Galilei Donna

May 25, 2014

How does it feel like to be related to a celebrity? Awesome? Annoying? Well, how then would it feel to be a descendant of one of the greatest people on Earth? Maybe an inventor or a philosopher? I’m sure it has its ups and downs but for this anime concerned, Galilei Donna, we have descendants of the great Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei! How cool is that? You can brag and tell to your friends that your great-great-great-great grandpa was the father of science. Cool, huh? So cool this guy that there is a Japanese rock band named after him and even Queen had a line in Bohemian Rhapsody going “Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo!”. Oh yeah. Don’t you just love that song?

But it is not so rosy a picture in this original anime. Set in the near future of 2061, we have 3 sisters who are supposedly the descendants of the great Galileo. However they have different personalities and are somewhat at odds with each other. In other words, they aren’t really getting along well. Heck. Seems their entire family is going through a rough patch. Even worse, the sisters aren’t really interested in upholding the great legacy of their ancestor. Of course when they are being accused as terrorist, they have to put aside their differences to work together and go on a world journey to unveil the secrets left behind by Galileo. A treasure that seems everyone is willing to kill them for it. I guess it is such time you’d wish that you weren’t a descendant of someone so great.

Episode 1
Mechs are seen dropping down into a construction dome, stealing methane hydrate cartridge crates before blowing everything else up. Meanwhile Hozuki Ferrari doesn’t know why she is being chased by a weird ship. When it corners her in a plant, she takes out her stun laser cannon and fires it to bring it down. Kazuki Ferrari is drunk and depressed. Something about college fees and credits. At the toilet as she freshens up herself, a guy gets rough with her. She starts threatening him about sexual harassment lawsuit and suing but does he care? Her friend smashes a bottle on his head and he hastily withdraws. Similarly, Hazuki Ferrari is faking illness, playing truant at the infirmary just to avoid a group activity in class when a man comes in with a knife on her neck. She kicks his crotch but he flees through the window. So the sisters are at the police station and the police chief, Cassini is baffled a kidnapping incident occurring at the same time. Not happy too is their mom, Sylvia. She lectures them about being irresponsible and skipping classes. Oh, here it comes… Another lengthy reminder that they’re the descendants of the great Galileo Galilei. The sisters don’t seem to be interested in upholding that greatness… Their dad Geshio (hippy guy?) is also here and rushed from his lab after he heard the incident. The police couldn’t understand the fuss about this Galileo Galilei thing and will have 2 cops station outside their house. But as pointed out they may need more than that as they all live separately. Hozuki is to go live with mom so she goes off to her lab to feed her goldfish before deciding what to pack. This may take a while. As the rest waits, an explosion blows apart the wall. Cicinho and his men walk coolly into the place. He’s making himself home. Seems he wants to know where the Galileo relic is but Sylvia doesn’t know what he is talking about. He thinks she is pulling a fast one. Hozuki sees this commotion and goes back down to her lab. Kazuki tries to be some sort of prosecutor thingy but Cicinho doesn’t give a damn. He is going to show them his gorgeous mecha, Black Ganymede but everyone is surprised the ground is shaking. Then bursting out of the ground is a goldfish craft with Hozuki and her talking AI pet goldfish, Grande Rosso as the pilot. Cicinho orders for this joke to be taken down however the goldfish packs a punch and with enough firepower to do serious damage Black Ganymede. Cicinho decides to let them go for today and will be back. Kazuki still want to persecute him someday? Tell him that when she’s become a full-fledged lawyer. From afar, Anna Hendrix notes she has found the Galileo sisters.

Episode 2
Everyone marvels at this craft that Hozuki built. She found blueprints in the attic and started building it 3 years ago. She wanted to fly to Japan and armed it with weapons in case she encounters air pirates. She’s put a lot of thought into it, huh? Hozuki remembers her pet goldfish and goes back into her lab to get it. However she is met with Anna who says she is here to save her. She brings her see her family being taken away by Cassini. So the police is on this too? Anna introduces herself as a fan of Galileo. She mentions about the 6 sketches he drew when he observed the moon but there is a rumoured seventh one. It is believe he left clues in the sketches that would lead to the discovery of something grander than the heliocentric model. That discovery is what people are calling Galileo’s relic or treasure. Anna wanted to write a book in it but got attacked by men in suits. Not just them. From air pirates to even the police as she just witnessed are trying to find Galileo’s treasure. She believes Galileo’s discovery will bring benefit to mankind and should be shared instead of being monopolized or kept hidden. The rest of the family are thrown in prison but only Sylvia is released on bail thanks to her company president, Francesco. Think he is a kind man? Yeah. He asks her, wait for it, where is Galileo’s relic. Geshio is visited by a strange guy, Roberto Materazzi (folding a paper crane?). He too would like to know the whereabouts of that damn relic. However Geshio doesn’t. Not a single bit. It is Sylvia who is a direct descendant and their family hasn’t been on good terms for a long term.

Anna wants Hozuki’s help to save her family but the latter doesn’t have the confidence. She doesn’t feel they’re a family as they’ve broken up. However the thought that they can get along like they use to serves as motivation. First Anna distracts the dumb lookout cops to retrieve Galileo (the official and nicer name for her goldfish craft). Then with Hozuki piloting a mini goldfish mecha, she burst into the underground prison to go save her family. The police can shoot all they want. No bullets are going to penetrate the metal. Roberto is in cohorts with Cassini and is not afraid to get blood on his hands if he doesn’t get what he wants. Of course this is put on hold when Hozuki goes on a rampage. After freeing her family, Roberto and the police confront the mecha. He is impressed with her talent. Unfortunately, it was a decoy because Geshio is piloting it. He wanted his daughters to go solve the mystery of Galileo before other parties could. Riding up to the rooftop, Cassini thought he could stop the girls by himself. Kazuki judos the fat ass. Out in a single throw. After they fly off in Galileo, Roberto calls his adopted father, Francesco who is Sylvia’s boss that things aren’t going as planned. Things are not going well on his side too because looks like there is blood all over Sylvia.

Episode 3
Roberto’s dad is giving a press statement about air pirates frequently raiding methane hydrate mines around the world. His company, Adnimoon is the only stable energy supplier left and vows not to let that supply be destabilized. Although Sylvia is alive, she is in coma and has amnesia. Curiously her knowledge and scientific expertise remain intact. This works well in their favour as they plan to use her for you-know-what. Geshio has escaped and in hiding. He sends a short message to the girls to signal that he is alright. Hazuki isn’t interested in finding the relics and more interested in taking down Adnimoon, their perpetrators. But Anna notes that it is not Adnimoon that she should be targeting but Messier, a top secret branch under Adnimoon that does all the dirty work. Hazuki can’t work on an empty stomach but there is no food around. Kazuki hates this place because it reeks of oil and wants to go home. Hozuki hopes everyone would stop using their handphones because it has been tapped and could be traced. They can use the communicator she made. Yes, she even made those. But Kazuki is reluctant to give it up. I take it there are pics of her boyfriend inside? Before they could go stock up on food, Grande Rosso tells them that they have become international wanted criminals. This serious? Kazuki is having some serious dissatisfaction. The toilet is her place of refuge? She thinks Hozuki is doing this without thinking about them but Hazuki disagrees and shows her around the very well built Galileo. There are 5 sets of everything and this shows Hozuki was thinking about her family when she made this.

Suddenly Galileo is being attacked by Roberto’s Branding Iron mecha. They can’t escape in time and fall into his grasp. At least he has a good point: He doesn’t beat around the bush. So where is the relic? All that shaking and crushing must have loosened some parts. Anna finds a moon sketch inside the pipe. Convenient? The girls think of using this to their advantage. However pessimistic Kazuki wants to hand it over so they can go home and live their normal lives. Hazuki argues it isn’t going to be that simple. Think they’ll let them go just like that even after the handover? Kazuki enters a nervous breakdown, accusing Hozuki of doing all this just to show off. She runs away. Where can she run to? Feel better after breaking plates? Nope. But thanks to the arrival of Black Ganymede, Cicinho attacks Roberto as the tussle for the sisters begin. It is during that confusion that the sisters use this chance to escape. In the aftermath, Hozuki checks out the sketch. Sounds poetic like a love letter. Anna and Hazuki discuss about Adnimoon using Messier to seize resources from competitors to enlarge their market share. Therefore obtaining Galileo’s relic is the fastest way to foil their plans. But how are they going to get information on other sketches? Perhaps something trivial that all Galileo’s fans know? Did you know he studied music when he was young? Speaking of which, Hozuki notices there are musical bars in the sketch.

Episode 4
One of the notes contain the map of Germany. This might be where the next sketch is. But it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Are they going to find every tree in this park? What more, sulking Kazuki won’t help. And all they find is a homeless man who won’t let go of Hozuki’s feet! Maybe he is hungry so they feed him with their little provisions back at his makeshift home in the woods. Hozuki notices his micro doctor invention. Herman Hans was once an engineer and had a daughter Hozuki’s age. She had a rare disease that conventional surgeries cannot cure. Although micro doctor was a failure, he improvised and perfected it. However it was too late. He felt his life wasted when he couldn’t save her life. Hazuki and Hozuki disguise themselves to go get some supplies in town. I’m sure they look even more suspicious. Especially the couple of Ganymede pirates who instantly recognize them. Thankfully, they’re goons. The duo make a run for it. Entering buildings, jumping from buildings. Don’t try this stunt. When Hozuki jumps, because she wanted to save those newly bought plates, she slipped and fell. She landed hard on the pile of junk below. I don’t know how Hazuki brought her back to Galileo but Hozuki is in a lot of pain. They can’t go to a doctor or they’ll be turned in. Kazuki remembers Hans and goes to plead to him to save his sister. Despite all that hatred, she still cares for her sister. I suppose the please-save-my-family rings a bell in him so he agrees to help.

However Cicinho had to pick a nice time to attack them. Because Hazuki and Anna are at a lost, Kazuki takes control. She even reads the manual on how to start up Galileo and fly it! But the bumpy ride means Hans cannot start his operation using micro doctor on Hozuki. Hazuki is so pissed that she had to hail Cicinho and scold the hell out of him. Like he understands what is happening. Kazuki then changes Galileo into battle mode. The goldfish transforms into its assault mode, so cool that its claws can slice missiles! When Cicinho hears from one of his men who chased the sisters in town and that one of them fell and got injured, he feels guilty and beats him up. He decides to withdraw for today otherwise he can’t look at Hazuki in the eye. He wants to take it fair and square? Oh sure, like everything he did was. The surgery on Hozuki is successful. As they send Hans home, they lament about not finding the sketch. Seems Hans has it. He was using it as a mat! Desecration of a national treasure! Yeah. Anna fainted. When this park was built 5 year ago, the trees were cleared. At that time he quit his engineer job and made this forest his home. He found the sketch in a broken fish statue. He gives it to them since they have done a lot for him. Continuing their journey, Kazuki continues to put up a tough front, like as though she doesn’t really care. Really? Then why glue back all the broken plates together despite it’s a horrible shoddy job?

Episode 5
Their next journey brings them to Netherlands. Similarly, the local bandits called Blue Hawk ambushes an Adnimoon’s cargo. The girls land in a ghost town and are surrounded by Blue Hawk members. Their leader, Ludger Verhoeven welcomes them since they’re both wanted criminals. Technically. Back at their train station base, Ludger brands Adnimoon the villain because they have been cutting off energy supply to smaller towns like this one for prestigious and rich cities. It’s discrimination. However Kazuki still wants to argue the proper channels to voice complaints and all. As said, they’ve been cut off so Adnimoon doesn’t care what they say. At this rate everyone will die and they have no time or money to go through proper channels. Hozuki befriends a boy, Theo Escher. As they share the same interest in engineering, they quickly click. He also shows her a telescope he made. She notices a name Karen carved on it. She is Theo’s childhood friend. Later Hozuki talks to Karen. She knows she likes Theo. She knows it’s her birthday today. Wow. She knows everything. Meeting back with Theo, he shows her the perfected lens he got to complete his telescope. When he mentions he got this lens from the church, Hozuki wants to know where the church is. It’s right in their base. The church was transformed into a train station before the town was abandoned. Hozuki sees the goldfish in the glass and uses it like a sundial to pinpoint a secret trapdoor on the floor. Seriously, nobody noticed this? I guess everyone was busy surviving or rebelling. Underneath is a giant abandoned cathedral and they find a sketch. Theo wants to show this to Ludger and believes he will give it to her since he is a generous man. When they go see him, Branding Irons are seen floating in, ready to destroy the place. Seems Ludger has sold everyone out. He fires his gun at them but it accidentally hits an inflammable tank. Somehow Hozuki’s goldfish hourglass pendant absorbs the explosion. Ludger flies away as Theo signals Galileo to retrieve Hozuki. He is going back to save Karen. Speaking of which, she is still at the base, holding on to the telescope. She couldn’t leave his treasured telescope behind although it was supposed to be his birthday gift to her. They can’t make it out in time since the blasts shatter the glasses and Karen’s leg got done in. They cuddle together in their final moments as the Branding Irons blow up the place. Distraught Hozuki wanted to go save them but Grande Rosso moves into auto pilot mode to steer them away and escape. Otherwise they will be shot down too. 99.8% for sure.

Episode 6
When Roberto was celebrating his 11th birthday, there were homeless people outside begging for food. His father went to gave all they have to them because he believes those with plenty must share. That is the duty for those blessed with abundance. Roberto quickly believed in that till one day a freak hailstorm hit his town. Buildings were destroyed. His parents pinned under the rubble. He went to seek for help especially those homeless guys hanging around. However they don’t remember who his father is and to make things worse, they steal his mom’s necklace before leaving without a care. So much about loyalty. Short memory. The building crumbles and a slab falls on Roberto. So can you blame Roberto why he is such a cold guy? Meanwhile Hazuki is sick. They don’t have medicine and they’re desperate enough to go steal some at the hospital. Who knows, Ganymede pirates are there and holding the people hostage because they want to repair their engine by using parts of the hospital for their ship. Triple unlucky because Roberto is also here for the same reason. The goons are no match for him. Only Cicinho can stand up to him. Roberto gives up when he is outnumbered by Cicinho’s men pointing their guns surrounding him. Then more bad luck as the power runs out and is running on backup generator. How long will that last? Several patients complain to the doctor about preferential treatment. Because those in the upper floors are in critical condition, so energy is directed towards keeping the equipment running. They are not happy half dead people are given preferential treatment and the rest will just freeze to death. This makes Roberto remember part of his past. He lost his right leg since that incident and at the orphanage, that’s when Francesco saw him. He liked the look in his eyes and made him his son.

When Cicinho learns that Kazuki is sick, he orders his men to help the sisters deliver the medicine. They wonder why they’re being so nice going out their way despite being injured. It goes beyond just boss’ orders. They are ready to give their lives to him. Everyone in Ganymede came from the orphanage. Adults bullied and mistreated them just to show who is superior. They withstood the abuse till Cicinho came along. He gave those mother*ckers a piece of his mind. Ever since they followed him and to reciprocate their freedom, they obey his commands. Kazuki thinks they’re still wrong as pirates but they tell her back that they didn’t pay for the medicine either. They know how this harsh world works. There are not enough resources for everyone so they can’t survive without taking from others. People do it because they have no choice. Hozuki feels sad thinking the same thing about Theo’s fate. Suddenly a gunshot is heard. Roberto shoots and kills all those selfish complainers!!! It makes no sense for them to live. Cicinho doesn’t like the way he decides who lives or dies. But Roberto gets honest. There are too many people in this world. The population far exceeds the world’s capacity. He considers himself as the world’s spokesperson and his action are salvation. I don’t know why Ganymede lets him shoot those he wants and just standing there. I know he is holding a comrade hostage but she too got shot eventually. And they didn’t fight back… Hozuki cannot take anymore of this and ‘tackles’ Roberto. He misfires and hits a tank. Boom! That’s when her pendant works up. Like a mini black hole it swallows the explosion and emits a warm ray of light. I’m not sure if this light stopped the blizzard since the weather is fine now. The girls wake up and return to deliver the medicine to Hazuki. Roberto is about to kill off unconscious Cicinho. However he ran out of bullets. Lucky? He watches Galileo fly away as he notes he has found Galileo’s treasure. Yeah, how come nobody noticed it was that pendant hanging around her neck all the time? Maybe it was the light.

Episode 7
Here is another revelation: Anna contacts Roberto and her task is to keep an eye on the sisters till he gets there! Anna realizes at this rate, the girls will be murdered. She then returns to the rest and discuss about Hozuki’s pendant. Hazuki has come up with a conclusion the reason Adnimoon is pursuing them. If Galileo’s treasure is an energy source, it is all the reason why they are desperate to get their hands on it. Anna seems to know about this but why didn’t she tell them? Not to put pressure on them. Are they prepared to take responsibility and save the world? For Hazuki, she intends on doing that because she’s going to be the world’s greatest lawyer. As for how Hozuki found it, it was in the attic with the sketch and she had no idea it was this valuable. Of course they don’t want to let this fall in the hands of Adnimoon because if it does, they won’t share it and monopolize it all for themselves. Later Anna talks to Hozuki who is in a little dilemma. The world’s problem is too big for her and all she wants is just to find the sketches. Anna says that people value things differently. Like herself, she is doing this because of love. Yeah. There is some guy she likes (guess who) however it is unrequited love. She was saved by him and admires his strength. Galileo is travelling through the Caspian Sea when they are being bombarded by depth charges. It’s Roberto and his Branding Iron again. Back so soon? Because they cannot transform into assault mode, they are forced to surface. However whatever weapons they throw and attack at Branding Iron, nothing happens. Roberto is far superior to the point Galileo takes heavy damage and crash lands.

In a desperate move, the girls climb out as Hazuki tempts and provokes Roberto to get the pendant himself. It worked. But if Hazuki thought she could bait him close enough to stun him with the stun gun, she is sorely mistaken because he saw it all coming. He gives her to knockout punch. He is very well about to shoot her when Kazuki throws the pendant to him. Take it and leave. Leave us alone! He might have shot her too if not for Anna telling him that he’s got what he want, so go home. After he leaves, it’s sullen mood for the girls. Hazuki is frustrated that they lost because of difference in strength. However she won’t give up and will continue to find remaining the sketches. If it leads to another treasure, it might turn the tables to their favour. Of course Kazuki is not happy. She doesn’t care about saving the world. All she cares is her sisters’ safety. And so Hazuki and Hozuki follow the clues of the sketch and find a statue with a goldfish logo on it. Coincidence? Convenience? Luck? Hazuki vents her anger and kicks to break open the statue! I know resorting to violence is faster but this is your future lawyer we’re talking about… And their mood is lift up again when they find another sketch. But even happier for Hozuki because the next journey will bring them to Japan!

Episode 8
Hozuki wants to take a detour to Kyoto and meet her grandpa first. Grandpa is delighted to meet his granddaughters and welcomes them. Though his humble home may not be much and due to energy shortage, the heater is usually turned off and it’s almost as cold as hell (oh, the oxymoron). But he’s used to it. The sisters venture into their father’s room and finds his photo album. They are shocked to see he was once a punk rock band member!!! KISS?! Oh, there are other many jobs he did before he settled being a hippie. Could he have picked a better one? Is that even a job? They also see pictures of their parents spending time together during their younger days and it led to their marriage. Feel the warmth in your heart? Hozuki notices an energy converter sketch and uses it to fix the real one outside grandpa’s house. Time to get her hands dirty. Meanwhile Anna contacts Roberto that everything is going according to plan. She is appalled to hear that once he has all the sketches, he will eliminate them. He let them go then so that they could run around and find the remaining sketches. So once the collecting is done, contact him. Hozuki needs some parts for the machine. It’s also a little excuse for them to go sightseeing. Hozuki loves Japan so much that she marvels at everything. Yup. Even geishas. The sisters split up to do their own stuffs and meet back at a certain time.

Hazuki had to get lost. Conveniently that’s when she bumps into Cicinho. Suddenly he feels like a stalker, eh? He is glad she is back to her usual self and came to see her because he heard she was almost killed by that Messier bastard. He wants her to join him so he can protect her. Hazuki laughs. And then agrees to let him protect her. Wait. That easy? Even Cicinho thinks she should take some time to consider that. Hazuki has learnt some things on their journey. She doesn’t have the right to talk about justice seeing the danger she put her sisters in. She feels ideals aren’t enough to protect what is most important. He replies that it takes power to uphold an ideal. But power must not be given to those who do not want to uphold it. There is no need for her to change. She is fine the way she is. She thanks him for being a nice guy. Once they’ve gathered the treasure, he’ll come get them. And her. Back home, the sisters show grandpa the converter sketch. Then Hozuki starts up the machine. She has made some innovation so that it keeps energy losses to a minimum. Now the place is warm and they can even have steaming hot nabe. Time for Anna to have some reflection of her heart. Because grandpa is grateful for her travelling with his granddaughters and hopes she will continue to look after them. Then the sisters had to gate crash in while she’s bathing and in the already small and cramped bathtub, they give their thanks from the bottom of the heart that it made her cry. Touching. Back to business, the girls find the fifth sketch in some tomb deep in the mountains.

Episode 9
In the dessert of Libya, the girls find the last sketch. However with it seems to be a regular telescope. Hozuki wanted to ask Anna about the rumoured seventh sketch but Grande Rosso detects the enemy coming. It’s that heartless bastard. How did they find them? Hozuki feels something amiss about Anna because she is acting quite guilty. Furthermore, they can’t fly away as they are low on fuel. When both sides confront, Roberto throws back the pendant to Hozuki because he has no need for fakes. He gets straight to the point. Hand him all the sketches. Hozuki won’t. So he tells her if those sketches contain blueprints on how to make proper use of vast energy source, even if Hozuki deciphers them, she needs vast amounts of money and infrastructure. There are things she cannot learn from books like battle experience and trials of desperation. Anna suggests to hand over the sketches at it is not worth their lives. Roberto tells her to drop the bad act. What does this mean? Confession time. Anna admits she is a spy for Messier and approached them to make them collect the sketches. She was the one who drained their fuel. She thought being descendants of Galileo would make them efficient but she is sick and tired of their petty sisterly quarrels. Makes her feel glad she doesn’t have any. Anna thought this would be the end but it seems Roberto wants her to finish the sisters off with her own hands as they know too much. Can she shoot them? This is serious. Anna may be a spy but she’s not a killer. With her shaking hands, she points the gun back at Roberto and tells the sisters to run. She also tells them where she left the fuel. At the same time, Black Ganymede attacks and Cicinho is not very happy that the bastard hurt his woman. One of his men even got the cheek to note that maybe they’ve fallen for the same woman. Haha. As the sisters run back to Galileo, Hozuki takes out her mechanical pet goldfish and this is where she kept the real treasure. She pours it back into the hourglass and the explosion around makes it start up. In the flash of events, Hozuki suddenly realize time has stopped before she gets warped into some wormhole.

She falls out from a stormy cloud and crashes onto a guy flying his ancient wooden flying craft. Too bad it got destroyed when it crash landed. He isn’t really happy about it. All the time and money spent on making this. How is this girl going to pay? Then he notices her pendant pulsing with the storm cloud. He thinks she must have come from there. Hozuki panics that she needs to get back but he calms her down. Based on his observation, the same phenomenon will happen again in 23 days and by that time he needs Galileo to fly them back up. Wait. Galileo? Hozuki is surprised to learn he is the real Galileo Galilei in person! Blast to the past, I suppose. He plans on being the first person to make a functional airplane. Back at his home, Galileo explains this phenomenon was regarded as bad omen to the locals and they hid inside their homes. However he has never seen such a peculiar storm and observed it. He shows her the other many objects from the future fallen from it. Each time the pendant was activated, it sucked in something, right? So this is where it went. He also shows her his chart of observation of the flashes and its peak. If they head back up to the sky at its peak, she may be able to go back. They both make blueprints of the airplane but Galileo is amazed at Hozuki’s innovation and improvise that makes his airplane much more efficient and aero dynamic. You don’t say… Then they build it from scratch, even have time to paint it like a goldfish and make a mini one just to test it. However come next morning, it’s raining. Maybe it’s because of the teruterubouzu she made and hanged up. Looks more like a curse to him. How can a person of science believe in such unscientific charm? Of course the rain has to stop and when it does, it’s a beautiful weather to test fly.

Episode 10
The first flight… Failed. Second, third, fourth… All failed. It took them till evening to figure out what is wrong. By that time, they notice the storm cloud approaching. He predicts it will be here tomorrow evening so they have one more day to fix whatever is wrong. That night when Hozuki can’t sleep, she sees him observing and sketching the moon on his rooftop. He explains that he doesn’t believe about the current belief that everything revolves around Earth. However he has no evidence to back his theory. So people will quickly discredit him and anything that goes against accepted beliefs because they are afraid of new things. But he isn’t. That’s why he wants to observe, test and prove. From his observation, he deduces Hozuki is from the future. She admits and tells him the future world problem of energy shortage, the painful, sad and happy journey with her sisters. She wants to get back in time and he assures she will. Later Hozuki looks at his sketch but it lacks all the poetic love words in the ones she has. Who was that love letter meant for? She also notices a newly built world globe in the corner. Next day before liftoff, Hozuki gives Galileo her mechanical goldfish as thanks. She really enjoyed spending time with him. As they take to the air, Galileo cannot contain his happiness that he sees with his very own eyes the round horizon. Now he is damn sure that the world is round and supports his theory of Earth rotating on its axis, etc. Now that he has seen the proof, he won’t waver anymore and will walk his path with full determination.

When he was young, he wanted to do all this but whenever he spoke to others, they dismiss him as crazy and a weirdo. Because he didn’t want people to look at him that way, he stopped talking to people about his ideas. He had given up on finding someone who understands him till he met her. Then it hit Hozuki. The words he says sound very familiar in the sketches. Then she realizes to whom that ‘love letter’ was directed to. Hozuki also says she is quite similar to him. She couldn’t tell the people around about her thoughts nor find the right words to express. But she is no longer alone now. She is confident he will find somebody who understands him. Well, didn’t he already? Galileo then has this strange feeling overcoming him. He wished he could fly like this forever with her. Hozuki too. As they head into the storm cloud, Hozuki remembers more of the love letter words. Definitely, it was meant for her. Inside the storm, Hozuki’s pendant activates and she gets sucked away. Like lovers being forcefully separated by the force of nature. She returns to present time and it resumes back as normal. Thanks to Cicinho’s protection, the sisters are able to run back to their ship and take off. However it is short-lived since they are shot down again. This time by the Interpol who wants them to surrender.

Episode 11
The sisters are thrown back into the cold prison in Italy. Back home after their whirlwind adventure, eh? Francesco sees them personally and gives them one last chance to hand over the treasure. Since Hozuki will not, they can spend the rest of their lives in prison after they have been found guilty in the trial of the century called Galileo Trial. Meanwhile Anna is locked separately but someone frees her and leaves her a message. The sisters are appalled at their lawyer: A frail old dude who could kick the bucket anytime! They’re goners… However he hands them the sketches and the hourglass (they were supposedly in Roberto’s possession) because he was told by a woman to hand it over to them. Hozuki goes through the sketches and among the lines she read include some purification formula he is unable to complete but is confident Hozuki will succeed. Hozuki reveals she moved the treasure into her other goldfish at Germany because Grande Rosso caught Anna searching suspiciously through their stuffs. She didn’t tell them because Anna was always with them. And then Hozuki has figured out the puzzle. The Ferrari sisters are in a live court session. Adnimoon’s lawyer goes on the offensive and accuses them of being violent, showing the very first footage of how they broke into the police station. Hazuki becomes the defence lawyer since the old geezer is just nodding off…  Of course Adnimoon’s lawyers twist the facts to paint the sisters as violent pirates. They also make it as though the devastating attack on Netherland’s Blue Hawk’s base was from them. There are also witnesses called in to pinpoint the blame of the sisters’ violence against them but of course nobody sees it as the sisters did so to defend themselves. Hazuki sees an important document inside the old lawyer’s suitcase. It contains secret information about Adnimoon’s Branding Iron and proof that they have been raiding methane hydrate sites and blaming it on air pirates. Francesco claims he doesn’t know all this. Furthermore, Adnimoon’s lawyer argues all these are irrelevant as this is a trial to judge the Ferrari sisters. The judge agrees.

Sylvia as the final witness is called in. She apologizes to everyone about Hozuki’s unparalleled talent being used for criminal activities. She wants her to be punished for her crimes. Kazuki stands up against her mother. She of all should know Hozuki isn’t like that. She might be weird but she built something that protected them so many times. So how can she say that about her? Adnimoon’s lawyer rushes for a verdict when Geshio barges in. He gives Hozuki the telescope. Sylvia then changes tune. She believes in her daughters’ innocence because they are also the descendants of Galileo. Francesco is troubled at her argument basis but Sylvia needs no such basis to trust her family. She then hands the judge data and solid authentic proof of Messier and the crimes they do on behalf for Adnimoon. How did she do all that? When she got injured, she thought that she needed to remain inside Adnimoon to reveal the truth and thus pretended to have amnesia. In the end, Francesco is arrested but as he is taken outside the courthouse, Roberto shoots him! Then he gets arrested. WTF?! A bad deed deserves another? The Ferrari family rejoice at their reunion. While the sisters are away globe throttling, Geshio secretly helped Sylvia. But they couldn’t have done it with Anna’s help too (Geshio was the one who freed her). Hozuki uses the telescope to look at the sketches. She finds formulas hidden in the dark side of the moon. She thinks Galileo’s treasure is not complete and realized that when the chemical reactions that occur when it’s activated caused a certain phenomenon. It’s a reason why Galileo didn’t announce his discovery and only left them a small amount. Then the old lawyer takes off his mask and reveals himself: Cicinho! And you thought where that guy was hiding all the while. He steals Hozuki’s hourglass as repayment for everything and escapes with his men. Hozuki isn’t pressing the panic button yet because the sketches contain instructions on how to make them. The sisters search the ruins of their home for the rumoured seventh sketch. Hozuki finds the globe and is certain about it. Kazuki kicks open to reveal a sketch but it is a sketch of Hozuki and her with Galileo riding the plane! It dawned to Hozuki that she has been building her Galileo ship from sketches just like these. The family flies to Japan to see grandpa again as they vow to complete Galileo’s treasure.

The World Is Not Enough
Happy ending? Well, as long as the Ferraris are back together again as one, I think this is what matters. The world can go fly kite and fight among each other for limited energy resources for all they care because all they need is each other. They are each other’s energy supply and source. Although I feel the ending was a bit rush just to wrap up everything, I think it is overall quite a nice and entertaining anime. After all, it is about the sisters on a journey not to find the treasure but to discover themselves. Being family. That is the ultimate treasure. Thanks to being branded a terrorist, they get to travel the world together and do things that they don’t do together and learn to love each other. Heck, I believe that prior to this, they have not spent such a long time together with each other. So you see, when something threatens your family, you get to stick and go through it thick and thin.

Though, there might be a few things that raise an eyebrow or two because despite this show being sci-fi fantasy, suddenly you see the sisters who have never gotten along well for a long time to work together so fluently and smoothly. Like as though they’ve been on good terms for a long time (exception of Kazuki’s pessimism). The girls are seen piloting or using Galileo like as though they have been using it for years. I understand that Hozuki made it but this is the first time that she actually flew the thing so her inexperience in piloting it should show. Heck, how the hell did she build something so big underneath the lab without others even getting suspicious? Furthermore, she wrote a thick manual on it and only bookworms like Kazuki (assuming she is one) can read and understand it in one go. Ironically Hazuki who wants to be a lawyer is no good with such thick books. Does she know how many references of cases she has to make? Also, with the sisters on a world tour (nicer to say that than cat and mouse game), they get to play detectives too and solve the mystery of the sketches. Feels pretty rushed when they seek for the clues. Wait, no. There isn’t actually much mystery written into the sketches’ puzzle. So instead you see the girls in some sort of (mis)adventure while they’re at it and when it’s over, they conveniently find the sketch or Hozuki giving some explanation that I don’t really fathom. So it’s like cute girls doing cute things but not exactly in a cute way?

When Hozuki was flung back into the past, suddenly I had this feeling that they were going to do this time paradox thingy and true enough, something like that came about. Had not Hozuki met Galileo in the past, he probably would never have written those love letters intended for her. Then there is the goldfish emblem that Galileo uses in his designs and left clues behind with. Was the goldfish idea from him or Hozuki? Because Hozuki adopted whatever blueprints left behind by Galileo, which was only possible because she came to the past. Hozuki imparting her scientific knowledge to Galileo to make his craft more efficient, was it because of her science from Galileo or Galileo learning from her? See? Isn’t this confusing? Besides, the clincher was when Hozuki gave her mechanical goldfish to him. He keeps it for centuries and guess where it ends up in whose possession? However a few mind boggling questions. How did Galileo travel around the globe and put his sketches into goldfish memorials? He must have really have lots of free time, huh? Transport then wasn’t as easy as today. Breakfast in New York, dinner in Tokyo. It takes months just to sail to the other side of the world. Especially when you talk from Italy to Japan where one of the sketches was. So how the heck did he travel so far and put up those stones? Also, how can Galileo create some kind of solution and energy source assuming he doesn’t really fully understand the energy crisis in the future? I mean, in those days, electricity was unheard off, right? So how did Galileo actually extract whatever power source and perhaps the mysterious treasure of this series? Oh… Hozuki? I think she may have shown him bits of it. That’s why it’s somewhat incomplete. Of course this anime had some liberty in portraying Galileo because as far as I know, he wasn’t one who created a flying craft. Wasn’t it Leonardo Da Vinci?

Hozuki initially lacks the confidence for the things she does and also a quiet and reserved girl. Just like the rest of her sisters, the hostility may be just the surface because deep down she too loves her sisters very much. For a young girl to be strong and brave in the face of adversaries, I’d say she is quite commendable. The only eyebrow raiser I have about Hozuki is about her forte in making all those stuffs. Don’t get me wrong here. Science and engineering are definitely her strong subjects and what I mean is that for a little girl, it feels odd that she has made tons and giants of robots and whatever gadgets. How odd? Because she doesn’t look like she has the hands or the looks of a hands-on person. I know looks can be deceiving but the way I see it, how come her hands are always clean? Shouldn’t it be rough after all the fixing? Certainly fixing a ship like Galileo takes many strong men to tighten the bolts, screw in the nuts, solder the iron, don’t you think at least she would have some sort of dirt? If Hozuki can actually do such a good job, she might as well be qualified to work on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise! That’s why I thought it was somewhat a little unrealistic to see her so clean like a natural little girl. When you go to the car workshop, you can see all those mechanics and their dirtied hands, right? And I believe technology even at this level is not that advance that you can just wipe dirt off your hands and leave it clean as new because still, Hozuki should have developed some biceps and muscles had she been putting together real steel of Galileo.

Kazuki was seen initially as a negative and pessimistic person. The kind who doesn’t really want to play along and had to just because she lost out to democracy and majority. I wouldn’t really blame her for not wanting to go along because sane person could tell you that hopping from country to another with bad people chasing you is very dangerous. They’ve brushed close with death several times so it’s natural that she is scared. Underneath it all, she is the most sensitive among the sisters and blurts out her objections because she really cares for them. Sometimes her actions make her feel a little like a tsundere. Jealous of Hozuki over her brilliant science talent, gradually she comes to terms and accepts her little sister. One thing still bugs me is about her boyfriend picture in her handphone. Who is he really? He made a cameo appearance in the final episode at the trial. He had this guilty look in his face when their eyes met. At the end of everything, it’s like Kazuki didn’t need his picture anymore and dumps her handphone down with the ruins. Hazuki as the eldest sister seems to be a lot carefree and frank. She seems to be ‘unable to function’ on an empty stomach. It is odd that despite wanting to be the world’s greatest lawyer, her grades in law school are low. Well, at least she gets to play one at the end. Sylvia and Geshio had been missing for most parts of the series (the middle) and to a point that I was wondering if they would play some sort of pivotal role in the end. And so they did. They weren’t just hiding or sitting around and let their daughters do all the work. Conveniently, what we don’t see them do, is the evidence that they gather to bring down Adnimoon since Francesco was so obsessed about chasing the sisters and getting the treasure that he didn’t see something lurking beneath his nose.

Roberto is easily hated as a villain thanks to his cold and heartless ways. I feel the flashback of his sad past was a way to soften our stand against him and understand why he acts in such a manner. The words he says about the world has not enough resources to sustain the human population rings very true in reality. In fact, it is happening right now. It’s cruel. It’s the bitter truth. The dog eat dog world out there. Survival of the strongest and fittest. Only death of half the human population can ease this problem (an issue also seen and put to use in the anime Shingeki No Kyojin). But still, it still doesn’t justify in him playing God and kill all those he deems unworthy. In that case, everyone should just be killed, right? The odd thing I find about him is that if his hands aren’t doing something like killing, he would be folding his origami paper crane. One at a time. I am not sure the significance of him doing this if this is his hobby or he has got to many ‘free time on his hands’ since a lot of things in this world are on autopilot. There’s this Japanese myth that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, your wish will be granted. What kind of wish does he want? To bring back his parents? I am sure that a realistic guy like Roberto isn’t the kind who is stuck in his past. Or is he? I just don’t understand why he shot his adopted father in the end. Maybe that’s his love for him. Anna as a spy didn’t come across as surprising because there were several hints that show us her shady side secretly communicating with the other side. In this world when everyone is against you, it would be totally odd for someone to just come up to you and claim to be your ally for a common goal, right? Of course the more Anna spends time with the sisters, the more she gets attached to them. So in the end she too had to pay for her part of being Messier and goes to do time.

There seems to be hints of romance blossoming between Cicinho and Hazuki since Hazuki herself indicates that she is willing to be with him. Notice how she gradually doesn’t consider him a stalker each time he appears before the sisters? But in the end there wasn’t anything conclusive about it because that pirate goes back to his usual self of pirating. Didn’t he say he will get her once he gets the treasure? And then he takes off alone. Maybe he realizes the fear of what it means to be committed. Oh yes. Men fear that word. Might as well return to his carefree and independent pirating ways. This is so much better. Ironically for an air pirate, Cicinho shows much more humane side compared to those big wigs in Adnimoon. Probably why Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates and other similar pirate crews have this similar feel. The good guys are the ones who are the villains, vice versa. Though it’s sad that Hozuki and Galileo didn’t end up together but imagine the confusing time paradox thing it could create if they had actually been together. Might give rise to that ending scene in Terminator. And because they are from centuries apart, can you say that their love withstood through time? Literally. Star-crossed lovers too? Literally. The thought that Galileo fell for a 13 year old… Could he be a lolicon? Unless he was around her age but my instincts tell me he isn’t. Finally, I heard that Sylvia and Geshio were divorced. Now things are back to a-okay, will they get back together again or remain just as friends?

The art and drawing quality of this anime is quite good. Well, it’s the future so there has to be some futuristic stuff like the mechas. I’m not really a mecha fan so I can’t really give my in-depth comment if they are cool or generic. But I think they try to give some unique features to Galileo the ship and Black Ganymede which I thought resembled like a lion fish. As most of the scenes in the anime are at cold places, whenever the characters talk, you can see the vapour of their breath. Cool. The character designs seem to be typical Japanese anime standard so much so at the start it never occurred to me that they were in futuristic Italy. I thought it might be some made-up city. Oddly, Sylvia and the sisters are supposed to be direct descendants of Galileo who is a Caucasian and yet they look so Japanese anime-like. Unlike Geshio with his hippy-look, I would have believed him to be the descendant of Galileo instead since Geshio doesn’t have that typical anime look. Roberto on the other hand looks like a zombie and robot. Well, given that he has no heart or feelings whatsoever… One thing that boggles my mind but somewhat answered halfway through the series: The reason why Anna has 2 big hair curls. That’s where she keeps her secret handphone! Gosh. I wonder if she keeps her other stuffs in there too because the loops of the curls are big enough that it makes you feel like putting your hand through.

The action seems pretty decent with enough mecha battles to warrant it as a mecha category but nothing that hardcore mecha fans would find. Seriously, I can’t think of any other skills that Galileo the goldfish ship in its assault mode can do besides shooting out claws. From other mechas like Branding Iron and Black Ganymede, all I remember is that they constantly fire a rain of missiles. It’s like the supply of missiles are cheap and the ship is filled to the brim everywhere. I guess it’s to showcase the cool explosion impact. And strangely enough, I anticipated there would be some sort of final mecha action but the final battlefield turned out to be a courtroom drama. Although it’s to bring back the sisters’ parents, in a way it shows that the sisters still need to rely on their parents to get out of a fix. Which isn’t entirely a bad thing but it could have been sweeter had they pulled off the biggest frame up themselves against a giant corporation. To paint a grimmer and a more realistic picture of the series, deaths are incurred. Especially the shocking one where Roberto just outright shoots and kills the selfish hospital patients with his ‘salvation’ act. Then there is Theo and Karen’s sad case like as though they want to stir a little emotion in us by killing them off. I just wondered what happened to Ludger after his betrayal. Where did he disappear to? I am sure that a guy like Roberto won’t let him live despite making a deal. He was after all going to kill the sisters despite handing over what was necessary. One of the few events that weren’t explained in-depth was the freak hailstorm (or was it some sort of invasion or attack?) during Roberto’s childhood. It was as though that scene was just a setting to tell about Roberto’s origins and in a way it felt a little rush.

The voice acting isn’t too bad either although it is nothing very extraordinary. Like Hiroshi Kamiya as Cicinho, his trademark liveliness reminds me of his role as Mephisto in Ao No Exorcist or Erec in Ixion Saga DT. Then there is Rina Hidaka as Hozuki sounding very much like her other cute loli girls she played such as Shizuka in Campione, Silica in Sword Art Online, Anko in Tamako Market and Hideyoshi in Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox. Other casts include Kei Shindou as Hazuki (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Rumi Ookuba as Kazuki (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Marina Inoue as Anna (Laura in Infinite Stratos), Taiten Kusunoki as Roberto (Rock Bison in Tiger And Bunny), Houko Kuwashima as Sylvia (Sango in Inu Yasha), Rikiya Koyama as Geshio (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero) and Yuuki Kaji as Galileo (Alibaba in Magi). The opening theme is Synchromanica by Negoto while the ending piece is Innocent by Earthmind. Both don’t sound too bad actually.

Despite this anime’s theme really isn’t focusing about the energy shortage, but I think that is the subtle highlight that they want to make us aware about. For years now, lots of research and development have been put into green technology and finding renewable energy sources. Are we near anywhere there yet? Something tells me that at this rate, global warming will catch up pretty fast without us knowing from under our very own feet. The use of big evil corporations masking as a socially responsible corporate in the eyes of the public isn’t anything new or original in stories but once again, it’s probably trying to subtly hint to us the possibility of that happening because when fossil fuel like gas and oil become very scarce in the future, guess who we will be at the mercy of? I better drop this now before I get some unwanted attention and being treated as a fugitive…

Speaking of fugitives, I guess if you’re lucky like the Ferrari sisters, you get to travel the world and do some sight-seeing. Just don’t get caught. If Galileo had done more sketches or split them into many smaller parts, I guess we will see the sisters journeying to more countries that will last perhaps more than 2 dozen episodes. More of the same thing. Boring. I read from comments from many who have watched the anime started out promising and had lots of great potential but the ending was somewhat a let-down. Some blame the lack of character development and it was just the sisters in focus. Heck, perhaps only Hozuki because one was a pessimist who had a boyfriend whom we all don’t know (or even care about in the end) and the other was some sort of lawyer wannabe but felt like a law school dropout. Then they get into some messy cat and mouse game whose one-dimensional villains (evil corporate big wig, the emotionless hired assassin, the corrupted cop, it goes on..) and so much about everybody else who wants to get the treasure but has no idea what the heck it is. So you don’t know if it is trying to be a sci-fi action, an adventure, a family bonding show or even a mystery-cum-detective genre. But really, if this is a show about sisterly love, then there is something (gold)fishy about it… To be fair to this show, I did enjoy moments of it since well, I’m not a smart person so I didn’t really have in-depth analysis of everything I had seen. Now, if they make a story about descendants of Copernicus… It could be revolution-ary (pun intended, sorry couldn’t resist it!). But then again, animes about descendants of great minds? Me? Never mind!

Non Non Biyori

May 24, 2014

Here we go again. Yet another anime about a group of girls. No serious plot or anything. Just this bunch of girls and their antics. I suppose if you have cute girls around, it doesn’t matter the plot as long as we enjoy ogling at the cute things they do. But what makes Non Non Biyori a little different from this genre of cute girls doing cute things? The setting is in the countryside! Oh great. How can life in the countryside be any different because it lacks what we call modern conveniences and entertainment? Yeah well, that’s why it’s different. No iPhones, iPads, iOS, Tables and whatever gadgets and gizmos to distract us. No Facebook or Twitter to keep tabs with the updates ever second. No Angry Bird, Candy Crush or Farmville or even that once addictive Flappy Bird. No shopping malls, no high-rise buildings. Can you imagine civilization without all that? Yeah. We’re going back to nature to watch how girls in the rural area still can have fun and rock without subjecting themselves to modern technology. So rural this place that in this village of Asahigaoka, you can literally fit the entire school with different grades in one class! Saves time, saves energy.

Episode 1
Renge Miyauchi and sisters Natsumi and Komari Koshigaya are on their way to school. Life must be real boring for them to even talk about what they had for breakfast and what the radio host talked about. In class, teacher Kazuho Miyauchi introduces a new transfer student, Hotaru Ichijou. She transferred from Tokyo to this countryside due to her dad’s job. Hotaru is surprised that the different grades are in the same class. Heck, this is the only class! They are the only students in school!!! With that other bespectacled guy over there, Suguru, and now with Hotaru joining them, total school students = 5! Just five freaking students!!! Guess what? Since they’re all in different grades, they do self-studying. Hotaru notices buckets in the hallway and thinks it is to catch the water leaks. Actually the floor wood is pretty old and rotten so the buckets are to prevent them from getting to close and falling through. They didn’t realize Suguru already did… While playing dodgeball, Hotaru drops her house key. The rest finds it odd that she needs to lock her house because they don’t. Heck, have they even seen a lock before? They find her weird. As Hotaru walks home with the rest, she finds out that the candy store also doubles as a bookstore though the books arrive 2 days late. Also, cattle crossing could also mean boars and deer or whatever wildlife that crosses. Renge wants to show Hotaru her special talent. First she whistles and a tanuki pops out from the bushes. This is her pet Gu? Then she whistles again to make it do a trick. Nothing happens… Renge wonders if they are living in a countryside so with Natsumi’s twisted reasoning that in some places there are combined schools and that the highways doesn’t have traffic lights (just like there are none here), therefore they aren’t living in the countryside. Also, as there are cattle or boars showing up, she is pretty sure that monkeys turn up in Tokyo once in a while. The girls have their lunch using the wild plants they picked today. Then they have their mochi dessert underneath the sakura tree. Ah, the taste of spring. The girls miss the bus on their way back. When is the next one coming? In 2 hours. Natsumi notes that buses in the countryside are so inconvenient. Aha! Renge caught her saying that ‘C’ word.

Episode 2
Hotaru explains a few stuffs. Komari is Natsumi’s elder sister and that Suguru guy is the elder brother to both sisters. Kazuho is Renge’s elder sister and the only teacher in school. Because of the self-study thingy, she often loves sleeping in class. The teacher sleeping instead of the student… Hotaru adds that Komari is often nicknamed Koma-chan not because of her name but her petite size (komari means small). Hotaru adores her. Yes, seriously. But she often gets picked on by Natsumi and with the recent duster falling on her head (trap intended for Kazuho), Komari isn’t too pleased. Hotaru tries to wipe the dust off her head but it amounts to petting and she could have developed some fetish had not Natsumi put on the brakes. The rest find a sweet in Komari’s bag but she gives it to Hotaru, bringing unexplainable happiness. Natsumi and Renge feel left out so they team up and give her that grudging look. Since they’re so annoying, Komari wants the sweet back but this causes Hotaru heart break. So much so the villainous duo had to give up. Super mood swing again as Hotaru is one happy kid to get something from her beloved Komari. Later Komari calls Hotaru (via a phone booth of course) to say she wants to hang out. Hotaru is so surprised by her call that she almost fell! Then she panics on what to do and wear. As Komari waits, she is approached by an adult-looking woman, not knowing that this is Hotaru dressed up. Because of their ambiguous talk, they continue to misinterpret each other. Komari finds it odd this woman came all the way to Tokyo just to have her guide her to a candy store. Because Komari wants to handle this like an adult, she finds herself accompanying Hotaru there. Komari notices her ‘grown up’ behaviour as she is not scared walking through a dark tunnel (she is happily thinking about her outing with Komari), using a 10,000 Yen bill to buy shaved ice at the store (she saved this New Year money) and eating its bitter green tea flavour (anything tastes good as long Komari is with her!). Komari gets brain freeze when she eats it too fast thinking this is the path to being an adult. As they walk back, Hotaru explains how she likes the calming and peaceful place here as she has never lived anywhere else except Tokyo and was worried. After they part, Komari finds her so cool that she brags to it to her uninterested siblings. Then she remembers about her promise with Hotaru and calls to apologize. Hotaru doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Yeah, she’s busy sewing a little Komari doll!

Episode 3
It’s the class outing today! Erm… Help Kazuho plant rice? Oh sure. What a great way to disguise free labour in the form of a field trip. Hotaru works hard because she wants to taste Komari’s onigiri. Natsumi the lazy bum lazes around, makes Suguru into a scarecrow and pokes fun at Komari being stuck in the mud. When she goes to rescue her, she too gets stuck. She suggests Komari use her body to get out. However Renge bumps into them and they both fell in. Messy. Dirty. And where is Kazuho? She’s manning the tractor! She just wants to ‘experiment’ that using machine is much more efficient than the human factor. Obviously. WTF. Oh, Natsumi got to mustard onigiri. She was the one who suggested the Russian roulette and it blew up right back in her face. Komari is watching a marathon of videos. The deadline is tomorrow and the rental shop is 10 stations away! Got to finish ‘em all. One of the movies being a horror genre, she ends up scared and couldn’t sleep so she goes to sleep with Natsumi who can tell what is happening. Komari’s denial makes it worse because it is chance for Natsumi to play cheap scaring thrills on her. Having fun? Then the thought of the non-existence ghosts and spirits occupies Natsumi’s mind. Where do you go when you die? She couldn’t sleep but Komari is knocked out like a log. Due to that, Natsumi is absent the next day at class. Natsumi’s mom, Yukiko accuses her of breaking a vase. Komari as the witness couldn’t help. She starts crying like a little girl. Yukiko can’t trust her daughter due to her attitude because this happened many times before. She always used excuses to blame something else. However Natsumi asserts this time it is for real that the culprit was a cat who also had stolen their chikuwa. Since Yukiko refuses to believe so, Natsumi runs away from home and drags Komari with her. They end up hanging out at their secret hideout. Well, the place has no water, no electricity, no food. So boring. Komari sucks at shiritori. Then they see a scribble on the wall by Natsumi scolding Yukiko. Natsumi then had an argument with mommy and ran away here. Deja vu? That ended with Komari bringing Natsumi back since she got sick eating grass. Then they see the cat but it brought the chikuwa to its kittens. Since it’s getting cold, they decide to go back. Suguru picks them up. Arriving back home, Yukiko is mad because she was looking all over for them. Seems the stolen chikuwa was a blessing in disguise as now they get to savour tasty sweet fish brought by their neighbour. That night, Natsumi sleeps with Komari as sign of repentance for today.

Episode 4
On the last day before summer vacation starts, it has been a tradition for the school to eat watermelons cooled by the clear flowing river. Kazuho also passes them their report card. Renge aces by getting all 5. Natsumi is too scared to look at hers for fear of being scolded by mom. Then she becomes happy after seeing lots of 4s and 5s. Till Kazuho points out elementary scores up till 5 while middle school is based on 10. Life is so unbelievable… Renge’s other sister, Hikage is back from Tokyo. She is studying there and is back for the summer vacation. Renge is interested to hear her city stories and Hikage doesn’t waste time bragging in her city girl talk especially about the bullet train. But she meets her rival in the form of Hotaru. When she mentions that she flew here instead of taking the train, all attention is focused on her and they want to hear more. So much better treatment. Nobody cares about Hikage anymore… Renge makes friends with Honoka Ishikawa. She is visiting her grandma for the holidays. Renge becomes the expert tour guide and shows Honoka around. The latter also borrowed her father’s camera and starts taking pictures. Eventually Honoka teaches Renge how to take a photo. Feeling like a pro, Renge? They continue to have fun through the days that Renge gets up earlier and earlier just to go play with her. One day she is at Honoka’s grandma’s doorstep. However Honoka is not there. Due to the sudden call of her father to return to work, they left yesterday. Renge stood there in shock. It was a good full 50 seconds before heart break sinks in! Gosh. Heart breaking to see the loli cry! The sadness lasted for a whole week! She bounces back to her usual self when Kazuho gives her a letter from Honoka. She had fun playing with her and will definitely come back again next year. Photos included. This gives Renge the much needed motivation to go write a reply letter.

Episode 5
Yukiko leads the girls in doing morning exercises. This was supposed to be Kazuho’s job but she’s busy sleeping… Hotaru accompanies Komari to an unmanned store. Never seen a shed where all the vegetables placed and a box just to drop your coins as payment, eh? Trust is the key. Everyone has breakfast at Yukiko’s place before heading to the beach. From a country dweller’s point of view, it is kind of crowded. Komari is not pleased to be here because wearing her swimsuit makes her look like a kid. Kazuho tries to cheer her up by saying her height is the average around her age. Unfortunately that was old data dating back centuries ago… When Hotaru flaunts her sexy body and bikini, it just worsens the effect on Komari. Shocking? She goes to get drinks from the vending machine but apparently it is ‘mocking’ her too because she’s too short to reach the buttons. Then she is approached by a couple of guys… When Komari doesn’t return, Hotaru starts to panic. And I mean really panic that she has been kidnapped. Why not? Komari is cute, small and easy to carry. Note, easy to carry. Guess what is Kazuho’s reply? Since she came as a friend and not a teacher today, she can’t be held responsible. No more hope… So they start searching for her and desperate Hotaru searches at most unlikely places. Under the vending machine? I’m sure she isn’t THAT small. Then there is an announcement of a lost girl. Instantly they know it’s her because Komari is protesting she isn’t one. The guys who found her thought she was a lost child… Komari is so pissed and insulted… On the way back while waiting for their transit train that arrives in 20 minutes, the girls go grab something to eat nearby. Komari almost takes it personally when the chef wonders if one kiddie chair was enough (it was for Renge). Komari burnt her mouth with the spicy udon. Did Natsumi spike it? Due to Renge’s pitiful stare, Natsumi is somewhat forced to eat it. Super hot too? Trying to be a hero? Then it turns out Renge was just staring at the bug on the ceiling… The last train arrives and they need to hurry. Komari is ‘paralyzed’ from the spiciness while Renge is totally in zen eating her don. Hotaru and Natsumi have no choice but to carry a girl each and make a dash. They made it but realize Kazuho is sleeping at the platform! Goodbye… Renge sounds more happy than worried? Kazuho didn’t even know she missed the last train. Back home, Yukiko once again needs to punish Natsumi for dripping water everywhere. She went and put ice cubes in the back of her shirt… Komari is in the toilet undressing. She really wanted to go into the water but it was this swimsuit that stopped her. Natsumi accidentally comes in and sees this. She really looks like a kid…

Episode 6
Yukiko reprimands Natsumi over her poor grades. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada. Summer is already so hot and not mommy is blowing up. Really, Armageddon. Natsumi and Komari are doing some sort of hand signal telepathic communication about the former wanting the latter to hide her other poorly graded test sheets. The funny hand gestures rile up Yukiko and since Natsumi continues to give excuses and fool around, she throws the book at him. She wants the other siblings to have a say but Suguru suddenly becomes Usain Bolt. Natsumi thinks she can use this chance to run but mommy caught her. No escape. Natsumi is made to study while mommy goes air the futon. However naughty girl doesn’t learn her lesson. She continues being lazy and asks where Komari had hid her test papers. Under the futon… Oh no. When furious Armageddon bursts back into the scene, Komari and Suguru become Usain Bolt once moe. Meanwhile something more sinister is brewing… In Hotaru’s room, it is filled with Komari dolls!!! OMG!!! Scary!!! Then her friends come over and invite themselves in. Hotaru stops them and quickly cleans up her room (which sounds like a warzone). All nice and clean now. Komari is distraught that Hotaru’s photo album was just last year. See how much she has grown? Natsumi engrosses herself with her video game while Renge is on the verge of opening the closet where all the dolls are stuffed. Although Hotaru stops her, she is forced to embarrass herself by playing the demon to keep Renge at bay. So embarrassing that she trips and accidentally opens the closet. All the atrocities fall out. Oh God… Is she busted for good?

