no matter how amazing he is, he is still worried about Kirino and thus can’t hand his sister to him just like that. Prove your worth! This time Kirino throws the cake at his face. Stop acting so high and mighty. How can he say that after he turned his back on her by flirting with that goth loli girl? Kirino admits her relationship with Mikagami is fake and they never did those things. She got him to pretend to be her boyfriend so that Kyousuke would notice her. In the end, the siblings made up. Mikagami explains Misaki first asked him to persuade Kirino to go overseas. Though they get along well as friends, he knows a relationship won’t work. Therefore Kyousuke is right to worry. Misaki knew the duo were siblings from the start and Mikagami comments they’re bad actors. He did note that even though they aren’t dating, he can’t get in between them because their relationship is strong. Kirino wants to have the celebration redone again. Now Kyousuke has to face the wrath of his dad. He’s still drunk and misinterpreted he might have done something to his daughter. When Kyousuke goes to tell Kuroneko about the re-celebration, she wants him to go out with her.

Episode 7
Why on Earth would Kyousuke decline her???!!! Is he really a siscon???!!! I understand if Kuroneko wants to break into tears but despite all that, no matter what she still loves him. After all that love assurance from her that she loves him more than anything else in the world and he still needs time to think?! WTF?! Kuroneko is a gracious girl so she gives him after tomorrow’s celebration for his answer. When he returns, it’s Kirino’s turn to ‘reprimand’ him. She teases him about the hoax and what if it was real. He’d cry. Yes. Then it would suck. Seeing he is quite genuine in saying that, Kirino gives him some advice that if some girl does confess to him, he should consider it carefully because she really loves him. Kyousuke then goes to seek Manami’s advice. She knows it’s about Kuroneko since there has been rumours circulating in school about Kyousuke and Kuroneko dating. He didn’t even know this. Anyway she wants him to be honest and patient. The second celebration party begins and the trio apologize to Saori for that embarrassing fight. Then Kyousuke shows Kirino the sticker of them. He pasted it on his handphone and even had a picture of her in bikini as his handphone wallpaper! Freaky! I don’t know if Kirino manages to snatch and delete it. When Kyousuke escorts Kuroneko home, he has decided on his answer. He will date her. So happy Kuroneko is that she came home ‘broken’. Her sisters must be wondering what the heck happened. Same thing for Kyousuke. He’s already fantasizing and banging his head on his room wall. He’s so excited that he couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

Next day he thought Kuroneko is at the doorstep but his happiness is shot down when it is Mikagami instead. He came to talk? Has he no other friends? Apparently. After Kyousuke lets him know he just got a girlfriend, first thing he asks him is when is the right time to touch the boobs! WTF?! Since Mikagami wants to meet his game club members, Kyousuke brings him to school and the first thing Sena thinks this hot guy is, is Kyousuke’s boyfriend! OMG. She is in full BL mode with turbo. Kuroneko then comes in and learns Kyousuke hasn’t really told the club about their relationship yet. Till Sena mentions Kyousuke threatened to fondle her boobs to stop her BL mode. But everyone knows they are dating since it’s obvious. Kyousuke and Kuroneko are surprised as they clear up that they only started dating yesterday. Now this shocks the rest as they throw in lots of questions. They’re just dating? They weren’t dating a long time ago? You mean Kyousuke isn’t into his sister? Yeah. Why would he want to fondle his sister’s boobs? Too much of that and Kuroneko seeks Kyousuke’s explanation. The duo are left alone in the clubroom (sorry, the rest won’t be spying) as Kyousuke explains himself. Regret about that boobs question? Kuroneko understands and feels the same. No, she doesn’t want to touch his boobs, mind you pervert! What she meant was, because they are now dating, she also feels that giddiness. She can’t blame him for thinking like that. Kyousuke boasts he thinks a lot about her but Kuroneko differs. She takes out her notebook called Destiny Record. In short, it contains all the things she plans to do with him. It’s like she’s gotten her fantasies all written down neat and clean, eh? Yeah. It includes step by step rituals on what to do to achieve the goals. Of course they have to do those things, right? And the first step is to date. Then a date it shall be. But of course.

Episode 8
Kirino is not pleased that she sees that sticker on the fridge. Guess who put it there? She is afraid her friends will think she has this brother complex. His intention is to get along better. Yeah. But that sticker in such an obvious place? Kyousuke tells Kirino that he is dating Kuroneko but there isn’t any sudden reaction or whatsoever. He meets up with Kuroneko on their first date. She made a different white cosplay outfit just for this date, complete with angel wings. Serious. Call her Kamineko now! So what is Kyousuke’s first comment? Her boobs got bigger than the last time. Time to move on to their date… So the usual things that lovers do on their date. But since they got so nervous holding each other’s hand (and that was after they’ve done all the outing), they feel they need more practice before they can do this. At the park bench, Kuroneko wonders if he regrets dating her because he never said that this date was fun whatsoever. Plus, she’s never gone out with a guy. He says he enjoyed learning a lot about her. She takes out her notebook and shows him that one of the goals have been achieved (tell him more about herself). She also shows him another wish she wants. A picture of Kyousuke and Kirino getting along well. If that is what she wants, he’ll do it. There is also another wish she wants. That is, to visit her house. And what a convenient that they are both home alone because her sisters, Tamaki and Hinata are out playing and her parents are away. Get the picture. She has him watch an anime video with him. The scene is about to turn into a kissing scene when Kuroneko pauses it and excuses herself. Gulp. Thinking she is taking too long, he checks on her only to see her in the shower! Oh sh*t! What is this going to develop into?! Keep calm. KEEP CALM!

Just then, the sisters return and they are surprised to see Kyousuke. They are happy that he is Kuroneko’s real boyfriend because when she said she had someone special, they thought it was some virtual boyfriend. Hinata becomes the cheeky sister as she questions him with teaser like questions. Now she knows why Kuroneko told them to go outside and play. The thought of wanting to call him b*tch because they always here Kuroneko on the phone calling him as the brother of that b*tch! Think not. Realizing Kuroneko is in the shower, Hinata becomes cheekier. She thinks Kyousuke is going to marry Kuroneko. With Kuroneko out from the shower, she is surprised to see her sisters. It’s too hot to play outside. Hinata continues her cheekiness towards her big sister. Feeling sweaty and taking a bath while her boyfriend is here seems like a lame excuse. And why would she feel nervous if she was sweating? Kuroneko has had it and will re-educate her sister. Not good. See the way she grabs her by the head? I guess Kyousuke will have to excuse himself now. Kirino is playing her game when she hears ambiguous voice coming from her brother’s room. She barges in only to find them playing games. Because Kirino still feels awkward in wanting to hang out with her despite sheepishly calling Kuroneko her friend, Kuroneko feels there is still some gap between them. On another day, Kyousuke waits in Kuroneko’s house to take her out to the festivals. She looks stunning in her yukata. No perverted comments this time? At the end of the fireworks, Kyousuke mentions he had the best summer and won’t forget the moments spent with her. He loves her more than before. So what is next on the agenda? There is one more left… Break up with him. SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTT???????!!!!!!

Episode 9
Kyousuke thought it was a joke but he didn’t get any reply. In school, he is told by Sena that Kuroneko has transferred to another school! When? What? Why? Well, nobody told him because they thought they are dating. Kyousuke tries to go to her house but it is empty. She has really moved out. What now? Looks like roles reversal because Kyousuke goes into Kirino’s room and slaps her out from her sleep from some life counselling! That ruined her beautiful dream with some little sister. After learning he has been dumped, Kirino didn’t have the heart to do her usual mocking because Kyousuke is really crying! But she strangles him and then hugs him. She assures him she will stay by his side and leave it to her. She also asks him what if she found someone she loved and dated him. What would he do? She doesn’t want him to answer and knows what he is going to say. They are after all siblings. The duo search for Kuroneko as they got wind she is somewhere in this hotspring town. Wow. Kirino taking the lead for once. She’s so cool. Kyousuke might even fall for her! While resting, that’s when Kuroneko bumps into them. First thing, Kirino grabs her and says they’re here to bring her back. Because she doesn’t want her to leave. Now she wants to hear why she broke up with Kyousuke. She dated him to make a certain wish come true. In other words, is Kirino fine with her dating him? Really? As in truly really for real? Is she sure she isn’t just pretending to accept it? If that’s the case, it’s not the outcome she desired. Kuroneko questions her back about that painful and troubled face she put up when they started dating. If she had accepted them, she would not have put up such expression. Kirino didn’t want her to give all that crap because she held it in. Held what in? Kirino reveals the truth. She hates her brother. Hate x 10. Make that 100. She can’t stand seeing him having a girlfriend and that’s why she pulled that stunt of bringing home a fake boyfriend. So she thought if she said the same to him then he wouldn’t have date anyone because that night when Kuroneko called her to ask for permission to confess to him, she told her to go ahead even though she was against it. But since if it’s a girl who genuinely likes him, who is she to stop her? When they dated, she started regretting it. She felt relieved when he got dumped. But he looked so sad that it made her feel bad. So she got mad at Kuroneko for dumping him and thought of doing something in return. In short, she hates her brother having a girlfriend but hates it even more seeing him sad.

Kuroneko wonders why she has gone to great lengths in pulling all these stunts and her reply is that Kyousuke is her brother and has always helped her. At least now she admits she is grateful to all the things he did for her despite some of them being dumb just to protect her. But Kuroneko wants to hear Kyousuke’s answer. He loves her but dating her would mean driving his sister mad. So what will it be? Who will he choose? Before he could answer, she stops him and declares everything a joke (so why is she shivering?). She lost conscious for a while and when she’s back up, she explains the truth. She is moving to a new city as her dad got a new job assignment. But that city is pretty close to where the siblings are. They moved house because they were given a company owned housing. Although they will be going to different schools, she notes they can still see each other. Kirino is upset she didn’t say all this earlier. It’s because Kirino tried to persuade her so passionately. And all the cats came out of the bag and all the beans got spilled, eh? The siblings visit Kuroneko’s new home. Kirino wanted to know what he was about to say then. His reply was that if she was against it, he won’t date. Till when? Till she gets a boyfriend. But he’ll not like it too, right? Yup. Back to square one. Kuroneko comes in wearing a cat maid outfit. Kirino calls her a slutty cat. Kuroneko shows them a wish she was able to manifest in her notebook. It is a drawing of 3 of them getting along well. They doubt they can be this friendly. Kyousuke is glad this chaotic episode has drawn to a close. The events made them understand each other better. There are times they will argue and there will be times they will help out. That is what being siblings is all about.

Episode 10
A few montages of Kyousuke being beaten up by Ayase for his sexual harassment pranks. And now, he is here to apologize he can’t do that anymore since he got a girlfriend. Just to be safe, she handcuffs him and is still worried about Kirino because it affects how useful he is to her! He thinks this is a perfect chance for her to separate Kirino from her sicko brother so this riles her up and she kicks him out of her room. Somebody unlock the handcuffs please… One night Ayase calls Manami and she heard Kyousuke broke up with his girlfriend. Feeling sorry and guilty for the horrible things she said, she calls him to apologize. She thinks he broke up for her sake but he denies it. She gets upset when she learns that his break up has nothing to with her. Feeling embarrassed too, she snaps and threatens him to come to a Meruru event to talk over something. Come or else! And so Kyousuke puts on that suit again to meet her. He apologizes for the sexual harassment and they agree to put their argument behind them. Then they go meet Kanako and Bridget at the backstage. Some chatter that I don’t really care. What I heard: Kanako calling Kyousuke a sexual harassment manager; Kanako wants to turn him into her lackey for today; ClariS is going to be at this event and Bridget likes this group but not Kanako. Kyousuke gets a message from Kirino that her model shooting will end late due to the busy schedule and can’t make it to the event. Kyousuke excuses himself to go pick her up. The event is going to start soon. Can he make it? And so Kyousuke peddles like mad into the photo shoot set. People might think this crazy guy is some sort of stalker. Yeah. He came in a bicycle filled with Meruru theme! It must be embarrassing for Kirino to admit he is her brother. All the crew set upon him so Kirino has no choice but to admit who this guy is. She is surprised he is here to pick her up for the event. But why the bicycle? Traffic. The bike’s getup? He borrowed it from Mikagami. Can they make it? He assures they can. Misaki tells Kirino to go as she is and cuts the dress so she can move easily. Doesn’t this make Kirino’s lower half a little more visible? So Kirino rides pillion as she argues this must be his chance to do something perverted on her after playing too much eroges. He doesn’t think their body contact will amount to anything perverted since they’re siblings. Kirino may have to live with the embarrassment as Kyousuke cycles through the public roads. And they’re only halfway there. Peddling like mad. Going uphill… Oh boy. When they finally arrive, Kanako’s performance has ended but they’re just in time for ClariS’ performance. Kyousuke takes her hand to their seat as she thanks him.

Episode 11
Mommy is suspicious that something is going on between Kyousuke and Kirino. Because Kirino never addressed her brother properly. Now she does. And she discovered that sticker on the fridge. Since when they became this close? It’s a good thing, no? As for daddy, he thinks it’s time for Kyousuke to live by himself. He already has made arrangements for his own apartment. Since Kyousuke needs to study for the entrance exam of the college of his choice, when he proves himself and gets an A, then he can come back here. It will also improve mother’s trust in him. Kyousuke tells Manami about this and she thinks it will be fun to have everyone gather for a housewarming party. Surprisingly, Kirino is the first one to visit since she feels responsible for getting him kicked out. She even buys him a fridge. In addition, she gives him an eroge to play since once in a while he needs some distraction. Does he really need this kind of distraction? If he does get an A, she will gladly do any one thing for him. Later he gets a call from Kanako, bugging him to be her manager again. I don’t think he is interested so she asks for his address so she can come over. First, her cooking sucks and then she finds that eroge underneath his futon. I’m sure there is a limit how Kyousuke can deny it is not an eroge. It’s a picture of a woman eating sausage… Kanako is suspicious he has such a game because he might do lewd things to his sister, which is what this eroge’s theme is on. Kyousuke is surprised that she knows Kirino is his sister. She saw them coming to the event together and that they both have the same surname. All she needed to do was to connect the dots and confirm it. Kyousuke explains about their fake date and the eroge Kirino forced upon him. But Kanako still believes Kirino couldn’t be an otaku as she doesn’t act like one. She thinks she was at the event to support her. I guess Kyousuke has got enough of studying that he decides to look up on the internet for pictures of sexy Ayase!!! WTF?! I suppose he can do this since he isn’t dating Kuroneko anymore. Beats playing the eroge, right? There is a website of her but let’s say the pictures lean towards cute instead of anything racy. Never knew such a splendid site exists? Bookmark it! He also notices a Kirino fan group too.

Early next morning, someone knocks on his door. As he trips and sprains his ankle, he crawls up to it but the impatient person has unlocked the door and she turns out to be Ayase. Thinking he is going to do something perverted, she kicks him. Once things calm down, Kyousuke wants to know how many strings she pulled to get a copy of his house key. He fears she is going to kill him when she takes out a knife. Don’t worry. It’s his present. Couldn’t have given something better, could she? She has heard from Manami about moving out and the condition to move back. Kyousuke is also devastated to learn Manami also wants Kirino at the party because he knows Kirino doesn’t like her much. They’re going to clash. But Ayase says Kirino is different in school. She’s like an angel. That’s why she was surprised to learn Kirino’s otaku side then (from last season). Somebody rings at the door and it’s Kuroneko. Oh no. When both women see each other, you can sense sparks are going to fly. Why does Ayase sound so concern when his ex-girlfriend visits him so early? Kuroneko replies even though they’re not dating anymore, his soul will always be hers! Seems whenever Kyousuke talks with one of them, the other don’t want to be left out of the loop. This is going to be troublesome. Ayase accuses her of no longer as Kirino’s friend because she didn’t respect Kirino’s wish that she wants to be with her brother. Kuroneko launches a scathing attack back. She doesn’t care if the siblings have sex (yes, she puts it bluntly this way) because she knows her better than anyone and wished for nothing more than her happiness. If Ayase falls for Kyousuke, can she give him up for Kirino? So the girls continue their catty talk. Ayase accusing her of being here early just to be alone with him. Kuroneko questions her relationship with him and she replies a sexual harasser and a victim! That’s for fun only, right? Because they both won’t budge, the intensity suddenly turns the scene into some fantasy battle. WTF. They’re doing this just to see who can stay with him longer? I hope they don’t kill each other. Otherwise Kyousuke has nobody to sexually harass or date again. Haha! So when they leave, Kyousuke invites Kuroneko to the party as well as Saori too. She wants to talk to him about something but he apologizes that he can’t go out with anyone till he patches things up with Kirino. She understands and will look forward to that day. Meanwhile Kirino must be having some empty nest syndrome as she bums around in Kyousuke’s room, lying on his bed. Maybe she’s even lying when she murmurs he doesn’t need to come back.

Episode 12
The girls slowly arrive for Kyousuke’s housewarming party. Fireworks could have start between Kirino and Manami but before Kirino could start her yelling, Kyousuke tells her to listen to her out first. What Manami wants is to patch things up but Kirino agrees to do that on another day. Today is not it. Okay. Temporary truce. When Ayase streams in, she was expecting some war to start! Disappointed? Of course Kirino wants to ‘talk’ to her after hearing she is responsible for lots of things behind her back. Kyousuke hears Kanako calling outside. She made him a bento and saw lots of girls entering his apartment that she thinks he’s having an orgy!!! Kirino and Ayase become angry women upon knowing Kyousuke is friendly with Kanako. The Meruru cosplayer didn’t help when she lies she’s going out with him, thus why she makes him a bento. Get a taste of Ayase’s super kick! The gang have their party outside since Saori asked permission from the landlord as his room is too small to fit. The party is going on well till Kanako brings up the touchy subject about the bento. Or rather she doesn’t want him to accept food from other girls. This leads Kuroneko to assert she is the one who will be doing that job. Sparks already flying… Then Manami interjects to take care of him. Not only his meals but cooking and cleaning as well. Oh, Saori too would like to offer that because she is rich and has so much free time. She’s pretty cool in everything till Kanako insults she is ugly. No more nice lady. So Kyousuke. Who is it going to be? Pick! Interestingly, it is Kirino who tells them to stop it because Kyousuke came here to study for his exam and cannot afford to be troubled by them. But surely there needs to be somebody who needs to take care of him, right? Kirino appoints Ayase for the job. Because she is dedicated, cooks well, doesn’t have to worry about her studies and more importantly, she hates him, right? Therefore she trusts she is the best girl for the job. Can’t say no to that, can’t she?

And so Ayase becomes like a tsundere housewife to Kyousuke and I think she’s enjoying it despite some moments she threatens him with the knife when she encounters some unlikely situations. Like his porn magazines. I guess with her coming every day till late at night, it’s hard for him to concentrate because… She’s in the shower! Tempting, isn’t it? True enough, he lets his perversion get the better of him. As he is sneaking in to peek, somebody rings the doorbell. It is Hinata and is sent by Kuroneko to check on him. When Ayase finishes her shower, both girls are shock to see each other. And the misunderstanding begins. Did he turn into a lolicon while she was in a shower? Did he move out of the house because of another woman? Kyousuke, please explain. One night while Kyousuke is studying, Ayase starts her long chatter. Let’s say it’s to thank him for helping her make up with Kirino and everybody, etc. She apologizes for lying and saying mean things and despite all that, he helped her. Kyousuke says he did it out of his own free will and also apologizes his part for lying. A month later, Kyousuke takes the exam and aces. He takes a last look around his apartment because all his stuff has been moved out back to where he once belonged. Outside, he sees Ayase. First she chides him with all the vulgar names. Then she turns emotional about him being a kind person. In short, she loves him. However he rejects her because he loves someone else. Ayase sounded like she could turn yandere with that heartbreak. She throws a tantrum he is so cruel. Because he has always been sexually harassing and wanting to marry her and this is what she gets in the end? Because she’ll kill him if he doesn’t go out with her. Kyousuke won’t budge from his decision. She blames him that he did all those things to make her fall in love with him. How will he take responsibility for breaking her heart? Kyousuke is prepared to receive her kick but to his surprise, she pecks his cheek. Goodbye. I hate you. She’s smiling when she said that?

Episode 13
In this flashback episode, we see how Kirino was inseparable to Kyousuke. Because he helped her out, fixed her stuffed doll, she admired him like a big brother like how all little sisters would. As they grow up, he started to slowly change. For example, he became reluctant to bath with her. Kirino understood the meaning of jealousy when he saw him tutoring Manami. She tried to go where he goes but she can’t keep up with his speed and stamina. She was told if she wanted to, she has to keep up with him. And so it began, Kirino’s athletic training not because she hated her brother but rather she wanted to show him and make him eat his own medicine. Before she knew it, her brother has totally changed. She confronted him about being lazy and lacked the drive he once had. To her dismay, he replied he has stopped all that and wants a quiet life. She got upset and claims he is not her big brother. Not the person whom she once looked up to. She ran over to Manami’s place, blames her for taking her big brother away and wants him back. But Manami coolly told her she can’t. Because the big brother she looked up to never existed in the first place. Kirino left in tears. Even when Kyousuke came to her aid, she refused help since she doesn’t view him as her big brother anymore.

Kirino then took up modelling and met Ayase. They become friends as the latter ask the reason she became a model. It was someone she looked up to. He isn’t around now and when he comes back, she hopes to show it to him that she has surpassed him. Kirino continues to ignore Kyousuke and is bothered with Manami’s words that siblings can’t possible fall in love with each other. She continues working hard till one day she had her first fateful encounter with the world of eroge. It was about a little sister and her big brother. Before she knows it, she sneaks out to get copies and become a started buying up books, magazines and games related to eroticism. Happy, isn’t she? That’s when she became an otaku. She spent her days and nights playing her eroges and fell in love with the little sister themes. Of course she couldn’t let her friends especially Ayase find out and even had to lie just to cover it up. Eventually she reached her breaking point and that’s when she had Kyousuke come into the picture with the life counselling. It was also something she thought she would find that she had lost. Indeed he helped her out by making friends and listened to her. Worried about her and even fought with dad to protect her. He did his best all for his little sister. Now, he might think he is just a normal guy and nothing amazing in any way. But she knows that he will never turn down his little sister if she seeks help.

Episode 14
Kyousuke’s mind is clouded with thoughts of Ayase’s kiss and time spent with Kuroneko. He needs to do something. He goes to meet Kuroneko and wants to say something but starts off with a pathetic cry. Then when he tells her, it’s her turn to feel the heartbreak. I guess I know what part of it says. After all that fantasy talk, she rips the notebook apart to free his cursed soul. Crying her heart out, she has turned into a dark angel of revenge called Yamineko. She curses everyone, everything and especially Kyousuke. There. Happy? Back home, Kyousuke asks Kirino if she would like to go out with him on Christmas. Why the heck would she do that? There is an event whereby couples get a free Christmas themed limited edition rare gift. Let’s say it’s some erotic character figure. And so at Akihabara, they bump into Akagi and Sena impersonating as lovers to get that same gift. After getting it, Kyousuke suggests to see the place at night because it would be a waste if they don’t. He has booked a hotel room. Not a love hotel, mind you. To bide time, they play eroge and she wishes Merry Christmas to her ero game character. At night when it’s snowing and outside Tokyo Sky Tower, he asks her plans for the future. She plans to study overseas again after graduating. But she’ll come back more often and won’t fail like the last time. Kyousuke wants to confess to her the person she loves but she stops him, starts crying and runs away. You can’t catch a fast runner, can’t you? He looks so pathetic running out of breath but he doesn’t give up.

He prays to God for some sort of vehicle to ride and He must be kind enough because here comes Kaori driving Saori and Kuroneko. Hop in. Actually, they hatched this date plan together so they know just about everything. Yeah. They’re stalking too. Kyousuke learns that both sisters have made up after years of misunderstanding. Just when they find Kirino, there is a traffic jam. Now he has to go on foot. When Kyousuke catches Kirino, he confesses that he loves her. Has he become a retard and can’t tell reality from his games? Suddenly a loud speaker is played. It is Kyousuke’s talk to Kuroneko when he rejected her and can’t go out with her because he is a pervert who loves his own little sister! Is that embarrassing or not? Yeah. Sweet revenge for Kuroneko? Kyousuke admits that is the truth. He rejected all the other girls so he could confess to her. He laments he hasn’t even touch their boobs yet! But he has no regrets. Even though she is out of his reach and there is a high chance she will reject him, afraid she will shun him or feel hurt, he is scared she will go back to ignore him because they were recently on talking terms again. Despite all that, he just need to tell her how he feels. Kirino finds it gross, calls him the worst and hates him. Because love affairs between siblings only happen in games, right? Kyousuke tells it to her. He wants her to stay by his side. HE WANTS TO MARRY HER! Tears of joy streaming down Kirino’s cheeks? Because she said yes!!! And don’t they find it embarrassing doing this in public because for the entire conversation, they have been yelling at the top of their voice.

Episode 15
Reality check. Siblings can’t marry, right? What are they going to do about it? Kyousuke wants to talk about their future plans as this will be life counselling for both of them. But Kirino wants to play her Christmas eroge now. She wants him to play with her but right as she starts, she stops. Her mixed feelings make her unable to go on. Kyousuke then gives her a Christmas present. Is this supposed to be an engagement ring?! He is really serious in proposing to his sister, isn’t he? He puts it on her finger. Fits perfectly. Of course Kirino again reminds him they can’t marry due to the law. But she notes if he didn’t confess first, she would have because she wanted to convey her feelings no matter what. Then as they continue their eroge, it had to be a sex scene. Awkward… The duo announce to Kuroneko and Saori that they are dating. They congratulate them and it’s good in the sense that Kirino will now stay in Japan. After all, it’s their decision. Also, things are back to normal when Kirino and Kuroneko argue about Meruru. Their intensity is shown when the scene becomes a delusion and the girls battle it out in their magical girl outfits. Kyousuke has no say in it and since he remembers Kanako forcing him to come to her concert, he takes his leave. Just when Kanako finishes singing her song, she focuses the spotlight on Kyousuke. Then with all her might, she confesses she loves him and wants him to date her. With an equal passion, he yells back he can’t as he already has a girlfriend he loves. Rejected. No hard feelings. Kanako resumes her song and her otaku fans continue to love her as though this confession never took place. Man, I thought everybody would have clobbered him. But since he rejected her I guess that’s okay.

When Kyousuke wakes up, he is shocked to see Kirino sleeping next to him! He then tries to touch her breast! Of course she is only pretending to sleep and accuses him of being a pervert. Thanks to all those eroges… So why sleep with him? She wanted to see his reaction. Then she brings him to her room. Due to some couple ritual, they will now put things in each other’s room. Yeah. All her Meruru figurines and eroges will be in his room. Or is it she doesn’t have any more space? Hey. He’ll move some of his things into her room too to be fair. Kyousuke remembers a box that she didn’t allow him to see. Now she does. There is a photo album containing pictures of young Kyousuke! Didn’t know she had this brother complex, eh? She then has him listen to her self-recordings. One of the early recordings explains she is doing this so that when her future self hears them again, she won’t forget about the bitter feelings she has right now (then). It’s supposed to give her encouragement never to lose. Another recording is how she will work hard to catch up to her brother. The last recording is from the time right before they stopped talking to each other. Kirino pondered about her future self, whether she is married or not. From what she was saying, she might have learnt the bitter truth about siblings cannot marry. She decided not to say anything because everything will fall through then and ruined. As she will only get one chance, when that time comes, she hopes she could summon her courage and look for hints on how to make things work and the person she loves to love her back.

Episode 16
Besides graduation day, we discover that Sena is going out with Makabe. Who would have thought the yaoi girl who always used Makabe as her ‘victim’ in her yaoi fantasies would end up together? Akagi isn’t sure happy about it, though. Sena also knows about Kyousuke dating Kirino but she rat on him. After the graduation ceremony, Kyousuke is surprised to see Kirino waiting for him outside the school gates. What? Can’t she go see him if hers ended earlier? It seems today is the day of the big battle. The big final battle between Kirino and Manami. Oh boy… With Kyousuke in between the girls, Manami starts off telling the siblings that they should have had enough and come back to reality. Kirino is being a b*tch mocking Manami as she puts on a very bitter face. Man, I have never seen Manami with such an expression. Before Kyousuke could stop his sister, Manami punches her in the gut! OMG! I never knew Manami could do this! That is her reply of how she is feeling. Kirino isn’t going to turn tail and cry. She slaps her back! Slap fest! Hair pulling! And Kyousuke who is trying to stop them gets punched in both cheeks! Man, this is really a big final battle. I guess actions speak louder than words. They’re blaming each other as the obstruction, blah, blah, blah. But Kyousuke doesn’t agree violence will solve anything. So back to diplomatic mode, Manami is going to bring them back to Earth. She thinks siblings dating are disgusting. Many would. Legally you can’t. And definitely their parents will never allow it. Kyousuke sides by Kirino. Manami asks how would you feel if a girl confesses to you only to be turned down because you like your sister. Likewise, what if a guy confesses to you only to be rejected because you love your brother more? How will you explain it? When you are older, can you say the same thing now?

Kyousuke doesn’t care. He knows what they’re doing is wrong and that people think main characters in eroges are stupid. There are rules and regulations to everything but he will fight them because there is something more important thing to him. Manami threatens to tell their father. Kyousuke begs anything but that. Sounds so lame but he’ll do anything to protect his relationship with Kirino. He’ll even do anything for that. Anything? So how about stop this sibling dating thingy? No can do. So if it comes down to Manami having to reveal it, he’ll just have to live with it. Manami now breaks down. She confesses she has always loved him and wanted him by his side. But Kyousuke drives in the point that again passionately yells he loves his sister. He got a slap for a goodbye. And thus the big battle with Manami ended. But he gets punched by Kirino instead. Let’s say she is worried about him always trying to pull off idiotic heroics just to protect her. In the end, Kyousuke suggests to get married. And here we are, the siblings both dressed in their wedding attire at the chapel. They think back about the 2 good years of highs and lows. In conclusion, they’re glad to be each other’s siblings. What’s there left to do at the end of a wedding? Yeah. They pull off a magnificent lover’s kiss! And then they stop everything as promised. During that night on Christmas, Kirino suggested that they act like a normal couple and make good memories. Once they graduate, they stop and return to being normal siblings. Kirino takes off her ring and walks off the aisle. Hey, they’re not dating anymore, right? In the aftermath, the siblings do return to normal but their relationship is much better albeit a little petty quarrel here and there thanks to Kyousuke’s little perversion. He reminds her about the promise that she would do one thing for him. And that thing is a peck on her cheek! Kirino reprimands him that he doesn’t know how to differentiate game and reality. More life counselling when they get back.

There Is No Way This Anime Is Going To Be A Harem Route
Just like its title and so it ends with almost a sister route. And not. I suppose for legal and moral reasons we can’t really have the siblings end up getting married or else there will be lots of complain calls and emails of protest barraging the studio house. Not to say that I would really care if Kyousuke and Kirino really end up marrying each other and screw with our minds and somehow besting the law to do it (probably illegally), but it would be disturbing too to note that brothers and sisters end up getting married. Probably watching too much animes has caused some sort of numbness in my mind and I would say that despite I don’t condone to brother-sister marriage, I wouldn’t gripe it like as though it is life or death. So it’s like the ending somewhat satisfies both divide. Those who want to see them getting married and those who don’t because eventually was just an act. One last fling before getting back to reality and society. Now you understand why otakus hole up in their room playing their eroges or galges as their reality.

My favourite scene from all the episodes throughout the season has got to be the one whereby all the girls were briefly fighting over each other to take care of Kyousuke at his housewarming party. Also that catty spat between Kuroneko and Ayase at his place. It’s like I’ve been waiting for those scenes to happen and after so long it really did despite just for a short while. I had a feeling this show won’t get a harem ending and it might be sadistic of me to see the girls arguing over this pervert but really, I guess in a way I admitted I’m a pervert too because I do enjoy watching that part. Sighs… What a fleeting dream. It proves that there are girls who really like Kyousuke. From sisters to friends and even a foreigner from America who may have complicated the mix if she was around. This guy is more popular than he thinks. And he messed up that chance just to be with his sister. Well, it shows that he sticks to what he beliefs. It’s both a good and bad thing in a way. In order to protect something he loves, he sacrificed others even if it hurts.

Although I had this feeling that Kyousuke would eventually choose his sister in the end, when the last few episodes approached, it dawned to me that Kyousuke was like ‘killing off’ the rest of the girls in the unofficial harem. You know, he confronts them, says a word or two and then rejects them. Heartbreak for the girl, she must accept reality, she goes away, moves on with life. Each of the girls was a surprise in their own way in the romance department. Like Kuroneko, she was the one who initiated the break up despite things going so well between them. I even thought he might end up with her. It was a little surprising. Probably it’s partly her fault too for wanting to break up as part of her whatever plan in her notebook. Side note: I prefer Kuroneko in her goth loli outfit compared to any other outfit (normal or cosplay) she wears. Then there is Ayase who is constantly the sexual harasser victim in Kyousuke’s books. Is she that fun to be harassed? According to Kyousuke, yes. After being harassed for so long, you think she would develop some sort of hate for this guy. Even a yandere potential! But think about it. Being sexually harassed for so long could only mean that she enjoys it, right? That’s part of being tsundere too. What about asking his help sometimes? It’s like wanting to help out Kirino is just an excuse so that she could see him. So when she really confessed she really likes this molester, it was a bit of a surprise. Even that bratty Kanako whom I never thought would end up as a potential candidate had feelings for him too. But hers felt a little too fast. By the time you realize she likes him and could be a contender, Kyousuke is already on his break up spree.

The most surprising of them all is Manami. I never thought that girl would have a scary side to her. That’s because she has always been portrayed as a gentle and timid childhood friend. She never gets mad and keeps her cool even if the situation is unfavourable. Sometimes you wonder if she really likes Kyousuke or just sees him as a friend and nothing more. So much so that if you want to analyze who would be the front runner in the race for Kyousuke’s heart, she would be dead last from what we have observed. But as demonstrated in the final episode, she provides to be a scary person because she wasn’t the Manami we used to know. It’s like she is the hidden last boss. And she really did put up a fight before getting ‘vanquished’ like the rest. So for Manami, it shows that still waters run deep. I’m not sure about Saori but I am sure she is mature not to get into that tangled mess of relationships. It’s probably my gut feeling that she likes Kyousuke too but treasures her friendship with the rest more so she is not that aggressive. Maybe if she was younger and her feelings still raw, she may have been more aggressive if she really falls for Kyousuke. But that’s just me thinking. I’m not sure about Ria because from the way she sounds, she looks up to Kyousuke as a big brother than a lover. But then again, you can’t really discount her when it involves the feelings and the heart.

I never expected Sena to be part of the harem since she is yaoi crazy and that she is quite a minor character in this season. So for her to even have a boyfriend was another surprising thing in this series. Yeah. Lots of surprises for me this season, no? It would have been a shocker if it really ended up as Kyousuke x Mikagami! No way! Otherwise, it could have been somewhat another draggy season and a slow couple of episodes at the beginning (such as flashback on Saori’s past) if not for that little cat fight that started it all and got me sitting up. Somehow this season I do not feel Kirino is a total b*tch like how a perceived her in the last season. Probably I had a glimpse of how the sibling hatred came about so there was provision for me to understand how it all started. They also spend quite a lot of time interacting together properly compared to the last season (I think). So it’s like the both of them hated each other for a long time when they actually liked each other behind it? That’s confusing. I guess when you’re that age, you’ve got lots of hormones sending in mixed signals. Therefore Kirino is not as hateful as I thought she would be and with her smiling more often and showing a lot more feminine emotions, at least there is a cute side to her. Besides, she is quite independent and knows how to differentiate between reality and game so she’ll be alright. And finally Kyousuke the man himself. Whether or not his siscon developed during his younger days or when the siblings aren’t on talking terms, he will still help his sister no matter what. She is after all his sister. What else reason do you need? And what better way to show your ultimate sister love than to propose and marry her? As a guy who prefers harem, I thought it was really a waste he rejected those girls. I know a harem should come with a variety of girls but I don’t think sisters would feel right. But really. That’s him calling the shots and his preferences so who am I to complain? At least he is straight although he is a little pervert. Hah!

This season’s opening theme is once again done by ClariS entitled Reunion. Another usual anime pop but nothing that attracts my attention. Just like last season too, every episode has its own ending theme sung by the seiyuus of either Kirino, Ayase, Kuroneko, Manami and Saori or a mix between them. The ending animation credits are different too so it gives that little extra motivation for a person like me to stay and watch. However I do not find any of the songs appealing although they a variety of ranges to them. Maybe it is because the song didn’t last more than an episode so it does not reinforce the ‘likeability’ of it. You know, sometimes when you hear a song once, it doesn’t really stick in your head or you may not like it at first. But after a few times, you get to like it as the tune sticks into your head. Thus for songs that do not last more than one episode, there is a high chance that I won’t find them appealing since I won’t purposely go back to listen to it unless it is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very and absolutely catchy and brilliant. Unfortunately as I said, there are none here.

This show might only be fiction but there is always an implication in real life. Perhaps there are people out there who really want to marry their own brother or sister. I can think why this siblings marriage or even incest isn’t as prevalent as LGBT issues is because the numbers or not there. I could be wrong, though. Throughout the ages, mankind’s sexual preferences have deviated so much. More and more people are falling into the LGBT category although the conventional one still remains the big majority. People around the world, some are fighting for their rights as LGBT and some against. So we’re in some sort of transition period in trying to accept the new age relationship. Bad or good? Only time will tell and depends very much on the people involved. In time to come, I think sibling marriages will be just as hot issue as LGBT if there is a sizeable number of people having such preferences. If that ever happens, you can thank anime and all the eroges in the market for that. Oh yeah. Anime. Changing the way we perceive and live life. Okay to marry your sister? How about asking that to your dog as well.

I am sure this anime does not intend to make you love your sister to the point you want to marry her. There are some truths in what Manami said in facing reality too. Especially when rules and norms are formed by society, if you do not follow it, what will others think? How will they react? How will you be treated? It also made me think how long can I carry on in my own fantasy world of watching animes. Everyone in life is moving on. I’m still the same. Watching my animes as usual. I know I can’t do this forever. When will I wake up? Will I be able to? Hard to say because when you love something so much, it’s hard to give up. You become obsessed and infatuated with it. That’s why I can sometimes understand why Kyousuke was willing to give up a lot of things around just for something crazy he cherishes most that society wouldn’t go so far as to. So really, when will be the day I wake up to reality? Maybe I’ll do that in the next 100 years.

Miss Monochrome

March 21, 2014

Hmmm… Doesn’t this character look like a cross between Nyaruko and Hatsune Miku? I don’t know. That is my first impression when I saw Miss Monochrome. The chequered skirt (like Nyaruko) and the hairstyle and idol presence (like Hatsune Miku). This character is actually created and designed by the seiyuu-cum-singer Yui Horie herself. I suppose everybody these days can design their own characters but you rarely hear one doing so from the same industry. She first used this character as a 3D virtual singer in one of her concerts back in 2012 (which I didn’t attend or see) in which the character was also featured in a social network game. Now, it has been adapted into an anime albeit each episode is only 4 minutes long. As I read the synopsis, the titular character loves the monochrome style and dislikes all colours and has this goal of changing it to her favourite black and white colour. Sounds boring? Well, I’m trying to look at it from a comedy perspective and it would be interesting to see the kind of character Yui Horie came up with.

Episode 1: Fall
Monochrome has this dream again. A girl dying in her arms and a promise to meet again under some waterfall. Monochrome is living her life as a so called idol in a big castle. She has a helper named Mana to help around. After seeing Kikuko the idol performing on TV, Monochrome wants to be as popular and stand out as her. As suggested by Mana, she needs a manager. Yup, Mana appoints herself. What is the manager’s first job? Get her 19.3 billion Yen! Agreed! And so Mana took that money and disappeared. So much about loyalty. Monochrome is evicted from her castle and as she wanders around, she bumps into this guy, Maneo. Because she saw his manager card, she makes him her manager and wants to give her work. Yeah. He is the manager of a convenience store and thus begins Monochrome’s job there.

Episode 2: Heaven
Now she’s living in a run-down apartment. Her little round robot vacuum, Ruu-chan starts cleaning but due to the amount of rubbish, it gets stuck and Ruu-chan goes offline. Maneo compliments Monochrome for posing really still. Like as though she’s an android. Yeah. You don’t say… She is fine living in such an apartment because she heard from Kikuko that an idol must have a hungry soul and will work her way up. When Monochrome returns home, she shows the alkaline battery she has got. It’s better than the zinc-carbon one since it lasts longer and rechargeable. She notices Ruu-chan not moving and is sad it has ‘died’. She buries it. For the first time in her life, she learnt the meaning of sorrow.

Episode 3: Vengeance
Aliens are planning to invade Earth! Meanwhile Ruu-chan is back. I’m not sure if Monochrome put in new change of batteries or got a new model. Anyway Monochrome is admiring at some Evolta battery displayed at a shop. After another great ‘mannequin’ idol performance for the kindergarten kids (they were left confused, actually), Maneo gives her the Evolta battery as reward. She goes home to charge and feels the electrifying power overflowing her. Meanwhile the aliens begin their human hunt and target Maneo first. Monochrome sees the UFO above and with the battery, powers up including some transformation, to fire a beam at them! When she comes to, she has no recollection of what happened. Not even why there is a big hole in her roof. And thus mankind was saved thanks to Monochrome!