But Renge concludes that she is doing some free study summer project and everyone wants to make a doll. Phew. Worried over nothing? Komari makes a cat, Renge makes Gu and Natsumi a horrible rendition of Renge. I thought that was some Pokemon… Renge suggests playing house with Komari the father, Hotaru the mom (I’m sure she loves this) and Renge the… Flying fish? That night Natsumi brings the gang to play kimodameshi (test of courage). Sorry, not fireworks. Komari tries to act tough that she’s not scared. But by luck, she gets to be the one who scares. But this is a trickier task. Who knows setting up the stuffs alone would be scary? While going through the simple ghost outfit, she feels somebody creeping up on her. Because she is panicking, the great timing means she misses Suguru who just walked pass by her and place the coin on the box as per the game instruction. He leaves as quiet and quick as he came while Komari is left running paranoid. Why is she always looking at the wrong direction? She really starts to get scared when she notices the coin on the box. Who the hell is this mysterious participant? She gets paranoid enough to blame the cat. Does she want to fight with it? The cat snarls back and she gets frightened, trips and falls into the box and covers herself in that ghost outfit. When it’s Natsumi’s turn, she plans on scaring her sister. But she sees this WTF scene of the ‘ghost’ furiously ringing the bell and trying to exorcise the ‘evil’. WTF. Everyone winds down by playing sparklers.

Episode 7
The new semester starts. Natsumi thought she is late and comes in giving excuses but Kazuho is the one committing the greater offence. She’s not even here. She’s sleeping back home. I take that back. Natsumi is worse because she criticizes Kazuho for being irresponsible because just a moment ago, she was blaming her sister for not waking her up. So they play cat’s cradle (did Renge make the universe?), read manga (their totally different tastes couldn’t hold the conversation) and make clay (Suguru made an awesome anime cat girl figurine that was unfortunately smashed by Natsumi as she doesn’t want Renge to see this mature stuff). Hotaru accompanies excited Renge to feed the rabbits. So excited the loli that she dives like a rocket and scrapes her knee. WTF. They notice a rabbit escaped so Renge has this brilliant plan to lure it back leaving a trail of corns and carrots. The rabbit takes the bait but when it is just a carrot away from the shed, the smart rabbit kicks the door and locks the girls in!!! Smart rabbit! What the hell are both girls standing inside the shed for???!!! Hotaru panics. They’re far away from school and haven’t told anyone. The next person on duty will come next week. That’s like in 3 more days, right? Start panicking now! But Renge remains positive. They have enough vegetables (though they’re shrivelled) and eggs from the chicken (some may contain chicks) to last them. Is it no wonder why Hotaru desperately wants to get out? You can panic now! However they can thank their lucky stars because Kazuho is seen picking up the free food trail. For once she did something useful. Kaede Kagayama is going to go out of business if nobody patrons her candy store. Yeah, she’s bored too. But here comes Renge. The kid is sceptical about the gachapon and feels it’s a scam. Kaede tests it out just to prove it to her but gets an odd toy. Yeah. It may be a scam. Renge wants to buy a sweet but Kaede bluffs her that it costs 1000 times more! Since Renge can’t make it back to watch her favourite Greatman anime, she borrows Kaede’s room to watch. Kaede sends her back but she didn’t ride her bike. She pushes it! She views it is dangerous for 2 people to ride a bike? At least Renge doesn’t have to walk. Renge becomes excited upon knowing Kazuho is cooking curry. Kaede leaves and lamenting her poor state when Renge comes back to give her a packed curry meal. She even invites her to play Greatman with her next time. If she feels like it. Yeah, she can be the hostess the hero frequents or a monster. On second thought, she’ll pass.

Episode 8
It’s autumn and Komari wants to get sentimental. However she becomes clumsy whether it is pulling out vegetables, cutting potatoes (it hit Hotaru’s face) or boiling rice (she forgot to add water). Neighbour Konomi Fujimiya visits Komari and Hotaru. Komari wants to show off how adult she is and brags about the new CD player she bought. Bet she has not heard what an MP3 player is, eh? So what music is she listening to? Children’s music… Komari is lost when Komari and Hotaru talk deep about classical music. Heard of Vivaldi? She tries to make it like she knows them too but her broad description of that music with many people and a guy waving a wand just doesn’t cut it. Komari tries to change the subject and talk about fashion. Again she gets lost in their deep fashion talk like denim. She wants to stop this topic and talk something else. Konomi suggests telling love stories and Komari is eager to say hers. Well, she had none. WTF. Cheeky Konomi notes Suguru is the only guy in class and hardly any excitement. But Hotaru was from Tokyo so she must have had lots of guys in her class, right? She pesters her to tell as Hotaru flusters. She can’t say but we know it’s her obsession for Komari. Komari gets this creepy feeling of seeing love in Hotaru’s eyes! Then she has had it. She throws a tantrum that she is more mature than them all (?!). She is relieved when Hotaru reluctantly says she is not in love. Now they’re even. Since when was this a battle? Then when they drink coffee, Komari pours lots of sugar but Hotaru prefers hers black… Later Komari meets up with Hotaru and Renge as they do outdoor sketching. Renge makes Komari her model and the latter becomes modest although she strikes a few cute poses. Hotaru fawns over it and sounds like a pervert wanting her to be her model. Komari acts reluctant but you can tell she loves it. So much so Renge had to tell her she didn’t have to get this excited. They notice Renge drew a good rendition of Komari. Wow. I didn’t know she was this good. Renge couldn’t care less about competitions and notes this isn’t the kind of drawing she likes to draw. Since they’re hungry, Hotaru rushes back to get lunch. While they wait, the duo play plane gliders. Probably she took too long because when Hotaru returns, they have fallen asleep and she sketches this lovely scene. As usual, Natsumi is lazy and doesn’t want to help with the persimmon decorations. She fools around with it then goes check on Suguru who is playing some awesome electric guitar music. Konomi comes over to help and she spots Komari fooling around with the persimmons. Trying to play like her sister? Embarrassed of course. Natsumi draws a face on a persimmon before they finish it up, boil it and hang them up. Hotaru is happy to receive the persimmons from Komari but notices one of them with a weird face…

Episode 9
The girls are preparing for the cultural festival. They can’t invite parents and Natsumi had to go the extra mile by badmouthing her mom as a messenger from hell. Yeah. She’s right behind you. It is suggested that will invite the alumni to the festival. Renge calls Hikage and couldn’t care less about her Tokyo-is-super talk. Hikage quickly shoots down her offer that she doesn’t have money. Konomi uses her charm to convince her. More like forceful talking leaving her no chance to decline. Next, they go invite Kaede but she asserts she is working and no one will man the store. Till Renge puts up her sad loli look. If your heart doesn’t sink in seeing this face, you’re a demon! So care to sponsor some sweets? Yeah. You can pick up lots of rich snails in the field nearby. And so the alumni of Kazuho, Konomi, Hikage and Kaede visit this animal cafe at the cultural festival. Heck, it’s the only thing. Hotaru is the cat and nobody could guess Renge’s ‘antennas’ as a giraffe. Natsumi? She’s an UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animal). Because she’s wearing a paper bag over her head. After ordering their food, Natsumi goes off with Hotaru to cook. Renge is left to entertain the guests with her play. She shows off her new toy. A cardboard with a hold in the middle. You put your head through and make a remark. It makes it look like an ending chapter in a manga! These kids really don’t have such sophisticated entertainment, do they? Next is her recorder performance but Komari will also be part of it. She’s in a full tanuki costume. I guess this explains why she didn’t want to come out. While Renge blows, Komari hits her stomach like a drum! WTF?! Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore and leaves. Embarrassed. Natsumi tries to take over with a tablecloth pull but messes up by spilling everything. Yeah. This was her first time. She really thought she could do it. They clean up and never noticed Suguru the faithful and quiet dog sitting at the corner…

It has been 30 minutes so what is holding up their order? They go check it out and it seems Hotaru is trying to get Komari out of depression while Natsumi just wants to call it quits. Lost interest? She then puts her UMA headgear on Kaede. Hear her angry breathing… In the end, the guests are the ones who made the delicious meal. Natsumi is left to repent-cum-entertain them in Renge’s cardboard… When Konomi and Komari are playing video games, Natsumi desperately seeks their help to clean her room or mommy won’t give her dinner. Naturally they don’t want to help but since they did use her room to prepare for the cultural festival, just this once. However they get distracted when they find a box containing old toys. Brings back the good ol’ memories. From those little round bouncy pop-ups to Slinky and a caterpillar. Yeah, toy stocks in the countryside hardly move. Natsumi finds Komari’s essay and reads aloud her ambition to become flowers. Huh? The sisters start fighting but Konomi knows Yukiko will have their heads if she sees them fooling around and subdues them in the nick of time! Well, it’s better than getting scolded by Armageddon, devil messenger, lightning bolts or iron claw. Whatever her nickname is now. After finish cleaning, they find an old video tape supposedly an old anime called Pretty Cute. Cute… When they play it, they see a homemade recording and Natsumi is the ‘star’. This cute little energetic girl is hugging Suguru and claims she wants to marry him when she grows up!!! Natsumi instantly slams the stop button. Well, that sure brings back memories. Yeah. Memories she doesn’t want to remember. Now she’s squirming in pain all over… Next time think twice before wanting to walk down memory lane, okay?

Episode 10
End of another semester. The air is getting colder. Renge begs to go see the first sunrise of the new year. She will do what is told and eat the foods she hates without question. It’s hard not to give in when you see a loli begging like that. And so Kaede and the Miyauchi sisters drive to the foothill and hike up to the spot. I know it’s cold but why does Kazuho need to wear a ski mask? It makes her look like a robber. Or an alien in Kaede’s view. To stave off the tiredness, Renge starts singing. A quack doctor in despair? WTF. This brings back memories to Kaede how much she has grown in the past 5 years. Flashback time. Kaede first met Renge when she was a year old. Then, Hikage called her to look after the baby because she wanted to go out to the city with Konomi. Their parents are working at the field and the babysitters are away for today. Kaede was reluctant to do it but since she heard the pay will be 5000 Yen, she got here as soon as possible. Money motivates. At first Kaede had a hard time trying to understand Renge’s erratic behaviour. She’s crying at times and the note of what to do and what nots seems sarcastically written by Hikage. Stinky bomb? Don’t start crying before the baby? Then Renge plays with a cat’s tail. It got annoyed and hit her forehead with its paw! Neko punch! Renge cries uncontrollably. What now? Trying to get her milk, Kaede trips on her rattle. Just not her day. Things return to normal when Kaede gives her milk. But this is the turning point. When Hikage returns, she is surprised to see Kaede and Renge sleeping close to each other. I guess things must have worked out. It’s like they’ve been close for a long time. Next day, Kaede surprisingly returns just to be with Renge despite the babysitters are in and even she will not get paid. Kaede uses Hikage’s discarded ribbons to tie Renge’s hair, the hairstyle she dons till today and that we always identify her with. Wow. They click so well. Back in present time, Renge is already tired. Yeah, all that singing must be draining her energy. Not as bad as Kazuho who is almost close to dead. Maybe it was her song… To stop Renge from continuing to sing that odd song, Kaede carries her for the rest of the hike. Sorry, no same treatment for Kazuho. They wait for the sunrise and Renge won’t want to miss her first sunrise view and keeps a close watch at the sky. Her face lights up in awe upon seeing it. Back home, Hikage sees tired Kaede and Renge snuggling and sleeping close together like old times.

Episode 11
Thanks to the heavy snowstorm, the gang have to stay at school. Although the provisions are sufficient, the only problem is the lack of futons. More accurately, there are only 2 futons and 1 sleeping bag. They can make do if they share but nobody wants the sleeping bag since it’ll be cold. And so Kazuho suggests fighting for it but she lies down in one futon and instantly falls asleep! Renge will sleep with her sister. Sharing is possible if the other party is small. Which means Komari automatically gets the other one. The question now is, Natsumi or Hotaru is going to sleep with her. The latter I’m sure wants to sleep with her obsession, right? Thus the duo have to slug it out. Arm wrestling? Natsumi seems to have a strong reputation so Hotaru isn’t confident. But when it starts, Hotaru instantly wins! Did Natsumi’s arm break or something?! Feeling guilty, they have a rematch. The puns won’t do so doing impersonations is the next best thing. After Renge’s WTF pyramid impersonation, Hotaru impersonates a crayfish but Renge might have taken it personally because her impersonation looked a lot like her! Both sides are desperate now when they realize cosy Kazuho talking in her sleep. Sweet dreams? They dump her in the sleeping bag and the case is solved! Should have done it in the first place! Dead in the night, Hotaru can’t sleep so she goes out to marvel at the winter wonderland (it stopped snowing). Komari sees this and wakes up Natsumi to go tail her. Hotaru is in awe at the starry sky. You don’t see this in Tokyo. The sisters are baffled why she is raising her arms to the sky. Is she an alien? Then Hotaru rushes back just to shut a tap. Awakened Renge thought some party has started because she was dreaming about aliens. WTF. As the sisters are about the head back in, the snow on the roof falls on them. Hotaru and Renge go check out the loud thud and are surprised to see and 8 legged Martian with lights as eyes!!! Seems it has snowed a lot last night so the gang go skiing. Kaede rents them ski equipment. Hey, she’s got to make a living. That’s why it’s good to diversify. Natsumi seems to be a pro skier as she teaches the rest how to do so. Of course, Komari screws up, Hotaru tries to save her in her excitement and they ended up being screwed. Eventually, Natsumi herself doesn’t know how to ski and she was just teaching based from a lecture she remembers. Later the girls make a snow house. But will it collapse when they grill mochi inside? I don’t know, it seems to hold up pretty well and they even have worm pork miso soup. Ah… Just the right tonic to warm the soul.

Episode 12
It is spring time and a year has passed since Hotaru transferred here. Today is Hotaru’s favourite day because she’ll be having picnic with Komari! They each make bentos but somehow Komari sucks at cooking and all her food turn out black. A sad Komari is not good for the heart so Hotaru tries to cheer her up and is willing to eat it. Though, she gets most of the description wrong. The taste must have been awful so Hotaru lies through her teeth how delicious it is so that Komari will not be so disappointed. Guess what? There’s more… Gosh… She has dug a hole so deep… Komari even came prepared with a Russian roulette onigiri. One of them is laced with wasabi. Who knows, Hotaru got it on the first try. However the more Hotaru tries, the more she notices Komari getting disheartened so not only she had to say she loves her cooking but she ate all of them! I hope in the future she won’t get stomach cancer. Just when Hotaru thought she had finished everything, here come the pancakes as desserts… Still up for it? She wanted to refuse but when Komari is going to feed her, Hotaru would gladly have some. Hotaru meets up with the rest to go pick edible plants at the mountainside. Hotaru thinks they’ve trespassed a private property but Renge assures her this entire mountain belongs to her family! Hey, even Komari’s family has a mountain! I guess to these country folks, owning a mountain or two isn’t such a big deal. When Renge sees Suguru chewing some plants, I’m not sure if she starts getting scared or what because there was a long stare at him before she rushes to Natsumi and ‘complaints’ about that because nobody does that this century! She laments if this is the countryside because the city doesn’t even have mountains or edible plants. Hotaru says despite the vast difference between urban and rural places, it’s the reason why she loves it here. Then they enter a field with lots of pretty pink flowers. Natsumi says they are called renge. But little Renge is in a bind. She loves them so much so she can’t eat them now that she knows they share the same name. Natsumi makes a crown for her using those flowers. Putting up a few leaves on her back, it makes her look like a fairy. Happy Renge rushes back to show Kazuho and Kaede and thinks this new look makes he, erm, funky? The girls head back to make lunch.

The Simple Life
I was trying hard not to expect anything major happening at the end. After all, I expected that this will be your another life-goes-on ending. Still, it didn’t hurt to dream that there would be some super twist at the end. I guess I was really having wishful thinking. And so the nothing-much-happens ending may be a little bore for those who aren’t fans of the series or even casual viewers like me but the slow pace and calm setting of the anime has already instilled in our minds that you shouldn’t be expecting some sort of big twist. Like say, a girl suddenly turns yandere and goes on a killing spree! No way will that ever happen here! So at least we have the decency of the girls waving goodbye to us as closure to this series. What more do you expect from a bunch of girls from the countryside?

In terms of whether this show is enjoyable or not, it depends on your taste. If you like such genres and the slow pacing without any much rapid or convoluted development, this should suit you find. At times, it may even be a cure for insomnia. I’m not totally saying that this anime is boring because some of the jokes are funny enough to tickle your bone. If you are paying attention, that is. Thanks to the amusing characters, it is one reason why the show is funny and not a big bore. Each of them has their own peculiar and quirky characteristics. So it goes to show that whether you are in the big city or a sleepy town like this one, life is as exciting as the personality of the girls.

Hotaru as the newcomer fits in properly like a glove within the one year span. She seems to like it here very much since she doesn’t suffer from any sort of withdrawal symptoms. You know, city girls who are so used to living with modern conveniences would suddenly cry and complain without their mp3 players, gossip magazines and whatever latest Android or Apple gadget they have in hand. Perhaps it is because Hotaru has been back here often due to her relatives in the area, in a way she too feels at home. Now it’s going to be permanent.  Her obsession with Komari would have made her a stalker material if she was in the city but I guess if you’re in this small town where everybody is family, nobody really matters. Or maybe Komari just doesn’t realize it. Heck, she might not even know such obsession. It could be quite scary… Another thing amusing about Hotaru is her tendency to go ‘screaming’ when she panics. It’s like she’s really breaking down and most of the time it ends up that it wasn’t something that she should have worried about.

Renge is also an amusing loli. Despite having a poker face and that droopy eyes, how should I put it, she is quite perspective for a 6 year old. She says what she thinks and acts her age so in a way you could say she is honest in a kiddie sense. However because of that, sometimes it feels that what she says also tends to have some sarcasm in it. Cheerful and lively like how all kids should be, she easily gets excited when there is something fun to be done and even sings songs with her own weird lyrics. It’s hard to find her annoying. She’s like the epitome of moe for this anime. Just like every group, there has to be that carefree character and in this anime, it falls to Natsumi. Not only carefree, but rebellious too. Yeah, she can actually talk back to her mother without batting an eyelid and not have any regrets at all! I won’t go so far to brand her as a troublemaker or a wild child but most of us would think that she should have some sort of restraint. Then there is Komari who is gullible and hates that ‘S’ word like that kid in Fullmetal Alchemist. Because of her short stature, it feels like she is in a hurry to become an adult. However she is probably the one who doesn’t act her age among the quartet. Lastly, there is Suguru whose only role in this anime as I can see is for visual comic relief. Yeah, this guy has no spoken roles so each time you see him, it would be for something funny. The other characters are also okay. Kazuho is more of lazy than anything, Kaede probably is the person to go to if you need everything because she runs a candy store which is really much like a convenience store. Perhaps the only one in town. If there is anything you need to get, you go to her. She just lacks customers… Hikage would probably want to leave this rural place seeing the way how she praises the city but at times acts like a country bumpkin.

Some things left me baffled like the old video part whereby Natsumi really wanted to be Suguru’s bride. Ah, those innocent days. Just like most episodes, what ends in that episode stays that way. It would have really been interesting to know more about that but then again, probably she was a kid then and doesn’t know the implication when she said that. An embarrassing memory she could really have done without. Any one is where Renge draws like a pro. We were never shown the way she draws her art normally because the so called good one, she doesn’t like it. Scouters would have really tried all their might to get this girl into becoming an art prodigy but even Renge herself knows what she wants. She doesn’t care about competitions because if she wants to draw, it is most important that she must enjoy it herself.

One thing that bugs me is the not fact that the school has a single class that only has 5 students. But if lazy Kazuho always leaves the students to their own device and self-study, I am thinking why the heck in the first place should they come to school? I know it’s a way to make them independent but if you think about it, coming to school to study materials on your own when you can do it in the comfort of your room, don’t you think it’s redundant? Although I don’t see Kazuho grade them, but she handing back reports at one point shows that she does grade them. Which brings me to this point. If some of the girls can ace their studies or at least do well, don’t you think they could have been genius prodigy material? I mean, they don’t even need a teacher to understand their syllable and can do just fine doing on their own. If I was without a teacher to guide me, I think I would have flunked every subject in school. So to say, these girls are super smart, right? Natsumi may be an exception… Another point to ponder about school is if there is another one nearby. Because as far as I can see, Konomi is still studying and as I found out, she is a third year in a local high school. So unless you tell me that local high school is in another province (perhaps why she doesn’t make her appearance often), shouldn’t the class of Hotaru be in that same local school too? Heck, they can put elementary and junior high in one class, so what difference will it make if it’s mixed in that high school? Speaking of the school, the single school may not look big as compared to the one in the city, but I still think it is too big to house just 5 students despite having just one corridor. Yeah, it looks big and long from the outside. Don’t mention about the fields. This is the countryside, no?

The ‘unique’ thing about the next episode preview is that it is ‘previewed’ inside a TV. It’s like watching a TV through a TV. You might want to squint your eye real hard or put your face close and touching distance of your monitor just to see the tiny next episode preview. But don’t bother about it since you’re going to see those scenes somewhere in the next episode. You don’t want to spoil your eyes or hurt your posture because of that little small part. Also refreshing is the end card after every episode. Actually, they are real photographs taken by several people of the countryside from the rice fields to the snowy mountain. For a city dude like me, it’s refreshing to see those photos although I could just simply Google those sceneries. But you know, I’m just lazy. Heck, I’m sure everybody’s computer would have those default Photoshop images of nature, right? At least for those using Windows PC. Speaking of the picturesque scenes, I won’t go far to say that the drawing and art of this anime is spectacular. They are simple enough and because an urban dweller that has been too long in the city sees such refreshing sights of nature, I’m sure you’ll be marvelled at the simplicity and vastness of the countryside. This in a way enhances the quality of those scenes although I won’t go so far to call it breath-taking. Of course the girls are drawn cutely like your typical Japanese anime style.

At first I have this bugging feeling that Kana Asumi was a mismatch as Komari. Don’t get the wrong idea, I really love her voice especially when she gets into that trademark high pitch voice. I just thought that her voice just doesn’t match the looks of Komari. I still love it when she panics because that means Kana Asumi gets to sound her trademark voice like I always knew her as. You know, like Yuno in Hidamari Sketch or that crazy titular character in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san. Kotori Koiwai did a good job making Renge sound like an authentic 6 year old. I guess this is because she voiced other ‘loli’ roles before like Iwai in Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge and Kigurumi in Joshiraku. Okay, so those characters are a little bit grown up but they do sound cute, right? I haven’t heard Ryoko Shintani for a while so it was a welcome to hear her again as Konomi. Thankfully I can still recognize the one who voiced Rihoko in Amagami SS. But I couldn’t for Rina Satou as Kaede. It was like as though she was waiting to burst into becoming To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaka. Other casts include Ayane Sakura as Natsumi (Eno in Love Lab), Rie Murakawa as Hotaru (Aoi in Vividred Operation), Kaori Nazuka as Kazuho (Nunnally in Code Geass), Misato Fuken as Hikage (Yami in To Love-Ru), Akiko Hiramatsu as Yukiko (Haruko in Slam Dunk) and Ayahi Takagi as Honoka (Mikako in Sora No Otoshimono).

The opening theme is Nanairo Biyori by Nano Ripe. As usual, to me she always had that eternal drunken sounding-like voice. But I feel that it wasn’t as bad as her other anime theme gigs like in Hanasaku Iroha and Sankarea. Most probably I’ve heard her sing a few times (make that only 3 more times excluding this anime – the themes of Bakuman S3, Jinrui Wa Suitai Shimashita and Hataraku Maou-sama) so I have grown somewhat ‘immune’ to that voice of hers and didn’t get instantly turned off. The ending theme is as of the same name of this anime and sung by the seiyuus of the main quartet. Sometimes I feel this song sounds like a children’s song… There are a couple of background music too, some calming and some a little comical. But there is one which is a variation of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Sounds funny… I have this strange feeling of wanting to hum along with it…

It goes to show that despite the lack of modern entertainment that many of us seek today, you still can have fun out in the country. You don’t need sophisticated stuffs just to ‘enrich’ your lives. It’s like going back to basics. Just like in the good ol’ days when life was really much simpler and not too complicated. The simpler, the better. Anything can be a form of entertainment as long as you enjoy it with your friends. Of course this won’t mean that I suddenly have the urge to go live in the countryside. Because the entertainment called anime is too tempting and alluring to give up. Looks like I’ll be staying in the city till kingdom come as long as there is anime. Which is fine by me by any means.

Another magical girl act. Another magical girl act using cards. In fact, I could probably name a few from the earliest I have known in Cardcaptor Sakura to the recent one in Fantasista Doll. Gen’ei Wo Kakeru Taiyou is another one of those animes that fits into this genre. But this time they use tarot cards in their battle although the designs of the tarot cards are slightly modified to give that cute look instead of the grimmer ones we know in real life. Also, the last time an anime that has tarot cards as its major theme was the disappointing Arcana Famiglia. Although that was a mafia themed anime. Don’t expect to see mafias running around in this one. This is an original anime production of the magical girl genre like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica so I thought it would be interesting to see what happens in this one although the plot of magical girls fighting evil is nothing original.

Episode 1
Akari Taiyou is a helpful and happy girl. She loves tarot cards and wants to follow, Hinata, her late mom’s footsteps in them. Currently she is an apprentice in some fortune telling guild. On the way back, she sees a beautiful lady, Etia Visconti. She dropped her ribbon. Good girl Akari of course picks it up for her. Seems this is part of Etia’s plan to confirm that she is the one. Akari’s room is filled with plants. You might think you’re in a tropical jungle. So much so she needs the help of her cousin, Fuyuna to help her get out of those vines. During dinner, Akari continues to be passionate about her tarot cards to her uncle and aunty whom she is living with. But not Fuyuna. She thought her academic excellence would have her classmates notice her but they are more interested in Akari’s precised tarot card readings instead. Even Fuyuna tries to hint to Akari that this world isn’t as simple as she thinks that she can do whatever she wants. Though correct predictions will have people grateful, wrongs one will earn their scorn. One morning walking to school, Akari got distracted talking to a local fishmonger. Some evil force unleashes the handbrakes of a truck parked on the slope. If Akari didn’t jump away in time, she could have been smashed real bad. Akari tells her scare to her fortune telling colleagues. They too relate there was this weird guy outside their building asking what they could do to bring back his dead wife. Since there is nothing they can do, he went away. They note they must be careful. Akari and her family visit Hinata’s grave as it would mark her second death anniversary. That night when Akari is asleep, she is rudely awakened when a plant demon attacks her, exclaiming about some jealousy stuff. Unknowingly she unleashes some sort of power and the next thing she knows, she wakes up thinking it is just a dream. Then it becomes real nightmare because she sees Fuyuna’s dead body on the floor. Suddenly in the next change of scene, it’s like déjà vu. Akari and family are visiting Hinata’s grave. Minus Fuyuna. It’s like her cousin never existed. When Akari heads to her guild, she sees a huge fire. Because her members are still inside, she rushes in. She sees a weird guy trying to kill everything. Before Akari is a giant flame demon. On the verge of death, her sun tarot card unleashes and she transforms into a lean mean magical girl and tries to kill the beast but was overwhelmed. Other magical girls save her and destroy the monster. Etia carries unconscious Akari away as her deputy, Ariel Valtiel Westcott comments about her powers awakening on the anniversary of her mother’s death as per Leguzario’s prediction. Now all the pieces have fallen into place.

Episode 2
Akari wakes up in a room. She is greeted by Etia who tells her she is in Sephiro Fiore. Her guild friends are okay and being treated in hospital. The flame monster she saw was a Daemonia. They are evil spirits that prey on humans, attracted to their wicked hearts. They offer to grant people’s wishes in return for a contract. After a wish is granted, the contract drives them to slaughter. Thus the organization called Sephiro Fiore was created as a battle unit to destroy Daemonia. On the surface they look like a fortune telling school but they have branches all over the world. Akari used an Elemental Tarot to fight that Daemonia. Each of the 21 members possesses the power of a different tarot card and Akari possesses the sun, which is the last one that they were looking for. These powers are the only one that can defeat Daemonia. They need Akari’s help. Can she do it? Well, since her mom was part of this unit, I suppose her daughter wants to live up to her expectations. So Akari moves out from her uncle and aunt’s place and into Sephiro Fiore as a new student. She is put into a team of newcomers that consist of Seira Hoshikawa, Luna Tsukuyomi and Ginka Shirokane. Luna feels she wants to make friends with Akari and goes to her room. She notices her plants and thinks it is due to her tarot powers their growth is accelerated. You know, the sun. Soon Akari joins the rest of her teammates over dinner. The rest joined this organization in almost a similar fashion and they have never heard of Daemonia prior to that was because fighting them is a very dangerous job so it is natural their loved ones involved in this organization won’t tell them.

Sephiro Fiore acts like a normal school when not battling Daemonia. We see the girls undergo pretty usual school activities and classes. Till the alert is sounded. The girls rush into some elaborate setup just to transform into their magical version and transport to the scene. They’re handling things pretty well till Akari suddenly remembers about Fuyuna. She has to be taken away while Seira settles this. Akari is not too pleased when she learns the truth from Etia. Her memories of Fuyuna were altered. Because Daemonia creep into the crevices of the human heart before taking over their soul, when she first awakened, Akari was almost being taken over by a Daemonia from the shock of killing Fuyuna. Akari is angry because this means she killed Fuyuna twice. She thinks it would have been better for the Daemonia to take over her. Or just kill her. The rest of the girls are feeling gloomy because they too have experienced something similar. Especially Seira. It’s still hard to get over. Akari is over at Hinata’s grave. Remembering Etia’s words that a person who has turned into Daemonia can never turn back. In short, they can’t kill the Daemonia if they don’t kill the person. Every trace of memory and history of that person will then be erased from all those who know that person. Akari’s aunty sees her and thinks she has issues with her new place and ran away. She doesn’t even know she had a daughter named Fuyuna. Akari breaks down in her arms. Meanwhile the messengers for the higher ups of the organization (a crow and a cat?) are pleased that Akari remains stable after regaining her memories but Etia thought it was just cruel. Akari continues to space out at the pier when she sees a guy preparing to kill a father and his son by dropping a mast.

Episode 3
Thankfully that mast missed and Akari engages the monster. She hears voices pleading for help and it is very painful. Her hesitation causes her to get tied up. Fellow magical girls, Priscilla Twilight and Meltina Melvis enter the scene to save the day but to their surprise, Akari protects the Daemonia and lets it get away. Since Akari continues being a stubborn girl, she is handcuffed and brought back. She is being lectured by Ariel that she won’t get away from Daemonia even if she leaves the organization. If she runs without fighting, she’ll die. Since she is still stubborn, Akari is placed in the cell for the time being. The rest continue their class and learn about Daemonia. There are many of them laying dormant and they go undetected. It takes up to 20 weeks for Daemonia to possess people in this area. Because Daemonia are no longer human, they should not have feelings of guilt when they go exterminate them. Destroying them would mean saving more lives. Luna feels bad for Akari and talks to her. She also relates her own experience when she first joined. She was placed in the cell because she couldn’t bring herself to fight Daemonia. Akari mentions the voices she heard although she doesn’t know why. Akari will never forget about Fuyuna ever again. Then she tells Etia and Ariel about the voices but they dismiss it because when a Daemonia takes over, it is not just the body but the mind. Even so, it still doesn’t change the fact they must be eliminated. Akari agrees to rejoin them in battle but will find her own answer. The escaped Daemonia resurfaces and tries to kill a kindergarten teacher and her pupils by making them stuck at the railroad crossing. Our magical girls go into action again. Akari hears the voice again. Seira won’t have her in the way again but Luna believes in her and holds Seira back. Akari listens to the voice of the Daemonia. He seems to have lost his son and was told if he killed enough children, he would be brought back to life. He really doesn’t want to hurt anymore children. He wants her to kill him. Akari without hesitation now slays him. She accepts this is her destiny. Later she talks to Etia that although she’ll never be forgiven for Fuyuna’s death, if she doesn’t accept it, her death will only be in vain. She wants to remember what the people who turned into Daemonia were feeling. Etia advises her to follow what she believes is right. The messengers are noting the interesting guinea pig Akari is and will wait a little longer before putting out their report.

Episode 4
Yume Higashiyama seems to be the star in the art school. But Kiyone Okakura doesn’t think she’s all that impressive as others think. But one day Yume criticizes how plain Kiyone’s painting is and this causes her to be upset. On her way home, she meets this mysterious fortune teller, Cerebrum who tells her she can change her future to her liking. All she needs to do is be honest with her feelings. He gives her a dark tarot card as a ‘good luck charm’. Then she sees Yume having a secret steamy affair with her crush, Shuuji Kishida at school. That’s when she snapped. She’s going to use the card. Meanwhile the Tendou sisters are examining Akari because of her unique ability to hear Daemonia’s voice. They’re going to inspect every inch of her body. Every part. Etia continues her class lessons explaining about the Kabbalah Tarot as origins and how it relates to the Tree of Life. From there, Aeon Tarot was created but also Diabolos Tarot in a similar fashion. The latter is used by Daemonia by taking over that person’s Tree of Life. So to eliminate that, Elemental Tarot was born from Aeon Tarot. Daemonia multiply by splitting but Elemental Tarot uses hereditary, determining its successors through bloodlines that span centuries. Later, Seira notes how it is useless to learn all that because they’ll just kill the Daemonia anyway. Because those who are possessed by them are weak and should be eliminated from this world. Akari strongly disagrees because anyone could be possessed by Daemonia and there is no single person that doesn’t matter. She is sad she couldn’t hear the voice of the person she wanted.

Meanwhile we see Kiyone with red paint all over. Is it really red paint? She ends up the winner at some painting exhibition. Indeed a creepy painting. Yume didn’t participate because it was said she got killed in a truck accident and her funeral is soon. Shuuji congratulates her but wonders if such art is considered painting. Outside, Cerebrum waits for Kiyone. He tells her getting revenge of killing Yume isn’t enough. All those who ignore her must pay too. A Daemonia swallows her. At Yume’s funeral, a bell falls and crushes Shuuji. She plays God and strikes lightning at the shrine to make it on fire and kill everyone. That’s when our magical girls go into action. Akari can hear Kiyone’s voice and wants to talk to her. She is not pleased a brat is going to play counsellor. Akari says she might not save everyone by listening but she wants to try to make her feel better. Kiyone calls her a hypocrite and it’s these kind of people she hates. She adds she’s going to kill her anyway and to go ahead. She won’t let her win. But Akari hasn’t heard her out yet. Well, if she still wants to preach to her, she can die. Akari is saved by Seira who doesn’t give a hoot about everything and kills Kiyone outright. In the aftermath, she warns Akari that it’s because she listen to their voices, she falters. Akari reads a notebook left behind by Fuyuna. Luna talks to her. She was able to hear the Daemonia’s voice because she was touching Akari. Akari feels it is better for her not to hear because it would make fighting them harder. But she is glad that she could. Although not everyone can be saved but nothing can begin unless you listen. Seira brushes off the fact about listening to Daemonia’s voice. It’s pointless and she doesn’t want to hear them. She doesn’t care.

Episode 5
When Akari and Luna are gardening, there is this guy, Yatarou coming to look for Sephiro Fiore. He is Ginka’s father and president of a discount chain store. He is also Sephiro Fiore’s generous donator and is glad such organizations are around to kick Daemonia’s ass. He is grateful for them for picking up her daughter when her abilities were awakened. Ginka explains to her friends about their humble beginnings. They were always harassed by loan sharks and always in debts during Yatarou’s first failed business venture of takoyaki. But things turned around by making a home making takoyaki machine and it became a smash hit. The girls are invited to his grand party. Yatarou learns from his friends that Honda is in trouble. He is on the verge of going bankrupt and it is rumoured he has borrowed money from dangerous people. Speaking of which, those yakuza people are giving Honda some options. It doesn’t look pretty. Ginka and Yatarou are worried for Honda because he was the person who rescued them when they were in debt (Yatarou and Honda were college buddies). Honda always came and gave Ginka chocolate during those tough times and it made her feel better. Honda is about to hang himself when Cerebrum (now in a young girl form) knows how to solve his money woes. She lends him a dark tarot card.

Next day, Yatarou calls Ginka to relay the good news that Honda’s business has revived and is doing great. The yakuza money lenders have mysteriously gone missing too. Yatarou is supposed to have dinner with Honda but he heard a customer had trouble with his product. Because he places his customer first (as taught by Honda), he will have to be late for the dinner. Instead his friends are there on his behalf and they are surprised how things have turned around. It’s just really simple. Cerebrum appears and hands them a dark tarot card each, wanting to know their deepest desires. Once Yatarou is done, he is about to head to the dinner when he sees Honda. He quickly understands that Honda has become a Daemonia when Cerebrum orders Honda to kill him. He uses a tarot card to escape and barely avoids all the mishaps at the skin of his teeth. Our heroines are dispatched to the scene and Ginka is shocked to see this Daemonia as Honda. She touches Akari and hears his thoughts. He is sad that things turned out this way because of his weak heart but is glad to see her grown so much. Seira keeps attacking the Daemonia and reminds them this is the reason why they waver to fight if they hear Daemonia’s thoughts. Ginka agrees with her. She could have fought better had she not hear him. However he is the one suffering the most and is going to let him rest in peace. Ginka kills the Daemonia. In the aftermath, Akari apologizes to Ginka for making her hear the Daemonia. She doesn’t regret it since she was able to talk to him. Although her dad lost all memories of Honda, she is the only one who remembers his last words. Ginka understands what Akari was worried about. She wonders would things be different if her dad and Honda’s position was swapped.

Episode 6
Seira is seen fighting alongside Meltina and Priscilla. The latter duo feel they make a good team but Seira refutes this team thingy and is just doing her job. She still views it as pointless for those who can hear Daemonia’s voice and won’t forgive those who turned themselves into one. Minori and Hanae are best friends. When Hanae wants to get a hairpin for Minori, she wanted something less flashy and seeing Seira and Ginka nearby, she got the idea of the star hairpin that Seira is wearing. The quartet instantly become friends. Minori somehow misplaces her handphone in Seira’s bag so Hanae had to call Seira to meet again. It’s like a blessing in disguise because they’re glad they could meet up again. But during their outing, Minori suddenly experiences chest pains. She is rushed to hospital as Hanae explains she has heart problems since birth. She needs urgent surgery but it is a difficult one so she was unable to get it done. Hanae is worried if there is anything she could do for her because Minori helped her out so many times. Seira tells her to just do whatever she can. This reminded her of her old friend, Manami. They were close. One day Seira went to get a present for her when a Daemonia suddenly attacked. Because Seira was hesitant and wondering how to fight the Daemonia, Manami got blown away and stabbed into a construction pole. After Hanae visits Minori at hospital, she is approached by Cerebrum (disguised as a nurse) handing her a dark tarot card. She plays on her mind that Minori has not much time left and knows she wants to do something for her. The choice is hers.

Seira gets upset when she sees Akari listing down the words said by all the Daemonia. She does not believe they can help a Daemonia that way. Later she talks to Etia and requests to be put in Meltina and Priscilla’s team because as long as Akari can hear Daemonia’s voices, she can’t fight alongside her. Etia tells her to fight with them one more time. If she still feels she wants to switch after that, be her guest. Seira gets a call from Minori. She is worried that Hanae has not showed up despite promising to visit her. Seira gets a bad feeling but then the Daemonia alert sounds. Seira is devastated to see this Daemonia. That star hairpin looks familiar? She becomes hesitant to kill her. Akari knows it is her friend because she can hear her calling Seira’s name. She has Seira listen and talk to her or else she will regret it. Hanae explains since she didn’t have money to pay for Minori’s surgery, the only way was to become her donor. She knows it’s a bad idea but hey, didn’t Seira tell her to do what she has to? But selling your soul to the devil? Since her heart hurts and afraid of killing more people, she wants Seira to end this and take care of Minori. Seira still couldn’t kill her and got blasted away. Akari had to take the lead and tell her off this is the reason they have to take responsibility for hearing their voices. Otherwise it shows they lack the resolve. It gave enough motivation for Seira to finish the job. Seira visits the hospital and hears Minori is going to undergo operation but the donor already passed on. She hands Minori the star hairpin but the latter doesn’t remember who Hanae is. Later Seira talks to Akari. The latter revealing Fuyuna turned into a Daemonia and will never know the reason why. Seira in tears discloses that she has no choice but to hate them and tried to exterminate them without thinking too much. She wanted to avenge Manami despite knowing she will never come back. Though she couldn’t hate Hanae, she still hates Daemonia who keep robbing her of those she holds dear. She was scared something inside her will break and if she listened to their voices, she’d be betraying Manami.

Episode 7
Etia and Ariel receive information from Moscow branch that the user of the Lovers card is missing. Not wanting to get Akari and co involve, they want to investigate this first. Because of that, Akari and co are given a rare day off. They take this opportunity to visit town, eat the famous pork buns, ice cream, making glass and visit several places. Luna notices Seira is more open to Akari now. She tells Akari she had an older twin sister and she reminded her so much of Akari. Meanwhile Etia, Ariel, Priscilla, Meltina and the Tendou sisters are discussing over matters. The profiles of the previous 2 Daemonia exterminated simultaneously at different places were Yatarou’s friends. It shows that Daemonia have a will of its own and also, the Lovers card user was completely annihilated. Akari accidentally stumbles upon her fortune telling guild members. They are brought to their new residence and they are doing fine in the same business after starting everything up from scratch again. They let the girls have their fortune and it seems they vaguely put it as there are some obstacles they have to face. Well, there are lots of interpretations and the future is not set. As long as the girls have each other, they’ll be alright. They suggest the girls to stay for dinner and to even have a sleepover. When they go contact Etia about this, the fortune tellers confide that it was hard to tell them. Destruction lies ahead of them like as though some great power is in their way and their current harmony may be short-lived. After dinner, the girls are made to play kimodameshi. Except for Ginka, the rest are feeling scared. Especially Seira. Seriously? These girls who exterminate Daemonia are afraid of ghosts? Of course the ‘ghosts’ are just some cheap tricks by the fortune tellers. But they’re screaming their heads off. The scariest part is when one of the ghost sheets came off, they see the melted makeup over her face and freak out! That must be so much scarier, eh? A real ghost they think? When they get to the designated statue, there is a picture of cute little Akari sleeping. Embarrassed Akari takes the photo and run! The girls are treated to tasty sponge cake after that. Next morning, the girls feel much better. Thanks to this, they get to know each other better too. They leave and the fortune tellers hope they can come back again another day. Right when they return to Sephiro Fiore, Etia and Ariel summon them to a meeting to discuss something important regarding their future.

Episode 8
The girls are told about the mutual annihilation especially the one possessing Lovers Card. She just vanished from thin air after fighting a Daemonia possessing a twin card. Theoretically because Elemental and Diabolos Tarot are from the same source, it doesn’t matter who wins as one cannot exist without the other, if one should disappear the other will also vanish. They also thought all Daemonia victims were the same but recently originate from specific twin cards that are counterparts to theirs. So all the battles they’ve fought just brought them brief relief. In other words, if they don’t destroy the twin cards, they can’t destroy the Daemonia. Etia advises them to run whenever they face this situation. The girls are torn in what to do. Seira would stand and fight since this is their sole purpose while Ginka prefers to run as it is natural human reaction and that there is more to life. Luna talks to Akari. She doesn’t want her to disappear for fear she will be alone. She gets a little scary while asserting she doesn’t care if everybody else including herself disappears. As long as it was to protect her. Cerebrum just killed a political representative and reporters interviewing him in a freak accident. The mysterious contractor to Cerebrum all this while seems to be a rival politician who isn’t pleased Cerebrum went too far. He only wanted him to lose. But Cerebrum notes he perhaps really wanted him dead. Cerebrum has also found out something interesting about the Sun user. He wants her.

While the girls are fighting Daemonia, another one appears but every attack that connects, Ginka gets hurt. Dark Ginka?! Akari gets trapped and couldn’t do anything so as not to hurt Ginka but Ginka cuts her loose and earns some bruises so that they can all run. Ginka is treated and the rest never knew one would appear this soon. Plus, their attacks had no effect on dark Ginka and the real one took in everything. Although Ginka is up and fine, she tries to be cheerful like her usual self but the rest are in no mood. Ginka remembers how her grandma passed down the Temperance card to her. She might end up being lonely and hating herself but grandma doesn’t see the need for her to do so and wants her to be proud and use her powers. Ginka goes to see her father just to ask about the power she got from grandma. Unlike Akari and Seira, she doesn’t have strong feelings exterminating Daemonia. He doesn’t want her to fret what she doesn’t have or cannot do. Just do whatever she needs to do. And so Ginka confronts her dark self again in a battle to end it. She will have them both disappear together (dark Ginka terms it as combining as one). Her friends couldn’t believe she calls this her final battle and were told to stay out. Seira will not interfere since this is the path Ginka chose. Both Ginkas land the final strike and disappear altogether. Reality hits hard for the rest when they know Ginka is gone for good.

Episode 9
Yatarou is one sad dad but he believes this is the path his daughter chose. Gloom falls on Sephiro Fiore. Luna fears she is next when she receives a call from her butler to pick her home. This is for the best. Once she feels better, she will come back. Luna remembers she was close to her older sister, Selena. One day she disappeared but the adults are happy with it because they will be next in line to the heir. When Luna was able to see Daemonia that her butler couldn’t, he notes that the time for her has come. Luna went into her first battle scared stiff and was more of a hindrance to Seira and Ginka. She is snapped out of her daydream when she thinks she saw Selena. She chases after her but turns out to be Akari. She has requested permission for some time off. Luna is happy that she visited although she apologizes she wants to stay longer. Akari understands and will wait as long as it takes for her to sort things out. In fact, she wants to stay with her for the time being. Luna couldn’t be happier. So they did a lot of things together and even something to suggest a yuri moment. Really. Sleeping together and wanting to get to know each other even more. Meanwhile the Tendou sisters give Meltina and Priscilla fake Elemental Tarot cards. Using one against a Daemonia, they will think it is the dummy and a chance for them to escape. The yuri moment between Luna and Akari continues. A big hug? Luna is so happy that she explains she doesn’t need anything or anyone as long as she is here. She even doesn’t mind disappearing because she is someone so dear. However Akari drops the bombshell. She cannot return her love because she prefers Seira. She is someone better to fight alongside with. Akari adds to the shock. She knows Luna wants her for herself and a vain person. She wants others to acknowledge her existence. She wants people to think highly of her. She wants to be loved. While Luna is confused with everything, Akari stabs her with a dagger! Of course she is actually Cerebrum in disguise. The dagger is the Emperor card as Luna begins to transform into a monster. So this is what happens when you put a Daemonia into an Elemental Tarot user. The Tendou sisters detect a Daemonia but it’s responding like an Elemental Tarot user. They fear it could be one of their comrades.

Episode 10
Now that Luna is a ‘pet’ of Cerebrum she is forced to fight Akari and Seira in their next battle. Seira gets bitten on her neck as Akari brings her away to escape. Meanwhile Priscilla and Meltina are having a hard time fighting their evil twins. They could have been done for had not Akari come in to save them. Akari is told that someone took her appearance and got to Luna. It must have been a Daemonia with a will of its own and also responsible for those twin cards. For the first time, Laplace (the crow) and Schrodinger (cat) speak to Akari. They introduce themselves as messengers from Leguzario organization, the one who created Sephiro Fiore and sending out orders to exterminate Daemonia. They mention Cerebrum is the one behind this and the Daemonia with free will. Now that Luna is under Cerebrum’ control, it won’t be long before Leguzario send orders for her to be killed. They hint to Akari to take care of it before it does. So she has to kill her friend? Due to the bite on Seira’s neck, now she has no more power and can’t use her Elemental Tarot. This means Akari is all alone in fighting Daemonia. She is the only one exterminating Daemonia as she questions why she is fighting.  Etia and Ariel know things won’t improve if they continue to stay in the sidelines but worry if they get involved, it will endanger everyone. Etia is in a dilemma if Akari would be better off not knowing about something. Akari is face to face with Luna. Akari hopes Luna can come back but Luna instead offers her to become a Daemonia so they can be together. That’s a no, right? Luna still has a shred of humanity inside and manages to hold back herself to let Akari escape. This doesn’t sit well with Cerebrum because having her outside his control won’t do. While Seira wanders around town, Akari is at Hinata’s grave. She is unsure what to do next as she can’t stand fighting alone anymore. She sees a young girl crying and looking for her mom and was about to ignore her but her good side gives in. She helps her find her mom till she learns she has no mom and is alone. Akari also relates her own loneliness when this little girl starts to act strange. Looking very familiar this loli? She is about to hypnotize Akari but she is saved by her handphone ring. An emergency back at Sephiro Fiore. When Akari looks back, the loli is gone. There is an angry mob outside the base. It is believed Cerebrum has spread rumours that they are the ones behind the Daemonia attacks. The unruly mob barge in, destroy and burn everything and our poor ladies have no choice but to escape.

Episode 11
Sephiro Fiore girls seek shelter at Akari’s fortune teller guild’s place. Seira has reached an abandoned building and finds Cerebrum and sleeping Luna. He tells it straight to her that he isn’t controlling Luna but her emotions. It’s because Luna wants Seira out of the picture. As she loves Akari, she fears the more time she spends with Seira, she might take her away each time they got closer. He also points out that Seira too has her own negative emotions like her heartlessness and justice when it comes to slaying Daemonia. Of course Luna is weaker compared to her but it is that weakness that took away Seira’s power. Cerebrum has a suggestion. The only way to get it back is to kill her. It’s not like Luna can turn back to normal so won’t it be better to kill her? Or would she rather have Luna live her life as a wolf girl? Plus, it’s not fair to make Akari fight by herself. Either way, Cerebrum is okay with both options. She has a few hours before the drug on Luna wears off. Seira picks up the dagger… But she can’t bring herself to do it. Etia wants to tell Akari how she came to be. Laplace is against it and warns her the repercussion from Leguzario. Etia is well prepared for it and feels Akari has the right to know since it is wrong for someone’s life to be controlled by an organization. Ariel supports her. Laplace is going to report this but Schrodinger is going to stay back and watch how this interesting destiny unfolds.

Etia begins. Hinata once fought alongside Sephiro Fiore. She fell in love with a man studying on Daemonia in a research facility controlled by Leguzario. However he got infected with Daemonia during his research and went missing. His whereabouts are still unknown. She believes Leguzario had a hand in this. Soon after, they learn Hinata had a child and that child is Akari. That’s right. She is born from a Daemonia and tarot card user. As both tarot cards were originally one, it is no surprise she can hear Daemonia’s voices. Leguzario foresaw her awakening and thus Sephiro Fiore was ordered to bring in and protect her. Knowing this may cause her pain and hardship and it may be too late but the decision is hers to make. They will not stop her if she decides to be on Daemonia’s side. After all, Cerebrum is after her too. Laplace reports to Leguzario and it seems this familiar voice also had a hand in contacting Cerebrum. I think I know who this guy is… Akari sees the little girl at her mother’s graveyard but she knows she is Cerebrum. She wants Cerebrum to release Seira and Luna since it has nothing to do with them as his target is her. Cerebrum praises her strong justice and has no evil inside her but that is what is hurting others. So innocent. So bright. Humans can’t exist next to the sun. The brighter it shines, the darker the shadow. That’s what they can’t stand about her. Like Fuyuna. Luna’s drug wears off and she instantly attacks Seira. She has no choice but to take the dagger and defend herself. Cerebrum offers to save her friends on a condition she joins them. She may even find out why Fuyuna turned into a Daemonia and attacked her. However doing so means she will not come back to this side again.

Episode 12
More precisely, Cerebrum wants to mate with Akari! She doesn’t hesitate for the sake of her friends. He shows her a funny traffic light-cum-hourglass called Clessidra. This is where she came from and trying to go. It is what she is. Once this is done, they’ll become one. As Akari is absorbed into it, Seira and Luna return back to normal and back at the base. Luna speeds up the recovery of Meltina and Priscilla. Schrodinger explains about Clessidra, a much higher plane than the alternate dimension they fight Daemonia in. The problem is trying to locate it. Akari relives the day when her adopted family visits Hinata’s grave. Fuyuna still lives. That dreaded night, Akari knows this is where Fuyuna came into her room trying to kill her. Before she could go ask, there she is trying to kill Akari. She tries to ask why she turned into a Daemonia. Why does she hate her so much? Fuyuna lets it all out. The way she forces herself into people’s hearts. The way she wants to know everything about everyone. When Akari gets killed by her, the dream restarts again. Cerebrum says he can end this if she accepts him. Otherwise, she will repeat this forever. Akari thinks she can do this and change things? Here we go again… Luna feels bad for what she has done to Seira but the latter explains Akari did this to save them all because Cerebrum tried to get rid of them so there is no one else in is way to Akari. They just need to keep looking for her. The Tendou sisters find a weird structure in the alternate dimension. Luna remembers this was where Cerebrum took her and this must be Clessidra. The duo are sent straightaway to its coordinates. Luna continues to apologize over her weakness that got them into this mess. Seira admits that it is true that she is weak. The old her would have left it at that. But after learning from Akari, she has learnt to call them friends. She will accept Luna and everyone else for who they are.

They arrive at Clessidra but have an army of twig Daemonia to take care of. Meanwhile Akari continues to relive the painful past. She kills Fuyuna over and over again. She has many instances to find out or change but she just couldn’t find the strength to do so. Cerebrum tries some reverse psychology. Perhaps it wasn’t Fuyuna who hated Akari. It’s the other way round. Fuyuna took her malicious feelings in and started to see her as the enemy. Still can’t believe it? Put it this way. If she hadn’t meet Fuyuna, this would never have happened. Laplace returns and drops Schrodinger a key. The cat then takes it to Etia and Ariel. It is a sign that Leguzario allows their release for a short period of time to prevent Cerebrum’s plan from proceeding into the next phase. Etia and Ariel do not feel happy about this because in the end, Leguzario still sees them as tools and further their own agenda. But the duo are going to do this to save Akari. Seira and Luna are doing well but have trouble fighting the big mother Daemonia. Before they could be defeated, here comes Ginka. She’s back and kick ass! The Daemonia easily defeated. Seira and Luna… Are they shocked, surprised, happy or relieved? Or all of the above. What the heck, time for a welcome back group hug. Ginka explains the Daemonia they fought are guards for Clessidra. Unlike other Daemonia, the Minor Arcana cards animate them. How does she know all this? Because once you go over to the other side, you know everything. Everything? Yes. She knows Seira’s body fat increased by 0.1%. Yikes. But save that for later. Time to go save Akari. Speaking of her, she is at her limit. Another repeat. Will she snap this time? Will she give up? Oh those bags under her eyes… Zombie…

Episode 13
Trying to break Clessidra isn’t working. So trying with words now? Ginka yells out that it’s because of Akari she is able to return. She was fighting her twin in the other world for so long when she heard her voice. It led to her victory and return. If Akari doesn’t come back, everything will be in vain. Akari is at Hinata’s grave again. But this time she notices Fuyuna trying to talk to her and looking at her for the first time. Cerebrum knows this is going to be the last time but Akari doesn’t care if she is absorbed into him. She wants to face Fuyuna head on without running away. Here she comes. They talk. Fuyuna mentions about why she hates her but in the end, she still loves her. She transforms into a monster and in the process of strangling her, she mentions about Akari being too bright as the sun. It makes her like a shadow and a dark haze covered her heart. However being with her also warms her up. She wants to be around that kindness. Fuyuna blames herself for being weak and taking out on her. Akari will still love her even if she turns into Daemonia. Fuyuna pleads for help to be killed. Akari has accepted if this is the fate they have decided, so be it. Akari slays Fuyuna. Cerebrum is devastated that she managed to purify the darkness. How can she be this powerful if she’s just a mere human? Akari says they’re trying to walk the path they believe in. Cerebrum is disappointed Akari won’t be the one and will have the pleasure of killing her and find a replacement.

When Clessidra is detected moving, Etia and Ariel instantly use their tarot cards to summon a great power. With the key, the strike and break open Clessidra. Akari is saved but Cerebrum is desperate to kill them all. He tries to play mind games with them. Trying to make Luna blame Akari that it’s her fault for turning her into a Daemonia. She accepts her weakness and won’t run away anymore. Cerebrum blasted away. Trying to be sarcastic about Ginka’s return. She believes twin cards aren’t for destruction but unification. Cerebrum is blown away. Trying to insult Seira that she’s pretending to be friends again. There was never a quarrel to begin with. Cerebrum be gone! Trying to get to Akari that humans will never change. This world will never change. As long as those feelings exist, Daemonia will never disappear. But Akari won’t give up. Humans possess both light and darkness. Even if she cannot save those who turn into Daemonia now, she will find a way in the future. Cerebrum turns into a monster for the girls to fight. Even Meltina and Priscilla join in. It is revealed that Cerebrum possesses the twin card of The Sun. Using the power of friendship, Akari strikes her way and pierces through Cerebrum’s core. Cerebrum defeated. Etia and Ariel’s power are instantly sealed back soon after. In the aftermath, the girls get along just fine like usual. Akari mentions her intention to keep fighting with everyone so one day she can save those possessed by Daemonia. In the aftermath, Sephiro Fiore’s base is being rebuilt from scratch. Akari and friends are eager to go overseas to a new exciting branch. Akari checks for her passport but sees a note from Fuyuna. It says that even if the sun is hidden away by dark clouds, a single beam is all it takes to chase away the darkness. That is the sun’s smile.

Episode 14 (OVA)
A flashback episode before Akari joined Sephiro Fiore and is mainly on Fuyuna and Luna. Right after Hinata’s death, Akari became part of Fuyuna’s family. The latter was very kind to her and they did all sort of things together. To a point that it looked like Akari had gotten over her mom’s death and was living the normal life. On the other hand, Luna just joined Sephiro Fiore and she is totally scared and couldn’t fight Daemonia. During battles, she was just cowering in fear. Ginka was like don’t-just-stand-there-do-something while Seira was like get-out-of-my-way. Although Luna receives encouragement from the rest, she still couldn’t find the heart to fight. Thus she was placed in a cell temporarily to organize her thoughts. Akari and Fuyuna are leading a happy life till one day Fuyuna realizes that Akari is slowly getting all the attention and praises from her friends. She’s lively, energetic, positive and stands up for Fuyuna from a bully who wants to take her pudding. What’s there not to like about her? Oh… Jealousy brewing. As Luna is still unable to be useful in battle and remains pessimistic, Etia advises to quickly find her powers that are unique to only her. Seira wasn’t so forgiving. Luna takes time off in town to think. Similarly, Fuyuna has been down lately so Akari takes her out to town to cheer her up. At the shopping mall, the place suddenly rocks because a Daemonia attacks. Though the innocent people are evacuated, the Sephiro Fiore trio are deployed. However Ginka and Seira got injured in the process. Akari notices a mother desperately looking for her child whom she believes is still trapped in the mall. Without thinking, Akari rushes back in and finds her. So she did. Now what? When a beam is about to fall on them, Luna can’t bear to see this and her powers suddenly awaken. The beam is deflected, Akari and the girl run out to safety. Luna heals Ginka and Seira and with them feeling good, they dispose the Daemonia once and for all. Luna has more confidence in herself as the rest welcome her healing power. Fuyuna is not happy Akari was reckless and it made her worried. However deep down she notes she couldn’t do it if she was in her shoes. She laments she can’t be like Akari. And Cerebrum is watching her and loves that expression…

There Is Always Sun In Your Heart!
As usual… The fight between good and evil continues. I’m sure I didn’t expect to see a true happy ending where good triumphs over evil and everyone gets to carry on living their happy lives without ever worrying to become a Daemonia. That would be impossible, right? Because as long as negative emotions exist, humans are bound to become one. Therefore naturally the logic of my theory is that as long as there are happy people all around, there won’t be a risk of people turning into Daemonia, right? As far as this anime is concerned, I would still classify the ending as a happy ending since the girls get to be together again and not missing a friend or two. They also get to deal with their past or whatever that is holding them back and move on. That’s good enough for a magical girl series, no? It better be.

I can’t help compare how this anime strives to be like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Especially the grim outlook and hopelessness in almost every episode but as usual the light will always shine in every episode. Although I still consider Madoka the darker and grimmer one. Then you have a comrade who also ‘dies’ in this anime but that was somewhat just temporary because she returned so that we could all have a good ending. Yeah, Akari didn’t do a Madoka and become God. Although she could have been some super Daemonia. Besides, how grim and dark could you get when you have an ‘important’ character related to Akari who is already killed in the first 10 minutes of the show? Speaking of deaths, you have side characters of the episode die in this anime when they turn into Daemonia and the only way to save them is to kill them. Sad. It’s ironic that the girls have to kill to save. And when Ginka returned for the sake of a good ending, I thought that in my wildest dream that all those killed minor characters would somehow return too. I guess it was really indeed my wildest dream. Or have we actually forgotten about them already? They also try to put some psychological issues like how Madoka did it but here is somehow fails since in Madoka you can somewhat relate it to real life. Especially Kyuubey’s explanation-cum-revelation of how the universe works. So similar to real life.

The characters feel generic and from what I read from most comments for those who have watched this series, they’re a letdown. I guess even if you’re a good girl with lots of cute and moe appeal won’t help save the show. For instance, Akari is your typical heroine and kind girl who loves helping others. Just to show she is human, she gets lost for a little while especially that thorny issue of Fuyuna’s death keep pricking her from time to time. Then she sacrifices herself to save her friends but just that it isn’t really a sacrifice because she came back alive and well, right? Every group needs to have some sort of an unfriendly, cold and I-don’t-want-to-be-friends-with-you kind of character. Seira clearly fits that bill and you know in shows like these, that is why the power of friendship is stressed and in the end she opens up instead of trying to be a loner. Every group also needs to have a cheerful and spunky girl. I don’t think I know any anime characters who use money as their weapon (there’s that anime called C something Money Possibility Control something but I didn’t really watch it). No, Ginka doesn’t bribe Daemonia! If only I had those gold coins as shields… Timid Luna has her insecurities too. I’m not sure if she is seeing Akari as her substitute sister (who knows where Selena went and hell, I won’t be surprised if she turned into a Daemonia) but that weakness of hers becomes her strength, partly because everyone including strict Seira to accept her and everyone else for who they are. And yes people, remember the power of friendship and that everyone is not perfect. It is those weaknesses and strengths that make us unique. So accept them and accept yourself.

As for the other characters, Etia and Ariel feel lacking. Despite being the head of this Sephiro Fiore’s branch, all they do is just watch over the girls and from time to time, guide and give advice (especially Etia). It is hinted that they possess some super power and when that time comes for us to see it, I’m not even sure if that simple act was it. So fast and so I-can’t-see-how-this-is-related-to-their-whatever-power, that in a way it felt disappointing. Then you have Laplace and Schrodinger possibly as this series’ mascot but they don’t certainly look cute or the kind you want to cuddle. Schrodinger maybe. Maybe. But not Laplace. They too give only lip service and watch over everything. They must really be doing a good job, eh? The easiest job if I should say because they’re sitting behind the safety of a room while our girls risk their neck fighting Daemonia. Seniors Meltina and Priscilla also don’t do much mainly because they are secondary characters as compared to Akari and co. One thing I find a little annoying about the Tendou sisters is that whenever they speak, it’s like sometimes they tend to complete each other’s sentence. Well that’s fine but usually the third one would just repeat the last few words of what the second one said. It’s like they wanted to make all 3 of them say something and to remind us that there are 3 of them but since I guess the sentence is too short, they just went with this. As for Cerebrum, I have a feeling he is Hinata’s lover… And as a villain whom we know nothing about and why he wants Akari, it was certainly disturbing he wanted to mate with Akari. She’s underage for Heaven’s sake… Oh sure, they try to cram in a few yuri scenes at the end especially with Luna and fake Akari but I don’t think it’ll work out. Then there are those fortune teller guild members. How are they even relevant? Forgettable.

There are many loopholes or questions that have been boggling my mind since the anime ended or still bugging me throughout my watching duration. Here are some of them (the rest I forgot). What happened to the Moscow branch’s The Lover’s user? So going by Ginka’s experience, she is still fighting her other twin in some other world, right? Her no return means she must still be fighting. Or could you die for good in that world? If so, what difference does it make fighting in another plane? Speaking of going to that other plane, seems Ginka has gained lots of knowledge. Oh, so now she’s God? Does she really know everything or pulling a fast one? Because if she does, she could have easily found a way to come back. I guess you don’t know everything. But really, if disappearing to the other side means gaining knowledge if you come back, then I might just need to take the shortcut and head there instead of studying for my exams. The biggest mystery is Leguzario organization. Something tells me that they are both the good and the bad side. The ones responsible for unleashing Daemonia, the ones turning girls into magical girls that fight them. The angel and the devil all in one. So everything is just going according to their plan? It’s odd that people based with only a strong sense of justice would go work for an organization that they never know the top people or even if it really existed. Hey, they’ve got a talking crow and cat so it’s got to be true, right? I hope if the true face of Leguzario is revealed, it won’t turn out to be a big scam like the Wizard of Oz… Since there are 21 tarot card users (assuming in a branch), where the heck are the rest for this Sephiro Fiore seeing if they say they have been looking for the final The Sun user that is Akari? Now that the quartet are going overseas, who else are going to defend this town? Can Meltina and Priscilla handle it by themselves?

And then there is this part when a Daemonia is defeated, all memories of existence of that person get erased. I don’t even know where to begin because I’m so confused. It makes the time paradox thing sound easier to comprehend. So everything you do with that person is erased. That’s fine if it’s just memories. What happens if there is a photo album? Wouldn’t it be odd just to find that there is a ‘missing person’ in a photo? Besides, if a person who disappeared, what about the things he/she done in their life? Let’s assume that person planted some nice flowers and plants for you. He turns into a Daemonia, gets killed and disappears forever from everybody’s life. Now, if he ceased to exist, tell me who planted those flowers and plants? Don’t go telling me that somebody else did. Because that will be like erasing history and redoing them. You need to be God if you want to do all that. Imagine if a person is a celebrity, everyone in the whole wide world is going to be affected. Which is a lot pain in the ass than just altering memories. Or maybe it is just simple as that. Altering memories. It’s just really easier to forget than do all those painstaking history alteration thingy. Yeah. I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last night.

When the girls transform into their battle gear, I thought they just look meaner than their usual look. It makes them look more mature. Those badass eyes… However I have to say that there is not much creativity put in the design of their outfits. You know, magical girls should transform into their ‘creatively’ well designed outfits, right? Basically theirs stay the same and aside their meaner looks, they just have some sort of hair accessory added in this form. Oh sure, like that will make a lot of difference. As for the design of the Daemonia, some of them were creepy enough but some felt cartoonish. Though, I don’t think they will give me nightmares when I close my eyes and sleep every night. Sometimes I feel that the monster designers ran out of ideas and just mash in whatever comes to mind. As long as it is hideous, it passes. Hah. I’m sure you’d be asking me to go design the Daemonia then. The battle scenes are okay though it is typically the girls and their same magical weapon techniques.

Something about the art style and drawing. I noticed that the characters have this lanky look. Reminds me of that ecchi anime series, Onii-chan No Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara Ne. Sometimes I thought they are so lanky and thin that from certain angles they may be suffering from anorexia. Serious. Though it is unique as many animes don’t really have lankiness as its trademark. Another thing is that the characters seem to have almost square jawbones. This is obvious in certain characters like Seira and Luna. So from a certain point of angle, it really looks like they have broad faces. Also, because I think they want to portray this magical girl as some loli theme, the girls have big wide eyes for cute effects which sometimes feel awkward. Unless you’re like Seira whose eyes are squint.

The next episode preview segment is an amusing and interesting part. Amusing because it features the main characters of the series as they make light-hearted conversations. Something that does not happen in the episode proper. Like the Tendou sisters having fun playing shiritori, Laplace and Schrodinger concern about doing their job of communicating, Etia and Ariel trying to guess each other’s hobby (probably they’ve forgotten their own hobby), Meltina and Priscilla talking about trying out the local food and finally Akari and friends coming up with their own team name: Tarot Quartet! Say what? Heck, Akari just came up with that on a whim. Interesting because it features a tarot card and it enlightens us about the basic nature of the card and what it represents. Also, it tells us the good/positive and bad/negative side of this card when drawn chosen correctly or in reverse. Just like everything, you need light and darkness to balance everything. Yin and yang. But I’m not so much of a believer in this (or even the daily horoscope that you can find anywhere even in the newspaper) so I just read it for fun and knowledge (and then forget totally forget about it when I watch the next anime).

For the voice acting department, once again Kikuko Inoue is voicing roles other than dreamy ones like how I often recognized her. As Ariel who is serious and do not let emotions mix with her speech, she is hardly the Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama and Ranma 1/2’s Kasumi that I know of. The other casts include Mai Kadokawa as Akari (Ilya in Fate series), Eri Kitamura as Seira (Ami in Toradora), Sora Tokui as Luna (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Yuiko Tatsumi as Ginka (Riko in KissxSis), Aya Endo as Etia (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Nao Touyama as Meltina (Kanon in The World God Only Knows), Ruriko Aoki as Priscilla, Chado Horii as Laplace (Kakeru in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru),Shiori Izawa as Schrodinger (Sodoko in Girls Und Panzer), Atsumi Tanezaki as the Tendou sisters (Natsume in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun) and Ayane Sakura as Fuyuna (Akane in Vividred Operation). Due to Cerebrum’s shape shifting ability, there are 4 different people voicing this character but with Takashi Kondo (Sugisaki in Seitokai No Ichizon) as the main one. The rock outfit opening theme is Traumerei by LiSA while the pop rock ending theme is Mirage by Natsumi Okamoto.

At the end of the day, we don’t really oppose to dark and grim magical girl series. We don’t oppose to series that sees the protagonist and his group sharing and facing the hardship together, overcoming all obstacles. We are not against anime series exploring and tackling psychological and social issues that are controversial to deal with in real life. While there is nothing bad (in terms of story) about lolis killing monsters and trying to save people, the bottom line is that perhaps we prefer our lolis cute, simple and pure instead of making them fight monsters and spill blood which could leave them vulnerable to irreversible psychological effects that may forever scar the rest of their lives. Cute girls doing cute things in cute ways, no? Anybody especially lolicons would turn into a Daemonia if they ever see their loli going crazy butchering each other and being tortured covered in blood… So please keep our lolis safe from such ‘monsters’.

Life is like a rat race, right? Everyone is doing their best in trying to compete and outdo each other to achieve their goals in being the best or whatever materialistic achievements they dream of. How far will you go for that? Will you even kill just for the sake of achieving that? Most rational people won’t go as far as committing murder but when you’re being pushed to a corner and being tested to the limits, humans are amazing creatures that can do the impossible. Adapted from the video game of the same name, Danganronpa: The Animation is a mystery thriller and basically a whodunit. There are 15 high school students enrolled in a prestigious academy that sets you for life when you graduate. However there is a catch. You must murder someone without getting caught to graduate. Because if you are caught, you get executed. If others fail to identify you, they get annihilated and you get to graduate and go scot free. It’s a pretty interesting premise as I presume there will be lots of clues lying around for you to spot, think and guess who the culprit and the act of murder committed. Never knew a person who wouldn’t hurt a fly could kill, eh?

Episode 1
Makoto Naegi is happy he has been chosen to attend Hope Peak Academy, a school for the elite and those who graduate are guaranteed success in life. He is supposed to be a super duper high school super lucky kid but the moment he steps in, he blacks out. Bad luck? He wakes up in a room bolted with thick metal that nobody can escape. There is a note to meet at the gym for an assembly. We meet the rest of the 14 super duper high school students: Yasuhiro Hagakure (shaman), Hifumi Yamada (mangaka), Kiyotaka Ishimaru (prefect), Junko Enoshima (model), Chihiro Fujisaki (programmer), Celestia Ludenberg (gambler), Mondo Oowada (outlaw biker), Leon Kuwata (baseball player – I thought he was a painter!), Aoi Asahina (swimmer), Sakura Oogami (fighter), Touko Fukawa (bookworm), Byakuya Togami (scion), Kyouko Kirigiri (??? – WTF is this?! Super duper mystery, I guess) and Sayaka Maizono (idol). Seems Maizono recognizes Naegi because they were classmates before. He must be honoured that an idol remembers a plain guy like him. Everyone crack their brains to find out what is happening when the principal, Monokuma, a weird teddy bear announces they are going to be living in this school forever. They’ve got a big budget so don’t worry about food and other stuffs. They can scream and yell all they want, they can’t escape and nobody is going to rescue them. But there is only one way to get out of here. In order to graduate, you must kill somebody and without getting caught. Of course they don’t believe this crap. Getting rough with Monokuma is futile. Because there is a bomb in his body and there are many other clones to replace him if that body is destroyed. He lets them off with a warning because the next time, he will execute his punishment.

With the students pretty much in confusion in what to do (because some would suspect the rest would kill just to get out), Naegi tries to diffuse the tension but was punched out by Oowada instead. He wakes up in his own room with Maizono by his side. She is happy that there is someone she knows here and they vow to find a way to get out. Everyone meets again to share what they have investigated. The doors and walls are made of steel so they definitely cannot escape. Certain parts of the area are cordoned off and for now they can only check the first floor of this building. The canteen is filled with abundant food so there is less one thing to worry about. Each of their room is comfortable but you have to live with the fact there is a camera watching you. Celestia suggests that they adapt if they don’t want to kill. She proposes their own rule for night time. As some places are cordoned at night, she suggests banning wandering around during the night. Otherwise they would have to spend every night cowering in fear that they may be killed. After 3 days, everybody seems to be living normally although they’re still looking for ways to get out. Of course this is going to get boring as Monokuma mentions. He realizes why nobody has committed a murder. Because there is no motive. He has everyone enter the AV room and each of them has a CD to watch. Naegi sees his family giving him encouragement in his new school. Suddenly in the next scene, the place is devastated. What happened? He hears Maizono screaming. She can’t take this anymore and really needs to get out. I guess everybody else also saw something similar. Maizono becomes an emotional wreck but Naegi becomes her pillar of support. He promises to get them out of here. She continues to break down in his arms.

Episode 2
Everyone’s room comes with an attached bathroom, although only the girls’ one can be locked. Also, everyone has a particular gift, which turns out to be some sort of weapon they think Monokuma wants them to use to kill. Naegi’s is a samurai sword. In addition, because Naegi’s toilet door is wrongly fitted, he has to turn the knob the other way to open. Bad luck? Later Maizono comes to Naegi’s room. She is scared that she heard her door room suddenly clatter like as though somebody is trying to force it open. Worried that somebody might break that night rule, Naegi suggests sleeping in his room. But since it won’t be appropriate for them to sleep together, they’ll swap rooms for tonight. Next morning, everyone gathers at the canteen as usual. Only Maizono didn’t show up. Naegi goes to check if she’s sick. To his shock, there are sword cuts all over his room. Even shocking, Maizono is dead in his toilet!!! So sick that he passes out. He wakes up in the gym with everyone else as instructed by Monokuma. Kirigiri suggests they play along by his rules to avoid any more casualties. Naegi believes Monokuma killed Maizono but the bear refutes. He wouldn’t do anything to go against the point of this exercise. In short, Maizono was killed by one of them.

Monokuma further explains the supplementary rules to graduate. After killing a fellow student, the other students must not find out you are the culprit. Therefore, commit the perfect crime. After a certain time has passed after a murder, they’ll hold a Classroom Trial to review their performance. They will have a chance to identify the murderer. If the culprit is correctly pointed out, he will be punished for disturbing the law and order of this place. But if the guess is wrong, all the innocent students will be punished instead. Enoshima is not going to take part in this crap and beats up Monokuma. However he has warned them. Acts of violence against the principal will not be tolerated. Suddenly several spears stab into her. She’s dead. Monokuma laments a pointless death but it is needed to teach them a lesson. Good luck with the investigation. Well, this proves she isn’t the murderer. Everyone’s PDA has extra information on Maizono’s death. It is very detailed on where she died and how she died. Just short of telling who the murderer is. Of course the first person to suspect is Naegi since she died in his room. Further investigations reveal she died of a knife stab in the abdomen, the samurai sword fractured and she wrote some sort of code ‘11037’ on the wall. Naegi watches the CD that belongs to Maizono. Seems her idol group disbanded for some reason and will never flourish again. Why did they disband? Graduate to find out. Naegi wonders if Monokuma has killed them and that Maizono had nowhere to go. Because Monokuma is bored, he wants the Classroom Trial to start. Everyone makes their way down the elevator. Well, well. 13 survivors left. Who would have thought the idol and model would be the first ones to die.

Episode 3
Everyone is in the Classroom Trial. Including Maizono and Enoshima. At least their photos. Can’t exclude them from the ‘fun’ even if they’re dead, huh? The debate begins with whoever visited the kitchen and took the knife is the culprit. Asahina mentions it wasn’t Naegi because she and Oogami were at the canteen. There was one other person visiting the kitchen: Maizono. So she took the murder weapon herself? As self defence? Kirigiri doesn’t want everyone to jump to conclusion that Naegi is the murderer yet. Firstly, the toilet door. Because the boys’ room’s doors aren’t lock, the culprit wrongly thought the door cannot be opened because it was locked from the inside, thus the knob was destroyed. If it was Naegi, he wouldn’t have gone through all that trouble to open the door. Naegi believes Maizono wouldn’t open the door just for anyone because she was scared and he told her not to even if it was him. But what if she was just pretending to be scared? Kirigiri shows him a note in his room from Maizono. It states for somebody to come to her room (Naegi’s). I’m sure any guy wouldn’t resist an invitation from an idol. But when they swap rooms, the plate on their door would also have swapped. Since Maizono was the only other person who knows about the room swap, Togami deduces Maizono wanted to commit murder and blame it on Naegi. Her plan failed because she allowed the culprit to fight back. She did this because she wants to get out but had the tables turned. Naegi realizes her dying message. If you rotate 11037 180 degrees, you get Leon. That is the baseball player’s name, right? Since her back is to the wall, it is only logical she wrote it that way.

Kuwata starts acting strange. Calling everything ‘idiot’. Near the incinerator there is a burnt shirt and glass sphere fragments. Because the culprit panicked he couldn’t destroy the evidence as the incinerator room was locked, the only way was to throw something to the button and open the incinerator door. Only a baseball player can hit it with accuracy. However he didn’t realize the fire burnt off the edge of the sleeve. There is another proof that proves Kuwata did it. The doorknob to the bathroom had screws taken out. What did the culprit use to unscrew them? The screwdriver in the toolset can’t be brand new. Kuwata can’t say he lost it and if he used it on something else, please tell where and how. Since Kuwata cannot rebut anymore, it’s time to vote. Kuwata is unanimously voted as the murderer. Monokuma congratulates them and indeed Kuwata is the killer. Kuwata pleads it was in self defence because Maizono tried to kill him. But a killer is still a killer. Now for his punishment. Kuwata is dragged to a special room whereby he is tied to a pole. Millions of baseballs are shot at him. Strike! Strike! Strike! How could anybody survive that? This leaves some of the survivors in despair. Especially Naegi who blames Monokuma for everything. Kirigiri wants him to cool down to avenge Maizono’s death. Later she visits his room to ask about Maizono’s final thoughts. How would he know? It is no doubt she tried to frame him. Her final thoughts were probably on how to save him. Otherwise she wouldn’t have left the dying message. Wasn’t it just to get back at Kuwata? Kirigiri notes it was Maizono’s hesitation that got her killed. Hesitating to deceive him, hesitating to kill. She is sure he can get over the deaths of his friends otherwise he won’t make it. Naegi vows he won’t forget everyone’s death or get over it. He’ll keep their deaths and desire in mind till he gets out.

Episode 4
Traces of those who died have been cleaned up properly. It’s like they are not allowed to mourn their deaths. Monokuma announces that every time those who survive the Classroom Trial, another level opens for them to explore. The second floor is now accessible and it has the library, gym and pool. At the library, Naegi discovers a letter from the principal. It seems this academy was closed down but will be opened in the future once all problems are resolved. They conclude Monokuma must have hijacked this school for his sick game. Togami thinks of playing this game and Celestia supporting him because just like other activities in society, everyone is competing in a rat race. It is no different here except they are competing to be the only successful villain. Togami is confident he will not lose and wants his rivals to take this seriously. Fujisaki thought everyone should be on the same time but was scoffed off that she too voted for Kuwata. Everyone had too or they’ll be executed. Togami’s arrogance makes Oowada mad and he wants to punch him. Togami isn’t going to waste his time doing pointless things with them. Fukawa is also going crazy, thinking everybody would care if she disappears. Asahina suggests taking a dip to cool down. Some of the girls are outside the changing room and are told by Monokuma that opposite genders cannot enter the changing room or will be shot. They can only enter via handbook. Since he didn’t think about others lending other’s handbook, he quickly makes a new rule to forbid so. Fukawa totally admires Togami because he is reading. He tells her to go bath since she stinks. She takes it as a sign of love. Naegi somehow is made to become the judge between Oowada and Ishimaru’s argument. They’re bickering because Ishimaru accuses Oowada of quickly losing his temper and resorting to violence. That’s not manly. And so they duke it out in a sauna battle. Both aren’t budging. This is going to take all night.

Next morning, Naegi finds that the both of them have become good friends and possibly brothers! What happened to the match? Didn’t they say there was no such thing as a draw? Oh, the match? Forget about it. Forgive and forget. And what’s this? Yamada becoming Celestia’s lackey? Everyone is made to assemble at the gym. Monokuma has gotten bored that nobody is killing. As motivation, he drops letters of everyone’s embarrassing secret. If no murder is committed in 24 hours, he’ll release it to the public. For Naegi, he wet his bed till fifth grade. But he doesn’t think it is enough to make them kill. Next morning, Monokuma’s announcement awakes everyone. Something has happened to one of them. Togami brings Naegi to the girls’ changing room. The door can now be open because all rooms will be accessible for them to conduct their investigation. They see Fujisaki dead and crucified. There is message on the wall: “Bloodshed fever”. Cause of death was a blow to a head, possibly a dumbbell. She died instantly. She is crucified with extension wires from the library. Oogami notices the coffee stain she spilled on the carpet yesterday is missing. Celestia last saw Fujisaki with a bag as though she was going to meet somebody. Togami thinks it is Genocider Sho behind it. A serial killer causing uproar in the media recently. He shows Naegi secret police files in the library. His residence also has such files. Togami dismisses this is a copycat act. Showing the file on Genocider Sho’s profile, he probably has dissociative identity disorder. His weapon of choice is a pair of scissors, victims are always male and leaving that blood message at the crime scene. One thing that only a few know is how he crucifies his victim. What does this mean? Could Genocider Sho be one of them? Asahina calls them as Fukawa is in trouble. She is holing up in her room and won’t speak to anyone except Togami. Now he is here, she apologizes she couldn’t keep her promise but won’t let Genocider Sho run free anymore. And now it’s time for Classroom Trial.

Episode 5
Togami tells everyone about Genocider Sho and his habits. He points out Fukawa as that killer. This bookworm who is afraid of blood is the killer? But she isn’t Genocider Sho at the same time too. Get it? Yes. Split personality. Once Fukawa faints, the crazy Genocider Sho (super duper high school murderer?! Is this even allowed?!) pops up. Although Togami points Fukawa would do anything to keep this alter ego a secret, it isn’t enough as a motive. Because Genocider Sho says she didn’t do it. Naegi believes her. Because the murder aren’t exactly how it was done. She would kill victims with scissors and not dumbbells. Also, scissors are used as crucifix not cords. And the all important clue: She only kills males. Hell she would kill anything as trivial as survival. She shows her scissors that she never leaves home without, all spic and span clean. Naegi suspects Togami because when they went to check the archives, Togami was aware of Genocider Sho’s killing method before coming here. Since Togami spends time in the library, the cord must be awfully familiar. Did he set up the corpse to pin the blame on the serial killer? But then, Naegi thinks again and this has him wonder if the murder did take place in the girls’ changing room. There is a possibility things in the room were moved. Especially the idol poster. In short, Fujisaki was killed in the boys’ changing room. How can she enter there when the rule says it’s forbidden? Simple. Fujisaki is a guy! Genocider Sho is shocked. She should have killed that cute trap! Naegi doesn’t think Togami is the killer as he looked shocked to learn Fujisaki’s real identity. Togami then admits he was the one who set up the crucifix just to test their abilities and shake up the real culprit, though he did find Fujisaki’s body in the girls’ changing room. But how did the culprit enter both rooms if the handbook rule was still enforced? Despite the rule prohibiting lending your handbook, it didn’t say anything about borrowing someone else’s. Thus the culprit is male. Discussing about Fujisaki’s tracksuit that Celestia last saw in his bag, everyone discuss the tracksuit colour when Oowada made a slip. How does he know Fujisaki’s tracksuit colour when Celestia didn’t say anything about it?

Ishimaru believes in Oowada and thinks their reasoning is wrong. So Naegi goes over what has happened. Fujisaki took the bag to go to the gym. He quickly hides it when Celestia saw him. He entered the male changing room to meet up with someone who is the culprit. After the murder, he switched stuffs around and used either Maizono or Enoshima’s handbook to enter the girls’ changing room. Oowada admits he killed Fujisaki and wants Monokuma to start the vote. Everyone except Ishimaru voted Oowada as the culprit. Correct. Oowada is indeed the killer but Ishimaru refuses to believe. Monokuma then explains why Oowada killed Fujisaki. Fujisaki was sensitive about his weakness since young. He was always called a wuss. To hide that, he cross-dressed as a girl as refuge and slowly became one. It was a secret he wanted to keep at all cost because if it was ever found out, people would give him a harder time. However the threat of exposing his secret made him want to change himself. He vowed to be manlier and thus went to the gym to work out. The one who helped him work out is Oowada as he told him his secret too. He was the image Fujisaki had in mind to be a strong man. Monokuma also lets everyone know about Oowada’s dark secret: He killed his older brother. His brother formed the greatest biker gang in Japan and naturally when he retired, Oowada took over. Because big brother was always charismatic, it put Oowada under a lot of pressure to keep up with the image. On the retirement party night, Oowada challenged him and he was reckless in getting victory at all cost. His brother saved him and got hit by an oncoming truck meant for Oowada. His last words were not to let his team fall apart. Oowada blames himself for being weak and this weakness prevented him from telling the truth. So when Fujisaki told him his, he saw the strength in him to try and overcome them. It made him jealous. The twisted kind of jealousy. Oowada snapped just to show how strong he is and killed Fujisaki. Kirigiri notes he also destroyed Fujisaki’s handbook to keep his secret from others. That’s why they couldn’t find the cross-dresser’s handbook. And now for Oowada’s special punishment. He is chained onto a bike and ride in a ball cage. Spinning so fast that he turns into… Butter?! Tastes good on your pancakes! Ishimaru becomes an emotional wreck. Lastly we see Monokuma talking to a mysterious person that is supposed to be the 16th high school student he is supposed to sneak in. But thanks to Maizono getting the ball rolling, it somewhat took away this mystery’s chance for the spotlight.

Episode 6
Asahina wanted to get doughnuts to calm herself when she thought she saw Fujisaki’s ghost! As the third floor is now accessible, Monokuma announces that he will be giving 10 billion Yen to the one who graduates. Some aren’t going to be taken in by the money but some you can see their eyes glittering. Asahina takes this time to mention about Fujisaki’s ghost. This leads them to find Fujisaki’s laptop in the changing room. They notice this is the only place without surveillance camera. They start the laptop and it seems Alter Ego, Fujisaki’s AI comes to life and interacts with them. There are lots of heavily encrypted data on this school in which Alter Ego is trying to decrypt at the moment. Alter Ego is sad that Fujisaki is dead. Ishimaru still blaming himself and wonders if Alter Ego resents him for failing to stop his bro. Somehow Fujisaki also programmed Oowada’s AI inside so he pops up to tell Ishimaru to be a man and the weight of responsibility he shoulders. He is confident he will walk again. Ishimaru is inspired by his words and is now a changed man. Did he turn into some Super Saiyan? Alter Ego shows them a picture that was decrypted. A picture of Oowada, Kuwata and Fujisaki together! Are they still alive? Aren’t they supposed to be strangers? Or could the photo be fake? Next day, the girls are reprimanding Yamada because he was talking to Alter Ego the entire night like as though the programme was his real girlfriend. I guess you can’t blame that otaku. Here comes Ishimaru claiming that big brother is his. Oh. But Yamada claims this ‘girl’ is his. Kirigiri chides them for their childishness and bans anyone to come here without permission.

However the next day, Alter Ego goes missing. It can’t be Yamada or Ishimaru who stole the laptop because Kirigiri ordered it to scream if they did so. Togami of course believes a traitor is in the midst. Next day, only Asahina, Oogami, Naegi and Kirigiri are at the canteen. Feeling suspicious, they split up to find the rest. They find Celestia unconscious. Seems she was attacked by a dodgy person with a mallet. She also mentions Yamada was kidnapped by this person. Then they find Yamada attacked by a mallet and he is bleeding. Justice Robot got him? Celestia’s digital camera proves that indeed it’s some mecha robot! Everyone splits up to find this person and then… They find Yamada’s corpse. Rooms away, Ishimaru’s corpse too! Fukawa just fainted so she’s not dead yet. Asahina is freaking out because at this rate everyone will be killed. However Togami states there can be no more murders because the rule states that no more than 2 murders can occur before the Classroom Trial. The survivors are stumped when the corpses go missing. The suspects would be Kirigiri and Hagakure since they’re not with them the entire time but since Naegi had an alibi on Kirigiri, that leaves the shaman as the suspect. They look for the bodies and finally find them in a room. Yamada is not entirely dead yet. He murmurs about remembering meeting them all long before. In his final breathe, he mentions Yasuhiro as the culprit. That’s Hagakure, right?

Episode 7
Everyone is convinced Hagakure is the killer but he might not have done it by himself and with an accomplice. The only other person who was missing then was Kirigiri. When everyone begins their investigation, Kirigiri calls them to the pool area. She shows them Justice Robot hiding inside the locker! And wait. It’ Hagakure inside it! But it’s freaking tight and held with a fastener. All Hagakure remembers was someone told him to meet up last night but got knocked out. Next thing he knew, he was inside this thing. Kirigiri is further suspected because while everyone was searching, how come she manages to find Hagakure so easily? She remains tight lipped and goes to investigate the corpses. During the Classroom Trial, it is obvious Hagakure becomes first choice suspect. Celestia shows proof of a box containing blueprints of Justice Robot and parts of it. However Naegi objects to it. The handwriting isn’t the same. Because somebody must have moved Ishimaru’s body with the trolley, obvious Hagakure couldn’t have done it as Justice Robot’s suit is very tight and he couldn’t move so freely. Even if Hagakure isn’t the suspect, this only means Kirigiri would be the one as she has no alibi. But think about it, how can she alone move Yamada’s heavy ass up the next floor? This can only mean one thing. The corpse moved himself. The first time Yamada was found, he was only pretending to be dead. Naegi observes the first time, Yamada’s glasses were covered with blood (which was probably used from the blood samples in the infirmary nearby). By the second time of his actual death, his glasses are clean. This means he wiped it to make his way there. While they were investigating, the art room was locked and this proves Yamada was the perpetrator locking it while he was moving Ishimaru’s body. Yamada hid the rest of the note (which was found in Ishimaru’s hand) in his underwear. This note which states about how he has found a way out and not to tell others, was used as a bait to lure Ishimaru and kill him. The numbered hammer was just to throw them off on their investigation. Although Yamada is an accomplice, the rule states only the real culprit will graduate. This means the real culprit tricked Yamada into helping commit this crime.

As everyone has ran out of clues, Naegi thinks back further and remembers the disparity in what Celestia said. It was at a time when they found Ishimaru’s body but have not told her about it but yet she mentioned about all of them getting killed at this rate. How does she know a second murder has occurred? What about the proof of Yamada being attacked by the robot? Really? Did he get attacked or is that Yamada just carrying it? Celestia can see they are trying to set her up as the culprit. Then cracks begin to show. Because she’s putting a crazy expression. Naegi mentions that Celestia is the only one who has not told everyone her real name. Everyone’s handbook shows their real name when it is booted up. Mind showing it to them? Game is over. Celestia smiles and admits she has lost. Everyone votes Celestia as the culprit and that is correct. Monokuma reveals Celestia’s real name is Taeko Yasuhiro! This was what happened. Celestia was the one who stole the laptop to deceive Yamada. She blames it on Ishimaru and tells him he was the one who stole it to have Alter Ego all for himself. Because Alter Ego was ordered to shout if those guys get close, Ishimaru forced her to get it (a lie of course). With a little bit more crocodile tears, Yamada is pissed off with that prefect so Celestia suggests to team up. Thus her plan involves playing dead and everything was an act. Yamada fell for this silly act because of the simple reason of love. Love can make you do crazy things. She also planned to dispose him from the start. Despite Celestia was the one who suggested them living them together from the start, it was obviously a big lie. She wants to get out of here real bad. She has a dream. Live in a big western castle and spend the rest of her days there with her countless man servants. She made a killing in the underworld already but Monokuma’s deal would just sweeten everything. However she is sad she couldn’t go all the way but only got this far. How can she say all this so calm and smile? She is proud of her ability to tell lies that she even deceived herself. If she was to be reincarnated, she’ll be the next Marie Antoinette. Celestia coolly goes to her execution. She is burnt at the stakes like a witch. But with a modern twist. The fire engine rams into her! Before that, Celestia handed Kirigiri the keys to where Alter Ego was. It was in the same room, only a different locker. Naegi is worried about Kirigiri’s mysterious ways because if she keeps acting like this, she’ll end up getting suspected. Doesn’t he suspect her too? He believes her because they’re on the same team so trust him. She takes up this trust thing of him and lets him know during one of her investigations, she found a room in the boys’ toilet with no cameras. There is a hidden passage behind one of the cubicles. Naegi sees a shelf of books and a note in the student register that says nobody must leave this place. Naegi is knocked out by a mysterious perpetrator but he still lives. He goes back down and sees Oogami having a showdown with Monokuma!

Episode 8
Monokuma reminds Oogami that he has hostages. This made Naegi conclude that Oogami is his agent. With the next level opened, some of the rooms are locked like data processing and principal’s room. But Monokuma makes a new room that breaking down locked doors are forbidden. Kirigiri asks about the secret room but it seems all the books were missing when he woke up. Kirigiri feels Naegi is hiding something from him but he can’t say about Oogami as an agent since he has no proof. So much about that trust thing, eh? Alter Ego has decrypted some files. It seems there was a plan to confine all students of Hope Peak and have them live here forever. The academy themselves came out with this plan a year ago because of an incident dubbed as The Biggest and Baddest Despair Incident in Human History when the academy almost closed down. The principal, a man in his 30’s came out with this plan and is believed to still be in this building. He might be the one controlling Monokuma. Kirigiri promises to find that man no matter what. There is another weird photo decrypted. A picture of Maizono, Celestia and Yamada smiling together. Monokuma announces everyone to gather. He reveals Oogami as his agent. She admits she is. Asahina cannot accept this for Oogami is her best friend. Besides, she could have been used. Naegi reveals he overheard the hostage thingy. Togami doesn’t believe and wants to know who the mastermind is. She doesn’t know. Then what has he put her up to? If no murder occurs, she is to kill somebody. She apologizes and will settle this herself, even if it kills her. She personally apologizes to Asahina for not telling her. At many times she did but she felt afraid she would be hated. Togami is less apologetic. He couldn’t care less if Oogami is dead since it would mean the mastermind would lose his agent. Asahina slaps him and tells him he should die instead. Fukawa is upset she slapped her pretty boy’s face and will kill her a thousand times. Kirigiri tells everyone to come down or else they will play into the mastermind’s hands.

Next day, Naegi heard Hagakure’s scream. Genocider Sho attacked Asahina. They had a little argument over Oogami. The guys take her to the infirmary but her injury is nothing big. Just a scratch. Oogami comes running in, obviously mad that Fukawa attacked her best friend instead of her. She assures she won’t do anything else but settle this. Isn’t that the same thing? Naegi wonders if Kirigiri is still mad at him. She understands about his consideration to keep quiet for not wanting to cause an uproar based on speculation. But it also means he doesn’t trust her. Alter Ego calls the duo. She wants to be plugged to an internet connection for she wants to help them get out. There may be a chance that the mastermind is watching the network but she is willing to take that chance. Naegi takes Alter Ego to the secret room behind the toilet cubicle and hooks her up. Naegi and Kirigiri are called by Asahina. Sakura is spotted sitting in the recreation room but the door is locked (blocked by a chair). Asahina is worried since she is not responding. Naegi breaks the window to remove the chair (technically, he isn’t breaking the door, right?) and to everyone’s horror, Oogami is dead. Asahina is the most surprised as she goes to call the rest. Kirigiri immediately investigates all the clues around the room and body. When everyone assembles, Asahina accuses Togami, Fukawa or Hagakure as one of Oogami’s killers. Because Oogami called them earlier to this room. She is certain one of them is the culprit.

Episode 9
Classroom Trial is now in session. Asahina wastes no time in accusing the trio because they received a note to meet her. Togami says he did not go. Fukawa went and reached first but since she was scared, she hid in the closet. She saw Hagakure coming in next. She heard Oogami wanting to end this so Hagakure got scared thinking she was going to kill him and took a bottle and smashed her head and killed. Asahina wants to vote for the killer now but not so fast. Naegi objects that there were 2 blows on her head. After Hagakure fled, Fukawa came out of her hiding but fainted at the sight of blood. That’s when Genocider Sho came out. Both split personalities have no memories when the other is awake. Because the bloodied sight of Oogami scared the sh*t out of her, she took another bottle and smashed her head. However Oogami died slumped on the couch and not in front of the bookshelf were the attack took place (there were blood spill there). Togami explains the reason behind her death: Poisoning. There are a few cabinets in the lab that separates the drugs and one of them contains poison. A bottle of poison was found in the nutrients’ rack. Togami drinks this poison. He is still standing. Kirigiri examines it and finds it to be protein powder. This means somebody switched the contents of the bottles and gave Oogami drink the poison. As for the spilled powder at the lab’s cabinet with footprints, the culprit must have messed up and spilled it. The only way is to examine their shoes. However Asahina reveals she is the one who killed Oogami. But they’re best friends? How could she bring herself to kill her? That’s precisely it. She used that friendship to her advantage. Oogami requested for protein shake and will not hesitate to drink it if it’s from her. However Naegi feels something amiss. Could she really kill her best friend? Besides, how did Oogami locked herself in? If Asahina can’t explain it, she isn’t the culprit. Kirigiri shows another piece of evidence: A glass shards in the poison bottle and some were found underneath the protein shake (if Naegi broke the glass, it should have been over it). This means while the gang were distracted when they found the corpse, somebody placed the protein shake there to cover up Oogami’s death. Besides, the same powder is found on Oogami’s shoes, proving she was at the lab and accidentally dropped it while trying to take the poison herself. Thus the conclusion: Oogami took the poison and killed herself. She locked the door so nobody could prevent her suicide.

Asahina reveals Oogami told her she was going to talk to the trio and reminded her they are not their enemies. When she saw Oogami bloodied, she was told to get some protein shake. But she saw the powder on the floor and realized too late. It was then Oogami locked the door and drank the poison. Everyone votes Sakura as the killer and got it right. Togami is not happy with the truth. Kirigiri has warned him about making light of people’s emotions so this is what he gets because people don’t act on calculations or profit-and-loss arguments alone. As for why Asahina tried to cover up her death, Oogami has written a will to her and told her this battle left her in despair and would rather end this herself than to wait for someone to kill her. Feeling guilty she was the agent, she tried to get everyone’s forgiveness. However after getting hit by Hagakure and Fukawa, it drove her to despair and suicide. Asahina blames them for trampling over her feelings. She too had a delicate side. It’s as good as they’ve killed her and have no right to live. So she purposely tries to frame or make herself as the killer to get everyone killed. Monokuma disrupts this tear jerking moment and reveals that will was something he scribbled. The real one is in his hands and reads it aloud. The mastermind took her family’s dojo as hostage and is forced her to do his bidding. Not wanting to betray her friends, her death will stop all the in-fighting and prevent future killings. She will gladly give up her life for this purpose. She wants all of them to survive. Asahina feels bad that she tried to get everyone killed and make her death in vain. The rest agrees with those words. Togami announces that he is dropping out of this game to hunt and punish the real mastermind. Genocider Sho will gladly go where Togami goes. Monokuma is not to be defeated and dishes out his punishment on a special guest: Alter Ego. The computer gets repeatedly smashed by an excavator. Monokuma adds he long knew what Alter Ego was doing. He continues reading the rest of the will but only hints the important parts. The mastermind has done something to their body and Oogami will get revenge on this. At about 3am, Kirigiri wakes up Naegi to meet her at the data processing room. However it is locked and there Monokuma is telling them to go to sleep. As they leave, she whispers into Naegi’s ear that the 16th student, Mukuro Ikusaba the super duper high school despair is hiding somewhere in this academy.

Episode 10
While exploring the fifth floor, they come across a botanical garden, a shed and a classroom filled with blood and destruction. Supposedly that incident Alter Ego was talking about. Kirigiri wants to go investigate so Togami doesn’t trust because she always goes off by herself. He wants her to reveal her true identity but she can’t because she can’t remember. Togami doesn’t believe this convenient story and will restrict her movements. He asks for the keys to her room and she willingly gives it. After Kirigiri leaves, Fukawa shows them a survival knife she found. Togami lets Naegi keep it since by deduction he is the safest. Monokuma calls everyone because he is upset that somebody stole his treasure. As Kirigiri is not here, she is the suspect but Monokuma curses them all. Later Kirigiri calls Naegi to show him the key she found to the principal’s room. She managed to enter and found some information. This is thanks to Oogami as this was her ‘payback’. Ikusaba is a girl and a dangerous person. She is certain the principal wasn’t behind this but doesn’t have proof. As she wants to investigate further, she hopes Naegi can distract Monokuma for a while. He agrees but she must promise to come back alive. Naegi calls Monokuma to ask about the treasure. He’s not saying. Naegi falls asleep and has this weird dream. He doesn’t want to leave but needs to stay here. He opens his eyes to see a mysterious character with the survival knife. The next time he opens his eyes, Kirigiri is standing before him but couldn’t hear a word she says. Then he passes out. When he wakes up next morning, the knife is gone.

He walks about but nobody is around. Everyone is at the gym and trying to dismantle Monokuma, which is some sort of robot. Togami last night confronted Monokuma about the treasure but since he was nothing but a toy, he called everything to dismantle it. Inside is a bomb but the sensors are off. Togami thinks something bad may have happened to the person controlling Monokuma. They’re going to open the locked principal’s room so Togami orders Fukawa to get the pick from the shed. But she returns empty-handed and as Genocider Sho. She mentions about a corpse in the garden. The masked perpetrator with a knife stabbed in her back. Genocider wants to unmask her and the moment she does it, the bomb goes off. They think she is Kirigiri since she is not among them. But Naegi mentions about the 16th hidden person. After putting out the fire, they notice a funny crest on her hand and a key. It opens the data processing room. It is filled with monitors of the surveillance cameras around the school. Monokuma surprises everyone that he is back. He was just playing dead? He reveals that they are being filmed for the ultimate despair reality TV. They can’t believe they’ve been broadcasted to the nation because won’t the police or authorities take note? Who cares? This is just TV, right? They’re enjoying what’s on it and won’t come to save them. Besides, Monokuma purposely lured them in here so to make it as entertaining as possible for his audience. And since a corpse is found, it’s time to investigate before the Classroom Trial. Then Kirigiri returns. She announces that corpse belongs to Ikusaba.

Episode 11
Right when Classroom Trial begins, Togami instantly accuses Kirigiri as the culprit. Based on the fact the time the corpse was found in the garden and the time everyone else was at the gym taking apart Monokuma, only Kirigiri lacks an alibi. Naegi cannot be the culprit too because as the sprinklers are timed to go off, the corpse could have been wet. Only the upper part was because they put out the fire. At that time, Naegi was with them in the gym. But Kirigiri mentions the body was covered in vinyl sheet which she found in the shed. Naegi is surprised as Kirigiri tries to paint him a suspect. The knife sticking out of the back is fake because Ikusaba died with a blow to the head. The knife with blood was taken from a missing chicken in the shed (they keep count of the chickens too?). Togami still accuses her as the culprit but she reminds him he has her room key. Naegi feels that statement was a lie because just now she just showed him a master key she got that is accessible to all rooms. Didn’t she contradict herself? He tries to trust her on this and believes she has a plan. Kirigiri whispers if she is executed, the mystery of this school will never be solved. Monokuma suddenly wants to end the trial and vote. Naegi finds this weird. Monokuma pushes to end it while Kirigiri suddenly makes a last effort to make Naegi the culprit in which everyone seemingly believes. Naegi is voted as the killer and it is correct! His punishment is supposed to be crushed on a conveyor belt but at the final moment, Alter Ego’s face pops up and Naegi is sent falling down the deep hole. Monokuma is not happy that Alter Ego must have plant a virus before while infiltrating the network. The rest realize Naegi is not the culprit but Monokuma still believes so and dying a slow death at the bottom will be just fitting. Naegi wakes up at the bottom filled with trash. He knows Alter Ego saved him. But he can’t get out. He sleeps to preserve energy.

Then a big trash comes dropping down. Actually it’s Kirigiri and she’s here to save him. She explains that Ikusaba wasn’t supposed to die but Naegi. That wasn’t a dream. Ikusaba was to kill him but Kirigiri saved him. It was the mastermind’s plan to murder him and frame her so she could be executed as she was considered a nuisance and a series of events were designed to trap Kirigiri for her execution. Because Naegi felt the trial was weird, he too was considered a nuisance and was executed instead. Kirigiri possesses the master key so they can get out. But it’s a long way up. Really. It makes me wonder how Kirigiri survived the fall. Ah. Trash to break the fall, I guess. Kirigiri mentions she got a little of her memory back. She is a super duper high school detective. I figured that out ages ago. It’s because of her detective skills, her memory got erased. Her goal to come here is to meet the principal who is her father she has never seen in a long time. That’s why she is certain he isn’t the mastermind. When they get out, they speak to Monokuma. He will have Naegi executed again but Kirigiri dares him. If he does so, what will his audience think? They’ll think he forced his execution just because he can’t beat them head on. In other words, despair cannot kill hope. If he wants to beat them fair and square in despair, hold a retrial of Ikusaba’s murder again. However simply identifying the culprit won’t be interesting. Monokuma adds another rule. If they can figure out the mystery behind this school, they’ll walk free. Or they will all die. Naegi returns to the rest who are feeling guilty for accusing him. He doesn’t blame them a single bit as it was the mastermind’s objective to make them in despair. He tells them about the final trial that will take place. If they work together, they’ll get out of this alive.

Episode 12
All rooms are open to facilitate their investigation. One of the newly unlocked rooms is a corridor with destroyed dorms. There is also the principal’s room with a secret room. There is a box that contains bones of the principal! Kirigiri knows her dad has died some time ago because from what Monokuma said, only 16 high school students set foot in this academy alive. Naegi finds the principal’s electronic handbook among the bones and an SD card behind a picture frame. Watching the video, it is shocking that he sees all the students being interviewed by the principal. They are asked if they want to live in this confinement forever and they answered yes. Before the video could finish, Monokuma pulls the plug and the SD short circuits. Meanwhile Togami is looking at Ikusaba’s profile. She is a super duper high school soldier. Naegi enters the decimated locker area and using the principal’s handbook to open some of the locker, there are stuffs belonging to some of them like Hagakure. There is one notebook from Kirigiri mentioning she wanted to confront the person who proposed the plan of living together, the principal. However Naegi feels weird. Didn’t Kirigiri say she hasn’t seen her father since she was little? There is also a note that states the despairs are among them. There are 2 of them. At the morgue, Naegi sees Fukawa passed out. But not for long. Genocider Sho isn’t interested in examining the dead bodies especially this one from Ikusaba with multiple stab wounds. Naegi realizes only 9 of the corpse containments are in use. Monokuma then leaves him a picture. It is a group photo of everyone including Ikusaba. However only Naegi is not in it. The others also receive pictures.