Episode 4: Metamorphose
Monochrome notices a nendoroid (android imitation) of Kikuko in toy stores. She thinks it is a sign of popularity and wants one. Maneo gets straight to it but of course the higher ups told him that she needs to be popular if she wants to have one. Monochrome vows to do it using her own merits. And so she shapes clay, chops and carves wood, makes a potato chop and even sculpts a Segway from iron but all do not feel quite like it. Finally she makes a giant head of herself and becomes a big hit among children. Yeah, feeling like a mascot? So popular and cute that the businessmen zeroed in to cash in on her popularity and release Monochrome’s version of nendoroid. Ironically, the nendoroid is the one that became popular instead of the real idol herself…

Episode 5: Halloween
Monochrome sees Kikuko on TV again. She really wants to be like her and have fans screaming all over her. That’s when Maneo got a job for her to cosplay in a special TV programme. As she ponders what to cosplay, she mistakes that it is equivalent to Halloween so she searches the internet for more information. She has found an eye-catching outfit. At the studio, the kids are screaming and running away from her because she is dressed up as a bloodthirsty demon! Ah, well. This is how she got people to scream for her. Of course her appearance had to be cut from the programme and Maneo is reduced to an apologizing wimp to the producer…

Episode 6: Job
As part of her schedule to become a popular idol, Monochrome has taken up lots of jobs ranging from washing dishes, pulling out trucks from ravines, acting as Prime Minister (WTF?!) and going into space. None of which has anything related to being an idol… In a drama shoot, that needs to have the protagonist jump out of a building on fire with a kid, Monochrome jumps out clutching Ruu-chan tightly. She’s never going to lose it ever again… And she isn’t the protagonist of the film… Maneo suggests Monochrome to be on the Surprise Wake-up programme to leave an impact on her audience. So the programme’s crew enter her apartment as he pretends to be asleep. Then she pretends to be surprised and wakes up. She accidentally hits her battery recharger and when the battery falls out, she starts disappearing! The crew freaks out! Because this left too much of an impact, this programme was not broadcasted…

Episode 7: Props
After watching yet another Kikuko performance, Monochrome thinks she knows what she lacks. Like the wand Kikuko is having, she thinks she needs a prop to be a famous idol. And so Maneo gives her several props… How come they all are cleaning props? Duster, broom and cleaning cloth… What the? Noting that such props do not work, Maneo suggests vegetables. Before you know it, Monochrome is cultivating her own farm land and planting lots of different vegetables. Somehow this self-sufficient lifestyle of living together with nature gave Monochrome a sense of fulfilment. The props don’t matter anymore, eh?

Episode 8: Winner
Monochrome gets a job as a race queen. However in order to stand out more, she starts racing with the cars! She wins the race! OMG! Is this even legal? Again, Maneo apologizes to the producer. But what the heck?! Nobody finds it odd that Monochrome won?! I guess because of this, she didn’t get the mountain climbing reporter job. Kikuko’s climb on Mt Fuji gets her lots of attention so Monochrome thinks she will get the same attention if she climbs a mountain. Aim for greater heights! But not a soul is there when she climbs Mt Takao. Hardly any challenge… She also climbed Mt Olympus and laments nobody was there. Where the hell is that? It’s that large crater on Mars… Is it a wonder why there was nobody around? Not even Martians…

Episode 9: Rival
Those bloodthirsty aliens are back! Oh wait. This is actually a flashback. Those aliens indeed massacred Earth and will be back once it is repopulated again. Monochrome saved Kikuko but the latter knows her time is up. She is glad to have competed with her as top idols and that they are eternal rivals. She believes they will meet again and hopes Monochrome will wait for her till she reincarnates. And so Monochrome waits throughout all the ages just to fulfil that promise. She waited and waited for a very long time, even when Earth is reborn (dinosaur period again?) and her memories have faded. Feudal peasants accidentally put in her battery and she materializes but worshipped like a God in an altar. Fast forward to her days as an idol in her castle with Mana as her helper. She sees Kikuko on TV and notes she will someday become an idol who can compete with her.

Episode 10: Fighter
Maneo once again ‘praises’ Monochrome for her mannequin performance. Is it a wonder why she’s not a popular idol? Nearby there is a convention that houses handshakes from various idols. After experiencing one, Monochrome wants her own handshake event. Yeah, well… Everybody who pays at the convenience store counter gets a long one. You’d worry if you get your change back… Soon, Monochrome shakes hands with just about everybody and everywhere. Probably some got the wrong idea because like Rocky Balboa, Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan, they make her enter the ring and she becomes the new world champion in arm wrestling, boxing and pro wrestling. Not to mention weightlifting too. In no time, she’s accumulated lots of champion belts and trophies. But where are the handshakes?

Episode 11: Audition
Now Monochrome wants to take part in an audition. First up, the gourmet reporting that has participants react and ‘report’ the ramen taste. The judges don’t seem to find one that is outstanding till it is Monochrome’s turn. She precisely analyzes the ingredients and its calorie content. Amazing. But since she didn’t eat it, she got disqualified. Next is a cooking audition. This time she takes care to make good presentation and mind the calories. However she didn’t taste test it and it sucked big time. Disqualified. Finally there is one audition that she has passed. She is in charge of illuminating the night sky and buildings. Yeah. She really shines here. Literally. So beautiful, the lights. But not as beautiful as you my love. You can hear those cheesy romantic pick-up lines…

Episode 12: Idol
Thanks to the producer, Monochrome is able to watch Kikuko rehearse. But look what the cat dragged in. It’s Mana! Where has she been?! My, isn’t that such a big lovely and expensive ring? Every time Monochrome asks about her money, spunky Mana cuts her off and starts ranting about the gratefulness and thankfulness of whatever she’s referring to. She is currently the manager of Kikuko! When Kikuko meets Monochrome, she felt this familiarity. Have they met somewhere before? Kikuko brushes it off as her own imagination. Then something tells her Monochrome doesn’t age. Monochrome agrees. Kikuko advises that not aging is a real strength for idols and be sure to treasure it. Because Kikuko will always be 17 years old! She hopes they will one day compete as top idols. This motivates Monochrome to move forward as far as she can as an idol. Flashback to that dream again. It seem their dream of meeting already come true because when she said about meeting ‘underneath the waterfall’ (taki shita), the producer’s name so happened to be Takishita! Oh, Mana left before Monochrome could ask about her money… Bad debts…

Episode 13: Monochrome
While walking home alone, suddenly there is an old guy who seems like a flasher. Actually he is here to show Monochrome her debut CD! And so it begins Monochrome’s real journey as an idol as she get into photo shoots and the stuffs idol do. Maneo is grateful to the old guy who believes Monochrome’s hard work has caught the attention of someone’s eye. Monochrome then sings a street performance but Maneo is the only audience. However a little girl was listening and she is very happy to hear her sing. It made Monochrome want to stand out more and do her best to be an idol. And that old guy… He turns out to be Santa… Hohoho! Merry Christmas.

Miss Idle Idol
First, let me get out this grouse of mine. After watching the series, where in the world is this show about Miss Monochrome trying to turn the colourful world into black and white? From what I see, she seems to be having ‘fun’, if not trying her best to understand and do what it takes to be an idol. You see, trying to be an idol means you’re going to lead a colourful life because you will be doing lots of things and will be under the watchful eye of viewers and prospective fans. That’s why I thought the synopsis was rather misleading and it certainly has taken out the overall enjoyment factor. I suppose that’s why sometimes I don’t read what an anime is about and jump straight in to watch. I know this is just something trivial but there is a big discrepancy in the plot. A very big one. Trying to bring boringness to the world and trying to be a popular stand out idol are 2 very contrasting plots. Unless that synopsis was the setting for the social network game, which I am not aware about.

On to the series itself, the short animation is really fun to enjoy although I would advise to try not to think too deep about certain stuffs. Like how Mana can get away scot free with Monochrome’s money and have the cheek to reappear before her life again without showing any repentance. And then off she goes again. What about that curious and fateful meeting between Monochrome and Kikuko since time immemorial? What does it mean? What will the future hold now that they have met in such strange circumstances? Ironically Monochrome as an android, she can have memory failure of the most important event that happened then. I guess this shows nothing lasts forever. She just lasts longer than most things. Then prior to being swindled, she was an idol, right? But it wasn’t clear if she was famous or just a non-popular idol. Her castle that was worth billions of Yen could have indicated she was but it was possibly because the people worshipped her as something else and gave lots of donations. I’m speculating this part a lot so I might be wrong. And yeah… Maybe she isn’t sure what the definition of an idol is and labelled herself as one till she saw Kikuko on TV again that it reignited her real quest to become a real idol.

For a monotonous character, Monochrome is pretty fun and funny if you look it from another perspective. Not to mention cute too. Now if only she smiles more often… Her best ability is to play a mannequin and that is to stand still without moving for a long period of time. It’s just like shutting your appliance off, eh? It baffles people. But to me, that is just plain funny. I can think up 101 reasons why she strives so hard to be an idol but can’t even manage to get a decent number of fans or a decent start. Mostly, she has this monkey see, monkey do mentality when it comes to idols. Thinking an idol is famous because of like this, she too wants to do it. Of course she misinterprets the whole thing and somehow her impulsive actions make her veer off course often with hilarious results and in the end, don’t really make her a popular idol. Oddly as an android, she should have better understanding and analyzing about the concept of being an idol but I guess it is more complicating being human. Yeah, to a point that an android seems to ‘struggle’ comprehending our culture. But all these experiences are good for her and despite it don’t have anything to do with being an idol, at least she gains some sort of experience and some even a greater good for mankind. I suppose those pesky aliens will never destroy mankind again, huh? Yeah. Thank you Monochrome. In the end, it shows that all her hard work (random acts, if you want to look at it another way) pays off. Yeah, it took Santa to notice. Say, is Santa into idols? These so called random events and ‘things Monochrome wants to do to become an idol’ makes the series enjoyable to watch if you have nothing better to do in the short period of time and want something entertaining to fill in before the next big thing.

If there a category for one of the most unique characters ever in anime history, it would be Ruu-chan! Because this circular cleaning machine has no actual spoken lines! I don’t think I have ever heard a single beep coming out from it. It accompanies Monochrome like a shadow but is family to her. Then there is Maneo as the manager and fatherly figure to Monochrome. I wonder if he can juggle between his manager role and his convenience store job. Like they say, don’t quit your day job. Mana is a character you would both love and hate. She’s cute but she’s deceiving. And she can put on a straight face about being grateful and all that crap. Well, it’s not like she admitted stealing the money, right? I mean, Monochrome gave her the money, right? Yeah, I ask for 1 year advance salary to renovate my house and then I disappear and never show up at work ever again. Besides, had not been for Mana, this misadventure to be a top idol will not have started. It would just be confined to her dream and television for Monochrome.

Yui Horie is of course the voice of the titular character herself and she’s a real cutie voicing Monochrome. She’s voiced many anime roles too and even some as close as Monochrome. I am sure that everybody can try to make and imitate a robot voice, something that Yui Horie does here as her character. Sometimes I have this tendency to think that she can imitate a computerized voice but logically, I think she has got the help of the computer synthesizer to make parts of her voice sound computerized. Of course, she also sings the ending theme, Poker Face and you can see Monochrome strutting her idol stuff, dancing and singing in the ending credits in 3D render. Although this song has computerized vocals, I feel it is not as exciting and extremely cute as the one Yui Horie sang as the ending theme for Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai, Coloring.

My guts tell me that they are making some references to another veteran seiyuu featured in this anime, Kikuko Inoue. No prizes for guessing which character she voices here. Especially that trademark statement of hers that she is forever 17 years old. Yup. She’ll always be forever 17 years old. 17 + 50 years old! Haha! Oops! I’m guessing at this rate, Monochrome and Kikuko will forever be waiting to have a chance to compete as top idols. Unless that final episode’s progress was just a fluke. Touch wood! Also making its cameo appearance in certain scenes is that mysterious and cute yellow blob called Wooser. I’m not sure about the reference about having this character from another anime. The only similarity I can find is that both animes are animated by the same studio, Sanzigen and that both shows are short in duration as well as it shows the daily issues and challenges the protagonists face and approach.

So it certainly shows that being an idol is tough and not easy. Maybe it takes a little luck too. Don’t worry about Monochrome being a stand out popular idol. It is pretty much how you define that. As of now she might only have a little girl as her first true fan but from that little girl’s perspective, she is the biggest thing and that already itself is an achievement. She doesn’t need to conquer the world to be famous. Only conquer the hearts… Monochrome may not be the biggest idol in this anime but I have a feeling that in real life, she may have been steadily garnering a sizeable amount of fans, especially hardcore fans of Yui Horie. Real idol and virtual idol? It’s like having your cake and eating it. Now, if only Mamiko Noto came up with her own character design, I would definitely become her biggest idol. Oh, I can see it already. Jigoku Shoujo AKA Hell Girl!!! Ippen shinde miru…

So many girls, so little time. I guess from the previous seasons, I have come to expect what this series is going to be about. However no matter how interesting and successful a formula is, it will eventually get old and boring. And though I wouldn’t find the act of Keima trying to conquer more girls to free their Loose Souls to be boring yet, let’s say that this fourth instalment (if you consider the double OVA episodes as the third season) very much shifts away from that formula. The World God Only Knows – Goddesses Arc, as the second title implies, it is more than just Keima trying to conquer girls. Heck, there aren’t any new girls to conquer. Without giving away too much, let’s just say that Keima now needs to re-conquer some of the girls he conquered. Woah. Wait a minute. Is that like trying to revisit and redo the conquest again? In a way, yes. Don’t jump the gun yet thinking that they are ripping us off with this God of Capturing having to revisit old flames again. There is more to it than meets the eye. Hey. The girls he conquered shouldn’t have memories of him so they wouldn’t really remember him, right? Right? Or not. What happens when that girl do retain memories of that conquest that led to their first kiss? It’s something Keima requires and needs all the galge experience to pull off. Because it’s not just them at stake. The world will be in danger if Keima doesn’t have them love him again. Complicated? That’s why we always stick to games when it comes to this, no?

Episode 1
Keima narrates his love for dating games and 2D girls and why 3D can’t be like them. Also the narration of the story so far and some of the girls he has conquered while we were not watching. They include Yui Goidou whom he swapped bodies with and learnt what it’s like to be a girl; Akari Kurakawa the mad scientist who disappeared without a trace; and Tsukiyo Kujou who loves everything beautiful that she turned into the size of a doll just to be beautiful. He has conquered a total of 14 girls. And now that Elsie is calling him for another conquest, he has to save his games and head out for his real life conquest. Meanwhile after a hard day’s work as an idol, Kanon requests some time to study but is shocked to see that alter ego of hers again, Apollo. But lively Apollo claims she is a goddess who could bless her and feels her powers are returning gradually. Kanon of course thinks she is so tired that she is seeing things. When Keima and Elsie go to school, they bump into Tenri who transforms into Diana. Noticing her halo on her head, she explains she is a goddess from Heaven. When there are demons, there are goddesses too, right? What does Diana want? Keima to marry Tenri! As Loose Souls feed on negative energy and goddesses require love to grow, she wants him to make Tenri happy so that her power will return. You think he’ll do that? Kanon returns to school since it’s the test and she is garnering everyone’s attention. However she is only focused on Keima who is pretty much focused on his galge at hand. Yes, he doesn’t give a damn about the test. In the toilet she tries to talk to Apollo about Keima but the latter knows she likes him, causing her to blush. She insists she isn’t in love with Keima. Really? Kanon with tsundere potential? But she seems to be remembering bits of pieces of being with Keima.

Diana waits outside school just to remind Keima to be closer with Tenri. He asks if her presence has something to do with the Loose Soul troubles they’re having. Apparently yes. The soul cycle involves Earth, Heaven and Hell. When people on Earth die, their soul goes to Hell to be purified before being sent to Heaven for restoration. But the ancient demons of Hell known as Weiss tried to corrupt humans to increase their power and rule all 3 worlds by decimating Heaven and turning Earth into a graveyard for souls. Of course the modern demons opposed it. Along with the goddesses, they banished Weiss who were once gods from Heaven. The goddesses who banished them were the Jupiter Sisters which Diana is part of. But the seal has been broken bringing the goddesses and Weiss back to Earth. As she wants to see her other sisters and forces Keima to help find them, she also explains to co-existence of goddesses and Loose Souls and by this logic, her sisters may reside in the girls that he has conquered. Keima doesn’t want to waste time looking for a needle in a haystack but she says there is a clue. If that girl houses a goddess, she will remember everything as their memories can complement the girl’s. Looks like he has to check it out. Meanwhile Apollo warns Kanon that she feels somebody is watching them. Kanon narrowly escapes being attacked and in her fear she thinks it’s only a figment of her imagination. Next day as she is taking the test, she sees her attacker and the first thing she did was to run up to Keima and hug him! She is the only one she can rely on. Imagine the scandal this will cause if this popular idol is seen hanging out with the dweeb. Oh wait, they’re already being seen. This is more interesting than the test, no? Keima confirms that she remembers everything, including the kiss. She then confesses she loves him. See? What did I tell you this is more interesting than the test. Keima takes her hand and run but Apollo materializes. She doesn’t need his help and goes off alone, leaving him stunned that a goddess resides in her. While trying to find a place to hide, she is attacked by the perpetrator whom he believes is an agent of Hell. She is stabbed and the purpose of the attack is because as long as the sisters are around, Hell can never be revived back to its glorious days.

Episode 2
Before Apollo gets trapped, she lets loose an insignia which serves as a warning to her sisters. The perpetrator wants to finish the job but Keima’s teacher, Nikaidou is there watching. Keima and Elsie are shock to see Kanon unconscious. They bring her back as Haqua tries to heal her. Elsie is reduced to a cry-baby and it’s surprising to see Keima very worried. He’s never looked like this before unless it has something to do with his galges. Haqua fails to do anything about the knife stabbed in Kanon as it is laced with forbidden ancient demon magic. There is a Vintage mark on it indicating this cult only knows how to use this strong magic. Thanks to the goddess’ power, Kanon is kept alive otherwise normal humans would have died. But there is a limit. Only a week till Kanon dies. Keima is serious in wanting to save Kanon. Therefore he wants all the information he can get. As Diana’s power alone is insufficient to extract the magic, Keima thinks with the combined help of her other sisters, there is a chance. There are 6 sisters in total. Diana will go into hiding and doesn’t want to be contacted unnecessarily. What is the next step? Idol training for Elsie. Say what? This is to replace Kanon. Thanks to the magic disguise, she fooled everyone. This means Haqua becomes Elsie. I guess Keima needs a competent assistant. He’s serious. Next, Keima makes a prank call to his mom that her husband is in trouble so she leaves immediately for South America. Hey wait. I thought she loathes her husband? Anyway with her out of the house for weeks, Keima will be able to focus better. Thanks to Kanon’s confession, this makes it easier for Keima to search. It is already said the goddesses could be housed in any of the females he conquered. If that girl still remembers him, she will still be mad due to the confession. And here comes Chihiro pouring hot coffee over his head! Her hand slipped? Suspect #1. In class, Ayumi kicks Keima so hard that his mark is left on the wall. See? So fast we’ve got suspect #2. Keima goes around talking to the rest of the conquest and has narrowed down the list. He feels those who are hosting the goddess are closer to him and in the same grade as others like Mio and Kusunoki totally have no recollection. He narrows down the suspects to 5: Chihiro, Ayumi, Tsukiyo, Shiori and Yui. The assumptions he makes might be far-fetched but he has to work on all the information he has right now. He is so serious that he decides to stop being God. Now he will be the devil.

The plan now is to awaken the goddesses’ power and that is to fuel it with love. Since the girls are feeling down after the Kanon rumours, the goddesses’ power lay dormant. He needs to make them fall in love with him again and conquer them all at the same time. Impossible? Remember how he plays his galges simultaneously? First he goes up to Ayumi to apologize and confess he is the only one for her. But she kicks him and runs away. Suspicious? Next, he does the same to Chihiro but she ignores him and walks away, though there is a hint of anger seen in her. At the lab, he encounters Tsukiyo who doesn’t recognize him. Keima is suspicious because this might be her way of being mad. He continues being persistent by being by her side at the rooftop. Suddenly Ayumi walks in so he pushes Tsukiyo to hide. A love triangle at this point will be difficult. But Tsukiyo elbows him and runs away, telling him she doesn’t want to see his face. Instantly Keima knows she remembers everything because that is not what a stranger would say. As for Shiori at the library, the sight of him has her hiding her face behind her book, not wanting to make eye contact. Obviously. The question is whether she still loves him or not. Keima gets a surprised when Yui wants to know him. She is dressed as a boy due to the lingering effects of the last conquest when they swapped bodies. Keima is certain she doesn’t remember but she pulls him to lie on her lap and she wants to know him better. Yui confesses she likes him and doesn’t care about the Kanon rumours! How odd! How does it feel to be confessed now? Haqua didn’t like this unholy act and kicks Keima in the head. Maybe next time, Yui. That night, Chihiro calls Elsie but Keima picks it up. He feigns that Elsie wants to walk with her home after class. This is part of his plan for the next stage as the stage for searching for hosts is done.

Episode 3
Keima explains the basics 101 of walking home with a girl after school. Yeah. Look at that tight schedule. He’s a dating pro, remember? With Haqua keeping her 2B Pencils band mates Chihiro, Ayumi, Yui and Miyako at practice session, Keima tries to deal with Tsukiyo first. She is persistent in not acknowledging him. After playing the fundamental 3Fs (Follow, Fool and Finisher), he manages to get her permission to see her in her astronomy lab on Sunday. I guess Haqua was too good in practice so it ends early. She couldn’t stop Ayumi and Yui from leaving. Keima rushes back but trips. He sees Yui entering her limo. I guess his schedule is screwed up now. Since Ayumi and Miyako are there, he puts her his next priority. However Miyako seems to be like a third wheel, especially bringing up that Kanon rumour which doesn’t sit well with Ayumi. He is about to ignore Miyako and confess to Ayumi but spots Chihiro and Haqua walking nearby. After entering a building and taking recovering steps, Keima finally nails it to Ayumi. He doesn’t care what she says, he will continue to be with her. This left her stunned. Haqua takes over as Keima goes to be with Chihiro now. He accompanies her at the music store. He compliments the song that she wrote but she gets embarrassed and leaves. Next up is Shiori. This should be easy as she is alone in the closed library. Haqua distracts her so that Keima could browse through her notebook. To his surprise, she wrote some sci-fi story and herself as the protagonist so much different than in real life. Is this the real her? Total opposite. Oh, there is this guy in the story that resembles Keima. It’s him.

The story is very much like the conquest they had, only their roles reversed. This confirms Shiori remembers. But when the scene is about to get to the kissing part, several blank pages later, suddenly Keima dies and Shiori didn’t feel sad or anything! Hmm… Must be the Kanon rumour. Shiori is embarrassed to see Keima read her story. He has made some amendments that he lives but Shiori rewrites them again. The story relay goes on with Shiori having him dead and he revives himself. Till Keima finally writes he wants to be with her even more that she gets embarrassed and runs away. That’s it for today. Outside, he spots Yui trying to peek into the library. She saw him when she was in the limo and came back. Because Yui is being proactive in wanting to date Keima, he tries to take control of the situation and be the one who leads. Yui has been observing Keima and knows he puts up the same expression with Chihiro and Ayumi. Trying to be a Playboy? She gives him a present which turns out to be a girl’s school uniform. It’ll be troublesome if people see 2 ‘guys’ dating, right? Yui isn’t going to wear it. She wants to teach him the true meaning of love. Thanks to Shiori’s exit as distraction, Keima makes his escape. He certainly had enough for today. Next day, Keima is about to leave home for his dates but Nora is at the door. She has a message for Elsie. Keima becomes a retard and suck up to Nora so he could squeeze information out from her. Since the bureau of Hell has given new orders to find the goddesses hiding on Earth. Keima wants Haqua to remain here and be on good terms with Nora to extract as much information as possible. Also, don’t let her find out about Kanon. He is going out to the library now. He needs to move fast because the days are counting down and Kanon has not much time left.

Episode 4
Haqua couldn’t stop Nora from leaving. Because the miasma from Kanon is seeping out badly, she goes to check on her. Nora finds out about this. It was just a decoy so that Haqua could lead her to it. She forces Haqua to explain what’s going on. Keima is at the library and seems he has the permission to read Shiori’s story. Now it’s some medieval fantasy? He scores it right when she allows him to read the rest of the story. After she leaves, the library turns dark and the shelves and books attack him. When he prepares to take the attack, it stops. Realizing the culprit doesn’t want him dead, he deduces it can’t be Vintage or a demon. He sees Tsukiyo’s doll, Luna. This confirms that the Jupiter Sister, Vulcanus resides in Tsukiyo. She wants Keima to stop seeing Tsukiyo. She doesn’t want a filthy animal to be with her beautiful Tsukiyo. Not after he is seen trying to two-time her with that librarian. Luna tries to get the paper proof of their fling but it was just a distraction so Keima could run out to the rooftop where he finds Vulcanus. She explains she has a weak body and poor senses but the ability to put her soul into objects and control them. Keima wants to talk to Tsukiyo and he has his chance. He understands she is mad because he never came to see her as promised. She remembered everything from the conquest after all. Keima continues to be persistent and try to worm his way into Tsukiyo’s heart despite all the benches Luna threw at him. Tsukiyo mentions she was happy being alone till he showed up. Keima instantly hugs her but was punched in the face when he mentions that fate crap. But he hasn’t given up yet. He wants to kiss. It will solve everything. After getting pounded even more, he doesn’t care what punishments he will receive. He needs her to love him a little longer so that he could protect her. The world is filled with beautiful things and to find them together. That was enough to convince Tsukiyo to stop Luna from attacking. However Luna lost control of her power and slams a bench on his head. Ouch. Tsukiyo believes in him and kisses his cheek. Angelic sprouts out from her back.

When Haqua mentions that the Loose Souls squad won’t prevent ancient Hell from being revived, Nora mentions that Vintage may have planted agents in the squad. Who do you think the orders came from? Keima and Vulcanus return home. However Diana is bothered. Vulcanus’ wings are proof that her power has returned. This means Keima must have done some special act of love with her, right? You jealous? Plus, Vulcanus has Keima carry her and even tells him not to speak to other woman even if they are her sisters. Can we cut the chatter and save Kanon first? Vulcanus and Diana combine their power take out the knife and remove the curse. However Kanon is not waking up and is seen ‘submerged’ in water. The goddesses note it is a desperation act from Apollo to protect herself. They can’t do it and only Apollo herself must recover her power. They think their other sister Mercurius would know what to do but Keima is not happy because this might lead to a wild goose chase. Like in those RPG games, huh? Nora thinks of reporting this to get a medal but Keima makes a deal with her to hide this information for a week. Later, Haqua apologizes to Keima for being useless. She was the top of her class and she failed. Keima is okay with it but she isn’t. Diana interrupts them and wants Keima to kiss her. Then she hugs him and pushes him away. So want to kiss or not? She feels guilty that she might be the cause why her wings couldn’t spread. Tenri has loved him for 10 years and yet she her powers didn’t recover as fast as Vulcanus. She realizes it’s her fault for thinking Keima as a perverted animal. She will try to be good to him now and wants to engage in the ritual of love. Not so fast. Because now it’s Haqua’s turn to interrupt. Can they argue somewhere else instead of stepping all over him? Keima apologizes to Diana. It is his fault that she hasn’t recovered her power yet. We might not see the act of love they did but we see how satisfied and happy Tenri was and the wings that sprout from her back.

Episode 5
Keima wants Vulcanus to go home first while he finds the other goddesses. This is to minimize the risk of being attacked by Vintage. He gives her a tag made by Haqua. It’s like some sort of distress signal when she tears it off. Vulcanus leaves so Tsukiyo can lead a normal life but she’s still wary of Keima’s womanizing ways. Later Yui is seen outside Keima’s house but he ‘chases’ her away that he doesn’t like persistent people. He now shifts his priority to conquer her. He thinks a goddess is controlling her because her personality is different. Yui used to be an obedient rich girl. He needs a major event that Yui won’t expect. At school, Yui spots a lovely girl and goes after her. Could it be… COULD IT BE!!! OMG! It’s Keima cross-dressed! He really did it, huh? Yui is happy. This is part of Keima’s plan to be the heroine and be conquered as if he tries to be the hero, it won’t go anywhere. He has conquered many 2D girls so he knows all the different routes to play. Keima continues to act like a shy girl hanging out with her. Then he surprises her by asking to go out on a date. This causes Yui to fluster and run away. She’ll think about it. Wasn’t she the one who was bugging him for a date? Keima explains that this is the real Yui and not the goddess. Because in their previous conquest, they switched bodies, he is trying to invoke her memories of the time spent in her body. While Yui is trying to calm herself down in the toilet, suddenly the Jupiter Sister, Mars awakens from her slumber. Think you’re seeing things? Yui can’t be bothered to entertain this goddess of war as she needs to think about the date with Keima. And so she meets Keima at the park and even brings along an appropriate dress for him to wear. A butler and his milady? Keima also cooks for her but it sucks. On purpose. Because she has been accustomed to good rich food and won’t be surprised. She likes his home cooking. As she goes to buy drinks, Mars talks to her and decides to support her in her battle of love. Several punks try to hit on Keima. Seriously. They’ve got such a bad taste. Yui tells them to go away and unwittingly just the slightest touch, she sends one of them flying. Keima thanks her and she hugs him.

Next, they enter a castle attraction where they dress up as a prince and princess and go through floors in some adventure. Along the way they got separated so Yui looks for him. In a room, she sees a hooded character holding unconscious Keima hostage. She wants her to reveal the other goddesses or say goodbye to Keima’s life. Yui tries to push the evil character away but the mere touch repels her. It is then Mars materializes and she shreds the hooded person’s clothes into bits. It’s Haqua! Close to naked! Before she runs away in shame, she beats up Keima and will get back to him for this. Seems this is part of his plan to use a fake crisis to invoke Mars. At least it’s better than a real crisis. Keima continues his act that he doesn’t like being saved by a heroine. Yui replies that it’s a girl’s job to protect weak boys. They kiss and her wings sprout. While Yui is a very happy girl (or guy, depending how you look at it), Mars wants to fight and defeat Weiss. Keima tells her that her powers are not as strong as they used to and to take the tag. Mars agrees to restrain herself and be on their best behaviour. Till then. On their way back, just when Keima is talking about a real attack from Vintage, he almost gets devoured by a giant eel! Look who is back? Elsie! I totally forgot about her. Something about her stage show being cancelled so she’s back to cook dinner. I guess Keima doesn’t even want to taste it. Not even treating her nicely after she’s gone for 5 days? Besides, he tells it to her bluntly that it’s because of her absence that he manages to find 3 more goddesses. True, isn’t? It shows how useless she is…

Episode 6
Shiori recently recognizes this beast that is possessing her: Love. She is confused about Keima. From looks of it, he’s a jerk, pervert and cross-dresser and the worst part is that she shared her first kiss with him. To top that, he broke his promise and never came back to read her work. Shiori thought she saw Minerva (one of the Jupiter Sisters) but this led her to Keima sitting in the library. He’s cross-dressed… How she wishes the god of romantic encounters would just die… She is surprised that he is here to read her story so she lets him stay. He thought he was boring her why he is cross-dressing so she suggests talking and telling more about himself. He wants to do that as they walk home. She hopes he will come tomorrow as she wants to write a story of him being the protagonist. Of course this is part of Keima’s plan. He calculated she has trouble finishing her stories because she lacks confidence in her material. Once she does, her affection level will be maximum. However come next day, she hasn’t even wrote a single word! Thus Keima is forced to stay with her till she writes one as the deadline is tomorrow. This is the only way because she might try to escape otherwise. While Keima waits by her side, Shiori starts thinking what she wants to write. Sci-fi again? Let the universe be in peace. How about Keima? How much does she know about him? She tries to find inspiration from other books but got tempted and wasted time. So much so, the Keima in her imagination starts questioning her if she’s going to write. She is after all the author. She even wonders if everything and that kiss was just a figment of her imagination.

Just when her confidence is low, the real Keima tells her she has to ability to write stories. Stop thinking. Start writing. There are many different stories in the world but he is only interested in hers. Write about yourself. A girl who loves books and lives in a library. That’s the story he wants to read. Shiori thinks that would be boring and slightly got distracted by Minerva. When she turns back, Keima is gone. It made her realize that time when Keima kissed her was real. Then she picks up her pen. She narrates her story. The books she read this week, some fun, some boring, etc. She also talks about her library committee friends and the role of books to others. In the end, she wrote “I love you, Keima”. Of course he read that and for that short period, Shiori transforms into Minerva. The loli sister flusters about talking to stranger. When Shiori is back, she is embarrassed to know he has read it. She tries to take her writings back but Keima grabs hold of her. He says their story isn’t over and pecks her on her cheek. Then he gives her a tag as a ‘present’ to wear. The clincher that has her heart fluster is when he says he wants to see her every day. She is left speechless. After he leaves, she sees Minerva but still couldn’t believe that loli before her eyes. As we see wings sprout from her back, Shiori has found her little confidence today because she has found her voice.

Episode 7
Elsie is doing a fine job impersonating Kanon but in between she just slacks. As for Keima, he has been hit with a flu. It gets worse when Nora sends her buddy Ryou to watch over him. Keima starts his sick event by calling Ayumi so that she would visit him. Not wanting Chihiro to clash at the same time, he tells her reasons not to come. True enough, Ayumi visits him and she sees Keima sprawled on the floor. He really acts sick too so Ayumi has no choice but to put him back in his room. His plan to max her affections for him with some close encounters is working well till Chihiro shows up at the door. It doesn’t help when stupid Ryou ushers her in. Well, he was told to inform him of any girls coming, right? Keima can’t let both friends see each other or else it will be bad ending. He forces Ayumi to hide under the blanket. Ayumi’s only breather is when Chihiro leaves the room to get something but even so, the affection level for her is dropping because despite what Keima says that Chihiro is here for Elsie, her words indicates that she is here for him. Chihiro realizes the thickness of his blanket. Was he that cold? She turns up the temperature. I think Ayumi is dying underneath. Chihiro tells him she has completed the song but without the lyrics yet. Keima wants her to play her song in hopes to increase her affection level despite knowing he’ll lose some of Ayumi’s. He is impressed with it. Happy with his answer, she leaves. By that time, Ayumi is close to passing out and her clothes drench in sweat. She beats him up for being a pervert. Just when Keima is going to nail the clincher with Ayumi, Chihiro returns but stops short outside his door. She confesses she likes him. Keima is taken aback but pretends not to hear. Because he can’t let Ayumi leave so soon, he fakes pain (because she beat him up) to make her stay. Later he excuses himself to the toilet. He has miscalculated Chihiro’s affection level and to further complicated things, they’re both close friends. His only option is to choose one and go all in. He decides to stick with Chihiro and calls her but she isn’t picking up. It’s because Ayumi calls her and heard about rumours she confessed to Keima. She did admit doing that so Ayumi says she has found her true love and will root for her. Keima’s feigning can’t make Ayumi stay anymore. Because if he is still in pain, she’ll get Chihiro for him. Keima couldn’t understand she isn’t angry anymore, what more mentioning Chihiro’s name. He has a bad feeling about this. Chihiro wonders if Ayumi was in the room with Keima.

Episode 8
Haqua and the rest of the Loose Souls squad are in a meeting with their bureau chief. Haqua suddenly asks about Vintage and goddesses rumour in which the chief replies that Heaven have not informed them that those residents in question are goddesses and all those in Loose Souls squad are thoroughly screened. Haqua feels she is thinking too much and puts her faith in the chief. Suddenly the Public Safety squad arrests her. Meanwhile Diana wakes up Keima to gather her sisters because she wants Apollo to perform a divination. First thing, the sisters are glad to reunite with each other but they soon end up fighting over Keima. Sister or not, when it comes to a guy… Keima brings them up to where Kanon lies and is told that they have to be careful because if they’re not, the spell will cause Kanon to become water permanently. The only option is to ask Apollo to stop the spell herself. The sisters combine their powers and Keima suddenly finds himself submerge and into a new world, a world of oracles. He sees Apollo and it seems she is busy praying as the Weiss is gaining ground. However she is fighting a losing a battle since she is only a holy maiden that can change the flow a little and has only 3 days left. Keima tells her off about there is no such thing as luck in true conquest. Kanon appears and believes in him because she was once saved by him. When Keima returns to his own world, the sisters are tired out and couldn’t believe they couldn’t summon Apollo. Keima realizes his illness is gone. Elsewhere, Haqua sits in prison and is furious she is being treated like a prisoner. Nora pays her a visit and mentions the stupid thing she did by asking that in public. She thought she wanted everyone to know and make it hard for Vintage to move around. Nora then lets her think what if Vintage had planted somebody in the higher ups. Only the chief has the authority to move the Public Safety squad, right? Nora leaves to make her own preparations. She won’t help Haqua who has no money or connection. Is Nora part of Vintage too? She lets Haqua hanging…

On the day before the cultural festival, while Ayumi is chosen to be the pageant candidate for the class, Keima thinks deep about the remaining goddess. It is clear Chihiro remembers the conquest but why would Ayumi visit him? He needs to be control in all of the flags as he can’t conquer either of them if flags he can’t anticipate are triggered. Keima puts his plan in motion by bumping into Chihiro. But to his surprise that she is the one who asks him to be her date for the campfire after he thanks her for visiting yesterday. But he needs to really confirm so he talks to Ayumi and wants to show her his move on Chihiro. Walking up to Chihiro, he mentions about something good if 2 people bring the same thing. Chihiro gives him her guitar pick. This is his plan to see how Ayumi reacts one last time. Because if she is mad after seeing Chihiro with him it means she still has some level of affection and hosting a goddess. Keima tells Ayumi he plans on kissing Chihiro today. Ayumi is calm and just tells him to be nice to her. Chihiro and Keima meet up to see the pageant. Ayumi is on stage as she sees Chihiro and Keima leave for somewhere less crowded. Keima needs to kiss Chihiro and bring out her affection level but fears Vintage might attack and thus wants to find a spot without anybody. What’s it with these people because there seems to be everybody everywhere. Even the supposed secluded spot is filled with couples! Keima is about to give up but since Chihiro really wants to find somewhere without others, the duo walk hand in hand away. Lastly, Haqua is to be punished for treason.

Episode 9
Ayumi doesn’t want to attend the after-party of the pageant. She happens to see Keima and Chihiro going up to the rooftop. Keima is acting like the shy guy just to prompt a kissing scene. At first Chihiro is reluctant but relents. She wants him to be gentle because this is her first kiss. Say what? Her first? Does this mean she doesn’t remember the conquest? Looks like she is telling the truth. And so the last goddess, Mercurius resides in Ayumi as we see. Keima thinks she can end this route and switch over to Ayumi but he wonders how he’ll explain it to her since it is Chihiro who was always taking the initiative. When Chihiro says she loves him, Keima expresses shock he didn’t know she likes him. She always made fun of him so how could he believe that she really likes him? And then she kisses him. She asks if he likes her. No. Eh? Keima says he only did this to get back at her because she always made fun of him. And you think this galge lover would fall in love with a real girl? Get real! I can feel Chihiro’s heartbreak. Ayumi who has heard everything confronts the jerk. Keima tries to switch over to Ayumi’s route but before he can say who he truly cares about, her knee reaches his gut. You’re the worst! So Keima soaks in his bathtub pondering what has happened. He doesn’t need another distracting because Diana is here and wants him to love Tenri and bring out her wings. Eh? I thought they did this already? She feels she has really fallen in love with him and that is inexcusable since he’s supposed to be Tenri’s fiancée. She believes her guilt is what’s curtailing the power of Tenri’s love. She gets desperate and undresses herself. Don’t worry, she’s in a swimsuit. However Tenri is too shy so both ladies exchange some cryptic message about being with Keima that pisses him off. He tells them to get out. He’s already feeling lousy after what he did to Chihiro. When he comes out, he sees Tenri sitting at the stairs, she performs a few magic tricks for him. She says the Keima she loves is the one always playing his games. That’s why she doesn’t want him to worry about her. She’ll find a way to bring back Diana’s wings so keep playing his games and smile. Keima smiles and thanks her.

On the day of the festival, Keima goes to see Chihiro’s band practice but nobody is around. Elsie has returned too and I guess all that celebrity treatment has her talking like one. Then it hit Keima. He never realized his school’s emblem was a goddess. He has Elsie take him to the theatre, which is the oldest building in the school. The hole he dug 10 years ago with Tenri is gone. Then he has her take him to the seaside. That hole in the cave is gone too and it looks like somebody sealed it off rather than being covered up naturally. Noticing pointy rocks in the sea, now he has Elsie turn them invisible to go behind it. He notices the strange wave formation and dives in. They are surprise to see an opening inside. Even shocking is something ominous. Like as though a big bad experiment is going on. Elsie’s alarm goes off so Keima tells her to fly and get away from here as far as possible. Unknown to them, Nikaidou and Limuel are watching them. It seems they removed the barrier just for them without letting the occupants inside the rock know. Because if the duo are captured, they’ll be at a disadvantage. Back at school, Elsie mentions that egg-like things are mature Loose Souls and the black figures belong to Vintage. Raising a Loose Soul without a host? Keima then makes the connection. Their goddess emblem. The hexagon shape of the emblem. The sealed passageway. An operation beneath a huge rock. Something big is about to happen here. What does it mean? It means it has nothing to do with him! He wasted time on an empty route?! What if the Loose Souls get out? That’s Elsie’s job, right? I’m sure she can handle it. Because right now all he has to do is proceed with the conquest. Keima confronts Ayumi.

Episode 10
Ayumi acts first. A kick in the gut. This doesn’t deter Keima. Now he becomes the cafe master of his class because Ayumi is the waitress. He tries to sweet talk her and it could have worked if Chihiro had not come into the scene. She sees how close they are. Although Ayumi warns Keima never to talk to her again, he continues so as not to give her time to think. Chihiro swaps shift with Ayumi. She mentions about being rejected by Keima. Although she was serious, I guess things weren’t right. She hopes Ayumi would stop talking about her to Keima. Meanwhile, Lune, a member of Vintage is down at the festival downs preparing to go on a goddess hunt. She tags Ayumi. Keima is looking for Ayumi but bumps into Chihiro. Then he tells her straight. Any route he chooses to conquer Ayumi, Chihiro will be in the way. He wants her to form an alliance and cooperate with him. Slap! Still persistent? Face kick! Chihiro beats Keima to talk to Ayumi. The latter wanted to apologize she was never rooting for her. Because when Keima broke her heart, all she could think of was him. Keima tries to interrupt the conversation when his tag rings. Vintage members surround and capture them. Not only them. All other goddess hosts have been rounded up. Thankfully here comes Haqua to rescue Keima and the girls. She looks more power up and badass. Flashback reveals she was secretly smuggled out from Hell by the chief. Her dismissal and punishment announcement is so that Vintage won’t act and kill her. Chief explains a battle between good and evil in Hell long ago. It made the place uninhabitable. When new Hell was constructed, nothing below the surface changed. It’s time to end it. She gives Haqua the Scythe of Testament that was only given to nobles. Because she is no longer part of Loose Souls squad, she operates outside the law, she is the only one who can save new Hell. Chief wants her to save Earth and protect the goddesses.