As the Classroom Trial begins, Monokuma reminds that if they fail to identify Ikusaba’s murderer and solve the school’s mystery, they’ll be executed. Of course, if Monokuma loses, he’ll be executed too. Hagakure accuses everyone as the mastermind because the photo shows everyone except him. However everyone has a group photo without themselves in it. Fake photos to trap them and fight among themselves? Naegi argues the reason why they don’t remember. He mentions the stuffs in the locker and Kirigiri’s notebook. She confirms it’s her handwriting. Naegi concludes they all have amnesia. Then he tells them about the interview with the principal. This video and group photo proves they have amnesia. Of course it’s not just plain amnesia. The question is what memories were taken from them. Bu Naegi knows who the mastermind and Ikusaba’s murderer is. It’s not exactly one among them now. Because there are 9 corpses but 10 deaths, it could mean the corpse they found in the garden was a recycled one. It was filled with stab wounds like Enoshima’s. Does this mean Ikusaba is still alive? The one who tried to kill Naegi that night is the culprit and mastermind. But something was lacking on the hand and it is the crest on her hand which belongs to some mercenary group. Thus Ikusaba can’t be Naegi’s attacker. But Monokuma points out that means one of them here is the culprit and somebody has been wearing gloves all the time: Kirigiri. She takes it off to show the hideous burn marks she got when she was an apprentice detective. Naegi reveals the mastermind controlling Monokuma who has pretended to be dead: Enoshima! Because in all the group photos, her face is somewhat blocked out. Because they could have figured it if they took one look at her face. The girl in the pictures and video isn’t Enoshima they know. But they’ve all met her, right? That’s why they have amnesia. Big conclusion: Enoshima and Ikusaba switched places from the start! She also had someone else use her name making it impossible for them to notice. Then she faked her death by killing Ikusaba who had switched places with her. Therefore the real Enoshima is still alive and the real mastermind! Then poof! Monokuma turns into Enoshima. She adds Ikusaba is her older twin. And thus they are the twin despairs. Here’s your maniacal laughter to top it off (with her tongue sticking out and whatever hand signs she is doing).

Episode 13
Enoshima shows a video clip that should make them remember. This is what the outside looks like. Riots! Chaos! Disorder! Pandemonium! Anarchy! Why is everyone wearing Monokuma mask?! Even famous landmarks have Monokuma’s face! But nobody remembers this. Naegi thinks Genocider Sho may remember but Fukawa is too scared. Till Togami tells her she is their last hope, she instantly changes personality. She explains The Biggest and Baddest Despair Incident in Human History which resembled a natural disaster and turned the world into that in a blink of an eye. Was it the dystopian outlook or the Monokuma clones? Or both? Togami thinks this is stupid but Enoshima mentions his entire family has been wiped out from the calamity. Now do you feel despair? Everyone thinks they have just entered this school for only a few weeks but Enoshima points out they have been here for 2 years! Thus, their lost memories are all those other weeks and months. They have really been spending 2 years in school together and this also means they were killing their friends. Though the first year was peaceful, it didn’t last long and I am guessing with Enoshima and that incident coming into the picture, the school was driven to despair. The principal turned it into a shelter but he never expected the twin despair sisters to enrol here. Therefore, the shelter that was supposed to keep them safe became a cage that prevented from escaping despair. It was everyone who tightly sealed the windows and everything. Kirigiri thinks an organization is behind this but Enoshima puts it that despair is contagious and everyone caught it. Time for the last vote. However it will be different. Everyone needs to unanimously vote for despair of hope. But if one of them votes differently, everyone will be punished and Enoshima wins. Of course she herself won’t vote. But letting them live here and grow old peacefully will be boring so Enoshima points to Naegi as the sacrifice. If they sacrifice him, they can live peacefully. Oh, she forgot to mention that if they kill her, the air purifier that keeps the air clean here will shut down as outside is contaminated. Enoshima loves the despair look on their faces.

Naegi refuses to give up or lose to Enoshima. Stubborn he may be but if despair is all that exists around, he just needs to infect everyone with his hope. And so he loads up his hope bullets and fires them into their despair looking friends. His hopeful words were enough to make them fill with positivism and back to their natural ways. I guess everyone except Fukawa gets a hope talk because as we know, her motivation hinges on how Togami feels. Kirigiri concludes that Naegi isn’t the super duper high school luckster on unluckster but super duper high school hopester! Someone who is there to defeat the super duper despair. Naegi continues not to give in to Enoshima’s despair and the mastermind herself is starting to feel gross that hope is filling the place. Everybody votes Enoshima the guilty party but she is unfazed. In fact, she is happy! This is the ultimate despair and she loves it. She came up with the most detailed despair plan, killed her own sister and eventually the plan failed. Isn’t this just the best? From a despair’s point of view, of course. Now she would like to punish herself. Nobody can stop her as she sees no hope in living. She wants to experience once in a lifetime despair of death to the fullest. In this super duper nasty torture, it is a mix of all previous punishment we have seen before she gets crushed to a bloody death. The survivors are preparing themselves to head outside for the first time. The world is vast and they’ll be looking for hope. So long as they don’t give up, hope will push them forward no matter what the future holds. Are you prepared for the outside where hope and despair co-exist?

Judge Or Be Judged! Death Is Always Around The Corner – Live Hard, Die Hard Easy!
Honestly for someone who hasn’t played the video game, this series was quite exciting and interesting watch. Just like Hyouka, the deductions and evidence are the ones that kept me glued to the screen for as long as the episode. However something about the ending that makes me feel unsatisfied. I’m not saying that the ending is bad but it somewhat makes me feel despair! I don’t know what kind of ending I wanted but I thought everybody would have died at the end! I know that’s my despair and sadistic side speaking but even at least I didn’t expect slightly less than half of the casts to survive and even if there were survivors, it had to be Naegi and Kirigiri or just Naegi alone. If that happens, this show would have ended on a despair note. With the mastermind and mystery behind the school solved, everyone taking their first step outside (goodbye, despair academy for good?), the teaser ending that Monokuma somewhat still lives and another Monokuma-like creature called Usami beckoning us, it just leaves me curious than ever and never knowing the answer is what leaves me in despair! Oh, woe and despair! Despair! The word of the show.

Halfway through the series I did ponder the possibility if this mutual killings would work and that everybody would die either being a murder victim or getting punished. Because let’s imagine this. Say that there are 3 people left. Somebody gets murdered. The murderer would be very obvious, right? In that sense, there is no need for any Class Trial and the murderer would have been straightaway found guilty. So if you follow strictly by the game rules, who would want to make the kill when there are only 3 people left? Unless you kill the remaining duo. That’s why I started wondering if the mutual killings will get this far. Even if there are only 4 people left. One dies and it won’t be long or hard just to guess who the killer is, right? Besides, it would have been somewhat boring if they follow this formula so when the number of survivors are halved, there is a change in the game play and surprise, surprise. I certainly didn’t see this coming. Perhaps I was trying too hard to understand and digest all the information that was thrown to me that I wasn’t putting on my thinking cap.

Although I am satisfied with the execution of the series in terms of the occurrence of the murder and the Classroom Trial that has the survivors debate with clues to catch who the murderer is, sometimes I feel that everything presented is too rushed. Usually it’s one episode for the murder and one concluding episode for the trial. For example, when a murder is occurred, the time shown for the survivors to investigate is somewhat ‘fast forward’. We are then rushed in being shown the several clues and objects at the crime scene before proceeding to the Classroom Trial. It may be boring just to see them going around and pointing to us important clues that will uncover the culprit. So why not just do it all during the trial? Thus in this sense that’s why I thought that it feels rushed. Although a big majority of the items shown are related, a handful I noticed aren’t and perhaps to throw us off. You must be a very observant person and one who has a photogenic memory if you want to make quick deductions like Naegi. It’s because the scenes again are shown too fast and for a casual viewer like me, you would definitely miss it until it is pointed out in the trial, then you go back and re-examine that scene again and realize it was there all along.

One thing I find it weird is that before Classroom Trial begins, we see some animation of a gun chamber being loaded with bullets. I suppose this is some sort of symbolism to indicate that these are ‘ammunition’ for Naegi to fire back when there is a contradiction. Each time there is one, Naegi objects and ‘fires’ this objection bullet. You can pretty much tell if the character is lying or contradicting when words of what he/she said pop up on screen and then Naegi goes into his usual ace attorney “I object!” voice. And it always seems he is correct in his objections. Not a single bullet ‘missed’. Then in the final episode, his bullets turned into super energizing hope. Better than any energy drinks or drugs to revitalize a person filled with despair. You could say it is like a hopeful soup for the despair soul!

I thought that having 15 characters for a survival show wasn’t enough and more the merrier for the mutual killings, right? But I think for an anime with only 13 episodes and seeing the direction it was heading, I think it is sufficient. As I read, fans of the game aren’t pretty impressed with the anime and one reason being that the characters are not properly fleshed out. Unlike in the game where you get to know more about the characters, those who are killed off early like Kuwata and Maizono are not properly developed. I mean, how can you develop a character who is already dead? It is as though they have become part of the death statistic and you don’t feel that they were once there. But with the pacing of the where the show is going, I don’t think there will be enough time to get to know more of them since, well, they’re going to be killed anyway, right?

For the surviving characters, Naegi as the hero and main protagonist shines in the area of deduction and the one in the Classroom Trials who gives the vital clues that turn the tables on the culprit. I think he is both lucky and hopeful the reason why he gets this far. Lucky in the sense that he could have been killed by the murderer who wants him framed but was saved by Kirigiri. He could have also died during the execution but was saved by Alter Ego. Isn’t he lucky? He never gives up hope and right till the very end triumphs over despair. Kirigiri serves as the biggest mystery among the main characters (aside the mastermind) because of her ability to go off by herself and snoop around. That’s why it came as no surprise when she finally remembered that she is a super duper high school detective. But the mind boggling part is that how can she go around snooping and finding evidence without getting caught if there are surveillance cameras everywhere. Unless you tell me Monokuma is sleeping on the job (which I doubt the bear is) or allowing it to make things more interesting. This mysterious part of hers feels like they want us to suspect Kirigiri as an accomplice but we know she’s too good for that.

Surprisingly I didn’t expect Hagakure to survive right till the end. Because he was just dumb, lazy and a coward. You can see his true colours unfolding as each trial passes. This is what a super duper shaman is? Probably it is part of the producer’s ploy to throw us off because dumb, lazy and coward characters get killed off early or somewhere in the middle of the show, right? Whereas beautiful and cute girls don’t really get killed (unless they’re dumb blondes that you hate). And there you have it, the shaman who doesn’t even use his ability to predict his future and anybody’s future, survives. Asahina is a plain girl too so I thought she too would somehow get killed. But I suppose her will to live for her best friend and not let Oogami’s death be in vain spurs her on. Amazingly a pessimistic Fukawa also survived. Maybe that’s why she is still breathing. Despite Fukawa being an annoying b*tch (her fawning over Togami is so irritating), it is Genocider Sho that is the most lively and amusing one. Despite her crazy colourful character that doesn’t hold back, something in her still feels lacking. Maybe she’ll just cut up everything had she had more screen time. You need an arrogant bastard and someone who feels he is superior to others like Togami in such groups. I thought he too would have died because of his arrogance but surprise, surprise. I guess to show that he isn’t really a heartless bastard, there are times that he shows his humanity but that is just for a short while before he returns to his proud self.

I certainly didn’t see it coming that Enoshima was the mastermind and the one behind Monokuma. Everything was cleverly planned out and things worked in her favour thanks to her pathetic sister-loving Ikusaba who unknowingly became a pawn in her hands. There was an early statement in one of the early episodes made by Oogami that Enoshima does not look like she does in the magazines and she convincingly and easily brushed it off as edited photos. I guess this explains a lot and puts many of the puzzle pieces together. I thought it was just a causal useless statement but apparently that was a big hint to who the real Enoshima was. I’m not sure if Enoshima had several split personalities but I don’t think that is the word to describe her because in the last episode when she is explaining, we see several different personalities that range from a cute naive model to a strict teacher to a crazy b*tch and even one who is full of true despair. She really loves despair, doesn’t she? She should watch the world news more often. That will be more depressing. Monokuma is equally mysterious because he pops out of nowhere and knows everything. Imagine if he becomes the teddy bears of the world, that would be total despair! Among the deceased, Oogami is certainly the noblest since she was even the sacrifice her life for her friends. I feel Ishimaru would have been the same but he didn’t last that long…

Watching this series raised several questions for me. Now that it is known that there is some sort of disaster outside and that it is inhabitable, are there any other survivors outside? If it is lawless and chaotic, whose audiences are Enoshima showing this reality TV? I mean, outside is decimated and I doubt there is going to be any living thing surviving on the surface (unless there are lots of shelters made like Hope Peak) so who is she transmitting reality TV to? People are trying to survive rather than watch this sh*t. Unless of course they are so in despair that watching others in despair has been defined as the new standards in entertainment. Such sadists. Now that Enoshima is killed, will the air purifier stop working? The survivors are leaving but will they be contaminated since I didn’t see them going outside wearing any sort of contamination suit. Unless she was lying. Unless they have this hope thing as their protection. Gee, I didn’t know hope was this useful. Then there are those decimated classrooms. Going by what Enoshima said, if they have been killing each other since a year ago, to say that the mutual killings have been going on ever since with Enoshima as the host for as long. This must have been the umpteenth mutual killings and probably these are the final 15. Or was there some battle royale before the final 15? But how come the photos only show them instead of others? Another thing to ponder is how Enoshima manage to take selective memories from them. Does she have some sort of device or her despair works like a hypnotism charm? There were perhaps many other mind boggling things but I choose not to bring it up here because it will leave me in despair…

Of course I couldn’t stand to be in the despair for all the curiosity so I went to do a little reading up around the internet. So it is to my discovery that Enoshima is part of the group of people and organization whose goal is to spread despair all over the world. They are the ones who caused that Biggest and Baddest Despair Incident in Human History. The reason why she is showing this reality TV to the world is also part of her goal to make everyone who sees it into despair. The execution right in the beginning of the first episode that has the victim being sent into space in a space rocket before it comes crashing down was actually the principal. She hijacked Hope Peak and sent the principal to his doom. Now I suppose everything (if not most of it) has become clear to me. There are also a number of sequels, prequels and spin-offs of this series (which means more weird and colourful characters) whether it is video game or novels but if it is ever adapted into anime, I would love to watch it. Not that I love being in despair or anything, mind you.

Some of the character designs are weird but it gives them some personality. I thought I might be seeing shades of One Piece that is famed for character designs for odd body parts here. I won’t go so far to say that the characters have odd body parts but many of them just look weird. For instance, Hagakure’s spikey hairstyle makes him look like a giant walking sea urchin. Those hair spikes could even put Dragonball’s Goku’s towering spikes to shame. Then there is mole-faced Yamada who is so fat like a ball that it makes him cartoonish and Oowada’s Pompadour or Regent hairstyle that makes it look like some sort of armadillo shell. Hey, doesn’t Asahina’s hair look like a turd? Not forgetting Genocider Sho’s wavy tongue like a jinn and Oogami is so beefed up with muscles bulging from every part of her body that I thought she was a manly man in drag. I thought Ishimaru had draught pieces as his eyes. I also thought Fujisaki looked weird and the way he sounded it was like as though he was a cross-dresser. Because everyone looked weird, I didn’t give much thought about it till it is revealed he was indeed a trap! During execution of the murderer’s scene, the drawing style turns into something like a paper mache play. It’s quite interesting but I think this is how the original video game artwork looks like. Another odd thing I find is the blood colour. They are pink! I know it lessens the gruesome effect because it would have been scarier should it be dark red but personally, I thought being pink just takes away the realism and makes the murder looking a bit cartoonish.

The voice acting part is pretty decent but nothing that extraordinary since this anime is a heavy dialogue one. If I had to point out the best one, then it goes to Nobuyo Oyama as Monokuma. This person who was the voice of the titular character in Doraemon is now voicing a teddy bear who is just creepy, mysterious and mischievous all in one. Upupupu! The rest of the casts include Megumi Ogata as Naegi (Yume in Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate), Youko Hikasa as Kirigiri (Mio in K-ON!), Akira Ishida as Togami (Gaara in Naruto), Megumi Sawashiro as Fukawa/Genocider Sho (Inaba in Kokoro Connect), Chiwa Saito as Asahina (Aika in Aria The Animation), Masaya Matsutake as Hagakure (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Kujira as Oogami (Otose in Gintama), Hekiru Shiina as Celestia (Todoroki in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Kappei Yamaguchi as Yamada (Usopp in One Piece), Kousuke Toriumi as Ichimaru (Cecil in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 2000%), Kazuya Nakai as Oowada (Zoro in One Piece), Kouki Miyata as Fujisaki/Alter Ego (Ahbmad in Magi), Takahiro Sakurai as Kuwata (Suzaku in Code Geass), Makiko Oomoto as Maizono (Miki in Tenshi Na Konamaiki) and Megumi Toyoguchi as Enoshima (Revy in Black Lagoon).

The opening theme is Never Say Never by TKDz2b featuring The 49ers and has a little R&B and hip hop in it. It’s not so much the despair lyrics that you’ll notice but the way Monokuma does his body touching dance. Sexy? Creepy? There is a special opening theme, Monokuma Ondo which is very much like a festival song but the lyrics about calmly devouring each other would make you raise an eyebrow or two. A festival of killing each other, I guess. The ending theme is Zetsubousei:  Hero Chiryouyaku by Suzumu featuring Soraru. It sounds like a video game song but the crazy and frenzy pace of the song makes it suitable for the insanity that is happening. The lyrics itself is frantic like as though the singer is going crazy. The amusing part in the ending credits is that those who have died will be marked clearly with a big ‘X’ as the credit rolls. More interestingly, the group photo which shows those who have been killed. But oddly, Naegi is always in the picture and this made me think, hey, is he dead and a ghost wandering around?! I mean, the group picture is only for the deceased and Naegi as the hero of the show is still alive and breathing, no? And when the mutual killing stops, everybody is in it. The final ending theme for the last episode is Saisei -rebuild- sung by Megumi Ogata. This lively rock piece sounds so much different than the rest like as though it gives us much hope after all the despair.

There are lots of lessons we can learn by just observing a group of people trying to survive together. It brings out your true colours when lives are at stake. You can see the things people would do just to have things their way or in this case, just to get out and survive. The great lengths that people will do to cover up a murder. However when all the lies and truths have been uncovered, you can see how they start acting strangely and it is a telltale sign that they are guilty and starting to falter. It is obvious and only human that they act so because these are super duper high school students and are not murderers (Genocider Sho is an exception). How many of us can kill and then keep a straight face? Seems pretty well till they get cornered. It also asserts the age old idiom of never judge a book by its cover. Especially in Maizono and Oogami’s case. You never thought that the sweet loving idol would make the first move and kill, right? Her backfired plan only reveals she was selfish, deceiving and a b*tch and it was probably a good thing she died early. We never cared so much about her anyway. Oogami looked like a killer with all her bulging muscles and scars, someone that looked like she will not hesitate to kill a fly. But in the end it shows she too has a delicate side and that she cares very much for her friends. It’s sad that good people like her had to die just to make others open their eyes and move forward. Also not forgetting that hope and despair are like light and darkness, they co-exist and can’t do without the other. Human’s feelings and state of being are volatile and fluctuating so it depends on how strong the influence of hope and despair has on that person. It could make or break you.

Overall, this series is quite good and entertaining and those who want to watch a whodunit series without anything too complicated should find this enjoyable. Of course, please don’t organize such mutual killing events so that you can fall into despair. Come to think of it, wasn’t Enoshima the one enjoying the most in watching the despair of others instead of being in despair herself till her final moments? Putting myself in such a situation, I don’t think I would fare well either. I would either be the first one out or get killed. Given that I am a shut-in (almost) otaku and in the wildest of possibilities that I survived till the end, I probably won’t survive long outside. I know there is no meaning to living a life that is in despair as Naegi puts it but what will I do without my animes? How can I live without the things I love, the things that define me the most? You could call me a super duper high school useless person or super duper high school pessimist because that’s all I’m good at. Ah, ah… Suddenly that left me in feeling despair. To quote a line from an infamous Mr Despair, “Zetsubou shita (I’m in despair)!”.

Recently there was a Demon King who came to our world and was forced to work part time to earn a living as part of his agenda to build up his resources and make a comeback. Now, we have a hero who couldn’t become one because for some reason, the Demon King was defeated and thus there is no need for heroes anymore. And yeah, when you can’t be a hero anymore, what do you do? You take up a job to earn a living. I suppose even heroes need to eat to live and help contribute to the nation’s GDP and the likes. Looks like a hero is no longer needed when there are no more bad guys to slay. Ironic, isn’t it? Peace for the world but all those related to the hero industry become unemployed. This is one of those animes where by the long winded title sounds like a joke or just an attempt to twist your tongue and put you off. Yuusha Ni Naranakatta Ore Wa Shibushibu Shuushoku Wo Ketsui Shimashita translates as I Couldn’t Become A Hero So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job. That or Yuushibu for short. As obviously hinted in the title, it’s about a hero who was unfortunately being put into ‘unemployment’ just because the Demon King got defeated. Life as a salesman is probably tough but he didn’t count the daughter of the Demon King to come work with him! How ironic is that? A hero wannabe and the daughter of the ex-Demon King working together. This is a comedy that resolves around the duo in their work place and don’t worry or get your hopes up in thinking the duo will try to be killing each other at work. Seriously. That isn’t going to happen.

Episode 1
Raul Chaser and his team are fighting off hordes of demons and beasts to reach the Demon King. But to their dismay, there is a notice that says he has been defeated! Too bad! And so Raul works as a salesman in a magical appliances shop, Leon. He’s not doing well with the customers. Till a bunch of otaku nerds crash into the place since they still sell some magical cassette tapes. After the sell-out, there is this rude hooded kid, Fino Bloodstone wanting to see the manager, Seara August. She is here for an interview? Raul looks at her resume and is shocked to see she is the kid of the Demon King! Fino thinks her secret is busted. But it’s right in her resume. Because you can’t lie on your resume, right? WTF. Much to Raul’s dismay, Seara hires her and puts him under Raul’s wing. Just great. It’s going to be a long day. The TV news shows the second anniversary since Demon King’s defeat. It reminded Raul that he trained hard to be a hero. That’s all he ever did. So instead of becoming heroes, the Demon King’s defeat means he turned into an ordinary person. Because he has no other skills and that the new peaceful world has no need of heroes, he lost his purpose of existence and ended up working as this. There is an old man customer that Raul dreads. Because each time he comes, he swipes his hand over the butt of his colleague, Nova Luminous just to get a light bulb. But you can’t hurt your customer, right? Or even kill him. Fino takes this the wrong way and thought this is some form of communication and wants Raul to touch her butt!

Raul teaches Fino to speak politely and smile. But she laughs like a maniac and acts like a tyrant when Raul pretends as a customer. Does she really want to kill her customer? At least this is what she observed the way her daddy speaks. He lets her read a manual on how to deal with customers and brings her up to the room where they keep appliances for repair. She notes it’s bigger than her dad’s treasure room. He was that poor? She messes with the humidifier and gets knocked out. Raul tries to change her clothes and is surprised to see boobs (he thought Fino is a boy). Fino awakens and gets the wrong idea he wanted to do something funny on her. Because her dad used to kidnap girls and do funny things to do. Fino calms down and understands when he explains why he did so. Seems Fino will be staying upstairs in the staff’s room. She has no home and this will be her temporary castle. Raul sees her shamelessly washing her hair next to the kitchen sink and half naked. Not so embarrassed anymore, isn’t she? And she used a dishwasher to clean her hair… Fino is pretty grateful that since her dad got done in, she is able to see what the human world looks like. She might not have to go through all this if her father was still around but she thanks him for being around. Raul feels this isn’t bad after all. He thought he was unlucky to be stuck with her but will keep teaching her new things. Fino then messes with the hairdryer’s turbo button and it releases a typhoon that slams them to the wall. Raul takes back what he said. He is unlucky after all.

Episode 2
Raul explains the use of magic in appliances although now it is only used in public works. It will be running in every household in the future and he hopes business and sales could pick up then. He walks into the staff’s room to see Fino sleeping naked. Remember, this is not your house. Fino as usual messes up her lines while practising. This time about returning of goods. You don’t exchange lives when people come back to return the goods. The store assistant manager, Visor Crossroads summons them to remind them not to go destroying demo products like this hair dryer. Because he was once a magic engineer, he manages to fix its magic syntax which allows normal humans to use them. Visor notes it was hell doing that job and Seara somewhat saved him by offering a job here. Raul teaches Fino the 8 basic lines to say to a customer but she amazingly keeps twisting it to sound something gory. So he writes on her for her to memorize. Later Raul remembers how he tried to find a job via various employment agencies but experienced the bitter truth when such companies do not require his assets as a hero. He bumps into his ex-hero colleague, Airi Ortinet who isn’t pleased he has taken up a job since Raul was the top student in hero school. Raul had no choice. He had written so many resumes that he lost count and this place gave him a chance. Airi is disappointed in him for giving up on his dream. Meanwhile Fino continues to practise her lines but a customer comes in. Not just a customer, but a half naked masked thief wielding a golden axe! She says all those customer lines to him and this confuses the guy. Because Raul is out for lunch and Nova is handling a customer, Fino will handle this herself. However the thief is a wuss and dumb ass because he can miss swinging the axe and gets knocked down when Fino accidentally bows her head. She even takes up his axe and almost slices him!

Raul returns and finds out about the situation. While the thief goes berserk swinging his axe, Raul and Fino can coolly debate among each other about what is happening while avoiding getting hit. Like as though the thief didn’t really matter. Once Fino realizes he isn’t a customer, this means she doesn’t have to speak to him nicely. Back to her usual self. They even easily disarm him and Fino gives him a choice how to die! The thief is so scared that he faints. A real customer comes in and sees Fino holding the axe. Wrong impression… Seara compliments the duo for a great job and Fino feels good. Oh, Seara also congratulates Nova for selling a fridge. That was more important than stopping the thief? Oh well, the thief was a wimp… Later Raul meets up with his ex-hero friends, Blaze Dis and Klein Art. They have not found a job because their only job is to be a hero. They believe this job will one day be back and will be needed again. That night, Raul sees Fino sleeping in the staff’s room and finds a notebook she has written down all those polite lines. She’s trying real hard. When she wakes up, she wants to show him the fruits of her practice and recites all those lines without trying to refer. It was hard at first but she manages to say them all. Raul congratulates Fino who is now a happy girl. It made him think that he hasn’t completely given up on being a hero. Even if he is not doing his dream job, he will do his best in his own way. Next day, he gets a shock thinking Fino has quit because she and her stuffs are no longer in the room. But Seara says she has already found an apartment to live. She can’t live here forever, you know. Guess what? She’ll be living right next to Raul. Is he really this unlucky?

Episode 3
Which is more annoying? Fino sleeping naked in her apartment or her pig alarm clock? Why does she not have to worry? Because she knows Raul is around and will be alright. Oh boy. Raul is not too pleased that Seara was the one who set up Fino to live next to him. The rent is cheap and besides, it’ll be better if Raul is there for her. Really? A customer takes in an old fan for repair. Something many would have discarded to buy a new one but Fino thinks it is something good since it has served her for many years. Lore Beliferal takes to repair it. She is also a staff but is rarely around as she always makes deliveries and goes from home to home to make repairs. The happy customer thanks them. Seara and Visor are in a corporate meeting with bosses, Gil Brand and Eric Fritz. Although their customer satisfaction is the highest among the chains, they have the lowest sales. They are told to double the amount of items to be carried and will put on a big sale. Raul introduces Fino to the Lawson convenience store next door run by Elza Crucial and Lamdimia Do Aximemor or Lam for short (because saying her full name is such a pain). Airi visits Raul again. Raul is impressed she is working for a security company but she isn’t enthusiastic about it. Though Raul feels there is no need to fight demons anymore as the war is over, Airi still thinks demons are evil and cruel creatures. So happen Fino walks into the scene and thinks Airi is an angry customer here to make a complaint. Raul has to shut her up before she reveals her demon identity.

The gang receive a real dirt cheap air purifier that needs to be sold. It is from an unheard of company. Elza who is not on duty visits them and suggests demonstrating it. When Fino turns it on, demon hands start gushing out. Let’s say they act like tentacle rape feature. Elza becomes the first victim followed by Nova. From what I understand from Lore’s explanation, something about its internal magic has gone wrong and making it go out of control. The only way is to turn off the switch. Then she becomes the third victim. Airi becomes the heroine and she hasn’t lost touch of her moves to free the trio. Once they escape, the hands act up again and Airi becomes the victim. Yeah, it disintegrated her shirt too. Raul is in a dilemma to save her because he is not confident in using that hero move he had used ages ago. But Fino tries her best to go save Airi despite not having a chance and becoming a victim too. It’s because Airi is an important customer and she is an employee of this place. Raul has decided. He retrieves his sword that is kept in the cleaning closet and frees them. However it isn’t long before it goes out of control again. They can keep doing this all day long. Yeah. Airi again… Because Fino’s demon powers have not awakened (the reason her eyes are blue instead of red), Raul has one chance left to attack. Airi hints that when it attacks, the back of the machine is left unguarded. Fino becomes the bait as Fino swings his ultimate move to stun it. Before it regenerates, Fino hits the off button. The hands freeze and become sticky white stuff… Fino is impressed with Raul and the latter compliments her for a good job done. Fino introduces herself to Airi but she doesn’t bat an eyelid in revealing she is a demon. There goes all the excuse Raul tried to come up to cover it. Later after Raul brings Fino to a public bath, she wonders if it’s a bad idea to hide the fact she is the daughter of a demon king. Why can’t demons and humans live together? Is being a demon bad? Raul couldn’t answer.

Episode 4
Fino seems to be doing well selling a product to a customer. Till she had to compare its colour to a human organ. Pink like a human’s brain. I didn’t know gall bladders were green… Freak out! Elza requests for help since Lawson is short on staffs. At first Seara wanted to do it just to wear their cute outfit but was stopped by Visor. Reluctantly she has Fino do it but the latter doesn’t want to because she loves Leon. I know store managers love to hear that but since Seara thinks this will help her gain more experience and asserts her authority, I guess Fino has no choice. Fino almost employs her similar attitude when selling foodstuffs to a customer. Spaghetti like lava that will burn your stomach? Elza had to correct her and tell her she was similar to Lam (she said the same stuffs and ‘blamed’ in on horror flicks she loved). She promises to change and keep this a secret (since all of them love horror movies). Fino learns fast in how to man the register, place things in a plastic bag and use the oven. Meanwhile it is so quiet at Leon. No customer. And it’s because Fino is not around. Then that perverted old man comes by again. Another clean swipe at Nova’s butt. He feels so good that he is going to buy lots of stuffs. Just 2 light bulbs… Raul thinks Nova should have put her foot down and scold him but she doesn’t mind it. In fact, she even gives Raul the permission to touch her butt!!! Can I touch your butt too? Raul checks on Fino during his break and she is doing well. Even surprising him she can handle a magic appliance without causing it to blow up.

Fino is taught how to make Lawson’s oden. She mixes in everything! Including sauces, coffee and chilli?! What will be the outcome?! Seriously, when they try it, it tastes good because it has so many flavours! However Lam says this won’t do as this is not the store’s oden. Just like how she emphasis her name to tell she is a dedicated person of her family, when she dons this store’s uniform, she has to act like someone who works like how this store should and can’t be selfish. Fino understands and will use the store’s recipe. Meanwhile Raul can’t help think about Nova’s butt! When she is too close to him to help out, he gets too conscious. He tries to break the ice by talking about the clip-on earrings she wears and she is impressed he noticed. Airi sees Fino at Lawson and think she got fired! Then she learns what happened and feels sad that Raul despite complimenting Fino on her uniform, never did the same to her. As Elza teaches Fino how to use the coffee machine, Fino notices she knows her stuffs well. It is because Elza comes from a village in the middle of nowhere. All she had was a catalogue for entertainment and she spent countless hours reading it. So why didn’t she work at Leon? It’s because her goal is not to sell but buy their things. That’s why she works next door to them. Fino is done for the day and brings back her oden to her colleagues at Leon. Looks horrible but tastes good. She even shows how she can manage a coffee machine without blowing it up and Raul comments she too is going to change. Now that Fino is back at Leon, an old customer wants to buy a fridge. However she panics there is no plastic bag big enough to fit it! Wow. One day at Lawson and she has already been so accustomed its working culture.

Episode 5
Raul and Fino are so free that he can even teach her how to use a magic phone. Why do they say hell in hello? It has nothing to do with the underworld, damn it! Visor wonders why there aren’t any customers today. He starts to panic that since it’s Seara’s day off and he is in charge, things might look bad. Make that worse because Fino has ‘beautified’ the outside by putting a poison swamp! Fix that back! Visor gets desperate and thinks of making Fino wear a skimpy cosplay outfit to attract customers. Seara makes a surprise visit. She is here to tell them the reason they have no customers. Amada has opened another store nearby and doing a grand opening sale. Amada who? They are in the same business as Leon but they are a bigger corporation leading with market share with 54% and many stores throughout the country as compared to Leon with less than 3% market share and a handful of stores and most of them concentrated in the capital. Amada beats Leon in everything that includes pricing and service. In worst case scenario, they might go out of business. Fino panics because she doesn’t want this place to close down. She loves it here. Managers love that kind of loyalty, eh? So Seara initiates the emergency meeting. Ideas please? Raul thinks of making their own flyers but it’s too obvious. Fino suggests using sacrifice! An altar for the evil god of prosperity! Yeah, maybe they can sacrifice pessimistic Visor. So that dude suggests infiltration. What better way than to get to know your enemy better. Seara orders Fino and Raul to do it (because boss says so) and so as not to make it like they are employees of Leon, they should make it look like they’re on a date. I think Fino may have the wrong idea because she dresses up in a golem armour. Yeah. Nobody recognizes her alright. But it’s still a no.

Amada opens its doors to the public. The crowd streams in like as though this is an otaku doujin convention. Airi is one of the employees there. She is embarrassed in a Playboy bunny outfit greeting the customers. Since she is bowing her head, she missed Fino and Raul while coming in. Fino seems to be having fun although she takes it as trying to uncover all their secrets. Elza and Lam are there too. Elza cheekily says to Raul that he always turns her down when she asks him out but has no problem with Fino. Guys are interested with new girls on the block? Raul is somewhat saved when an Amada employee heard Lam looking for a magical bakery. He gets kicked in the crotch for shortening her name and Elza hounds him for all the features she wants to have in it. I guess next time for Raul, huh? Fino tries to act like Fino’s girlfriend by holding his hand despite not knowing what a girlfriend is. Duh. They even help a lost old lady and bring her to a section she wants to go. Fino wonders if there are so many employees, why isn’t one helping her? Raul explains in a big corporation, every employee is designated his place and do not leave. But Fino scratches her head further. This is a big company and a customer is still a customer, right? Leon has surprise visitors: Gil and Eric. They also notice Amada’s new opening store. They quickly mention that if their sales are directly affected by it and go down by 40%, they’re reconsidering to close. But they have a proposal. Meanwhile Raul is fascinated by an employee who knows his stuffs in camera products and its latest technology. Didn’t know all that, didn’t he? Raul experiences more professionalism of customer service when he gives his name card, Ciel Script. As part of the opening gig, Sphere (yes, that real idol group consisting of seiyuus) make their performance on stage. Raul is flustered when Fino says she’ll work hard to be his girlfriend (I wonder if she really understood that). After all the misses, Raul and Airi finally bump into each other.

Episode 6
So this is the security job she’s supposed to do? Is this really security? So what happened? Airi chose a job with a high paying salary but couldn’t last for 3 months because she had to lie to people. So she ended up in Amada since she needed money and had to put up with the dressing and other job requirements. Looks really pathetic at what she is doing now instead of being a hero. Airi is startled to hear they are ‘dating’. Fino didn’t bat an eyelid saying she is his girlfriend and living together (next door as Raul corrected). Airi chides him a pervert (jealousy speaking here) and choosing her just because she had bigger boobs. Raul had to blow their cover that they are on reconnaissance just to clear this up. Airi prefers to show them around like as though she is working because it beats them walking around pretending to be a couple. A customer tries to sexually harass Airi. Because she scolds him, he asserts his right as a customer which reduces her to an apologetic person. Fino doesn’t give a damn and is going to teach him a lesson but that wimp flees. They are confronted by Ciel and the store manager. Ciel knows who Raul and Fino are. Eric brings the other Leon staffs to some factory of Delila Magtec. The employee shows them around and the reason why their stuffs are so cheap is because they use harmless monsters that are good in doing repetitive stuffs. Therefore their labour cost is zero. However the downside is they overwork and die. Because they view them as monsters and simply replace them, they don’t think much about them. This doesn’t sit well with the Leon staffs. Eric understands and wants to make a strategic partnership with them but was told it won’t happen. Because they’ve made a partnership with Amada. So why show them around? Because they were told by Amada if those Leon guys ever show up, allow them to inspect their facilities. Raul and Fino are also told the same thing by Leon. They won’t even hold back to small competitors and know their tactics of snooping around. They also know Raul initially didn’t want to join Leon and can offer him an attractive package like how they did to Airi. However Raul won’t give in. He is motivated to take down the enemy. The stronger the better.

Back at Leon, the gang discuss they have been had by Amada. They’re a step ahead of them. Although Seara commends Raul’s boldness, now she wants him to take responsibility since he declared an all-out war. Now he and Fino have to wear that hideous and over-sized Leon mascot to hand out flyers. Yeah. Fino is just scaring the kids away. Amada is doing even better. They have a truck to advertise their store. They even attract the otaku guys using Sphere as promotion. Raul feels defeated but all is not lost because the lady whom he helped at Amada finds out they are working at Leon. She is happy to instantly buy an air-cond from them because the employees at Amada were spewing tough technical terms she couldn’t understand. Raul is simpler and friendlier. First sales of the day but it feels so good, no? Raul wants Lore to help install the air-cond but it seems she needs to head over to Suinoya to fix a magic appliance problem. Raul will deal with it so Lore can straightaway go install the air-cond instead of making the old lady wait. Raul explains to Fino that some people aren’t born with magic and need a tank to store them. Leon also helps replenish those magic tanks but they do it for free as part of Seara’s policy. Raul tests the tank and after filling it up, it instantly drops back to zero. The lady is willing to close her store till Lore comes to fix it but Raul is feeling good and won’t give up. Fino tries her hand at it and some slimy thing starts crawling all over her hand! I guess the slime had a good time molesting Fino’s boobs before it explodes into sticky white stuff… Raul explains that was a slime that feeds on magic and it made a nest there. It couldn’t absorb all of Fino’s magic and exploded. Normally it shouldn’t be found in cities but I guess it was in search of food since most appliances these days run on magic. The grateful lady gives them free drinks. Raul gets a call from Lore and it seems there is trouble.

Episode 7
The problem is double booking. Grandma’s son, Shimoji has ordered an air-cond from Amada. Because grandma wasn’t sure of anything and didn’t consult, Shimoji went ahead to buy one. Because Amada’s unit costs $20,000 less (they stock in bulk so they can sell at cheaper prices), Shimoji can’t afford Leon’s and will be go with Amada’s despite grandma’s arguments that Leon’s staffs were nicer. Raul has no hard feelings since this is business although grandma keeps apologizing for troubling him. Before Leon could leave, Shimoji stops them and it seems they have a problem. Their magic meter reading shows that it is low and thus cannot operate an air-cond. If it does, the breaker will trip. They check around the house to see if any appliances are over using any magic but could find none. They think it’s the bad wiring. That job itself costs $300,000. That’s a lot. Plus, if they want to cancel the purchase, it will cost them $10,000 cancellation fees and additional $3,000 visitation fees. Leon would have charged them the same amount too. While the Amada guy goes off for his other appointments, the Leon staffs stay back to find the cause. Then the magic meter drops to zero. They think it’s that slime magic eater. You mean it took them that long to guess this? I was already thinking about this since the problem cropped up. Anyway Fino wants to use her magic again. However Lore advises her not to because her magic is so powerful that it will cause all the appliances’ circuits to malfunction.

They finally find tons of magic eaters beneath the flooring! The plan is to lure them away. Lore draws some magic circuit outside the house and has Fino stand on it. Using a faint of her magic, the magic eaters are slowly drawn out and start covering over her. She must endure the gross and sliminess in order to draw every slime out. Leaving one behind will not do. Raul tried to be a hero and pull her out when she is enveloped in slime but got sucked in. When the last slime is out, Lore gives the signal for Fino to use her intense magic and explode it. At the end of the day, Shimoji changes his mind that he wants to get the air-cond from Leon. He realizes what grandma said was true about them being great people. He doesn’t mind paying the cancellation and visitation fee as they have learnt an important lesson. And so Leon celebrates this victory of Amada and as Seara notes, they may not be as big and powerful as Amada but they have their own weapon. They just need to press on and continue what they did today. Next morning, Raul is shocked to find naked Fino sleeping next to him. Did something happen last night? He tries to cover her up but she opens her eyes and misinterprets this situation as trying to rape her. She fears she has become pregnant as said by her dad. Of course not, silly. Fino remembers last night she felt hot and ‘smelled’ something cool (his mini stand fan) and went over to sleep with him. Fino is glad to work in a magic appliance shop as she gets to help them but Raul’s thoughts are if only Airi’s feelings were the same. When the duo arrive for work, they see Nova collapsed on the floor.

Episode 8
The store’s air-cond has broken down and Nova is on the verge of heatstroke. In order to cool her down (albeit just a bit), Raul unbuttons her shirt to air (and fanservice). Seara and Visor see this and start teasing the beast in him awakening. Leon is given a range of summer products that they don’t normally hold to sell. Because competing with Amada on basic stuffs won’t do, they have to increase their product range. Raul and Fino man the stall outside but Fino is leaking magic since she is dizzy. She accidentally touches the box of fireworks and let’s say there are wonderful daylight fireworks. If you can see them. As their uniforms are being washed, the only ones left to wear is swimsuit. I guess this also helps cool them down. And yeah, what a way to attract customers in sexy poses. Uh huh. Sex sells. Lore is still busy fixing the condenser. It’s going to take a while but she rather do this than wear that skimpy swimsuit. Too bad, Seara. She really wanted to see Lore in one. Fino who wants to frolic in a kiddie pool unwittingly does product demonstration so much so a kid pesters his mom to buy one. Elza and Lam are here to visit since they have finished their shifts. As repayment of favour from the last time, Seara has them help out and put on a swimsuit to help out. Lam becomes innovative as she makes a great deal. For those who purchase the camera, they will be allowed to take a picture with one of their staffs. In an instant, the cameras are sold out. Uh huh. Sex sells.

When it’s over, Elza starts flirting with Raul and hints if he would like to take a proper picture of her. Too bad Airi had to ruin it all and feel disappointed in Raul for jumping from one girl to another. First Fino, now Elza? Lam takes it that Airi likes Raul but the latter is too tsundere to admit. Airi even admits she is here for reconnaissance as payback for last time. Lam gets another idea. For Airi to get closer to her enemy-cum-rival (Elza), she needs to put on the swimsuit as per of the reconnaissance. She’s not going to wear that but when reminded she put on that embarrassing Playboy bunny suit… Fearing people from Amada would recognize her, she is given a mask. Instantly the guys are taken by this masked beauty and want a photo. Airi kicks them. Turns out they are super masochist because they love it. Ever innovative Lam calls out that those buying above $3,000 will get a free kick from this masked beauty! Gosh. Another sell-out. And Airi gives a free one for Raul just for the heck of it. More fanservice when her top falls off. The guys must really enjoy this. At the end of the day, Raul is approached by Shimoji. He is a reporter for Capital Economic Times and wants to write an article on them. He thinks Leon is amazing as the staffs here work hard. Meanwhile Amada’s store manager is being hauled up by the big boss. Ever since they have opened their chain store here, Leon’s sales did not experience a drop in sales. Thanks to the article that praises Leon’s hardworking, knowledge using, courage and friendship, he feels it is going to be harder than expected to drive the small store out of business. He feels disappointed in the store manager and dismisses him.

Episode 9
Leon receives their paycheque. A little more than usual thanks to their hard work. Fino is extremely nervous since this is her first. Ah, remember when you got your first pay? Seara suggests buying something to remember this day. As Seara treats her staffs, she also suggests Fino to set her priorities right (because she wanted to use her pay to buy all the toys in the kiddie meal) so she has Fino accompany her shopping tomorrow. There goes his day off. The first thing Fino wants to buy? Roach motel? Even demons hate those bugs? Oh, there’s one flying in. Fino panics and clings onto Raul. Till they discover it is just a cicada. They blush upon realizing their close proximity. Next day, Fino like a country bumpkin is nervous trying to make her purchase at the cash register. But eventually she overcomes it and even signs on a member card. Fino’s earnest and simple logic of earning money and buying stuffs so people can be happy impresses Raul. At first he only took up this job just to earn a living as he wanted to be a hero. He is glad she has changed and to a point people may not think she is the Demon King’s daughter. As Fino wants to go shopping some more, Fino brings her to a market that sells everything. Amazed at the sight, she goes on a buying spree and almost got knocked down by a car but Fino saves her. Don’t be over happy, okay?

At the souvenir shop, the lady mistakes them as a couple. Though Fino dismisses they are, Fino felt happy being called that and hopes to be his girlfriend for today. Hope she understands what that means. Fino is at a shop selling swords. He is impressed with some rare sword on sale. Since he is not paying attention to Fino, she wanders off back to the souvenir shop to buy something, gets lost and then… Kidnapped? When Fino realizes she is missing, he goes looking for her. He did find her but she is put in a lovely dress. She says somebody pulled her in and suddenly put this on her. She happily gets close to him. A photographer takes a shot of them and gives the instant photo free to them. Raul is embarrassed at the thought they look like a good couple. Then he learns Fino spent her entire pay buying lots of useless stuffs. How is she going to survive till the next pay? Never thought of that, didn’t she? Yeah. Traumatic breakdown. She needs some financial management classes. He cheers her up with a tasty crepe. And then she gives him the souvenir as remembrance for today as well as thanks for helping her out ever since she came. A handphone strap with the hair of a hero who got killed by the Demon King. Charmed… On the way back when Raul is buying some drinks, he hears Fino’s cry. Although the perpetrators ran away, Fino is messed up. Are there people after her? She asks if she should have been the next Demon King. Because when her father was taken out, many people lost their jobs and those in weapons and armour industry went out of business. She mentions it was heroes who told her to become the next Demon Lord and to make a world where heroes are needed again.

Episode 10
Fino acts like normal the next morning. It’s not good to dwell on the past, right? At Leon, Fino has got her own set of fans. Kids who are here just to hear her trademark laughter. And yeah. That perverted old man is still groping Nova’s butt. Ah, Leon. A place where kids and old people can be happy. Fino buys more demon-like traps just to attract customers. I’m afraid it seems like scaring them off. But where did she get the money since she spent all her pay? Mail order. Did Elza teach her about the bill coming in later? Oh shi… Raul wonders if she is acting like this due to the other day. Fino has been thinking. She doesn’t want to be the next Demon Lord. Because her father was scary even to weak demons like her mom. That’s why she ran away here. She feels there is a way to not become the next Demon Lord. If she becomes the boss of Leon. Wait a minute. Becoming boss ranks higher than Demon Lord? But what about Seara? She’s the boss, no? Fino will open another store in the demon world and will be the boss. There are lots of nice demons in the demon world. Say what? Nice demons? Just like saying they’re angels… Anyway she’ll have Raul be her assistant if that happens. Raul thinks that even if she becomes the Demon King, heroes will still be unneeded since she is such a nice person. Meanwhile this mysterious person who has been popping up a couple of episodes ago, Raid Mirroring sees Lam. They know each other as Lam’s family is a scion in the demon world. Raid requests Lam’s assistance to make Fino the next Demon King. She refuses but Raid has an amulet, Bloodstone of Control that would make Fino inherit it. Lam asserts the Demon King is gone but as Raid puts it, he will always come back, time and time again.

After Fino gets reprimanded by Raul for not taking detailed contacts of a customer’s order, Blaze and Klein want to talk to him. They mention the hero system is coming back as they heard the Demon King is coming back. More accurately, a replacement. They know Fino is her name and think Raul was keeping an eye on her. Fino denies and they think he has been seduced by her. They reveal they were the ones tailing them during their ‘date’ and attacked Fino. Raul defends Fino is just a normal girl and is working hard at their shop. Blaze reminds him how devastated he was when he lost his dream. They are going to bring the Demon King back themselves and set this world right. Raul maintains Fino is not going to be the Demon King and warns them not to hurt Fino. Blaze feels disappointed as he thought he was the real hero. Lam and Elza go cheer up Fino having lunch. Lam hints to her to live the way she wants and not lose faith. She cheekily flips Elza’s skirt to show Fino the battle panties she is wearing she wants to show Raul. Eh? What? This motivates Fino. She then sees the customer and chases after his taxi to get his details. Then she gets kidnapped for real. Fino goes looking for Fino when he realizes she is not in Leon or Lawson. Then he sees her dropped order form and fears the worst. Meanwhile Klein talks to Airi as Ciel talks to his boss about the list of weapon and armour makers that will be reopening. Fino wakes up and is not pleased Raid is behind all this. She rejects his suggestion to be the next Demon King. Blaze is also in cohorts with him. He tells her this place was once a hero prep school. He blames the demons that had they been doing their job, everyone including Raul would have been living as great heroes now. Fino doesn’t believe but Blaze throws a group photo of them as heroes. Now do you believe?

Episode 11
Raul tells Seara and co what happened. He is going to rescue her at all cost. Raid shows Fino the amulet that will allow her to control all demons weaker than her. This treasure has been passed down through the Demon King’s family line and will make her the next one. Raid adds this is the only way to go as demons need a new king to unite them and survive. Fino thinks they should just get a job and work but they play around with her guilt. Raul was forced to work in that store because he lost his dream. Now if she becomes the Demon King, Raul can be a hero again and everyone happy. Raul enters the prep school and confronts Blaze. He won’t change his mind in joining them and will rescue Fino. Since it’s like this, Blaze is going to kill him with the sword he wanted so much. Blaze adds that their predecessors have made a contract. They let the Demon King live so the war could go on. Look at it this way. If the Demon King was really killed, heroes would still be worthless, right? Raul starts laughing. He couldn’t believe this was what he really wanted to be. Now that he is free from guilt and nothing holding him back, Raul picks up a ruler and swiftly defeats Blaze. Raul is about to free Fino but here comes Airi. Though she is against the idea of resurrecting the Demon King, she is here solely to defeat the Demon King’s daughter. She hates demons because they killed her family, the reason why she wanted to become a hero. Raul fights Airi to protect Fino. I guess words won’t get through her so the best way is to fight it out. Using this to his advantage, Raul continues to play mind games with Fino. It is ironic now both heroes are trying to kill each other. She is the only one who can save them. Please choose wisely.

Klein rides a 3 headed dragon to attack Leon. However it is fused with magic protection so the store still stands. Seara then shows us the true terror of her billings and costing of the disruption, interference, damages, etc. She turns that all into magic and blasts away Klein! The madder she is, the more powerful. They have Klein tell them Fino’s whereabouts. Airi and Raul just took each other out. Fino feels guilty for letting this happen. Her tears drop onto the amulet which activates her demon instincts. She breaks free from her chains and flies towards the demon world. Airi is still alive because Raul’s weapon was a ruler. Which means Raul… Even in death, Raul can be talkative. Even suggesting she should work at Leon so she could be with Fino. At least Airi has realized that Fino was a nice girl to begin with. And then Airi sees her sword stuck in something. That’s the handphone strap. So the souvenir saved his life. Raul is so happy that he starts hugging her. They are going to save Fino but Raid won’t let them. Seara and co come by to stall Raid so Raul can go save Fino. Seara dressed as a witch girl as well as Elza use their magic items to keep Raid at bay. It’s like killing 3 birds with 1 stone because they are also advertising and demonstrating the use of their products. How can Raul get to the demon world quick? Ah, here’s the perverted old man to give them a ride. Because Nova asked him. See, sometimes getting your butt swiped has its advantages. Raul and Airi learn Lam is from the demon world but they’re not going nuts over it. She explains they must prevent Fino from reaching back to her world as the dying regrets of the previous Demon King are left behind. If she touches it, she’ll be the new Demon King.

Episode 12
The volcano is erupting and the town is declared under the state of emergency. Visor thinks of closing the store since nobody is coming. However a group of otakus rush in to buy disaster supplies (since they always have stock left). The closer Raul and co get to the palace, the more demons and beasts show up to attack them. They take some damage so Lore had to fix it up while they fend of vampire bats. Airi borrows Lam’s demon sword while Raul does his best with his, erm, ruler. When it is up and running, they are attacked by harpies. This time the damage is permanent and they crash land. Lore has injured her leg but the perverted old guy will take care of her. I guess she’ll do if Nova is not around. Lore hands Raul a sword believed to be from Seara’s brother (because Raul lost his ruler). It’s déjà vu again since Raul and Airi are racing up to the Demon King’s palace slashing demons and beasts like old times. Lam opens the door and only lets Raul through. She leaves it up to him to save Fino. Because he’s the real hero, right? Lam and Airi will stay back to guard the door from those advancing pests. Raul finds Fino before the palace door. She starts attacking and since talking didn’t change anything, Raul reiterates those 8 basic lines to say to a customer. Fino does react to it till finally she is free from her spell, though she has no memories why she is here. However this doesn’t last long as the door starts to open and Fino once more is turning back into a Demon King. Reluctantly. Raul tries to close the door but seriously, can he hold back that massive thing? Fino can’t control her body and starts strangling him.

Raul makes one last attempt to convince Fino via talking to her. Talking about her personality, her smile and more importantly, not only customers are waiting for her but everyone including himself is waiting for her. He’ll be lost without her. See the power of words? In an instant, Fino is broken free of her spell and the door closes. Raid laments his plan didn’t work and will back down for now. However Seara won’t let him leave like this. She hands him an invoice for all the damaged goods. Seriously, Raid wants to pay via monthly instalment via card? I thought he would just reject everything and screw their company policy whatever. Seara treats her staffs and Airi to a celebration party as thanks for their hard work. As Blaze and Klein are reflecting their actions in hospital, Airi ponders about her future. Next day at Leon, Raul praises Fino as a perfect Leon employee as she managed to take her first order and it was that order form he showed her that brought her back to her senses. Elza wants to see their catalogue of rice cookers because Seara has given her 30% discount vouchers on all products. Rice cookers? Lam puts it as because she wants to cook for Raul. I guess she’s not giving up. The biggest news of all is when Seara introduces a new colleague: Airi. She puts her under Fino’s care and the Demon King’s daughter is ecstatic that she has a chance to play senior. Airi’s switch to Leon is because she has seen some things in Amada in which she shouldn’t have seen (although I am not sure if she resigned or got fired). Though she maintains she still hasn’t given up being a hero and is just a reluctant decision on her part to do this. She is confident she’ll get a real hero job that will really help people. Till then, she’ll be reluctantly here. Raul notes she is just like him then.

Episode 13 (OVA)
Raul’s little sister, Miuri is going to visit him during summer vacation. She can’t wait to see the hero he has become. Oh, if she only knew… She is greeted by Raul in an armour and is ecstatic that this must be what a hero is all about. Suddenly the Demon Lord Fino throws Raul a challenge. She has kidnapped Princess Seara and if he wants to save her, come to the Three Great Hells. Sound so scripted… Could it be? Yeah, it could. Fino’s skimpy outfit could be enough to corrupt Miuri’s mind but she’s gullible enough to believe it’s because she’s the Demon Lord that she dresses like that. Maybe it’s real hot in hell. Miuri would like to tag along to see how big brother works as a hero. And so, Three Great Hells turn out to be a hotspring… Raul has to be entrance fee per person to Visor if he wants to enter… We see a flashback that Raul pleaded to Seara he worries his sister will find out he is working in a magic appliance shop instead as a hero. So he can’t be honest with her? It’s because she really believes so. Seara understands and will help her out. So everything has gone according to Seara’s plan so far. Raul and Miuri enter the first challenge. Nova is buried in the sand. With Lore as one of Fino’s ‘elites’, their battle is to scoop away the sand till the flag on her tit drops. Can Miuri even see this? She must be confused the whole time watching this. Raul knows he is screwed either way in this last move. The flag will drop and Nova will be completely exposed. But Nova believes in him. For some reason, Fino slips and drops it. Hero’s win? Now that Lore and Nova have become part of Raul’s party, they proceed to the next challenge. Raul is in a sword fight with Airi. A whirlpool destroys Airi’s armour and knocks Raul out. He remembers making a promise with Miuri that he will come home once he has become a hero. Even if she is the only person who believes in him, he will not disappoint her. He gets up and charges at Airi. Airi thought she won but Raul has the last laugh. Erm, why did he need to shred her clothes? He deserves a slap for that.

The next challenge sees Raul facing off with Elza and Lam with their super whirlwind washing machine. Airi jumps in to assist Raul and soon the battle turns into a different one… Because Elza admits she loves Raul and won’t lose to him! Airi is still a tsundere. But does Miuri understand what is happening? Because Raul is such a dense guy and wants them to stop them, the girls get upset and blast him. But I suppose he has to win the match and now with all the lot joining his party (is this a hero party or a harem?), they made it to Seara. Raul cuts her loose and thanks her for playing along but as we know, Seara has a trick up her sleeve. Fino appears as the last boss and with the giant plant monster, it grabs all the girls in its tentacles. I figure Fino ordered the wrong monster plant and the super kind so she too gets tentacle grabbed by the monster. The girls are put into a plant stem whereby all their clothes melt. Hmm… In place of tentacle rape, I guess this works as a substitute. Raul gets beaten up by the plant despite trying his best to save Miuri. Miuri actually had a feeling her brother isn’t a hero. He heard people talk back at her village that the hero programme was abolished. She refused to accept that he must have failed and the reason why he hasn’t returned. But now she believes he is one and emits a powerful magic to break everyone free. Then she transfers some of her magic into Raul’s sword for him to finish off the monster. Before Miuri leaves, Raul apologizes for getting her involved but she is happy to see his heroic side. But why does she have magic? Because she is the little sister of a hero. Simple. She takes a photo of them together and is now confident she can tell her parents and everyone in the village the hero Raul has become. No matter what everyone says, he will always be her hero. She is just puzzled that a hero’s job is a little pervy…

No Hard Feelings… It’s Only Business!
Reluctantly… I tried to have some faith in this anime but seriously… I am somewhat not impressed by it till the end. Though this anime has its funny moments especially seeing Fino trying to work hard in becoming a good salesperson of Leon but trying to mix in her demonic values and culture into it sure brings in a few laughter and giggles. But that is so much about it. After a while, you get tired of it because it is basically this same formula of super over-confident Fino trying her best to understand or explain a product but there is always Raul the straight guy to correct her. If not, as she is quite the naive girl but honestly eager wants to learn about her new surroundings, Raul has to give in and be patient and forgive her (because he’d be a jerk if he didn’t if a cutie pie like her shows us her bright sparkly eyes). A little fanservice here, a little fanservice there and that’s pretty much what this show is mainly about. Though it got a little interesting when Fino was reluctantly forced to become a Demon King at the end but then it turned out to be an ordinary rescue-the-damsel-and-bring-her-back affair. And it all ends well since Fino is back as a lowly employee instead of a menacing Demon King. I’m sure we all prefer the former because, yeah well, everybody is much happier that way.

Fino’s arrival in Raul’s life is somewhat a blessing in disguise. At first he becomes the reluctant senior in trying to teach her the ways of how to be a decent employee but slowly when she starts changing, he too began to change. He didn’t see her as a Demon King’s daughter or get worried about her status as one because after being with her long enough, he knows it well that she is just an ordinary girl who wants to do her best to make others happy. And this makes Raul question his own goal in life. Did he really want to become a hero? More importantly, the turn of events made him ponder if it is worth to become such a hero. What defines a hero? You don’t need to pick up a sword and shield, don an armour and go dragon slaying to be that traditional sense of hero. In every kind of job, the term of hero varies and as an employee of Leon, making customers happy and putting a smile on their face is already being a hero. In modern terms, that would be customer satisfaction. That leads to of course job satisfaction. Something I believe Raul has begun to accept as compared in the beginning where he was just reluctantly doing it because he had to. Now that he has put aside his hero ambition, he can fully give it all to Leon.

Fino as the spunky one sometimes it makes me wonder if she is really the daughter of the Demon King. I mean, she is so different and not acting like one that I thought she was adopted or something. The irony is that she has seen her father’s atrocities so many times and for sure as a daughter who grows up directly under her father’s eyes and even having his genes, this would mean there is a strong possibility that Fino would be a mean and badass character, right? Think about this. Do demons even know the meaning of kindness? That’s why I feel that it is odd that when Fino first made her appearance, she might be a little rough around the edges but overall, she is actually a nice girl. So how on Earth (or hell, rather) can she actually be the Demon King’s daughter? Then she mentioned there are many good demons too. WTF. Demons, good? Maybe for this anime but saying that means they aren’t really demons anymore. Unless their race is called Demons. Another odd thing about Fino is when she starts assuming her demonic cultures in her role as an employee. As she was surrounded by such an environment, it has become the norm for her that say, seeing blood in your products is a normal thing. Seeing demons devour others is the normal thing. Even so, how can she differentiate between what is good and bad based on humans’ values? Maybe that’s why it’s a good thing we have Raul by her side, eh? Fino’s innocence and simpleton is also what makes her likeable. She’s not that complicated to harbour big ambitious dreams of becoming a Demon King. Sometimes the silly things she does makes you smile. Like how she could fit and sleep in the kitchen sink just to cool down! Also, her evil trademark laughter sounds so raw… Feels unique, I guess. Everybody all together now, ha-ha-ha-haa…

Other characters feel sufficient as supporting Raul and Fino but I don’t think they will make a memorable impact in the long run like this series. They don’t feel deep either. For example, Visor is a person whom is filled with negativity and pessimism. It makes you wonder how he got this far in life. Maybe it’s because of that. You might have forgotten about his previous job as a magic engineer which I thought was some sort of hint to something. Not. You would also wonder the kind of job Airi did before Amada. But then again, maybe it is better off we do not know. There’s some sort of mystery surrounding Seara but I suppose it’s better to have a mysterious boss than spoil that kind of charm by revealing what she really is. Because she has this mysterious power of invoicing people (and with a smile) and also in the last minute, a used sword from her brother may have suggested that her family comes from a line of heroes. Then you also have Lam who is actually from the demon’s side but the reason why she is working on this side makes you wonder what her goals are. Unless it’s just to earn a living. I mean, what kind of job can you get in the demon world? And I’m sure she is very proud of her family name because she keeps reminding those who say her name (everyone takes the liberty to shorten it). I would have said it too if it wasn’t so tongue twisting confusing. At least it’s not as bad as this anime’s title. But I don’t think I even remember both names till the end. Right, Lam-chan? Lore is emotionless, does not talk much and it very much suits her role as a fix-it-all woman. Nova’s role feels like adding another cutie to the pack and for fanservice while Elza is just there as a potential love rival. Airi is tsundere. Enough said. Then there is Raid who feels like he could have been the main antagonist but that fizzled out when we see his ‘funny’ side at the end. Why didn’t he become Demon King himself? I’m sure the bloodline thingy doesn’t have to do for those who are interested to rule over the demons. Perhaps it is much better serving as an aide because you know, there is this huge responsibility to shoulder even if you’re a Demon King. You get to be more manipulative from the shadows and play puppeteer that way. Erm… Heard of Gil and Eric? I suppose business is thriving at a decent rate so you don’t hear any ‘complaints’ from them.

Speaking of love and romance, it feels fleeting. There are a handful of romantic-like scenes between Raul and Fino when they get too close but nothing pretty much materializes. It is Raul who is perhaps thinking too much since you only see it from him flustering after imagining them being a couple. Fino is more cool and I don’t think she even knows what love is (should demons?). Although there is a small part where she did mention her heart racing that would indicate it has something to do with love. Maybe it was the excitement of her shopping spree… Then there is Elza who may not have said it but her actions are obvious why she sticks around and doesn’t waste her chance to visit Leon whenever she has the chance. It’s more than just her ambitions to buy Leon products. Get what I’m saying. I am not sure if she did confess before or get rejected or didn’t get a reply. Raul was somewhat ‘cool’ when she was hinting about that dating thing or maybe he was just brushing it off as play-play, not serious. I’m sure it’s not for Elza. That’s why it’s interesting for Lam to stick around her and see how this development unfolds. She might have to wait for years, though… And of course you can’t discount Airi, the typical tsundere. Always chiding Raul, always feeling disappointed in him, always misjudging him. It’s like she cares so much about him. Really. Why care if he is ‘dating’ a ‘different girl’? Makes her sounds so jealous. Now she’s got that chance to be closer to him since she has begun working for Leon. I’m not sure about Nova because that butt swiping permission for Raul may be just something that Raul got ahead of himself. Because Nova has got her butt swiped so many times, it’s like she is ‘immune’ to it (although the surprise still scares her). Maybe she just wants a young handsome guy do the swiping instead of an old geezer. Maybe. And with all the potential love candidates at hand, let the love rivalry begin! I wonder how Raul can play hero in this area…

To alleviate the ‘boredom’, I guess that is why a little fanservice is needed with the exception of the OVA where the fanservice is upped a little notch to feature some bare tits. Otherwise mostly they are panty shots and scattered throughout the series. Serious ecchi lovers won’t be impressed by this but I felt that showing bits and pieces of fanservice felt like a ‘reward’ for us viewers watching this show (isn’t it supposed to be the case for all animes with fanservice?) as the mundane stuff of Fino trying to be a good employee and Raul a good teacher to her sets in. The ‘biggest’ fanservice moment has got to be Airi’s hero gear. To put it in short, she’s like wearing panty hose that covers her entire body! She does wear an armour but it was so easily broken off, I guess it is better she just fights around without it. Besides, she moves faster and more agile without them while we feast our eyes on this hero fashion faux pas. Seriously, I thought that it was ironic that she felt so much more embarrassed wearing the Playboy bunny suit which actually covers up more than this panty hose outfit.

Sometimes I find it weird to see a mixture of modern and fantasy stuffs in this anime. I know this anime is partly fantasy setting but something in me just doesn’t feel used to when seeing dragons and funny creatures pulling vehicles like carts. This is the transportation of this world? Feels cartoonish. Especially the cart that they are pulling I thought they wanted to put in some futuristic feel but at the end of the day I personally thought it just looks cartoonish. And then you have some household whereby somebody stands out there recharging the magic meter. It looks like he is standing there because his hands got stuck in something… No, seriously. I thought so.

This anime may not be teaching us about the business world but it sure does try teaching us the main and important things in a service industry where the direct customer is king. One of the many important things people look for when buying a product isn’t its features and sometimes its price. Often, it is the attitude of the salesperson that determines whether a customer buys a product or not. It depends on the feel good factor the salesperson brings. Like in Raul’s case, he and his team was willing to go all the way and out of his job scope just to make his customer happy. Technically, grandma isn’t his customer because she or her son didn’t buy the product for him. But yet, Raul does what he can to solve the problem that isn’t in his area of expertise. He did something he was not obliged to do and in the end, the customer was happy to fork out more to buy his company’s product instead of something cheaper. I would definitely return to buy products from a salesperson who is as dedicated as Raul! Won’t you agree with me? And there’s your repeat customer. This is what you call long term benefits instead of short term monetary or profit gains. Keep up the good work. I guess this is also why the perverted old man keeps coming back to shop at Leon. Can I also please swipe your butt, Nova? Many would have screamed sexual harassment but when your store isn’t doing so good… Also, it shows that a small store like Leon can survive against a giant like Amada not because of its range of products or its competitive pricing. Notice how Leon usually sells other stuffs that are not normally sold by other outlets? You can say maybe a particular group of people only buys from them but hey, they are still customers. And I believe that those otaku people are sizeable in number seeing each time they come to Leon that sells ‘leftovers’, they’ll just grab everything. Therefore, smaller stores can still survive because they carry rare products, something that big chains do not because they get their discounts in buying bulk.

Another point to ponder about the business world is the effect of something may have an entire effect on others. In this case, the hero industry. When the Demon King was defeated, it made many under this industry to go under or unemployed. Lots of dream dashed. But if you think about it, even in the case if Raul and co were to successfully defeat the Demon King, wouldn’t it be the same problem then? How long can Raul and co live and be treated like heroes? Humans have short term memories. Yesteryear’s heroic efforts are fast forgotten especially when the economy is bad. So seriously, would Raul have fared better had he become the real hero? Which brings to another point of collusion. Just like in any industry, to squeeze more out of consumer’s cash, they fix prices like a cartel and in this case we see how Blaze, Klein and Raid conspire with each other just to revive the hero industry. But then it’s back to square one. If the Demon King was defeated, will they truly live like heroes? If they let the Demon King live for the next round of heroes to go in and defeat, then there will never be heroes, right? Sure, the cycle continues and the industry thrives but no true heroes will be made. So it’s pretty ironic in this anime’s sense that the heroes became desperate bad guys, got lost in their dream and ambition and did something silly just for short term gain. I know. They should have reluctantly gotten a job instead of dreaming of glories that never materialized. Now who is going to pay their medical bills…

Next time you are thinking about complaining about how boring your job is or how much it sucks, just be reminded that there are other jobs out there that are much worse than what you are doing. Like cleaning elephant poo at the zoo. Really. If you think being customer is king and is always right, just remember that the salesperson is also human just like everyone else. Unless you’re the daughter of the Demon King. Still, that doesn’t exempt you for being treated differently. They make mistakes and have feelings too. If both sides reciprocate kindness, in the end everybody will be feeling a lot happier. Looking back at the title of the anime, it somehow reminded myself of something similar. How should I put it… Because I couldn’t become a useful person, so I reluctantly decided to become an otaku.

Freezing: Vibration

May 16, 2014

Although in my last blog I did mention the possibility of a sequel but I wasn’t really hoping for it. So when Freezing: Vibration came out, I thought the only reason why people would watch this is because of tits. Yup. Boobs. Isn’t that what the show was mainly about? Isn’t that how we remembered the first season? Me? I’m back again because I haven’t heard Mamiko Noto’s voice in a long time so before I start getting withdrawal symptoms, this one would do since she voices the main character here. What? Don’t believe me? Sure, the story was supposed to be about teenage girls pairing up with younger boys to fight insanely powerful creatures that terrorize the planet. However for pretty much of the first season, all you get are in-fighting among the b*tches, b*tch fights, b*tch slaps, b*tch curses and lots of b*tches trying to maintain the order of their school instead of putting their priority to save mankind. Serious. That’s why I don’t blame you and for those who have watched the season to remember this anime as some tits showing series. Serious. And the first season was only aired in 2011. Wow. That’s a pretty long time, eh?

Talking about tits and boobs means this show has got to be uncensored, right? For those who remembered watching the first season, there was this atrocious choice of watching your favourite tits in the old display resolution of 4:3 but for those opting the widescreen version, it would be totally censored. Don’t worry, folks. This season you don’t have to worry about the resolutions anymore. They’re all widescreens. However there is still the censored and uncensored version. The source that I watched was the uncensored one and if you ask me, there is nothing much to shout about. Is it because I’m used to it or come to expect what this show is good for? Sure, you still get to see the girls naked from the top but it’s not like they’re going to spam you in every frame of it (okay, maybe every a couple of minutes or so). I wonder if more extra scenes will be added if you buy the BDs. That would perhaps be a different story but then again, how much would it differ to get your 2 cents more worth of tits? Besides, doesn’t the second title sound suspiciously perverted? If you have a perverted mind…

Episode 1: Pandora Returns
Kazuya, Satellizer and Rana are on a plane flying through the Alaskan blizzard. So cold that Rana wants Kazuya to touch that warm part of hers… Why is Satellizer letting her monopolizing him? Anyway, suddenly a Nova Type-S is spotted and they are ordered to take it out and prevent it from reaching and destroying a nearby petroleum base. The trio drop into action and they have several plane reinforcements that fire all kinds of missiles at the Nova but as usual, nothing works. The trio manage to destroy the Nova but feel something amiss. It’s too easy. True enough, the Nova re-emerges and almost kills Satellizer (cue for her clothes to get ripped). Thankfully she is saved by Pandora reinforcements in the name of Elizabeth and Chiffon and their Limiters. At the end, they realize this Nova is a dummy. Someone faked a distress signal to call them into action just to test them. While on a ship to the E-Pandora lab, Rana tries to hog Kazuya for herself, causing Satellizer to get jealous and clumsy. Maybe this is where the real battle is. As narrated, this E-Pandora programme is to find girls who failed the aptitude test and were incompatible as a Pandora, another chance to become one. This is done by implanting artificially created Stigmata. This experiment was recently approved due to the shortage of Pandoras but whether it will be a success or not remains to be seen. Because as we know, many Pandoras lose their lives when they fight against Novas. However some like Dr Gengo opposed to it because of ethical and moral grounds. Inside the lab, the girls meet several top Pandoras from all over the world who happen to be acquaintance of Chiffon. They are American Roxanne Elipton, French Charles Bonaparte, German Julia Munberk and even an old face, Cathy. British Holly Rose seems to be missing. How come I smell almost Infinite Stratos harem setting… The head of E-Pandora project, Scarlet Ohara (sorry, not related to the one from Gone With The Wind) announces this project is to artificially produce Stigmata compatible subjects and thus require their original Pandora’s data. This will lessen the need to rely on extremely rare people who are naturally compatible as a Pandora. Roxanne thinks there are human experiments in this project, the reason Gengo opposed it. Then several girls from the E-Pandora project pop up. Stand off?

Episode 2: Evolution Pandora
Thankfully no untoward incident happen. But there might be one happening now because Rana is upset Kazuya and Satellizer are put in the same room while she herself is alone. Now it’s Satellizer’s turn to rub it back at her. Care to switch rooms? Hell, no! There is an exhibition match between original Pandoras against Evolution Pandoras. Rattle and Gina Papleton go up against Anna Parker and Jung Ara respectively but are noticeably weaker and easily defeated. Amelia Evans will take on Elizabeth and the former seems cocky she is not like the other duo. Well, Elizabeth too may sound cocky as she wants to know how much power to hold back. And though Amelia may be slightly different than her modified counterparts (she can summon a weapon), she is still no match for Elizabeth who beats her up not because she is a cocky b*tch but rather she feels it is her duty to provide accurate data as close as possible. Elizabeth wants to match to be called off since Amelia is injured but the latter wants to continue. Even Ohara gives the green light till somebody is incapacitated. Elizabeth knocks her out with a few quick and powerful strikes. Amazingly, Amelia gets back up on her feet. Then Ohara calls off the match because Amelia fainted while standing up. It makes the rest wonder about her will and drive. Why did she go this far? Is it her pride as an Evolution Pandora? In the locker room, Gina is obviously upset because it makes them feel the originals are like spoilt girls who know nothing about suffering and making a mockery of all the efforts they put in. But Amelia is calm and mature. The reason they entered this experiment was to escape their individual hardship. Coming here brought those with the same pain together. They made irreplaceable friends. They should gracefully admit their defeat this time and work hard for the next. During dinner, Elizabeth sits next to Amelia and co. Despite explaining she comes from a family that produces luxury goods, she was humble to say that her victory against Amelia was because she was born with compatible Stigmata and had been a Pandora longer than her. Family line has nothing to do with it. She also tells them the harsh realities of the world. It is unfair but being weak doesn’t mean you are always defeated. Besides, they’re gathered here to make them stronger using their data. With Rana supporting that call, everyone cheers and become good friends. But this happiness may not last because Ohara dreads telling what is to happen next. Because she has been given the ‘approval’ by project director, Marks Spencer to use a dangerous Mark IV drug. He doesn’t care how many Evolution Pandoras die because new ones are always easy to get.

Episode 3: Mark IV
Ohara reveals Mark IV to the Pandoras and its use of raising the Evolutions on par with the originals. It will be done via injecting nanomachines into their body. Some wonder if their body can endure all that. Later Amelia sees Ohara and is concerned about Mark IV. Because Mark III was a failure and Amelia herself nearly died. Ohara assures it is an upgraded version but since she is still suspicious, she scolds her like a mother scolding a child. She should just obey. Even when she is told to die, she has no right to refuse! However she won’t let her die that easily. That was enough to bring some smiles to Amelia’s face. After Rana and Satellizer are done with one of their silly ‘competitions’, Rana accidentally bumps into Rattle, causing her to drop her ice cream. Rattle quickly picks it back up and tries to eat it. Gina thinks Rana was laughing at her and insulting them. Satellizer quickly takes Rana away before the girls get rough. Satellizer overheard Amelia’s pep talk to them the other day. Rattle joined this programme just to escape hunger. Satellizer puts it bluntly to Gina, at the rate they are now, they cannot defeat them. Gina is so upset about it that she volunteers herself to be a test subject for Mark IV. Amelia opposes but Gina wants to be strong for them this time. She reminds Amelia that her little brother is waiting outside. Gina then tells Satellizer about her volunteer because she saw the Pandora data they are going to use belongs to Satellizer. After administering Mark IV into her, the mock battle between Gina and Satellizer begins. Now she can deploy her own Volt Weapon and do high level techniques like Acceleration. This fight is broadcasted to the public and their views on this are positive. All part of Spencer’s plan. He wants to do the same for the next few matches. Of course what they didn’t tell the public, the after effects of it is slowly eating away Gina’s body tissues. But Spencer wants her to remain alive even if it means becoming a living dead. Ohara even knows that Gina is slowly changing into Nova and this experiment had no chance of success in the first place. And then it happened. Gina’s vital signs go berserk and she breaks out from the lab. Spencer panics and orders her to be contained for fear this might leak out to the public. In his desperate attempt, he orders the Pandoras to take care of it. He doesn’t care how many, just get it done!

Episode 4: Mate
Satellizer is supposed to be on standby but rushes to the scene anyway. She has a bad feeling about this. During her fight with Gina, the match was prematurely stopped because Ohara explains it has reached its objective that Mark IV can improve their speed and strength. This was some sort of ‘victory’ to the Evolutions. And suddenly Gina doesn’t hate the world anymore. It’s like she understands what it’s like to be a Pandora (because it’s Satellizer’s data, right?). She’s glad to be part of this project. Oh, really? And look what fine mess she has gotten into? Elizabeth fights Gina and is no match. She could have been killed if Amelia didn’t block that strike. In her fading consciousness, Gina ekes out that Mark IV is a sham. Her body slowly turns into Nova as Charles uses her high end skills to beat up Gina. However Gina adapts to her pattern and fights back. That’s when Charles gets real and serious. Upping the attacks and seemingly enjoying it. Charles is in the path of Gina’s fatal blast but thanks to Amelia who was trying to prevent Charles from killing her friend, the beam missed her by a whisker. In the aftermath, Charles looked so shocked. Like as though she just realized she committed murder. Amelia is most distraught. She is upset Charles had the power to stop her but had to kill Gina instead. Gina’s friends hold a ‘funeral’ by burning away her stuffs. Amelia confronts Ohara about the failure of this project. However Ohara says the experiment has not ended yet. What if nobody obeys to do this? Don’t worry, they’ll be made to obey. I guess Satellizer wants to confront Ohara too. I mean, it’s her data they used, right? Feeling responsible? Especially after how she made some friendship pact with Gina after their match. Elizabeth won’t let her. Because it’s not her job and all the more reason to stay out of this. Now Elizabeth talks to Amelia. The latter paints a gloomy outlook that the experiments will continue as though nothing has happened. She hints she will volunteer to be the next guinea pig to protect her comrades. She even asks Elizabeth for a favour that if she loses her life, please go see her little brother and tell him they’ve fought as friends. Then Elizabeth talks to Chiffon about the suspicious Mark IV. However Chiffon as a Chevalier has to put humankind’s interest first. It is their job to do their utmost even if it means fighting to their deaths. Playing politics isn’t part of the job description. Elizabeth takes it that she will need to get help from her Mably family. It’s like Satellizer who has a knack for eavesdropping, overheard everything and also hints she might bring in help from her El Bridget family. But Elizabeth tells her to stay out and incapacitates her limbs.

Episode 5: Noblesse Oblige
Satellizer is now wheelchair ridden. She is to be sent back to West Genetics. Look on the bright side. At least Kazuya is coming with her. They’ll be alone… But Satellizer wants to fly to Bali, Indonesia. Elizabeth talks to Andre that she is planning to leak top secret information to her father who is also the head of the Mably family and conglomerate. It may be reckless and amounting to treason but the world and media will definitely listen to this man. But it might put her family in danger. She explains about noblesse oblige that her father instilled into her. It is the means to conduct oneself with responsibility and morality. As an aristocrat and Pandora, it is her noblesse oblige to protect those who are weaker. She doesn’t want Andre to get involved but as her Limiter, I guess that won’t do. He’ll follow her wherever she goes. Few days later, she is summoned to the main HQ to see Spencer. She knows trouble is brewing as there are active Chevalier soldiers around. Spencer shows her the report she was supposed to send to her family, ending up in his hands. She was sure her family took every precaution. Spencer puts it that if the head of the Mably family sought for advice from someone who also worked for Chevalier, naturally the reports will end up here. Spencer seeks her explanation for doing this. She cannot accept this. The fact he hid the truth Mark IV could turn one into Nova. He reminds her it is her job to obey. She has her under arrest. I’m not sure what kind of drug Elizabeth is administered to but Spencer doesn’t care and increases the dosage even if it might do irreparable damage. Because a Pandora isn’t so weak that they would break easily.

Rana is bored to death that Kazuya is gone (I see she’s taking this quite calmly). So bored that she got time to get involve in affairs of others. Like how she sees Andre trying to get pass the Chevalier to see Elizabeth who has been ‘summoned for business’ and has not returned for days. Chiffon doesn’t think they can do anything and return to their room. Just then, Elizabeth is returned but she looks dead. Like a vegetable. No response. No reaction. I suppose this hurts Andre even more. Yeah, probably Elizabeth has no more feelings… Suddenly on TV, the Mably family is reported to be in some big scandal. Fraud, corruption and massive misuse and abuse of just about anything. There is a big protest too. Andre reveals that this is Chevalier’s doing. They are destroying the Mably family for their act of turning against them. They spied on Chevalier on the use of Mark IV. Despite its failure, Chevalier needed public support to keep E-Pandora project going. Therefore those Evolutions are expandable guinea pigs. Elizabeth did it although she is very well aware of the consequences to prevent any further casualties. Amelia who happens to have overheard all this just feels so sad. She never knew Elizabeth was this kind. Meanwhile Satellizer and Kazuya just arrived at Bali. She sees the newspaper headlines regarding the Mably family and knows something has happened. They are picked up by a butler and being driven in a limo to the El Bridget’s resort run by her sister Violet. OMG. She looks like Saber… Anyway Violet is more interested in Kazuya probably since he is the first boy she brought back home. Yeah, smothering Kazuya in her boobs. Violet mentions their parents are also here. And also Louis… Isn’t he Satellizer’s younger brother who abused and almost raped her? Yup. He’s here. The traumatic memories return…

Episode 6: Marionettes
Louis is also a Limiter of the Genetics Britain (UK) branch. His Pandora is Holly. Holy… As Satellizer is still traumatized about her past, that night Louis pays her a visit in her room. He tells her that the scandal involving the Mably family was a frame setup by Chevalier. Because they had suspicions of the E-Pandora project and the information they get from the family network, the reason why Holly and Louis didn’t participate. He knows she came back here to get the family involved. But will father listen to her, especially she is the daughter of his mistress. Furthermore, mother hates her, right? However, father might listen if Louis is the one who is asking. He will do it on one condition: Satellizer must return to who she was before. His doll. That means reliving those abuse and cruel times. Satellizer thought she is a different person now but since her goal is to stop E-Pandora, she gives in. And so the abuse starts… Or continues rather. First Louis forces her to call him what she usually does (Master) and reminds her that he is the only one capable of protecting her in this family. That wuss won’t do. Speaking of Kazuya, where the f*ck is he? Louis is having his way with her and more effective than whatever got into Elizabeth because Satellizer is like a vegetable under his spell. She allows him to do whatever he wants but he slaps her. Then it’s like he got scared and pulls back. He regrets raising his hand to his sister and doesn’t understand why he did that. Wait a minute. This demon has got a conscious? Next morning, Kazuya (here he is now) shows up outside Satellizer’s room but she isn’t feeling well so she locks him out. Kazuya has breakfast with Louis. The latter gets straight to the point. He is relieved Kazuya and Satellizer hasn’t Baptized yet. He throws Kazuya a return ticket and some money as severance fee. He wants him to cut ties with Satellizer and find a new partner. Blah, blah, blah. Of course Kazuya won’t accept it and tears it up. Because whatever happens between them is none of the little brother’s concern. Trying to talk big now, eh? Kazuya and Satellizer are called out to the ruins by Louis. He is going to show Kazuya reality. He makes Satellizer repeatedly call him master and then has her undress. Kazuya wants to put a stop to this but gets beaten up. He believes Satellizer isn’t that kind of person so Louis reveals their family past. Even so, Kazuya believes in her. She is a strong person, the only one he loves and needs. Wowee. Who gave him permission to confess? It seems Louis has Holly under his command too. He wants to see Kazuya’s resolve and orders Holly to cut off his arms.

Episode 7: Spellbound
Satellizer defies Louis and moves to protect Kazuya. She’s touched by his words and will protect him from any threats. But of course. So when they start fighting, it’s like Holly has this jealousy in her speech. I think it is. Louis could only think of Satellizer. Holly offered to be by his side but his sister complex was much stronger. He abused Holly and almost raped her. What hurt her most was his words that she isn’t worthy of being Satellizer’s substitute. It’s no wonder Holly is in a way pissed with her. Louis makes a deal. If Satellizer beats Holly, he’ll talk to father for her. The high speed battle rages on. I can’t help notice they have this habit of slicing each other’s cleavage. With Kazuya providing moral support, Satellizer gets back on her feet and uses her Stigmata wings. Kazuya is so mad of Satellizer’s defiance that he now orders Holly to kill her. He thought he could cheat by using his Ereinbar Set but Kazuya interferes and nullifies it. In the end, Satellizer wins after cutting deep into Holly’s arm. Louis couldn’t believe it. He lost. He couldn’t accept reality. Then it suddenly hit him. Satellizer was no longer alone. She no longer needed him. Well, life sucks. There’s no meaning to it now. He jumps off the cliff! Trying to take the easy way out? Holly was fast enough to dive down with him. Then all the good memories of their time spent together resurface. He should have realized there was a beautiful chick always by his side. Louis wakes up alive and the first thing he is concerned is about Holly. Don’t worry. She’s still breathing. And it’s like he is a whole new person because he sounds and acts so much kinder! Is this the Louis we know?! He even thanks Satellizer! What a big change! Later, Kazuya gets an international call from Rana. I don’t know how she squeezed everything into a minute about Elizabeth’s situation before their call can be traced. Rana wants them back at Alaska now. Louis sends the duo in his private jet. He is prepared to atone for his sins and will talk to father on her behalf. Wow. Really changed indeed. Meanwhile Ohara seems to be cultivating a nasty army of hers in those incubation tubes. These babies will be the ones who will save the world in the next Nova Crash, which isn’t very far away.

Episode 8: Rebellion
Gengo gets a call from Howard (Satellizer’s father) to meet. Ohara is not pleased that Spencer wants her to continue with the administration of Mark IV. She is made to remember her position as the world wants to see more success of E-Pandora, expending a few more is no big deal. When several Pandoras talk about the rumours of their kind turning into a Nova, Charles tells them that it is their job to destroy Nova and obey any orders from above. Amelia confronts Ohara after she has found out Rattle will be the next test subject. She volunteers herself to be it but Ohara rejects. Rattle will proceed as the next test subject, like it or not. Roxanne is talking to her fellow friends about Pandoras and Nova. What do they know about Nova? What does humanity know about Nova? Nothing. Seriously. Thinking the world will be screwed if Nova attacks here now because some sort of powerful photon generator is housed here that packs a hundred million times to power of nuclear bombs. Then they realize when they are making reference to the Bible’s Tower of Babel. Could it be that mankind has created some technology that would breach God’s area so they sent creatures to destroy them? Amelia talks to Elizabeth (still in coma). She tells her about Rattle being the next victim but will go fight for her friends. Cathy is one of the many that doesn’t know about Elizabeth’s condition. Rana’s slip of tongue has her find out. She is horrified to see Elizabeth’s state. Julia doesn’t care about this. This angers them but seriously, what is it that she is supposed to feel and care? Ohara remembers how she managed to decode the entire genome map of Maria to Gengo. However he is not pleased and that Tower of Babel answer cropped up. Ohara argued about the stuffs they could do with this discovery but Gengo viewed it as blasphemy. Due to their difference in opinion, he bans her from his lab. Till today Ohara never felt she was wrong and believes Maria’s power must be placed under humanity’s control. Amelia and the other Evolutions begin their rebellion. They break into Ohara’s lab to steal the Mark IV. Because Rattle knows she is doing this to let her friends escape, they want to do this together. Because they’re friends. Everyone injects the drug into themselves and fights off the Chevalier guards. At least they’ve achieved their dream of becoming a Pandora even if they have to die in the end and put a stop to this project. Amelia goes to find Ohara’s experiment logs but is instantly stopped by Julia. She is about to get owned but look who is back? Yeah. Satellizer and Kazuya. Siding with the traitors? Satellizer puts it as protecting what is important to them.

Episode 9: Traitor
Satellizer slaps Amelia because she shouldn’t have rebelled like this. Besides, she already has the El Bridget family investigate this matter. Yeah. How would she know? Rana can’t stand doing nothing and decides to do something although she hasn’t thought out of what she wants to do. Geddit? Then she bumps into Satellizer’s battle. Nice timing. Then she gets owned by Julia. At least she gets to be in Kazuya’s arms. For some reason, Elizabeth wakes up from her coma and gets going. It’s like she’s not weakened or in daze. Chiffon stops her using her authority as Chevalier. But when Elizabeth tells her she was once a girl whom she respected and now she has lost that respected, she just let her go? Cathy offers to take care of Julia so that the rest can go ahead. Cathy thought she had her with her Quattro Full Accel but she herself got injured due to some Sonic Wave Volt Weapon thingy Julia had. Whatever. Outside, the gang are confronted by Chevalier guards but they are swiftly taken out by Elizabeth. Then Satellizer and Elizabeth get into their rich girl argument. Because Elizabeth wants her to stay out as not to be labelled as traitors but Satellizer argues her recklessness caused her family to fall apart. They thought there is time to change Amelia back but she says she has understood after injecting the drug. She can’t turn back and the most she can do is expose to the world this hideous experiment. By the time they are going to get going, look who is here? Charles. She badmouths those ‘imitations’ and this upsets Amelia a lot because she’s saying bad about Gina. It causes her to nearly transform into a Nova. Elizabeth reminds her about her goal to expose the leadership flaw. This made Charles remember that her father told her he was willing to play the villain to save countless people. Elizabeth orders Satellizer and Rana to protect Amelia as they push forward while she stays back to handle Charles. She doesn’t need to beat her. Just keep her busy.

Episode 10: True Pandora
Satellizer’s group now faces Chiffon in the way. They’re going to wipe the smirk of her face. Can they? Even after all that pounding, Chiffon can still get back up and with that creepy smile. Anyway they lost. Satellizer and Rana realize that if they aren’t ready to take risks, they can’t beat her. Julia suggests that the winner can do anything to the loser. Doesn’t that just motivate you? Andre uses his immense power that is on par with suicide so that Elizabeth could defeat Charles. I’m not sure if she missed because just before they can celebrate their victory, Charles was swift enough to slice Elizabeth. Charles can’t lose either because she is betting her life and hope on this project that is initiated by her father, Spencer. Wait. He, her father? Well, not blood related. He picked her up while she was freezing to death in the cold slums. And of course he found her compatible to be a Pandora. To show her gratitude, she would do anything he asked. Andre unleashes an even more powerful and suicide move just to show Charles that she cannot beat his milady’s will. He is willing to give his life for her victory. Then at point blank range, she fires a shot at her stomach but short of killing her because she wants to teach her that true victory doesn’t necessary mean risking one’s life (isn’t that a contradiction to what Andre said?). Charles thought she killed Andre in this meaningless battle for her selfish reasons but was lectured back instead that there is no victory gained in losing those dear. Everyone fights because they have something they hold dear. Don’t worry. Andre is still alive. Cathy wins her battle via her Quintuple Full Accel! Woah! Just how fast can it get?! But she’s not really interested in that loser-abide-the-winner thingy. Since Chiffon continues to stand up after taking all that beating, Satellizer wonders if she is human or even a Pandora. Chiffon replies that she is what you call a true Pandora. Amelia has reached Ohara’s lab but since the other Chevalier guards hint that Rattle is dead, she becomes enraged and turns into her Nova form and kills them all. Then she sees those bodies in the tubes.

Episode 11: Nova Crash
Ohara explains these are Type-Maria Pandora and she has been cloning them to fight Nova. So what the hell was E-Pandora for? This is her personal project that goes under the radar of Chevalier. Amelia feels so betrayed that she turns into a real giant Nova. Ohara thought the barrier will nullify her Stigmata system but it seems the Marias are resonating with her and nullify it. All the Marias burst out from the tubes and get absorbed into the Nova. Ohara suddenly realizes what she is doing was akin to the Tower of Babel. Too late to regret now. Nova is like divine punishment from God, right? Did she get one too with a concrete slab falling on her? The Nova tears apart everything and guess where is it going? Yeah. The photon generator. The special alert is sounded. Spencer is confronted by Gengo and his Chevalier inspection team as per requested by the El Bridget family. Not only has Spencer performed outlandish human experiments but he also created a Nova. Yup. Nova doesn’t come from another dimension but created here! Oh, the revelation! That’s why its dimensional vibrations had an unusual pattern. They arrest Spencer as Gengo takes over. Gengo has Lee Su-Na head the Pandora platoon and orders all Pandoras and Limiters to the frontlines. However almost all the Pandoras become paralyzed upon hearing its scream. Due to their high level Stigmata compatibility, it causes them to take the full brunt of Nova’s mental deterioration. Satellizer is one of those unfortunates and turns into a raging beast while Chiffon fights to subdue her. Kazuya is told to enter into Satellizer’s inner mind to save her. Otherwise Chiffon will kill her if she turns into a true Nova. It may be risky that if the link fails, he will die but he won’t stand for Chiffon killing her. Now where to look in her great big mind… Satellizer inside her mind is a sad girl. She is devastated over the death of her real mom and is feeling lonely. She thinks of going to where her mom is and regrets lots of things (one of them being the Baptism with Kazuya they never had, I suppose). Kazuya calls out to her but surprisingly it is Rana that reaches out and pulls Satellizer back out. I guess that’s what strong rivals are for. Though they’re back in the game, the Nova unleashes anomalies. Several Maria Novas drop into battle and the casualty rate of the Pandoras increases. Holly and Louis are also part of the platoon fighting the menace. The Nova moves closer to the generator and before it is Satellizer’s group. Chiffon has no choice but to unleash her Anti Nova move. It’s time to put your lives on the line.

Episode 12: Shaft Of Light
Chiffon knocks down the Nova but it evolves and gets back up. She notes she must pay a similar price in order to stop it. And so Chiffon becomes a Transformer. At least her transforming scene into a Nova! All the Marias also got resurrected and merge into one big mother to power up the Nova. Now the photon generator is within its firing range. Amazingly Chiffon stops the blast singlehandedly. Chiffon could hear Amelia’s voice and they talk. Amelia couldn’t understand why she protects the humans seeing she isn’t one. That is all the more reason why she wants to protect them. They are weak and she hopes Amelia can forgive them. Because she too is on the verge of committing the same sin humans do. Amelia wants to end this but her hatred is too much for her to hold back any longer. Nova then changes shape. A big ball. It’s going to self destruct and take out the photon. Gengo issues an order to all Pandoras and Limiters to take underground shelter. But it’s too late for most of them near the Nova. So how? Chiffon is going to protect them. It’s like she too has one last talk with Satellizer. Explaining Amelia’s hatred is so deep that it can’t be stop. Perhaps humanity should pay for what they have done but even so, Chiffon wants to protect her friends. So it’s goodbye Chiffon? Chiffon shows Rattle is still alive and this brings a big relief to Amelia. And then the big giant ball just beams away into space. It starts snowing, erm, life force? A tiny life force makes its way back to West Genetics and to Ticy’s room. Now it’s her turn to have one last chat with Ticy and pass the baton to her. She is devastated to learn Chiffon is no longer around. The Pandoras could feel the warmth in the falling little life balls. Satellizer notes it is the love left behind by Chiffon. In the aftermath, Rattle and Amelia survive the ordeal and all the bio-effects of the experiment on them are wiped away. They should be on the road to recovery. Ohara is also alive but has not awakened from her coma since. After Spencer’s arrest, E-Pandora project is permanently terminated. Elizabeth plans to stop being a Pandora to take care of heavily wounded Andre. She can’t bear to have another guy as her Limiter-cum-partner. She also regrets scorning Chiffon. But if Elizabeth and Chiffon are no longer around, who is going to lead West Genetics? You’ll know soon enough… Ticy… Boy, she’s got a mean look on her face… Scary…

Specials

In addition to seeing great HD bare tits, you also get 6 extra 3-minute short but super fanservice specials that come along with when you buy the BDs. ‘Unfortunately’ at the time of the release of my blog, I have only watched the first five. Phew.

Special 1
To sum up this first special, Satellizer has been hooked onto some emotion sharing simulation device module that allows Amelia, Gina and Rattle to feel the oh-so-good sensation that Satellizer is feeling. We don’t give a crap about this module that supposedly links and shares information, blah, blah, blah. Who cares about all that? We are here to see the girls in orgasmic pleasure! Behold the true strength of the original Pandoras! In the end, the sensation was too great that the E-Pandoras admit they lost. Why the heck is Kazuya in tears?! Maybe he doesn’t like the idea of somebody molesting his Satellizer…

Special 2
Ohara enlists Charles’ help. As a result of this experiment, Charles now spots humungous boobs! On par with the biggest boobs in the academy who are no other than Elizabeth, Roxanne and Satellizer. Charles shows them a secret equipment that allows breast enlargement. Or rather, it accelerates the growth of your boobs. Ohara arrives too late to warn them they need to read the manual and avoid using it wrongly. I don’t know if the wrong way is the right way because although their boobs remain the same, we see them all out and ‘satisfied’. So people, it is important to read the manual!

Special 3
Julia asks Satellizer and Rana about Cathy and they remember she wants to be a novelist. Due to Julia’s sick idea of developing some lesbian relationship with Cathy by doing the same hobby, she too wrote a novel. A twisted and perverted version of Cinderella whereby Cathy is the poor and pitiful titular character who gets sexually harassed and molest by her evil step mother and step sisters. Like in the story, she cannot go to the ball but Julia the fairy godmother magical girl is no different since she too starts turning Cathy naked with pretence to wash her body clean. The story ends there with the continued molestation…

Special 4
Taking place after Louis tries to kill himself by jumping off the cliff and Holly came diving for him. Kazuya also jumped in when Satellizer did so. The ladies manage to bring the unconscious guys back up on land. However seeing how cold they are, Holly begins to take off her clothes and rub her master some body warmth. Satellizer adopts a monkey see, monkey do approach on Kazuya. I don’t know if the guys are faking it because the fingers look perfectly fine molesting those boobs. And they’re still saying how cold it is… Suspicious. Our ladies go faster and faster from Double Accel to Triple to hundred Accel in that rhythmic back and forth action. Rubbing at the speed of light! They’re on fire! So much so the ice melted and split in half! WTF?! Shouldn’t they have moved the guys to somewhere warmer instead of staying on that block of ice?

Special 5
Roxanne finds out Satellizer and Kazuya hasn’t been Baptized yet. Probably the reason cheeky Rana says she still has a chance with him. Roxanne offers to teach her method of seduction. First she has Satellizer try out several skimpy underwear. Rana is a natural in her loincloth. Then she makes them do embarrassing seductive positions complete with seductive moaning. Rana totally enjoys it while Satellizer must be embarrassed to death. The real test comes when Roxanne throws Kazuya at them. Satellizer can’t take it anymore and screams. This has Chiffon coming smashing in to find out the ruckus. But when she learns what they are doing, she wants to join in too! The more the merrier? Kazuya, you lucky bastard…

Freaking Violation!
Honestly, I wasn’t really impressed with this season and personally I think it fared as bad as the last season. Firstly, the main duo of the series who are supposed to be Satellizer and Kazuya (and possibly Rana too) have been reduced to secondary characters. Don’t you just feel it that they didn’t really play a major role for this entire season? It was mainly about the Evolutions and some of the newer casts. Therefore when Satellizer and Kazuya returned to Bali, the ‘break’ felt like it was just to remind us who the main star of this show was. Sadly, even the Bali escapade wasn’t much and was just to showcase Satellizer being freed from the chains of her rapist brother. It felt like Louis was the one in control of everything till the final breakout moments. Kazuya was just a wuss and so I feel that their unbreakable bond between them was just a convenient excuse to end this misery and let Satellizer go free.

Instead of them, it felt like Elizabeth, Amelia and ultimately Chiffon who took on the main character role. Although Elizabeth failed to bring her family’s help in and faltered, at least she left some sort of impact unlike Satellizer’s family who suddenly out of the blue, well, just came into the picture (in the background) and set things right. It is as good as putting the FBI and CIA turning up at the doorstep and arresting the big bad guy. Because of Elizabeth’s noble and principled ways, it played a big part in overshadowing Satellizer as the main character. The mind boggling part was how she managed to get back up back to normal after Spencer administered some powerful drug into her system. Like as though she was never subjected to it in the first place. I know it will wear off in time but don’t you think she would still be weakened? Convenience for the story plot, I guess.

With this season having it season way up north in the cold freezing ice desert of Alaska, I thought it was a pretty convenient ploy to ‘kill off’ many of the characters of West Genetics from the first season. Characters like Ganessa, Ingrid, Attia, Creo, Arnett, Leo, Yumi, Elise, Miyabi, Kaho and Arthur were totally absent and missing. Remember those bunch? I think I forgot almost half of them. It’s like as though they have ‘died’ and not mentioned at all. So if you don’t remember them, it’s okay since they won’t have any bearings on this season at all. Ticy too would have fallen under this statistic had she not made her stinking one minute of appearance at the end, which also serves to be another big cliff-hanger teaser. Because you can see the rage on this girl’s face. So mad and upset that her best friend died, that you think she has this potential of becoming a Nova! More on this matter later.

But some of the new characters this season were also so-so. Those top Pandoras like Roxanne, Charles and Julia didn’t do much in particular except fight their fellow Pandoras. Therefore if you thought that this season would be void of all those catty fights you see in the first season, it is somewhat the same here because at first it was the discrimination between original Pandoras and genetically modified Evolutions. And then when the Evolutions rebelled, it is an excuse for them to fight among themselves again. Isn’t it any different than last season? And say, didn’t last season too have a person turned into Nova? That was Cathy, right? Now it was Amelia’s turn. And what do you know? They both survived. Oh, not to mention Satellizer had some sort of ‘final episode’ issue too. Last season she went uncontrollably enraged and Kazuya had to save her with his voice and touch. Deja vu, no? Only this time Rana was there to help out.

The rest of the other characters are left much to desire. I thought Gengo would play a major role in this series as opposed to his cameo in the final episode of the first season. Well, he does appear a few times but not enough to make you think he will do anything major. Even taking over Spencer’s operation and taking command of the Pandoras and Limiters, well, I thought anybody high ranking could have just done the job. So what is with the teaser of this guy’s relationship with Kazuya? He saw this kid on the monitor once but notes it is him but that’s it. So? Then there is Satellizer’s father and step mother. They also make their single appearance during the Bali trip but missed each other because of the need of Satellizer and Kazuya’s return. And Howard did say he really wanted to see Satellizer. Maybe next season, huh? If that ever happens. The most mind boggling one is Louis. For all his life he has been abusing Satellizer like his doll. For this little showdown and after he lost, it’s like he suddenly opened his eyes. He turned over a new leaf so quick that I thought he was a completely different character altogether. One less problem to worry about. At least now he is appreciative of Holly. Speaking of her, Holly also somewhat feels under-utilized since she was supposed to be one of the best Pandoras and here she is fighting Satellizer over the topic of being loved. And she lost. Well, at least it’s much better than Roxanne because she’s the only top Pandora who didn’t really get involved in a fight like Charles or Julia, making her appearance somewhat redundant. In short, the character development for this season is lacking and the biggest disappointment for this series.

Some of the other characters you will notice their unusual habits like Elizabeth has this penchant to swim naked even if she’s right in the eyes of Andre (it feels like as though she is an exhibitionist), Julia loves to surprise squeeze boobs from behind and she can exactly tell their size just from the touch (Cathy is her unfortunate serial victim), Charles always wears a headphone over her head and she really gets into rhythm when she hears her favourite (and weird) French music, and annoying Rana is such an airhead and perhaps a desperate person when it comes to trying to get Kazuya’s attention because she did mention straight in his face that she wants to do something real indecent with him. Serious. I guess some things don’t change. De arimasu. Remember Cathy’s ambition to be a novelist? Don’t blame you if you don’t remember since she didn’t say about it (if she did, she would have been telling her pals how awesome she was to have achieved her dream). I remember last season we had Kaho and Arthur who were good at eavesdropping. Now for this season it seems Satellizer and Amelia has taken over that ‘role’. How else would they stay ‘updated’?

I have mostly forgotten about the terms and jargons that were used in this series although I did refer back to my old blog, I felt it was too bothersome to go and understand them again. Maybe my memories aren’t that good these days. The reason why I think this season had lesser usage of the terms. Then again, I might not be paying attention. So I concluded that the only reason why this series is able to live up to its name is not only about the special ability of Limiters to use Freezing and neutralize a Freezing Area (which is a rarity here), it is because of the freezing nature of the cold Alaskan desert. Yes. This is why this show is called Freezing. And oddly enough, some of the Pandoras can fight without feeling the slightest cold with their thin layer of uniform. Shouldn’t their blood clot from the freezing cold when it gets exposed? As for the second title Vibration, I can’t really see the connection of it. What is the thing that vibrates? It was mentioned a couple of times of the different wave vibration patterns of the Nova but I can’t really connect the dots of it all. I would prefer to believe that your body ‘vibrates’ violently when being confronted with a giant Nova…

The Nova is still a scary being mainly because of its eerie shriek. But now that the revelation is that they might be not aliens from another dimension but rather humans turning into one, wouldn’t that amount to some sort of screwing with our minds? I know they want some shocking revelation but I think to reveal the antagonist as the same with the protagonist isn’t really anything original. Think about Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The witches were once magical girls, right? There you go. Same concept. So isn’t ironic that if humans are the ones who made this mess, then it would be apt that they pay dearly for their sins. Therefore I conclude that the eradication of the Nova threat is simple: Stop whatever experiments to produce Pandora. Because Pandora -> Nova. Thus, no Pandora means no Nova, right? So it’s like Chevalier, the big main military organization governing the Pandoras being both the bad guy and good guy. The angel and the devil all in one.

Aside this argument, the concept that Nova might be a divine punishment from God because creating Pandoras is like trying to be God, I thought that was just stretching it trying to put in the Tower of Babel thingy. A blasphemy. An atrocity. A travesty. So this is what God’s punishment looks like? If this is the case, then wouldn’t it be ironic that humans are trying to play God by creating the best Pandoras and mixing genes and stuffs? Yeah. Definitely a sin worth punishable. And now that it is greatly hinted that Chiffon wasn’t even human to begin with, is she like some sort of Jesus Christ for this anime? Sure, she sacrificed herself but something bugs me that she didn’t really die and went to a higher plane and if there is ever another season, she’ll just return in another form. I for one wouldn’t really know her true form. Her ever smiling face hides her motives and ever polite way of talking just makes her an overall mystery. But she may be more human than humans themselves since she sacrificed herself so her friends could live.

Sadly, somehow I would prefer more of the cat fight that Satellizer and Rana would put up when they fight over blur Kazuya. And those that were seen felt like side distractions to everything. Yeah. Somehow I prefer that because at the end of last season as we know, Satellizer and Kazuya didn’t get Baptize (a fancy term for a Pandora and her Limiter to get intimate) when they were supposed to thanks to Rana’s interference. Therefore in this season, I suppose the idea of them getting Baptized won’t be making much headway either. They just talk. Not sure if they’re really planning to go ahead. Because if they did, then there is a big chance we won’t get to see the cat fight over Kazuya anymore. Because these trio don’t feel like main characters, the main chemistry between Pandora and Limiter falls to Elizabeth and Andre. This really makes them feel that they are the stars and main protagonists for this season.

The general drawing and art remains okay and consistent in this season but I can’t help notice that in the subsequent episodes towards the end I noticed there is a slight drop in quality. In certain scenes when from afar (instead of close up on their face), some of the characters do look simpler and less detailed than usual. Maybe it’s because of the Maria Novas since they are all clones, why the heck would you want to put in so many details in those illuminating bodies? They’re going to get beat up, they’re going to get merged so it doesn’t make a difference. Taking a closer look at the Nova’s face, somehow I can’t help think that it looks like Transformer…. Really. And there I was wondering what is an Autobot or Decepticon doing in this anime. Well, it did ‘transform’, albeit a giant round bomb and not some sort of a vehicle or animal. However the scenery seems to fare better because like the snow and the snowflakes, they’re at least looking good.