Haqua easily dispatches the Vintage minions with her new speed and agility. When things are okay, Keima wants Haqua to play along that they are part of some film club doing some acting and special effects. At least they believed it. Haqua explains that Vintage hacked into her data to obtain information on the goddesses. Keima tries to call the other goddesses but none picks up. Haqua also lets him know that all of the goddesses have been attacked. However they don’t know which one is hosting the goddesses so they capture all the girls Keima has conquered. Ayumi leaves the scene but Keima allows her since this is crucial to her conquest. He wants Haqua to protect her without her noticing. But who will protect Keima? Nora offers to help not because she wants to because she doesn’t like Vintage messing around in her area. Keima has Nora watch Ayumi while Haqua to protect him and drags Chihiro back to his home. They notice Kanon/Apollo has been taken too but not ever goddess has been taken yet. Here comes Diana. She saw strange figures abducting Kanon and lay low. Tenri was spared because Nora was the one who captured her Loose Soul (from the last OVAs) so she isn’t a suspect. Keima makes a quick call to Elsie and seems the airhead is doing fine. Less one thing to worry. Haqua has done her research before returning to Earth. Seems Vintage wants to revive ancient Hell. They are going to use that rock as a portal to open and release all the Weiss here. Beyond that rock also exists a space-time gap that separates Earth and Hell. There also sits East Greda Fortress, the seal the goddesses placed. Vintage intends to abandon that barren world and replace Earth as their Hell. And tomorrow they’ll put their plan in action. Gee, that’s not much time left, isn’t it? Haqua and Diana want to play heroine and stop it but Keima says no. Because nobody will be able to stop it if war breaks out. They can’t let this turn into a war. The only option left is to conquer Ayumi and bring all the goddesses together. Because Vintage would have killed them had they interfere but they did not and tried to capture them. This means they still have a chance. Keima hears Chihiro eavesdropping outside. She wonders what they are going to do with Ayumi. Just in time. Chihiro gets a call from Ayumi. Keima picks it up and says he will confess his love to her. Then he has Diana guard the house, Haqua follow him and Chihiro once more being dragged along.

Episode 11
Lune’s superior doesn’t want the goddesses to be killed but it seems she’s not interested in listening to their order. Keima meets Ayumi when she is bathing. It’s going to be hard to sweet talk her but you won’t know if you don’t try. In addition to being splashed hot water, he gets punched because somehow he got her panties. Don’t ask. He wants her to meet her at the river to tell her something. Please come. If you want your panties back. As he waits, Haqua explains to Chihiro about Vintage and why Keima is targeting Ayumi. Ayumi arrives and there are some close moments. However they have to move because Vintage is heading their way. Wherever they go, Vintage is around. They’ve swarmed the area. Keima does a good job in distracting Ayumi while Haqua fends them off. While resting outside the convenience store, they come into contact with Lune. She is about to follow them but Nora cuts in between to introduce herself. Lune flies away. As being out in the open is too risky, their only way is to take shelter indoors but Keima doesn’t want his confession ruined in a building. Can’t be picky, can’t we? So they end up in Miyako’s home nearby. Keima wants to know what Chihiro is up to because he needs only 5 minutes and a big event to end this. He doesn’t need such detours. Chihiro doesn’t want Keima to treat this like a game. Though she is still sore over her rejection and heard everything from Haqua, she will help him to make it up to him. Chihiro tries to talk in a way to let Ayumi have Keima but it is only making it worse by making her feel guilty. When Miyako suggests trying out their band uniform, Chihiro gets to speak to Ayumi privately. Asking if she really likes Keima, then she replays the recording of what Keima said about the detours and such. She warns Keima is a liar and is playing a game to seduce her by tonight. Keima is not pleased she ruined his plan. Now you can see him try to talk his way out of this. When Chihiro says only idiots like them are only fooled by this scumbag, Ayumi gives Keima a hard slap for the lies and runs away. Miyako forces Keima and Chihiro to clean up before leaving. It is then Chihiro tells him that if he truly wants Ayumi’s heart, he must truly love her because she is an honest person and is confused right now.

Nikaidou talks to Limuel about how they were pretending to guard Elsie as the fake Kanon to draw Vintage’s attention away from the real one. Seems they have realized it last minute and now many of the goddesses have fallen into their hands. It’s all up to Keima now. Haqua wonders why Chihiro ruined everything. Actually she wanted to destroy the love triangle between them. With that, Chihiro is out of the picture and now it boils down to just them. Keima realized it right away because she did not mention about Haqua or Vintage. Suddenly Keima appears before Ayumi on a white horse! Is this a joke? The real world means nothing to him. He lives in the ideal world and refuses to be someone he is not. He will only show her his perfect side. Ayumi throws down the ultimatum. If he is serious about her, he should marry her. Can’t do it? He will but there are certain criteria to fulfil like being childhood friends, proposal and a kiss. Since they don’t have the childhood friends part, Keima accuses her of not being serious. Oh, she’ll show him that she’s serious. She drags him home to introduce him to her parents! Shocking to find your daughter suddenly bring home a man? He’ll have it no other way so Keima gives her a wedding gown and confesses she loves her. However she isn’t convinced since he sounds insincere. He repeats his lines. She beats him up. Her dumbfounded parents decide to go back to sleep. Yeah. Maybe they’ll wake up thinking this is just a dream. This cycle goes on for 10 minutes till Ayumi confesses to him. That is how a sincere confession is done. Then she rushes out because if they’re going to get married, it has to be a romantic place, right? Nora warns Haqua that Vintage is closing in but gets stabbed. However as pointed out by Ryou, it is only a decoy. As instructed by Nora, he has been placing many decoys around the place and the real Nora is closely watching over Ayumi. They are given veils to hide themselves. Suddenly Lune appears before them. Haqua will take care of her so Keima and Chihiro can go to Ayumi.

Episode 12
It’s a close between Haqua and Lune with the latter being a sadistic maniac. Chihiro wonders why Keima doesn’t just tell Ayumi the truth because that’s all it takes. He realizes that this might be what they devised and the reason Ayumi is being aggressive. Keima meets Ayumi on the ship at the seaside park. He says he has given up and will tell her everything. However there is a condition. She can only asks a question and the rest will have to wait. So what’s her first question? Does he love her? No. That was straight up. Does this mean he has been lying to her? That’s a second question. Ayumi beats him up and knows he has a reason to do all this. She’ll do her best to help him but he refuses. He is not doing this so people could love him as he is only trying to reach an ending. He won’t let anyone take responsibility of this gamer’s love. He then tells Ayumi he loves her. They proceed with the wedding but Ayumi doesn’t want to exchange vows because anything he says can’t be trusted. Right? However she trusts his feelings. She decided to do so if he came here. He doesn’t want her to take such conquests lightly so she hits back that she doesn’t want others to manipulate her feelings. She is the one to decide to fall in love with him. As she kisses him, her angelic wings sprout. Just in time. Because Vintage surrounds the area. Diana swoops down and grabs sleepy Mercurius from Keima’s arms to complete their mission. Looks like Tenri told her about the kiss so I suppose that’s why Diana has such large wings now. So it was all just in her head? Limuel and the rest of the Loose Souls squad pop up to fight the Vintage menace and take control of the situation. It’s time to regain their pride. Keima is surprised to see her because she is Akari. Well, the next part feels cheap because it feels fast forwarded. How the Loose Souls squad tear up the place inside the rock, destroy that hideous creature awakening, rescue the unconscious girls, awakened the goddesses who in turn free Apollo before sealing off the entire rock. I guess that part wasn’t so important, huh?

Because the more important pat now is Keima and Chihiro. To them, their part is over. She follows him home because she left her guitar back at his place. She’s got the concert gig for the festival. Seems the both of them have this reserved feelings on what they want to say to each other. Even their goodbye doesn’t sound convincing. Or at least it sounded sad to me. She wonders why he would date her. Was there something inside her too? No there wasn’t. She is ‘relieved’ because she wouldn’t want to end up in such a mess. Doesn’t sound so relief to say that. As for Haqua and Lune’s match, it ended in a draw. Lune senses her Vintage going down so she decides to call it quits and praises Haqua for putting up a good fight. At the band concert, only Chihiro and Miyako turn up. They’re going to go on with the show anyway. But in the last minute, Ayumi, Yui and Elsie turn up. Chihiro asks Ayumi on what she did. Whatever it was, she decided by her herself. When the band is a whole, Chihiro even advises the audience to tell them how they feel if they like someone. From experience, I guess. To her surprise, Kanon comes on stage. As thanks for helping out, she wants to sing with her. The performance goes on. But the most intriguing part is we see Keima moping alone. He regrets saying that heartbreaking line to Chihiro! That was not what he meant to say! OMG!  What does this mean?! His feelings for her were true?! Elsie narrates the aftermath.  All Vintage members are rounded up and their plan to revive ancient Hell is halted. The irony is that Nora is promoted to a section chief for helping defeating Vintage but since Haqua was ‘fired’ from the squad, she didn’t get anything. Not fair! As for Keima, he is back to normal playing his galge. But… Why the gloomy face? Why not happy seeing his 2D girls? He shuts down his games and heads outside…

Everybody Loves Keima!
This has been a very interesting season so far and it was really fascinating to see Keima weave his charming magic to conquer the girls once more. Therefore even if the girls are of those he has conquered (despite Tsukiyo and Yui being ‘new’ additions at least in terms of this anime), it doesn’t feel boring but as fresh as how he performed his conquest the way he does best. As this season is entirely focused on the goddesses’ arc, ironically it is Keima who is the one as the main focus. The first half of this season shows Keima identifying and conquering the goddesses with the remaining half dedicated to conquering the final goddess, Mercurius, who in turn doesn’t feel like anything important due to her lack of appearance and impact in the series. Therefore I find it ironic that the second half of this season to be mainly Keima-Chihiro-Ayumi affair because with Ayumi being the last host of the Jupiter Sisters, she was the first girl in the series that he conquered. And the first shall be the last? I am not sure if Keima has to continue help Elsie free more Loose Souls but the ending left me boggled. The part how Vintage was easily taken down wasn’t the one that felt cheap. I could accept it because after all, this series is about Keima and his conquest, right? You don’t need to see the goddesses doing their job and the rest of modern Hell coming back to kick ass. We all know that is going to happen anyway.

It is the part about Keima’s feelings. I am really curious to know if his true feelings were for Chihiro. From his body reactions in the last few scenes, I would definitely say that he does like her. Considering so, this means he has greatly shifted from his love of his thousands of 2D girls for a single real woman! That is an unbelievable change! And perhaps when Keima rejected Chihiro, maybe he was just putting up an act just for the sake of the conquest. So when his conquest with Ayumi ended, he just realized what he lost. Has he? I don’t know. I need another season to confirm this! Besides, Keima was absolutely different this season. I’m not talking about his suave conquest personality but his general personality as a human. Because you see him worry and take responsibility in something other than his galge. When he first put up such expression when Kanon was in danger, it made me think if this is the same guy I knew from the previous season. He takes on the responsibility to bring back the goddesses with his love. Partly because if ancient Hell takes over Earth, there won’t be time and place for his galges, right? Even if this is some speculated answer I come up with, it doesn’t feel that Keima is doing it for this reason. He genuinely wants to end this. It also got me thinking why he is so serious in taking up this conquest. Was it because when Kanon truly confessed to him, it hit him the impact of what being in true love really means? The clincher was when Chihiro confessed to him outside his door. So that’s why if it’s really Keima x Chihiro, I would never really see it coming. Also, he wasn’t so obsessed with his galges this time round as he is busy trying to re-conquer the girls. So when he started playing them in the end, I just felt it was odd since Keima has been gone so long without stuffing his face with his handheld. See? It proves he can survive without it, no?

It is still fun to watch Keima using her charm and suave lines to conquer the girl and even though sometimes it just feels cheesy and his acting was just pushing it (a nerd who only gives attention to his galges suddenly acts so shy in front of you like as though he wants to tell you something deep from his heart?), it proves that he hasn’t lost his touch. Furthermore, it shows that the girls are just normal high school girls. Every girl in a way wants to hear some guy sweet talk or say those cheesy romantic stuffs despite knowing this guy is a big dweeb. Or in the case for many of the girls in this series, they are just acting tsundere. They want the guy to take the lead. Because deep down inside them, they already know they like Keima in one way or another so it is just up to him to push the right buttons and make it convincing.

I don’t know if this is a good thing to say because with Elsie being out of the picture for the important parts, this allows Keima to do his job more efficiently. I know Elsie is not that useless but my perception from her from the past seasons is that she is some useless moe blob who only knows how to whine a lot to her kami-nii-sama. And he is the one who gets the job done. It’s like she doesn’t matter in this season. So by impersonating as Kanon, at least we see her do a decent job to fool others (hah, true Kanon fans can’t even tell her apart? What a shame to be called so). Therefore there was no love lost for me when Elsie wasn’t in the important parts. With Elsie’s part being replaced by Haqua, at least she shows some competence and a fresh change as Keima’s partner. Hmm… She isn’t as tsundere as I thought she would from her first appearance back in the second season. When the world is at stake, there are more important things to consider than your pride. I also thought that because Kanon got her own spin-off OVA prior to this season, it is the reason why she made limited appearances in this season and only reduced to an unconscious idol covered in water. You can’t have the limelight focus on you all the time, can’t you?

To sum up the romance in short for everyone, they love Keima for sure! Whether they remember the conquest or not but as we see they really have a special place in their heart for him. Sometimes it is hard to reach but with Keima pushing the right buttons and being the experienced and suave charmer he is, in no time it’s like falling in love all over again. For all the girls he conquered, the goddesses and even Loose Souls squad from Hell like Haqua, everyone loves Keima for sure. Okay, almost everyone. Like Nora who she sticks around him because she finds his weird ways fascinating is also an indication that she also likes him, right? A different kind of like. Just like how Elsie’s admiration for Keima is more of big brother than the girlfriend-wannabe type. This dude is so good that he has goddesses and hell girls liking him, a mere human (with god-like qualities perhaps?). Wow. I really need to start playing galges too. Because if powerful goddesses like the Jupiter Sisters start arguing over the right to be with Keima when they first reunite after a long time instead of saving the world or their imprisoned sister, it shows that Keima must be something important, right?

There is this mysterious presence to Nikaidou. From what we see here, she definitely has a connection to Hell and is more than just Keima’s homeroom teacher. Most of her screen time in this season is reduced to some watchdog especially looking out for Elsie while impersonating as Kanon. It’s a reason why Elsie didn’t really fall victim to Vintage’s scheme. Another mysterious character is Lune. She seems like going to be the main antagonist but when Vintage went down, she also went out of the picture. It is not sure if she has been captured like the rest or still at large. If it is the latter, then there is a probability that she might still harbour plans to revive ancient Hell. Still, I feel her character is somewhat under-utilized for this season because if I’m not mistaken, she was the one who set the ball rolling by stabbing Apollo in the beginning. Then you see her brooding and waiting from time to time till her ‘important’ bout with Haqua. Even that wasn’t really much and in a way a tad disappointing.

There are a handful of stuffs that I do not understand while watching the show. Maybe I was thinking too much or not paying enough attention. For starters, how on Earth did the Jupiter Sisters end up in those girls? How long have they been there? Because sealing Weiss was something they had done a long time ago and certainly those girls weren’t born yet, right? Assuming it is before Keima found and conquered them, a time when they had Loose Souls trapped within them, it also boggles me that the dormant goddesses’ power wasn’t enough to fend off those Loose Souls. I figured this is to be because the girls who host the goddesses retain their memory, right? This means the goddesses must have been inside their body when Keima began his first conquest on them. If the goddesses inhabited those girls after Keima’s conquest, then I don’t think they would remember the conquest ending with the kiss in the first place. So when Keima conquered them for the first time, shouldn’t he have awakened the power of those goddesses? Also, what was the connection of the school emblem with the bunch of stuffs that Keima said? I don’t get it. Was it some big clue that this big town was the key to revive ancient Hell? How? Why? Couldn’t they have chosen a less obvious place?

To show the seriousness of this series, the next episode preview is different than what we see from the first 2 seasons. There isn’t a still end card illustration or artwork at the end or some silly galge conquest-like narration (especially about Elsie’s infatuation with fire engine trucks – in which she still is, by the way) though the narration is still enough to be considered comedic. All the episodes are no longer named as Flags because as we know it’s not about Keima releasing Loose Souls but the goddesses’ power. Of course there are still some comedic parts to it but just to break some of the tension. Otherwise there are lots of those love drama and the likes.

All of the seiyuus of casts from the previous seasons are retained. Seiyuus playing the roles of the girls that host the goddesses also double up as both the girl and the goddess. After all, it’s like the same person inside of you, right? They look similar and their personality is also very much alike. Except for Ayumi and Mercurius. Maybe that is why it was hard to detect that goddess. Joining the new line-up include Yuka Iguchi as Tsukiyo/Vulcanus (she sounds a bit like Mako from Girls Und Panzer), Ayahi Takagi as Yui/Mars (Wakana in Tari Tari), Haruka Tomatsu as Lune (she sounds more like her monotonous character like Hitoha in Mitsudomoe) and Ai Shimizu as Akari/Limuel (really couldn’t recognize the voice of Mai-HiME’s Mikoto after haven’t hearing her for so long). Since I didn’t do it the last time in my Tenri-hen’s blog, here’s the roll call for those casts: Kaori Nazuka as Tenri/Diana (Nunnally in Code Geass), Megumi Toyoguchi as Nora (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist) and Takuma Terashima as Ryou (Stone River in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes).

Once more, the opening theme is so Enya-like with the lyrics as usual all in English. God only knows -Secrets of the Goddess- by Oratorio The World God Only Knows sounds like something similar to the opening themes of the first 2 seasons. Same singer, same style. The main ending theme for this season is Kizuna No Yukue sung by the seiyuus of the Jupiter Sisters. Actually there are 7 versions of this song. One song version per goddess and the final one being a group version of all the sisters singing together. The rest are one-episode-only ending songs like With…You… by Haqua’s seiyuu and Hitomi Kara Snow by Kanon’s seiyuu, both of which are slow anime pop ballads. Hajimete Koi Wo Shita Kioku ~Piano Bansou~ by Chihiro’s seiyuu isn’t really an ending theme but feels more like an insert song and is that new song Chihiro created. The duet of 2B Pencils and Kanon, the pop rock-like Hajimete Koi Wo Shita Kioku graces the final episode. So technically you have a different song for each episode (only the first and seventh episodes are without ending themes) and every main/important girl character this season has their share in singing them. And no, Elsie is not main or important this season ;p.

Love and dating both in real life and in games are pretty much similar to each other. Just that in the former you can’t hit a save button and redo when things go wrong. Otherwise if you think about it, trying to conquer/seduce/date a girl in real life in some ways is like a game. But don’t term it like that to your girlfriend because coining that term feels like you are not taking her seriously. Keima’s curious behaviour at the end also proves that a galge nerd can change even if it is just temporary and passing feelings, he is still human despite his god-like behaviour of focusing on his galge and doing other chores simultaneously. It gives him something to think about and that both 2D and 3D girls have their own merits and disadvantages. You can’t have best of both worlds. Or can he? So has Keima reached his premature ending? Or is this his true ending? If it’s so, it’s an ending that I didn’t expect to see so soon. Not even experienced galge gamers can see it coming. Truly indeed, a world that God only knows…

N/B: 2D girls may be flat in general but in certain areas they can be much more rounder and raised than 3D ones!

Chihayafuru S2

March 15, 2014

Let me clear this first. The reason why I am watching the second season of Chihayafuru is not because I have suddenly turned into a karuta enthusiast. I have never been one ever since finishing watching the first season. So what is it that was so attractive that had me going back for the sequel? Oh Chihaya. You’re still the pretty and beautiful girl that every guy who laid their eyes on you would instantly dream of becoming your boyfriend. Just that she is a karuta freak that lacks that feminine tact. Ah well, nobody is perfect. You can’t have everything. And so with this flimsy and weak reason that I decided to take up the second season. Also, it isn’t so much the game that they play but the relationship among the main characters as a team. With our main protagonists have gone up a grade and the start of a brand new year means that they will have another chance of avenging their defeat and a shot of being champions that every karuta player’s dream of. New characters, same faces, new rivals, old rivals, can Mizusawa karuta’s club and its members do what they fail to achieve last year? One thing is for sure. Effort will never betray you. And Chihaya is still looking good…

Episode 1
Mizusawa’s karuta club members, just like any other clubs, are just as eager to recruit new members. Among the new first year students, Sumire Hanano, her real intention is not to join a club but to find a hot handsome boyfriend! She is going to make her ex regret dumping her!!! Then she sees Taichi on stage in a hakama… Love bells are ringing! Yup. This guy is going to be the one. Chihaya flops her recruitment speech because… The majority isn’t already interested in karuta and yet she is pleading she needs 100 junior members! Greedy… And remember the karuta club’s condition, if they don’t recruit 5 new members, their budget will not get an increase. Suddenly… 20 odd girls are outside the karuta club!!! Woah!!! Is this a dream come true?! Well, they are Chihaya’s ray of hope! Of course, most of them are here just to test out. Thanks to Taichi’s hotness. Right off the bat, Sumire asks if Taichi has a girlfriend. The other girls are interested too but Kanade takes control about respecting their seniors. Chihaya gets too technical in explaining the basics of karuta, which is a major turn off. They even do a demonstration but the newbies are lost. Chihaya wants to take responsibility in teaching the juniors but is reminded they have the national competition to worry about and not to spend too much time on them. You can’t rely on them to win, right? So our veteran club members discuss what needs to be focused on. But for Chihaya, she wants Taichi to become Class A. Of course, her goal is also to win the high school championship, the individual class and train the juniors to become a strong karuta school. Talk about being greedy. So Chihaya becomes the teacher for the newbies and Sumire isn’t happy since it isn’t Taichi who is teaching them. But when Sumire reads a love poem, she gets emotionally moved. Maybe it has something to do with her own love life. She decides to take an early leave and so happen she bumps into Taichi at the train station. He is on his way to Shiranami to practice and improve his competitive karuta skills. Sumire is going to love talking every moment with him. But she realizes that the other girls are noticing how hot this dude is. So she asks him if girls ask him out all the time. He is not sure about that lately. It doesn’t seem right to let a girl choose him because he would rather choose the girl he devotes himself to. He notes Sumire is pretty cute herself and that there are lots of boys who would choose her. Her heart felt stung a little. It occurs to her that Taichi will never choose her but she wants to have a choice too and don’t want to write poems of regret. Meanwhile Chihaya shows no mercy and defeats them flawlessly despite in a group match. Go easy, will you?

Episode 2
Taichi requests to play with Hiroshi. Sumire watches them and couldn’t understand their movements. Harada thought she is interested to learn more and takes her away to talk and not to distract them. Even his words are a mystery. You’ll never know something till you try it out. After playing for 45 years, he still can’t understand! That’s why he keeps playing. Kanade is surprised that Chihaya comes in early to help clean the clubroom. But when she realizes she is doing it wrong, she blows her top. More woes for Chihaya because out of the 20 newbies, there are only 4 left! Shock! Eventually, there is only one left! And he is the only guy among the newbies, Akihiro Tsukuba. What a sad day but at least there is one. There goes her dream of being a karuta powerhouse. Meanwhile Sumire is irked because her ex is trying to get back with her like as though the dumping never happened! Don’t get back to this jerk! When she enters the karuta clubroom, everyone is so happy that there is another one who didn’t leave! Especially Taichi who is shaking her hand! Yup. She’s here to stay. Because Sumire continues to whine and be occupied about her appearance, she tells the girls straight she is not interested in karuta but for Taichi. The rest learn about Tsukuba who used to play second verse karuta with his brothers back in Hokkaido. He is proud his team is undefeated. What’s with that freaky tongue protruding expression? But since this is the mainland, he needs to start memorizing first verse karuta which is used in competitive tournament. Chihaya notices Sumire taking her first card but hopes she could trim her nails so she could move faster. Sumire won’t do that and reminds her she is in this club just to get Taichi. She realizes her slip and runs out in embarrassment. Nishida doesn’t want her to care so much about her but Chihaya is still having regrets when she fainted in last year’s tournament. If they had another member… Now they have two… Since Chihaya bloopers on her way out, Kanade goes after her. Nishida on the other hand teaches Tsukuba. When Kanade finds crying Sumire, the latter feels her life is over and that she’ll be the butt of jokes. Kanade explains some of the love poems to calm her down and has her come back with her. Kanade hopes she can teach her to put on makeup sometimes. Sumire gets serious in memorizing karuta and cuts her nails.

Episode 3
Murao beats Arata in a local competition. An agent wants both of them to compete in this fall’s master tournament but Arata puts his focus on the high school championship first. Mizusawa are at the preliminaries for the high school tournament. This year, Tokyo gets to send 2 representatives to the finals. After Tsukuba introduces his little brothers to the gang, I guess he wanted to play and proof to them so much that he tries to cancel out Tsutomu’s name and insert his! Tsutomu makes some changes to the team’s order. Based on his data of the teams they will be facing in the group, he suggests putting Sumire in against Shuryukan because those guys are weak against girls. Tsukuba will play in the match against West High, which is mainly a female team, so he can use his freaky expression and loud vocal expression to counter back. Tsukuba wonders why Tsutomu is willing to give him a chance. Tsutomu narrates his experience how he thought he was made to join the club just because so they could have 5 people and whether he wins or loses the team match did not matter. He was of course proven wrong. That’s why he wants Tsukuba to take his time to improve. The match against Shuryukan begins and Sumire is somewhat surprised she has to play. True enough, the guys are weak against the girls so she manages to get her first card. As for Chihaya, she’s a monster and beats her opponent by a perfect score!!! In the end Mizusawa wins 4-1 (Sumire lost if you’re wondering). In the match against West High, Tsukuba becomes nervous. Because he is playing a Class A player! If only Chihaya could trade places with him! Tsukuba fears his reputation as a hero among his brothers will crumble so he starts using Tsutomu’s suggestion to freak his opponent out. Another flawless victory for Chihaya and of course it is 3-2 victory for Mizusawa. Tsutomu lost by a very close margin. Tsukuba thought he couldn’t face his brothers but they seem to be very impressed with Chihaya. Yeah. The first person they hug. But they are confident their big brother will catch up in no time and still think he is super. Chihaya gets sneaky trying to recruit them to Shiranami.

Episode 4
Arata’s family are paying their respects at grandpa’s grave. As we find out, because grandpa and father were at odds (the latter wasn’t into karuta), it forced Arata to switch schools thus separating from his friends when daddy got a job in somewhere else. Arata says if he wins the high school championship, he wants his request granted. The next team Mizusawa faces in the semi-finals is Homei, a dark horse for the competition. And the reason why Harada is here because Homei’s advisor is no other than Hiroshi. He really wants to win against Mizusawa. When the match starts, Mizusawa team is thrown off pace because the reader is an amateur! Not consistent in his readings! Taichi tells them to make their own rhythm instead. Of course Homei isn’t going to give up without a fight and thanks to Hiroshi, they have pretty learnt some nasty tricks to overcome Mizusawa. Like Chihaya, the guy is trying to throw her off by saying he likes girls who are into karuta. That simpleton… Taichi on the other hand is falling victim to his own psychological guilt as he thinks himself has no talent. The opponent he is facing feels like some sort of creepy fortune teller… More woes for Mizusawa when the air-conditioner above them malfunctions! The heat is really getting to their concentration. Harada talks to Hiroshi about being so motivated in this game when ironically he was the biggest slacker back in Shiranami. When he lost to Takemura, he felt regret for not trying his best. So he had to ignore his own problems to inspire his karuta club. When Taichi requests for towel to wipe his sweat, all the ladies on his side throw it to him! Sumire, Miyauchi, a couple of Shiranami ladies and even Kanade’s mom! Such synchronicity. It’s like they’re waiting for this moment. Even Chihaya cuts across Tsutomu just to hand him one. Sumire sees this and decides to go scout the other semi-final. In a closely fought match, Taichi wins his and so does Mizusawa. Hiroshi consoles the creepy fortune teller about her lost. He also mocks Taichi a creepy person for being able to remember how many cards were left and was practising that kind of skill like crazy every day. However he is inspired for the effort he puts in. Sumire notes she has to be on her guard. She thought Chihaya was just an airhead who didn’t realize Taichi’s love but from what she has seen, she is definitely watching him.

Episode 5
Mizusawa will face the strongest karuta school in Tokyo: Hokuo. It’s like déjà vu since Hokuo lost to Mizusawa at this stage. For this year, both teams have qualified so they only have bragging rights. Thus Hokuo’s Nayuta (he has taken over the club’s captaincy from Sudou who graduated) wants to take the easy way out by pitting their strongest against the weakest. They only need 3 wins, right? Tsukuba once again tries to insert his name into the starting line up. Not going to make it this time. Nayuta seems pretty happy with Hiro AKA Retro’s prediction of the opponent’s line-up (which is never wrong) and will win this with minimal effort. However when the names are submitted, he changes them and makes it a straight fight with their counterparts. Nayuta loses his cool and wants an explanation. Retro believes Hokuo is the strongest school and that Class A should fight Class A, Class B against Class B, and so on. This is how they should win. This means Nayuta will face Chihaya and Retro against Taichi. Hokuo gets a surprise when Sudou is here. Trying to put pressure on them? Actually, he is here as the reader. Oh gosh. More pressure. Before the game starts, Miyauchi gives Mizusawa tasuki to bind their hakama so they can move easier. The intense match begins and each time Sudou clears his throat, the Hokuo guys just shiver under pressure. It’s like an indirect warning to say “Win! Or you’re dead!”. Mizusawa is shocked when Nishida lost! He is crushed by 13 cards! Probably his opponent’s funny hair clip distracted his attention. This puts tremendous psychological pressure on Mizusawa because the opponent is one win up. This makes Taichi wonder how the rest are doing. He is surprised Chihaya is trailing by 5 cards. But he has no time to worry about hers when he has his own problems. Chihaya gets back into the groove when she uses the skill strengths of both Shinobu and Suou.

Episode 6
Nayuta needs to buck up and Sudou feels frustrated he can’t help out his Hokuo counterparts and now knows what it is like to be a reader. Tsutomu and Kanade’s opponents aren’t winning their match early too because despite crushing them last year, they have improved and it shows that they are not being taken seriously. Now it’s a tight finish so they have to be taken seriously. All remaining players are down to 2-3 cards. Based on how many cards (in play and dead) have been read, Hokuo pulls off a legally borderline tactic of card splitting by indirectly announcing to each other what kind of cards they have. As far as I understand, this is to protect their own card since this is down to the luck of the draw whose card is to be read and Hokuo only needs 2 more members to win. Plus, Mizusawa needs to attack their opponent’s card if they need to win. When the next card is read, Retro makes a simple mistake by taking the wrong card. Or perhaps it’s just Taichi’s unwavering focus that pressured him into making that mistake. Nayuta is obviously mad that first he screwed up the line-up, then he risked it by losing it, now both schools have a 50-50 chance. In the final card read, Chihaya and Nayuta’s hand touch the same card. Desperate Nayuta says he was first to touch it but Chihaya mentions they both touched it at the same time. Based on the rules, since the card is on Nayuta’s side, the win goes to him. In the end, Hokuo wins 3-2. Sudou as his guys who is the strongest team in Tokyo. Nayuta cannot be sure if it’s them after his match with Chihaya. Sudou pressures them to be the best in Japan then. Or else… Nishida apologizes for losing early but Chihaya is cool. She had fun. Harada must be a happy man because Tsukuba and his brothers want to join Shiranami! You rarely get 4 recruits at a single time now, right? What a big haul. And here comes Sumire. I guess she’ll be number 5. Taichi accompanies Chihaya on the train home. She gets a mail from Arata about her match. She is overcome with emotion it was the most fun and difficult match she had but Taichi is not too pleased.

Episode 7
Chihaya is depressed back home. Reality now sinks in about her lost, eh? So much so it pisses off her sister Chitose. She too is undergoing her own depressed moment as there are comments about her sucking at acting. She thinks of quitting acting and going to college. More woes for Chihaya because the teacher reminds her about the recruiting quota. Failure to do so will also result in forfeiting their clubroom. Can you believe this? Chihaya went begging on her knees in class just to plead for more time! He gives her a reprieve since she was trying to use her ‘charm’. On the way out, they see the concert band club moving instruments out of their clubroom. Due to their small room and increased in members, they have nowhere else to put them and are also in the preliminaries to qualify for the Nationals. So Chihaya talks to Miyauchi to let them use the second floor above their clubroom. At least use it for storage. Miyauchi is shocked that Chihaya is being considerate. Has she matured? I mean, she says it’s only selfish to think about the karuta club’s interest. Since they’re playing karuta to win, there are situations (like the last time) that it comes down to the luck of the draw. If they’re nicer to other clubs, maybe they’ll get something in return. So it always comes back to karuta… And you thought of respecting her a little then. At Shiranami, Sumire tells Taichi that karuta is fun. But away from him when Tsukuba talks to her, she denies it is so and only said that because she wants to get close to him. She believes the rule in this love game is to be serious in karuta. Just like how Taichi is following the same rule with his eye on Chihaya. Sumire is devastated when Harada wants to play with her despite giving her handicap. It’s like playing with a bear! Scary!

Chihaya’s mom notice her depressed and takes her out so they can buy their own hakama instead of renting from Kanade’s family shop. Despite being worried about Chihaya not doing well in other areas, as long as she has karuta, she’ll be fine. She is just worried about Chitose. Now they have spent lots of money on her own hakama, the real pinch comes when they need to pay for travel and lodging for the Nationals. This is going to be tough… Besides, Chihaya won’t wear one at the Nationals due to last year’s incident whereby she fainted. With Chihaya back in her groove, Chitose also gets her own motivation back. She ignores the rumours and is going back to acting. The karuta members are studying since they need to ace the test or else they’ll have to write poems for the summer break. This warning is for Chihaya, right? But the concert band is being noisy upstairs, can they do it? Kanade explains the difference between impassionate and frenzy when the concert band starts playing several verses outside as gratitude for letting use upstairs and as good luck wish for their tournament. It gave them much laughter and confidence. Oh, Chihaya barely passed her test. Phew. Our gang make the journey to Omi Jingu, where the Nationals are held. Sumire looks really plain without her makeup as she asks Chihaya straight if there is anyone she likes. Hmmm… Shinobu? Rivals don’t count! Taichi sees Chihaya talking to Arata on the phone. Because his school doesn’t have a karuta club, he is only participating in the individual tournament. Also, he isn’t interested in forming his own karuta club. Arata notes it will be hard for her to win both school and individual tournament as Shinobu will also be participating.

Episode 8
Kanade has Chihaya put on lots of cooling pads over her face to prevent the heat from making her faint again. Tsukuba shamelessly takes pictures of pretty ladies and just about everything inside Omi Jingu. Because the team t-shirts Nishida’s sister made for them had the word “2nd place” (she is Retro’s girlfriend. Surprise, surprise), they had to settle for their original team t-shirt. It seems Tsukuba will get to be a starter because Tsutomu will go scout other teams with Sumire. Sumire is tasked to get data on Megumu from Akashi Girls’ School from Hyogo. She was the west’s representative who lost out to Yumi. Sumire is of course confused. She is like an airhead, a weird male fan club dedicated to her and at the end of it all, an acid tongue. Karuta girls are hard to understand, eh? Mizusawa is shocked that their opponents, Chiba International School of Information Science are made up of foreigners!!! Oh sh*t! White blonde guy, big black guy, some Korean, some petite Thai (or is it Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam) and a white chick. Do they even know how to play karuta?! They speak in English but Chihaya starts crying! WTF?! She believes karuta has become global like poker! When Taichi points out their English pronunciation is wrong, suddenly the foreigners start speaking fluent Japanese and blaming each other that this plan didn’t work! WTF?! It seems they stayed back in Japan (or never left) so their Japanese are much stronger than their English. They had one thing in common and that is they like karuta. Tsukuba becomes a frightened kitten because big black guy is scaring him the way he aggressively takes the card! Oh sh*t! Can’t play the hero, huh? Nishida notices they are just karuta lovers and to play their usual karuta. He also notices they are playing their own way of competitive karuta. Blonde guy remembers how he stood out like a sore thumb due to his foreigner appearance. He tried to blend in by learning as much Japanese culture and stuffs. By the time he found karuta, he grew distant from his Japanese friends since they viewed it as boring. The white chick is Kanade’s opponent and they both click since they love the romantic poems. When Mizusawa gets serious, they move faster before finally crushing their opponent. They are left in tears after that defeat but after seeing how Mizusawa wrote an encouraging message for them, they will do their best to promote karuta in their school and improve themselves. Arata arrives late at the tournament, hoping to catch Chihaya and Taichi in action despite knowing it would already be over. He feels someone grabbing his shoulder from behind: Shinobu!

Episode 9
At first Arata couldn’t recognize her but he finally does after seeing her eye mole! She says it has been 4 years since she lost and due to his long absence, she might lose to him. That’s sarcasm, right? She is confident that since he quit karuta, he will never beat her again. She is not here for the team tournament but for some other attraction. She says that team tournaments are for those who do not love karuta. Tsutomu calls Taichi and from his data he observed from the strong Fujisaki team, it’s not good. They have 5 registered Class A players and went all out. One of the Fujisaki players, Makoto Yamai noticed Tsutomu spying on them during the match so he tells him to add another data: The girls are much scarier. This guy… Putting matchsticks to hold his eyelashes?! Karuta players are indeed weird. Arata avoids seeing Chihaya so as not to distract her. But he bumps into Murao who is part of the tournament committee. Later Arata sees his old middle school classmate, Shouji. His team is in a pinch because they are stuck in traffic! Since there are only 2 of them and quite desperate, Shouji pleads to Arata to disguise as one of their members and play. I don’t know how he was convinced to do so seeing he knows it clear that there will be punishment if he is caught. A face mask to do the trick? Worse, Shouji takes off his glasses so he is not easily recognizable. Now he can’t see. Their opposing team has already won 2 matches by default so Shouji’s team needs all 3 to win. When the match begins, Arata just sits there. Arata can tell his opponent is frustrated because he came all the way to play good players and what does he get? A lamer. When Shouji lost his match and sealed his team’s fate, Arata starts thinking back about his younger days with Chihaya and Taichi. He remembers that feeling of playing as a team so he puts on his glasses and gets serious. He is going to claw his way back from a 15 card deficit. His fast and graceful swing and other style remind one of the tournament officials, Kuriyama that this kid’s style resembles just like Arata. Upon taking a closer look, he is horrified to learn it is him! Arata makes a comeback and defeats his opponent and so does the other teammate, although they lost 3-2. Shouji is overcome with emotion as he thanks Arata. But Kuriyama instantly takes Arata and the rest outside. Reprimanding them for the serious offence they did (even if Shouji pleads Arata is not at fault), Shouji’s school will be severely reprimanded. As for Arata, he might be barred from tomorrow’s tournament.

Episode 10
Yamaguchi Mioka is Mizusawa’s next weird opponent. How so? Everyone wears spectacles and the school prides itself with smart people. They shuffle and arrange the cards in no particular order and 3 of their members are from the quiz club! What the heck are they doing playing karuta?! Meanwhile the committee is deciding Arata’s fate. Some of the members think they should be lenient on him not because he is the Eternal Master’s grandson. Because the current master, Suou’s strange behaviour is a bad example to kids to promote karuta. Despite he is strong, they really want somebody like Arata to knock him off his perch. Shouji barges in to beg them to not punish him but was taken away by Arata. Miyauchi is somewhat pissed when she learns from the Mioka’s coach that he doesn’t mind his team losing as they are here to help increase their memory skills via karuta. The funny part is that they have been beating schools who have been playing competitive karuta. That does it. Beat the crap out of them! But Chihaya is having problems with her opponent, Nakayama. Because he is shuffling the cards all the time! Bad for a person like Chihaya with bad memorizing skills. Nakayama narrates how karuta is similar to a quiz contest. It’s like reaching for the buzzer but with some lag effect. When it starts raining, everyone in the room got the fright of their lives when they see Shinobu peeping through the glass! She’s like a ghost! Then she makes her way into the hall and learns Arata has been suspended. She threatens the committee she too will pull out if Arata is not reinstated. She doesn’t know what’s going on but she forces Arata to apologize and be nice. She doesn’t want anymore disappointment. After Chihaya takes a deep breath of air (it’s freaking Nakayama out because of her crazy lung capacity), Mizusawa is on the rebound. Each of them has their own ways to fight Mioka’s odd reshuffling tactic. Well, maybe except for Tsukuba. In the end, Mizusawa fights back and wins 3-2 (Tsukuba and Kanade lost). Though Mioka’s coach is not fazed by the lost and hopes they could use this to help further their quiz skills, Nakayama feels hurt and wants to avenge this loss via karuta. Emotional group hug! When Tsutomu and Sumire return to discuss what they have gathered, Sumire mentions about seeing Shinobu and Arata. It piques Chihaya’s interest but Taichi puts his foot down so they can concentrate on their next order (he doesn’t want her distracted. Or just jealous). Tsukuba opts out for the next match. So eager to be in, now he wants out? Tsutomu thinks of reshuffling the order but Nishida suggests maintaining the same line up.