Action wise, still feels the same. Nothing really ground breaking even with the new Pandoras showing their respective abilities, it wasn’t unique enough to be memorable in the long run or anything that would make me drop my jaw and be in awe. Even the Volt Weapons that they summon seem lacking in design. It’s like for most of the Pandoras, they need to be carrying some sort of ugly weapon (if you can call it that) like for instance Satellizer’s Volt Weapon, I thought it looked like some over-sized pizza slicer or cutter. Yes, seriously it does. Chiffon’s Volt Weapon resembles a big claw that may scare off Freddy Krueger while I don’t really know what kind of ‘tray’ Charles holds in her hands. Some of the familiar Pandora skills like Accel Turn and Tempest are still featured during fights but I can’t help be amused by the ever increasing Acceleration skill. It seems to go faster and faster, eh? With Cathy now setting it at quintuple, will the next evolution be sextuple? Yeah. I think that would somehow go well with the series. This time however you don’t see limbs getting ripped off like in the last season since there is no Carnival but the bloodiness still remains especially in the final episode when the Pandoras seemingly get slaughtered. Also, the Pandoras don’t go into Pandora Mode. If you remember what that is (something to do with not using a Limiter).

I thought I wanted to stay clear on commenting about the fanservice but it’s too ‘tempting’ to leave it alone although there isn’t anything ground breaking in this season. The customary dishes of panty shots and topless girls running about. As usual, the fights are part of the fanservice package because certain parts of the clothes get ripped and the girls will be fighting bare chested. They should actually make some armour for that part. Besides, aren’t the uniforms materialized because of the Volt Texture thingy? It’s like all the Pandoras ever need to do is just use their mind to imagine wearing the uniform and voila! It materializes. Mind boggling question: Shouldn’t the girls put on more layer of clothing since this is the freezing Alaskan we’re talking about? In last season, the mid-intermission had bio-data of the characters. For this season, we have none of that and it is replaced with a still picture of the characters. The first one usually in some sort of cosplay outfit followed by a very suggestive yuri rape play. The ending credits animation is also a place for fanservice but this group picture of the naked Pandora ladies fooling around covered in body paint feels like WTF moment.

I’m not sure about another season but I won’t expect it so soon. In the event if there should be one, hopefully it would lift the series back up to where many fans expect it should. Then maybe from the cold freezing blizzard of Alaska (suddenly I have this urge to sing… Way up north/North to Alaska/They’re going north, the rush is on…), we can head down south to some warm southern pacific island where you can still get plenty of fanservice from girls in bikini and fun in the sun and sand. What? This is what this show is about, right? This is what you want to see from this series, right? Who cares about fighting Novas when you can have a group of beautiful ladies running around topless. Oh, for the record, boobs bounce. They don’t vibrate…

Walkure Romanze

May 11, 2014

How do you often attract viewers in a subject that is not considered popular or dominated (in the past or currently) by males? Yeah. Some of you might know the answer to that. In the world of anime, the answer is turn them into females! Or at least make girls as the main characters. At least this is what is usually being done be it in history or sports. Otherwise, nobody would have really wanted to Walkure Romanze which its main theme is about jousting. Yes. The kind where 2 armoured clad people on a horse charge at each other with a lance. Isn’t that supposed to be some sort of medieval entertainment? We have iPhones, iPads, Tablets and all the modern conveniences so why bother to go back to the old fashion way of jousting? What’s the big deal and interest in it? Not if you put girls as the participants in this show. Yeah. That seals it. It was supposed to be a men’s-only sport, right? Besides, doesn’t it feel a little less feminine for girls who are jousting? I know about the honour part and crap but seriously, jousting? Real horses, real armour, real lances and real battles. Okay, so these girls aren’t afraid to get their fingernails crack. Having said that you will be seeing girls jousting in this anime, you don’t need to care about the plot because there is love, drama, comedy and jousting action around the jousting themed anime. And more importantly, fanservice. Oh yeah. Another reason why we look forward to females jousting.

Episode 1
At Winford Academy where some students of the Knight Curriculum are practising jousting, Mio Kisaki is an unlucky girl as she is being chased by a horse. Worse, the pervy horse bites off her shirt and chews her skirt! WTF?! Takahiro Mizuno is able to calm the horse down. He compliments Sakura’s hair. Sakura is the horse… This dude only has horses on his mind. He finds a splinter on Sakura’s that causes her to go wild. That lame reason is the cause for this opening fanservice? Mio wonders why he didn’t continue jousting despite his injury has healed. Even student council president Celia Cumani Aintree wants him to be her begleiter. He declines. But she’ll continue to wait till he says yes. I’m guessing that will be in a very long time. Mio thinks if they pair up, they’ll be champions for the summer tournament like how he was with Julianus in his glory days. Later Mio meets up with her friend Akane Ryuuzouji who goes into daydreaming fantasy about Celia just the mention of her name. Mio works part time as a waitress at a cafe, Tart Time run by school nurse Ayako Hiiragi. Next day, Takahiro is on his way to the horse shed but was stopped by Noel Marres Ascot. She wants him to be his begleiter as she plans on winning the summer tournament and needs somebody strong by her side. Well, duh. Like who doesn’t want to win it? Of course he declines. But will he think over it? Yeah. He’ll do just that. Meanwhile Mio hopes to see Takahiro and brings him lunch. Since he hasn’t arrived yet, she puts on his helmet and reminisces how cool he was in those days. Ah… Those memories… Because she put the lunch too close to Sakura, the horse at them all. Whose fault was it? I don’t know if she laced it with stimulants because Sakura starts getting restless and breaks out of the shed! Not only that, she got that horny I’ll-rape-you look on her face and starts chasing Sakura!!! WTF?! Bertille Althusser is teaching her underlings, Emma and Ann the needs to be a good knight. I don’t know but it sounded like an excuse to flaunt her busty body. I think it’s the least what a knight needs. Because Sakura-Mio chase is coming their way, Bertille is the first one to run despite telling her underlings to stay calm. Dumb blonde? When they have run far enough, I figure Sakura likes girls with bigger boobs so she starts outraging Bertille’s modesty and tears off her skirt!!! Mio remembers what Takahiro did to calm Sakura down and did just that. However Bertille is not amused. She accuses Mio of wanting to sabotage her chances for the tournament. She challenges her to a jousting duel. Takahiro saw and heard everything. And I suppose that includes Bertille issuing her challenge in her black undies…

Episode 2
What is Mio going to do? They talked to the student council and it seems Bertille has filed proper documents for the duel (which is called an official practice match). They can’t cancel it seeing it will sully a knight’s honour. But Mio isn’t a knight. She’s not even part of the curriculum. Hell, where was the knight’s honour when Bertille was maniacally laughing away after issuing the challenge, forgetting to pick up her skirt and walking away with her lower half exposed? The other way is to quit Winford Academy. You got to be kidding, right? Since this was somewhat Takahiro’s fault (for not being there when Mio brought lunch), he has to take responsibility and be her begleiter. He agrees. So Mio’s training starts off with lots of sexual innuendoes. Holding something long, thick and hard… It’s the jousting lance. Since it’s too heavy, she couldn’t control it. It controls her. All the way downhill… I think Mio has some amazing hidden talent because as she runs through the school area, with the swing of the lance, she’s able to summon the wind to blow up the girls’ skirt! Perverts’ field day for coloured panties! Must be their lucky day. She is only stopped in her tracks by Akane. Mio and Takahiro are reprimanded by the student council vice president, Reina F. Avery. Because they weren’t clear enough, she thinks they were doing something unholy. Mio’s first time. He forced her. Long, thick and hard… Takahiro gets slapped. Later, teacher James Asmussen tells Takahiro to look out for a new amazing transfer student. She is supposed to be a prodigy in jousting and is rumoured to win the tournament.

As Takahiro watches the jousting practice, he spots a stray cat. Thinking it might be endangering itself by running towards the track, he chases after it. As he is about to grab it, he grabs the boobs of Lisa Eostre. It’s her cat. Her friend Fiona Beckford misinterprets the situation and slaps the pervert. When he returns to Mio, he sees her making vast improvements and is now able to control holding the lance. As he is tending to Sakura, Celia comes by and has heard him become Mio’s begleiter. She wants him to see his task through till it’s over. After that, she hopes he can consider becoming her begleiter. I guess it’s time for Sakura to get naughty. So she steps on the hose so that it could shoot out bursts of water to get Celia all wet. Takahiro hands her a towel. Reina is looking for Celia and sees this situation. That’s the third slap he’s had today. Really not his day. Next day, Takahiro departs basic scoring knowledge of jousting to Mio when Noel comes by. She also heard about him becoming Mio’s begleiter and would like to help out. Because she too would like him to be her begleiter after this duel. All I can say is that, more sexual innuendoes in Noel’s Spartan training. Mio sees the scars all over Noel’s body and this gives her motivation to study harder about the sport way into the night. Next day at the shed, once more the sexual innuendo might make it seem that Takahiro, James and Mio are in a threesome when it’s actually putting on the tight armour on her. Sakura is also armoured up. Takahiro gives his helmet to her. Mio hopes he could go easy on her but Takahiro won’t hold back even if it’s his parents, siblings or girlfriend. Girlfriend? I’m sure Mio got the wrong idea but it was the very motivation she needed to get through this.

Episode 3
The training continues. Loads with sexual innuendoes… Takahiro sees Lisa’s cat again and picks it up and return it to her. Fiona thinks it’s an excuse for him to get pervy again. Lisa comments the way Mio’s joust is wrong and it’s a waste of time. Takahiro notes Mio isn’t jousting to win or lose but not to run away. This doesn’t sit well with the duo because it’s as though she is not taking this seriously and is jousting for fun. Their pride as a knight wouldn’t accept something like that. With Mio training hard, Noel temporary replaces her waitress job. The night before the duel, Mio talks to Takahiro that she didn’t want to quit school because she couldn’t leave everything. With one thing happening after another, she finds that she loves jousting and is going to try her best even if she loses. Takahiro replies she should be proud and he is happy she is jousting like that. On the day of the duel, Takahiro gets a big surprise. Mio has cut her hair short. She thinks it will get in the way. But it’s only for one match, right? Sure. But she wants to win. Bertille sees Mio to greet her. The atrocious thing about her is her armour. It’s like as though she forgot to put on her pants! What’s the difference than the first time she embarrassed herself? Personally, I think this one is even worse! G-string… WTF. As Takahiro knows Bertille’s fighting style, he departs advice to Mio how to tackle the first round. Mio wins the first round and makes it look like beginner’s luck as Bertille even falls off her horse. Now that Bertille has taken the bait, Takahiro wants Mio to purposely lose the second round and let Bertille take some points and let her guard down. For the third round, this is where Mio gets real to attack and Takahiro knows Mio’s eyes can read movements better than most people. However the plan backfires because Mio has not enough jousting experience and Bertille takes the win to equal the points and go into the final decisive round. Takahiro puts on a strong face so as not to affect Mio’s morality. The plan is to attack the same time Bertille begins to attack. In this final round, to show the trust and intensity the duo have, it’s like we have this exaggerated gatai-like scene as Mio charges. She hits Bertille and causes her to drop her lance. This means the win goes to Mio and she wins the entire match. Fiona thought it was beginner’s luck but Lisa notices something even more. Takahiro is more than just an ordinary pervert. I guess this ups Takahiro’s value as a begleiter. Now those girls who want him as one would want him even more. To show Bertille is not a bimbo b*tch, she is gracious in defeat and congratulates the winner in her knight’s pride. Everyone rushes to Mio to celebrate her victory.

Episode 4
Mio’s jousting life has ended and returns to her normal life. While walking to school one morning with Akane, they see a knight in black armour in solo practice. They’ve never seen her before and believe she must be the rumoured transferred student. Guess who? They also see how awesome she is when she takes all the rings with her lance with precision and skill. Ayako attends to whatever injuries Takahiro had. From the angle it is shown, it looks like it was ‘down there’. She says it is already healed and all that is left is his heart now. Mio despite back in her normal life can’t seem to concentrate and is thinking or doing things that seem to mimic jousting. Next morning as Lisa and Fiona haul up some heavy equipment, Akane catches them complaining and ‘mistreating’ the equipment. Fiona talks big as the pathetic match that saw a good knight getting defeated by someone who isn’t even in the curriculum means that if all the knights in this academy are of this level, Lisa would just dominate. Fiona even challenges her to fight Lisa now. Lisa agrees to settle this. And so Akane dons her black samurai armour… Oh. It’s just a lance. I thought she was going to take up a samurai sword… She sees Lisa in the black armour and realizes who she is. Takahiro sees this and is not amused but are the girls going to listen to stop? Knight’s pride whatever. In the first round, Akane almost got unseated because Lisa’s dodging and counter attack were quick. The second round ends in the draw as they destroyed each other’s lance. Meanwhile Mio returns the polished armour to James (even if he gave it to her as a present) but notice the dissatisfaction in her heart when she leaves? Then it’s like her friend-in-danger sense starts picking up so she heads to where Akane is and sees them duelling. For the third round, Lisa thought Akane is going to use the same trick. However she quickly pulls back and launches a double attack to win the point. Noel rushes in to warn them that Reina is coming. Because this school prohibits unsanctioned matches, those caught will be forbidden to participate in the tournament. What to do? They’re already beginning the next round. Takahiro quickly jumps on Noel’s horse and rides up to deflect both lances at the same time before the hit!!! Wow! What is he?! God?! When Reina arrives, what she sees is just Takahiro and co teaching Lisa horsemanship. She’ll let this slide. Akane and Lisa will settle this at the tournament. Everyone commends Takahiro for his quick thinking. Lisa knows his hand has gone numb since the hit. And Mio couldn’t stand to watch it all. She wants to be like everybody. She wants to joust. She wants to be a knight too! Flipped her jousting switch there, eh?

Episode 5
Mio submits her application to the student council to participate in the tournament. Because there are no rules forbidding normal students to do so, Celia doesn’t see a problem. I guess Mio’s in. Mio is invited to tea with Celia in her student council room. She was to bring a friend but Noel was away washing her horse, Etoile. So I suppose Takahiro was passing by and she invited him. Oh, Akane eavesdropped too. Count her in. The eager beaver is already so nervous. While Mio is at it, she also calls Lisa and Fiona. But arrogant Fiona doesn’t want to drink tea with so many people and will pass. Inside the room filled teddy bears (she likes bears in addition to horses too), Akane is having a hard time trying to be calm. Too nervous. Too happy. Then she drifts off to daydreaming land. It’ll take her some time to come back so let her be. As Celia is viewed as the top favourite to win the tournament, she says that jousting is unpredictable and thus the need for a begleiter to win. Again, Celia mentions her intention to have Takahiro as her begleiter. Again he declines. If it’s her brother, Julianus she assures he will not be involved at all. Actually Takahiro feels he isn’t as good as needs to be. Celia understands and will leave the option open to him. Of course there are many who request to be her begleiter but what Celia wants is the choice to choose herself. Celia mentions winning isn’t everything as one may gain greater wisdom in defeat. But Lisa firmly believes winning is everything and will prove it by winning the tournament. Celia’s purpose to invite Mio to tea is to ask her why a normal student wants to joust. From that beating-around-the-bush answer, Celia could guess that love is in the air. Love for jousting, maybe?

Mio and Takahiro visit Noel’s house. Make that a freaking huge mansion! I think the jungle is part of the extensive garden too. Bet you didn’t know she was this freaking rich, eh? They see a broken statue of a jousting knight on a horse outside. She introduces them to her wheelchair ridden little sister, Mireille. Since she loves jousting and horses but is unable to do so, she dabbles in fortune telling cards. The girls take a look at Takahiro’s love fortunes. He will fall in love with someone close. Is there anybody close to him? Hmm… James. Oh God! Hard on gay?! Anybody else? They even guess horses but he assures them he doesn’t swing that way. As they part, the father comes back. He gets to know Noel’s friends but becomes displeased to know that they are from Winford Academy because it could also mean they also joust. Later Noel apologizes for her father’s rudeness. As Mireille loves jousting since young, Noel felt guilty for getting her hurt. There goes her dream of becoming a knight. Therefore Noel jousts for her. The stronger she becomes, the happier Mireille is. So she believes. That’s why she can’t lose to anyone. Takahiro is still in a dilemma. He loves jousting and wants to dedicate his life to it but couldn’t wholeheartedly devote himself to become a begleiter. Uncle James advises him to worry his heart out since he has a long road in front of him. I know. He’s young, right? Well, don’t take too long. If he thinks he has made the wrong choice, just make another want. Humans always have a chance to start over. And so 2 paths lie before Takahiro. Either become a knight again or support someone else by as a begleiter.

Episode 6
It’s time off for everyone at Winford Academy. Takahiro sees Lisa trying to get her cat stuck on the tree. Guess what happens next? The branch snaps but Takahiro catches her. As thanks she gives him her taco and they chat at the riverbed. Her cat starts acting up again, almost falling off the bridge. Lisa rushes to her but slips. Takahiro catches her. Romantic position? He notices a beautiful ring she’s wearing. Reina calls for Lisa that Fiona is waiting for her. While sharing Reina’s sandwiches, she asks if he would like to be Lisa’s begleiter. Lisa was once a cheerful kid who loves people. Ever since her mom died, everyone started fighting over her inheritance and it’s like her death did not matter. Ever since, Lisa tried avoiding relationship with others. Fiona is also the same with her. Currently Lisa is living with Reina and she was the one who recommended Lisa to this academy in hopes jousting would change her back but it’s not working. But she feels if Takahiro becomes her begleiter, she might also grow. At town while reliving his past glories in the stadium, Noel and Mireille happen to come by and offer him to go out for lunch at an Italian place (he can’t refuse after seeing Mireille’s puppy dog eyes). A handful (pun intended) of romantic scenes… But the thing is Takahiro is made to eat lots of Italian dishes. Each time he finishes, they call to fill up. To burn that excess food, he goes for a walk but bumps into Akane. She offers him her onigiri. Oh God… And then at the flower field overlooking the town, there is Celia. Handmade cookies… Oh no. It’s a wonder this guy can still eat them without throwing up. Does he have a bottomless stomach? I don’t think so. But he can’t say no either. What the duo talked about was something about if Takahiro had been here earlier, their relationship would have been different. He would have been her begleiter now. Hint, hint. Also, her love for teddy also symbolizes sportsmanship (something to do with Roosevelt’s story). Lastly when he goes back, there is Mio having sweets with Bertille and co. Really, can he take more input? Thankfully he is saved by a squirrel. Because Mio feeds it her scones. Before you know it, an army of squirrels before them! Are they hungry? Don’t worry. Lots of scones to go by. But no… They attacked the girls instead! WTF?! Pervy squirrels?! They want to eat the ladies?! And some of them are gay because Takahiro got attacked too. Takahiro returns to Tart Time where all the girls are. Fiona accuses him of being a stalker for following them. But he lives here. She further accuses him of changing address when he found out they like to come here to eat tarts. You got to give it to this girl. Lisa shares her tart with Takahiro.

Episode 7
Akane is showing her intense concentrating while arranging the flowers. Cheeky Noel bluffs Celia is nearby and then she cuts everything. Distracted. While practising, the sudden storm forces Akane to take shelter in a nearby windmill. So happen Celia is also there! Dream come true? She’s trying hard to control her fantasies. It gets harder when Celia wants them to strip naked to avoid catching the cold. Still holding on? How about using body warmth to warm up? When the rain stops and the wind picks up, since they hang their clothes on the cogs, it starts moving. I don’t know how the cogs work because it leads the clothes to fly away outside. That’s it. Totally naked. But a bra happens to flow down the river and into Takahiro’s hands. Yeah. Lucky bastard. But he senses something amiss when clothes start streaming down the river. Has he no shame that he ‘inspects’ Mio and concludes she is not the one who lost it! Fiona got it worse. She was looking for something (Lisa’s cat) but Takahiro thinks it’s the bra. Wait a minute. This flat chest? Of course not. Doesn’t she just feel insulted? Since using ropes to cover themselves won’t do (it would look like S&M), the duo decide to make a run to the next windmill believe to have some clothes. Too bad a sketching excursion just arrived. Takahiro must have his instincts real good. How can the sparse clothes lead him to this windmill? As he enters the backdoor, it accidentally latches. Locked in. The girls hear somebody getting in, use flour to cover themselves and act like sculptures. It was going well till Takahiro’s curiosity got the better. I mean, he pondered at how familiar these sculptures are and even touched the softness of Akane’s boobs! You think she won’t get mad and chop him up? Well, his clothes get chopped up. At least his underwear is still on.

After being told the long story, he is going to go get some clothes but the backdoor is latched. Celia thinks it is already this late since she was supposed to pick up a friend coming back after an injury. Akane won’t give up and will let her meet this friend. So happen Shion (Akane’s horse) is seen on the way (why does it have a panty in its mouth?!). Takahiro knows windmills like these were once forts. There is a hidden basement that has armour. Celia is to put it on and go like that. How about the locked door? Takahiro spreads the flour around and based on science, the little particles will be enough to cause an explosion if there is enough sparks. Once the room is filled with flour and the gang in a safe hiding place, Takahiro throws the gun and the spark was enough to create an explosion to break down the door. The sketching group is startled in hearing this. Celia carries and takes Akane along as she barges out of the windmill on Shion because she can’t leave her behind dressed like that. The sketch group sees this amazing scene like as though a goddess has arrived. Akane realizes the friend Celia is supposed to meet is a repaired teddy bear… What the… Finally that amazing goddess scene becomes the best sketch and is hang up as a big frame poster in the school halls. Takahiro and Akane are speechless. I think the sketcher was quite an observant and sharp person because she was even able to notice Takahiro hiding behind the door watching the goddess run. Yeah, the panty dropped by Shion onto Takahiro’s head as they left was even sketched! OMG facial expression?!

Episode 8
Noel tells her father she will be going for the jousting training camp. I suppose even if he tells her not to, she won’t listen. So do as you wish. Celia didn’t go due to student council work and of course she is the best knight in the academy why do you need such training stint? Also, Fiona stays back because she hates groups. Thanks to Bertille, her villa becomes the place for summer camp. Besides jousting training, the typical hearty meal, washing each other’s backs and dipping in the hotspring. Not leaving out pillow fight and night talk. It would of course be about their yet-to-be-chosen begleiter. I’m sure the girls are hinting Takahiro but Mio was blunt to say she would want him. However it’s not in her hands to decide that and it depends on Takahiro’s feelings. Takahiro does his knight training but flashbacks of Julianus break his concentration. Noel then talks to him. She mentions her father was once the jousting champion and wanted his daughters to follow in his footsteps. However an accident on Mireille made him hate jousting because it took Mireille’s legs although surgery went fine and doctors believe all injuries should be healed. Noel blamed herself and wanted to quit but Mireille told her never to give up. That’s why she wants Mireille to be proud of her as a knight. He needs her by her side. So will he be her begleiter? Next day as the training continues, Noel tells Mio that she asked Takahiro about it but he did not answer (despite she put on that puppy dog eyes). That night as Takahiro soaks in the hotspring, he remembers he was in a jousting match. It was raining that day. His gear unfastened and when they collide, he fell off his horse and his back hit the railing. Julianus had that very disappointed look on his face. Mio happen to walk in (because the men’s sign must have fallen off). She wonders why he won’t pick a begleiter. What he is saying is that he fears of living up to expectations and don’t want to see the face of someone he has let down again. Mio’s answer is simple. It shows he still loves jousting. He should give it a try and if it doesn’t work out, try again. She would of course love him to be her begleiter but would love him even more if he becomes a knight. The rest of the girls start streaming in so Takahiro had to go scuba and hide behind a rock before coming out to safety. The girls are distracted by the shooting star and start making their wish. Be the best. Be the strongest. Win the tournament. And yeah. Let Takahiro be my begleiter.

Episode 9
Before the summer tournament, there is an even fiercer tournament the day before: Miss Winford Contest. A swimsuit and talent contest. Oh yeah. I think this is what everyone wants to see. Ann and Emma eavesdrop Takahiro at the stable. They heard that one of the horses is giving birth and relay this to Bertille. Because she wasn’t concentrating, she misheard it as whoever wins the swimsuit contest gets to be Takahiro’s begleiter. Of course this interests the rest of the girls and will take part in it. Reina also heard it and tells this to Lisa and has her buy a swimsuit right away. And so the girls become somewhat friendly rivals as they buy swimsuits for the event. Noel wanted to make a head start by appealing it to Takahiro but that guy is so engrossed in his books. Damn guy is more interested in reading than paying attention to a sexy babe nearby? She had to strip down till her swimsuit just to get his attention. Mio then comes in and Noel thought she had the same strategy. Thinking she is wearing one underneath, she flips her skirt but it’s just her regular underwear. Oops! Fiona is not pleased that Lisa is fooling around in this swimsuit contest instead of preparing with the tournament. On the day of the contest, Lisa panics as she misplaces her swimsuit. Reina goes after her and gives the mascot job to Takahiro. He sees Lisa’s cat with a piece of clothing in its mouth. Could it be that little troublemaker again? He follows the cat into a room and realizes it’s false alarm. Just a piece of sock. Before he realizes it, he is in the girls’ changing room and tries to get out. Bad timing. The girls come in. He acts like a dummy mascot as the girls change. They see the mascot and start hugging it to feel good till it’s time for the contest. Phew. Never thought he could get out alive of that one.

When Takahiro gets out, he passes by Fiona. She pretends she doesn’t care but she felt guilty for doubting Lisa because she thought she was ignoring her during her frantic search. Fiona goes to Lisa and flips up her skirt. She’s wearing her swimsuit underneath it. She always does that before PE, right? So why of all times she had to forget? But is there enough time to get to the stage? If you count Takahiro riding on a horse and sweeping her off her feet. So the contest begins with the contestants streaming on stage strutting their swimsuits and their odd talent they’ve got. Cleaning ear? Eating spicy food? WTF. Bertille feels embarrassed to come out. Oddly, that armour of hers was even more embarrassing. The last contestant is of course the defending champion Celia. You can hear the crowd chanting her name. She doesn’t even need to do anything (too bad she doesn’t get to show her teddy bear specialty) because everyone has already decided. Yup. She wins hands down again. At the backstage as the loser girls concede defeat and try to accept reality that Takahiro has chosen Celia, he doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. They turn their attention to Bertille. She blames her underlings. They correct her. She admits her mistake. Girls not happy… At least their attention is taken away from Takahiro. Again, Fiona isn’t too pleased to see Lisa acting so friendly. What’s her problem?

Episode 10
The big day is here. Fiona is b*tching that Lisa can’t win because she spent too much time with the enemy. She’s disappointed in her. Takahiro talks to James that although he can’t be a knight, he still can participate as begleiter. Oh. Has he decided? Then it’s like one last desperate attempt from the girls to fight over him to be their begleiter. Please be my begleiter. I want you. Even Celia is here to hear his answer. Actually he has decided. He is going to be the begleiter for… Suddenly some stable guy says the horse is going into labour and needs Takahiro’s help. Damn you horse! Before he leaves, he gives his earnest advice to all the girls. I think he better keep it short because the horse is already contracting. Mireille is going to cheer for Noel but her father won’t go. All our usual girls advance to the next round and they make it look so easy. The next big match pits Akane and Lisa. Coincidence they get to settle it. Before it starts, Lisa wants Fiona to come and see but she’s still b*tching about everything being a waste of time. Okay. If that’s what she thinks. Then Fiona talks to the cat (I guess cats don’t talk back) how she thought Lisa was alone just like her. She thought she could win without anyone’s help. But she changed by mixing around and eventually needed help. The cat continues to bug Fiona to go and so she gets her ass moving. By the time she enters the stadium, Lisa and Akane are level at points. The next match should decide the winner. Draw again. Fiona notices a different look on Lisa’s face. It’s like as though she is having fun (as advised by Takahiro instead of always thinking about winning). In the next match, Lisa won’t fall for Akane’s double attack again. However she is surprised that she did a triple attack. Akane wins the match. It’s not that she perfected this move. She remembered Takahiro’s advice that she needs to take a break from following the book. The victory might come with a little cost because her hand is a little pain. When Lisa spots Fiona peeking out of the corner, she goes talk to her. The latter still acting like a b*tch. That I-told-you-so statement. Lisa admits she lost because she didn’t spend enough time with her friends like Akane. Bonds like that made them stronger. So why doesn’t she go spend time with them already? She will. She wants Fiona to join them too. She wants her to be her real friend this time. Lisa starts explaining Fiona reminded her of her old self. She changed because people believed in her. This time she’ll believe in her. If those words don’t soften Fiona’s heart, she’s a real b*tch who deserves to die. Since she did get emotional, this shows she has a soft side too. The friends made up.

Episode 11
Did Noel’s father have a change of heart because he’s calling his servant to bring the car around. Mio, Bertille and Noel have advanced to the semi-finals and the fourth quarter-final pits Celia with Akane. Destiny? At least Akane is able to maintain her cool and not go into fawning obsession. I suppose that was what the ‘windmill training’ was for. Celia dominates and in the final match as Akane tries to use her triple attack, her wrist gives way and Celia wins. They both commend each other. Another destiny of rematch in the first semi-final as Mio goes up against Bertille. Before the match starts, they start thanking each other. For without Bertille, Mio wouldn’t have gotten to love jousting. I thought it felt like a shouting match. Embarrassing? Not as embarrassed as Bertille’s armour. Anyway Mio wins and advances to the final. Takahiro is waiting for the doctor but sees Noel’s father coming in. He thought he could plead to him to go cheer on his daughter but he is here to pick up Mireille and asserts he hates jousting. Sour puss. Takahiro has not time to worry about that because they got word that the doctor is stuck in traffic jam and that they’ll have to deliver the offspring themselves. Great. Another battle looming on this side. Now the other semi-final is of course Noel and Celia. Noel’s dad is here but it seems he has a change of heart again and stays to watch with Mireille. Akane loses the first match and the difference in power is obvious. In the next round, Noel manages to take some points from Celia, something nobody has done in this tournament. She slows down her horse to avoid Celia’s hit. But Celia was fast enough to recover and take some points. Realizing her father is watching, she goes into the next match with much determination. As both horses charge, Noel ducks and this causes Celia’s lance to hit her helmet. Because it is dangerous and illegal to hit the head, Celia is penalized. Noel evens the score. Her friends felt that Noel deliberately do that recklessly just to win. Remember what Noel said about doing anything to win and not losing anyone? Yeah. This. In the next run, Noel manages to take some points and leads in the overall score. The delivery of the foal is successful so James tells Takahiro to head to the other battlefield. Yeah, you can say he missed almost the entire show. At this point, Noel is already tired and holding up her lance is a challenge. She is at her limit and possibly thinking of giving up. Mireille realizes that she might have pushed her sister too hard and is regretting it. But when Noel hears her father cheering on her to be proud of the family’s name, it gives her much confidence. Both ladies head into the final charge.

Episode 12
Noel is struck and she falls off her horse. The scene brings back traumatic memories like how Mireille fell. But didn’t Noel just get up from her seat?! Celia wins and Noel although fine, is still in a daze that she has lost and laments she really wanted to win before her sister. But father tells her Mireille heard her loud and clear. Because it brought about this miracle of Mireille being able to walk again. In the hour break before the final, Takahiro talks to Reina who reminds him that since he has not participated in a tournament for 2 straight years, he will be expelled as per school rules. However he will participate as a begleiter even if it’s for a match. I guess this loophole saves him. But this will be the last time he will be a begleiter. Once the tournament ends, he will become a knight again. All this while, he has been using his injury as an excuse because he was afraid to live up to expectations. He realizes it was a mistake and that he should be jousting for nobody but himself. So now the big question. Whose begleiter is he going to be? Mio! Celia looks disappointed because she is left alone. Takahiro justifies his answer that everyone is with Celia. They are in her hearts. They’re always thinking about her. I guess if you can sweet talk a girl, she accepts. Besides, it would be unfair for a defending champion and a good begleiter to go up against a newbie and dark horse, right? Mio receives encouragement from her friends before the match. And here we go… It ends with somebody having a feather fly. Guess. Celia defends her title for the third straight year. Reina brings her to Tart Time where everybody gives her a surprise victory celebration. Seriously, nobody done this for her before? Was she that ‘untouchable’ then? Celia doesn’t want Mio to be like her. She wants her to surpass her. Of course, everybody else too. The other highlight of this party is Bertille getting drunk over juice. Serious. Mio then asks Takahiro, had he not been called for help to attend the horse’s labour, who would he have picked as a begleiter? The girls are dead serious in wanting to know. It’s very important. Wait a minute. Why is Takahiro flustering and hesitating? I thought he decided then? What’s so bad about saying it now? In good timing, the girls are distracted when Fiona freaks out at Lisa’s cat getting too close to her and this gives Takahiro enough time and excuse to leave and attend to his horses. WTF. But the girls won’t let him go and chase after him just for that little answer. WHO?!

J(o)ust Horsing Around?
Okay, it was fun while it lasted. There wasn’t anything special in any way because hiding behind the jousting theme is a potential harem and love romance thingy instead of a straight forward normal high school theme. If this anime had intentions to bring some interest in jousting, I doubt it did a good job because at the end of the day, it wasn’t just deep enough. I’m sure that an old sport like this one also has complicated technical issues, tactics and strategies but you just don’t feel it here. Like I said, jousting was just an excuse and ‘cover up’ for whatever needs to happen in this anime. It could have been horse riding. It could have been equestrian or it could have been cowboy rodeo. I know the last bit sounds stretched but seriously it could have been anything but still the basic harem and love romance ingredient is still there but only in a different format.

Although it is true that Takahiro has used his long injury as an excuse to escape, something tells me that the girls asking him to become his begleiter isn’t just a request to become her begleiter. Get what I am saying? It is as though it is some cover up to ask him to be her boyfriend. It feels very much like it. I don’t know much about a begleiter’s job but it can’t be that bad, right? I mean, working in the horse stable sounds even more complicated. Therefore when the girls keep bugging Takahiro from time to time to be their begleiter, there is this feel that they are masking this begleiter reason just to become a couple. I mean, if he agrees then it’s like you have won because the guy is on your side now, right? Which pretty much translates to keeping the other girls in place and say, “Stay away from my man, you b*tch! He is mine now”! Haha! The way Takahiro cannot decide and won’t decide which one he will be also feels like he is your typical harem anime male guy who has got a bevy of beauties around him and can’t choose. Even right till the end. The only consolation was he was Mio’s begleiter during the practice match and the finals. But it just felt ‘part time’. So when he decided to become a knight again, something in me tells me that it was his way of getting out of this sticky harem decision. He doesn’t need to become anybody’s begleiter anymore because he is a knight. Unless the girls give up jousting and fight over to be his begleiter… Which is highly unlikely since their love for jousting comes first as with Takahiro’s love for horses.

Therefore the romance part feels fleeting and just like any other harem anime, the faggot guy didn’t get (or rather, want) to choose who he wants to be with in the end. Look at how the way he dodges the girls’ question about who he was to initially choose as his begleiter. It’s not like they’re asking who he wants for a girlfriend (which indirectly sounds like it would) so why the avoiding? Don’t want to be disappointed? I know nobody in this anime is asking to be a couple but from the way they say it and asking Takahiro to be their begleiter, it feels like they’re asking him out so might as well. In the end, the girls did pretty well on their own without a begleiter, right? Even if Takahiro didn’t be Mio’s begleiter for the final match, I am sure Mio would not have done any worse. There were a handful of so called romantic moments (a little cheesy, though) especially that episode when Takahiro was turned into a glutton when he can’t refuse the food offering from all the girls he bumped into. Even Mireille has potential but I don’t think she’s part of the ‘leading pack’. This is probably to let our hopes up to expect something from the romance department but in the end it falls flat. For the sake of discussion, if that guy ever really chooses one of the girls, I feel many would have pinpoint Mio. Obviously. Note: I still prefer Mio with her long hair. I know it gets in the way when jousting but the other girls seem fine with it. Maybe they are pros. I don’t know. I still can’t get use to Mio with short hair. It makes her look so tomboyish.

The characters aren’t anything to shout about, some typical and each with their own personality. Takahiro is your typical good guy and a faggot who is more interested into horses than women. I suppose girls love to play hard to get. And boy, he really is hard to get. If constant and polite reminders to get him to be a begleiter are this hard, imagine how tough it will be when you want to ask him out. I just wonder what happened to Julianus. Maybe after that so called disappointment, he disappeared from Takahiro’s life. It would have been interesting to see what really went on between those 2 guys but I guess as far as this anime takes us, I suppose we’ll have to leave it as it is. Mio sometimes a little airhead is either a prodigy in jousting or she’s just a very lucky person. I am not sure if she intends to join the Knight Curriculum since her love for jousting has grown. Akane’s fawning over Celia is the only thing that stands out from her and it’s amusing to see her drift off the dreamy land while uttering “Senpai… Pai… Pai… Pai…”. I thought she might even say oppai… Also, her samurai armour is totally unique and refreshing to the ubiquitous white shining armour of the European kind. Summing up the rest of the main characters include stoic Lisa who gradually opens up and accepts others, the friendly Noel and of course the graceful teddy bear lover Celia who seems to win everything hands down whether she wants to or not. Lots of guys must be cursing Takahiro the lucky bastard who can even afford to turn down Celia when many do not even stand a chance to get close to her.

Bertille and her inseparable girls feel like comic relief of the series. In fact, I think this is what their role is for the entire series. When she gets passionate about something, she really gets passionate about it. Especially now that she is friends-cum-rivals with Mio. Ann and Emma as her yes (wo)men enhance the effect of them being the 3 Stooges just with less blooper. All for one and one for all? Fiona is the b*tch of the series. It feels hard not to hate her. She won’t let anybody get near her and even when Lisa joins in the company of the rest, she stays out. Being alone is more important? I’m sure she has changed a little when Lisa extended her hand but still maintains her distance with Takahiro. It never fails to amuse me how she verbally abuses him as a pervert. She can really come up with reasons and being suspicious of his goodwill. She is the only girl in the series who probably doesn’t have romantic feelings for Takahiro. Even Ayako and Reina despite they do not ‘compete’ like the rest, at least there is no hostility. Or maybe… Fiona is just being tsundere… Nah! But you’ll never know. Oddly, this girl is scared of Lisa’s cat but the way she enters her phobia looks more comical than anything. Even tough b*tchy girls have their weaknesses.

I don’t know if jousting is able to change a person or maybe it is just the spur of the moment thing. Or perhaps everything boils down to Takahiro. That guy again, huh? What a convenient scapegoat. For instance, Noel and Mireille’s father. He hates jousting so much that he was the one who destroyed and crushed the jousting statue in his mansion’s garden. He didn’t want to go watch Noel’s match and was pretty arrogant and stubborn in it. Then right at the last minute, it’s like he saw God’s angel and decided to cheer on for his daughter. In this sense was he a liar? Perhaps as a father he realized that his daughter is more important that whatever pride he had and it’s not the fact that Noel is jousting, it is Noel, his daughter that matters. Thanks to Noel never giving up, Mireille also starts to walk. Miracle? Unless you tell me that she was like Takahiro, using her old injury as an excuse not to move on. I have a feeling that Mio may not have gotten into jousting or her love for it skyrocketing had Takahiro been involved somehow. Then there is Lisa whose mentality was set on winning is everything. Now she doesn’t care so much about it and enjoys every match she gets to participate. Speaking of Lisa, there was so much talk about her being the best rookie who will be the new champion. It all fizzled out along the way. Like as though it was just rumours after all. Heck, even Mio had a better run than her at the tournament since Lisa was the ‘first’ one among the main characters to go out. No doubt her skills are exceptional top class but it just doesn’t show or live up to those rumours. Worse, as Fiona pointed out it may be due to her mixing around.

Fanservice is the biggest factor why one would be watching women jousting. However as I noticed, the fanservice factor gradually declines as the series reaches its end. In the beginning, there were a handful of fanservice scenes and sexual innuendoes that would make people like me giggle and laugh. Then as the tournament begins and the seriousness picking up the pace, it was like it was void of all that anymore and a thing of the past. A distant memory. Only Bertille’s shameful armour is probably the ultimate fanservice. She should have gone in naked. I still find it funny because it really looks like she was well suited up but just forgot her pants. It’s like a guy getting dressed in a suit and going out to work but never realizing her forgot to put on his pants and walking around town in his underwear. Another fanservice moment is when the girls are in their armour and riding their charging horse in the match. Because the armour hides their expression, we see them in an imaginary/alternate scene being displayed in a naked manner while they present their thoughts. Trying to hint their purity? Don’t think so. The fanservice episode of Celia and Akane stuck in the windmill felt like a duh moment. The sketching excursion was at the front, did they not check the backdoor and escape before Takahiro came and lock them in? Because of that we have the majority of that episode of the series’ 2 most beautiful woman running around naked inside a windmill. Pretty duh, eh? Besides the females, I have a feeling that the animals are a little pervy too. They have this cheeky tendency to get the girls into fanservice moments. It’s like they could read our minds that we want to see some panty shots and so they do a favour for us. From horses to cats and yup, squirrels. I won’t be surprise if they added some tentacle monster…Because they are cute adorable animals, we forgive them and instead laugh it off. It would have been a totally different story if guys were to do it.

The art and drawing feels sufficient. The characters looking very much like your typical conventional Japanese anime characters. Gorgeous guys and girls. The background also doesn’t disappoint since Helen Hill is more of the European kind of setting and the houses and buildings like the windmill give it a medieval look. There are also lush greeneries and sakura blossoming trees around so there is quite a natural feel to it. The horses too don’t look bad but I think they’re the only animals that are given prominence and much detail in drawing. Because I thought Lisa’s cat look quite comical. And the squirrels… I thought they looked like rabbits with a bushy tail.

I can’t say much about the jousting action. At first, it was quite interesting especially the practice match between Mio and Bertille. Perhaps because a person like me who knows nothing about jousting and when shown a little action from it, it feels quite impressive. However subsequent jousting matches and action doesn’t have the same feel. I mean, it is naturally the same thing. Two people on horses charge at each other. It either ends in somebody getting hit and the lance broken (since it was made to be easily destroyed). Hardly any variety, huh? Even matches like Akane-Lisa, Celia-Akane and Celia-Noel didn’t impress and it was as quick as it was. Maybe it’s a good thing because dragging it out too long will be a bore. Thus the final match between Celia and Mio was somewhat turned into a music video-like clip with the anime’s theme being played in the background and montages of the battle are shown. Were we short-changed? I mean the all-important final battle and this type of execution? It made the prior semi-final battle between Celia and Noel much more significant and important. Of course Celia had to win in the end (as I also predicted) because it would have been so weird if Mio had won it on her first time. It’s like an insult to other knights who have been practising so hard and this newbie just came in and advanced to the final. Genius? Well, it shows she’s got that much talent. Some of the jousting actions are CGI generated and in a way it makes their movements feel odd, not because of the stiff armour.

For the first few initial episodes, it was interesting to see there was a segment right before the next episode preview that lets viewers know a little more about jousting. As I am not a person who knows anything about jousting, the little pieces of information can be quite interesting. The way it is presented in cute chibified way makes it an amusing watch. For example like how Mio demonstrated hitting the lance on several parts of the body and the points awarded. She didn’t know the armour was like voodoo because Takahiro was just screaming in pain in the background! However they scrap it even before reaching halfway. I take it as there is nothing else much about jousting that we need to know or the producers weren’t that interested in researching more of its finer points because it’s not like they are going to apply it in this anime after all. The teaser segment in the last episode makes us wonder if Takahiro is indeed some pervert because under the disguise of Sakura, he is commenting (with heavy breathing) on some of the sexy body of the supporting female characters till the usual quartet catches him in the act. Busted. Is this his true nature and feelings? My, the girls look so disappointed… Also, Takahiro’s poetic ranting about meeting, fate, destiny and miracles at the start of the episode and before it ends felt cheesy. I think he should just stick to horses.

At the end of the day, this anime doesn’t have anything original to break any new grounds except that it is probably the first anime to use jousting as a sports theme like how Chihayafuru was for karuta. Predictably as a sports anime, you have a character who in the quickest time discovered has hidden potential in the sport and in this case someone who isn’t in the sport grows very much to love it like as though she has loved and played it for 10 years, enters the tournament as underdog, faces off with a few top dogs and whether win or lose she and everybody else are still pretty much winners since the important part is that they enjoy it and do their best. Put in some romance and fanservice and voila, you probably get an anime that is memorable just for one summer. Not only jousting, they could probably do this same formula for the rest of the sports that are dominated by men. Like football and auto racing. Sumo wrestling? I think I’d rather pass. I’m not really into fat half naked girls trying to push each other out of the ring and I can’t find myself to see any romance in blubbery flabs. Whoops… I hope I don’t need to j(o)ustify that.

Servant x Service

May 10, 2014

Well, we know that in some countries that a civil servant is one of the most hated jobs in the views of ordinary citizens, right? Because there is always this perception of inefficiency (staffs laze around and don’t get work done fast enough and some even gossip about last night’s TV drama in the midst of work), wild goose chase (making you go several trips back and forth just because you didn’t bring certain documents and they never tell you everything in full detail at one go) and red tape (sufficiently self explanatory). Worst of all, their salaries are funded by taxpayers’ money. Oh. That must be the hardest hit. Is this the kind of service we get for paying taxes? That’s why in some ways we feel we have the right to complain and say bad, don’t we? Servant x Service is an anime about the daily lives of civil servants of a ward in a fictional city in Japan. I am not particularly familiar with government policies from the Land of the Rising Sun (or any other countries and even my own) so I can’t really say if this anime depicts what actually goes on in a particular government office building but I’m sure it is depicted as close as possible. Once you’ve watched it, you’ll definitely say it isn’t… You’ll find out…

Episode 1
Taishi Ichimiya of the health and welfare department receives 3 new staffs under his wing: Lucy Yamagami, Saya Miyoshi and Yutaka Hasebe. He laments a newbie like him already needs to have juniors. Unless you call 8 years in service as still being new to the job! He shows the newbies around but cool slacker is only interested in the times for breaks. Yamagami is then assigned on the job training with Megumi Chihaya. Although a temporary employee, she must have worked long enough at the service counter to put on that deadpan face. Yamagami first time on the job, gets scolded when she is too slow. Everybody hates civil servants, right? On the other hand, Hasebe seems to be getting his personal achievement of getting female employees’ email address, much to Ichimiya’s dismay. He should show more effort in his work if he has passion to do this kind of stuffs. Miyoshi is also in trouble. She has to hear the grandmother stories of an elderly client, Mrs Tanaka. Later when Ichimiya asks Yamagami for her first name (because she left it out in the form), she gives him a dissenting look. Actually she has a reason why she hides it. When she was born, her parents were torn what to name her so they got suggestions from others. Lucy. Kimiko. Akie. Airi. Shiori. Rinne. Yushiho. Ayano. Tomika. Chitose. Sanae. Mikiko. Ichika…  In the end, they couldn’t decide as they all sound good and used them all! Yeah. All those are her first name!!! Could be even more!!! Thus there is a reason why she became a civil servant. Someone in this department allowed that crazy name on her birth certificate. Someone who didn’t care. Otherwise she wouldn’t end up being the butt of jokes with her ridiculously long name. Even if that person isn’t working in this place, he must be somewhere in this office. She wants to meet this person and give her piece of mind! So becoming a civil servant is just part of her revenge? Hasebe doesn’t care about her revenge stuff and wants to do lunch instead. She throws a book at him when he casually calls her first name. Lucy only, that is.

Though Yamagami continues to feel uneasy introducing herself to other department staffs, Hasebe couldn’t make it more worst. Like as though he is purposely saying it to rile her up. That’s his way of getting along? I guess Yamagami is pretty blunt at him too: She hates him. Yamagami continues her job, gets more scolding. Miyoshi too… More storytelling from grandma… Is this more difficult or getting scolded? Hasebe as usual continues to slack so much so Ichimiya has to chase him all over. And that guy is having fun being chased. On another time when Miyoshi is in trouble not in the form of Mrs Tanaka, Yamagami tries to help out but didn’t do any better. But when Hasebe arrives, his smooth talking ways has the client feel good and the problem is solved. On another occasion, Yamagami gets scolded by the customer but she too gets riled up and says bad about her own civil service department! Then another client gets aggressive although it is his part in forgetting his own stamp. Yamagami can’t handle him and here comes Hasebe to the rescue again. Then he had to piss her off again… So how can this slacker do his job so efficiently and cool? Be relaxed? Because he comes from a family of civil servants, it is already common sense that getting scolded is the number one job. At the end of the day, all those angry customers still thank them with a smile so it’s not that bad. Of course Yamagami is still mad at Hasebe for teasing her. She blows her top, chases him around the office. When the clock strikes sharp for closing time, she stops and heads home. Ironically, she hates civil servants but acts so much like one.

Episode 2
Miyoshi must be having a trauma after listening to Mrs Tanaka’s stories for extended periods. Ichimiya tries to motivate her but ends up getting depressed when he notices his juniors are doing better than him. Chihaya is going to be off for one day so she needs Yamagami to cover her. She is surprised Chihaya cosplays as a magical girl because there is an event nearby. Is that the ‘perks’ of being a temporary employee? Because she didn’t take the official exam, her working hours are shorter than permanent staffs. Chihaya mentions that being a civil servant is also a type of cosplay. Yeah. Office ladies, right? This causes Yamagami to feel embarrass. Chihaya also notices her plain dressing. She thinks maybe it is not that she is uninterested in clothes but couldn’t find the right ones due to her large breasts. Yamagami thinks Chihaya thinks they look small to her! That F cup size is small?! Ichimiya warns his newbies a regular nuisance is coming. She is Touko and is already here. She is also a health nut and has memorized all the laws regarding this country’s health and welfare. She is going to test the newbies to see if they have got what it takes. Ichimiya’s advice not to provoke her seems to fall on death ears on Hasebe. Yeah. He tries to flirt with her. If he can answer her question, she must give him her email address. And he flawlessly quotes the sections to her question. Didn’t see this one coming, didn’t she?

Next she tests Miyoshi in a simulation test. Miyoshi got frightened but Mrs Tanaka jumps to her defence! Don’t bully her! Touko gets lectured instead. Touko gets turned off learning Yamagami’s full name… She is so upset about the kind of new employees that she breaks down in Ichimiya’s arms! He gives her this month’s newsletter to calm down before giving her money to go home. The staffs are appalled he hugged and gave a high school girl some money. Isn’t this unethical? Till he explains Touko is his younger sister. They sure aren’t alike. He explains further she was always the bossy one even when young. One day she saw this health ward building and was told what it was. Because Ichimiya is considering working there and she will be all alone, Touko started visiting the ward and ask all that she can so he could stay home and study. I guess it’s not the health and welfare department she’s crazy about. Brother complex! Chihaya and the newbies are in a meeting to discuss Miyoshi’s problem. She has a habit of holding back what she wants to say. Her drastic solution measure is to make her cosplay? Touko is even roped in to help with this problem via simulation. Miyoshi is still nervous so this causes Touko to go mad. Already mad when she haven’t even say anything? When she finally does, it’s about her time wasting effort visits to the office because she’ll never get her brother to return his feelings! This causes Touko to be traumatized. Then she takes out on her brother and wants him to apologize! WTF. She is made to go home and Miyoshi feels bad for her. So she ends it by thanking her for lots of valuable information and she can come visit her on some days to teach her more. Yeah, she will. Tsundere buranko…

Episode 3
Ichimiya is worried about his juniors. But he is already a failure since he asks this to Chihaya. Touko sees Ichimiya patting Yamagami’s head for a good job. Oh no. Try not to make her angry… Touko denies about coming here to bring and have lunch with her brother. It’s always the opposite for a tsundere. Later Yamagami realizes her bra hook broke. She tries to hide it by wearing a jacket even in his sweltering heat. Chihaya and Miyoshi realize this due to her weird bust line but are reluctant to say it in her face. Even the guys too. Except for Hasebe. He was going to had not Ichimiya hit him in the face. During the break, Yamagami thinks everyone didn’t notice her bra hook broke. And everyone in turn thinks she didn’t notice that they have noticed. They are having trouble trying to tell it to her indirectly. Till Hasebe says that she has a cold and needs to take the day off and not spread the contamination to others. The others follow his flow and brilliant idea of his. Later Hasebe talks to Ichimiya about his problem. This guy has something bugging him? Yamagami is the only one he hasn’t been able to get her email address. I should have known… So he gets determined to get it. If only he showed this much passion in his work. First, he purposely meets her at the bookstore (he calls it destiny) and forces her to go dinner with him (because he puts the books she wants out of her reach) and the treat is on him. After dinner and she leaves, he remembers he forgot to get her email. In office, Hasebe becomes Yamagami unwilling help as he assists her in taking stuffs out of her reach, help sooth a little whiny kid at her counter (he is a ventriloquist?) and lends her his iPod music so she can do her job better while it is stormy outside (she has fear of lightning and thunder). Yamagami goes to return the iPod to him and witnesses another cool skill of Hasebe. He is able to do sign language. I don’t know if his answer is impressive or not. Because he learnt so many skills and is good at them so he can slack off! He is a civil servant because he has no hopes and dreams. Notice how those working here don’t? People who choose this job usually are those who want stability in career and future. It might be boring but it’s smooth sailing. Yamagami can’t accept more help from him because she feels bad for being indebted too much. She wants to do something in return. He wants to know her 3 sizes. To his surprise, she is willing to tell him! I’m sure he never knew such bust size existed, right? And when all is done, he remembers the one important thing he forgot: Her email address! Doh!

Episode 4
Chihaya has been purposely slipping on Yamagami so she could get her measurements and make cosplay outfit for her. To her horror, she thinks an office romance is brewing between Yamagami and Hasebe but it turns out the latter was teaching her sign language. Chihaya shoos Hasebe away and warns Yamagami to stay away from him. She also advises her about the sexual harassments she will get from him. Wasn’t Chihaya doing the same thing? So Chihaya confronts Hasebe about Yamagami. He thinks Chihaya likes him and is jealous! Or could it be she likes Yamagami?! She lets him off with a warning that he is her rival. This carefree guy may get Yamagami to like him and then get her to cosplay whatever he wishes. That is her concern? If he manages to do that, please send some pictures to her. So Hasebe goes to talk to Yamagami. She mentions about his slacking even though he can do everything. Probably that is what makes him popular with women. Hasebe thinks that is a compliment and asks if she likes him. Not in general. In that case, would she like to go out with him? She’d rather not. Rejected. But he takes it quite calmly. Yamagami ponders Hasebe’s words. Maybe he’s just saying it whimsically without feelings. But it still pisses her off. Ichimiya asks Hasebe if he did anything to Yamagami because she is acting different. He tells him about the rejection. He feels devastated so he hopes Ichimiya could do his work for him. He doesn’t look sad… When Yamagami learns this is Hasebe’s first time in confessing, she apologizes and that it’s not his fault but hers. She never thought a boring person like her would end up in a relationship. So does this mean she can go out with him? No. Rejected the second time. He invites her to go out for food together since it is pretty normal for colleagues to eat together. Later he brags to Ichimiya that he has somewhat settle the issue with Yamagami. It is part of his plan to gradually conquer her and make her fall for him!