Episode 11
Tsutomu is fine sitting out but why is Nishida upset? He feels that he is drifting into a supporting role when he is supposed to fight for his place. No doubt the newbies relief them off some pressure but if he doesn’t play, he’ll lose his drive and ultimately his edge. Is he speaking from his tennis experience? Wow. Porky getting all emotional. He leaves it to Taichi to decide who plays. Now the pressure is on him. Chihaya sees the notebook and understands. They’ll use the same line-up. Wow. Did she understand all that? Actually no. Because she remembers Harada’s words that watching others play is more tiring than watching your own play. So Tsutomu is the most tired among them and should be left out. True enough, he dozes off outside when the quarter-finals begin. Mizusawa is up against Shoyo. Show You? Pun as their motto? Mizusawa is wary of them since they are representing Kyoto, the place where Shinobu comes from. They are taken by surprise at their lightning speed. However they remember Tsutomu’s data on each of Shoyo’s player’s quirks and overcome them. Chihaya believes Tsutomu has not lost his drive because his notebook containing all the data of other teams is proof of that. When Tsutomu wakes up, Nishida is the first person to barge out and tell him Mizusawa has won. He wants Tsutomu to play in the next match. I can imagine this funny scene. Fat boy and petite spectacles kid rushing to hug each other… Meanwhile Arata is made to write an apology essay. He is allowed to take part in the individual tournament but needs to write that essay and cannot watch to support his friends. Mizusawa’s next opponent is Akashi. Sumire’s note didn’t really help since she observed their fashion sense instead of their karuta play. But Tsutomu can use that data to deduce what kind of person they are and the type of karuta they are likely to play!!! Amazing!!! Because Akashi has been using the same line-up and never changed, he suggests avoiding their aces against theirs. I guess this doesn’t sit well with Chihaya. She really wants to play Megumu. But you can see her holding in her pride (she’s vexing so much in pain) and will allow to play in second position. But Taichi wonders if he should allow it since he remembers Hokuo’s pride of going with even match-ups. Meanwhile Hokuo’s opponent is Fujisaki. They have lots of supporters. Sudou and Nishida’s sister have a supporting banner with lots of love hearts. Embarrassing? I think Hokuo is more afraid because Sudou is here to watch… Tsutomu and Taichi know something the rest doesn’t know about Akashi. The reason they don’t change their line-up is to prepare for stronger opponents in later stages. Once that happens, they will switch. The question is, whether they think Mizusawa is good enough for them. The line-up is read. Akashi maintains. Though the rest is happy everything is going according to plan, Tsutomu reels in disappointment that they have been looked down and not respected. Are they having their eyes on the finals and placed so much faith in Megumu to win? Because she will be facing Chihaya.

Episode 12
Megumu makes a blooper because she goes to sit and face Fujisaki whom she thinks is her opponent! Despite her airhead display, her sharp tongue definitely would hurt Mizusawa. Because she said she thought they were in the finals and even if they weren’t, they should just let them play in the finals now. We are distracted by a short flashback by the fan boys always with a camera in hand snapping pictures of Megumu. Because they were labelled as perverts despite having pure intentions, one day Megumu invited them to snap pictures of her playing karuta. Once done, she takes a look at them, praises them and deletes them! Come back next time and take more pics! I guess that’s how the boys got hooked on her. They came to snap and delete their photos! The crowd thinks the real match to watch is Hokuo against Fujisaki because based on history and record, Akashi should have this win in the bag. When the match starts, Megumu surprises everyone by taking her first card very fast. Those who watched her play against Yumi in the tournament last fall are surprised that she is moving much faster than before. Chihaya observes her and despite all that, she still isn’t fast enough. Tsukuba is surprised Kanade is leading by a few cards when she should been tired after playing straight competitive matches. Unlike this guy who quickly blew his matches so he could rest, he even sends messages back to his brothers that he the ace is doing well and has led the team to the semi-final. Liar! Megumu shows more airheaded slip ups in terms of not only collecting the cards she won over but her opponents! How could she screw up holding 3 same cards in her hand? And so we get a flashback to see how Megumu grew so much. Apparently the coach saw some talent in her. Despite playing karuta at her society, she didn’t try her best. You could say she had beginner’s luck to reach all the way to face Yumi. Her friends did all they can to support her. Until her lost and they heard the beginner’s luck comment that the rest dedicated into making her to be the next Queen. Thus Megumu is always placed in third seat to gain more experience and not to win (because usually team aces are put in the middle seat). When Chihaya remembers some poem history from Kanade, she gets back into the groove, breaking Megumu’s combo winning streak and gets her first card.

Episode 13
Chihaya is sure happy she got her first card, eh? Well, that didn’t break Megumu’s focus and instead Chihaya’s focus snapped on the next card. Back to square one. When they reach for the card the same time, Chihaya remembers Nishida’s words to contest for it. Even if she didn’t win it, at least it will throw her opponent off focus. Chihaya doesn’t seem to be a convincing contester and guess what? Megumu happily gives the card to her! Guilt ridden now, I guess it’s even worse because now she can’t concentrate! The match between Megumu and Chihaya rocks back and forth. One turn, Megumu gets it, the next Chihaya would surprise her with her swift move and then the next time, Megumu bounces back. With the tension building up, this has Megumu think. She was never interested in becoming a Queen and felt that she is the only one providing vocal support in her team. With Chihaya remembering what her teammates taught her to overcome her weaknesses, she goes on the offensive but still couldn’t get consecutive wins. Megumu then stops providing her vocal support to her team. She’s taking Chihaya serious now. Because even though she doesn’t mind if she doesn’t be the next Queen, she needs to win to make everyone happy. Chihaya surprises everyone by using her super fast speed that is reminiscent of Shinobu’s. Megumu then realizes her lead is gone and starts losing focus. That’s when one of her teammates takes charge of vocal support. She knows Megumu wasn’t interested in becoming Queen and that she just wanted to have fun with everyone. Perhaps she’s feeling guilty of the pressure she put on to become one. But Megumu won’t give up on being a team leader yet. There’s a time when Megumu and Chihaya both touched the card together and they both end up arguing they took it faster. They look so out of place. In the end, Chihaya gave in. Not much of a contester, isn’t she? The tension between both teams reaches all-time high. Both sides rallying their team to fight on. The pressure is clashing and it is a very close game. Sumire notices everyone is now watching their game.

Episode 14
Shinobu is reciting the karuta cards so fast that it seems she didn’t even stop to take a breather! Arata is writing his apology letter so fine that Shouji is crying and thinks this literature should be published! Shouji’s teammates finally arrive. I guess they knew their team is out and even stopped somewhere for gyudon. They mention about seeing the results and that Mizusawa has bested Shoyo and are now playing Akashi. Shinobu wants to play a game with Arata to kill time but he refuses since today is a day for teams. With Mizusawa-Akashi match tightly watch, Sumire notices that Hokuo has already lost 3 matches! I guess Fujisaki is through to the finals. Just like déjà vu, Nishida becomes first casualty as he lost to his opponent. Megumu is not impressed because she wanted to take the first win. She is surprised when Chihaya snatches her favourite cards. But of course she also did the same to Chihaya with her Chihayafuru card. Kanade eases the pressure when she wins to level the tie. By the time Taichi wins his match, Hokuo-Fujisaki match with the former losing 1-4. And then Chihaya loses. Now it’s a nail biting finish and everything rests on Tsutomu. All the 6 dead cards are read consecutively and it is down to the 2 cards left. It will be the luck of the draw. As the reader opens her mouth, Tsutomu charges for his opponent’s cards and wins the match. And so Mizusawa qualifies for the finals with the final score line of 3-2. The fan boys thought of getting a picture of Megumu in tears but she seems serious. Is she going to delete their data? Instead, she wants them to hand over all the pictures they have taken. Looks like there is an opponent worth learning about. If she had only taken the SD cards and not the battery! Despite her win, she feels upset. Obviously. Her team lost, right? Mizusawa asks Tsutomu about his final move. Apparently he didn’t actually hear what the reader said and only did it based on his data that the card had a higher probability of being read. That’s like a 50-50 gamble, no? Our experienced Mizusawa counterparts realize that superstitions do play an important role when it comes down to the luck of the draw as said by their mentors. Chihaya reflects on her lost and how she could do better. But a simple non-verbal gesture from Taichi made her realize that she was probably using too much strength and needs to relax. Tsukuba wants Miyauchi to use her authority to switch him with Kanade for the finals. Of course everybody thinks he just wants attention although he denies it. Kanade allows him since she is tired.

Episode 15
Actually Kanade’s finger is swollen! She feels they are lucky because it isn’t their ace who got injured and they have substitutes. Meanwhile Hokuo are preparing for the worse from Sudou. A tournament committee comes up to them to say Arata was here to cheer on them (which is of course a misunderstanding) and due to circumstances he can’t. He tells them to at least go and see them. But now they have to worry because Sudou is here… It’s getting colder… But he is here to continue cheering them on since they are playing for the third placing match with Akashi. At Fujisaki, coach Midori Sakurazawa shows her authority as she replaces a third year experienced karuta member, Manata in favour of a second year girl, Rion Yamashiro. That guy is so traumatized. Really. It’s like the end of the world for him. And there’s no changing her decision. Makoto is not happy because Rion hardly shows any emotion and though she was watching Mizusawa-Akashi’s match, Makoto doesn’t like a junior giving advice to seniors. It’s wrong for him to take out his frustrations on her because it wasn’t her who took out that guy from the line-up. Anyway, Tsutomu’s data is so precise that he could even predict Sakurazawa’s line-up and in which order!!! Before the match begins, Kanade regrets she shouldn’t have switched out because the best certified reader is reading for the finals, Kyoko Yamashiro. Oh, isn’t she Rion’s grandmother? Chihaya will face Rion while Taichi against Fujisaki’s captain, Ryogo Emuro (Arata clone?) and Tsutomu finds his opponent to be Makoto. Nishida has Suzuki Kanata for company (both going to avenge whatever their cause) and scaredy pants liar Tsukuba is already wondering what this weirdo Mitsuki Ichimura is doing. He’s an anime freak.

Retro goes to see Arata but to tell him that Chihaya and Taichi are playing to be the best in Japan and to come and cheer them. Arata would love to go but he can’t break his punishment or else he fears he will be punished by the Gods. As Shinobu leaves, Arata hopes he could be at the finals to motivate some of the players but she doesn’t give a damn. Once Fujisaki places their cards, the guys leave to go stretching. Tsutomu has predicted they will do this because they have played in every match and are tired. They do this to avoid over-memorizing and only Rion is left behind to do so. Outside we continue hearing Makoto’s complain on Rion. He accuses the rest for being too soft with her because they like her. On the contrary they deny because Kanata already has a lovely girlfriend and so does Ichimura (a 2D girl he has dated since spring anime!) and Emuro the ero is only into big boobs (so sad Kanade couldn’t be his opponent and see those tits jiggle). Big perverts! Even Manata has his own ‘girlfriend’: Kanata?! I guess that’s why they’re called the Manata-Kanata combination and it’s understandable why it’s so devastating that the pair had to break up. So could it be that Makoto is in love with Rion?! Shinobu walks by them and they couldn’t notice her. She laments the paltry state of their hearing and they’re supposed to be the best team in Japan. Fujisaki guys return and Emuro has already precisely gauged Taichi’s skill. Makoto is still bothered by the thought that he might be in love with Rion… But pay attention because the game now starts. Everybody is blown away when Kyoko reads her opening lines. Totally a different and wonderful voice. And surprise, surprise. Shinobu is there watching the match.

Episode 16
If you’re wondering what’s all the fuss in the opening about somebody complaining they’re cutting down extra little scenes due to budget, then it’s because this is a RECAP EPISODE!!! Although it is mainly recycled scenes from the previous 15 episodes, especially the big focus on Sumire joining the club and her heart set on snatching Taichi, and the matches Mizusawa fought against Hokuo and Akashi, the mini comical skits in between include Sumire helping to put more eyelashes on Kanade (which makes her look awfully weird), Nishida’s sister purposely bumping into Johnny Depp’s clone (that’s Retro) and making him her boyfriend, Nishida having problems with characters who are dating and in turn causes the guys in Mizusawa probably wanting to take kimono wearing lessons since Kanade did assert she would love to date somebody who could wear one and finally Sakurazawa telling her Fujisaki team that the tournament committee contains former karuta Masters and Queens or even those that are Class A. That means they are surrounded by super stars! Don’t you just feel ripped off?

Episode 17
Fujisaki makes a flawless start. They’re swift. They’re fast. Mizusawa is left trailing in their wake. We hear some narration about Sakurazawa’s regime that made her a legend in Fujisaki. She has been an advisor for the karuta cub for 12 years straight and is their school’s pride. Chihaya starts to ponder her speed but notices the various ‘colour’ in Kyoko’s voice. It was what Kanade told her too. Could it be that Rion can hear colours? Using this ‘technique’, Chihaya manages to see some of the colours in her cards. Makes it easier, doesn’t it? Meanwhile Shinobu still stays although the match is boring. That’s because it is Kyoko’s voice that she is staying. Also explained that Rion despite being Kyoko’s granddaughter, she is very talented in karuta at a young age. However during tournament matches, she stops playing halfway. Her reason was the reader’s reading wasn’t pretty and only likes to hear grandma’s voice. That’s why she has never won tournaments before. Now with Kyoko as the reader, she has a chance to be part of a winning team. Chihaya’s speed increases with this technique and fights back despite Fujisaki still being dominant. And then everybody gets worried when they think Chihaya injures her finger. Seems she is okay. Of course she’s just holding it in not to worry the rest. Because so, her movements are slowed down and Rion realizes this. It made her feel guilty and in turn Chihaya also notices Rion’s reduction in speed when she was able to take easy cards. Shinobu is so bored that she almost falls asleep and uses somebody’s shirt to sneeze!!! The committee realizes the Queen is here and makes her sit in front to motivate the rest. Now she can’t leave. She sees Chihaya but can’t seem to remember her although she looks familiar. It’s right at her fingertips. Chihaya continues to hold in the pain. Although it is her index finger which hurts, she is glad it is that because she was practising taking cards with her middle finger. And then she moves so fast and takes the right card before Kyoko even says the first syllable. Something that only the Queen is capable of. Then it hit Shinobu who she is. Remember Chihaya? The guys know Chihaya is hurt and need to buck up their game because they are on a losing streak (Chihaya still trails Rion by 6 cards despite the comeback). In a comical unison, they reignite their passion to fight on. Funny. Hope it works.

Episode 18
Though all Mizusawa players are trailing their opponents, the great fight back begins. Taichi uses his best swing ever to win a card from Emuro. Everyone thinks their opponent is good. Not for Tsukuba. He thinks his is weird. Yeah. Weird anime poses just for distraction? Which ‘hero’ will prevail? But eventually he manages to take his strong card from this weirdo. Chihaya continues her comeback over Rion and this pisses off Makoto. He narrates how he loves everything beautiful and stayed away from outdoor sports because it made him sweaty. That’s how he got into karuta. He didn’t know its intensity until much later but he was hooked on it. Then he saw Rion. She was beautiful in her swing. Is that some sort of confession? Anyway if she doesn’t win, he fears she will be picked on again. With Makoto in serious mode, Tsutomu loses his match. Major blow for Mizusawa. Wait a minute. He goes out before Tsukuba? Gosh. His data must be incomplete. Chihaya’s pain is getting worse and tries ignoring it but when she sees Shinobu watching, she has a feeling that Arata brought her here to watch. The other match between Hokuo and Akashi is equally intense. Neck to neck. Shinobu is the only person who probably isn’t impressed with everything. She starts remembering how she was made to be alone because they think she would go stronger. She thinks everybody never takes her seriously. Arata’s thinking is different. They might not belong to teams but their love for karuta can only grow if they recruit, teach and nurture new players. It is the team players who keep karuta alive. Taichi is 5 cards down. He manages to take the next card by playing his own style instead of relying on Harada’s words. Another blow to Mizusawa when Tsukuba loses. Despite his opponent congratulate him for being a good player (because it caused him to unleash some anime technique), it didn’t make Tsukuba feel better at all because he broke his promise to win on Kanade’s behalf. Fujisaki now needs a win to seal the game but Taichi encourages his remaining teammates to go for the win. Obviously.

Episode 19
So we see Taichi how he overcomes the deficit to be on level terms with Emuro. He even uses Tsutomu’s data and trying to change his old ways. To add icing to the cake, Emuro who rarely commits faults, commits a double fault. It’s really going to be down the wire. While we are so focused on this match, everybody just realized that Chihaya is just one card away from securing Mizusawa’s first win. When the next card is read, Chihaya nips it and gives her team their first win. Then she instantly falls asleep on the mat. Prostrating position. She deserves it a good rest. The remaining players have 1 card each on their side so it goes down to the luck of the draw whose card will be read. Taichi and Nishida apply Hokuo’s tactic of informing their cards and in the end, both their cards are synchronized. The trouble is whose card is going to be read. To attack or to defend? Plus, there are many dead cards left in play. After a few dead cards, it seems both Taichi and Nishida have the same idea of attacking the enemy but they are fast in defending. Taichi remembers how he never has luck in this situation. His card never gets read. So he prays to God real hard that he doesn’t care if his card is never read again in such situations. Just this once, please let it be his card. Because you don’t get to play team matches anywhere except in high school. Maybe God didn’t listen to his answer. Because Chihaya just woke up in time to see the big victory. Yes! It is the card on Mizusawa’s side that is being read and with that… MIZUSAWA WINS!!! CHAMPIONS OF JAPAN!!! Can you not contain your excitement and joy?! Time for an emotional group hug!!! Later Sakurazawa does a post mortem with her team. She blames the loss on herself because she only concentrated in building strength. Emuro also blames himself because he looked down on his opponent. Rion is showing too much emotion than before so Sakurazawa tells her that even though nobody in Fujisaki could have beaten Chihaya, she needs to realize that she lost despite having the advantage. So it’s up to her to make sure they don’t lose a single match next summer (the others would have graduated). When everyone heads downstairs for the award ceremony, Chihaya and Taichi see Arata. She becomes emotional and says her team is the best in Japan. She is the best in Japan and didn’t have to be Queen for it. It’s because they played together. That’s why she doesn’t want him to say he is not interested in teams.

Episode 20
Chihaya receives the flag pole for the champions in the ceremony. But she realizes her finger is hurting a lot more. Once it’s over, she sounds that if there are any hospitals open this late so Miyauchi takes her to a nearby clinic. Hokuo are loud and motivated. Seems they have clinched third place. When Arata and Taichi meet, Sumire is pestering the spectacled boy for details because she smells a love triangle. What are the chances seeing they are childhood friends? It is VERY important to her. Too bad she won’t get any answer because the rest take her away. Arata mentions he is going to study in a Tokyo college and he’ll win tomorrow’s individual tournament. As for the team comment made by Chihaya, he only views Taichi and Chihaya as the only team for him. Meanwhile the doctor can’t determine the injury Chihaya has! WF?! She writes a prescription to get a second opinion from a bigger hospital. She is advised to skip tomorrow’s tournament and not aggravate her injury. Chihaya returns to the rest but lies next to sleeping Taichi and thinks back through the team tournament. It’s an excuse to show recycled scenes of what was important and most of them coming from the match with Fujisaki. She is grateful for her team. Next day, her friends are shocked that she was advised not to participate. She might have given in to Miyauchi’s advice that she has done well in the team tournament and to rest till Nishida’s sister sheepishly dumps t-shirts she sew for the champions to her brother. Now she wants to play. But what motivates her even further is when Sudou mocks Mizusawa to be weak individuals. Oh, seeing Shinobu too increases her motivation. But can she realistically play? She’ll try with her left hand. Her opponent is Keiko Yuube, the opponent from Akashi that Nishida faced. He thinks it’s impossible because that girl is very brute. Shinobu is disappointed that she didn’t get paired with Arata for the first round. She wanted to see how strong he has gotten and make everyone admit that team tournaments are nothing serious. By the way, Arata is paired with Shouji. That guy is going to ‘die’… Maybe he’s already dead. The match begins and Chihaya starts off on a losing streak. She could hear the words clearly but her left hand won’t move as fast.

Episode 21
Chihaya is on a losing streak. It is a ‘pain’ to use her left hand. However it did open a new perspective. Because the cards she laid out (including Yuube) are placed by right-handers. Now that she is the left, she sees things differently. However she is still at a disadvantage. Although she can take cards on Yuube’s side, she cannot take from her own. At this time, Arata and Shinobu have finished their match with a perfect score. Arata goes to watch Chihaya and is surprised to see her injured hand. Chihaya is tempted to use her right hand but she promised she won’t and will save it for Arata. Chihaya then sees from another perspective so she flips her cards to the opposite. Though the referee warns her for having bad manners, Yuube allows it since she is handicapped. With that, Chihaya suddenly speeds up and becomes natural in taking the cards. All she had to do was just flipped everything, huh? In the end, Chihaya won by 2 cards although Yuube blames that it was her own memorization that cost her the victory. All the other Mizusawa members win their first match. Including Sumire (surprise?) and Tsukuba (via walkover. Lucky devil). Chihaya feels good after being praised by Arata. Nishida too is feeling good and his confidence rocketing. Looking forward to the next round? You bet. Till he finds his next opponent is Arata! Oh sh*t! Arata’s parents are seen praying very hard. Yes. Very hard. Arata made a promise to his parents that he wants to study in a private university in Tokyo if he wins. But his parents are thinking that it would cost a bomb and that he would have gotten into a local public one based on his merits. So they are praying for him to lose!!! OMG! Nishida may be upping the pace but it doesn’t take long before Arata does his super fast swing and catch him by surprise. Now he is on a roll. So fast that it’s blink and you’ll miss. His frustration grows. He practised so hard and he’s not getting anywhere close to Arata. Nishida sees Chihaya still struggling but doing much better this time round. If he had such injury, he would have forfeited. Instead, all Chihaya cared was to win the team match. Not only her, Tsutomu and Sumire worked hard to get data, Tsukuba pestered to play, Kanade eased the pressure and Taichi never gave up. What does he do for the team? The most he can do now is not to give up. Although Nishida fights back, it wasn’t enough to win. Bitterly frustrating, isn’t it? Chihaya wins hers. When the match ups for the next round is announced, Chihaya goes up against Shinobu. She takes off her bandage.

Episode 22
In the other quarter-final matches, Arata is up against Manata, Nayuta against Emuro while Makoto has Megumu for company. Shinobu knows Chihaya has injured her favoured hand and wonders if she should play with her weaker hand for her. Chihaya doesn’t want her to joke around. Ever since her defeat last year, all she thinks of is fighting her again. Now she has got her rematch, please show your number one in the world strength. And true enough, Shinobu doesn’t hold back. She is so fast that nobody could see it. They think it’s like her fingers are connected to the cards. Chihaya did a gamble in the card arrangement and manages to take her first card. But after that, Shinobu is back on her winning streak. Then she takes off her gauze and tape on the finger because it is slowing her down. She manages to take another card that is one of Shinobu’s best cards but that is it. Because the pain returns, despite she is moving faster, Shinobu is still deadly on her accuracy. While Shinobu continues taking the cards, she remembers her past. She was first introduced to the karuta society and played a girl her age. She lost by a slim margin. After that she played older players and she became ruthless. Shinobu thumps Chihaya in the end by 23 cards margin. Outside, she sees Miyauchi attending to Chihaya. The sore has swelled. Chihaya is crying. Is it the pain or the loss? Shinobu feels bad and wonders if she should have let her take a few cards. But she is surprised when Chihaya thanks her for not going easy on her. When will they get to play again? Chihaya says in the Queen match. Well, if she gets that far. Shinobu is seen upset with herself later. She feels her performance against Chihaya was pathetic. Despite winning by 23 cards, she lost her best card to an injured person. She is going to crush her next time and won’t let her take a single card. Just like that, Chihaya realizes her summer is over. Meanwhile Sumire wins her match to the next round. She gets pretty confident that she really has karuta skills but I guess she’s brought back to earth when she lost her next match to that blonde guy. There goes her dream of being praised by Taichi. Tsukuba amazingly makes his way to the semi-finals but Sumire would rather go cheer for Taichi in his semi-final match. Everyone in the room seems tense. Taichi is up against Retro. They’re both determined to get promoted to Class A.

Episode 23
As expected, Arata and Shinobu are to face each other in the finals. Shinobu is devilishly relishing the chance to play this last match with him but is caught off guard when he only smiles back. Chihaya wanted to go watch their match when Kanade and Nishida come up to her. It seems Taichi and Tsutomu have reached the finals of their respective class and to go cheer on them. However the Class A match will be held in a different room from the other classes. This means Chihaya can’t watch the matches she wants in the same place. Nishida argues that they should go watch Arata-Shinobu match because Taichi doesn’t need their support. He is a different person today just for Chihaya so she could watch that Class A match. Meanwhile Sudou punishes his Hokuo guys for failing to make the top 8. Except for Retro. He’s so depressed. He lost to Taichi by 18 cards! Taichi’s final opponent is Rion and before the match starts, she hears her fellow school girls commenting that there is no one left to support and just had to do this. They blame her that they lost the team title. She pleads for them to support her. Taichi’s mind is preoccupied with lots of things. Another one to add. Because he sees Chihaya coming in to watch his match! He really thought she would go watch the other match so what the f*ck is she doing here?! Now he feels the need to win quickly and build a big gap so that she could go watch that match. Meanwhile in the Class A finals, it is packed with people. Especially with the committee who are here to see if the grandson of the Eternal Master can best the Queen. Shinobu starts off aggressively and dominates the match. But a closer look shows they both reach the card at the same time. Just that the cards are on her side. Of course Arata makes a comeback when he employs his attacking method on her strengths. Back at Taichi’s match, he and Rion are making lots of faults. Partly the reader is nervous. Why? Looks like it’s his final exam to be certified as one! See the examiners watching? That cough is a definite sign he has failed… Because of the uneven rhythm, Rion finally finds her groove when she realizes Fujisaki is silently supporting her. Taichi worries too much till he realizes that he is comparing Rion with Chihaya and ultimately Suou. He decides to take things one slowly. He doesn’t need to win big. A win by one card will do. Don’t need to rush. After that deep breath, Taichi starts dominating and wins. Sakurazawa notes Rion lost because she doesn’t have the stamina as she has never won 5 wins in a row. Also, Taichi has trained hard and was prepared to battle against talent. Taichi quickly registers his win and quickly drags Chihaya to watch the Class A match. However she is not moving but crying instead. She is so happy that Taichi has been promoted to Class A. That is all that matters.

Episode 24
Now that Taichi is Class A, Chihaya views him as his rival! She wants to stay and watch Tsutomu’s match but Kanade and Sumire tell her to go on. Sumire’s heart breaks when she sees Taichi taking Chihaya’s hand as they make their way to the Class A match. And nobody knew Tsukuba made it to Class D finals… Chihaya is still facing a dilemma of whether to watch the match. She really wants to but why is she hesitant? Scared? The room is full seems to be the perfect excuse not to go in but when Sakurazawa requests to find some space to fit them in, well, there they go. Chihaya could feel the tension of the match. Arata is leading by 5 cards. Shinobu ponders about her lost momentum when she realized it was herself who said she is going to choose which cards to save and sacrifice. She decides she’ll take all the remaining cards. She makes a comeback and in one part, although she reacted faster, it’s like Arata’s acceleration speed was faster than hers and took the card. The card almost hit Chihaya’s face if not for Taichi’s hand blocking it. Is she so paralyzed in awe? What makes Arata fearsome as the spectators note is not his technique or weaponry but his calm demeanour. He remembers he always lost to Murao and upset despite his visualization technique grandpa taught him, it wasn’t working. Grandpa told him if he plays his karuta with such a scary face. He is told to visualize more, the moment he moves the easiest, the time he had fun playing karuta the most. Everyone is amazed at Arata’s ability and starts thinking he might be the next person to unseat Suou. Shinobu could hear everyone’s whisper and is not too happy all those noises are distracting her. But why pay attention to them in the first place? But she gets serious and makes a comeback to trim the lead. Despite both of them seemingly touch the cards at the same time, Chihaya could see that it was Shinobu who rightfully won them. But Shinobu is still irked with Arata’s smile. In the end, Arata wins by 2 cards and the crowd is surprised that the Queen has been unseated after many years without a loss. Especially Arata’s parents who are now doomed because their last hope Shinobu have failed. Shinobu seems tired (why not after 5 matches in a row) but Arata touches her head and knows she has slight fever. She was drenched in the rain yesterday. She is happy that there was an opponent who was able to put up a fight.

Episode 25
Arata’s parents have to accept reality. Who could stop their son in doing what he loves most? Thankfully grandpa took out a life insurance policy for Arata’s education so they won’t be financially hit so hard. Arata congratulates Taichi for winning. But this time when Chihaya meets him, she is not happy. How can he be so calm and smile with his match with Shinobu? She was always so intense when she plays. She tries so hard but can’t be as good as him. Something is wrong. During the award presentation, it seems Tsutomu and Tsukuba won their respective classes! OMG! Mizusawa power house! It could have been a clean sweep had it been Chihaya instead of Arata. Sulking about that, isn’t she? Before they depart, Sakurazawa gives Chihaya a video of Arata and Shinobu’s match. She has her eternal thanks for that. She even got what Emuro has not: Sakurazawa’s email address. Sakurazawa notes that only Arata and Taichi are the ones who have never lost a match in the Nationals. Back in town, even the doctors can’t determine what Chihaya’s finger problem is! Holy cow. Is this issue bigger than it is? Not even the bigger hospital could determine it! Finally after the MRI scan, the problem is detected. With some name that I can’t even pronounce or spell, what I understand is that her bone structure in the finger is softening. Normally people can go through life without anything serious but if you’re an athlete who uses your hand a lot, you have to undergo surgery. Chihaya will be hospitalized for a week and she is distraught she can’t play karuta… That’s all she thinks about.

While bidding her time in hospital, she watches the Arata-Shinobu match. She calls Arata and mentions her intention to become better at the game. Arata tells her that whether it’s an official or practice match, he always imagines that place. It is the place which he enjoys karuta the most. When he is there, he is always happy and having fun. The place is that old apartment he first played karuta with Chihaya. Chihaya may not understand the feelings she has now but she knows she has always loved karuta. Always loved Arata. Thankfully it is successful but she is advised not to do serious activities or even swinging till her cast comes off. The strict nurse is there to watch her. She uses her spare time to complete her homework and some poetry work Kanade has her do. Think she can manage that? All she can think about is playing karuta, right? Taichi and Kanade visit her. They check on her homework and are appalled to see it is karuta related. Not trying hard, is she? But some of her poems despite based on her karuta experience, really sound like good. When they leave, Kanade gives Taichi a hard pat on the back and wants him to try harder. He doesn’t need her to accompany to visit Chihaya next time because she believes Chihaya can’t stay clueless for the rest of her life. Somehow, something tells me that is not going to happen. Chihaya calls Sakurazawa to thank her for the video. Sakurazawa starts giving her thoughts on both Arata and Shinobu. Did Chihaya understand all that? Anyway Sakurazawa invites Chihaya and her karuta members to her Fujisaki two-day karuta camp. Of course she isn’t going to pass this chance. But it seems only Chihaya and Taichi will be heading there as the rest are busy with their schedules. Partly too, it is Kanade’s plan to have Taichi and Chihaya together. Chihaya mentions it was hard to think about anything else for she has never gone such a long period without playing karuta. Taichi comments the only way is to move forward.

Episode 26 (OVA)
This takes place when Chihaya was hospitalized. This is Sumire’s most prominent episode. You know what this means. She dreams about Taichi confessing she likes her and was about to kiss. She wakes up to find her face in the food. As the days to the end of summer are counting down, she needs to do something about this quick to be with Taichi. As everyone discusses what to do for the cultural festival, Tsutomu suggests doing a karuta demonstration and it should be well received as they are champions. But Sumire wants to do a play especially about the Tale of Genji because if the drama club is doing modern acting, they should do one on Heian period which has some relations to karuta. You know what this means if Taichi is cast as the leading male. Yeah. Sumire goes into overdrive mode to convince why a play is a must although she has never been on stage before. She manages to get Kanade on her side when she mentions she gets to parade her family’s kimonos. But still karuta demonstration out votes play by 3-2 (Taichi didn’t vote). But thanks to the rain, they have to stay back and since Sumire isn’t giving up, they have more time to discuss. This time she convinces Tsutomu he is a good screenwriter and waxes lyrical about his abilities. Now that’s another on her side. The clincher is Sumire’s speech that despite she has never been in a play, she wants to show people how fun poetry is and do a play together with them all. So convincing that everybody claps and the re-vote has everyone in favour of the play! Just as planned… Now for the casting.

Sumire suggests Taichi to take the leading role. Although he is reluctant, everyone wants him. Except Tsukuba who nominated himself. Vote time. Taichi has a landslide victory. Now for the female lead. Kanade nominates Chihaya as part of her plan to get Taichi together with her. Everyone thinks so too so Sumire has them rethink their decision. Kanade? She prefers to work in the background. Alright. Now that means the only one left is… Nishida suggests to vote. Dang. Nobody even thought about Sumire. If it has come to this, she doesn’t care what role she gets and suggests everyone go on stage. However the story doesn’t have lots of male roles. She suggests cross-dressing. At first they have their suspicions but after much deliberation, if they’re going to make the play interesting, let’s go all the way. Sumire wonders if Nishida is okay with this. He is because his sister used to dress him up a lot. Oh God… So everyone works hard in rehearsing their lines, making the props and gosh, the guys look funny cross-dressed. Everything is prepared and done. However… That night there was this huge storm. All their props were destroyed. They don’t have enough time or manpower or fix them. And so it becomes a Hikaru Genji manzai comedy play with Nishida, Sumire and Chihaya going on stage to tell jokes and give retorts. What the heck?! Don’t be surprised because it’s a big hit! Sorry Sumire. No fairytale ending for you.

The Fast And The Furious…
Hmm… Something feels missing from this season. I’m not sure what it is. It’s not that I’m disappointed but I’m not really satisfied either. Probably because a big chunk of this sequel focuses on the high school team matches from the qualifying up to the Nationals. I suppose it is important because it showcases how Mizusawa would become champions and it would be a real bummer if they didn’t because they might have to make another season of it ;p. After 4/5 of the season, then only begins the individual tournament which I feel didn’t give enough prominence since Chihaya went out again to Shinobu. So much about getting her revenge. Nah. I think she shouldn’t be greedy and make it unrealistic. So another third season for her to exact her revenge? Thus the main highlight of the individual’s Nationals was only Taichi’s win which finally propels him to Class A and the very much anticipated between the youngest karuta Queen as well as the Eternal Master’s grandson. With this entire season just about the high school tournament, there is no Master’s match so we don’t even get to see Suou in the flesh and is reduced to flashbacks or visualization from other people.

I still do not understand much about the karuta play and perhaps I have forgotten some of the basic points which I researched since the first episode so watching them in action while some funny rules applied left me with lots of question marks. But it is not the game that made this season interesting and retained my interest like the last one. It is the interaction between the players especially Mizusawa. However this time round there is not much focus given to the character development because we already know the relationship between the main quintet so there is nothing much to tell. We are also familiar with the kind of roles they play like Tsutomu and his data and Kanade’s love for poems. Maybe just a little about Chihaya and Taichi. We see them improve in their karuta skills and especially Chihaya trying to act more like a club captain this time round. Though, Taichi is still the more efficient one. Chihaya really loves the game so much that she is just thankful for the newcomers, thankful that her opponents went all out against her, thankful her team finally became champions, thankful for this, thankful for that. If she had not got that finger injury, could she have bested Shinobu? Or at least lost by a close margin? Who knows for it could be a blessing in disguise. Taichi has finally moved up to Class A but catching up with Chihaya or Arata is another different matter.

Even the romance part didn’t go anywhere. Hah. You don’t expect to watch this show for the romance, didn’t you? Well, maybe somewhere deep down in my heart that I hope there would be something little like that even if it was just for a couple of seconds and forgettable. Perhaps not. Looks like these people devote their love to karuta first. No time to think about if that person loves you or not. Even if Chihaya says she loves Arata, I am thinking that is only in the karuta sense. She loves him as the Arata who loves playing karuta. If I remember, the other guys had this secret about liking Kanade, right? Maybe not this time. Makoto for Rion then? Despite how funny it is seeing that guy flustering with his own revelation that he might be the one who is in love with her after all these years, he still can perform well in his game. So is it love or just infatuation? Not that Rion notices it either. Emuro for Sakurazawa? That’s just being a pervert. Probably he needs fast fingers if he needs to grope… Whoops…

Despite Mizusawa finding 2 new recruits, somehow when the tournament begins, I feel that they aren’t as significant as they debut. Sure, they are amateurs and who would want to risk putting them in for important matches? Well, they did have their chance but it is the experienced main quintet that made the difference. Sumire is just a girl who wants to capture Taichi’s heart and she’s using karuta to do that. I’m sure this is love flow: Sumire -> Taichi -> Chihaya -> Arata. Something tells me it won’t go the other way. Whether or not her interest in karuta blooms genuinely has yet to be seen. But will she so that she could be with Taichi? Class A and Class D seem to be very far… Tsukuba loves to brag to his brothers. So much so he could become a liar for it. And when he gets his chance, he panics. It’s like as though he can’t walk the talk. But he finally manages to advance to the next class so it proves he still has some mettle in him. His tongue expression is both creepy and funny. What happened to that? He can’t do it when he is under pressure, I guess. Both these new characters I feel have been reduced to just spectators as the important matches get underway. Just like Miyauchi herself. As the club’s advisor, she is there to provide support to her club but that is so much about her role in this season. Many of the other characters from the first season too like Harada and Kanade’s mom aren’t featured so prominently mainly because as I said, this entire season is predominantly on the high school Nationals. Some characters like Taichi’s mom whom Chihaya could never get along with and Yumi are not even featured.

Arata’s presence seems better this time. Unlike the last season, he was just some chap back in his Fukui hometown but now he is taking proactive steps back to return to the karuta world. Despite having gone from the scene for around a year and a half, he still hasn’t lost his touch as he always remembers his karuta roots especially his fateful meeting with Chihaya. Genius? Talent? Arata did put in the effort in his foundation and also during his timeout so it’s just a matter of time before he blooms beautifully. Shinobu’s lost to Arata I hope would make her open her eyes that she has been obnoxious over the years of staying undefeated. With nobody coming close to a challenge at her at the top, it is easy to become bored and form some sort of delusion that those who play team karuta matches do not love the game. I think what is important is if you yourself have the passion and love for the game. Skill and others come later. Hah. This coming from a guy who doesn’t even play karuta or even know much about the game. But what the Queen lost was just her throne so I don’t think she will drastically change otherwise. Unless you count that at the end of last season she turned fat and then suddenly slimmed down again.

Other new characters are quirky itself and memorable in its own way. It shows that despite karuta is a serious game that needs lots of focus and skill, there are people from all walks of life that play and love the game. Take the main Fujisaki team for instance. You’ve already got a pervert, an anime guy, a pretty boy and an emotionless girl in the line-up. Sakurazawa may have that look of a snobbish coach and she has a monotonous voice whenever she speaks but she is a good karuta analyzer and is willing to help those who have high potential like Chihaya. Then there is Megumu with her cutie face but what she says can’t really hurt despite saying in a nice tone. Also, a bunch of foreigners who speak fluent Japanese. Karuta sure attracts weird people from all over, eh?

One of the comical points that I find likeable in this series are the short little words in kanji or hiragana appearing at the side of the characters. I’m not sure how to explain it well but I’ll try. While we have some conversation or the action in the front, in the background or the side there could be other characters or other things and sometimes these little words would pop up and serve as a comic relief and make you smile for a while. For example, when Akashi’s manly male advisor is ranting away about his girls doing well, notice sitting next to him is Sakurazawa with her monotonous face focusing on watching the game and then those words of “Ignoring him…” pop up. Get the picture? Many of such little instances happen in this series so in a way it makes the long match partly enjoyable because of this small comic distraction. Sometimes it may not be in words or just the facial expression of the characters. Like that appalling flabbergasted look on their face that they can’t believe the ridiculousness of what that person said.

All of last season’s seiyuus are returned with new ones being added such as Megumi Han as Sumire (Gon in Hunter x Hunter 2011), Miyu Irino as Tsukuba (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Megumi Hayashibara as Sakurazawa (Lina in Slayers series), Ayahi Takagi as Rion (Rika in Sword Art Online), Sachi Matsumoto as Megumu (Yuuhi in Yozakura Quartet) and Mitsuki Saiga as Makoto (Phantom in MAR). Just like last season, the opening and ending themes are sung by the same group of people and they have this similar feel too. The opening theme, Star by 99RadioService is a lively rock piece that would possibly get you into the action pace of karuta. Asami Seto sings the ending theme, Akanezora and is a slow ballad just like last time. However this time it doesn’t bring to mind that she sounds like Madonna despite her voice remaining the same. Maybe I didn’t strain my ears as much as I did the last time… Also, the art and drawing are the same and from last season, that annoying white strip of line as the characters’ sideburns at certain angles is still present. It still annoys me but somehow I was more focused in the show so I didn’t notice it as much as before.

Sometimes the way they swing their hands to take the card and shown it in an exaggerated manner is also an amusing watch. It’s really fast that you can’t see (so they slow it down for us). It’s really furious the way they go in for the kill. It would be a big joke if the card flown away gets stuck in someone’s forehead. Or fly into the reader’s mouth. And the karuta players have this super sensitive hearing that they can tell what the next word is going to be read even before the reader says the first syllable. I mean, there are only 100 poems. How bad can it get? Bad for a person who can’t memorize even a few lines of one poem. So sharp their hearing that they could be the next spy agent when they retire. So quick their reflexes that they could beat hands down in a quick draw of the Wild West. So good their memorization skills that they could probably remember the entire country’s law and all the articles. Maybe if it was done karuta style, they could do it. The only thing I learnt was to take good care of my fingers. Because seeing Chihaya’s stitched fingers was enough to give me the creeps! I hope I don’t have such a condition because I type a lot of my anime blogs. Now I try to type slowly and gently and not so fast and furious…

Little Busters OVA

March 14, 2014

You know Little Busters was supposed to be a group of high school students forming a baseball club and thus the expectations of seeing them in baseball-like training or activities, right? But you know, that wasn’t the case in the TV series. Little Busters OVA is something like that too. It has nothing to do with baseball whatsoever. Just another one of those entertaining fillers that has nothing to do with the original plot or storyline of the series. And it is a way for me to get myself started before I watch the second season despite it is long over.

I Will Protect The World Of Saito!
Masato is not happy that his nickname is now Space Idiot. This has Kyousuke suggests to start up the battle ranking system whereby you can only challenge the person who ranks above you. The winner takes the higher rank. Currently the ranking is as follows from top to bottom: Kengo, Rin, Masato, Kyousuke, Komari, Kurugaya, Haruka, Kud, Mio and finally Riki. Why is Riki last? Because it is more exciting that way. Masato challenges Rin and surprisingly the former won! I guess Rin was trying to make some paper airplane which took an awful long time. However Masato is devastated that the rules of changing nicknames remain the same. This means only losers can be given nicknames. I guess Masato is still a Space Idiot. But it won’t take long before Rin gets her revenge. Mio observes Kurugaya as always enjoying herself. She is envious and asks what she can do to be more like her. She suggests imitating Komari. And so begins Mio’s quest to observe and act like Komari, which creeps out that timid girl. Of course this is part of Kurugaya’s pranks to watch and enjoy the cuteness of it all. She didn’t even bat an eyelid when she admits this to Riki. Since it’s not working, she suggests Mio to tell off Masato he is dog vomit. WTF. But she does it anyway. And it seems Rin is also imitating what Mio says, causing Komari to be freaked out. So Riki’s battle with Mio begins. Mio has the backing of her science club led by Mad Suzuki. Nobody cares about his ranting. Just get it started. Anyway, Riki won. Kud then asks Kurugaya for advice to be cool like her. As usual, Kud believes her suggestion of starting her sentences with “God damn” and ending it with “Touch me and I’ll beat the crap out of you”. Doesn’t she get tired saying all that all the time? It’s scaring off Komari again… She uses the same sentence talking to Kurugaya but with her fierce face, she backs off. Then it’s Kud’s battle with Riki. Roller brush versus super liquid glue? Oh. Riki won. Haruka and Kud seek advice from Kurugaya about getting bigger breasts. How are you going to do that if you’re born with such body? But she did advice that it is important to put in effort. Looks like the flat ones will have a mountain to climb. Mio measures Haruka’s boobs. Haruka’s electric toothbrush against Riki’s industrial tape… Who wins? Riki of course. Don’t ask. Kurugaya knows she is next and anticipates Riki. However she gets attacked by somebody else while waiting for him.

Riki is surprised to see Kurugaya’s rank dropped. She has been attacked by a mysterious newcomer called Mask The Saito who claims he will protect the world of Saito. Mask The Saito is fast moving up the ranking and defeats Komari before Riki could act. He gets a warning call from Kyousuke to stay sharp but he already gets done in followed by Masato. Riki and Kengo protect Rin knowing she will be the next target. But when Rin goes after her cat, the guys split up to find her. Next thing Riki knows, Rin and Kengo are defeated at the same time! It’s Rin’s turn to seek Kurugaya’s advice. Yeah. She doesn’t even know what to ask but Kurugaya could tell it’s something about human relationship. Try this one. When Komari says “Yup”, end your sentences with “Oop”. And when that really happens, Komari runs away in tears. Again. Why does this always happen to her? Rin blames Kurugaya for tricking her so she says what she needs is the resolve to make her own judgment. She should try harder with her own efforts next time. Oh, Mio is still saying Masato is a dog vomit… That evening… Mask The Saito confronts Riki for a challenge. Well, we all can tell it’s Kyousuke behind that mask, can’t we? His aim? To decide on the Saito among Saitos in this world. Whatever. He tries to provoke Riki into the match like this mask is the symbol of strength. I guess he has no choice. Mask The Saito’s boxing gloves against Riki’s tweezers. The crowd is building up and excitedly anticipating this match. Riki loses his weapon and is an inch away from losing when Komari happen to walk into a scene, reading an emotional story to Rin. The effect causes Mask The Saito to lose himself and gets emotional. He declares Riki the winner. With the crowd cheering, Mask The Saito takes off his mask. Why am I not surprised he is Kyousuke? He gives Riki to put on the mask. Can’t see a thing. Everyone starts throwing Riki in the air and chanting his name (Saito). Lastly, Komari is now talking to Kurugaya. She relates her problem of everyone saying and doing strange things to her. Her reply? It was all her imagination. Yup. She buys that.

Nothing Is Given So Freely As (Hoax) Advice…
Still funny and enjoyable in its own way. Because I am not really familiar with the world of Little Busters, I do not really understand the significance of Mask The Saito. I am not sure what Kyousuke is trying to pull by becoming such character, especially about that protecting this Saito world. What or who is this Saito anyway? The only reason why I think Kyousuke start up this battle ranking system and let Riki fight his way up is because to let him take over the leadership once Kyousuke graduates. Come to think of it, is everything pre-planned by Kyousuke? I know he faked his own defeat but the timing of the defeats of the others (I believe they won’t go down that easily unless…) and the way it ended. That sad story felt like an excuse just to hand over the victory to Riki. The other amusing story that was running concurrently with this OVA is Kurugaya’s advices to the other girls. It’s amusing to see the girls taking her advice seriously and with hilarious results. I’m sure Kurugaya enjoys watching it as much as we do. Even if we don’t laugh out loud, at least it makes us smile and chuckle at the gullibility of the advice seekers. Hey, at least this shows they really trust her as a friend and are willing to do it for self improvement. Ultimately, I think Kurugaya is trying to teach them to think for themselves instead of following blindly. Something I feel Mio has yet to learn as she is still doing that dog vomit thingy… Oh, I believe we have not seen this much fanservice in the series before. Especially when the girls seek Kurugaya’s advice, it is either they are changing clothes or soaking in the bath. Nothing explicit but the TV series does not have such fanservice to begin with. So if you ask my opinion if you want to watch this OVA, you need to run 10 laps around the field, drink 10 bottles of milk in one sitting, do sit ups at 3am while listening to classical music, borrow a striped panties and say to 20 people “I am an idiot!” with full of passion. Really? What do you mean it is just as simple as sitting down and turning on your device to watch it? See? You’re already getting smarter.

Girls Und Panzer

March 9, 2014

Are girls hot and sexy when they are paired with an automobile? For instance, girls and bikes. They look hot, don’t they? Yeah. It’s not the bike that we’re really looking at, aren’t we? What about girls and fast sports cars? Also hot and sizzling too, no? But what about girls and tanks? Girls and tanks, you say? Sorry if my several opening sentences end in questions but don’t you find anything turned on when a girl rides a tank? No? Well, perhaps Girls Und Panzer would change your mind. Imagine cute high school girls packing such power riding such armoured vehicles. What’s not to love? But seriously. High school girls riding tanks? Odd. Yeah. In anime they can make something out of nothing. War has ended so why the need for girls to drive tanks and shoot at each other? That’s because it’s not a war. It’s for sports! As I found out, Panzer Fahren (tank battle) is a relatively new sport founded somewhere in 2009 and only played by a handful of European nations. You drive real tanks around playing mock battles depending on the form of game play. But how many nations have got tanks to ‘waste’? They cost a lot right even if it’s only for sports. I suppose if you want to drive interest in this new sport, the best way is to turn it into anime (like how they try to do it with karuta. I think). And better still, you use cute high school girls to do it. Shouldn’t they have better girly things to do at their age? Like go shopping, gossip about boyfriends? I suppose that’s what separate tank nerds and tank nots. Now do you find girls and tanks hot and sexy?

Episode 1
We are given an exciting first person view of the girls in a Panzer Fahren match as our heroines engage the enemy. Now we go back in time. Miho Nishizumi wakes up and makes her way her to Ooarai Girls High School. She looks like the loner type till classmates Hana Isuzu and Saori Takebe invite her to join them. They become good friends but suddenly the student council trio, Anzu Kadotani (president), Momo Kawashima (PR manager) and Yuzu Koyama (vice president) approach Miho. Seems they are trying to pressure her into taking the Senshadou (Panzer Fahren) curriculum elective. Although this school doesn’t have such elective before, they plan on reviving it and want her to join. Miho sinks into absolute shock because she attended this school as it doesn’t have Senshadou. Yeah. Her shock face is like as though she killed somebody. So her friends try to give her some support as they learn Miho’s history. She comes from a family with a long reputable history in Senshadou. Miho doesn’t have nice memories of it. Suddenly the student council announces all students to gather in the hall. Despite being a reminder to choose their electives, it is a blatant propaganda and introduction to Senshadou. So, studying Senshadou makes you more womanly? Attracts more guys? WTF. They even mention the tremendous rewards of food coupons and tripling credits of all subjects to the one with the highest grades in Senshadou. Very tempting, right? Eventually Miho just can’t do it and selects flower arrangement. Her friends initially picked Senshadou but cancel it just to follow Miho. Think everything will be fine? That’s because Miho is called to the student council’s room to explain herself of her non-selection of Senshadou. So she doesn’t have the freedom to choose? They even threaten her of expulsion! Her friends stand up and fight for her. Miho sees how hard they are trying to support her so she grits her teeth and decides to take up Senshadou. There. Happy? And so all those who picked this elective gather at the field. Including the student council members, there are 21 students for Senshadou. I don’t know. The rest look like oddballs. What the heck is the volleyball team doing here? Notice half a dozen of lolis? And there’s this rekijo (female historian buffs) group… Never in your wildest dream would you think such groups would show interest in tanks. But then again, it could have been much worse… They are shown a rundown tank in the garage. Rusting away… But the girls are in awe…

Episode 2
As they are split into 5 teams, the rest are ordered to find 4 missing tanks scattered throughout this gigantic city ship. Miho and friends begin their search. Where to begin? Along the way, they meet tank enthusiast (she knows everything about them, trust me), Yukari Akiyama who is eager to join them. Soon all the teams find the tanks (sitting in odd places? Cave? Dump site? Underwater?) and they keep what they find. Now they got to clean and restore it. Poor Yuzu is doing all the hard work while Anzu and Momo just bum their ass off… At the end of the day, Miho and co head to a tank specialized shop. They see on the news, Miho’s sister, Maho who has been selected to represent the nation for Panzer Fahren. Miho looks gloomy… Then everyone gathers at Miho’s apartment for dinner. Next day as Miho goes to school, she sees a girl, Mako Reizei having trouble trying to make her way to school. Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy… Somehow they make it but the public morals committee member, Midoriko Sono AKA Sodoko is not amused. This is the 245th straight time Mako is late! Is this a world record? The Senshadou girls eagerly await their new instructor, Ami Chouno from the special training association. I’m sure everyone is awed at her grand debut with her tank diving down from the plane. Too bad the principal’s car got smashed… Ami recognizes Miho since her sister is famous but Miho isn’t really thrilled. Ami has the teams do a full mock battle and sets out their starting points. The teams also assign its members to positions. I wonder why the inequality of number of members in a team. Though there is no restriction, loli team has got 6 people, the most number while student council team has the least with 3. The rest have 4 each. As there are 5 positions, Saori becomes the commander, Hana the driver, Yukari the gunner and Miho taking on both the loader and radio operator roles. Once all teams are in position, the mock battle rule is simple. Immobilize all other teams and the last one standing wins. Heroine team (my term for Miho’s group) is suddenly attacked by volleyball team (missed by an inch). Rekijo team sees this opportunity to cooperate with volleyball team to take out heroine team. As they run, they see Mako sleeping right in their path!

Episode 3
Mako suddenly gets up and jumps onto their tank! Saori knows her because they are childhood friends. They are now at a bridge. As they try to cross it, their rivals fire on them and almost cause the tank to lose balance. The impact knocks out Hana. Everyone is surprised that Mako can easily drive the tank after just reading the manual. With Miho’s strategy, Yukari fires a shot and it directly hits rekijo team to take them out of the game. Volleyball team panics and then goes out after heroine team fires a direct shot at them. Coming from the other side of the bridge is student council team. Momo turns into a bloodthirsty trigger happy crazy b*tch! Fire! Fire! Fire! Too bad heroine team was faster and puts them out of commission. Worse, how the heck could Momo miss?! Loli team gets scared and wants to retreat but their tank got stuck in the mud and their engine blew! I guess heroine team wins! Before Ami returns, she congratulates the teams for a fine job and to contact her if there is anything. While heroine team soaks in a well deserved hot bath, they think of repositioning themselves. As reluctant Miho may be, she is made the commander because of her awesome strategy. Hana wants to be the gunner since she loves the ‘warm feeling’ when firing a cannon! Saori will be the radio operator since she is good in texting. That’s almost the same, right? Hana will be the loader and this means Mako the driver, no? However Mako is not interested in joining till she is reminded of her lack in credits. Is this blackmail? The girls go shopping to spice up their tanks. Comfy cushions, slippers, interior decorations… Hey, if they’re going to spend most of their time in the tank, might as well make it as comfortable as possible. They also wanted to go with a new paint of coat but ditched the idea. However the other teams did theirs. Urm… Pink tank? Gold tank? Well, screw camouflage. At least they can tell each other apart. The Senshadou girls continue to practice operating their tanks and how to read instruments.

As announced, there will be a friendly battle this weekend with Saint Gloriana Girls’ Academy. They were runners up in the national tournament before. Because meeting time is at 6am, Mako wants to quit! She can’t wake up that early! Blackmail… Credit points… Grandma and Winston Churchill… I didn’t get that one but it made Mako reluctantly revise her decision. All the team leaders are in the briefing as Momo strategizes the enemy’s tanks. Miho’s guts tell her it will backfire and this pisses off Momo as she tells her off to take command then. Maybe she will, as Anzu suggests. And so she did. Win, and she will be rewarded well. Lose, she’ll do some embarrassing anglerfish dance in some public festival. I don’t know how preposterous that dance is but her teammates aren’t thrilled and acting like it’s the end of the world. So they just need to win to avoid that, right? Come Sunday, Saori tries to wake up Mako but it’s impossible. All the alarm clocks couldn’t do the job so what makes Saori think she can haul her ass out from her futon? Till Miho drives her tank through the streets and fires a blank shot! Is this legal? Everyone thought some earthquake just happened. The ships dock on land so they can have the friendly. It’s like a festival with stalls setup and other attractions. Like attending a Formula One race, huh? Ooarai meet their St Gloriana counterparts, led by Darjeeling. The official flags off the match to begin.

Episode 4
Remember that scene at the beginning of the first episode? It’s here now. Continuing from there, heroine team becomes the decoy to lure St Gloriana into an ambush pit where the others are waiting. Stupid Momo is so hard up on firing that she almost shot heroine team when they arrive. St Gloriana knows this is a trap but remains cool and plays along. Despite Ooarai firing away, I don’t how they could even miss so St Gloriana surrounds them and starts firing! Loli team panics and abandons ship! Student council team’s tank track becomes loose so they are immobilized (but not out). Miho takes the other teams to escape through the city. This is where they’ll put their knowledge of the roads into good use. Rekijo team hides in the tight alley and when a St Gloriana tank passes, they fire on them, instantly taking them out. Another St Gloriana tank falls into a trap because volleyball team is actually hiding behind them. Fire away! However… I think their pea shooter wasn’t powerful enough so they got fired back. Ouch. I guess they’re out. Rekijo team loves their flags, right? So it’s sticking out like a sore thumb from their tanks that it makes them so visible. And that’s why they got taken out by the enemy right across the fence. Heroine team is left and there is a daunting task of taking out 4 enemy tanks. St Gloriana chases them and smashes into a few shops. But the owners are glad because they can use compensation money to renovate! Crash into my shop too! Heroine team is cornered at a dead end when suddenly student council team barges into the scene. Momo fires at point blank range and… MISSES!!! HOW THE HELL COULD SHE MISS AT SUCH CLOSE RANGE!!! Thanks to her blunder, student council team got hit point blank. Out. But this gives heroine team time to escape. While doing so, they manage to fire and take out one. Using the corners to their advantage, heroine team swiftly attacks an enemy tank at the turn and the quickly reverses to take out another. Now they have to face the final boss but Darjeeling’s tank’s armour is thicker. Miho’s tactic is to play chicken (or so it seems to me). When both tanks are side by side, they fire at the same time. However heroine team’s thinner armour means they lost. At the end of the day, Darjeeling praises Miho and notes she is different from Maho. Since they lost, it’s the anglerfish dance, right? Since it is a collective lost, everybody has to do it! Oh God…

As heroine team walks through town, Saori thought a handsome guy spotted her. To her embarrassment, Shinzaburou is Hana’s family’s servant and he is happy to see his milady fine. Hana’s mom is here too. However after Yukari’s slip of her tongue reveals they are in Senshadou, mommy smells Hana’s hand and to her horror realizes she is really taking up such course instead of following the family tradition of flower arrangement. So in shock that she collapses! Back at their mansion, the friends eavesdrop Hana’s conversation with her mom. Hana felt something was missing when she did flower arrangement and wants to work with stronger flowers. Mother couldn’t believe her gentle nature is gone and views tanks as crude and ugly. Hana is determined to follow this path so mother tells her never to show her face here again. Goodbye. Hana isn’t sad as she hopes to present her with an appropriate flower one day. The rest of the girls are cool but Shinzaburou… He turned into a real cry-baby. When they get back on ship, loli team sincerely apologizes to them for abandoning their tank. They promise to their best next time and Anzu will leave the strategies to Miho. St Gloriana sends them a tea set, a sign that they are worthy opponents. And so it’s time for the Nationals. 16 high school teams will fight it out and Miho picks up Saunders University High School. Well, let’s say they are one of the favourites to win the title. Tough opponent right from the start, eh?

Episode 5
Heroine team is eating out at a panzer themed café. Walking in is Maho and her second in command, Erika Itsumi. Miho becomes gloomy when Maho comments she is still doing Senshadou. Erika didn’t waste time to insult and badmouth Ooarai but Mako has equal sarcasm to match it and shut her up. I guess the only way is to take it out on the battlefield. If Ooarai get to advance, that is. Later, Miho laments if she had information of Saunders’ line-up, she could at least come up with some strategy. And so Yukari didn’t show up in school the next day so her friends visit her family barber shop. Her father is extremely annoying in accepting them to a point it’s creepy. Grateful for the first friends to visit Yukari, I take? Yukari sneaks in back via window. Seems she has snuck into Saunders’ ship to collect valuable information with her hidden camera. She disguised and infiltrated their school while they were having a tactical meeting. Because there were too many students, I guess nobody could recognize her so much so she could ask questions and got some answers. Till one of them didn’t recognize her as a student. Once her cover was blown, she escapes. Yukari hopes Miho could use the details to come up with some tactics. Battle day arrives. Ooarai meet their Saunders counterparts. Their leader, Kei recognizes Yukari as the imposter but welcomes her. They invite Ooarai to their mobile stall trucks that offer lots of facilities and food stuffs. Rich people… I’m not sure about the Panzer Fahren rules but Saunders is employing some old rules that allow them up to the maximum of 10 tanks! Though, they are all the same Sherman type with limited ammo. Each team will assign a flag tank. Taking out that flag panzer means victory for the team. It’s just like capture the flag math. Miho puts forth her strategy. However it hits a snag when loli team are surrounded by the enemy in the forest. Heroine team and student council team rendezvous with them to escape but Saunders tanks are hot on their trail. Ooarai is completely surrounded but Miho suggests a bold move to just continue pressing forward. The gamble pays off as they barely scrape through. As they rest, Miho senses something amiss. It’s like the enemy knew their moves. Then she realizes it. The enemy may have intercepted their radio communications by planting a device in the weather balloon. Though the rules say nothing on this, I guess this shows that money is power. Saunders continues to eavesdrop Ooarai’s conversation. It leads them to believe where their flag tank is. A strategy is made to take it out. A couple of Sherman tanks arrive at the supposed place but rekijo team fires and takes out one of them! The other manages to escape. Saunders and the audience are left surprised that Ooarai took out a Saunders tank. How did they do it? Well, the girls communicated via own handphone and the one via radio was just baiting. Smart.

Episode 5.5
Wait a minute?! A recap episode? After 5 episodes? Anyway, for those with bad memory, mainly narrated by Miho and Yukari, it tells how Miho tried to get away from Senshadou by enrolling into Ooarai but was lured back into it. She also introduces her friends and the other Senshadou mates. I suppose it is interesting to see some of their bio-data but seriously, are we interested to see what kind of flower or tank they like? And why didn’t they include the all-important 3 sizes?! Oops… Of course as we progress through the different matches heroine team played so far, we are given trivial information of the tanks that have appeared and their main features. So I’ve wasted almost half an hour of my time on this recap with recycled scenes. At least put some new scenes lah! Now can we get back to action?

Episode 6
Arisa, the one responsible for eavesdropping on Ooarai isn’t going to lose so she continues searching the waves to eavesdrop further. Then she hits it. She hears their next plan to gather on the hill and informs Kei and the rest to head there. But nobody’s there? Sure she got her info right? Suddenly volleyball team pops up before Arisa’s tank. Oh no! Although Arisa’s team is the flag tank, volleyball team’s firepower is not good enough to take it out so they run. They throw smokescreen to blind their vision as they try to rendezvous back to the rest. When the smoke clears up, Arisa realizes they have walked into their trap because the other Ooarai tanks are firing at them! I know Momo will always miss but the rest? Man, Arisa is lucky. Run! We see Arisa’s true colours. She turns into a panicky slave driver, forcing her teammates to do this and that just to get their ass out of this trap. She’s even ranting about her boyfriend problems! Not enough space to yell inside? Go outside and scream all you want! Ooarai is hot on Arisa’s tail as she seeks backup. Kei learns about her eavesdropping and is not too pleased she isn’t playing fair. To even the odds, Kei wants another 3 tanks to follow them so it will be 5 on 5. When the cavalry arrives, you can see the relief on Arisa’s face. So it’s like one big chase or game of tag. Kei’s Saunders chasing Ooarai chasing Arisa. Unfortunately, volleyball team got taken out followed by loli team. Ooarai’s morale is all-time low especially Momo. In addition to being a bad shot, she’s such a negative person. Well, maybe it’s because student council team is the flag tank sandwiched between heroine team and rekijo team as they try to outrun their pursuers and also nail the enemy’s flag.

As they approach a hilltop, Miho devises a strategy to shoot from the top. They have a better chance but it is risky. Kei’s team foresees this and she leaves it to Naomi to take out heroine team. Thanks to Miho’s instinct, she has Mako slam on the brakes in time before being hit by Naomi’s shell. Because their reloading takes time, this crucial time will determine they nail it or lose it. Hana focuses her aim and fires a single shot. Arisa’s team takes a direct hit seconds before Naomi takes out heroine team. Ooarai wins! The Ooarai girls are jumping with joy especially with their upset victory over the favourites. Kei congratulates Miho for putting up a good game as it was fun. She also apologizes for the eavesdropping on her comrade’s part. She believes in practising fair play because if you’re not a good person, your tank will cry. I guess everybody is happy in the end. Except for Arisa. She’s going to get an earful. Mako suddenly gets a call that her grandma is hospitalized after falling down. But they have to get back to the ship. Desperate Mako is going to swim when Maho offers to take her there in her helicopter. Why the long face everybody? If not happy then don’t do so lah. But I guess it is no time to argue about whatever petty things. Saori accompanies Mako onto the helicopter. Personal problems aside, the rest have got the next matches Senshadou to worry about. Favourites Pravda High School and Kuromorimine Girls’ College (Maho’s team) secure crushing victories over their opponents. Ooarai’s next opponent will be Anzio High School.

Episode 7
When Miho and co visit the hospital, they hear grandma screaming her lungs off reprimanding Mako! Well, it’s a good sign that she’s doing well but I think at this rate her blood pressure will shoot through the roof. Maybe she doesn’t like it here too. When they leave, grandma politely tells Miho that Mako lacks courtesy and to take care of her. Back on board the ship, Miho thinks deep that everyone has their own problems. Miho explains Mako and her grandma used to fight a lot and she regrets never having the chance to properly apologize. This has Miho remember her own family problem. Mommy wants her to be in Senshadou because of their family name. In school, due to their first round victory, the student council must have put up banners about their advancement. Maybe they’ll get noticed this way. Miho and her friends eat together with their tank. Miho has always thought winning was the only important thing. But now she realizes that with her friends, Senshadou has a pretty fun and exciting side to it. Because of her mentality that winning was everything, it was the reason Miho ran away from Panzer. She remembers a match she lost. It was raining heavily and her team trekking precariously on the cliffs. When a teammate was shot, the tank slid down the cliffs and into the river. Miho abandoned her tank just to go save them. They lost because Miho’s tank was the flag and got shot soon after. The Senshadou girls continue to practice and improve their skills (I think some really need more improvement – like Momo’s aim). But the important thing is that they all have the motivation and spirit.

Seems Miho is the person to go to when they have problems and need her advice. Including love problems! Boyfriends running away because of tanks? Who would want a girl who has the ability to point the cannon in their face? Thankfully Miho’s friends help lighten her load and offer to give the other teams advice. Hana helps the student council with the paper work, Mako teaches the volleyball team how to drive better (just read the manual!), Yukari tells all she knows about tanks to rekijo team while Saori becomes the love advice master to loli team (despite she herself have never dated any guy). Hana goes through the documents and based on them, there are extra tanks lying around. They split into team to search for them but it seems they are scattered in a few parts. Saori and loli team didn’t come back in time and they receive message that they are lost. Anzu hands Miho the map of the ship to Miho so she can lead a search party. Mako is afraid of ghosts more than waking up early… Eventually lady luck has them find the lost girls. But they notice another tank of where they are holing up. As everybody soaks in the hot bath, Momo announces their new tanks and gadgets won’t be ready in time for the next match. She has Miho do the closing lines by rallying up everybody’s spirits. Looks like they’re up to it. And so we see Ooarai defeating the Italian-like Anzio team. WTF??!!! WHAT THE HELL!!! I feel cheated and robbed! I waited an entire episode for some Senshadou match and they just show me 2 seconds clip of the end result! WTF?! I want my Ooarai-Anzio match!!!

Episode 8
With the new tank fixed up, it seems we have a new group of girls joining Senshadou to make a sixth team. It is Sodoko and her public morals girls. Are they triplets or something? And Mako is made to be her driving teacher… Momo seems to be quite fixated in winning the semi-finals against Pravda who was last year’s champion when the other girls think they could slack or give up. Later Anzu has Miho come to their place as there is something they want to tell her. However they went around the bush, changing the subject and showed the great times the student council trio had together. In the end they couldn’t tell her because they don’t want to burden her and to let her look forward to the match instead of shrinking in fear. The match with Pravda is about to begin and takes place on the icy cold land. Ooarai is approached by Pravda’s little bratty commander, Katyusha. She is arrogant and even sits on top of her vice commander’s shoulder, Nonna just so that she could feel taller and higher than them. I guess at such height, is it no wonder why everybody looks down on her? Ooarai don’t like her one. Katyusha spots Miho and recognizes her. She thanks her for last year because without her help, they would never have become champions. Before the match starts, Miho wants to take a more defensive approach to fight Pravda but her team is so motivated to go all out on the offensive. Miho agrees to quickly take out the enemy since prolonged battle in snow would only work in their favour as the Russian-like Pravda works best in snowy terrain. You think Ooarai now has an extra tank at their disposal? Why, Pravda has 15 tanks! Is there a limit to how many tanks you can field? Number wise, isn’t this unfair? Oh, here comes the Pravda team. They’re so ‘cool’ that they’ve got their own theme song! But it’s mainly on Katyusha.

Ooarai pushes forward and realizes the enemy has spotted them when they fire. They fire back and easily take out a couple of them. Miho is cautious since this is too easy. When one of the tanks retreats, everyone chases after it. They are in so high spirits thinking favour is on their side that they disregard Miho’s order to hold their ground. Eventually they are drawn into a small village as the Ooarai tanks try to shoot the flag tank which is playing hide and seek among the buildings. While they are so engrossed in taking down their target, they did not realize the other Pravda tanks are slowly popping out from their hiding and surrounding them. Miho realizes they have fallen into their trap and quickly orders her team to retreat and take refuge in a nearby big building. I’m not sure if the cold winter or is it Pravda’s bad shot (perhaps intentionally too) that none of Ooarai tanks gets shot. After safely retreating into the building, Pravda sends a couple of reps to give Ooarai a message from Katyusha. She wants them to surrender by kneeling before her and will wait for 3 hours the most. Some want to fight to the end while others think they have done well to reach here and had fun. But Momo becomes agitated they can’t lose now. Miho tries to calm her down that Senshadou is just a game and not war. There is more to winning and for Miho she has made great friends and loved this school and the club. Well, can you say that once the school shuts down after they lose? Eh… Say what? That’s right. If they don’t win this tournament, Ooarai will close down.

Episode 9
When the student council went to see some minister, they were told the school will be shut down due to declining enrolment and no notable activities. He noted Senshadou was once popular in this school so Anzu thought of reviving it and that they won’t close down a school if they become champions. That’s why Anzu thought they wanted to keep hoping instead of crying in their last year. The girls feel sad over the fate of their school but Miho’s encouragement has them lift their spirits so they are going to use the 3 hours to fix whatever is broken. They’re going to fight till the end. She also sends some scouts to verify the location of the enemy tanks so she can devise a strategy. But morale is running low again when they are running out of food and warmth. They can see their Russian counterparts having a nice borsch meal and doing a Cossack dance around the fire! Morale drops to all time low thinking about their school’s closure. Miho starts doing the anglerfish dance to motivate them. Isn’t this embarrassing dance just counterproductive? In order not to let her bear the shame, everyone starts doing it too! They are spotted by a Pravda scout who is here to tell them time is up. So what’s it going to be? No surrender. I guess Katyusha waited for nothing. Ooarai tanks burst out of the building in a straight line. They surprise Katyusha by heading towards her direction, a heavily guarded area. I guess you can thank the worsening weather for the bad vision and bad shots. Anzu takes over Momo for the gunner position and decides to do some solo move. Due to the thick armour of the Pravda tanks, the only chance they have is to fire at point blank. So this means Yuzu has to drive up real close to them. After several cool manoeuvres and shots fired, student council team only managed to take out 2 Pravda tanks before being blown away.

The crowd is rooting for Ooarai the underdog as they continue to make their getaway with Pravda hot on their heels. Katyusha is so infatuated in chasing down their flag tank (volleyball team’s tank) that she doesn’t care or account a couple of Ooarai’s tanks just went ‘missing’ over the hill. Miho sends Yukari out so she can scout out enemy positions and their flag tank from a high tower. Heroine team and rekijo team are going after Pravda’s flag tank and will take them out while visibility is low so they leave it to the others to protect volleyball team. Unfortunately loli team and public morals team got taken out so volleyball team is left to fend themselves all alone in this scary ride. It’s amazing they manage to not get hit. Thank the bad weather. Pravda’s flag tank has been spotted so they start mobilizing. Their big cannon tank comes between them. Luckily their first shot misses and since it takes time to reload, they fire back and take it out. Yukari guides her teammates to corner Pravda’s flag tank. One of their tanks was hiding underneath the snow and takes it out but at the same time, volleyball team has been taken out too. So who was hit first?

Episode 10
Because the white flag on Pravda’s tank went up first, Ooarai wins! But of course. To show Katyusha isn’t a sore loser, she heads over to Miho and congratulates and shakes her hand. With Ooarai in the finals, their opponents will be Kuromorimine. Who else? The finals will allow up to 20 tanks! Does Ooarai have that many tanks? So the girls go on a ‘recruiting’ spree asking favours from the people to see if there are any abandoned tanks that they can salvage. Well they found one but despite its awesome firepower, it is horribly fragile. Gets stuck in mud easily, overheats easily and it’s on fire! Oh well, just make do with what they have. Because Miho asks the automotive club (who repairs and maintains their tanks) if they want to drive tanks, they accept the offer. Miho’s classmate, Nekota expresses her interest to join the club. But where to find another tank? Oh, there’s one sitting in the car park. Convenient? Nekota and her bunch of girls are online tank game nerds so they have some ‘experience’. Miho and friends take the day off and visit Hana who is taking part in a local flower exhibition. You can easily guess which flowers are hers. Yeah. See the tank shaped vases? They meet her mother there and it seems she has accepted her daughter embracing Senshadou because it made her a different person. On the day before the finals, Anzu gives her speech to her girls for moral support. She also has Miho give hers. She reveals she was once from Kuromorimine before transferring here but now considers Ooarai her home. That night, everyone do their stuffs and I thought it was pretty funny and superstitious to see them eating some kind of meal with katsudou in it. Saori shows her friends she has obtained second class licence as an amateur radio operator. Well, Mako had to pour cold water on it that she’s still an amateur. Saori’s next goal is to obtain a fiancée after the finals! Is she joking? She thinks Miho should get a boyfriend too. Well, aside that, Miho says she loves them all. Weird, right? Coming out from the mouth of a girl. Well, at least they aren’t yuri. Except maybe for Yukari.

On the day of the finals, Miho is visited by all the other teams she has defeated and also St Gloriana (who got defeated by Kuromorimine). Except maybe for Anzio because we never get to see them up close and personal. Still sore over that no-show… Anyway they are here to cheer on them. Before the match starts, the leader and vice of both teams meet to greet. Erika is still a b*tch and will put Miho and her team in place. We’ll see about that. But one of the Kuromorimine girls comes up to Miho to thank her. She was the one in the tank that fell into the river that Miho went to rescue (it caused them their title to Pravda). She feels guilty of letting her down and wanted to talk to her but she had left the school. But she is glad she has not abandoned Senshadou. Miho motivates her girls one more time and knows Kuromorimine would want to wipe them out fast with their number and firepower. So as the match begins, Ooarai girls can still chat like normal till they almost got hit by cannon fire! Seems Kuromorimine tanks have taken a shortcut through the forest and are firing all they’ve got. Plus, the forest hides their presence and Ooarai girls are in the open and sitting ducks. Erika is going to put Ooarai’s flag tank out of commission and gets ready to give the order to fire. Meanwhile online tank nerds team are having problem driving their tank. They didn’t know reality was harder than how the game operates. Duh… Because of that, they set the tank in reverse and took a shot from Erika’s fire and went out of the game. Their first appearance and this… But thankfully in a way they protected the flag tank, right?

Episode 10.5
WTF???!!! Another recap episode???!!! Why are they doing this me and also in the middle of an important match?! Just like the previous recap, we have Miho and Yukari narrating-cum-commenting on the-story-so-far. This time we have lots more trivia notes on the tanks despite the scenes re recycled. Also, new Ooarai teammates as well as the opponents they faced (the main characters only of course) are introduced (with the usual ‘uninteresting’ stats). Explained briefly as well are the match format (total annihilation which is equivalent to deathmatch in FPS and capture the flag) and the number of tanks limit introduced for the capture the flag format in the Nationals to allow smaller schools to participate. Also, some Butler System that allows Senshadou to be played safely and take into account how tanks go out based on the impact of the hit taken. Superb complicated stuffs. Otherwise… I think I just wasted another half hour. Back to the Ooarai-Kuromorimine match, please!

Episode 11
Ooarai uses smoke screen to shield their escape but Maho knows it’s a trap to waste their ammunition and orders her team not to fire. Ooarai escapes up the hill but Maho knows it will slow them down as they have a heavy tank. But to her surprise, the other tanks are dragging it up so Ooarai is making some headway to the top and continues to spill smoke screen all over the hilltop. Student council team stays behind and does some ambush, taking out 2 of Kuromorimine’s tanks. Then they run. Ooarai has taken a defensive position at the hilltop. When Maho gives the order to encircle them, Ooarai fires. No hits, seriously. Student council team is them given the green light to cause havoc. They drive up alongside Kuromorimine’s defence line! The opponents are taken by surprise as they try to get this little pest. Ooarai fires back but only manages to hit one. Then they all rush down with their last tank spewing smoke screen. Though Kuromorimine gives chase, their tanks are heavier and some of them have unreliable tracks and become immobilized. It will take time for them to get moving. Ooarai tanks are crossing the river but loli team’s engine dies. Miho is in a dilemma to push forward or to save them. Because if she chooses the latter, the enemy will come and they’ll be doomed. However her friends tell her to go save them and will look after the tank. Without hesitation, Miho ties a rope to herself and jumps to the loli team’s tank. I thought it looked unreal when she jumped. Did she enter some cheat code to ‘fly’? Everyone is amazed with Miho’s bravery as she chose friendship over advancing her tanks. That’s why they followed her. That’s why they want to win this to prove that her way is not wrong. Loli team’s tank is tied and pulled out of the river. Luckily their engine starts working again. Just in time to escape the incoming Kuromorimine tanks.

Ooarai tanks cross the tiny stone bridge and the automotive team use their skills to break it. This causes Kuromorimine to take a longer tour that will buy Ooarai some time. They are going to bring urban warfare to the game. Upon arriving in town, they spot a sole enemy tank and go after it thinking it would be a piece of cake. However it leads them into a trap because Kuromorimine has got one big mother tank! Maus is the heaviest tank in the world! Man, such a big mouse… How on Earth are you going to beat that! A single missed shot is enough to send you jumping! That’s what the student council team experienced. Public morals team fights back with their pea shooter, thinking this big mother is a big bully. They got a direct hit and turned turtle!!! OMG! Their tank is close to being destroyed! Even rekijo team too! I guess avenging your comrades isn’t such a good idea. Retreat while you still can! Oh, Kuromorimine are coming…

Episode 12
Now they’re employing a hit and run tactic but their shots are not enough to penetrate its thick armour. The mini enemy tank thinks they are safe hiding behind Maus but a stray shot hits them. Out they go. That’s what they get for being cocky. They need to end this or else urban warfare will get messier. Saori’s pessimism that they have a mountain to climb gives Miho an idea. She has student council team play chicken with it. Actually, they ram into Maus and jack it up! Now it is immobilized. Then, volleyball team rides up on it to block its turret from turning. With that, heroine team fires at the rear slit, which is the most vulnerable spot to put it out of commission! David(s) defeated Goliath! Unfortunately as a result, student council team’s tank goes bust since its metal cave in due to taking on such heavy weight. When the remaining Kuromorimine tanks arrive, the urban warfare begins. Ooarai tanks lead them in through the tight alleyways and small roads just to separate them into groups. Loli team is tasked to take out the heavier artillery tanks. This time they show they aren’t just cowards. Although their tank lacks firepower, it is swift. This means in the narrow lanes, they are able to circle behind their enemy (they can’t turn since their turret is too long) and fire at the place where shells are discarded for maximum impact. They also take on another heavy firepower tank but this time their plan backfired when they end up in open space. They retreat back in the small alley but the enemy is dead on their heels. To prevent them from firing, they stick as close to the enemy because their turret is long. They make a big risky gamble as they reach the end of the lane, they try to turn quick but get shot and went out of the game. However there is a big drain at the end so the enemy tank falls into it and has its turret broken. Also out. With their heavy guns out of the game, Maho orders her comrades to focus on the flag tank (which is heroine team). That won’t be easy since automobile team is fooling around and leading them astray till they can go no further. Volleyball team blocks the entrance to a town plaza to prevent other enemy tanks from interfering with the showdown between the flag tanks.

It’s a pretty exciting action as we see both tanks chase and fire at each other inside the enclosed town plaza. Lots of near misses and close shaves. However heroine team needs to win quickly because volleyball team has been fired to death out of the game and the Kuromorimine tanks are trying to force their way through. Hope this buys them enough time. Heroine team is the only Ooarai tank left. Miho decides to use that failed strategy they used against St Gloriana. This means Mako needs to make a circle at full speed, Yukari needs to reload faster and Hana must have accurate precision when she fires while moving. Can they do it? Of course they will! The all-or-nothing move begins. Both tanks fire at each other. Mako drifts the tank to circle it close up to the enemy. This drifting is taking its toll on the tank’s body. When both tanks are close enough, they fire simultaneously. Who emerges victorious from that smoke? OOARAI!!! Can you believe it?! Ooarai is the champion! Their teammates happily rush to congratulate them. Momo is the most emotional one. Anzu thanks and hugs Miho. Now their school will not shut down because… We are the champions, my friends… As gesture of goodwill, Sodoko erases all records of Mako being late or absent. She is so happy that she sounds creepy giving out this much emotion. Need a hug, Sodoko? To show good sportsmanship and that Maho is not a snobbish b*tch, she congratulates her sister, smiles and shakes her hands. She notes her fighting style suits her very much and very unlike the Nishizumi way. Ooarai are crowned the champions and everybody, friend and foe cheer to their victory. Even Miho’s mom too. Our Ooarai girls return to a hero’s welcome. Don’t you just love it when the underdogs win? Oh, Momo is still crying…


These are actually specials that last 10-15 minutes when you buy the DVDs.

Because Anzu suggests for a Senshadou match on a tropical island, this prompts the girls to go buy swimsuits because Miho doesn’t have one. So we see the girls trying out all sorts of swimsuit fashion. From bikinis to contemporary ones, sexy and frilly ones, old fashioned and the bizarre too. Yeah, that includes scuba diving and NAVY seals. And what would be swimsuit for them without the tank designs too? Girls, are you even serious? Well, Yukari, Hana and Saori are looking like they’re having absolute fun. Even the other teams trying out their own theme. Bizarre? Scary? But they’re sure having fun. Are those even qualified as swimsuits? At the end of the day, Miho remembers she forgot to buy one. Don’t worry. Yukari has bought one just in case. Yeah. She knows her exact size measurements! Oh sh*t… And so the much awaited beach fanservice is here for all of us who wait. Wohoo! Sexy tank girls in cute swimsuits. Nothing offensive, mind you. And when the girls are about to jump into the sea, it starts raining heavily. Bummer…

Our girls are now going camping. Yeah. They have the place all exclusive for themselves and need not worry about perverts. We see the enthusiastic loli team getting to enthusiastic that they jump into the river without warming up and got cram. Student council team saves them. When it’s time to put up the tent, Mako feels everything is so troublesome and just sleeps on it! Yukari explains how to set up WWII tents but I guess the rest are more amazed at the modern and easy-to-setup tent. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Of course it would be a waste not to experience setting up a tent the old way so the girls learn to put them up. After having fun in the river, it’s time for BBQ. Yukari has brought her military rations collected from all over the world. I don’t know why but loli team start spamming the word spam. Yukari also teaches about MRE (Meals Rejected by Enemy) and the different pricing of rations as collector’s item. Everyone prepares the BBQ but Yukari prepares to do it the old fashion way by cooking with fire. Loli team got too eager in grilling the BBQ that they put everything onto the grill and cause a big fire. Student council team steps in to rescue again. But with lots of food wasted, Anzu shows off her great cooking skills to cook our girls a pretty delicious meal. She may not look like it but she’s good. Everyone watches the beautiful starry sky and notes they have one more training session left before the match. Till they realize that is why Anzu brought them here to this training grounds so they can drive their tanks all they want.