The newbies realize they have never met their section chief before and Ichimiya seems pretty reluctant to talk about him. That’s because Kenzo Momoi is a talking stuffed rabbit! Really! Cute? Strange? It’s real right before your eyes. He knows Hasebe’s father because they started working in the same year and had lots of memories together. Momoi starts sulking that the new kids don’t respect him and such. I can see why Ichimiya never introduced them to him. Would it be weird to find your boss is a talking stuffed rabbit? On the bright side, it’s better than a grumpy old man, right? Chihaya is not thrilled about Yamagami’s naivety that she goes out to eat with Hasebe. Well, he takes her to fancy restaurants with good food. How can she resist that? Because of Yamagami being an easy target, Chihaya thinks of assassinating Hasebe quick! So Chihaya has Yamagami ascertain Hasebe’s intention of going out to eat with her. Otherwise she will officially certify her as an idiot. So on an outing, Yamagami asks Hasebe this. She thinks he is doing it because he felt bitter of being rejected and wants to fatten her up! Oh God… Can you blame him for calling her an idiot? When Chihaya learns about this, she too calls her an idiot. And Yamagami doesn’t know what’s happening. Momoi realizes the newbies are getting along well. When he learns he was never invited to drinking parties, he throws a tantrum. Who would invite a stuffed rabbit out? And so this is Momoi’s first time and it’s on him. Thing is, he doesn’t have money and has Ichimiya pay for him! Because Yamagami doesn’t like to drink, he suggests to be more adventurous and lets her try shochu. Instantly she gets drunk. Hasebe accompanies Yamagami home. Worried Ichimiya wanted to do so but Touko called and wants him back. NOW! Momoi wants to accompany Miyoshi home but she already got into the taxi. Yamagami is looking vulnerable. Hasebe may be having it hard to bring her home. It’s late and they’ve missed the last train. They need a place to stay. The hotel nearby looks convenient. Next morning, Yamagami wakes up having no memories what happened last night. She is shocked to see a woman sleeping next to her.

Episode 5
This girl is Hasebe?! Hasebe is actually a girl?! Oh. Here comes the male version. So if you still haven’t got it like Yamagami, this girl is Kaoru, Hasebe’s older sister. A hotel would have been convenient but he remembered his sister’s place nearby. And Yamagami still doesn’t get it why he chose his sister’s place over a hotel. Is she still drunk? Kaoru mentions her favourite hobby is to play pranks. When Hasebe came to her place last night with Yamagami in his hands, she thought he played too many of such games and now wants to do a threesome with his sister! On their way back, Yamagami feels so indebted that she wants to do something to return the favour. Yeah, it’s a big deal alright. Hasebe says he’ll save points for every deed he does for her so that whenever he needs a huge favour, he’ll use them. The next day, Yamagami pays Kaoru a visit just give her thanks. Kaoru suggests that they go over to Hasebe’s place now and Yamagami will be the present. Don’t get it? Along the way, Kaoru mentions everyone in their family are civil servants. And Hasebe is the least hyper active. Oh God… Hasebe is surprised the ladies are at his doorstep. He is feeling sleepy because last night he stayed up playing games. Even Yamagami is asking him if women in games with big boobs exist in real life. I suppose she doesn’t consider herself… Come Monday, Ichimiya is worried what happened to Yamagami after they depart. Full of confidence, she told him about Hasebe bringing her to another pretty woman’s place and then went to his place and then learns how he likes to play games with big boobs. That’s pretty ambiguous the way she puts it. Ichimiya smacks Hasebe, accusing him of doing something to her.

Later the guys see Yamagami being lectured by Chihaya for being vulnerable and taken care by Hasebe. Is she crying?! Actually, she’s got hiccups. Hasebe wanted to scare her but Chihaya’s deadly stare that says “Do that and I’ll kill you”. Later Hasebe is surprised to learn Ichimiya has got a girlfriend. And no, it’s not Touko. But Ichimiya laments he always gets dumped before Christmas. Chihaya and Yamagami overheard this and Chihaya knows the reason. Because Christmas Eve is Touko’s birthday. I guess that guy had to choose. But why does Chihaya knows this? Because she is his girlfriend. Just kidding! That surprise stops Yamagami’s hiccups. But is it really a joke because Chihaya is looking at Ichimiya with killer eyes and that guy is sweating in his pants. On the day Touko goes out with Miyoshi, Chihaya drops by Ichimiya’s place. So looks like they’re really dating? Touko tells Miyoshi that she wants to become a civil servant and doesn’t want to go to college. Reason: She wants to become independent. Definitely big brother complex here. Back to Ichimiya, Chihaya has been dating him for a year. She doesn’t know how to tease him anymore. She gets annoyed because all he ever does is apologize. Like right now too. Since she is busy with some cosplay stuff on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t mind him hanging out with Touko. But she wonders if he really wants to break up with her that much. So she runs into Touko’s room and puts on her school uniform! She lectures him to be more confident because he also has his good qualities. Ichimiya doesn’t want Touko to see this scene but she came back early. Seems Chihaya was here to deliver the clothes she made for her. I’m not sure if Touko knows about them dating. Perhaps not. Otherwise you know what would have happened. At office, Ichimiya and Chihaya act like normal colleagues. And this is perhaps why Ichimiya was constantly reminding Hasebe that office romance is to be avoided. Just too much trouble. He’s serious…

Episode 6
Momoi got a new necktie from his daughter but since he doesn’t know how to tie it, he lets Chihaya do it and comments she is good as though she does it for her boyfriend. Rabbit abuse! It’s getting really tight at the neck. Because Momoi feels he hasn’t gotten close to his juniors, Ichimiya suggests riding on their shoulder while observing their work. Momoi picks up slacking habits from Hasebe. And you thought the chief would teach a thing or two to the youngster but it was the other way round instead. Hitching a ride on Yamagami, because of her big boobs, he couldn’t really see things directly in front. Miyoshi is perfect but his comments that he can see all the way down’ causes her to be depressed. Despite being a bunny, even hearing Mrs Tanaka’s stories and Touko’s lecture can be tiresome. Momoi’s conclusion is that today’s office is less strict than before. He explains Hasebe’s father was a hard worker and everybody was hard on him. Because everyone was paid the same, if somebody works hard, everybody else must match up. I’m not sure what Momoi said but he was punched in the gut by Hasebe’s father. And when Momoi vows to be always there for Hasebe, he punches him in the gut. Like father, like son. Momoi is worried what he lacks but to his horror everybody is ignoring him and talking about something else. Then here comes a high school student, Kanon. Would you believe she is Momoi’s daughter?! Believe it. She brought him a bunny’s tail because when he got his new body, mom forgot to put it on. He thinks this is what he is missing. The rest are surprised that Kanon and Touko are best friends. Since Touko doesn’t know her dad is a stuffed doll, Kanon covers for him and brings her away. Just when Momoi is about to show off his new tail, everyone continues to ignore him.

If hearing Mrs Tanaka’s stories and Touko’s lecture isn’t enough, Miyoshi has to put up with the bunny. Do you think she’ll get burnt out? After listening all these time, all she wants is somebody to talk to. She murmurs she feels like quitting and Hasebe hears her. She explains she doesn’t hate her job or her colleagues but rather she didn’t finish graduate school and might be regretting it. She got a job while still in graduate as she asked her parents to let her take the college entrance exam again after she failed. But her father fell ill and later out she found out it was a lie to bring her back. Hasebe is so casual in his slacking she is even tempted to copy it. She unintentionally tries to encourage him but discourages him with words like he is beneath her or his casual ways will end up living an unfulfilled life. I think Hasebe needs more time to recover. And he’s not slacking… Just when Miyoshi is going to sit through another round of Mrs Tanaka’s stories, Mrs Tanaka asks her to marry her grandson! During the break, her colleagues think it is amazing but of course Miyoshi isn’t. Miyoshi doesn’t plan to date anyone now and if she marries, she’ll have to quit her job and be a housewife since Mrs Tanaka’s grandson is a banker. The rest wonder if Miyoshi had been confessed to before so she says 9 out of 10 people end up crying. Why? How? When the guy confessed to her, she thought there are better girls out there and told him to reflect on himself and think again. I guess he took in the wrong way. Hasebe seems to be against the marriage. His body action hints like he has a problem with the family called Mrs Tanaka. Chihaya is more mischievous. She tells her to tell Mrs Tanaka that same rejection line if she asks again. She might die of heart attack. On another day of storytelling by Mrs Tanaka, an hour passed and she hasn’t mention about her grandson. The issue is blown over? Not quite. She brings up the marriage proposal again. Miyoshi tries to change the subject but she quickly turns it back to this. Miyoshi clearly states she has no intention to get married. But Mrs Tanaka isn’t giving up because next time she’ll bring her grandson here. You just can’t win against this old lady.

Episode 7
Chihaya visits Ichimiya but he is not home but Touko. They play games and the loser must do what the winner say. Touko lost every one of them and each time is made to put on a magical girl outfit till she is fully dressed as one. Ichimiya returns and is surprised to see Chihaya. She didn’t bat an eyelid saying she is here to use Touko as her plaything. Because Ichimiya won’t play with her. At work, Momoi wonders if Ichimiya and Chihaya aren’t getting along. He talks to Chihaya and probably said the wrong thing and almost got his ears ripped! He sets up the both of them to organize articles in the storage. Once more, Chihaya doesn’t like how nice Ichimiya is that it’s irritating her. She feels their distance is awkward and unbuttons her shirt. A couple alone in a room. This won’t take long. Suddenly Yamagami sees them. How can they get out of this one? Chihaya says she felt light headed and Ichimiya caught her. She believes it. Later Ichimiya wants to talk to Chihaya after work but he has to break the promise when Momoi seeks him. Meanwhile Kanon and Touko are at the shopping mall and the little sister is talking how her useless brother doesn’t even have a girlfriend. Well, Kanon even knows from her talk, there are obvious signs he has a girl. Then Chihaya joins them and from her speech, Kanon instantly knows this is Ichimiya’s boyfriend. She observers Touko being manipulated by her without even knowing it. And that she’s using Touko as an excuse to be with Ichimiya. Kanon wants to protect her friend when Chihaya gets a call from Ichimiya. She surprises Kanon when she puts Touko first and ignores her boyfriend. This makes her wonder if they do really get along well. She asks to confirm and Chihaya admits she goes out with both of them as she likes them. But she is troubled with the current situation and wants them to realize it. Since Ichimiya is calling again and his usual apologetic mode, Chihaya leaves to meet him. His first words? More apologies! Because Chihaya is looking pretty scary…

Miyoshi is still feeling down as she is still worried about Mrs Tanaka’s proposal. This makes Hasebe go pale again so Yamagami thinks he wants to go out with Miyoshi! She got her cheeks pinched. Yamagami talks to Miyoshi about it when Mrs Tanaka’s grandson really did show up! Yamagami feels like a third wheel but can’t leave because Miyoshi is holding tightly to her hand! Jouji Tanaka is here to apologize over her grandma’s statement. Also, he came to see what she looked like as words of the elders are absolute. Mrs Tanaka is not here today because she caught a cold. Miyoshi is worried for her so Tanaka likes her kindness to the elderly. Yamagami leaves as soon as Hasebe walks into the scene. Suddenly Tanaka jumps over the counter and starts hounding him! He is yelling at him about disappearing for so long. He pokes his eyes. Just when Tanaka is about to settle some grudge, Hasebe says that lunchtime is over. Back to work. Responsible guy, isn’t he? When Mrs Tanaka is well and is able to see Miyoshi again, this time her grandson tags along too. In fact he has been here every day! Miyoshi lies to cover that Hasebe is not here but he can sense his presence. Later Yamagami learns from Hasebe about their rivalry that goes way back to their school days. Tanaka put lots of effort to get results unlike Hasebe who considers himself a genius. I guess that’s why he slacks. Because Tanaka hates to lose, he always challenges Hasebe to everything but always lost. Yamagami’s honesty has Hasebe wanting to further their relationship. But she can’t go out with him because it’s not payday yet. Hasebe continues to bug her again. Chihaya hopes he explodes alone for flirting. Tanaka is not too pleased to see that. Chihaya adds fuel to the fire that he is a slacker and a flirter. Suddenly Tanaka tells her off not to badmouth him! Chihaya arrives at a possible reason: BL thing. But Miyoshi doesn’t understand what it means.

Episode 8
Yamagami still couldn’t get use to people calling her name. Even if it’s just Lucy. But why take it out on Hasebe? Yeah. Serial offender. He suggests going out for dinner and since Yamagami is broke, they go somewhere cheap. Asking about her love for books, she mentions she was always teased because of her name and ended up running to the library. Although she can change her name, she feels it would be a dishonour to her parents who are great people. Though, she blames the person who approves it. So what next after she finds that person? Curse that person to give their grandchild a similar name to hers? Hasebe adds after she is done with that, go on a date with him. Rejected again. Does she hate him that much? The thought of her boyfriend pronouncing her full name while declaring his love just doesn’t cut it. Next day after work, Yamagami leaves office only to see Tanaka waiting. She tries to cover for Hasebe or Miyoshi that they have already gone home. However he is here for her and takes her away to treat her for dinner! Seems this guy has a complex over his name too. Because Jouji could mean second place and he doesn’t really like that. Yamagami thought she could escape and end this by making him drunk but I guess he’s strong. Nobody is as weak as her. Tanaka then starts ranting about all the challenges he lost to Hasebe. Also complaining about his talent but chose to stay home, place video games, bum around, etc. He thinks he has been driven to despair since he is dating a plain girl! Yamagami thinks this is Hasebe’s way of joking but Tanaka says this is the first time he knows Hasebe trying to hit on a woman. Tanaka drops the bombshell. He wants to date her just to show Hasebe the meaning of losing. Yamagami is about to panic when suddenly here comes Hasebe punching him! Wow. That made him sober. So that guy was drunk?! He is here because Miyoshi saw Yamagami being dragged away and called him. And now here is Miyoshi on the line wanting to speak to Tanaka. He has a feeling it will be a lecture about forcing a stranger to dinner with him.

When they leave (after Hasebe punched the dude many times because he’s trying to get her contacts – how should he when Hasebe himself hasn’t?), Hasebe learns what they have talked and would love to forget those embarrassing bits. That guy is so sick of Tanaka that he transferred to a random school (because he followed him all the way to college!). When Yamagami mentions about how fun it is for him to live the way he wants, Hasebe stops her. He is afraid he will end up liking her so much at this rate that it won’t be funny. Next day at office, Hasebe isn’t his usual. In fact, worse. He admits to want to go slack off, doesn’t even correct Ichimiya’s mistakes (he should buck up) and hangs out at Momoi’s table. Yamagami wants to repay Hasebe’s kindness. Remember those points he saved up? Yeah. He’s going to use it now. Go on a date. Yamagami tries to hold him off saying she is quite booked during her off days and it will only be in 2 months her schedule be free. He’ll gladly wait. He wants her to wear a skirt on a date. Or else, where a skirt to work. Choose. She can’t risk her colleagues see her in one either. Chihaya heard everything and declines on her behalf and accuses him of sexual harassment. Hasebe coolly says since Chihaya makes clothes for cosplay, he wants her to design one for Yamagami. She agrees. Did she take the bait? And Yamagami is more distress than ever.

Episode 9
Chihaya is too deep in thinking about the clothes she will make for Yamagami that she couldn’t concentrate on her work. It just reminds her about Ichimiya’s case too. He can detect her deadly aura… This has her thinking she was also a plain girl 2 years ago. Momoi commented on her plainness because young kids usually dress up splendidly. Then she got to know how kind and considerate Ichimiya is and asked him out. He gave lots of excuses and sounded like he was too busy with stuffs (Touko, what else?) to do so. Ichimiya advises Chihaya not to cosplay in skimpy dress so she doesn’t catch a cold. She kisses and slaps him! That’s how she wants to say it to him. Chihaya then has Yamagami to go out shopping for a skirt. Too bad that means Hasebe can’t hog her today. Chihaya notes Hasebe is trying hard to make Yamagami fall for him lately. She’s fine with that. Just don’t let him drag her to a hotel afterwards. Yamagami wonders why she didn’t stop him then. She bluntly admits she lost to the skirt. Yamagami thinks this date is just his way of teasing her so Chihaya mentions after Hasebe manages to get her fall for him, he’ll dump her. Yamagami is filled with pessimism each time a skirt is tried on. Complain, complain… Impossible, impossible… Till Chihaya makes her feel bad about how all this would turn out since Hasebe asked her out. Yamagami promises to do her best. Chihaya ups the ante that she needs to get contacts too. In the end, they didn’t buy a skirt because her breast size couldn’t match so she’ll have to make one. Yamagami tells Hasebe that she will do her best to accompany him till the end. This made him throw up his coffee. Chihaya takes her away for a lecture.

Yamagami notices Mrs Tanaka once more telling stories to Miyoshi. When she mentions about her grandson, Miyoshi tells her straight not to talk about him. Grandma gets the idea and returns to her story. Later as Yamagami talks to her, Miyoshi feels annoyed and responsible. Had she declined Tanaka properly, Yamagami wouldn’t have gone through all that. But all is not wasted. The food was good. I think she’s missing the point. Kaoru drops by and they have dinner together. She mentions Tanaka as her type of guy. The type that makes her laugh, that is. She explains the rivalry between Hasebe and Tanaka since young. There was a time he even asked her to go out with her just to defeat Hasebe! Declined of course. His seriousness on Hasebe got worse each day. He pestered her to tell where Hasebe transferred but she didn’t say. He can’t stop following him because he doesn’t want to have regrets till everything is settled. From the way I see it, it’s not going to end soon. Next day, Miyoshi sees Hasebe and tells him about the dinner they had and due to the noise interference, Hasebe heard that Yamagami is getting married! See the shock on his face? Why hasn’t he heard anything? Miyoshi puts it that she said she will eventually find out anyway. And that’s what he remembered Yamagami saying too. He sees her sparkly happy. Could it be true? He asks about it. Although she didn’t exactly say anything about the wedding, her ambiguous words did indicate it was so. Hasebe sinks into further shock and depression. He couldn’t do his work. Hey, he was a slacker but at least he got the job done. He even starts tearing out Momoi’s fur! At his limit, Hasebe finally asks Yamagami who that guy is. An actor she doesn’t know? What? She shows him some Tosho card worth 1000 Yen. No wonder she is happy. Oh, haven’t he heard? Kaoru is getting married. And just this instant, Hasebe gets a message from Kaoru that she is getting married. She thought she’ll tell him later. So embarrassed that he smashes his Smartphone! It’s old. He was planning to buy a new one anyone. Besides, he doesn’t need all the girls’ information. What does he mean by that? It means he only needs Yamagami’s contacts. Get the hint? But wait. Does he even have her contacts? The embarrassing feeling continues to linger on…

Episode 10
Chihaya visits Ichimiya’s apartment but only Touko is in. She thinks this is the perfect chance to let her know they are dating. So that’s what the many cakes are for? She tries to start off with an idle chat but ends up become a mediator for the siblings since she mentioned about her brother being at a marriageable age. When Chihaya says they are seeing each other, Touko misheard and thinks they are going at each other. Since she was studying too much, she falls asleep. This causes Chihaya to also feel sleepy. She wakes up next morning, courtesy of Ichimiya putting a blanket over her. He thinks how the girls get along very well. This angers her and suggests they go at each other to see how strong because as Touko suggested, Chihaya would win. Chihaya talks to Miyoshi about Touko looking through past civil servant questions and wonders if she really wants to become a civil servant. Miyoshi knows Chihaya is dating Ichimiya since Touko often talks a lot about them and she could guess. Chihaya is surprised since Yamagami was an idiot and brushed it off as a joke while Touko had her brother too much on her mind to even notice. When Miyoshi leaves, here comes Tanaka again. He wants to challenge Hasebe. It’s part of his no regrets thingy. Whatever Miyoshi tries to say to make him stay away, it seems he is drawn back to do it so as not to leave regrets of it. Miyoshi has heard from Kaoru and tells him off that what he is doing is not atonement but self satisfaction. This causes him to regret his actions and wants to do something to not regret this regret. Geddit? Now Miyoshi regrets making him regret of having any regret. And one regret after another means Miyoshi ends up having to go out for dinner with him. Regretting it? Yamagami notices Chihaya tired out. It’s just that she was told she worries too much. She advises her it’s okay to be selfish once in a while so as not to regret it later. In that case, Chihaya will go full speed ahead making her date dress. Regretting it?

Since Touko is at her usual lecturing Miyoshi about civil servants’ responsibility, Kanon wanders around to kill time. She meets Hasebe slacking around wherever she goes, Yamagami having plain and cheap lunch, and Chihaya who wants to take her measurements for her magical girl cosplay. Momoi learns Kanon is around and goes look for her. He almost got spotted by Touko and acts like a stuffed bunny. She isn’t amused with this ward’s ugly mascot and abuses it. After she has her fill, she leaves. She remembers she forgot her handphone back at Miyoshi’s counter and goes get it. To her dismay, she sees Miyoshi talking to the bunny. She feels guilty that too much reprimanding has caused her to stress out and talk to it. Not only her, she witnesses the other staffs doing the same! She pours out her guilty conscious to Kanon and she has an idea what happened. Kanon is worried on what to do because this may jeopardize their friendship and everyone will be in trouble. Ichimiya is also worried when Touko tells him about the psychological problems everyone is having. How do you explain it? Then she sees Momoi riding on Yamagami’s head and talking. Shocking? With his identity busted, Momoi wastes no time introducing himself. Touko is not amused that she has been made a fool and the first thing she reprimands Momoi is if this is how he wastes tax payers’ money! Her abuses to the civil servants become much nicer since she tells them to go trip somewhere instead of dying. Momoi thanks everyone for taking care of his daughter and mentions Kanon said how all his subordinates are weird. Not as weird as him. He is the weirdest, right?

Episode 11
Because Hasebe is nowhere to be seen as asked by Ichimiya, Yamagami goes to ask the rest. All the same answer: He is probably slacking off somewhere. Even Momoi had the same reply. I guess to show he is not slacking off too, he takes her to go find him at his usual slacking off places. This brings them to a bazaar nearby. One of the stalls is selling stuffed toys. There is a bunny that looks just like him but only in a different colour. Before Yamagami knows it, he goes missing. She reports back to her friends that he got kidnapped. Actually the salesperson mistaken him for a merchandise and sold it. To apologize for the mistake, Yamagami was given this clone bunny. But the staffs don’t think it will be a problem if Momoi wasn’t around… Yamagami goes to look around for him till Touko catches her talking to the stuffed bunny. Accustomed in doing that? She advises her to look at the library. Yamagami is almost distracted at her Shangri-la when she sees a little girl reading a book with her mother. Next to her is Momoi. He is acting like a real stuffed toy. Why won’t he escape himself? He couldn’t bear see the sadness to be parted with this girl and decided to live with her forever as a stuffed doll. So tell his wife and daughter his body now belongs to another person! Don’t be ridiculous. Yamagami politely offers to swap the bunny. The girl accepts the offer as the clone is cuter. Momoi feels so disappointed. Yamagami goes to find Hasebe and waits at one of his usual places, the rooftop. There he is. She tries explaining why she is not used to guys as reason for her behaviour towards him. Then she says more ambiguous things that just depress Hasebe. He wants to tell her she is special but gets cut off that he needs to be nice to everyone. Hasebe feels this is the price he has to pay for living so carefree.

Miyoshi is regretting about agreeing to dinner with Tanaka. To take her mind off it, she goes out shopping on her off day. At the bookstore, she sees Yamagami and she can accurately predict what she is thinking about purchasing about a particular book. Next, she sees depressed Hasebe playing at the video arcade. His mood changes when he spots her. He takes pride in the dating simulation games he plays but Miyoshi had to nail it by saying if he has time to do that, he should have asked Yamagami out. Bull’s eye! He feels like a loser. Miyoshi sees Chihaya buying a cake and thinks it’s for Ichimiya. Then she sees that depressed guy and talks about his ‘girlfriend’. The more she says, the more depressed he becomes since they are all truths. He feels like a loser. Miyoshi feels at this rate she will bump into Momoi. True enough… Momoi and Kanon… Fearing she will bump into the rest of the staff and ultimately Tanaka, well, turns out to be Mrs Tanaka. Oh God. The grandmother stories begin… Is it a wonder why she looks so tired when she returns to work? So never going out again on her off day. Later she tells her colleagues about the dinner with Tanaka. They hope she’ll be alright. During the dinner, all we see Tanaka do is talk about Hasebe while drinking a glass of wine. I hope he isn’t drunk. When Miyoshi requests to talk about something else, he brings up a boring work subject. She laughs because it was so boring she can’t help be amused. She accidentally drinks a glass of wine and instantly passes out. When she wakes up, she is surprised to see Tanaka carrying her like a princess. Tanaka felt fun doing that and hopes they could do it again. Oh, he forgot to talk about regrets. Regretting that? Next day, her colleagues want to know how it went. She says Tanaka will be fine as long as Hasebe is not involved. He feels disappointed as though his existence was denied.

Episode 12
Chihaya is tired from making her cosplay clothes and uses Yamagami’s boobs as her pillow. As Yamagami’s date is coming up, she requests for leave for 3 straight days. She doesn’t want to be disturbed so as to concentrate and tells this to Ichimiya. Okay, he won’t bug her. I suppose her intention to get him to care backfired. 3 days later, Ichimiya visits her to see how she is doing. She’s almost dead. And he had the cheek to say she doesn’t look any different than usual. I hope she doesn’t waste her angry energy on him. Ichimiya knows she has been pushing herself and wants her to go to sleep. She acts a little horny but drops deep into sleep. Chihaya shows Yamagami the dress she made. Looks lovelier but isn’t it shorter than the one in the store? Chihaya purposely notes that the date is tomorrow and can’t fix it. So she’ll have to put up with it. Will it be possible for Yamagami to put this on? Well, she seems very reluctant about it. Chihaya wants Yamagami to find out if Hasebe is a decent guy and to observe him (based on Chihaya’s own experience, I guess). When Yamagami tests the dress, she is embarrassed that this is impossible. She thinks of calling Hasebe to call off the date but she realizes she hasn’t got his contact. Chihaya thinks Hasebe is a master strategist to think this far in case Yamagami wants to cancel. Of course we know it isn’t. On the day of the date, Hasebe arrives early. But Yamagami starts running late and he begins to wonder if something happened to her. Is she sick? Did she stood him up? Or is the dress too embarrassing for her and part of Chihaya’s master strategy plan? Then here comes Yamagami. Looks pretty decent to me. Perhaps it was just embarrassing by her standards. Hasebe finds her cute and this makes her smile like a person who loves being praised. Because she is wearing contacts, Hasebe teases her by buying her fashion glasses and ‘admits’ he loves glasses!

Yamagami is happy when he takes her to the bookstore but she remembers Chihaya’s words to observe him. Chihaya is out with Touko. The latter explains that she doesn’t mind her brother having a girlfriend (really?) and since she wants him to be free, independent and not hold him back, that’s why she wants to work hard for this civil servant test. Chihaya is surprised to see Hasebe and Yamagami nearby. Not wanting Touko to see this, she brings her away. Yamagami has been so pre-occupied thinking about observing what kind of person Hasebe is that she didn’t realize he was being considerate to her. Not that she was observing either. She panics when she thinks he is doing all that without thinking. She could have run away but her high heels. She tripped… Hasebe puts the band aid on her knee and mentions he could almost see her panties. She smacks him and thinks she may just be over thinking. It’s Hasebe as usual. Hasebe gets serious and wants her to date him. He doesn’t mind her long first name and thinks she is using it as an excuse. He wants to know what she thinks of him. The well timed phone ring just ruined it. Hasebe wanted to ignore it but Yamagami has him pick up. It’s about Kaoru’s marriage meeting today. Shouldn’t he be there? He made the date with Yamagami first and Kaoru was okay with that. Besides, his future bride is more important than his sister’s husband. Counting his chickens? Yamagami suggests redoing this date another time so long he goes to his sister. Happy guy agrees. Then Chihaya calls Yamagami in hopes to crash in, or rather check up but was told Hasebe already left for personal matters. Next day at work. Something is wrong with Hasebe. He makes lots of mistakes and more importantly, he is working and not slacking! His colleagues wonder if something happened on the date and ask him in person. Remember the official who approved Yamagami’s ridiculously long name? It was his father. Oh shi…

Episode 13
Yamagami and Momoi wonder where the rest of the young ones are so they go around looking. Too bad Touko was there so she starts reprimanding the bunny. Kanon thought of saving her dad without exposing him has her father. Thankfully Touko was dumb enough to think Kanon likes this doll, the reason she was defensive. If they think they’ve got Touko out of the way, here comes Mrs Tanaka. No Miyoshi so who to substitute? Hasebe explains after his date with Lucy ended, he went back to his parents’ place. First thing he saw was his future brother-in-law knocked out from alcohol thanks to the heavy drinking with his dad. When Kaoru asks about Lucy, this reminded his father about a girl he approved with that name. Hasebe then realized. But father even went so far as a joke he could be dating this girl. Oh Lord… Hasebe blamed him at first but when he learns daddy was so concern about his son who was having a bad fever that day and couldn’t concentrate on his work, Hasesbe realizes he is the source of why Yamagami got that ridiculously long name. I’m not sure if it’s Chihaya’s intention to cheer him up or just to make sarcastic comments that rings “Hah! In your face you loser!”. Yeah. She’s making him even more depressed. Ichimiya and Miyoshi couldn’t do any better. Especially when Miyoshi nails the finisher that says it is just perhaps Yamagami doesn’t like him at all. Before Hasebe could revert into a child throwing a tantrum whether he should tell Yamagami or not, here comes that lady with Momoi. They return to work. Yamagami gets the wrong idea when Hasebe starts avoiding her. She thinks it is her fault during the date that made him act so. Miyoshi wonders if there is a way to resolve this without Hasebe getting hated. Chihaya puts it bluntly. There isn’t. If Yamagami finds out Hasebe has been keeping this a secret, she’ll hate him even more. Plus, since Hasebe is the one who teases her the most about her name, she’ll hate him if she admits it. Either way, he’ll be hated. It gets even odder when Hasebe calls her by her surname instead of Lucy. And it’s pretty awkward too because Yamagami personally wants him to keep calling her that!

Both Hasebe and Yamagami continue to be awkward with each other and could not concentrate fully on their work. It pisses off Chihaya so she tells off Hasebe that if he gets depressed over this, he wasn’t serious enough. Don’t ever see Yamagami again. I think that ‘killed’ him. But she couldn’t see Yamagami like this too so she orders Hasebe to go talk to her. Ichimiya for once becomes a man to advise Hasebe about the danger of keeping it a secret. Though, he should take a look at himself because Chihaya is standing right there with that killer aura. This gives Hasebe motivation to go talk to Yamagami. Ichimiya promises to Chihaya he will do better and will tell Touko about their relationship. Just the question of when. Erm… Tomorrow? Gutless… When Hasebe finds Yamagami (with the rest eavesdropping), he still has a hard time trying to say it but she says to spill everything because she can take it for she has endured all the torment due to her name. As long as it doesn’t have to do with her name. Hah. Just made it harder. Hasebe goes crazy and blurts out the secret. Yamagami is shocked but she knows this issue cannot be solved easily and know it is not his fault. It’s not like he wanted to get fever on that day. So to make it up to her and take responsibility, please continue to call her Lucy. She likes it that way. Sign of approval? Hasebe is about to confess the most important thing when Tanaka comes in looking for him. Miyoshi keeps him at bay. Then here comes Touko and Kanon. Ichimiya tackles them away. Momoi’s looking for… Never mind. Chihaya stepped on him. Once outside, Hasebe asks Yamagami to go out with him. Another rejection. But it’s not a no for eternity. Just not yet. They are interrupted again by the rest of those bothersome people…  Tanaka still hasn’t given up on his challenge, eh? Closing scenes: Ichimiya tries to tell Touko about his girlfriend. Hours passed… Couldn’t say it. Gutless… Miyoshi goes out to dinner with Tanaka but she is the talkative one and makes him shut up because it’s rude to interrupt when others are talking. No buts. Yamagami wants to repay Chihaya for that dress. Anything she says? Regret getting into that cosplay outfit? Finally Hasebe has got Yamagami’s email address. First mail he sends her is to go out with him. Declined. Not now. He continues to bug her for it and they realize their colleagues are watching.

Get Back To Work!!!
Does Yamagami harbour any revenge for the culprit anymore? From what I deduce, she doesn’t. Why? Because she’s in love! That’s the only reason why she doesn’t seem interested in pursuing that grudge, the sole reason she became a civil servant. Besides, Hasebe’s first name calling of her should be an obvious sign that she has accepted him but she is just probably in denial in her heart that she likes him. You see, she has spent her youthful days being tormented by people who teased her name. I am sure Hasebe is no different but he teases her in a different manner rather than using her name as the subject of teasing. All of a sudden in the end, she likes how she calls him partly because she is so used to hearing that. So much so if he calls her by something else, it would have sounded odd. That’s what you call conditioning. But I’ll stick to it as love. And it is a good thing and sign that Yamagami loves Hasebe more that not even the hatred for the person who approved her name could change her mind. Imagine a person who has lived solely on the motion of revenge all his/her life. When you find the source, you don’t hesitate to go in for the kill. Yamagami could have easily started looking for Hasebe’s dad and Hasebe would have been the object of torment but Yamagami didn’t pursue it. Why? Because, hell, it’s love. Also, Yamagami is a little airhead, gullible and naive that it makes her look like an idiot sometimes. Seriously.

That is what I feel the entire series is heading towards. It was just a big setting for Hasebe to try and make Yamagami fall for him. I guess that’s why he continued to play pranks on her, tease her and take her out to dinner. Got to admit, the food was good, right? What is she, his pet? Hasebe may have that playboy status of flirting around and the obvious reason why he falls for Yamagami is because she is hard to get it. It all started because she was the only one he never got the email address. Then every opportunity turned into antics and ultimately they got carried away with it and it ends without him achieving his goal. Even when he is serious and never gives up, it feels like the pranks and teasing come back to bite him because his own dad was the name approving culprit. It just feels like God was screwing with him and then when it’s time for the climax, this bombshell. He died a few times after every rejection and then this. Man, he must have a very strong heart each time he comes back.

So this is how a typical government ward looks like? Hard to believe, huh? You’ve got slackers and employees getting caught up in their own office drama that it makes you wonder if they can really do an efficient job. Of course they seem to handle it pretty well in this anime. Some can fool around during office hours and still give the best service to their clients or at least put up a smile when they get scolded or lectured. Makes it sound so unreal, huh? Then you’ve got a little high school girl who spends most of her time visiting the ward and even though it is her ulterior motive to see her brother, can you believe it if somebody really passionately says that he/she wants to be a government officer and it is his/her dream to be one, you must either be thinking that this person is really naive, very patriotic or just look back with scorn and laugh it off. What’s more, studying all the articles and laws in the legislation. I thought you had to be a lawyer just to do that.

This is why it is a little hard to believe there is some sort of connection to realism in this anime. Firstly, Momoi as a bunny and the chief. At first it was amusing to see a little stuffed toy as the head but then you go WTF. Is this for real? How do you explain the bunny moving about on its own? Magic? Invisible strings? Everlasting Energizer batteries? By the way, doesn’t the pink bunny look awfully familiar to that? In the final scenes, it is show the bunny is a robot made by Kanon who put in her heart and passion in it. Hmm… Has technology been so advanced that the stuffed toy can act so life-like? Come to think of it, I think I prefer to go with magic and invisible strings reason instead of an old guy hiding somewhere using a remote control to control the little robot bunny. And the reason Momoi is in a bunny form? I read it was extreme shyness but seriously in a job that requires interaction with the public or at least for his position, communication with his staffs, being shy is the last thing you want to have. Therefore with Momoi around, it’s hard to take and see things seriously in this department especially when every staff is seen talking to a bunny like as though this is some government version of Alice In Wonderland. Oh wait. Do we ever believe in that? A government facility seriously dedicated to their job. Hahahahahahahahaha…. Oops, sorry. Got carried away there.

Another thing is Yamagami’s tremendously unbelievably huge boobs. I suppose they are the fanservice for this series but if you ask me, the way they give those racks a lot of bouncy prominence makes it as though she is one of those busty anime babes whose boobs defy the laws of physics. So huge that she could probably even put her own face on it and sleep as a pillow. Serious. Sometimes you don’t want to look at her silly face, then her boobs start to jiggle whatsoever, your eyes start shifting there. Serious. Then there is also her ahoge that acts like some sort of an emotion indicator. Something like what a dog’s tail is. It feels that it has a life of its own and just like her boobs, in the earlier episodes it was given a lot of prominence. Like as though the ahoge is what defines Yamagami. Yes, the ahoge. Not the boobs. They’re just side distractions. Haha.

Can I say Hasebe is a cool slacker? So good in everything that it gives him the right to slack? Imagine if the public knew about this, don’t you think they’ll be enraged? They pay their tax just to find out an employee loves slacking about. Never mind if he gets the job done, you pay tax, surely you want him on his best behaviour too, right? Hasebe is a pretty fun person if you can live with his pranks. But I’m sure if you’re the target of it like Yamagami, you won’t really appreciate it. Even though he is a genius, he is still a human. Because he can get depressed and also fall in love. Being competitive like Tanaka’s spirit is good. Just that the way he does it seems to be tad annoying. In fact, it is. That regrets thingy may sound like a good reason but when over-used, it seems to get a little tiring. In the end, I suppose the only thing he has ‘won’ over Hasebe is his persistence to bug him. That guy is the kind that will follow him to his grave. That’s what you call total devotion.

Miyoshi has developed this ‘deadly’ ability to see the truth in a person and then unknowingly tells you everything about ‘her opinion’ with accurate precision. Observant? Even if it is not her intention to hurt you, hearing all that is like your heart being shot by an arrow, bull’s eye. I suppose at first she used to keep those opinions to herself but ever since she became a regular ‘counsellor’ for Mrs Tanaka, maybe all those pent up opinions just gushed out later on. Tired of listening maybe so she just says the first thing that goes through her mind without giving it much thought. Otherwise, staying silent would make her look like she is just listening, no? So if there is a person whom you just need an ear to listen to, Miyoshi is the person for the job.

Chihaya’s deadpan face I wonder if she inherited during birth or was it her frustration in dating a dense guy like Ichimiya. Even when she shows a little emotions or change in her facial expression, there is still that deadpan look. Besides making clothes, I think her other best ‘ability’ is sarcasm and make witty remarks. It’s like as though if you need a sarcastic comeback, she’s the lady for the job. So why does a girl like her still want to carry on dating Ichimiya? He might not be perfect, but I think he has got lot of good qualities. I think. I don’t understand it myself since I don’t really have a girlfriend ;p. Ichimiya is a good guy but he just lacks a lots of self confidence especially when it comes to the romance part. Maybe it is partly due to Chihaya’s aggressive behaviour that puts pressure on him and the only thing this wimp could do is apologize. That makes it annoying, right? If you are the girlfriend of this man, won’t you feel embarrassed? But of course, it’s Chihaya and Ichimiya we’re talking about.

Something odd about Momoi makes me wonder. He’s a shy guy that had to resort to a stuffed bunny to interact around, right? Then why does his character feel like he craves for attention? Notice when he walks around, he gets his hopes up when he thinks people are noticing or paying attention to him. Then it turns to depression when he realizes it is not. In fact, sometimes the way he talks and acts as though he really wants to be noticed. So why do it all in a pink little bunny than in person? Bunnies are cuter? That only makes him sound very ugly. The very odd thing about Touko is the angry mark that is always present on her cheek. I want to think of it as a birthmark but it’s hard to think so because getting angry and pissed is what Touko does more than half of the time. Even in sad or happy times, the mark is always there. I hope it’s not some sort of curse.

At first it was hard to identify Aki Toyosaki as Chihaya due to her deadpan voice unlike her lively airhead roles like Yui from K-ON!, Kanetsugu from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride or cute lolis like Ai from Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi. But this is not the first time I heard her in such a role for I remember she was putting up this voice too as Reiri in Kaibutsu Oujo OVA. The rest of the casts include Ai Kayano as Yamagami (Mei in Sukitte Iinayo), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Hasebe (Haru in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun), Mai Nakahara as Miyoshi (Mai in Mai-HiME), Rumi Ookubo as Touko (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Rikiya Koyama as Momoi (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Rina Hidaka as Kanon (Airi in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Yu Kobayashi as Kaoru not in her crazy shouting voice like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s Kaede, Tetsuya Kakihara (Natsu in Fairy Tail) putting on a much mature voice as Tanaka and Mikako Takahashi (Ayumu in Hayate No Gotoku) pulling off a totally different sound as grandma Mrs Tanaka.

Overall the comedy part was rather okay and mainly comes from the speeches of the characters especially Hasebe and Chihaya. Romance wise, there is potential for nearly every character but mainly it is on Hasebe trying to get Yamagami who is in denial whatsoever. Miyoshi and Tanaka feel like a small distraction although I am not sure if Miyoshi is continuing to have dinner with Tanaka just to oblige him or she really starts taking a liking for him. I wouldn’t bet on the latter but you’ll never know. Just like how Hasebe and Yamagami’s case but we’ve come to expect it in this series so it is no surprise. But if Miyoshi really does end up dating Tanaka, I don’t know how she’ll have to put up with incessant storytelling from Mrs Tanaka. At work was bad enough, coming home to hear more stories would be a nightmare. That will be the biggest regret ever. In worst case scenario, she would just go snap and kill grandma to shut her up for eternity! There’s also the romance between Chihaya and Ichimiya but things between them don’t move. Even the snail and turtle are faster than them… There’s also Touko’s big brother complex but you can just ignore this one and see it as an annoying brat who can never leave her brother. Also, Kanon and Momoi’s fatherly-daughterly love. But we’re not so interested in this one, right? Drawing and art style seems pretty simplistic. At least they don’t look like grumpy old frowning staffs, right? Even Chihaya doesn’t look that bad if she smiles more often. On second thought, maybe she shouldn’t… It’s just scary.

In the end, this anime doesn’t really let us learn the ropes of what it is really like to be working in a government office. Because experiencing a real life is already enough drama to last you a lifetime and something you don’t want to remember! Haha. This anime could have been in any other setting, say, a restaurant or a manga publishing office and follow mostly the same formula and turn out the same. Basically it boils down that even the people in the government office are ordinary human beings just the rest of us. They have their own personalities and quirky habits. Have our own faults and not perfect as well. So next time when you decide to run down a government employee for bad and poor service just because we pay tax, just put ourselves in their shoes and think for a moment how it would feel if you are that person. I know having a pink bunny as the section chief sounds silly but if he can do a good and efficient job running things, then why not? Imagine if a country is run by a pink bunny… That’s how your tax money is being spent. Still not open to the idea of having a pink bunny running as president? Well then… Don’t send a bunny to do a man’s job. Lame pun. Regretting what I said…

I was pretty much delighted when Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi OVA came out. I loved the fantasy-like setting and the little adventures Ai and her gang go through in this abandoned world. So I thought even though there isn’t any second season so far, perhaps the OVA would be suffice for the time being. At least answer some questions that I had in mind during the TV series. Let’s say that it wasn’t what I expected. This OVA is divided into 3 short sections that don’t really further the plot or add much to what we already know…

Part 1: Hotspring
Alis and Dee are part of the travelling troupe. Because they have been on the road for who knows how long, Dee suggests taking a break and knows there is a nearby hotspring. Ai’s eyes brighten up and she is really eager to dip into one. Since everybody else agrees with this, I suppose majority wins and Yuri is forced to take a detour. Seriously, a ghost like Dee can soak in the hotspring? Anyway this is your fanservice section. Ah yes, if only those hair and steam didn’t get in the way… Ai notices Scar’s great boobs and sexy curvaceous body. Well, she herself never noticed it since she was ‘born’ this way. Ai also notices Dee’s nice body. I guess this means Ai is at the bottom of the pack, eh? However Dee notes that even though she does have a nice figure, she laments nobody else can touch it except herself. So who else does she wants to let touch? Can I be the one? Ai hopes to grow up like them but they don’t seem to have much confidence in that and think she is best the way she is. You got to satisfy some lolicons out there… Meanwhile at the guys’ section, Yuri is flexing his muscles. He’s trying to hint to us that he is Mr Universe worthy. Alis isn’t so much interested because he says his body has stopped growing.

Part 2: Meeting
Alis recaps the Class 3-4 arc whereby things were forever in loop and he had to kill all his classmates. He hated it. While he is bumming out in the streets, he narrates what God did for the week:

Monday: He created the world.
Tuesday:  He drew the line between order and chaos.
Wednesday: He aligned all kinds of numbers.
Thursday: He set time afloat.
Friday: He observed every corner of the world.
Saturday: He took a rest.
Sunday: He… Guess what happened?

Hampnie comes into the picture and it seems they have met before. He mentions God has granted his wish and something called mutual trouble. Alis knows what he has done (the act of killing his friends) is wrong but his crimes cannot be reversed. Not even foolishness can be cured by death. Alis wonders if he is ready to become a monster but Hampnie views he isn’t needed here. Alis pulls out a gun, points it at him and regrets he wants to trust all of what he sees as his present self. Hampnie throws his cigarette to distract him. He runs up to his side to kick away his gun but Alis draws out another one. Now they’re pointing at each other, face to face. A gunshot is heard. Who fired? Who got shot? Alis wakes up from this dream. He wonders if he was able to die. He must have looked like a real fool from his eyes by getting hooked by immortality time and time again. He thinks Hampnie might have wanted him to say “I’ll be back here again someday”.

Part 3: Fate
Hampnie walks wherever his feet bring him without any goal. He narrates the day God abandoned the world without warning. There were no signs of it. There was no word about it. So people started saying lots of things after that. This is his theory: God must be an idiot. Because He wanted to fulfil everyone’s last wish. On that day when he turned 17, he felt his sickly body becoming stable and this continued till today. The laws of the world have been ignored and this artificialness he wished for must be taking form. Reminding us what God for the week, he thinks God must have loved this world because there were lots of amazing diversity and values spread explosively until the world was at its ideal expanse. Countless years, lights and spaces passed… Then come Sunday… Hampnie reaches a waterfall and he sees Hana (Alfa?) bathing. Want to come in? Perhaps this is another one of his wishes that God fulfilled. Too bad Hampnie wakes up from that beautiful dream when cheeky Ai wakes him up after getting ‘too tired in seeing that smile of his’. Is that a bad thing? Maybe she doesn’t want to be left out from all the fun.

It’s More Fun To Live
Sadly, I find this OVA a little mediocre. It doesn’t answer anything and perhaps adds a little more to the things that I never understand. Like the meeting with Alis and Hampnie. I didn’t really understand what’s going on unless this was part of Hampnie’s journey to find a way to die since he is immortal. Couldn’t he just find a Gravekeeper? Also, Hampnie’s meeting with Hana also didn’t do much. So what that the detour he took led him to meet her? So? I know. Because of that, Ai was born. We partly already know his theory of God wanting to grant wishes because that was already stated in the TV series. So why bother to repeat again? To remind us? It would be handy if it brought us anywhere but it didn’t. Besides, I think this OVA was just to make Hampnie the main star as I personally felt that he was quite a cool guy and died after the first arc. Ai was reduced to an extra character that was probably made to make us smile a little whenever she goes into her cute loli mode. You can’t hate that, can’t you? Yuri and Scar felt so lacking that it didn’t even matter.

I know the TV series had no fanservice or very little so you thought that with the OVA, we might have a little naughty glimpse. Disappointed? Well, I wasn’t expecting it but for those who did, you might feel ripped off because you know, when you buy BDs with your hard earned cash (or from your father’s), you expect a little more ‘exposure’ in this area. Instead, the fanservice felt like teasers as we don’t get to see real tits. Not that I’m complaining about this part. So I hope there would be another season or if not another OVA so this series would redeem itself instead of being buried forever in the sea of animes. Maybe it won’t become some sort of living legend like One Piece and Naruto. Yeah, those animes seem to ‘live’ forever. Speaking of living, the moral of the story is that it is better being alive than dead because despite all the pain and misery, you know there’ll be happy and pleasant times that can only be experienced when you’re alive. Those moments are times when it really makes you feel good to be alive. You don’t hear the dead coming back to tell how awesome it is on the other side, right?

An anime made from a fighting game that I have never heard off? Actually I am not in touch with the gaming industry these days although from time to time I do check things out. BlazBlue – Alter Memory, which is based and adapted from the Japanese fighting games of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. Despite both games came out in 2008 and 2009 respectively, I never heard of it till the anime came about in late 2013. I mean, it’s always been the usual suspects in the fighting genre, right? Mortal Kombat (being my favourite), Street Fighter, Tekken, Dead or Alive and the Soul Calibur series. So all that is left is to check this out and if this anime is good, maybe I will even get myself to go and try out the game. Hopefully.

Episode 1
Ragna The Bloodedge faces off Nu to destroy the latter in some Cauldron but got stabbed instead. Next, we see Ragna just fresh destroying Novus Orbis Librarium (NOL) Akitsu branch and as he is making his way through the swamp, vampire girl Rachel Alucard teases him by throwing her poor bat familiar. She tells him to head to the city of Kagutsuchi. Ragna decides to since he hasn’t destroyed the Cauldron there yet. When Second Lieutenant Noel Vermillion hands a letter to Major Jin Kisaragi, he starts laughing in delirium upon knowing Ragna is in Kagutsuchi. Ragna is in town and bumps into a weird cat character, Taokaka. She attacks but loses out because she is hungry. I don’t know why Ragna treats her to a Chinese feast. Seems Ragna is on the wanted list and has a very high bounty on his head. The only reason why Taokaka doesn’t recognize this dude is the badly drawn picture. Doesn’t look like him… Ragna remembers his master telling him about his Azure Grimoire power on his right hand and never to think of it as his own. Noel arrives in Kagutsuchi with Captain Hazama. They are to bring back Jin because it would be troublesome if it is known to the public that the Hero of Ikaruga is acting independently. Also in regards to Ragna appearing here, Noel is to only watch and not engaged when come into contact. Ragna is pissed that Taokaka keeps following him. Her playful character accidentally touches his right hand and it causes her to feel a little dizzy. Ragna finds a quiet place to sleep and Noel sees him. He dreams of some horrible incident that happened to Saya and how his little brother chopped off his right hand. He wakes up from this nightmare only to find himself sleeping on Noel’s lap. Noel is worried about him but he doesn’t give a sh*t. He gets agitated when she accidentally touches his right hand. He leaves but Noel feels odd because although this is the first time they’ve met, she talked as if she had known him. Ragna enters the NOL branch office but it’s deserted. Could it be a trap? Then Jin pops out. This is Ragna’s little brother. They hate each other and start fighting. Of course Ragna wins but won’t finish him off since it’s not his mission now. Jin points out he is naive and that’s why he can’t protect anything. Noel and Hazama arrive to find Jin out cold. Noticing Ragna is here, Noel can’t leave this odd situation alone and goes to pursue Ragna deeper into the building. Ragna takes the elevator down and suddenly he feels his Azure Grimoire petrified. He is faced with Hakumen who is going to cut him down.

Episode 2
Ragna seems to easily go down. Kokonoe won’t let Hakumen and recalls him. However he breaks the spell and continues to fight. Ragna activates his BlazBlue to fight. Noel must have got lost so she wanders into some reactor part and enters into a trance when Nu appears. I don’t understand what their conversation is about except that they both decide to eliminate each other. Halfway through the fighting, Noel regains her conscious and doesn’t understand why she is fighting. She becomes afraid Nu cannot be put down. She is about to be killed. You know what they say when life flashes before your eyes before you die. Yup. Flashback of Noel’s life. Or is it Ragna’s memories? Noel is saved thanks to Ragna’s intervention. He seems familiar to her. Nu is glad to see Ragna again. She hates everything and everything but Ragna is the exception. She talks about the last time Ragna killed her and loved it although he tries to dismiss all that. Nu is willing to destroy everything so that they can be together forever. The fighting continues and in the end, Ragna gets stabbed again. As Rachel explains, this cycle has been repeating itself over and over again with the same conclusion so it is no different this time. Ragna is too weak to activate his BlazBlue as Nu draws him closer to death. Ragna agrees to take it all and destroy the world since they’re so disgusted with him. Noel won’t allow this and rushes to save him. Memories of Ragna and Saya together… Noel pulls his right hand up and only Nu falls only into the fire below. Rachel is surprised, Hazama ecstatic. Ragna has a hard time understanding Noel. She’s acting like an emotional girl relieved to see him alive but at the same time calling him an idiot and such. When she goes off to get medical supplies, Rachel tells Ragna that she is the new Eye. The Azure successor. The Calamity Trigger. Unlike the imitation Ragna has, she is the one who will inherit the true Azure. Ragna demands more explanation but Rachel leaves since Noel returns. He starts noticing her striking resemblance with Saya. Rachel flies up to space to confront Archenemy Highlander Takemikazuchi.

Episode 3
There is some monster coming out from the satellite to shoot its beam down on the city but Rachel’s barrier protects it. Takemikazuchi returns to its slumber. See you in 4 years. What is he? Olympics or World Cup? So this is the ‘trivial’ thing Rachel needs to do? Well, the city is protected. Back to Ragna and gang. I don’t understand what is happening because Noel looked at Hazama with her Eye, Hazama turns into his true madman self that Ragna recognizes as Yuuki Terumi. Ragna wants to kill him but Rachel tells him to save it as the change in events means he cannot beat him. Like he’ll listen. Terumi of course easily beats Ragna. Feeling he is weak, Terumi goes away. Rachel teleports the duo back outside. Noel has got a lot of questions. Who is that vampire girl? Why does Ragna feel familiar to her? Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have memories of her past? Aha. There. After all that, Ragna’s answer: I don’t know. None of your business. Enough to send Noel running away like an emotional girl complete with I-hate-you feel. But right after that, Ragna has got some nasty business to deal with. The Archenemy magician-like kid, Carl Clover and his marionette ‘sister’ are bounty hunters after Ragna’s head. Meanwhile happy Hazama reports back to Colonel Relius Clover. Something about Noel who was thought to be a dud turned out to be the true Azure successor which is quite a surprise. And then some other on-goings in preparation for something. Once the Azure successor is in their grasp, preparations for the God Killer will be completed. Then there’s something on awakening Murakumo Unit too in Noel that requires tremendous hatred. Relius will come to Kagutsuchi since he wants to see Noel for himself. Hazama hopes he will come to Iwasu first to discuss the details. Back to Ragna’s fight, he tries to escape via collapsing the ground. Clover’s inexperience means he gets knocked out and lost. Ragna lands safely but passes out due to his injury. Now squirrel girl, Makoto Nanaya comes by to check on him. But since Taokaka is around, she lets cat girl send Ragna to a doctor. Ragna’s past becomes clear. When the peaceful town is suddenly set on fire, Ragna was stabbed by Jin. He reached out his hands to Saya but Jin chopped it instead and blamed him. Then there was Terumi taunting and laughing like a maniac. He took Saya away and told Ragna to remember his name if he survives. Ragna wakes up in the care of the town’s doctor, Litchi Faye Ling. Taokaka continues her playful persona despite Ragna being confined to bed. Meanwhile Noel is starting to sound like a tsundere. ‘Complaining’ about Ragna’s attitude but can’t get him out of her mind. Also, Jin escapes from hospital. Hazama summons First Lieutenant Tsubaki Yayoi and entrusts her with a top secret mission supposedly from Joint Command. She is to find and assassinate Jin and Noel.