The thought of why schools are built on large ships crosses the girls’ mind. Yeah. They couldn’t believe that they were once built on land. Though elementary schools are still on land. That’s because you can’t expect them to operate a ship, right? Holy cow! You mean this ship is operated by young school girls? No wonder I see girls in navy uniform in the ship’s deck and so. Anyway from what I understand, one of the reasons schools on ships is to cultivate that independent sense. Also, somebody once said education is necessary to be conducted on water. With this method proven, many follow suit and scores of ships rolled out after that. This also improves the economy and the industry and benefited the nation. As they have no idea of the school’s history, the best way is to tour around. We learn why steps on ships are single traffic because making them double traffic would be chaotic in times of trouble. When the girls reach the top deck (apart from Mako having fear of heights), they have an overhead view of the city. It’s like a mini city on its own. Theirs can house 10,000 people, including staffs, crews and students. They also tour the ship’s deck and talk about students who take naval studies. Their courses might be free but they have to work hard in operating the ship. Energy sources from the sun, air and sea are also discussed. The ship is also fitted with its own fish breeding ponds and water treatment. How did they build this ship so big? Well, they are built in massive blocks so it’s impossible to cross over. That’s why people live on the top. After walking around the big place, the girls feel tired and go soak in a well deserved outdoor bath. They note that every school is different and has its own feel. Although Ooarai feels worn and messy, it feels comfortable and well maintained.

This one only lasts 3 over minutes! Why? Because it’s the full dance version of the anglerfish dance! We see the girls dressed in tight pink anglerfish suit as they dance to the strange tune with equally strange dance moves. Moving their hands, shaking their butts, jiggling here and there. Oh, those movements… No wonder it’s embarrassing! Even the ang-ang-ang lyrics are equally amusing, funny and weird. Yeah, part of it includes on how to eat it! I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to imitate this! Let’s say I would prefer to do Gangnam Style compared to this… Sheesh…

This one happened during the match with Pravda where Ooarai girls were trapped in the building and Miho sent some scouts out, particularly Yukari and one of the rekijo team girls, Erwin. When Erwin’s feet feels cold, they take a break and Yukari puts some pepper to make it warm. We learn about the types of boots used in cold wars and how it kept the soldiers’ feet warm. They also talk about some story of an exercise between JDSF and American army. The latter panicked because the cold wave struck. The JDSF was holding out because they had heating pads and were trained in cold conditions. Heck, they were seen playing snowball fight! True or not, we don’t know. Continuing their mission, they spot the enemy location but decide to take the complete loop back. It is when the blizzard grows heavier so Yukari armed with her trusty little spade digs a temporary cave to hide in. When it simmers down, they trek till they see the enemy’s flag tank. They dress up in Pravda’s coat (why were the coats hanging outside some building?!) and talk to a member of the flag tank while impersonating as her seniors. In their talk, she reveals about Katyusha’s child-like habits and more importantly the position of the other tanks as well as its attributes and firepower. Now that they’ve got their hands on the juicy bits, they bid farewell and hurry back, eager to report their findings.

The Ooarai girls are celebrating their victory. After reading out a few congratulatory notes from other schools, we skip them because it’s really boring, right? We know St Gloriana, Pravda and Saunders but who the heck is Chihatan Academy? Now on to the main event. Student council team wants everyone to perform a hidden talent and the winner will get a grand prize worth 100,000 Yen. Are you up for it? First up is public morals team. After singing a weird song, they do cheap tricks like cloning and teleportation. Hey. They all look the same, right? Nobody is amused. Next is the automobile team and they do a magic trick of transforming a tank into another. Don’t worry. They’re just card boards. Online tank nerds team were quickly put out of their act when they started humming some strange song nobody understands. Loli team performs cheerleading worthy acts while volleyball team mimics others. Hana is particularly interested in this game as she eagerly guesses correctly all that they imitate before they could even start! But she couldn’t guess when they are imitating her! And she got so disappointed when it ended… Rekijo team puts on a Little Women play but were disqualified since they were putting in too many of their history facts inside the dialogue. Next is heroine team collaborating with student council team. The former put on some kung fu pose in this Power Rangers spoof to defeat the evil monsters. Anzu acts out of script and defeats them. Finally it is the student council team’s turn as they put on a Swan Lake ballet dance. Momo spins into perfection… And so the results are in. Third place goes to loli team. Heroine gets second place and first place… Student council team! Hey! That isn’t fair! They won the grand prize of 100,000 Yen worth of top quality dried potatoes. Hmm… Come to think of it, maybe the third place prize of shopping district lottery and second place prize of cafeteria coupons aren’t so bad after all.

Tanks For The Ride!
What can I say? I am truly thrilled and amazed at this series. In short, I love it! It’s awesome! It is mainly thanks to the good execution of tank action and strategy that really got my attention and I was really glued to the screen for the duration. At least during the tank battles. Each time it ended, I just couldn’t help wish it was longer. Having cute girls piloting the tanks is just like icing on the cake. Well, that is what anime is all about. Would you prefer to see burly and sweaty men spewing vulgarities while trying to shoot each other in those big machines? Think not. So high school girls for the win! Even if you are not a tank enthusiast, the tank battles are quite entertaining so I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Unless your taste differs very much from this.

The action is simply fantastic and I love the strategies both sides come up with. It is the main ‘selling point’ of the series. But of course we are put in the shoes of Miho as we see her natural talent leading her team to victory. There is never a dull moment when I watch the tanks go into action. I was really glued to the screen and when the episode or battle ends, it feels that I have lost track of time. I wanted it to last longer but as they say, good things must come to an end. I always looked forward to the battles and the excitement is such that I was drawn into this world. Unfortunately it didn’t really get my interest up in tanks after the battle ends. There are a number of trivia here if you’re a tank or battle enthusiast. Just look at this link at Anime News Network. Amazing, no?

I have a feeling that the opponents Ooarai fights in this series, it’s like the producers wanted to pit Japan against other famous tank nations. So we’ve seen them go up against the British, Americans, Italians, Russians/Soviet Union and finally the Germans themselves. No Poles, French or Czech types? Well, not enough to put them all into this anime. I don’t know what Japanese tanks are but I suppose with cute girls of Ooarai and with them having different personalities, maybe they represent what Japanese tanks are! Hah! More like cosplay, no? Besides, Ooarai is the only team whose members wear sailor school uniform into battle. Notice how the rest of their opponents’ uniform resembles so much like the military? And they still lost… Cute high school girls for the win!

At first I thought it was pretty unfair that Ooarai had to battle with opponents who have double the amount of tanks in their field. Although there is a rule that limits how many tanks you can field into each round, it looked only unfair to Ooarai because the issue is from their side as they do not have enough tanks in the first place. That is why the capture the flag method is the game play for the nationals. You can field in 100 tanks but each side only has a flag tank. Just like in chess, if you take out the king, your entire team goes out. Therefore in this context, the game to both sides is fair. But still, I feel that because of the lack in numbers, it made a little disadvantage to Ooarai since if they had extra tanks, they could have employed it for other positions and missions. Imagine having 2 players mark 1 member of the opposing team. That’s not fair, right? But it shows that quantity is not the key to victory. As proven, Miho’s strategy and strong heart is the one that led her small team to victory despite her opponents having more and better equipped tanks. Oddly, the only team that Ooarai lost to is St Gloriana and that is because it wasn’t really an important match. Just a friendly. Besides, it’s the only non capture the flag match in the series. See? They win matches when it counts the most, right?

Character wise, we only see character development in a handful of the main characters. Because there are too many members even if it’s a small school and club for Ooarai, it wouldn’t be enough for just a dozen of episodes to cover everyone. So I guess from the way I see it, everybody develops together and progresses as a group and team. They quickly put their trust and respect in Miho after she leads them to victory. If you don’t trust your commander, who are you going to trust? That’s why it is an important point that all the girls of Ooarai’s Senshadou club have 100% unwavering faith in Miho. She has grown up to take charge of her own life and not run away. She thought not having to face Senshadou again would be the end of her problem but it is not really Senshadou that was keeping her low self confidence. She could have gone through the rest of her school life in Ooarai uneventful but would she feel happy and fulfilled? Didn’t look like it to me when she cut herself away. At first she may seem reluctant after being dragged back but with the support of her friends, she learns to accept and overcome her shortcomings and in no time bloom into a natural leader with her own style.

Miho’s other friends are also likeable as they have their own personalities. Like Yukari she is the most resourceful among the group and her knowledge not only in tanks but anything that is related to wards would prove beneficial and advantageous to her mates in battle. She’s quite a handy person if you’re in a little pinch. But her obsession and wide knowledge as a tank otaku may make her sound creepy in the sense that it doesn’t make her feminine. What the heck. She doesn’t care about that but her tanks, right? Speaking of feminine, Hana and Saori sure have some feminine qualities but it is odd to see them doing something un-feminine in Senshadou, right? Saori’s always talking about wanting to have a boyfriend but gradually I notice she doesn’t bring this up as much as Ooarai progresses. Maybe she’ll snag one now that they are champions? Hana is beautiful with her long flowing black silky hair and of course it is funny that she loves to fire. More exciting than flower arranging? I’m sure her beauty could prove to be a fatal distraction should she be on the front lines of the battlefield. Finally there is Mako whom I feel is the tsukkomi of the group. Despite her sleepy demeanour and only thinking about sleep or extra credits, she sure has a knack for commenting in-your-face punch lines with that monotonous voice.

The other notable characters of Ooarai are the student council team. Anzu is cool and is always very carefree. Whether the situation is getting bad or good, she is just casual and never panics. It’s like everything is part of her plan or she has some sort of way to overcome it. I guess it is better than panicking like Momo, huh? I still can’t get over the fact that she’s a bad shooter. It could have been the running joke of the series but thankfully Anzu switches with her so that she could make most of her shots count. Plus, Momo feels like the most emotional one among the girls. She easily gets excited or impatient (and even pessimistic) during tank battles and has short temper and fuse, easily breaks down and becomes emotional. Man, that’s a lot of fluctuating emotions for a girl. Ooarai could have been an unstable place if she helms the president position. Thank God for Anzu. As for Yuzu, I thought her role as being the student council’s lackey is going to be a running joke since Anzu usually dumps most of the jobs on her. But when you’re in a team with Miho as the big commander, I guess everyone had their role to play.

Then there’s the loli team who were once scared little girls. They’ve owned up for their earlier mistakes and learn what it means to be a team. Rekijo team isn’t bad either but I thought they were going to be annoying by spamming us with their history lines or act like their favourite historical personalities or something. Fortunately that didn’t happen but it also means that they don’t make much of an impact (as in, if they’re supposed to be like their personalities, they should be dominating, right?). It is odd to see the volleyball team doing Senshadou but even if the reason for them joining is to revive their club, I wonder how the heck this condition was made. Were they threatened by the student council like how they did to Miho? But seeing that they end up having as much fun as the rest of the girls, I wonder if they want to revive their club again. Is their number one passion now Senshadou or volleyball?

Newer teams I feel are just there to make up for the numbers although I don’t feel it’s a bad thing since Miho had her strategies for their roles. But in terms of character development, there is nothing much to be said. Public morals team are obsessed in keeping the order so by some twisted logic they join Senshadou just to bring that order. Sodoko and Mako’s relationship is amusing because it’s like a love-hate relationship with the latter always calling her Sodoko nickname much to her dismay despite several warnings. It’s like they did it on purpose. In a way, it’s like they get along well with each other, no? Automobile team has potential talent in Senshadou because who knows the tanks better inside and out (aside Yukari, that is) than those who maintain it? Lastly, online tank nerds team’s cameo appearance felt comical because they were taken out so early. But as we see it, it’s a blessing in disguise. Now do you realize why online games and handling stuffs in reality are totally different? You thought firing a gun from a first person shooter game was piece of cake, eh?

Just like in shonen animes, the enemies that they defeat or at least put up a formidable and close fight become their friend. After the first match with St Gloriana, I don’t know if Darjeeling has picked up a penchant of quoting idioms from all around the world because that is what she always does while sipping her tea watching Ooarai in action. Has she become an Ooarai fan because she seems to frequent their matches. Then there is that boisterous loud Kei that stereotypes what Americans look like in the eyes of foreigners. Arisa is perhaps the worst kind of character in the series, surpassing bratty Katyusha and even Erika because they are gracious in defeat and were professional. In times of trouble, a person’s true colour is seen. When you’ve got a chief like her in distressful times, team morale obviously goes all time low. So she serves as an important reminder that the higher ups play a vital role down the line that ensures the crew’s self-esteem and the team’s ultimate success.

I’m not sure about the fanservice but definitely I’m not here for this. There are a few scenes of the girls soaking in the bath with the obligatory white lights censoring out the necessary parts. Will this come undone in the BDs? Well, I’m not interested to find out since I’m more into the tank action. Besides, I don’t think many of them are that physically endowed, right? I don’t want the fanservice to ruin such a great show. On a trivial note, if this series did have a decent amount of fanservice, I would have nicknamed it as Girls UNDerwear PANtsu tease-ZER…!!! Haha!!! Really! I can’t believe I thought up of this one…

The series also does a good job in keeping viewers informed with some of the tank details, tank operations or certain information about the wars. Although I am blur when it comes to the explanation since I’m a total noob when it comes to this area, nevertheless I feel it is quite informative especially with Yukari as the tank and war nerd, she is quite knowledgeable about them. To a point that if she was in the army back in those old days, she might have led her country to victory! Oh wait, she isn’t a good strategist like Miho so it still is no use if she doesn’t have a good commander to make use of her good skills. With such information of the different tanks and different attributes they have, a good thing is that they don’t overwhelm us with such data and manages to let us enjoy the show without turning this into some tank documentary. I know the tank model numbers are a headache for me and I can’t even remember a single one of them. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this show. Till this day, I can’t name the tanks our Ooarai girls have or even tell apart which team rides which tank despite obvious physical differences. I’m such a bad memorizer…

There are a lot of casts for a single season anime thanks to the several teams which at least have 3 people per team. As usual I couldn’t recognize Yuka Iguchi as Mako because she was putting on that sleepy-cum-dead and monotonous tone unlike her bratty and annoying Index from To Aru Majutsu No Index or Maria from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. But I believe this isn’t the first time she has voiced such a role. I remember she did the same as Mero in Sankarea. Hisako Kanemoto (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume) was the voice behind Katyusha. Although there is nothing wrong with her voicing this loli, I thought Rie Kugimiya would sound best to do this bratty loli. The rest of the main casts include Mai Fuchigami as Miho (Maekawa in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko), Ai Kayano as Saori (Ai in OreShura), Ikumi Nakagami as Yukari (Keiko in Futari Wa Milky Holmes), Mami Ozaki as Hana (this is her debut and her only other anime role is Fuuri Watanuki in SoniAni), Misato Fukuen as Anzu (Natsume in Hidamari Sketch), Kana Ueda as Momo (Rin in Fate/Stay Night), Mikako Takahashi as Yuzu (Rushuna in Grenadier), Shiori Izawa as Sodoko (Mayumi in Gin No Saji), Rie Tanaka as Maho (Suigin Tou in Rozen maiden), Eri Kitamura as Darjeeling (Dee in Kamisama Inai No Nichiyoubi), Ayako Kawasumi as Kei (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile) and Hitomi Nabatame as Erika (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana).

Because I like this anime, somehow the generic opening and ending anime themes sound quite likeable. DreamRiser by ChouCho is your typical upbeat and lively anime pop opening song while Enter Enter Mission by quintet voices of heroine team is a cute girl group anime pop. What is even cuter are the girls in chibi form riding their tank and bopping about. But the music that scores and personally my favourite are the background music. Most of them are those military and marching songs and I love the main theme, Panzer Vor which has this playful and fun feel to it. I can’t get help hum this tune each time I think of this series. So addictive that I can’t get it out of my head! Though there are a variety of other tunes from battle themes to casual and slow ones, the best ones are still the military and marching themes although I feel that some of them are just variations of Panzer Vor. So much soundtrack that they have to split it into 2 discs! The first disc is the main soundtrack while the second one contains other songs which include vocals (including Katyusha’s theme and the anglerfish song) and familiar military pieces written by other foreign composers such as Battle Hymn of the Republic, The British Grenadiers and US Field Artillery March.

I’m not going to bore you about the friendship and teamwork theme that sees Ooarai working their way to victory by beating heavy favourites. And also about that trust and believe thingy. We all know how important those are. Despite my triple (or even quadruple) thumbs up for this series, however I won’t say that I have turned into a tank enthusiast after watching this. Sure, cute girls and tanks are a weird but deadly-cum-amusing combination. Still not enough to turn me into a tank otaku in that sense. But I will definitely come back to watch Ooarai in action if there is going to be another sequel. Since they’ve conquered Japan, maybe now they can do so for the world? After all, they’ve got some experience taking on some ‘localized foreigners’, right? If tanks are kept for only sporting purposes and could foster greater ties and relationships among us, I don’t even mind and would even support it. Then maybe I should give Tanks Online a try…

Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS

March 8, 2014

And so… They couldn’t get enough of lolis playing basketball and thus decided to release another season of Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS. The same characters will be around to show us how much they’ve improve and of course their relationship with the coach that has guided them through thick and thin. More bonding. Face a couple of new rivals, then more bonding. Back to practice. More bonding. Wow. I’m sure no one can break their very thick bonding. It’s like he has become their second parent. Haha. Well, this is what you’re should be expecting if you’re watching the second season. I mean, when you put lolis and basketball together, what else is there to expect? Assuming nothing hentai goes on, then you should see where this is going. Hmm… It will be interesting to see if they can pull off a slam dunk trick as well. If they are tall enough to reach it…

Episode 1
Subaru introduces our loli basketball girls once more complete with their field positions. After another day of practice, when Tomoka returns home, her father lectures her about spending too much time on basketball and neglecting the way of the tea and dancing. She is severely affected that she can’t shoot straight. Of course she tells Subaru her problem and it is so bad that daddy forbid her to go to the summer festival with her friends. Her friends are devastated that Tomoka won’t be there but what to do? And then Subaru gets a message from Tomoka’s mom. With her permission, she allows her to go with him to the festival. She trusts him. I think she likes him too. I thought it was pretty funny seeing Subaru and Tomoka meet. Like as though they’re lovers reunited after a long time. Really. The duo think they must have been there early since they couldn’t meet up with the rest and Tomoka can’t get them. While bidding their time, Tomoka tries out a basketball stall and nails 3 perfect shots for the winner. As requested, she gets her personal reward from Subaru. That is, to watch the fireworks together with him. Once the other friends get Tomoka’s message, they go venture the stalls. Tomoka needs to use the bathroom so bad that she can’t move. Subaru had to carry her all the way there. While waiting, some jerk bumps into some elderly guy that causes him to lose his spectacles. Subaru helps this guy (which unknown to him is Tomoka’s dad) to find it. He mentions he is here looking for his daughter but isn’t good with crowds. Then he goes back searching.

Maho and Saki meet Natsuhi at a shooting stall. His annoying twin sisters, Tsubaki and Hiiragi didn’t like Aho Maho but Natsuhi lets her try his place to shoot, confident she won’t nail it. She stretches so much that she could fall over. That’s when Subaru and Tomoka appear. Fearing her panties could be seen, she panics and the shot ricochet and hit the prize. It’s Saki’s turn so Subaru goes up close to her to teach her how to use the rifle. Unknowingly, somebody took a snapshot of their close proximity. Once the gang gathers, they prepare to watch the fireworks when Tomoka’s father shows up. He drags her daughter back seeing he has warned her about it. Subaru apologizes that he is the one who made Tomoka broke her promise and that she wants to be with her friends. Father doesn’t think she needs basketball friends. The fireworks light up and they see each other’s face clearly. Hey. Aren’t you that guy earlier? Everyone pleads that they need Tomoka and without her, basketball is doomed! Or something like that :p. So please don’t take her away. After so much pleading, you’d be an ass not to give in so daddy allows Tomoka to stay with her friends. Though he cautions she did have a bad experience with the sport, it seems that sport has also allowed her to make great friends. He leaves Tomoka in his care. Isn’t this just great? And Subaru gets to fulfil his promise of watching the fireworks with her. Next day when Tomoka practises, a French loli goes up to her and wants to challenge one-on-one.

Episode 2
Mimi Balguerie may be good but she still lost to Tomoka. She is awed by Tomoka’s beautiful free throw. Subaru’s tanned dad, Ginga just returned. Mimi is his daughter. Just kidding! Actually his pupil. He was too coach his French professor’s daughter while they were on some excavation in Hawaii. Of course Mimi is transferred to Tomoka’s school and introduced to her friends. She is brought around by fellow classmate Kagetsu (who is also Hinata’s younger sister). Mimi goes to challenge Natsuhi’s basketball club. Because she lost to Tomoka, she wants a rematch and creates her own team by taking over the boys’ basketball club. That sounds like world domination, right? Meanwhile, Saki receives the close proximity picture. It is sent my Masami Fujii, her childhood friend. She intends to spread it around but Saki isn’t really panicking. She calls Subaru about it and that guy feels the need to do something otherwise he will earn the reputation of being a lolicon coach. Seems Saki and Masami’s families know each other and they both open a family restaurant. Masami’s hate for her started one day when Saki’s shop claimed top spot beating hers. So the duo meet her and Masami continues her threat to spread it. Saki isn’t fazed and tells her to go ahead. But that won’t change her shop’s reputation. Instead of relying on dirty tactics, she should improve herself. Masami is of course pissed and deletes the photo, vowing that she will beat her fair and square. Subaru wonders if she plays basketball because he noticed her basketball shoes but Saki doesn’t think so.

Natsuhi is walking back with his sisters and friends. The twins suggest he should team up with Mimi and defeat Aho Maho’s team. Natsuhi asks Kagetsu about her practice with Hinata and heard she has improved. He wonders if he would like to have a match with her sister. Back home, Kagetsu asks Hinata how she would view a challenge. It would be fun. Natsuhi goes to see Masami secret basketball practice and knows she has been practising hard to show off her skills to Saki. She is surprised he knows about it. There’s no secret about it. Her rivalry with Saki is common knowledge. And so the new basketball lolis introduce themselves to their seniors (complete with posing and all). The first challenge will see the winner having the right to use the gym. Come match day, obviously Subaru’s team has more experience and the upper hand compared to Natsuhi’s ragtag team. They’re all over the place and without synchrony. They easily get fooled by tricks and get the ball stolen many times. The gap is growing… Natsuhi is so young and he is already experiencing the frustrations of a coach. Even Subaru has to advice Natsuhi to cool them down or else they’ll burn out. Natsuhi laments he doesn’t have coaching experience but don’t worry. Ginga is here and he will help Natsuhi’s team out. Much to the dismay of Subaru’s girls. You can’t have everything, can’t you?

Episode 3
After explaining why the rivals need a coach, the girls are glad that they have an exciting game to look forward to. It’s amazing that after some advice, the girls are playing like pros and catching up! Subaru has observed and realizes Ginga’s tactic. Something about each one of the girls taking turns to shoot. Ginga adds he gave them a goal to work towards to and instead of forcing them, he made them want to play. The motivation is that he’ll treat them all to ice cream. It doesn’t take long for Saki to figure out so she changes the tactics with her friends. Once more, Subaru’s girls make a comeback because they have better teamwork. Tomoka tries a floater shot she observed Subaru did and it goes in. Once again, Mimi laments she lost to her. While our losers lament their first lost, Ginga hopes they will practise more for their first win. However he can’t be their coach as he needs to get back to Hawaii. But he has found a replacement: Aoi. At first Natsuhi is sceptical because she is Subaru’s childhood friend. When she struts her stuff, everyone accepts the new master. Later, Tomoka hands over to Subaru an invitation card to her birthday party this Saturday. Of course he’ll come. Then, Aoi and Kazunari talk to Subaru that they have found someone to join their club. Kazunari gives Subaru the person’s phone number so he could call personally. After that, Subaru needs a request from Aoi. It’s to accompany him to buy a present. But she misinterprets he is buying a gift for her. All that blushing suddenly turns to embarrassment when she realizes it is a birthday gift for Tomoka. More like disappointment. Duh… So disappointing… Come Saturday, Subaru and the girls celebrate Tomoka’s birthday. After the meal, Hinata hogs Subaru and sits on his lap but the rest of the girls feel it should Tomoka since today is her special day. Everyone conspires to put embarrassed Tomoka on Subaru’s lap. Don’t worry. Nothing explicit happened. Disappointed? Then, everyone gives their presents. The girls give a basketball, Aoi’s present is a hair ribbon and Subaru’s is a towel. One to wipe sweat and not when you come out of the bath lah! Oh, he has another present for her. This one is to teach her the floater skill.

Episode 4
Subaru and Aoi meet their new recruit, Banri Kashii. Does his name sound familiar? Yes. He is Airi’s older brother. Wondering why the duo know a lot about Airi, it reminded him of some perverted basketball coach in her school. He didn’t like how that lolicon bastard made the girls play basketball in their swimsuits during summer camp! OMG! Did that happen?! Did he try to assault them?! Oh wait… I think something of this sort did happen in last season. Anyway, Subaru admits he is that coach and the first thing he got was his punch. Ouch… Seems Airi and Banri are not getting along very well. They avoid seeing each other and Airi is always scared and now to the point of looking at him in the eye. Subaru and the girls meet at the basketball court where he used to play a lot. However a couple of girls, bratty Nana and slow Mayumi cut the queue. Of course a game is to decide who gets to use it. To their surprise, their coach is Ryuuichi Suga, the guy Subaru lost to in his last basketball tournament. Ryuuichi didn’t waste time putting Subaru down. While mocking Subaru’s school team is gone and he is on his way to becoming an ace player, he wants to see what Subaru has got. The 3-on-3 match has Subaru with Airi and Tomoka against them. Somehow, something is wrong with Tomoka as she isn’t able to take all of Subaru’s passes. Airi is under pressure from expressionless Mayumi and in the end, they lose big. Ryuuichi wants to go one-on-one now but Subaru loses to his jab step like he did in the tournament (something about feigning your movement using your footwork). In the end, Subaru lost and this gives Ryuuichi ammo to mock him that he overestimated him. He doesn’t have what it takes that’s why he ran away and coach some weak elementary girls’ school basketball team. Tomoka feels guilty that it’s her fault for letting him down but Aoi says that Subaru lost by himself.

The girls seem to know what is causing Tomoka’s slump but to do that, they want her to practice with Subaru as usual. And then go take a bath with him! Say what?! Or at least just wash his back. I guess Subaru realizes that she is still feeling guilty and lets her do so. Unless you’re a lolicon, the fanservice moment of Tomoka slipping and accidentally has her non-existent boobs hitting his back doesn’t amount to anything much. So they reconcile and promise to practise hard and be by each other’s side. Next day, Subaru feels better and apologizes to the girls for being a disappointment and big embarrassment. Aoi will also help them out with training. Subaru gets a call from Banri who apologizes for suddenly hitting him that day. With this also settled, Subaru requests he coaches Airi but he declines. Because he thinks Airi hates him, he feels he has no right to coach Airi as a short tempered person. When Banri returns, the rare meeting with Airi as usual make them at odds. But they realize it’s not doing them any good so they open up their hearts and reconcile. There, easily done. Banri helps out Subaru in coaching the girls. With Tomoka improving, the girls have Tomoka initiate the final plan to fix Tomoka’s slump. And part of that plan is to stay at Subaru’s house for the night! Serious! Yeah. She came all prepared anyway. It’s like she wants to go through with it but too shy.

Episode 5
The rational of Tomoka’s slump is that she is nervous being with Subaru. When they practice, they are always on opposing sides but that was the first time they were on the same team. So will anything happen while Tomoka stays at his place? Remember people. This show only has good guys and innocent girls. With Subaru’s words of encouragement, Tomoka gets her confidence back. See the way they hold each other’s hand… Not nervous now, aren’t they? Tomoka is back to her usual groove in training but Airi on the other hand still feels scared because her brother is like a menacing Hulk. Aoi tells him to cool off first before he scares her to death. Banri gives Subaru a disc of his team’s match with Ryuuichi’s school. So that guy burns the midnight oil just to study his movements and habits. Subaru then practises with Natsuhi because they both share the same fiery passion and aggression. In a way, it makes the feint hard to read. Subaru loses to Natsuhi because his feints are all obvious. Subaru thinks he can’t use what he learnt against Ryuuichi but Natsuhi gives him advice that it’s better to try and fail rather than being scared to try. On another day practising with Tomoka, he finally gets it on how to make a feint look natural.

Rematch day is here. Those not playing are reduced to cheerleaders and they’ve come dressed for the part. Although Subaru isn’t confident in beating Ryuuichi, he is confident he can win it with teamwork. Ryuuichi’s team is surprised to see the vast improvement and this time the tables are turned because they are winning big this time. Although Tomoka is in perfect sync with Subaru, Airi is still feeling the jitters. When Mayumi commits a foul, Banri tries to encourage his sister. Airi breaks down, lamenting about her uselessness. She is so scared that her body won’t move. Banri wonders if Mayumi was that scary. How scary? Can’t be as scary as him, right? Suddenly it’s like her phobia just disappeared. Not only she got her confidence back, she doesn’t fear Banri anymore! She views him as a kind person. Wow! The power of words. Just unbelievable that a person who has been scared for so long just to be the opposite in an instant. Super big improvement that no psychiatrist or drugs could do. Subaru and Tomoka’s teamwork allows them to prevent Ryuuichi from doing his feint and steal his ball. They realize his habit of passing. Whenever he does that, he has got this angry look. Now that Subaru’s team has won, the main event now is if he can best Ryuuichi one-on-one. Ryuuichi is taken by surprise of Subaru’s floater. That wasn’t a fluke because Subaru shows him all the other tricks he has. Now the fates are reversed with Subaru winning this time. So how did he do it within a few days? Subaru credits that someone (Tomoka) made him realize his playing style. He might not have the talent of dressing up his fakes to look like the real thing so he just went with the natural look. Of course their score is even now and this means the next time they are going to settle this, it would be on the court, full 5-on-5. That will be next year. Be there or be square. With everybody celebrating their victory, Airi hopes Subaru could be her partner like how he did for Tomoka. But the other girls don’t want to be left out and they want to be his partner too. Sounds horny… Don’t worry. They’re all his precious partners! Sounds horny…

Episode 6
Aoi wins the grand prize for two to Kyoto. Because she promised she would share half of what she got with Subaru, guess who is tagging along. Oh, Kyoto is the place, right? That happens to be where Tomoka’s school is having their field trip too. What coincidence. So Aoi packs her stuff like as though she’s packing her house. Panicky, isn’t she? Her friends give her a farewell gift: SEXY RED LINGERIE!!! On the train, dense Subaru fails to realize why Aoi is blushing. Ever thought of how close he’s sitting to her? She thought he was thinking about her since he says he is glad he gets to go with her. Till she realizes it’s because of their relationship as childhood friends, her parents put their trust in him. Bummer. Since he’s talking about Tomoka and co, she just wishes he stop talking about them and be just the both of them. While touring Kyoto, Aoi thought Subaru has a serious loli fetish. Because when dressing up as the Genji Hikaru character, he thought he is shaping the girls his preference just like the character himself. Then there is a store that sounds like a toddler shop but it turns out to be a toothpick store. Don’t jump the gun too soon. Even more coincidence is that everyone ends up staying in the same hotel. Since it’s fully booked, Subaru and Aoi share the same room. Don’t worry people. Nothing explicit will happen. Yeah. Disappointing. Tomoka and co pass by Natsuhi when they’re on their way to the bath. Natsuhi spots Maho dropped her panties but he couldn’t give it to her since his friends are calling him. But does he have to keep them? When Subaru goes out to get drinks, Natsuhi leaves the panties on the floor. He must pick it up… Now it’s his turn to run and hide. Aoi ponders if she should wear the lingerie when Subaru returns. The both of them end up not being able to sleep because they’re thinking of what to do with the panties in hand.

Next morning during breakfast, Natsuhi comes up to Subaru to tell him to return Maho’s panties tonight. So in the toilet, both guys have a confrontation. Natsuhi explains how it happened but why Subaru? At least he got no intention to frame him. Natsuhi will help him return it tonight. Or is it Subaru is the one who will be helping him to return it. Hmm… Did something like this happen last season too? Deja vu? On their way that night when the girls are in the bath, by some twist of fate the panties got blown away up a tree. Subaru climbs to get it but the other side of the fence is the girls’ bath! WTF?! Who the hell planted this tree next to a fence that isn’t tall enough?! Don’t they get complaints? Unless there were no creative perverts before. I don’t know how but Subaru managed to get it without almost getting spotted. And with Tomoka and co enjoying their bath, they even wonder what Subaru is doing right now. Oh, you don’t say… Because too much time has been wasted and the girls are out, the only tactic left is to make an excuse to play in their room. Of course the girls are glad Subaru came and they start having a pillow fight. I don’t know why they didn’t just leave it on the floor or some corner because when Subaru does his floater as distraction, Natsuhi does his slam dunk of the panties into Maho’s bag. Safe. When Subaru returns to his own room, he sees Aoi putting on the lingerie!!! OMG!!! SEXY FANSERVICE!!! Later Aoi barricades herself in the bathroom. She calls her friends. She wants to die. Although Subaru got slapped and he apologized like hell, she thinks he now thinks she is some sort of underwear pervert. Just when she got the courage to put it on, then this. Her friends thought it was a pretty success. Next day when everybody leaves for home, Subaru cheers her up by buying her a hairpin souvenir. All is forgiven.

Episode 7
Suddenly Subaru and co are at Maho’s mansion. Her father, Fuuga wants to throw a lavish party as thanks for taking care of his daughter. Also, this is also a reception of their wedding. WHAAAAAT?! Maho doesn’t know of this and tells daddy he is wrong. Because Subaru belongs to everybody and he should marry everyone! I think this is more wrong. Putting marriage aside, Fuuga is impressed Subaru is a fine man. He wants to grant Subaru anything. Be it his own basketball court, to watch an NBA game or invite the Dream Team to play here. Name it! Well, he does have something in mind. Fuuga soon puts up posters of a mini basketball tournament for lolis elementary school girls. Of course Aoi’s team sees this as a chance to get their revenge and start training. However they have no sync so they start arguing. This prompts Aoi to think they should not enter. Because they’re all over the place and aren’t acting like a team. Basketball is a team sport, right? Those words hit the girls hard. They agree to set aside their difference and train hard under her. Aoi can’t guarantee victory but she can teach them so they’ll have equal chance. The day of the tournament is here. The loli rivals square off before the match, both confident of beating the other. Saki suggests if they lose, they’ll be their training assistants. It is revealed that this is part of Subaru’s plan to get 10 people for the basketball club because they can enter official tournaments. Wait a minute. Why not just let them join or combine them? Wouldn’t that be easier? Unless you tell me they have this pride thingy.

Also participating at this tournament is Manaka’s team from Suzuridani and her leg is recovering well. Although Miyu won’t be playing, she introduces a rookie basketball player, Aya Miyakoouji. She was once in gymnastics but she grew too tall and was scouted for basketball. She looks up to Airi as her idol because she too had this big size inferior complex. Airi has been there and done that so she knows what it’s like. Perfect chance for them to give moral and emotional support to each other. Banri is so impressed of the change in his sister that he becomes emotional. They grow up so fast and big. Pun not intended. But why use Subaru’s t-shirt as his tissue? As the match begins, we don’t pretty much care about how many teams or all the other teams that our heroines face because all that matters now is the semi-finals and it’s Subaru’s team against Aoi’s team. Although the game is evenly matched, Aoi’s team eventually starts pulling away. Their stamina and speed training paid off and they’re much faster than their senior counterparts. Can they exact revenge for real? Half time and the girls are brimming with confidence that they can win. They can as long as they play their own basketball. Believe in yourself and others.

Episode 8
Don’t press the panic button yet. Subaru has a plan. To put it simply, Airi and Saki are to play defence while the rest make up the offense. As a result, Subaru’s team catches up. Masami is the team’s long shot expert and Saki has observed her well enough to know the distance she can make her perfect shot. So she pressures her by pushing and defending her further away from the line, which causes her to miss her subsequent shots. In the dying seconds, both teams are tied and Aoi’s team are running out of steam. But it is Tomoka that nails the winner when her perfected floater floats in. I think they’re trying to exaggerate it as we see Tomoka sprouting angelic wings!!! Of course it’s always bitter for the losing team and though they congratulate each other for a great game, except for the twins they are not too happy about it. They don’t want to be their ‘slaves’ and would rather quit basketball. They even blame Aoi for not coming up with a winning strategy. Not cool. So while Natsuhi tries to find his runaway twins to talk to them, we see Aoi breaking down in the arms of Manaka before the final match begins. It’s hard being a coach, right? And so the final is here. Subaru’s team against Manaka’s team. It is the former that is leading by a mile! Totally different from the Suzuridani team they played against in last season. What happened? Are they that bad or has Subaru’s team improved so much? Airi guards Aya and because the latter is quite afraid, she takes advantage of it.

Because there is not much to see, we fast forward everything and Subaru’s team wins the tournament. Yay! Why am I not surprised? Aya thanks Airi that because of her, she now loves basketball. Everyone converges in the after-game party. Looks lavish. Why not? Hosted by Fuuga. Because they won, he also takes this opportunity to introduce their basketball uniform. You thought the girls would change into it to try it out but instead they change into their swimsuits! WTF?! Fanservice? Well, it’s because they’re going to celebrate by splashing non-alcoholic beer for children. Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE!!! Beer that is non-alcoholic and for children?! WTF?! Things are going to get wet… Oh, Maho is the poster girl for that beer? In the end, Subaru notices Tomoka acting strange. She drank lots of those beer and is drunk. Seriously. Non-alcoholic and this is what it did to her? Let’s say she is acting very slutty to him. I wonder how he’ll get out of this. Meanwhile the twins are still sulking. They are approached by a bratty girl, Rena Ashihara who mocks them how she loves to see their dejected loser face. It makes her feel better since her coach acted like she didn’t care after losing the finals. Of course the twins won’t take this lightly and the best way to settle this is via basketball challenge.

Episode 9
Only Mimi and Kagetsu turn up to practise. The twins continue to practise themselves because they can’t forget that bitter lost to Rena. Despite having both of them, they couldn’t beat her. Masami also practises alone and remembers her childhood days with Saki. Although Saki doesn’t hold any grudges, but not Masami. She really wants to beat her not just in basketball but everything. That’s because there is going to be some gourmet fair soon and she is adamant she will beat her in this one too. So she gathers her other friends to help out. Only the twins agree but Mimi and Kagetsu don’t feel like ‘betraying’. Of course majority vote 3-2 means they have to. And then everybody starts groping and molesting Aoi’s boobs because they think it’s too big. Yeah. For a flat lolis. How come it seems as though they’re taking out their frustration by squeezing her boobs? I don’t know how but in the end it’s like Aoi got stripped close to naked and molested. Saki’s friends also help her for the fair’s preparation. Not short with bloopers and little fanservice. It must be fate because on the day of the fair, both rivals’ stall is placed next to each other. While Saki and co are encouraging, Masami and the twins consider this their revenge act. They even show off their specialty but Saki and the rest are genuinely impressed. Not the kind of reaction you’re looking for?

When the fair opens, Rena is also there but only to mock the loser twins. Doesn’t she have anything else better to do? Then she accidentally drops her lollipop into Masami’s tofu brew and ruined all the hours of hard work. She wanted to punch her but Aoi holds her back. Rena doesn’t give a damn, doesn’t show any consideration and worse, admits nothing. Then she takes off. Masami is so sad that her effort (and her dad’s) is ruined that she cries so loud that I think the entire fair can hear. But Saki tells her to shut up pull it together. She even advises and is willing to cooperate with her. This is no time for their rivalry. They have to make food with the customers in mind. So both sides decide to help each other out and brain storm a new dish. They agree on Hinata’s rice burger idea and even had time to make new posters and flyers. Wow. Did time stop for them because I thought the fair already started quite some time ago. The collaboration and new dish is a hit. The girls hit the public bath and it’s like their rivalry vanished as they are good friends now. Masami thanks Saki for everything and changes her mind that she (and the twins of course) will come for the basketball practice. Now that the team has 10 players, it will take some time for them to work as one. But Mihoshi has good news for them. Because Keishin’s basketball club has been officially recognized, they have been registered to take part in the national tournament. That was pretty quick for a club’s official recognition, don’t you think? Guess who is their first opponent? Suzuridani. Great timing for revenge. Let’s get to practising!

Episode 10
Aya is making vast improvements. Rena returns to the club and thinks of playing basketball again but Manaka points out there is no place for her since she didn’t put in the effort like the rest. However Miyu pleads for them to reconsider her to come back. Subaru watches his girls practice and is pretty worried what Natsuhi told him about Rena. He observed her play and used high level skills to beat the twins. Something which only older pros could master. Natsuhi tries to replicate those moves to show it to Subaru. Masami and the twins are pretty aggressive in their practice. To a point that the twins even argue with each other. Maho and co are pretty relaxed. They don’t seem serious. Well, sometimes it’s good when to know to relax. Rest well. Eat well. They’re like pros now, huh? Of course they still won’t believe that and in the next practice, they bug just about everybody to give them a harder training menu. Subaru has the girls play a mini game. In the end the seniors trounced the juniors. Thinking they did not practise enough, the seniors relate their experience that there are more important things to winning. Because they were trying to win in practice, they’re over pushing themselves and it’s having an adverse effect. Tomoka also tells them her experience. She was once like that but soon got comfortable and better playing alongside everyone. In short, don’t think too much about it. When nervous, just relax. Enjoy the play. The juniors agree since the seniors have had a fair share of disappointing and frustrating experience. They want to redo everything properly from the top again. With everyone practising hard, the day of the tournament is here. For the first quarter, Subaru uses the seniors as the starting line-up. Don’t worry. The juniors will have their turn as there is a rule that says all players must play. Tomoka and co show their Suzuridani counterparts all that they have learnt, trained and the experience that goes with it. They make it look so easy. The opponents stunned. Even with Miyu playing, they still can’t best Keishin. During the break, Keishin leads by a slim margin. Rena even mocks her own teammates the loser they are. Miyu cautions her that her words will bite her back. Keishin has improved a lot and not like before. Even so, she is confident she can win this on her own. The juniors make their debut in the second quarter. Masami and the twins are really out for revenge against Rena. In addition to being cocky, Rena swiftly uses her advanced technique to trick and pass Masami and score by herself. Mighty confident, isn’t she. But isn’t basketball supposed to be about teamwork?

Episode 11
The twins put up some sort of ‘infinite’ barrier to stop Rena. This gets persistent enough for Rena to collide into them and commit an offensive foul. Rena commits this foul many times because Subaru’s tactic is to exploit her single player mentality. She might be good in one-one-one games but her refusal to cooperate with others like not passing to them or when getting the ball and scoring by herself means she’s an easy target. Yeah. The Keishin girls hog around her! Then when Masami’s three-pointer goes in, Rena doesn’t feel it’s fun anymore. She even thinks of going home. Aya calls her a coward. Rena talks back but Aya tells her off she is not taking responsibility for her weaknesses. Aya may have just joined the team but Rena has not been playing basketball at all. Rena blames the rules! How b*tchy can this girl get?! Aya throws her the ultimatum. Do you want to help us win or lose? The thought that she will be held responsible for the team’s failure gets to Rena. She starts fumbling. Realizing the great teamwork Keishin has, she realizes she can’t win by herself. Took her long enough to realize that. Her teammates still trust her and this time when she gets the ball, she pulls off an amazing alley-oop move that nobody would think lolis could pull off. By the end of the second quarter, Suzuridani makes some ground. Subaru now rotates the seniors to play for the third quarter. Rena pleads to Manaka to play in the next quarter. She finally realized what it means to play basketball and that it’s quite fun playing with 5 people. Wow. She just turned over a new leaf like that. She agrees and Aya and Miyu will also play in this quarter.

Rena wanted to go up against Tomoka but was made to guard Maho. I guess this got pretty annoying so Rena gets desperate again and causes Maho to slip and sprain her ankle. With her out, Kagetsu substitutes her. I think Rena isn’t stumbling when her opponents whizz past her. It’s more of because she has committed so many fouls, one more and she’s out. Time to take it carefully. Of course we can’t have Rena hogging the limelight so we shift a little to Tomoka battle with Miyu. Miyu has her own trick and so does Tomoka. Especially with her floater that scores despite having 3 people guarding against her. At the end of the third quarter, Suzuridani takes over the lead. Maho insists she wants to play and says her sprain is no more pain (oh, really?). The twins chide her if this is how far she believes in the team. Remember, there are 10 of them so believe in us! Maho didn’t get disheartened for being scolded by the twins but she hugs them instead. Now they’re like a true team, eh? Both sides give all they’ve got for the final quarter. Keishin continues to trail Suzuridani by 2 points all the time. In the dying seconds, they remember Subaru’s words never to give up. Masami passes the ball to Saki and the fate of the game is in her hands. Can she land the shot? The ball… Is… Going… IN!!!! Keishin ties the score and the match will go into overtime. The girls are so happy like as though they’ve won the match. Subaru is so glad they’ve matured beyond their abilities, he thinks these girls are the best. He sounded like a lolicon, didn’t he?

Episode 12
Maho has recovered so she and the rest of the seniors will play in the extra time. The juniors agree with this arrangement since they want them to show their full power. When the game begins, Maho thinks Rena is still feeling bad about hurting her and thus not impressed with her sudden drop in performance. You better give all you’ve got or you’ll regret it. It might be history repeating itself when Rena uses her super block over Maho and she tumbles over her. Thank goodness she is okay but this is Rena’s fifth foul and out she goes. Miyu substitutes her but Rena has vowed to play basketball properly. Thank God for that. Maho only manages to score 1 of the 2 free throws. This means the gap between both teams is now a single point. You know what this means. The lead goes back and forth between them in the tense game. Tomoka and Miyu strut their stuff to show us how much they’ve grown. They even mature in terms of sportsmanship because they are having so much fun that losing is not the important thing. In the dying seconds, Tomoka’s ball rebounds. I thought it was funny to see everyone trying to reach for the ball. On collision course? Eventually, Maho grabs it and throws it to Tomoka. Can she make the shot? Good news: It went in! Bad news: She didn’t throw it in time so it didn’t count. And so the win goes to Suzuridani. Keishin isn’t sore in their loss and since they had a great time, they would love to play with Suzuridani again in the future. After the game, Subaru and the girls did some ‘post mortem’. Each trying to shoulder the blame for the defeat. Each trying to encourage the other it’s not his/their fault. Subaru sadly notes that this is their final game as elementary students. So? They have to advance and enter middle school, right? Don’t tell me he is a lolicon! Without you we won’t be here or improve much, we’ll always be by your side, you’ll always be our coach, blah, blah, blah. I guess they want to make us cry too so everybody starts crying as they speak. And since they can’t hold it anymore, time for an emotional group hug!

Later Subaru and Tomoka are alone together as they watch the stars. Some promise they made upon the Pleiades star which is some Taurus constellation that means Subaru in Japanese. And yes, yes. We get it. You’ll always be together, right? Don’t have to renew your vows for the umpteenth time. Subaru is one lucky guy because Tomoka personally visits his home one morning just to show off her middle school uniform. Can’t wait, huh? Even more good news for Subaru is that Kazunari has managed to get signatures for his petition (thus the reason why he didn’t appear so much) and has the basketball club reinstated. He is the vice president. After the entrance ceremony for our girls, what else is there? Practice more basketball! Their first as middle school students. Otherwise everything else is pretty much the same. Subaru wonders how Tomoka started playing basketball. When she was young, she was waiting for her mom to show up at the park to play. She didn’t. Then she saw young Subaru making a cool free shot. She got interested and he thought her about the basics of basketball. So that’s how it started? Man, why doesn’t he remember? What the heck. Let’s call it fate.

No Game Is Too Big For A Loli!
I suppose that’s how it is. Nothing really special or extraordinary but in order not to spam us with the bonding between Subaru and his girls, that’s why I suppose they brought in the juniors as their rivals as in the second half of the series, a lot more focus was put on them as the ragtag team tries to make it as a team. The relationship between Subaru and his girls had already reached its peak. Maybe it can go higher but the point is that they are so closely knitted and well bonded that it can’t amount to anything new that will surprise us. Unless they turn it into loli rape or that kind of stuff! That kind of relationship, if you know what I mean. And thus for convenience after all that rivalry between them, it is also amazing and a good thing that both the seniors and juniors (more of the latter) could put aside their difference and work together as a team. Miracle? Thank friendship and teamwork for that. Yeah. The theme of the series. Loli style.

I figure that Rena was obviously put as an arrogant and obnoxious b*tchy genius so that we could hate her and root for the Keishin girls. Despite being talented, she doesn’t stick to the rules so that makes her pretty much a person who isn’t a good basketball player at all. And just to show us the power of friendship and teamwork, she too finally realizes what it means to play real basketball and as a team. She is after all human. Yeah. Believe it or not. For a girl who has been a b*tch and conceited for the most part of her life as I can see, it just took a single game for her to realize and turn over a new leaf. Is this possible? I think so if you’re up against Tomoka and co. Aya as a new character introduced this season also feels very lacking in her presence. It’s like as though her role was just to wake up Rena when she told her off about her solo playing.

Besides the bonding growth and basketball improvement, there isn’t any much difference to expect in the usual quintet. Tomoka still nervous at some things but with more practice and putting her mind to it, she overcomes the issue without much problem. Maho is more of a happy-go-lucky girl this time around and she wasn’t as angry as in last season. To a point that I think she is a little airhead. Airi is no longer concerned about her big size but was easily afraid by anything that is slightest scary. I think she would even be scared if a cute kitten snarled at her. Just like it’s all in the mind perception, once she sees things in a cute way rather than a scary one, she plays better. Hinata is the moe loli of the pack for those who can’t get enough of loli goodness. No sign to tell us that she was once a girl with a weak body since she’s moving fast and at lightning speed in a cute way. And Saki, she’s the brains of the group, right?

I felt Mimi to be quite lacking. I mean, at first I had this impression when she came into the scene that she would be Tomoka’s next rival. And then after Ginga left, she became less important. It’s like as though her role was just to create an alternative basketball team to challenge Tomoka but since she always failed to beat her, there’s this saying that if you can’t beat them, join them. It boggles me why would Ginga’s professor leave his kid in his hands, and then he dumps her here in Japan before flying off to Hawaii. And that’s the last we’ll see of that cool dad. Unless you tell me that was the initial plan. Why Japan? Why this school? I guess questions like these aren’t important. The other new Keishin basketball lolis not only provide some rivalry to further enhance Tomoko and co’s ability, having seniors around means that there is room for improvement for the newbies. Even stubborn girls like the twins and Masami eventually recognize the top notch ability of their seniors. Thanks to Rena I guess, it fostered both the groups closer because it’s something like your enemy is also my enemy. The enemy of my enemy’s enemy is also my enemy. Get it? A common enemy.

I feel that Banri after he and Airi reconciled, he has somewhat a mild sister complex. Notice how he is always crying for the slightest improvement that he notes on Airi? Siscon… At least they are on good terms now. From the looks of it, there is definitely going to be another score settlement between Subaru and Ryuuichi. Whether or not this will happen in the event there will be a third season, I think most likely it will be given some prominence. Now that Subaru’s school has its basketball club reinstated, it is likely that Subaru and his friends would return playing basketball at high school level and avenge the humiliation the club suffered before and especially Subaru’s personal score with him. And this time round, it will be the girls who will be cheering on him. But all this together is a different story save for next time. Tomoka and co may have graduated to middle school but everyone goes to the same school so there is continuity in terms of their basketball play. Most likely they’ll meet more basketball rivals and cross path with Nana and Mayumi as well as the Suzuridani counterparts. Also not making much impact this season is Mihoshi and Touko. The latter I remember having penchant to give her students nicknames. We don’t hear her do that this time because it would be amusing to see what kind of nicknames she would come up for Mimi and co.

They didn’t put in too much basketball action except in matches that is concerned. That’s only when Subaru’s team are up against Aoi’s team and Suzuridani, right? Sometimes I feel it’s a bad thing that they ‘cheated’ us over the potential matches we could see but it is also a good thing because we can skip those unimportant schools and get to the main ones. Because if we see the girls release their new skills on these nobodies and then on their main rivals, it won’t be fun anymore. And that’s why I figure Keishin was paired with Suzuridani in the first round of the nationals. Because if they had to advance, more episodes will be needed to see how they work their way to achieve glory on their first try. Since it did not, the first round match with Suzuridani felt like a final and when they lost, it didn’t matter anymore if there was a national tournament or not because they had fun. But they still lost, right? At least the skills we see like floater and alley-oop are realistic even if we know they’re too much for a little loli to pull off. Nonetheless in this sense it is better than Kuroko No Basket, right? With those players having super enhanced human abilities and powers, I wonder if you can call that playing basketball anymore.

In the romance department, don’t hope anything will progress between the coach-student relationship. I guess this order has been settled in so nicely that even as Maho put it, Subaru belongs to everybody! Good luck finding a country that accepts polygamy. Even when they try to slot in an episode to give Aoi a fighting chance, I feel that was just for more fanservice purpose rather than anything. Because as we see it, Subaru is too dense to notice her feelings a bit. He only thinks about his lolis. So many chances Aoi thought she had that could at least make him see her feelings but I guess the best thing she could do now is be his friend and conveniently she could be close to him (physically) by being his rival coach and eventually his coach assistant. Also don’t expect anything much between Subaru x Tomoka. Although there are scenes that suggest they are bonding closer as compared to the other girls, it won’t cross the line that they will take their relationship to any new level. Because fighting over Subaru is like fighting over themselves and could be the start of World War III. Thank goodness for the subject of innocence and friendship. Now wait till they turn into their teens with those hormones and overflowing pheromones… On a trivial note, Touko’s twisted love is leaning towards more to Mihoshi as I could see. But Mihoshi plays it cool and even notes that she might become a murderer if ‘that’ really happens.

Fanservice wise, this second season is peppered with them just like how they did it in the last season. But of course in order not for everyone from the producers and audiences to break the law and commit lolicon crimes, those heavenly white lights are streamed across the scene to control our loli passion that may overflow and burn. And of course as for not the lolis to hog the spotlight, we have one lousy episode ‘dedicated’ to Aoi just to showcase her case in sexy red lingerie. Mmm… I would prefer this but honestly, red isn’t my favourite colour. Honest! Oh, there is that scene whereby Aoi got her modesty outraged by the lolis… Make that 2 fanservice ‘great’ scenes for Aoi. Even if there are such ecchi scenes, the fanservice is still under control and won’t amount to anything that suggestive. Or would it? Because if there were more scenes of drunk Tomoka, I’m figuring all hell will break loose.

The opening and ending themes are sung by the same senior quintet of the Keishin basketball girls. Just like last season, the opener, Get Goal sounds as lively and filled with motivation suitable for any sports themed anime. The ending theme, Rolling! Rolling! has amusing lyrics. Starting off with “Rolling! Rolling! Growing!”, others include wanting to have their dreams as the size of LL (isn’t that supposed to be XL?) even though their body and heart are SS (shouldn’t that be XS?) and the Earth is one giant basketball (you mean, it’s not a giant bowling ball?). And of course it ends with the line that elementary school students are the best. Sure. If you’re a lolicon, that is. Although technically our elementary girls are now in middle school but it’s hard to shake off that loli status. They might still be barely considered so… Our junior quintet also have their own song, Kakyuusei Groove but this is merely reduced to an insert song in only one of the episodes.

Although the mid-intermission is still filled with details of the girls, I suppose this time around they didn’t have that silly data about their first swimsuit and replaced with the person whom they respect or admire the most. Sounds better, right? Some of our girls like Tomoka again get featured in the mid-intermission. I’m not sure if any stats have changed or not since I did not bother to check back. Why would there be any changes? Because of the all-important 3 sizes stats… Who am I kidding? There isn’t really any much changes ‘there’, no? Also continuing from last season’s tradition, whenever the girls are in some online forum discussing, they’ll be in their cute avatars and the location theme will be something like on a boat in the rivers of Vietnam, exotic India, underwater palace of Ryuuguujou, a sushi conveyor belt and even the mysterious ground symbols at Stonehenge! Did Maho just get abducted by aliens?

Overall, this second season doesn’t create anything new or in the sense to make it memorable. Not to say that this season sucks but with so many animes out there using the moe and cute girls concept to sell, it’s hard trying to be unique and stand out from the rest. Although this is the only anime that has cute girls playing basketball in a cute way. If they really make a league out of this and brand it so that it will become internationally popular, people might just swap to watch this rather than the NBA. Yeah. There will be a sudden boom in lolicons all around the world. And if they want to get us into watching any sequel, perhaps they should put in more scenes of drunk Tomoka. Now don’t you agree that elementary school students are the best?

This is one of the few animes with OVA that I have pretty much forgotten. Because nobody subbed it way back then, coupled in with many other animes to watch, slowly Ebiten – Koritsu Ebisugawa Koukou Tenmon-Bu OVA became something distant. Even to a point not even remembering that there was an OVA of this series till a group subbed it and caught my attention. And that was only because I was randomly surfing around and happened to stumble upon it. Lucky me? The series has parodied almost every genre available. What is there left to parody for the OVA? How about a tour of the series in the making? Yeah. Go behind the scenes to see how this show was made. But it isn’t going to be just a simple educational tour. It’s like our Ebiten characters have discovered a conspiracy of their existence and try to track it down to make head and tail of it. Are they ready to handle the truth?

Giga Zone 23 Part II Secret Please
Itsuki rushes into the clubroom only to see Kanamori as usual being subjected to fanservice abuse. She doesn’t like it. But we do. Anyway the emergency Itsuki wants to tell them is that Neko has turned into a bike. Todayama’s twisted reasoning is that Neko has challenged them and that this club may hold some secrets. Everybody all aboard! Vroom! Damn slow… Neko leads them to a room where by there is a TV showing the Ebiten anime. They can’t believe such lousy anime with such lousy name are using their characters and names. There is even an official webpage of it. Todayama has Itsuki completes a puzzle which turns out to be Kanamori fanservice. Suddenly it turns into sci-fi space action with space tentacle rape. WTF. It seems the gang are in the video editing room and the staffs are explaining their ‘homage’ of fanservice scenes to fans. Kanamori suddenly understands and accepts her erotic scenes. It is a necessity, right? Todayama then notices other names besides theirs in the ending credits. She thinks it’s some sort of hit list conspiracy but in actual and simple fact, it’s just their voice actors. Off they go to the recording studio and each meets their own voice actresses. Hmm… I don’t remember Kana Asumi looking like that. Somehow their voice actresses are acting as weird as their Ebiten characters. Are they like that in real life or just into acting like their characters? Itsuki is most surprised that his voice actor is female. Obviously… The place is surrounded by special forces. Todayama pulls off a random event for them to escape. They then find themselves in the drawing room. They see drawing sources of the series and Todayama is about to rip it but Iseda stops them. She reveals herself as this anime’s director. Can’t believe it? She shows them a few clips from the series and points out that they have been living in an anime and not the real world. Everything that has happened went according to the script. She also mentions half of it was from the original work. Now that they’ve gotten this far, Todayama won’t back down and return quietly to their world. They’re going to find this original work. The special forces surround them again. Iseda orders to hand over Neko. Todayama tells the rest to leave it to her. As she rides Neko to Iseda, she throws confetti and shoots the fire extinguisher to escape into Neko, who has turned into a mecha. Iseda threatens to show fanservice scenes of Kanamori and Itsuki. Iseda opens the hatch only to see Hiromatsu in it.

Todayama and Izumiko are the only ones who have escaped and now they have arrived at the publishing headquarters. They see Ooba who admits she was the one who sent Neko to them. She proceeds to explain some complicated crappy plot that is not what Ebiten is all about. Humanity in danger? She was born to prevent the same mistake? What? I thought this show was all about parodies? She then transports them to the world of the original work. It’s the office of the Ebiten manga. Before Todayama could touch the manga, she is punched by Oomori, the manga’s editor. Would you believe she is a hard worker? She won’t allow Todayama to go any further and pushes her back with some bright suppressive light force. But Todayama fights on and after abusing her breasts and landing the killer blow of why her lover ditched her for looking down on others, she gives in. She hands over the storyboard to her. As Todayama opens… The world starts shattering amidst Ooba’s full length anime pop song with some disco visuals. Oomori tells them to live as they see fit as long as the serialization continues. Noting it will be a new generation from now on, this anime was a world where anything goes and the times she believed in have come to an end. Oomori enters mecha Neko and disappears. The duo are left to watch clips from the TV series. At the end of it all, they find themselves in the dark room and Izumiko wonders if they are going to be erased. With only a red flashlight to guide them, they follow a singing voice to a hole in the roof. Climbing out, they see their other friends in manga panel and drawing form. They hurry to go join them and become part of the Ebiten manga.


Specials from the DVDs that lasts less than 5 minutes. What else? Fanservice. Enough said.

Special 1
The girls are soaking at the hotspring. As usual, Todayama continues to harass Kanamori and squeezing her boobs while the other girls comment about massaging tits, flat chests and boob size. Size does matter eventually. Itsuki is totally embarrassed as he is soaking next door and could hear everything. When Oomori wants to have late night snacks, she sees Todayama sleeping. Seeing her cute sleeping face, she takes this chance to get naughty. Remembering the hypnosis thingy she learnt from her darling, she tests it out by making Todayama a klutz. Seems to work. Next, she makes her a doting sister over Itsuki. Having fun and on a roll, finally she would love to see her yuri side. Unfortunately Oomori becomes her victim and she won’t be able to sleep tonight. There goes her modesty… She reaped what she sew.

Special 2
I thought I was watching a rerun when the first 1.5 minutes were the same as the previous episode. Eventually it branches off to see Kanamori talking to Hiromatsu. Kanamori’s imagination runs wild just after exiting the bath. She imagines the shameful unrobing of the sash by the magistrate, twirling and twirling. Then, she fantasizes about a couple having a tryst in the forest with their forbidden love. By this time, her nose bleed could have made a mini swamp. Lastly, she dreams of a rape play and now she could almost drown in her own blood. Each of her fantasies seem to have herself as the victim. Enjoying it a lot, isn’t she?

Special 3
Well, I really think the first 1.5 minutes are the same since it’s repeating and serves as a ‘common area’. Anyway Hiromatsu is troubled and Todayama could guess it has something to do with Neko. She offers to help her get intimate with Neko and make that cat fall in love with her. How? Yoga. But it doesn’t seem like yoga that she’s teaching. More like provocative sexy poses. Hiromatsu is too embarrassed to go on when Neko comes in. The cat starts licking underneath her yukata till it got its fill and leaves. Todayama thinks Neko has gotten tired of it and yoga wasn’t it. But that experience left Hiromatsu out of breath… Wasn’t it stimulating?

Special 4
Izumiko is worried about her small breasts. Oomori can guess what it is and starts ranting about beauty and such. Because beauty salon treatment costs a lot, she has learnt her own way and will impart it to her. This can’t be good. First she rubs/massages/fondles/molests her breasts. Because according to her lover, men only care about boobs, right? But it hurts… Then she starts doing the same to her hips and butts before moving on to that sensitive area. Are you sure this will make her beautiful? More like getting violated yuri style. She got Izumiko’s attention when she mentions about showing her beautiful parts to Itsuki. Then she wants her to practice baring her heart and soul to her loved one. Izumiko strips naked as she embarrassingly tries to say how she’ll show him everything. Itsuki accidentally saw everything and in his embarrassment ran away. Oh no. What damage has she done… What has been seen cannot be unseen…

Special 5
Iseda laments that Ooba didn’t come into the bath with her. She thinks of visiting her room and starts fantasizing the (perverted) things they could do together to further their relationship. However she enters the wrong room and it turns out to be Oomori’s. Since she is drunk, she won’t let Iseda leave and makes her stay and listen to her fantasies. Not only that, Iseda is also dragged into being part of it. A love triangle and fight over Oomori? So her lover isn’t actually a handsome director working at a leading foreign company earning 15 million Yen a year and owns a garden apartment. He’s just a NEET living out his fantasies. Basically, a useless person. But that’s not the end yet as Iseda is now forced to listen more of her delusional fantasies. About the time her lover was transporting oil in the Arab… NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Looks like tonight’s visit to Ooba’s room won’t be coming true. Maybe she could just fantasize about it…

Life As A Manga And Anime…
Although I have mainly forgotten a lot about the Ebiten TV series, The OVA still provides some entertainment since it is something random. Heck, so random that I’ve been wondering if this OVA went anywhere or not. I’m sure they’re trying to break the fourth wall when they visit various production stages of the series but at the end of it all you may just ask, what was the point of it all anyway? The truth? What truth? Not that I can see as far as this anime is concerned. So with that kind of open interpretation ending, are they saying that we should go back to its original roots, that is the Ebiten manga? Any hints if there is going to be a second season because Todayama almost shred the script that Iseda warns may contain a sequel. Maybe. Very big maybe. This show is about its parodies, right? Or homage as the editors would love to call it. Other than that, the characters still feel similar. Todayama as wacky as ever. Kanamori has become the fanservice girl of the series whether she likes it or not but even though she seems to dislike the idea of herself being used it doesn’t stop her from fantasizing perverted thoughts. And drooling about it. Hiromatsu still stoic and her love for Neko is still as big as ever while Oomori continues to have boyfriend problems that she often takes out via ranting while getting drunk. Ooba is still a complete mystery while Iseda continues to fawn over her in this one-sided crush. Itsuki doesn’t make much of an appearance and feels like a secondary character. To a point I think Izumiko had more prominence than him. So if you’re ever wondering if your life feels similar to those stories you’ve read or heard, just remember that life itself imitates art far more than art imitates life. We’re all living out each of our own stories.

To believe or not to believe. If you are the type who do not believe in the existence of demons, angels or God, then move along and pass Makai Ouji: Devils And Realist. Heck, you shouldn’t even be watching anime if you truly do not tolerate these kind of stuffs. I’m not saying that only believers should be seeing this or you’re going to be a devil worshipper if you do so, well, this anime does dwell in the concept of demons, angels and God. And it is one little puny human who holds the delicate balance between everything. Seriously. Serious. Wow. A mere human that is more powerful than Satan and God himself but yet so feeble and weak? What’s more, our protagonist is a realist (that’s a term atheists call themselves) and doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Science rules! Everything can be explained by the wonders of science! Yeah. I’m sure one day science will tell us who made men and the universe. Till then, the rest of us (well, mostly) would just take the ‘easy’ route by believing in the Almighty. So what happens when you have a realist being the centre of attraction of demons and angels? A realist who holds the most important position in Heaven or Hell that is crucial in determining whatever fates of the worlds? This must be one big dream, isn’t it? Yup. You’re not waking up any time soon.

Episode 1
It opens with this guy named Solomon making a contract with a demon, Duke Dantalion. William Twining is the smartest kid around. So smart that his brain can be considered a national treasure and it is no surprise he is top of his grade. Unlike his friend-cum-classmate, Isaac Morton who believes in the occult or supernatural, William is a realist and believes in the sciences. But he has more pressing matters to attend because the principal called him and he hasn’t paid his tuition fees for next semester. Funny he thought because his uncle Barton was supposed to handle the finances. He goes home to investigate and is greeted by his servant, Kevin Cecil. He learns Barton’s business failed and has been declared a bankrupt. He is on the run and hiding. The creditors took everything from their mansion! Thank goodness they didn’t take the manor. What a big empty manor. As the other servants have been fired, Kevin is the only one left. William wants to fire him too but he pledges his support because the Cecil family has always served the Twining family. Rather, he is betting on his brains to get big money in the future. William wonders if the family has a secret stash and they find a hidden underground basement. When William breaks the door, his hand got scratched. His blood drips onto the insignia on the floor and whoosh! Out comes Dantalion. I don’t know how a powerful demon like him can be tied up by a mere human. Although he explains Solomon, William’s ancestor who subjugated 72 demon pillars and sealed them in some vessel, William doesn’t quite believe him. He is a realist, remember? Not even the explanation of Hell’s Hierarchy very much like humans and it is the job of the Elector (that is William) to choose a new king. Hell is now ruled by Lucifer. After letting the police arrest this cosplay guy, William goes back to the room to investigate how he entered the room. Before he knows it, dark mist surrounds him and sucks him into the insignia.

He still won’t believe his eyes. Think this is a dream? A manor underneath his and that goat guy, Baphomet is just a person in a costume party, right? Yeah well, do goat butlers make such good cakes? He is Dantalion’s servant and explains the numerous factions in Hell gunning for the king’s position. What is the king doing when there is a power struggle? Lucifer is currently asleep and apparently the higher your position, the longer you sleep. Suddenly the manor breaks into pieces. Gilles de Rais is looking for Dantalion but since he is not back, he will take William instead. Before he gets to do that, Dantalion bursts into the scene. I don’t know how he escaped the police but hell, he’s a demon, right? Kevin is ungrateful despite Dantalion saving his ass. With a snap of his finger, Dantalion creates his manor but Gilles won’t leave yet. He realizes William is the Elector and wants him. A power battle begins between the demons. Baphomet further explains Gilles serves his Grand Duke Baalberith, leader of a rival faction also vying for the throne. The fastest way to raise one’s status is to announce one’s candidacy and kill a higher or powerful demon. Gilles loses and understands why Solomon chose him. He mentions they are Nephilim, demons who were once humans and this riles Dantalion. He is so mad that he unleashes a blast of power. This is bad because the dimension can be distorted and William won’t be able to go home. In that instant, William orders Dantalion to stop and he immediately ceases. He wants to be sent home first if they are going to continue to kill each other because he has got tuition fees to think about. Gilles backs down for now seeing William is no ordinary human and will report this to his master. When William returns, the principal calls him and his tuition fee is solved. He is bloody happy that they have received a generous amount of donation. Much more they have ever received. While William ponders if his uncle has returned as a sponsor, the class receives a new transfer student. Huber. Dantalion Huber. Oh sh*t!!!

Episode 2
Isaac is seen summoning a demon in the woods. He summons Sitri Cartwright who demands Isaac to take him to the Elector if he wants to keep his soul. William can’t raise his voice to Dantalion because he just learnt he sponsored his tuition. What’s more, Dantalion is willing to call off the debt if he chooses him as the interim ruler of Hell. Not a chance. During church service, William thinks of talking to fellow prefect Mycroft Swallow about his debt problems when Father Ernest Crosby pops by to inform he sensed an evil presence and wants them to warn other students to tell him immediately if there is anything suspicious. Yeah. Guess who that evil presence is. Since Dantalion needs to return to Hell as Baalberith’s forces are making his move, he has his batty familiars, Amon and Mamon watch over William. Why the need to fly so close to him? Fluttering annoyance… Since others can’t see the bats, others see William ‘going crazy’. In his room, Isaac brings Sitri (disguised as a fellow student) to talk to William. Swallow interrupts them to hand William a list of scholarships since he requested for it (I suppose William is trying to settle his next semester tuition fees too). Sitri has overhead this problem and tells him that he has an uncle who likes sponsoring such students. All William needs to do is to come and meet his uncle. Though it might sound too good to be true, William won’t let this chance slip and agrees. Late that night, he sees Isaac going out alone and it is almost curfew time. As a prefect, he needs to uphold his duties and not wanting to be held responsible when people break rules, he goes after him only to discover he is trying his occult summoning. Seems Isaac is doing this for him too because in order to defeat the demons, he needs to summon a powerful angel. I think he screwed up somewhere because he summoned a monster boar instead. Thankfully Sitri pops up to save the day. It dawned to William that Sitri is a demon. He introduces himself as a viscount and one of nobles of Hell under Baalberith. Yeah. He is another candidate for the throne.

William must be so disappointed that his sponsorship has gone up in smokes and leaves. Sitri resorts to taking William as hostage when Dantalion returns. William isn’t pleased with all the demon talk except for Isaac. He loves it. And now for another power battle while our human fellows forced to watch in a ‘prison’. When Sitri mocks Dantalion a Nephilim who always have this lingering affection to become human, he becomes enraged and mocks Sitri a fallen angel dwelling on past sentiments. William has had it stuck here and tells them to stop. Immediately they cease and Sitri feels the lost of his power. Looking at William reminds him of Solomon. Back then, Solomon took him under his care. Sitri was curious because even though he was human, he reeks scent of Heaven. Because he met God. William continues to not believe in demons or fallen angels and uses the theory of John Dalton to explain they are all atoms! So how do you explain them flying in the air? Anyway he won’t side or choose anybody no matter what. He feels disappointed in Sitri and thought he had potential as a junior. Sitri views him formidable but finds it strange because if he is Solomon’s descendent, where is the ring that symbolizes wisdom and a gift from God? William is clearly not wearing it. Gilles pop up to tell Sitri to return to Hell because Baalberith seeks him. Sitri reiterates Dantalion is not fit to rule Hell. Isaac continues to fawn over this demon thing and William laments he should be admiring his flawless academics instead. Once again, Dantalion gives William the option to choose him and clear his debts and will also leave this place but he won’t be cowed into that. More woes for William because Sitri is in his room and has decided to be his patron (much to his dismay). He is ordered to keep an eye on him and Dantalion. Since it’s going to be like this, William says he has to follow the school rules and makes Sitri clean the floors while he strictly watches over. Bullying? Scary indeed…

Episode 3
Crosby finished exorcising a demon when he receives a message about Hell undergoing some battle for the next ruler. He shall exterminate them all. Dantalion and Sitri have become popular overnight. Dantalion and the rugby team are rubbing shoulders while Sitri has got people to serve him. And a big headache for William. When William sees Crosby, it made him think if the Church of England does have powers to exorcise demons. But more importantly, if he tells him his problem, will his normal life return? Eventually he decides not to. William is probably fed up of seeing Dantalion. Mentioning Solomon as the wisest man and the third king of Israel who subjugated 72 pillars of Hell, if he is truly his descendant, he has the right to command him. He commands Dantalion never to appear before him again. Dantalion is sad but warns him that he only commands the 72 pillars and there will be other demons that will still come after him. Secondly, it is not his lineage that is the reason he is able to command him. Dantalion now wants some answers. Why doesn’t William-cum-Solomon remember him? Why is he denying him? William doesn’t say anything though when their hands touch, he remembers something vague about it. That night, William hears his juniors complaining about a ghost being spotted in the dorm. Along with Isaac and Sitri, they go to check it out. Sitri understands what Dantalion is feeling because William can’t remember and that Solomon the wisest man to live, yet he runs from the mysteries right in front of him. The ghost is spotted and they give chase. Sitri will handle this in return to be elected as the interim. The ghost turns out to be a demon and flees. They follow it to the church. Wait a minute. Demons and churches? William could feel something amiss when he Sitri is about to open the door. When he does, he is blown away by the trap set by Crosby. The demon familiar they just fought belongs to him. William still doesn’t believe in all that Hell crap thingy so Crosby beats up Sitri to get him out of the way first.

Dantalion sets up a barrier around the church. Hey. I thought he is never to show his face around William again? Unless William didn’t really mean it then… Anyway Isaac recognizes Crosby’s cross as the Hand of God. He is one of those exorcists under the Church of England’s peacekeeping division to kill demons. As Crosby continues to beat up Sitri, Dantalion wants William to seek his help, though that kid is still stubborn on not wanting to rely on him. Now that Crosby has turned his attention to Dantalion, he mentions his intention to kill the Elector. That’s because human or not, an Elector has ties with Lucifer and as servants of God, they have been granted power to eliminate that evil. Dantalion laments that every era and generation is the same. Humans are crueller and selfish than demons in Hell. He knows it because he was once like him. Dantalion shows his true power and easily defeats Crosby. He is going to taint his soul and turn him into a demon but William orders him to stop. He believes as long he is in this world, he must obey their world’s law. Dantalion then says if he is going to stop him, then accept him. Like it or not, demons and Hell exist. So don’t reject him. This gives enough time for Crosby to escape. And this means he’ll report to the higher ups and more of those pesky church people will come after him. Dantalion wants William to order him to protect him. He doesn’t have to trust him or believe in demons. William beats around the bush and rewords his phrase to say he can be by his side. And he’s not exactly accepting him but not denying his existence. WTF. True enough, Crosby reports to the Church that Solomon lives inside William and is a dangerous man. Meanwhile William is worried about his future because if the incident of Crosby (who is reported to be hospitalized) gets out, there goes his bright future. The principal then comes in to introduce a new priest to replace Crosby: Kevin!

Episode 4
Kevin is an ordained minister because his mom came from a clerical family. His brother was supposed to be the head priest but died in some war. Then he got a call from mother about a school having a vacancy for a priest and that’s how he ended up here. Kevin doesn’t want William to get too friendly with him at school and wants him to address him as Pastor Cecil. One night, a group of boys played a prank and broke the window. The dorm mother, Maria Mollins didn’t report to the principal and got the injured one treated instead. Next days, those boys talk about Maria and how she never got married although she had a fiancée.  They want to find her weakness just to keep her from telling the principal but William overheard them and tells them to get prepared for the boat race tomorrow. Of course they don’t listen and sneak into her room to steal something. William sees them coming from Maria’s room direction but didn’t think much of it. Then he sees Maria entering her room but hears a loud thud. He enters to see her collapsed by the bed side. Though she says it is nothing and was just finding something, William notices an insignia on the floor. Before the boat race starts, Dantalion feels Nathan Caxton is suspicious but William doesn’t think this elite student and cream of the crop as such. Dantalion reminds him it is because he hasn’t chosen yet and there will be others still targeting him. The boat race is a tight one between Dantalion and Nathan’s team. So much so they collided and an oar broke. It flies towards Maria’s way when Nathan uses his magic to curve it. Later Dantalion approaches Nathan and confirms he is a demon. William thought he is rude but his hand touches Nathan, he could sense it. Now do you believe? That night, William hears those boys trying to spread rumours that Maria is a witch. He snatches the grimoire they stole from her room but they assert she was trying to summon a demon. Then, Kevin calls William to tell him an urgent matter regarding Maria because she just made her last prayers to him. Before he could finish, Sitri brings William away for something urgent. He sensed a portal from Hell just opened.

Maria summons a demon but before she is killed, Nathan saves her. She recognizes him in his true form as Camio. As Dantalion explains, Camio is a Halfling, a demon born from a human’s womb. He is also a demon general under the 72 pillars of Solomon and Beelzebub’s protégé. Yes. Another interim ruler candidate. Maria wanted to see him before she dies and she knew it would be possible if she came to live in this school’s dorm, the place where they first met. Flashback during their younger days. Well, Maria of course a pretty young lady. She wasn’t afraid despite knowing he was a demon because he was lonely. They spent lots of time together but one day her family was attacked by a demon. Though Camio came to their rescue, her parents refused to acknowledge Camio as he is a demon. They wanted to elope but in the end, Camio never came for her. Now she understands why because time runs differently for demons. Yeah. Now she’s an old hag. When she was diagnosed with a lung disease and have not much time to live, she wanted to form a pact with a demon in hopes of becoming one. Camio’s heart also wavered when he learnt she wanted to be one. For he had walked the Earth for a long time alone. As a Halfling, he had no place in Hell. He is happy for her to be a demon to be by his side but Dantalion wants her to let her die as a human or she’ll turn into a Nephilim. Maria is worried he’ll be alone after she dies. Camio also laments he has been alone since his birth because Solomon also died. William suddenly sees Camio’s past with Solomon. He took him in and vowed no one will ever deny him. Even if God does, Solomon won’t. William suggests Maria get her disease treated for her and his sake. Soon, Maria resigns to get treated as the boys return the grimoire to her and apologize. They notice the man in Maria’s photo looks just like Nathan.

Episode 5
Nathan continues to stay at the school and William wonders why Dantalion and Sitri are taking this easy. Aren’t they rivals for the throne? Wait a minute. He believes that? Besides, aren’t they putting up their good behaviour for his sake? William is once again top of his grade. The demons are just mediocre. Seriously. Isaac again somewhere at the bottom as he laments he is only good in the occult and tea. Tea? His family runs a tea business as his father has a company that imports herbs and spices from India and they even supplies it to the royal family. Suddenly Nathan brings the principal to William and says this guy will handle the problem. What problem? It seems the school wants to construct a new building. The old unused water mill will be demolished for that. As the principal is soliciting donations, he doesn’t want to risk losing it since the chairman is making regular visits to check on the progress. As there are discipline problems of midnight ruckus and people breaking the curfew, this is where William comes in to handle it and sniff the problem out before the chairman arrives. But why him? Remember his struggling tuition fees? Being in the good grace of the principal would help a lot. William must be thinking how the principal introduced him to the chairman as the brightest and promising young student and be given full scholarship. I’m sure he’d like that. So William agrees to it but realizes he has been bamboozled into doing his job when Nathan goes off to read a book in the library. William is pissed at Dantalion and Sitri that they can’t outclass Camio but Dantalion hints he already tried to help. He warns William he better not be thinking of electing Camio. Don’t worry, he won’t. Or anybody else either. William and Isaac go patrolling and here the weird singing. Sounds like a ghost? They try to sniff out the culprit at the watermill but since Isaac is too scared, they turn home. Meanwhile Dantalion returns home and is greeted by Lamia. The loli keeps reminding him his promise to marry her, blah, blah, blah. He is here to see Astaroth and tell her about Camio as a potential candidate. He feels from the looks of it Camio isn’t interested in winning the throne. Maybe he’s overconfident? Astaroth warns that Camio is a higher class than him or Sitri but he is not to be concerned right now because there is someone more dangerous by the Elector’s side.

Isaac is so scared that he wants to sleep with William. Yeah well, he’s snoring!!! William can’t sleep and hears the funny singing again. He wakes Isaac up to investigate and at the watermill they see a little goblin as the culprit. William becomes a lawyer to have the goblin speak to him and read him his rights! Do ghosts and goblins have rights? As discovered, the goblin has lived here for many years milling grain in this watermill. However since its abandonment, he hasn’t been milling and learning it will be torn down, he tried petitioning many times but it fell on deaf ears. William’s answer? Face reality and get a new job! Hasn’t he looked in the mirror? Sitri says that this goblin known as killmoulis will grind anything he can get his hands on because if they don’t, he’ll die. Since he is just a small fry, it won’t be so hard to make him listen. But is there anything left to grind as the industrial advancement has made such mills obsolete. And so William settles this by having the goblin grind spices in India under Isaac’s father’s company. Happy grinding. Nathan brings the principal and chairman to William. William thinks he is going to be honoured when Nathan introduces Isaac as the son of the Morton family who made a generous donation to the school. The chairman is glad for this token and hopes Isaac can send his regards to his father. William got so pissed that he vows never to trust demons again! Screw them! That’s what you get for playing with fire. Lastly, Dantalion confronts Kevin and wants to know who he is. From his reaction, he suspects he has something to hide and will uncover it. Today is just a greeting.

Episode 6
Dantalion and Sitri fighting over William?! Must be that Elector thingy. When Kevin passes them, it’s like he doesn’t acknowledge William or know he is even there. William wonders why they have grown distant so Isaac suggests using Family Day to talk to him. The school is pack with parents. Swallow comes running to William for a favour. Seems he wants to avoid meeting his dad Adrian as he has been pestering him to join a military school. Later when Adrian sees William and asks for his son, William apologizes he couldn’t help. Oddly, Adrian invites him to his home for dinner when they are interrupted by Kevin. Adrian excuses himself and it seems Kevin also disappeared. Strange. Is William seeing things? Dantalion and Sitri have a feeling that Beelzebub is likely behind this. Speaking of Beelzebub, he seems to be proposing to Astaroth but she sprays a bug spray to keep him at bay. Thinking he is not interested in the throne, Beelzebub says he has already made his move on Solomon. Kevin sends his underling, Raguel (Kevin’s twin?) to keep an eye on William or rather on Solomon. That night, Swallow wants William to follow him home as he wants to introduce him to his parents. Before you get any yaoi misunderstandings, what he meant was to celebrate his father’s recovery. Apparently he had a great fall and miraculously survived. William thinks he will get to meet the upper echelons and thus further his future ambitions. But do Dantalion and Sitri have to come too? Yeah. They’re sick of school food. And so William is here, happy to see all the famous and elite people in the party. Now to make some connections. During dinner, William remembers Swallow telling him how his dad changed after the fall. He became distant and a proactive supporter of going to war. This has William think Kevin’s behaviour has changed too. William is surprised to see Kevin but realizes it’s a different person. Raguel has him lie down in one of the rooms. When he wakes up, he hears Adrian and some men making final arrangements to go to war. All that is needed left is Solomon. Looks like they know who William is. The men turn into demon and attack William. But he is saved by Dantalion.

Adrian turns into his true form, a demon named Eligos and a servant to Beelzebub. When Swallow comes into the room, he sees Eligos as his dad. Sitri explains that his father is dead. Eligos used his corpse as a puppet to make it seem he is alive. Eligos decides to take Swallow’s soul and flee. William wants to save him but is held back by Sitri who explains about demons’ rule that they can’t interfere in the affair of others. Wait a minute. Can’t interfere in affairs of others? Then what the hell is this business of taking over hell thingy? Isn’t that interfering too? Dantalion offers to help provided if William chooses him now. Will he succumb to pressure and elect him? Fortunately (or not), Raguel throws holy water at Eligos and banishes the demon. Though she escapes, Adrian’s body turns into dust. Swallow has to face reality that his father is dead and cannot come back to life. Back home, William reads the news that the war was avoided by the slimmest margin. Swallow is also back since he ran away from home, not wanting to sort the hellish estate of his late dad. William confronts Kevin to settle things. He wonders if he wants to quit being his house steward and become a priest. Kevin thought he is firing him but William wants to know why he has been avoiding him. Suddenly betting documents drop from Kevin’s robe. The staffs in public schools had this habit betting on sports day and I guess Kevin bet on William on pity despite knowing he isn’t athletic. I take it he lost big time. So this is the reason he is avoiding him? Divine punishment! Later, Raguel reports to Kevin, whose real form is an angel named Uriel. Beelzebub is indeed involved in this and doesn’t want Uriel to do this and will do anything in his stead. However Uriel is resolved not to let the demons have Solomon. And that ring is in his possession.

Episode 7
William and Isaac aren’t really fond of Shakespeare plays. And their school has to do one. Worse, William is made the director for Hamlet. I take that back. Even worst is that Dantalion is playing the King of Denmark while Sitri is Ophelia. They’re so engrossed in their roles that they argue among each other. William is so pissed that he is praying to God to do His job! William seeks Kevin’s help with the play. Why do it when he hates it? Because the director stands out without having to be on stage and it’ll look good on his record. When he returns to the dorm, he learns from Swallow that Dantalion and Sitri have gone back to Hell. He rejoices that God is doing His job but this means the rehearsal will be cancelled, right? It seems tonight is Sabbat, a night where all demons gather and feast and the boundary between Hell and Earth disappear. Besides the candidates for the throne, the Four Kings are also here: Astaroth, Baalberith, Beelzebub and Samael. Sitri talks to Baalberith about Solomon and the latter views that all they need is Solomon’s soul and not his vessel. He is hinting something sinister that Sitri disagrees but is made to remember his heritage. Dantalion is thinking back one of those days he spent with Solomon. Cleaning books in the library? It seems Solomon is talking about his father who will come after him sooner or later because he is accused of treason. Dantalion vows to kill Solomon before he lets anyone lay a hand on him. Solomon knows that he will someday grant this wish of killing him.

Back on Earth, William must be dreaming when he sees a large cloud of demons. Think it’s some electrical discharge? Well, I’m sure the attack must be too. Sitri returns to save William and wants him to choose him so he can protect him. Still not going to. Dantalion also joins in and again reminds him that these demons see him as an ideal prey because they are those who didn’t form a pact with Solomon. Dantalion unleashes his power and easily disposes of the low level demons. But there are too many and one of them is going for William. A magic circle appears out from William to protect him. It is a sign of Heaven. The circle also barricades Dantalion. Sitri wonders if this is the work of an exorcist but it couldn’t be because no human can perform such powerful magic. Well, it’s Kevin in the works. He’s an angel, right? Dantalion unleashes his full power and breaks free but goes berserk. He is about to kill William and remembers Solomon’s words. It is Camio’s lightning that breaks him free as he lectures Dantalion that his stature should never have made him lose control. He orders the demons to get out of here or else. With that, they just disappear. That simple, huh? In the end, Isaac is delighted tonight is Sabbat but William still insists on the electrical discharge crap. He tells the rest to return to the dorm and rehearse the play. Back in Hell, the festivities just ended. The kings note how their interim candidates didn’t stay long. Baalberith notes they are smitten with Solomon just like them. Wouldn’t his death benefit them all? They would have broken free of this electing tradition.  As for the play, the one playing Hamlet comes down with appendicitis. Too late to cancel the show and a replacement is needed. Somebody who knows the lines well. That’s the director, right? And so William is forced to go on stage. That’s the least of his problem because Sitri acts out of the script and wants William to choose him! Dantalion makes it a threesome! OMG! And that is how yaoi was born… Those female audiences must be… I don’t even…

Episode 8
Uriel is visited by the archangel Michael. He wonders if Uriel is doing his job because it looks to him that he is growing fond over that human when he should be just looking at him. He beats him up and reminds him if he can’t do his job, he’ll handle things his way. This is God’s leader of angels? Beating up others and looking like a sadist? Meanwhile William doesn’t care about Isaac who is once again in the failing grade. Till Isaac mentions that Elliot Eden could upstage him for top spot. Hey. Isn’t this Michael? Eden himself throws down an academic challenge to William. He got so mad that not only being number one would be satisfactory. He wants Isaac to be number 2! So start studying! William becomes obsessed in studying and becomes a studying machine. He bumps into Eden in the library as the latter indirectly tells him that without an angel’s warning, men will perish. What is it that he considers important because Eden would gladly sacrifice to protect the things important to him. In short, if he focuses on the wrong thing, it will be too late when he realizes it. When one of the test results come out, Eden scores higher than William. Rather, William’s grade drop. Of course he is enraged. He is warned by Dantalion that there is something fishy about Eden. He is not a demon but there is too much light emitting. In another test, some guy tried cheating when he wrote answers on the table. Eden transports the scribbles onto William’s desk and he is caught and sent to the punishment room. Isaac visits him and is has something figure out. He has this talisman thingy that contains the holy power of archangel Michael. Whatever. Camio is also there and hears him out. That night, Eden visits him and knows the culprit. He is willing to testify on his behalf in return for something. He asks what fate he truly wish for. To be society’s elite. Michael refutes him and wants an answer that sounds like perfect justice and immortality. Since he doesn’t get it, he gives an example of Kevin and Nathan. Both are standing on a cliff and who should he choose. Should it be God’s kingdom or Hell? Before he can get an answer, Kevin is here to ‘chase’ him away because visitors are forbidden at this time.

William is in the trial when the judge’s words suddenly start to sound strange. Do you feel closer to God or demons? Isaac’s talisman works up and turns the area into Michael’s barrier. Eden crushes that troublesome talisman. Sitri attacks Eden and this causes him to reveal his angel wings. Now do you get it William? Slow on the uptake, isn’t he? Michael takes out his golden sword and will grant William ecstasy. It’s his responsibility to judge all sinners, including man and demon. Before he can do his thing, Dantalion breaks through the barrier and saves William from his clutches. Here comes another power battle. Dantalion doesn’t like it when Michael says Lucifer’s name because it was him who cast him down to Hell. They were brothers. When Lucifer rebelled against God, Michal fought him and won. Michael is about to call Dantalion to cruellest and most brutal human in his time but Dantalion got so mad that he unleashes his power that is on par with Michael and sends him crashing down. Before Dantalion can finish him, here comes Kevin to protect him. He won’t allow a demon to harm one of his ‘students’. He warns that if anything happens to William or Solomon, Heaven will respond with all its might and this will put William in further danger. Michael is sick of this and leaves. Suddenly William finds himself back in the trial. He pleads not guilty and remains steadfast he is proud of his intelligence. He is backed by Camio when he brings in the culprits who have confessed their wrongdoing. But they are baffled that their scribbles ended up on his table. William retakes the test and scores even higher. Happy ending. But that is calm before the storm because the kings of Hell are discussing that Lucifer may not awaken from his slumber. As demons are not indestructible, Lucifer may also vanish. Solomon’s existence grows more important by the moment and they want to bring him her to Hell where they can protect him. Because if Heaven brings ecstasy to him, his human personality will vanish and will turn into another of Heaven’s convenient pawns.

Episode 9
Michael feels the need of a change in plan and sends Jeanne, his best soldier to the battlefield. I thought this spunky girl looked like some idol cosplayer from Akihabara… When William wants to go talk to Kevin in his room, he finds the ring and remembers how he was so sad on the day of his parents’ funeral. When everyone else was gone, he cried in Kevin’s arms. William leaves and unwittingly takes the ring with him. The demon trio then tell William that they need to return to Hell as there is an emergency so he’ll be defenceless for a while. I think he’ll be glad that the demons are gone. Michael confronts Uriel. He knows he purposely let William take the ring and wants to know what he is up to. He mentions Heaven is planning to invade Hell but this is just a diversion so Uriel can perform his ecstasy ritual on William while those demons are gone. He is giving Uriel this ‘honour’ otherwise he would have done it his own way. He gives him a kick to remind him failure is not an option. This has Uriel remember how he punished Solomon for failure to destroy the demons despite receiving God’s blessings. Solomon wonders if he is jealous because their lot obey Heaven’s laws and punish sinners on Earth. Regardless of how men are judge, their sin will never go away. Therefore, do they need punishment? Do they even need them? It is strange that despite knowing they will be punished and yet they continue to commit sins. That’s because it brings joy. The demon trio are in Hell just fresh repelling Heaven’s forces. Dantalion feels something amiss since Heaven is being too reckless despite Lucifer in slumber and the Elector hasn’t chosen yet. But Heaven’s forces return and crazy Jeanne leads the pack this time. How can Heaven have a soldier saint that enjoys killing and bloodshed? Well, she as long as it’s not humans. She doesn’t care about demons, though. And with the power of virginity, she easily crushes the demons’ power. Yeah. That.

Kevin tries to perform ecstasy on William. At first he is hesitating but since he has unbuttoned his shirt, might as well go all the way. However it is not working and it dawned to him that William isn’t religious! Hah. God must be just some atom particles, right? Since ecstasy cannot be done, Raguel says the other way is to kill him. It’s that or risk getting punished. Gilles is spying outside and understands Heaven’s trick. He is going to move in when the angel’s barrier prevents him from getting closer. Raguel becomes his opponent. Gilles hates angels and Heaven and goes all out. He views them crueller than anything but Raguel mentions ecstasy is part of God’s will. Gilles remembers his beloved Jeanne was judged by them. He did all the deadly sins but was never judged a single bit. Baalberith approached him and found him interesting. He wants to make a contract where he will be turned into a Nephilim. That way, his soul won’t disintegrate into nothing in Hell and as a demon he will have a chance to meet his love who has been canonized as a saint. Raguel mentions that Jeanne is leading the attack but Gilles mentions he didn’t sell his soul to the devil just to see her one more time. Sure, he would like to meet her. He would also like to defile, torment and hurt her till she is free from Heaven’s ecstasy. Gilles is about to defeat Raguel when Uriel says he will stop the ecstasy to end his attack. Gilles doesn’t care and continues only to be blocked by Uriel’s holy barrier. He too can’t hold on any longer and this time it’s Dantalion’s turn to come back and save the day. Gilles will kill him too but since he has weakened, he passes out. Dantalion has his underlings take Gilles back to Hell. Learning of Uriel’s true identity, he mentions to him, he is just William’s house steward. Uriel wonders if Dantalion is just William’s classmate in that case. Michael is not happy with Uriel’s failure and is about to punish him. Suddenly he just feels pain and anguish. God punishing him for mistreatment? Next day, William seems to have caught a cold. Someone unbuttoned his shirt. He was warned about being defenceless… Sounds so homo… Hope you guys don’t get the wrong idea about this ‘attack’.

Episode 10
It’s the school cultural festival. William thinks of using this event to obtain extra funds for his tuition. Now he reeks of evil aura… Sitri is doing a photo shop with the help of Gilles. Yeah. All those homo boys can at least take a picture of pretty Sitri for a price. Don’t laugh. He’s doing very well. As not to be outdone, Dantalion opens his muscle store for the muscle brains. He too has his devoted followers. Even Isaac is doing well with his international tea stand. William on the other hand won’t subject to such menial tasks and yet he still hasn’t decided what to do. Then a devilish idea hits him. First he goes up to Sitri and tries to sew some jealousy by saying Dantalion’s booth is doing well. If they team up together, he can bring forth his true glory. Wow. William the smooth talker. Agreed! Next he goes to Dantalion and claims he has never noticed his charm, blah, blah, blah. Another round of smooth talking. He too agrees with him. Finally after seeing Isaac is doing bloody well, William threatens him to hand over everything! The meek guy just did so in exchange for William to be his Spartan tutor for his exams. And so William turns his business into a maid-butler cafe and the people are streaming in! That’s how you use your intellect and make others work for you! Of course Sitri and Dantalion feel they have been cheated since they’re working together but William hints the interim ruler of hell is a hard worker… See them work their ass off!

Meanwhile there is this handsome guy trying to buy meat at the stands. Who would have known this is Baphomet in his human form. He meets his rival, Leonard (whose true form is a ram) and is Sitri’s butler. He claims he has powered up and wants a rematch with Baphomet as he has trained well in China. A cooking competition to see who the best chef in Hell is. And so William is made to be the judge because he will get to taste their good food. They have an hour to cook as many dishes as possible and the best one wins. Those who want to watch this Hell’s Kitchen have to pay an admission fee. Raking in the money… So when everybody tastes their cuisine, it’s that out-of-this-world exaggerated heavenly ecstasy reactions you’d see in cooking animes. I thought I’d never seen them again. Universe! This is Hell’s Kitchen? Ironic, isn’t it? Now who will be the best? The judges compromising of William, Dantalion and Isaac gave both perfect 10. But it seems Sitri gave the perfect 10 to Baphomet and none to Leonard! With Baphomet the winner, Leonard is left to rue why his master chose his rival. I guess it’s because his Chinese cuisine doesn’t contain sweets that he loves. Why, oh why?! And the rest wonder why he went to China for training when he should have gone to France instead. And so the loser is made to work as a chef in William’s cafe to cover the cost. Even Baphomet is not spared and is made to cook. Who is the real devil here? At the end of the day, William thought that after taking over Sitri, Dantalion and Isaac’s business as well as utilizing both the greatest underworld chefs, he is going to win the overall award. To his surprise, Nathan nails it! Those who didn’t get to watch what he put up would be sorely disappointed! We want to see what Nathan did!!! (I think he dressed up as a maid!!!).

Episode 11
Michael laments he may have moved too early. Because when Camio repelled Jeanne’s attack, she had to leave Hell otherwise her virginity purity will be tainted. The Four Kings are discussing the recent invasion of Heaven as a diversion. Baalberith thinks of bringing him here to protect him. First he wants to kill him, now he wants to protect him? He shoves the duty to Astaroth seeing she sounded very concerned and that she is the most familiar with him. Astaroth orders Lamia to bring William now. Meanwhile Camio plays his piano to Beelzebub. He remembers meeting Solomon. He notes his vast wisdom and doesn’t want it to fall into Heaven’s hands. William is happy after being praised for another good work. Another step closer to his future. Suddenly he is whisked away into a portal to Hell by Lamia. I don’t want to say this is where his future is going… Haha! Anyway he thinks he has to attend some freakish costume party again because all the demons (minus Dantalion as usual) are here awaiting him. I suppose the only reason why he is tempted to stay is because Baphomet and Leonard have made some snacks. Can’t resist that, can’t he? Of course William denies all the crap they say about him being Solomon and that he is just some distant ancestor he wouldn’t care. But they point out if it means nothing to him, he shouldn’t have so vehemently protested it. It shows that he is aware he is in fact the Elector. William continues to say he makes his own decisions and denies the existence of Lucifer. The lower demons don’t take this insult lightly and want to kill him. Before that demon could, Dantalion blows him to smithereens. Why does he always have to come in late in this fashion?

William’s ring accidentally drops out from his pocket. This prompts the demons to note that if he doesn’t have it, they won’t be under his command. They will have nothing to fear. Not only that, they can conquer Heaven! Baalberith sees this opportunity to kill Solomon and take his soul and orders his demons to attack him. At that time, William puts on the ring and his conscious is slowly taken over by Solomon. Also, Uriel feels pain in his heart and this could mean the ring has been put on. Michael blames him for this to happen. Solomon easily destroys the lower demons but Baalberith won’t give up. He thinks as long as he has the numbers, he can still overcome Solomon. Well, looks like it will take a long time since Solomon is going on a subjugating spree. Baalberith is blown back. Sitri wants him to stop this but was warned by him that he knows he wants to go back to Heaven. He is doing this for his sake and this will be their ticket to Heaven. The entire building is destroyed by the time Solomon finishes subjugating the lower demons. Gilles thinks of raising his ranks by attacking Solomon. I guess there’s a saying that if you haven’t seen the darkness, you’re not afraid of the ghost. He too learns to awesomeness of Solomon’s power. Solomon doesn’t recognize him and notes he must be someone new after he died. Care to be his 73rd pillar? Baalberith tries another sneak attack but it doesn’t work. But how come Dantalion can go up close behind to Solomon without him sensing? He tries to take off the ring to save William. But when he grabs his hand, Solomon doesn’t recognize who he is.

Episode 12
Dantalion is blasted away so easily. The next time he takes that kind of blast again, he’ll be dead. Camio says Dantalion is still bound by his contract with Solomon but is unsure why he cannot remember him. Flashback reveals Dantalion thought Solomon wanted to raise an army of demons to go against his father. Because he was born out of one of his servant’s wife, the guilt of his father led him to scorn and imprison Solomon. However to Dantalion’s surprise, he subjugated the 72 pillars and the most he did was party together. Really. Why doesn’t he do an uprising? Because it’s too much trouble. This is more fun. But when his father began to move, Solomon reluctantly took up arms. Without much effort, he won. Naturally with his father overthrown, he would be the next king. All Solomon wanted was his father to acknowledge him as his son, even if it’s just once. But he kept denying it and calls him the child of sin that should not be born in this world. He says he will bring ruin to this world. Solomon left him a very sad king. One day, Dantalion asks Solomon what is his wish because he has followed him for so long and doesn’t know what he wants. His reply is that someday he will know. It is something only he can do. That is, to kill him. And I supposed that day came when Dantalion killed Solomon with his own hands. Back in present time, Baalberith still wants to try his luck to take Solomon’s ring. Because he believes his powers have not fully awakened. He even tells Solomon what is going on and the reason why he wants his ring. Too bad he is still as powerful as ever.

Gilles is standing there watching hoping one side will take the other out and he will swoop in to take the ring. He sends his demons to destroy both Solomon and Baalberith. Then when Gilles moves in, he gets another taste of Solomon’s great power. He seriously underestimated this wise guy, eh? When Baalberith is about to seize the chance to grab Solomon’s ring, the ring repels him away and burns his hand. The rest are stumped because when Dantalion touched it, he was unaffected. Dantalion has awakened. Slept well? He sees Solomon going to kill Baalberith. Fearing history will repeat itself if he lets this happen, Dantalion takes the full blast. He then tells Solomon to remember who he is. He is not Solomon but William. Solomon looked dazed for a while there although he still doesn’t recognize who Dantalion is. Dantalion grabs his hand and there’s lots of electricity flowing out from the ring. Or it seems so. Did Solomon recognize him for a while there? Suddenly the gates are opened. White feathers scatter all over. This is a sign that Lucifer has awakened. With that, there is no need to fight and choose for an interim ruler. Settled just like that, huh? Solomon somewhat understands and decides to give the ring to Dantalion. Once it is off his finger, he collapses but Dantalion catches him. Back in school, William once more is top of his grade. But he isn’t bragging like he used to. He is gloomy. Not even the good news of obtaining full scholarship could impress him. Why the long face? Seems he is the only guy who remembers about those demon students. Nobody else remembers who are Dantalion, Sitri or Camio. He even goes to talk to Kevin if there is such thing as demons who are more human than human and more merciful than angels. You call those demons? Then he tries snapping himself out of this and reminds himself that he is a realist. He trips and the ring drops out and rolls over to Dantalion’s feet. Look who is back…?

Yaoi Ouji: Hot Guys And Denialist
Just when it got interesting, they gave me this crappy WTF ending. Yeah well, Lucifer’s awakening solves everything, right? That dude doesn’t even need to make one stinking appearance but just his representing door to wherever he is just for the mess to be over. So did William remember he was Solomon during the trance? What was it that Solomon understood (too bad I’m too stupid to understand what that part meant)? With Dantalion back, would others remember him? I guess I’ll never know. The interesting part to me was the mystery of Solomon. He had subjugated 72 pillars of the demons and formed some contract with them. Why he did so isn’t clearly explained and most of our demon characters have some sort of connection with him as seen in their short flashbacks, their time spent with Solomon. He must be an intriguing man to be with, a reason why they hang out with him aside the fact they are under his order. Still a human but received God’s blessing and powers, it is no wonder many covets him or wants to kill him. Maybe it’s this mystery that caught my attention (am I saying I am also attracted to him) and if it was answered, perhaps it would be disappointing so it’s best left unexplained. Besides, if he had subjugated 72 pillars, why not subjugate the rest of Hell? Ah, his untimely demise… I’m guessing if he was alive, he could have conquered all Heaven, Hell and Earth if he wanted to. It’s like he has that one ring to rule them all, no? Oh sh*t… Lord of the Rings reference? See how many of the demons wanted to get a piece of it and ultimately Solomon himself? My precious…

I felt the storyline for this season is something minor. Because you know, William is dragging his feet and not accepting this Elector thingy and with the rest of the interim ruler candidates hanging around him in hopes of making him choose them seems to be draggy if you think about it. Can’t they just really threaten him or use someone or something he treasures to pressure him? If they’re that desperate then they should have been as bad as the devil himself, which is pretty fair game if you consider that they are demons trying to rule Hell. Instead, you see them hanging about and thus some sort of bondage form between them. Because they look really concern when William is in trouble or their big bad boss has some malicious intention. Thus for the dozen episodes seen here, some are nothing more than fillers. That cultural festival episode was definitely one. Including that little goblin and the watermill episode too. Paying a visit to Swallow’s home also feels like one. That episode with Maria in it serves as an introduction to Camio. Yeah. They had to take an entire episode for that. Michael’s descend to Earth and diversion tactic is perhaps just to tell us why ecstasy won’t work on William and therefore shall not be tried again. It’s like trying to say if you don’t believe in God, whatever effects by Him and his angels won’t work. Really? Does this mean if I don’t believe in demons and witchcraft, I can’t be affected by their black magic? Super convenient. Or maybe it’s because you can’t perform ecstasy on William because he has Solomon inside. Whatever. So in an overall context, it does little to further the plot. In the end, it really didn’t matter anymore, huh?

I’m not sure if William has really changed after returning to himself following his possession by Solomon. What is funny-cum-annoying about him is his so called realist reasons to deny the supernatural. It feels like he is more of a denialist than anything. Okay, maybe the demons come in weird costumes and he can pass that off as some cosplay. But come on. He has seen them firing and blasting their projectiles so many times and summoning barriers during attack. How do you reason that? Special effects? Hello, I don’t think this is the 20th century or at least Hollywood wasn’t incorporated yet. This is the Victorian era, right? Don’t believe in miracles, does he? Then he also sees the demons flying before their eyes. How do you explain that? Thin strings and wires? Seriously, you’ve seen too many Chinese kung fu movies. The way he uses that atom explanation is as ridiculous as believing demons and angels exist. Sure, everything is made out of atom. Even your brains. The bottom line is I don’t want to chide William for being a big denialist but there are some things that science just cannot explain. It’s good to have some rational explanation about how things work and the likes but like I said, with so many mysteries working in the universe, using science as a universal answer and method sometimes just doesn’t quite cut it. William lets Dantalion and the other demons hang around him because he lets them do what they want. If they claim they are demons, they must be nutcases and let them do as they please. But in a way, it shows that he tolerates and thus to a little extent, believe in it, right? He claims he is the top intellect but I think that is only confine to academic terms. Elsewhere, this ‘intellect’ of his fails…

I find it funny about the workings of Hell. Despite having a hierarchy and all, it still baffles me about the interim ruler part. How come only Dantalion, Sitri and Camio are the only candidates? Aren’t there others interested in being the interim ruler too? How are these trio selected because take a look at Camio, he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in the throne. Unless you tell me that being the interim ruler, it’s just like a puppet because it will be the king that he is represented that is doing the real ruling. If there are the Four Kings, doesn’t Samael have any candidate of his own? Isn’t he interested in the throne too? Is he? Hey, the king of Hell is sleeping, so anybody interested to kill him in his sleep and take over Hell? Nobody thought of that, didn’t they? Hell is where the baddest of the baddest are and nobody really cares about being good, right? Isn’t it so? The badder the better, yeah? Unless I’m very wrong on this context here. And if there is this rule of challenging higher and powerful demons and snatch their position, shouldn’t they be doing this? I mean, this is Hell, right? Anything goes. Why so orderly? And what’s that rule about demon not supposed to interfere with the affairs of others? Who the hell made up all this rules? Can’t a demon do what he wishes, for God’s Lucifer’s sake? So that’s why this interim ruler thingy to me is just something confusing and some excuse to perhaps further one’s ulterior motive.

Even funnier is how demons and angels aren’t really acting the way we thought they should. As seen from the demons, some are kind enough to be a saint and perhaps it’s because of their past sin that made Heaven condemned them to Hell. Which brings us to this next thought if Heaven isn’t as good and pleasant as it seems. Because as perfectly demonstrated by Michael, we see he is a sadist and tormentor and loves to take it out on Uriel. Aren’t angels supposed to be caring, loving and forgiving? Oh no. Not this Michael. And he is supposed to be the Lord’s highest ranked angel. This guy could be Lucifer’s right hand man if you ask me. And then there is Baphomet and Leonard’s cooking. So great that it brings a piece of Heaven in your mouth, which is pretty ironic, isn’t it? A goat and a ram cook better dishes than anything else? Truly mindboggling. And of course the most complicated and mysterious ones would be humans. Crueller than demons but sometimes more angelic than angels, as said and seen it is indeed something amazing and odd that a mere human like Solomon could possess the wisest wisdom and then control the demons. So all this makes you think, where the hell is God anyway? If the Almighty was powerful enough to just silence everything, he would have done so already. God works in mysterious ways? Maybe. You wonder He even exists since you won’t even think about Him while watching this anime (you might be prompted to when William quotes Him in one short instance) but of course He does since there are angels. Lucifer is asleep, God is nowhere to be seen (duh!) and not taking any action, humans are self-destructing. Just the right setting for the world screwing up big time.

Despite the setting is in the Victorian era in England, it is still hard for me to be convinced that this is so. Sure, thanks to our anime-like characters and the way they speak fluent Japanese, the thought of if they are in England or in some alternate English world never crossed our minds. Even with their typical and common English names, English style buildings and construction and the English culture (tea, anyone?), I can’t feel that English atmosphere. Worse, that cultural festival episode seemingly makes it as though it is a western version of a Japanese high school cultural festival. I’m not sure if schools in England do this but it sure reminded me of its Japanese counterparts. Also, I feel that with demons and angels as the main theme (Christianity to a certain extent), it relies heavily on the Bible and the myths of the European side.

Dantalion I thought is also annoying when he keeps pestering William to choose him. And then when he became Solomon, he fears the original William will never come back. So what does this mean? He just wants to be by William’s side, right? I thought he was into Solomon? Unless it’s just me jumping to that conclusion. I feel the other demon characters are somewhat lacking. So what Lamia is Dantalion’s future wife? Does that actually matter anyhow as far as this anime is concerned? Sitri and Camio are just hanging around keeping an eye on things for who knows how long. Till their boss say something perhaps. The Four Kings too didn’t play any big role since most of them are just there as show of power. It’s a meeting, right? With Baalberith as the exception because he tries to be the antagonist and take Solomon’s ring for his own. That’s what demons should do, right? Not wait there and watch passively and ponder like a dumbass like Beelzebub thinking if Solomon has truly awakened or not (when Solomon when on a rampage). Perhaps they know of Solomon’s power so the powerful ones are wise enough not to go against him. Well, I’ll give it to Baalberith that he did try and for having the confidence to do so. Still couldn’t change anything.

Gilles made a long absence in the middle of the series only to return at the end and this is a good lesson to us all about being young and reckless before becoming mature and wise. He never knew of Solomon’s awesome power, right? He doesn’t realize why the other higher demons don’t move their hand against him, no? Well, he experienced first-hand what it’s like to be overwhelmed. Ever since Michael’s plan of having Uriel give William ecstasy, he’s just seen bumming around in Heaven ‘complaining’ about his failure, blaming Uriel to make him feel guilty and just wait and wait and wait and wait… After all, Heaven has got lots of time on their hands, right? Amon and Mamon are supposed to be mascots of the series, right? They aren’t even prominent with so little screen time and worse, don’t even tug out cutie heartstrings despite trying to emit that cute aura. You’re just batty if you think they are. Isaac feels like he only exists to be a joker or somebody William can feel superior to. Sometimes I think William needs to take it easy and learn from him but of course, not to the point where he always fail and in the risk of not advancing the grade. Oh, oh!!! Remember Crosby and the Church of England? WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM? They sound threatening to do something, right? Weren’t they going to make some sort of move on William? Unless you tell me they didn’t get any order from God to take action. If I didn’t go through my blog, I actually forgot all about them. Worse than what Solomon did to Dantalion. I’m speculating it’s because of some contract and the wish fulfilling thingy, Solomon loses his memory of him.

With this anime being predominantly male dominant, I thought there won’t be any females appearing. Heck, the school William goes is an all-boys’ academy. I already resigned myself to not expect any hot chicks and some ambiguous yaoi situations. But a little surprise… I suppose they soften this by including some females but they do not have any major effect on the show overall. It’s the guys who are running everything. Haha… The first female to show up is Maria but she only lasted for that episode and you’ll never see her again. Eligos too shared that same fate but her appearance was even more limited and felt quite fleeting so it didn’t matter. Then you have mature Astaroth (whom at first I thought it was that Bleach’s Arrancar, Mila Rose) and loli Lamia who have a decent amount of screen time to remind us that there are still women in this anime. Do you feel they’re significant? Guess not. And ah yes, Jeanne. She went back to Heaven and never came back. There goes your power of virginity, people. So much for females’ participation in this anime. Because of that, a few yaoi moments that might send fujoshi fans’ heart aflutter for a second or two. Especially when Dantalion grabs William’s hand, it just looks like a very potential yaoi moment. Really. He doesn’t do this once or twice but several times. With Sitri looking so feminine that he could be passed off as a female and if they would have their way, a hentai version of this series to satisfy fujoshi fans with Sitri x (enter the name of the hunk of your choice here). Then there’s the part whereby Kevin unbuttoned sleeping William’s shirt. Potential nose blood moment for fujoshi fans…

Of course this means the art is filled with hot bishonen guys but after seeing so many animes with such art, it has become standard and nothing unique. This series is produced by Dogakobo and I strangely many of its other anime productions are of yuri nature such as Shin Koihime Musou and YuruYuri, or harem animes like Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi, Myself; Yourself, 11eyes and GJ-Bu (okay, this one has mild harem elements). One little complaint that I have is that in the final episode during the scene of Solomon subjugating the demons, there are recycled scenes! Not only is the same scene used twice but thrice! There I was going, if there was something wrong with the video that caused it to loop. Am I experiencing some sort of deja vu? I guess this is what happens if you want to save cost and only have a low budget. Just like William’s case, huh? I know that they don’t really want to give emphasis on lower demons since they’re going to die anyway and we don’t care about them, the art on them isn’t that great at all because as long as they look ugly, they pass off as one. But to use the same recycled scenes? How cheap can they get?

The action bit feels okay but sometimes I find this little thing very irritating. After the fight ends with one seemingly has lost and the victor is about to destroy the loser with whatever powers, suddenly somebody comes in between and prevents that. Dantalion is guilty for doing this many times that I lost count. Isn’t it just annoying? He likes to play the hero whereby the always enter the scene late but at the right time. And he’s a demon for goodness sake. I mean, here we go, maybe this character is going to be killed off and then suddenly somebody swoops down in the middle to repel the attack or take the blast. It happens all the time. So nobody gets killed off in the except for lower demons that we won’t ever care about. Otherwise, I suppose the power battle is just sufficient for entertainment but it doesn’t go any more than that. I mean, all the powerful demons can shoot out some sort of beam blast, right?

Nothing special about the opening theme, Believe My Dice by the quartet voices of Dantalion, William, Sitri and Camio. Just imagine a boy band singing this pop rock. Very manly… The only thing I like about the ending theme is the opening guitar riffs. Otherwise, A Shadow Love Song by the same quartet isn’t anything special or to my liking. The voice acting is also pretty decent. The line-up includes Takuya Eguchi as William (Kon in Ixion Saga DT), Takuma Terashima as Dantalion (Stone River in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Sitri (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Tetsuya Kakihara as Camio/Nathan (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Mitsuki Saiga as Solomon (Phantom in MAR), Jun Fukuyama as Kevin/Uriel (Lelouch in Code Geass), Hiroshi Kamiya as Michael (Araragi in Bakemonogatari), Keiji Fujiwara as Baalberith (Sven in Black Cat), Sachi Kokuryu as Astaroth (Fran in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Beelzebub (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita), Akira Ishida as Samael (Gaara in Naruto), Kousuke Toriumi as Gilles (Kiba in Naruto), Hiroaki Yasumoto as Baphomet (Sado in Bleach), Motoki Takagi as Isaac (Mamoru in Shin Sekai Yori), Yu Kobayashi as Eligos (Ayame in Gintama) and Mikami Shiori as Lamia (Akari in YuruYuri).

I don’t know about demons needing somebody else than their kind to elect someone to lead them. I thought it should have always been the case of the strongest and baddest coming fore to the front and wipe the ass out of whoever is in charge before taking control. Why did Solomon start this ‘tradition’? Beats me. It is something that dumb people like me won’t understand. So much so it got me thinking if he was so wise, why didn’t he bring peace on Earth seeing he easily fought and won battles even in a reluctant state. That is much harder to achieve? Maybe. Dumb people like me won’t really comprehend anyhow. Really. Gods, angels, fallen angels, demons, halfies and humans can be a very complicated mix. It’s like throwing all the dangerous and toxic chemicals in one big flask, then watch and wait for it to go boom. Thank God there are no vampires and werewolves. Yet. If I really have to go through all this crap and sh*t, I think I’d rather fall into ecstasy of watching my animes for eternity. Now I have a reason-cum-excuse to tell others why I continue to watch animes even if it doesn’t bring any good to society in general. Because it brings me joy.

Time for another versus but this is my first time doing one on idol themed animes. There are quite a number of idol themed animes over the years and I’m sure everyone who is into anime or idols can name a few. Or perhaps you don’t even have enough fingers to finish counting them all. Anyway today’s versus blog will pit female idol groups from the anime AKB0048 and Love Live! School Idol Project. Both these animes are so far the ‘most prominent’ female idol animes in my repertoire. Idolmaster? Didn’t watch that. Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream? Haven’t watched that yet. Aikatsu? Don’t think I want to watch it. Kirarin Revolution? That’s an idol anime? Lovedol? Abandoned it many years ago. Lemon Angel Project? So old that I even forgot about it. Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%/2000%? I said female idol groups…

AKB0048: In the future of the 21st century.
Love Live: Current present day.

AKB0048: In between space and planets of the galaxy.
Love Live: Tokyo, Japan.

AKB0048: Futuristic sci-fi.
Love Live: More down to earth.

Main group in focus
AKB0048: No Name.
Love Live: Muse.

Members in that group
Coincidentally, both groups have 9 members each. Also, all members are voiced by actual members in the group.
AKB0048: Chieri Sono, Nagisa Motomiya, Orine Aida, Yuuka Ichijou, Suzuko Kanzaki, Sonata Shinonome, Makoto Yokomizo, Kanata Shinonome and Mimori Kishida.
Love Live: Honoka Kousaka, Umi Sonoda, Kotori Minami, Niko Yazawa, Maki Nishikino, Rin Hoshizora, Hanayo Koizumi, Eri Ayase and Nozomi Toujou.

Selection process
AKB0048: Potential candidates were thrown into the battlefield to protect the Successors as they are staging a guerrilla concert. Those who gave up are out. Of course, everything was just a big mock.
Love Live: Honoka, Umi and Kotori try to stage their first live performance to recruit more members. It was disheartening that they thought nobody showed up but slowly those who did will subsequently join them.

AKB0048: The Successors of AKB0048.
Love Live: Nil.

Supporting staffs
AKB0048: Tsubasa Katagiri (manager) and Ushiyama (trainer).
Love Live: Nil. They only had themselves.

AKB0048: The mobile base and battleship Katyusha and home planet Akibastar.
Love Live: Otonokizaka Academy in Tokyo.

Oldest member in the group
AKB0048: Mimori and Kanata. They’re from the 75th generation Understudies.
Love Live: Nozomi.

Rich girl
AKB0048: Chieri.
Love Live: Maki.

Joker girl
AKB0048: Sonata and Makoto. Yes, nicknaming penchant girl and cowardly-cum-grumpy girl make them real funny jokers.
Love Live: Niko. Yes, her child-like appearance and aspirations to become an idol makes her a real funny joker.

Spectacles girl
AKB0048: Suzuko.
Love Live: Hanayo. However she substitutes them with contact lens.

The cook
Refers to the one who is very good in cooking.
AKB0048: Papa Cook.
Love Live: Niko.

AKB0048: Kanata and Sonata.
Love Live: Honoka and Yukiho. Eri and Arisa.

Daughter of an important person
AKB0048: Chieri is the daughter and heiress of the giant Zodiac Corporation’s CEO.
Love Live: Kotori is the daughter of Otonokizaka’s chairwoman.

Ice queen
They usually ‘defrost’ and warm up later.
: Chieri.
Love Live: Eri.

AKB0048: Yuuka. Remember her feelings for Mamoru?
Love Live: Maki. Sort of.

AKB0048: Yuuko and Sae.
Love Live: Rin.

Miko outfit
AKB0048: The underground shrine where Sensei-sensei resides, Tsubasa wears one.
Love Live: Nozomi works part time as a miko priestess.

Song composer for the group
AKB0048: S-Quadruple AKA Sensei-sensei.
Love Live: Maki.

Choreographer for the group
AKB0048: Ushiyama.
Love Live: Kotori and subsequently Eri.

The biggest threat
AKB0048: Entertainment in the future has been banned. The heroines are considered terrorists for staging guerrilla concerts across the galaxy.
Love Live: The school is under threat of being closed down for good as the enrolment rate is declining and very low.

Main enemies
AKB0048: DGTO (Deep Galactic Trade Organization) and DES Enforcers.
Love Live: A-Rise. Well, I don’t really consider this as their enemy but more of their rival.

Initial resentment
AKB0048: Megumi Wanibuchi from the 76th generation resents those in the 77th generation because they seem to have higher chance of succeeding compared to hers who have been around longer than them.
Love Live: Eri wanted to save the school her way but doesn’t approve of Honoka’s method of forming an idol group. Niko wanted the group to break up as she feels they are a disgrace to idols that she holds in high respect.

Mascot of the series
AKB0048: Little light blobs called Kiraras.
Love Live: None that I can think of.

Collapsed from fever
AKB0048: Mimori. A sign that she will be inheriting a Successor’s name.
Love Live: Honoka. She overworked herself for the group’s first performance.

Spartan Training
AKB0048: In addition to singing and dancing, the members need to know basic combat and self defence moves and how to handle weapons as well.
Love Live: In addition to singing and dancing, the members undergo stamina and endurance training. Thank Umi for that.

Place of practice
AKB0048: In the studio.
Love Live: On the school’s rooftop.

Non-concert activities (selective)
AKB0048: Photo shooting events, hand shaking events with fans, variety shows.
Love Live: Part time maid job at a maid café, summer camp at Maki’s villa.

Beach episode
Some fanservice but don’t put too much hope on it.
AKB0048: Episode 10 of first season when the girls are there for a photo shoot.
Love Live: Coincidentally, also episode 10 when the girls are at Maki’s villa.

The competition
AKB0048: The General Elections that would bring back the Centre Nova position. Only Mimori and Chieri made it into the top ten.
Love Live: The top 20 school idols will compete in Love Live to see who will be the best of them all. Muse never got a chance to participate because they have to withdraw when Honoka got sick.

The centre position
AKB0048: After the General Elections, Yuuko took over Takamine’s spot. But in the end, it is Chieri who took that coveted position.
Love Live: Everyone will take turns singing as the centre.

AKB0048: Acchan. She went missing shortly after taking on the Centre Nova position. Subsequently it is Yuuko when she took that position.
Love Live: Umi. Erm… Actually she went temporarily went ‘missing’ because she had this fear of performing in public.

Low morale
AKB0048: Chieri after her father was mysteriously assassinated right before her eyes.
Love Live: Honoka when she blames herself as the cause for her group’s withdrawal from Love Live competition.

CGI effects
Both series uses the computer graphics imagery when the idols start singing in their performance. Very obvious…

Favourite insert song
Please note that this is based on my own personal choice and taste.
AKB0048: Cherry No Nagisa. And no, it doesn’t sound sissy, mind you.
Love Live: Start:Dash!

Number of episodes
AKB0048: 2 seasons of 13 episodes each. Total 26 episodes.
Love Live: 1 season consisting 13 episodes. A second season is being planned. There is 1 OVA released.

Studio production
AKB0048: Satelight.
Love Live: Sunrise.

I’m not a true idol fan so there is much that I am missing or do not know. Thus you may find this versus somewhat incomplete. It’s hard to choose from which is the better one because Love Live is more down to earth so you can relate to a lot of things easily. Whereas AKB0048 has some action and sci-fi elements to it so it makes things more exciting rather than being ‘mundane’. It doesn’t get better to see cute girls piloting badass mechas and kick ass, no? But it can be a little far-fetched sometimes. Both animes also have cute characters. That’s a given since you’re dealing with idol girls so you must have cute girls to appeal to the audience, right? Personally, I prefer those in Love Live as they are more anime-like whereas those in AKB0048 look a little bit cartoonish. Both sides also have their fair share of songs and dance moves but the ones in Love Live seem more unique. Because AKB0048 has more episodes and characters, there is enough for character development to grow and to drive the plot. Ironically, the main characters in Love Live have more individual personalities compared to their counterparts in AKB0048. It boils down to what kind of idol group(s) you support that determines which idols are the best. But with the glut of idol groups from Japan and around the world, looks like we won’t be getting short of any idol supply. As long as there are fans out there, idols will never die.

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