Episode 4
Noel wrote a cat poem? Jin the student council president? Must be old times… Kokonoe restrains Hakumen for violating her order but he is not fazed. As for Rachel, she meets some invisible council, Takama Ga Hara who wants to know why she unleashed Tsukuyomi Unit. Not telling. They are the ones who unleashed Terumi and from what I understand, they are not gods and are trying to maintain some world balance thingy and eliminate irregularities. Noel is surprised to see Makoto. They talk about the good ol’ days in the military academy with Tsubaki studying some sort of history regarding Takemikazuchi, Black Beast and Six Heroes. Jin was the senior whom Tsubaki and possibly Noel has a crush on. Makoto then relays the bad news of Jin escaping from hospital, defected and is now missing. Even bad news, Tsubaki is now in the Zeroth Division and in charge of their assassination. Tsubaki remembers Hazama telling her little about the reason for their assassination. It has something to do with Ragna as they share some kind of special relationship with him. It seems after their contact with Ragna, they defected. Jin stumbles upon Jubei, supposedly one of the Six Heroes. Jubei warns the Power of Order. If something tilts one way, a power to correct that tilt will also appear. The farther the tilt, the greater the power and will put the world in danger. Because the Power of Order is neither good nor evil, it depends on who wields it. Noel goes to look for Ragna but comes into Litchi. The doctor thinks she wants to kill him. But Noel pleads he saved her life and feels the need to see him. He looks to be doing fine back at Taokaka’s place. Hot-headed Ragna accuses Noel of staring at him (because he is shirtless. Got a problem?). I don’t understand why Rachel has to pop up here but Noel knows her. As Noel puts the bandages on Ragna, she wants to know his relationship with Jin. Enemies, duh! That’s not it. There’s something else but she can’t put her finger on it. He claims she too is the enemy since she is from NOL and he is going to destroy the Cauldron that NOL is trying to stop him. Especially Terumi. Noel unknowingly has bandaged him like a mummy.

Episode 5
Rachel returns to her butler and tells him things are already moving. However she will only be the observer. Iron Tager has been instructed by Kokonoe to capture Noel. She is not happy her Sector is arguing how to deal with Noel and Ragna so she’s going to get her hands on Noel first. She wants him to ignore Ragna since his Azure Grimoire is the weakest. Taokaka suggests a secret place that could heal Ragna up in no time. That place is a hotspring. Fanservice time? Rachel is also here to help heal Ragna’s wounds but she’s being tsundere about it. Noel can’t stop ‘complaining’, Litchi becomes too happy after drinking some catnip hotspring water, Taokaka is hyperactive while Ragna has his eyes covered. In the midst of the antics, Noel accidentally pressed a drain button and all the water flows out. So do they. Rachel returns to her butler. He can sense Ragna and Noel’s Azure has begun to interfere with one another. This is all going as Rachel’s wish. While Ragna and Noel are walking through the forest, several beasts attack them. Noel pulls out her guns to take care of them but Ragna becomes upset upon seeing them. He wonders if she is a Prime Field. He cuts the ground and leaves on his own. Flashback sees Rachel giving Ragna Azure Grimoire right after he lost his right arm. She wonders how he will use it. Ragna is back in town but this hooded kid, Sena keeps begging him for food. Unless he wants to attract attention as a heartless adult, better treat her. The kind and polite Sena knows Ragna. Likewise, Ragna knows about her split personality. Sena turns to Luna and she doesn’t hesitate to scold and mock him the lolicon he is. Then she collapses and Platinum the Trinity appears. She is one of the Six Heroes. She is not here to fight him but to warn him. Do not fight Terumi because there is no chance of him winning with his Azure Grimoire. Tager spots Ragna and is told to hold his position. Kokonoe is going to send a preliminary skirmish and materializes Lambda before Ragna.

Episode 6
Tager watches while Lambda (Nu in Ragna’s eyes) fights Ragna. However Lambda stops moving once she remembers who Ragna is. Kokonoe wants Tager to take her away seeing she still possesses remnants of memories of Nu. Bang Shishigami has just found Jin and he is going to avenge his lord and country that he has destroyed. However Jin is easily taken out and Bang realizes he is injured. He is such a good guy that he brings him back to his home and gets Litchi to treat him. Despite vengeance is on his mind, he wants Jin to be back at his best to have their fair fight. Jin is even given food and taken around town. Though the kids despise Jin for destroying their country and taking lives of some of their parents, that is the very reason why Bang wants them to smile the very least. Later at the sweets stall, Jin calls Bang’s wish a selfish one since he doesn’t want the townspeople and kids to be consumed by hatred. Bang leaves Jin alone to wander himself. At his current condition, there is no need to watch over him. Tsubaki then pops up before Jin. He can tell from her outfit the kind of job she is doing. She tells him the crimes he is charged and wants him to come back. However he won’t as he has some score to settle with Ragna. Tsubaki will bring him back by force and transforms into Sealed Armagus Izayoi. In an alternate world, Tsubaki tells him about her orders to kill him. She doesn’t want to. However her heart’s waver means some sort of spell activates and makes Tsubaki lose her free will. She is under hypnosis and stabs Jin in the heart (since he couldn’t draw his sword). Tsubaki couldn’t believe this is happening. Takama Ga Hara sense the disappearance of the Power of Order and takes steps to rectify it as they cannot lose one at this time. Conveniently, they rewind the entire event up to the point Bang is about to leave the sweets shop. This time, Jin leaves with him. Meanwhile Kokonoe readjusts Lambda and lets her sleep now for if she is to defeat that person, she needs Idea Engine within her. Jin realizes he cannot draw his sword. Bang thinks there is doubt in his heart. He heart somebody from NOL is looking for him and tells him to leave. As he cannot draw his sword, it would be meaningless to call for a fight. Tsubaki bumps into Noel.

Episode 7
Noel contacts Makoto that she will try talking to Tsubaki. As Noel knows about the assassination, Tsubaki wants Noel to return to HQ and doing so may lighten her sentence. Of course she can’t. She feels something big is going to happen at Kagutsuchi and in a way related to Ragna whom she feels isn’t a bad person. Noel wants more time but time ran out for Tsubaki. She dons Izayoi and orders her to return to HQ or it will be punishment by death. Rachel brings Ragna to Relius who is watching the events unfolding between Noel and Tsubaki. He insists he is not interfering and just watching his creation who is no other than Noel. When Tsubaki attacks, she is surprised to see Noel’s guns as they are Archenemy. But Noel won’t shoot back because she believes it doesn’t exist to shoot her friends. Tsubaki’s heart starts to waver again so she hears Hazama’s words. He is trying to incite hatred within Tsubaki and paint Noel the bad guy. Especially how a lowly person like her was made to be Jin’s secretary. She must not exist as she will take everything from her in this world. In short, kill her. Hazama hopes they’ll die tragically and goes off with Phantom to prepare the Cauldron. Tsubaki lost but she still wants to go up against Noel. Ragna had to interfere because he got irritated watching them fight. WTF. Noel becomes paralyzed when Relius walks up to her. He notes although she is the Azure successor, she is still a defective unit. Tsubaki runs away and Noel wants to go after her. Ragna doesn’t think it’s a good idea but Noel considers Tsubaki her friend. Rachel tells her to do what her heart tells her. Rachel explains to Ragna that Noel is in some pre-smelting state and is no different than a person. Now that he knows, what will he do with her? Hazama is upset that the ladies are fine. He recomposes himself and asserts he can only rely on himself in the end. Noel catches up to Tsubaki. She notices she is blind from using Izayoi. Although Noel still looks up to her, Tsubaki admits she once wished Noel disappeared when she heard she was working under Jin. Noel forgives her. She was under orders to kill her. Tsubaki tells her that for today, they never have met. When Makoto finds Noel sitting alone and dejectedly, the latter starts crying uncontrollably in her arms.

Episode 8
Arakune smells the Azure within Hazama and wants it. However Hazama is too powerful for this black blob. He is thinking of using him to buy some time. Kokonoe accidentally spills coffee she never drinks on her lab coat. For some reason, she throws it at the containment unit containing Lambda. She awakens and teleports away. So happen Arakune was nearby and swallows her to take her Azure. Luckily Ragna was nearby and digs her out and makes Arakune escape like a slimy slithery blob. Ragna gets defensive when he recognizes Lambda. However she is just staring at the sky. Not a threat? He leaves her but he couldn’t. Seems she is infatuated with a bug that Arakune dropped. Meanwhile Kokonoe realizes too late Lambda is gone. She tries to look for her but increasing the power output explodes the device. Shutting off her Idea Engine won’t be a good idea as who knows when it’ll start up again. She hacks into NOL’s security system but everything went blank because the system is down. The only way left is to ask Tager to look for her. Makoto tells Noel that Hazama maybe hiding something big. No matter how much information she looked on him, there was nothing. She suggests going to Kokonoe to seek refuge. Lambda acts like a lost child. It’s like she’s trying to pronounce Ragna’s name properly. I don’t know why but Ragna lets her follow him around. Since she is still infatuated with that bug, they look for medicinal herbs to cure its wound. Then he gets poetic about death and relying on others. Is he talking about himself? Thanks to Rachel and Jubei in that sense, he won’t be here today. He even makes a grass whistle and teaches her how to blow. Suddenly it feels like a love story blooming when Lambda sits close to Ragna’s side. But the bug had to die and spoil it all. So Ragna’s advice is to remember that it was alive till she naturally forgets. WTF. Remember it where? In your soul. Yeah. He gets poetic too in explaining what a soul is. Tager has sighted Ragna and brings Lambda back. Kokonoe thanks him for taking care of her. She explains Lambda is a living weapon she created to defeat Terumi. Yeah, yeah. Ragna’s Azure is too weak to beat him. Because Terumi has set his sights on Noel to smelt her, she needs to bring her into protective custody. She orders Tager to resume searching for Noel while Ragna is going to do what he is going to do: To protect.

Episode 9
Now it’s Ragna’s turn to find Noel. They just missed each other. Litchi stumbles upon Hazama and is wary of him. He says he is her hope and shows her Arakune. This blob is supposedly her beloved one but touched the depths of Azure. He knows a way to restore him back to normal. Makoto tells Noel that all the guards at Kagutsuchi’s branch have disappeared. Hazama may have something to do with it because there’s an odd altar above the building. She contacts Kokonoe who is surprised she has Noel. She wants them to head somewhere for Tager to pick them up. Makoto continues that Tsubaki may be controlled by Hazama who doesn’t exist. It’s like everybody is gathering at the same point with Tsubaki who is after Jin who is after Ragna who is after the Cauldron. Noel wants to go save Tsubaki for fear she is in danger but Makoto believes she’ll be alright. Worst case scenario is if Noel gets caught by Hazama and the priority is to get her to safety. Tager waits at the designated place but Hazama is there. How to kill time? Fight. Tsubaki finds Jin and orders him to surrender. He won’t. There is someone he needs to meet and ascertain something that is none of her business. Fine. Fight. But Jin cannot draw his sword so his offense options are limited. Jin asks why Tsubaki is doing this and she mentions about the Imperator who is absolute justice. He questions her about the destruction of Ikaruga just because they do not support the Imperator and NOL. Even within NOL, there were many who were against the war and many who purged their own people in the name of the Imperator. Especially those under Zeroth Division. The justice she speaks is just a dream. He doesn’t want to be taken in by the powers of the Imperator. But Tsubaki thinks absolute power is necessary to represent order. This causes Jin to remember Jubei’s words. Then he realized and powers up. Now he is able to draw his sword. It’s not that he was hesitating, he was refusing to accept. He easily defeats Tsubaki and doesn’t feel she is worth to kill. He realizes his true enemy he must fight is the one who brings destruction to the world balance. Jubei sees Ragna before he enters the building. His request: Don’t die. Like duh. If he cannot win, please don’t die. Makoto and Noel just reach the place where Hazama is fresh off defeating Tager. Now it’s Makoto’s turn to fight. Tsubaki questions her existence and is about to take her own life when Mikado (Imperator) appears before her. She wants her to join her side. Ragna is about to begin round 2 with Jin.

Episode 10
Rachel is talking to Takama Ga Hara. I’m not sure about their talk about Continuum Shift and the balance of this world. They warn Rachel about her role as an observer but she reminds them her role of existence is to protect the Master Unit and that the world they desire seems dull. Ragna’s heated battle with Jin gets underway. Hazama explains this Continuum Shift was prepared just for Noel and he is getting all the supporting characters out of the way. Noel and Makoto team up to fight Hazama. Since this dude isn’t great in combat, he becomes Terumi and binds Makoto with his Ouroboros chains. He beats her to a pulp and threatens to drop her off the ledge. Noel begs to stop so Terumi blames and accuses Noel everything is her fault. Her existence throws everything out of balance. He tries to make Tsubaki a good example that because of Noel, she lost her place. He makes her see the despair in a world she doesn’t exist. Then he drops Makoto. Noel becomes so upset and mad that she is going to kill him. Terumi dares her to pull the trigger. Pull Calamity Trigger. Hate him. Hate everybody. Hate the world. Hate herself. Use that Eye to see the world’s despair. Mankind and the world reject her so unleash your hatred and madness. She gets swallowed by a lump of black feathers. Hazama is glad he will soon have full control of everything. I guess the turn of events interrupt Ragna and Jin’s fight. Another day to settle it? Jubei tells Jin to wait at the Cauldron below if he wants to fight Ragna. Ragna arrives too late (or too early in Terumi’s view) and is disheartened to see Noel in the Cauldron being smelted. Both of them activate BlazBlue. Meanwhile Rachel sees Hakumen and frees him to fulfil his role of eliminating the Azure Successor. It might mean repeating the cycle again but losing Master Unit is not an option. Once Hakumen is on his way, weakened Rachel gets trapped by Mikado’s magic. She is going to let Rachel watch the closing performance and not let her interfere further. Ragna is surprised he cannot activate his BlazBlue. Hazama likes the looks of his despair now and lets him in on this secret. The one who created BlazBlue was him.

Episode 11
Ragna thinks Terumi’s goal is to revive the Black Beast. He denies wanting that crap because the Black Beast is just a Cauldron going haywire. It’s story time that he wants Ragna to know. Once upon a time… Mankind discovered a gateway to a world called Boundary which is what they call Cauldron. It was filled with seithr, the source of power that everyone uses, the substance this world was made of and also an artificially created particulate programme. Mankind also learnt the absolute observer, Master Unit which could freely control seithr. Desiring control over it, mankind created Dimensional Boundary Interface Prime Field (DBIPF). However the first Prime Field obtained the power of the Eye and became an observer. It was powerful enough to let you overwrite every event to suit your needs. Fearing it’s power, the first Prime Field was dumped into the Boundary but the data was left behind. So mankind use that data to control events for themselves. That was when they created the Takama Ga Hara system. Mankind created God. Naturally there need not be 2 Gods and Takama Ga Hara also came to the same conclusion. Thus DBIPF was made to destroy the other God, Master Unit. However it created a Shinki called Murakumo and it would impossible to destroy the Master Unit alone without the Azure power. Terumi was able to extract a little Azure from it to make some preparation. The BlazBlue they have are fakes. When BlazBlue and Murakumo fail to fuse, it resulted in a monster called Black Beast that continually destroyed everything. But Noel was different. She didn’t need any Azure Grimoire and as a perfect Prime Field had the Azure within her. Terumi turns Noel into Kusanagi, the God Killer sword and with the hatred she possesses, will lay waste to this world. He orders her to head down to the Cauldron and destroy Amaterasu. Noel faces off with Hakumen.

Ragna is left to fight Terumi but is no match for him. Kokonoe has transferred enough energy to Tager so he could transfer Lambda to the scene. She is ordered to wait for an opening when Terumi attacks Ragna. It is a brief moment and she only has one chance. Terumi is bored of ‘bullying’ Ragna and is about to kill him. The window of chance opens and Lambda moves in but uses her body to protect Ragna. Kokonoe couldn’t understand her decision and can’t retrieve her as she is beyond repair. Terumi is going to kill everyone and kills Lambda like how he killed Kokonoe’s mother. Lambda gets stabbed by his Ouroboros. Like in a tragic love story, Lambda dying in Ragna’s arms, she still has Nu’s memories and is reminiscing all the good times they had together (wasn’t it just that single moment with Ragna as Lambda?). She calls Ragna a gentle person and will always be together forever. Lambda disintegrates much to Ragna’s dismay. I don’t know how he interfaced with her because Lambda got absorbed into him. As suggested by Kokonoe to initiate Idea Engine, Ragna powers up his BlazBlue and surprises Terumi with his awesome Azure power. Then he kicks his ass and Terumi wants more of it. I’m sure Ragna wants to kill him but Rachel’s batty familiar comes looking for Ragna to go save Rachel. He just pulled her out from another dimension? That easy? Maybe with his new Azure power, I guess. Jin joins in the fight between Hakumen and Noel. Jin wants to eliminate Noel and tells Hakumen not to interfere. Then here comes Ragna joining in. Time to finish this so they can get to their fight.

Episode 12
Ragna was told the only way left is to kill Noel for she is no longer herself and a doll whose purpose is to destroy the world. This will happen if she enters the Cauldron. Ragna could only tell off Rachel and Kokonoe for talking and yet could do nothing to save a measly idiot. Well, they’re no God. This dude really cares for her? Rachel hints there may be a way. As Noel has lost all hope after seeing the despair, technically she has ceased to exist. In order to stop that, his Azure Grimoire has the power to do that by shattering her soul from within. Jin is still injured, his moves are limited so ultimately it is Ragna who has to take on Noel. But instead of going full force, Ragna talks to her like as though he is betting on that it will bring back her memories. Can this work? I mean, nobody really believes it. Ragna hears Lambda’s voice. He is going to use her life and Idea Engine to do some reverse connection. With some last scolding words to remind Noel to carve her own destiny, Ragna does the impossible and defeats Noel. Takama Ga Hara despite finding it interesting that Ragna defeated Terumi and Noel, this is not the future they wished for. However with Noel losing her powers, this means they can inherit the Azure. Although they failed to destroy Master Unit, as long as they can possess the Azure, things will work out and they will allow it. They are surprised when Terumi enters the scene (looking like an alien boy?). Thanks to Ragna, things will move towards the Day of Ruin. By right, Terumi should not have existed since Noel lost her powers. But he has awakened her and is able to continue to do so. As reward, he gives Takama Ga Hara some virus made by Phantom. Noel returns to her normal self. She is surprised that Ragna and Jin are brothers. Then she throws her usual emotional tantrum seeing Ragna has lost his left arm just to bring her back.

Terumi returns and relays the news that Takama Ga Hara has been incapacitated. All thanks to Ragna for not finishing him off. Things are going just as planned. Now he is going to kill them all. However he has to put on his best behaviour when Relius tells him that Mikado is around. Instantly Ragna and Jin recognize her as Saya. Noel’s heart starts to feel pain. Hakumen charges to attack but was blocked by Tsubaki. Looks like she has severed all ties with Noel since they both are walking different paths. Mikado announces the end of Continuum Shift and the since all possible events have been established, this world will be headed for the Day of Ruin where the world will be restored to its rightful form. Rachel warns her not to count her chickens but Mikado reminds she is just an observer. Till then. Noel is recuperating on a ship of NOL. Makoto is still alive. Ragna has left but Noel knows their path will cross again. Jubei knows Jin has obtained the Power of Order and if he wishes to learn more about it, come to see him. I’m sure prideful Jin isn’t the kind of guy who would request to be someone’s disciple. Relius and Terumi watch the creation of the thirteenth Prime Field, something Relius feels it is closer to perfection and is supposed to be the Izanagi sword. Taokaka follows Ragna on his journey. Because wherever he goes, she goes. No reason to stop her, right? Next stop, Ikaruga. Lastly Rachel narrates something about destiny and the world being pushed into moving onto the next path. It is not the world that changed but Ragna himself and Noel’s heart. A new bond was formed when the 2 Azures forged. Now a new dawn has arrived and nobody knows what awaits in this new world. The only thing certain that a hope is born from the new world and no matter what happens, move forward without giving up. You get all that? I didn’t.

BlazBoo – Falter Masterpiece
Let me put it straight this way. I don’t understand what is going on. This is my sentiments right from start till finish. I do not have the slightest idea what is happening. Let me just remind that since I have never played the game nor have I even read up about it, what I am about to review is perhaps based on the lack of my knowledge about this series. In short, it can’t be that good. So to start things off, my guess is that only those who have played the game fairly long enough would understand what is happening because it seems to me that they’ve already spouting all the terms and jargon and expecting you to know it all. Which means, casual viewers like me can’t just jump in and enjoy the show and you’ll be lost all the way on what is happening. This is what happened to me. I might not have read up on the series to find out more about the plot but I have also read a few comments from the internet (just Googled it and selected reviews from the first few pages) and find that many were not happy with the way this anime was adapted. Especially those fans of the series who felt there were great injustices and blazing atrocities done to it. Yeah. Remember how Street Fighter was adapted into a live action movie starring a certain French actor in an American role back in the 90’s? Yeah. That kind of sentiment. So it was the same here. It might have been just a few full series reviews (not counting those that reviewed on a per episode basis) but since all of them had nothing good to say overall, I guess this says pretty much about it. BlazBlue was rich in story and plot but the anime somewhat rushed things along and the pacing was too quick for anything to develop especially the characters whom many felt were weakly developed. Even if there was, like I said, casual viewers like me wouldn’t have caught it.

There were lots of characters and each of them I believe had their potential in bringing out the story in the BlazBlue universe but this anime felt like it was trying to cram in all the characters into a short season just to show us that this character at least make his/her debut and perhaps for you to go “Aha! I spotted that character”. In a way, that’s why I thought the synopsis that includes “… a motley array of fighters converging at Kagutsuchi” was quite an interesting watch but in the end it just falls flat. For example, what happened to Carl? His first attempt to rein in Ragna failed. Then? That’s the last we heard of him. Then there is this Sena/Luna/Platinum split personality too. It felt like her appearance was just to tell Ragna not to fight Terumi. Heck. Somebody could have just left a message, send a minor despatch boy to deliver the message to him. Or leave it on Twitter, damn it. Then she’s gone forever. Other characters playing minor roles that feel like it’s just for fillers. Like Taokaka. I don’t know what her role is in this anime here besides providing some comic relief. She looks funny, sounds funny, she must be funny, right? Meow. In the end, she wasn’t really involved in the very important final fight scene. Like as though she was completely missing from it. Where have you been? Napping?

Hakumen also feels underutilized. He gets freed and called to defeat Noel the final boss (of the season) and all he got was an order to stay out. I thought he was the rebellious kind? He didn’t obey Kokonoe and for hell sure why did he obey Rachel? As gratitude for freeing him? I thought he said he won’t thank her? That’s like being tsundere, no? And in the end, we didn’t get to see him fight. Even his initial fight with Ragna was only glimpses of it. Tager’s entire purpose was just to look for Noel, retrieve Lambda and when it’s time we get to see him fight with Terumi, oh wait, we didn’t see anything at all! Automatic lost. It’s like the producers are saying please imagine how he lost to the awesomeness of Terumi with your own imagination. Sheesh… Bang also felt like a filler. He hates Jin. Wants revenge. But his code of honour means he cannot fight him wounded. Great guy. Fixes him up too. Lets him go. What the? So where the heck is the significance of this samurai’s role in this anime? Then there’s that Litchi doctor lady, right? We could have totally forgotten about her had she not appeared in the end on the side of Mikado. Looks like she made a deal with Terumi just for the sake of Arakune. Probably it is just to even the numbers for both sides and show us who belongs to which side before the next big fight happens. If that ever happens. And Relius… I don’t even know what to say. Makoto? Can anybody explain to me how that squirrel girl survived from her fall? Her soft bushy tail saved her? Don’t kid me. I’m sure Terumi wasn’t putting on a show to kill her because he was hell bent on bringing out the despair in Noel. For true despair, true tragedy is needed, right? Don’t tell me it’s Ragna because I hell know he was fighting Jin at the same time.

So the main characters are nothing to shout about either. I don’t know what Ragna’s mission is all along and I don’t understand about him going from city to city to destroy the Cauldron. Ragna is full of angst like as though he is angry with something but I can’t guess what it is. But I’m guessing later on it is because of Noel. At first he doesn’t care about her, then I don’t know what towards the end or something which I couldn’t really remember, he starts realizing that she holds some sort of special meaning. Otherwise why go through great lengths just to bring back one silly idiot? And no, it definitely isn’t romance either because I don’t really feel it between them. Even they try to paint one (I think) with Ragna and Lambda, it felt a little cheesy. Heck, the so called one-sided crush Noel and Tsubaki had on Jin also didn’t feel like it had much impact. Or the time Ragna carried Rachel in his arms when he pulled her out from Twilight Zone. What was that advice that Ragna shouldn’t fight Terumi? He didn’t care about it and went ahead, right? I suppose he got a little help by merging with Lambda and that was perhaps the little turning point that tipped the scales. I’m sure nobody saw that coming or else they would have told Ragna to merge with Lambda instead of telling him not to fight in which he won’t listen to. They try to paint Noel as the cute and caring idiot who ultimately gets used by the scheming villain just to earn some sympathy but since I was so lost trying to understand this anime, I had no time to pay attention to all the explanation that involved her. So was she actually created? I thought there was going to be a catch in the title of Alter Memory and thought Noel was Saya and that she had bits and pieces of her past because of her altered memory. You know, that. And then it turns out in the end, Mikado was the one who is Saya. What a way to screw with your mind. Or maybe it is me who is thinking too much. So who is the altered memory? Nu? Lambda? Hell, Lambda’s memories of Nu mysteriously remain… Or maybe Ragna and Jin’s memories got altered instead. But I don’t think they can be that wrong in mis-identifying their little sister, can they?

Then there is this vampire girl who is seemingly bored so she bides her time instead of watching this dull world, tries to make it interesting too. I guess this is what happens when you have lived so long for centuries and aeons and she’s probably gotten tired of tea and cakes her butler never fails to serve her. So bored that her expression has become stuck with that monotonous gloomy look although it is more of because she comes from a noble upper-class family so there is that oujou-sama feel of arrogance, snobbery and apathy. Sometimes I feel she might go a little tsundere. But when she got ‘scolded’ by Ragna in the end for being unable to do anything and nothing (which I think is what she does 95% in this anime), there was this slight shock in her look like as though a little girl has been told by an adult for being cocky and I thought she should have put on this look more often. Why? Because it would have been more interesting. Haha! Jin too he’s been wandering around looking for big brother for simply the rest of the series after being defeated and injured in their first encounter. What is it that makes him hate Ragna so much? Why is he so obsessed with him? Could it be possibly that he is somewhat obsessed and loves his brother in a very twisted manner that it makes him want to kill him? Big brother complex if I must say…

The best and most interesting character in the series is definitely Terumi/Hazama for the simple reason for being plain crazy. He is a badass villain in his own level but I guess he himself isn’t enough to save the series. I suppose if you want to make a memorable villain, you have to make him as crazy and despicable as possible. He is probably the best schemer in this series because almost everything is going according to his plan. Just as planned… Taokaka was also interesting enough but just for comical purposes due to her lively antics and the fact she is always somewhat screaming while talking. Then she also has little kitten clones who are as equally as cheeky as her but unfortunately does little to further the plot or develop anything. Jin would have been interesting too because of his crazy demeanour but his obsession in tracking down Ragna has somewhat become a little annoying. What is it with crazy characters that make them interesting in this series? At least they’re better than ‘dull’ ones like Rachel. Act and talk like as though she knows a lot but still couldn’t do anything that matters. Other ‘boring’ characters include Kokonoe who is always seen in front of her computer chewing her lollipop, spewing out some terminologies that I couldn’t really understand. I know she knows a lot of things but please make them understandable to viewers like me. I figure Ragna boy isn’t that smart too and sometimes I notice he requires further explanation like when rabbit girl (that’s vampire girl) talks to him in riddles.

For a fighting game, you think the action should be great, right? Sadly, I don’t think I can say there was anything spectacular about the fights. I am very sure that the characters of fighters have an interesting arsenal of fighting skills and weapons which I feel weren’t fleshed out properly here. Or just for the sake of putting in some fighting action like Ragna who seems to be rushing into almost every fight like as though he has got some share in it. Like the one Noel and Tsubaki were in. It’s like he couldn’t stand the ladies fight each other and wants a piece of it or just felt like swinging his big sword. In short, the fight scenes were mediocre and nothing memorable. Some fights get cut out and not properly shown simply for reasons which I could think of was to fit into the dozen of episodes. Not forgetting the terminologies of this series. It was sure blazing difficult for a noob like me to understand. Like I have said, you need to play the game in order to understand what is going on. The series did little in explaining them and even if they did, it wasn’t to the level that was understandable to casual viewers. Learning the few terms here is almost like learning another dialect but I would stop short of saying of learning another new language as the terms are mostly in English. But then again if you can’t understand or relate them to the anime, that term itself is as good as a word in a foreign language.

One of the more amusing aspects (if not the most) is the next episode preview which sometimes tries to break the fourth wall. For example, Ragna praying for a miracle to erase the jinx of animes adapted from fighting games. I suppose his wish went unheard… The jinx continues. Too bad for him. Too bad for us. There is also one whereby Jin was so happy BlazBlue became an anime because it means there will be people watching his fight with Ragna. I tell you, that guy really does have a twisted big brother complex… Other amusing stuffs in this section include reading the wrong and non-existent next episode title, playing word puns, having the voice actresses introducing themselves, Arakune speaking in so hip fashion (“Check it out!”) and Mikado wanting to see Hazama create BlazBlue right now!

The drawing and art feels pretty decent and nothing to shout about. I haven’t actually seen the real game itself so I can’t really make any comparisons. I thought certain parts of Kagutsuchi looked quite nice as some of the unusual building shapes give rise to that fantasy-like feel. Later when I found out that BlazBlue was a spiritual successor of another fighting game, Guilty Gear (they were both developed by the same developers, Arc System Works), it dawned to me no wonder some characters look quite similar. Like how Noel reminded me of Bridget. Just that Noel wasn’t a trap in a nun outfit. There is also very strong and uncanny resemblance between Jin and Guilty Gear’s Ky. Tager suspiciously may have taken after Potemkin while I see some similarities between Kokonoe and Baiken. Does Bang looked like a buffed up version of Sol? Seems like it to me. And then there is Hazama like Johnny… Oops. Only because they both wear a hat. Otherwise if that guy is in the form of Terumi, apply a little white makeup and he looks like Batman’s Joker. No kidding. I only think Litchi and Jam Cloudberry are similar because of their Chinese cheongsam. Ragna may not take his looks like any character from Guilty Gear (not that I can directly see) but from first impressions, I thought he was a copy of Devil May Cry’s Dante. Rachel also doesn’t owe her looks to any of that series’ characters but I thought she looked pretty similar to Dance In The Vampire Bund’s Mina. I am not sure if Taokaka’s true face is just some black sphere with eyes and mouth or her hood is just covering it out. If the former is true, then she certainly reminds me a lot of Warner Bros’ Marvin the Martian.

In terms of voice acting, the crazy characters sound the best. Especially Yuuichi Nakamura as Hazama/Terumi. After voicing lots of admonishing characters like Kyousuke in OreImo, I think he is very much suitable as Hazama/Terumi whenever he starts laughing in evil insanity. His maniacal laughter was very convincing and Yuuichi Nakamura definitely played that part sensationally over the top and well. Chiwa Saito (Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash) was also amusing as Taokaka especially her shrieky screams in her speeches. Although Tomokazu Sugita was the voice of Ragna, he sounded just like Gintama’s Gintoki but minus the fun factor. Too much angst is not good for you. Same case for Kana Ueda as Rachel. I even thought the most monotonous sounding characters she voiced like Komori from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun sounded more interesting than this one. Other casts include Tetsuya Kihara as Jin and Hakumen (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Kanako Kondou as Noel/Nu/Lambda (Kanashi in Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge), Asami Imai as Tsubaki (Chelsea in Shukufuku No Campanella), Chie Matsuura as Kokonoe (Hisako in Angel Beats), Tomomi Isomura as Makoto (Shouko in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Chiaki Takahashi as Litchi (Nanami in School Days), Junichi Suwabe as Relius (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Yukana as Mikado/Saya (Ai in Amagami SS), Kenji Nomura as Tager (Kugayama in Genshiken) and Aoi Yuuki as Platinum/Sena/Luna (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica). The opening theme is rock style, Blue Blaze by Faylan and the ending theme is Reincarnation Blue by Aira Yuuki and sounds like it has a little hip hop in it.

I suppose it must be getting cliche with stories about groups of people wanting to destroy the world and recreating a new one based on their so called ideals. Nothing original but if you have the chance to do just that, why not? It is ironic that almost everyone in power here is trying to play God but lack the necessary power to do so. Some are just taking their own sweet time watching and waiting to see what others will do and relying on a set of events to get things done. If it goes their way, that is. The basic rule of getting things done fast your way: Do it yourself. So instead of destroying the world in this anime, the anime itself got self-destructed. Get what I mean? Even more painful memories for fans of the game to be watching this anime. Maybe some part in them ‘died’ while watching this show. So was it a good thing it was only limited to just a dozen episodes? Perhaps they should let me have the Eye or Prime Field so I could just rewrite everything again. Better still. Rewrite as though it never existed! Dull and boring as hell but it is as safe the way I like it.

I guess the biri-biri was too tempting for it to be left alone and thus given another season. Or maybe it could be just me. Laugh all you want since my only motivation to watch a series loaded with scientific jargons and terms that only serve to destroy my brain cells each time I think about them, is no other than the tsundere electromagnetic master and super esper of Academy City. Folks, let’s hear it for the one and only Mikoto Misaka! Let me get this straight that I am not as obsessed with her as much as my beloved Mai Tokiha or Suigin Tou but for some weird reasons I myself can’t comprehend, I just can’t help find her cute and pretty. She did end up on my top 10 bishoujo list many years back.

Okay, enough of ranting about her and make it sound like I’m totally into her. Ahem. To Aru Kagaku No Railgun S is the second season in the Railgun series and I’ve lost count what season this is if you want to take To Aru Majutsu No Index into account. Like the ‘S’ in the title suggests, this season expands the Sisters Arc that was briefly seen in the first season of To Aru Majutsu No Index. This time Misaka takes the lead as we see from her story how she handles and goes about the conspiracy to produce her clones and let Academy City’s number one esper kill them all just to upgrade to the next unheard level. Even if they’re clones, I’m sure you’d feel the need to do something about them because hey, it’s your clones, right?

Episode 1
Saten seems to be in trouble with a bunch of delinquents. Don’t worry. Here comes Shirai and Uiharu to the rescue. But the one who really put out the baddies is Misaka since she used her railgun properties. They sure picked the wrong lady to mess with. At school, Misaka ends up in a confrontation with Misaki Shokuhou, a Level 5 esper also known as The Queen. Shokuhou wants to get ‘friendly’ with Misaka but she has her reservations. She threatens her by temporarily mind controlling all the students around because if they were to go one-on-one, Shokuhou will have no chance. She backs down and tells her this is a warning. As Misaka has been making too many friends lately, step into her territory and she’ll have to deal with her. Huh? Misaka meets up with her friends so that they can visit a friend in hospital, Banri. Yomikawa and Tessou are also at the hospital since a radical wannabe is being treated here and they’re tasked to transfer him to Anti-Skill hospital after that. Misaka takes her friends away and leaves Haruue with her just to get Banri a surprise gift. Till she realizes she left her bag back in Banri’s room. As Yomikawa and Tessou are about to retrieve the radical, they realize he has escaped with the help of his pals. They exchange gunfire since both sides passed each other at the hallway. The alarm is sound but so as not to panic the crowd, a fire alarm is reported instead of a terrorist act. Unfortunately Haruue gets taken hostage while they are trying to make their escape via rooftop. Saten and Misaka happen to pass by and was told the truth by Yomikawa. They vow to save her friend. Misaka uses the window to get to the top. Her electromagnetic powers enable her to do so. Saten takes the old fashion ladders. The baddies ride the helicopter and Haruue is also taken along. But they can’t lift off because Misaka is using her electromagnetic powers to keep it grounded. They throw Haruue out so Misaka has no choice but to jump and save her. She misses but thankfully Saten was there to grab her. What a risky move. When everyone is safe, I guess it’s payback time. Misaka with Shirai’s teleportation help, catches up to the helicopter as she unleashes her trademark coin flipping electric zapping move to blow the helicopter out of the sky (but into the river) and then apprehend them. They realized too late they are dealing with Tokiwadai’s strongest electro esper. Banri receives a uniform gift from her friends though Misaka regrets she should have gotten a better surprise gift (the gift shop was closed anyway). But Banri says she was really surprised and happy.

Episode 2
When Misaki was young, a doctor showed her how a patient suffered from some muscular dystrophy and no matter how hard he tried, he could never regain the use of his muscles. Thus he managed to get her to agree to use her powers to cure those who suffer from the same disease. Back in present time, Misaki reprimands Shirai for another one of her perverted ways. She reluctantly follows her to a tight alley, supposed to be some short cut. However there are many people using it. Accidentally they find a money card underneath an air-cond. Reporting it to Uiharu, it seems the number of reported cases of finding money cards in alleys has jumped. They are real and have different values in it. Someone seems to be planting them but no fingerprints were found. Thus the alleys recently have seen an increased in ‘traffic’ as many are searching for them. Misaka sees Saten in the midst of money card hunting. Her nose can lead her to the next card? Anyway she’s got a bunch of them! Saten notes that she tried to say hi to her earlier but was ignored. Misaka asserts it wasn’t her as she was with Shirai and Uiharu. Saten takes Misaka on a money card hunt but at the end of the day, Misaka wants her to report the cards she found. After she leaves, Misaka eavesdrops several Skillout guys talking how they have found the culprit planting the money cards and intend to pay that person a visit. They see a lone girl, Shinobu Nunotaba (looks like Chihayafuru’s Shinobu?) and threaten her to give all the money cards she has. They don’t believe she only has this little on her. They threaten to get rough but she remains calm. They search the building as one of them guards her. He notices her school crest, Nagatenjouki Academy, one of the 5 elite schools in town and that she must be a freaking powerful esper. He starts freaking out as Shinobu calmly goes up close to him. His pals return when they heard him scream and see him dead. Shinobu mentions about her powers that it affects those whom she touches. Speaking of which, she did touch them, right? They start sweating in their pants but when she offs the lights, his other pals scream and fall dead. Now the boss is left. He too is panicking. Lights out again. Stalking in the dark. She has touched him. All that is left is to lower her right hand and he’ll get a painless death. Now he’s begging for his life. I guess he was so scared that he fainted. Misaka has been watching the ‘performance’ and gives her applause. Seems Shinobu used anaesthetic to knock them out and pop their head with a paper pop gun. But Shinobu notes Misaka as the original one.

Episode 3
Misaka has heard many rumours wherever she goes. There are plans to clone one of the Level 5 espers and that the Railgun was picked. Shinobu asserts Misaka to have her manners since she is talking to a senior. Seems Shinobu was involved in some project and the details and purpose of it has changed since she left. But she won’t tell Misaka as she is not strong enough to deal with the truth. She reveals she was scattering those money cards to eliminate blind spots so she can send people into alleyways to prevent experiments to be carried out there. She felt she was careless as someone had seen and followed her. She can’t leave behind any evidence and burns away a stack of papers. The place is on fire and she doesn’t care about the Skillout guys. It’s not her problem. Shinobu flees and Misaka is left to do the cleanup job and manage to get away undetected. Later Misaka hacks the database to find out more about Shinobu. Seems she is a genius in the biopsychology field from a young age and what a coincidence she worked at the hospital where Misaka gave her DNA. That hospital is now closed. Since it is no use to ask her directly, she is going to sneak in. Meanwhile Saten shows off her many money cards she has got to Haruue. Guess what? She has got twice, thrice or maybe ten times more than her! Complete defeat! Along with Uiharu they discuss about doppelgangers since they thought they saw Misaka but wasn’t really her. As for Shirai, she managed to trick the dorm lady that Misaka is in by using some voice projector. Then she gets horny with Misaka’s teddy bear. I guess this substitute will do.

Misaka sneaks into the lab with some easy hacking (I guess it must be a long day for the guards). She almost got spotted but the alarm goes off. Could she have really been spotted? Taking advantage of the chaos, she enters a suspicious lab room to see human sized capsules. As for the guards, they remembered that somebody was supposed to come to delete some data of some frozen project and she forgot her pass, thus the alarm went off. Misaka hacks into the system to read the final report of the Radio Noise, Sisters Project. From what I understand, the project was supposed to clone the Railgun with 100% certainty instead of leaving it to miniscule chances of nature. So they got her DNA and added some kind of other chemicals to nurture her development which was under the supervision of Shinobu. The Railgun was successfully cultivated in 14 days. Misaka realizes the reason why her DNA was given and that the rumours about her clone were true. After that, the project went into phase 2 to mass produce Sisters but based on the supercomputer of Tree Diagram, the Sisters’ ability is less than 1% powerful as of the original. They were merely only Level 2 and the strongest ones could only reached Level 3. Therefore there was no further use in continuing this project as creating a Level 5 clone is impossible. The project is suspended indefinitely to minimize cost and losses. Misaka is relieved to hear this and that there are no clones. The rumours just somehow snowballed. After she leaves, the guard guides a Misaka clone who then erases all the data the original Misaka saw.

Episode 4
A couple of scientists are seen developing a Misaka clone. Meanwhile Shirai is freaking out. Misaka is in good mood and polite. Is this really her onee-sama she knows? Till she tries to get perverted with her and gets zapped. That’s her alright. After meeting up with the rest of their friends, the all go shopping for rice cooker (Misaka the haggler?) followed by picking swimsuit for Haruue. Later as they stop for a drink, Saten notes this is the place where she saw Misaka’s doppelganger. Misaka just coolly brushes off that rumour and they talk about the what-ifs if they had a clone. Meanwhile the scientists have completed the clone but need to develop and fine tune her since her mind is like a baby. When they are done installing knowledge and whatever info in her head, it seems as noted they lack emotions. Reason is that they don’t want unnecessary revolts just because emotions were planted. Besides, they don’t have the technology to implant emotions. She is given more ‘education’ so much so she is confident of going outside. But the scientists mention the world doesn’t always work in the way she has learnt things and there is a chance she might encounter the original. Not that it would hinder the experiment anyway. When Misaka is alone at the park, I guess she was humming how bored she was so the kids in the neighbourhood heard it and she is forced to play with them. She learns one of them has a bit of electric powers but after so much concentrating, all he can output is just a small burst of electricity. Misaka encourages him that if he continues to practice, he can use it for a lot of things. Misaka gets excited when she sees a Gekota badge on one of the girls. Interested to have it? They bring her to a gachapon machine where she got it. Since it’s analogue, she can’t use her powers to cheat. And so begins the coin by coin adventure in hopes of landing that elusive Gekota. Elusive it is because after emptying several gachapon machines and filling up 2 baskets full of them, there is no Gekota badge! Try another one near the station. Desperate, isn’t she? The girl would really love to give hers but you know how stubborn Misaka can be… After another basket full, she finally lands it! See the big relief on her face. See the big relief on the kids’ face. Thank goodness it has ended. After they part, Misaka senses some electric sensation. She fears there may be someone with similar powers to her and follows it. To her surprise, she sees a clone of herself before her eyes. Who the hell…

Episode 5
Due to some circumstances, Misaka clone is more interested in the cat stuck up in the tree. The original is getting frustrated by her retarded answer and short attention span. She has no choice but to play along with her pace and ends up helping to save the cat. Why does Misaka have to be at the bottom? Plus, the clone uses her body as a launching pad to save the cat when it slips. Even so, she uses her skirt to catch it! No kiddie shorts underneath? Shima pantsu… Misaka continues to seek for answers but since she failed in some long-winded authorization code, the clone notices she is not part of the experiment and whatever she is asked is classified. Just annoying, isn’t it? Misaka follows the clone in hopes she will go back to her lab only to see her get distracted by annoying things. She ends up arguing if there are more clones out there. So much so, the ice cream seller takes pity in seeing the ‘twins’ quarrelling, gives them ice cream on the house and hopes they will make up. The clone is cheeky enough to eat Misaka’s ice cream, lie about it and then pesters her to treat her to good tea. Why does she even bother? By night fall, the clone apologizes that she won’t be able to meet her creator even if she follows her. Misaka has an idea and puts the Gekota badge on her just to see if it looks good on her. Despite the clone commenting on its lameness, she won’t hand it back and wants to keep it! Misaka has had it and leaves while the clone says farewell.

Misaka calls Uiharu to check about to authorization code the clone said. She thinks it’s a clearance code for information with ranked A security. Misaka hacks into the system and learns more about it. This time, a methodology to shift into Level 6. As there are 7 Level 5 espers, only one of them has the potential to achieve Level 6. Through standard curriculum, it will take 250 years and thus this course was abandoned in favour of advancing combat growth and ability. By preparing certain battlefield situations and given scenarios, they have found a way to manipulate the direction of advancement. It is concluded that with 128 different scenarios, the subject can shift to Level 6 after killing the Railgun 128 times. Since it is impossible to have that much Railguns, they decided to use Sisters from the Radio Noise Project as replacement. Thus, by using 20,000 Sisters in various combat scenarios, Level 6 is achievable. Misaka is shocked to learn about the killing of her clones. Speaking of which, the clone enters a showdown with Accelerator. This is the 9,982nd experiment. Clearly the crazy dude is more powerful and the clone is left retreating. Accelerator teases and taunts the retreating Railgun. The trap she sets doesn’t even work. She is out of options. This has Accelerator tears of one of her legs! She is crawling to get the Gekota badge she drops. Perhaps the only thing she treasures right now. Accelerator is done with tonight’s experiment and will finish her. Misaka realizes her clone’s words in an experiment right now and rushes to the alleyway. Relieved that there is no way an experiment can take place, she becomes dismayed when she sees her broken goggles. A big explosion rocks nearby and as she heads there, to her horror she sees Accelerator slamming a container over the clone. Game over. Enraged Misaka charges at him.

Episode 6
All attacks are deflected without effort. Misaka is so mad after seeing the ripped leg that she slams all the iron rails at him. Too bad all deflected too. It is then Accelerator realizes this is the original because it packs too much power. He explains his goal of obtaining absolute power that opposing him would be unimaginable. Something he believes shifting into Level 6 can do. Misaka is so upset with his stupid goal that she unleashes her ultimate move. But even that didn’t work. Now it’s Accelerator’s turn to have a blast. However all the Misaka clones tell him to stop because this is not part of the programme and any deviation would cause the experiment to fail. After he leaves, Misaka is not impressed that her clones are throwing away their lives though they reply they are just guinea pigs. They cost 180,000 Yen each too. Next morning, Shinobu sees Misaka sitting dejectedly on a bench and knows she has got involved. She tells her that right or wrong is something subjective. For example, to find a cure for cancer using a bullet, you need 20,000 guinea pigs to prove that, right? She views those involved see their experiment subjects as guinea pigs (at least they don’t discriminate) and think they are not committing murder. Misaka knows Shinobu was spreading those cash cards to avoid those experiments, but why is she protecting artificial beings that aren’t even human? Shinobu was part of the Radio Noise project and left a while before it was suspended. When they decided to use Sisters to for the Level 6 project, she was recalled. Flashback reveals Shinobu is looking at some data and talking with one of the clones. Her earnest and pure answer of the simple reality she first and just experienced was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After that she couldn’t see them as guinea pigs anymore. Shinobu views the world as ugly and twisted. How does Misaka? She doesn’t want to accept her clones as human and doesn’t want to help those who accept getting slaughtered. She will make those who misuse her DNA pay. Misaka returns to her dorm and Shirai is clearly worried of her messed up appearance. She knows something is wrong but Misaka is not saying. To make this up, Misaka treats her friends to dessert. But they really want to know where she was that night. Watching the stars. This girl? Stargazing? When Uiharu asks about the code, Misaka starts acting strange. They don’t want to push it further and suggest going to the arcade to blow some steam. Misaka remembers Shinobu telling her that there are around 20 facilities involved in this. Is she going to do this by herself? Well, it’s her mess, she’ll clean it up.

Episode 7
Reports are coming in that the facilities are catching fire with loss of data and equipment. Since the head concludes it is a simultaneous terrorist attack and realizing that the culprit is attacking via communication lines, he has the external communications cut off. This put a stop to Misaka’s doing but she is satisfied she has done in 70% and all that is left to raid and take out the rest by hand. While she is busy doing that nightly, Shirai is getting more worried. How long can she cover for her? How long can her withdrawal symptoms hold? She knows Misaka is taking care of stuffs but won’t pester her what it is. So much so, she wasn’t her usual self when she’s with Uiharu and Saten. She spaces out a lot thinking about Misaka and on one of her patrols, she sees several kids looking for lucky cards in alleys. They are actually money cards with serial numbers and they believed this urban legend that if you get a certain serial number, you’ll get your wish granted. Of course she stops whatever they’re doing and confiscates the card as it is considered a lost item. Elsewhere, the head learns that more of the facilities are being burnt down. He has an idea who is behind this since the attacks are electromagnetic. Because so, he knows they don’t stand a chance against her. On another day, Shirai again catches one of those girls, Minori in trying to search for the lucky card. She was so into looking for it, she almost got hit by a car but Shirai was there to teleport her away. Learning that she wants to give the card as a present to her friends who are moving away, it makes Shirai think about Misaka. That worried look on her face again. Saten comes into the picture as she is using her sniffing to find one. Uiharu must be embarrassed to be seen with her. Saten even teaches Midori how to sniff out the cards. Seriously. Shirai and Uiharu are in a dilemma because if any cards are found, they have to confiscate it as they cannot overlook this matter as they are members of Judgment. They seek Konori’s advice and so she takes them all to go look for four leaf clovers at the riverbank. It’s a better gift than a lucky card, right? Yes, they’re going to search for it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Saten finds a butterfly but it only makes Shirai think about her feelings. They cheer her up that Misaka definitely appreciates what she does. And then they find a whole bunch of them. Not so rare, huh? The same night, Misaka goes out to do her usual. Seeing how gloomy Shirai is, Misaka thanks her. It makes her feel better. Misaka’s rampage is making headway as there are only 2 more facilities left.

Episode 8
An underground all-female group called ITEM takes out some shady guys doing some shady deals. They get a call from their employer for another job. Their client wants them to take out the terrorist raiding the facilities without any ruckus. The problem is which of the 2 facilities the culprit is going to hit. Frenda Seivelun wants to handle one by herself, thinking of the big bonus she’ll get. She waits and hits the jackpot when Misaka sneaks in. Misaka is set upon explosives in Frenda’s hidden dolls but her electromagnetic powers save her. Frenda continues the offensive and makes Misaka on the run with her explosive dolls. So much about being discreet, huh? Might as well blow up everything. Misaka realizes she must deal with this blonde first. Despite all the traps Frenda set, Misaka overcomes them because well, this entire building is made out of metal and you know how good a metal’s relationship is with electricity, right? Misaka corners Frenda but as usual, it’s another trap. They are sealed inside. Meanwhile in the other facility, scientists are trying to transfer the data when Shinobu pays them a visit. Her real goal is to stop the Sisters experiment and goes off into some deep dark parts of the lab. Misaka questions Frenda for answers but she doesn’t give them. Even so, she isn’t interested who here employer or what her client’s goal is. Frenda unleashes more traps and explosives but Misaka’s strong electromagnetic power has them cut the floor to break the fuse. Frenda even unleashes her multiple heat seeking grenades under her skirt! How did she hide them?! That wasn’t enough to take out the electromaster. Just when Misaka is going to give the payback, Frenda speaks in a foreign language (which is gibberish) and then throws some gas explosive. She then unleashes lots of inflammable gas into the building. She threatens Misaka can’t use her electromagnetic power because it will blow up everything. Now that she is a sitting duck, Frenda fights her with her kung fu. Man, this girl can fight. Of course the inflammable gas is just a bluff and to prevent Misaka from using her power. Bratty blonde is about to kill Misaka and brags. But Misaka is able to stop her knife with just her elbow! Because when Frenda said something about her targets are born to be killed by her, it made Misaka angry. That’s what her clones’ fate is, right? Misaka strangleholds her but Frenda gives a judo throw. Her lighter lights up the trap fuse and almost burnt her. This is when Misaka realizes her bluff. Now she can use her electricity with full force. No holding back. I’m sure Frenda is about to spill everything but her tongue got numb after a taste of Misaka’s power. Misaka misinterprets she won’t sell out her friends. A big laser beam cuts through the metal walls. Looks like Frenda’s pals are here. Big relief, eh?

Episode 9
Whatever Misaka throws at Mugino Shizuri, she disintegrates it or absorbs them. In addition to that, she can shoot devastating beams. Get hit and you’re gone! I guess she isn’t the fourth strongest Level 5 esper called The Meltdowner for nothing. Misaka is reduced to escaping and barely escaping Mugino’s attacks. Because of Takitsubo Rikou’s esper power of sensing Misaka’s AIM dispersion field, all Mugino needs is to just fire from her location where she is, heeding Takitsubo’s direction. Meanwhile Shinobu has snuck into an unauthorized section of the lab and is trying to install her emotions programme onto Misaka Network. It might not awaken true emotions in them but at least it would trigger some sort of reaction and their view about death. The possibility is small and she hopes at least it will make some researches think they are not guinea pigs. She is suddenly pinned down by Kinuhata Saiai of ITEM. As Mugino’s prediction, she predicted the possibility of both facilities would be attacked simultaneously and the one on the offensive might be just a distraction. Shinobu thought she had won since the installation has been completed. However she never expected some sort of security alert to deny the installation. Plan failed. Never thought they installed security, eh? How long has it been since she left? She steals one of the guy’s gun and shoots at Kinuhata. However the bullet did not penetrate her because of her body armour esper power. Shinobu is knocked out and taken away. Meanwhile Misaka continues to barely escape from Mugino’s beams. She has a feeling somebody can locate her. On the other hand, Mugino is dumbfounded that she continues to avoid her attacks. However she knows that Misaka is at her limit and tired. Since Takitsubo is also at her limit, she doesn’t want to risk using her anymore. Knowing that Misaka is still in the building and has not escaped, it means there must be something in this building she wants destroyed and willing to risk her life for it. She thinks of waiting for her at the final destination. Mugino tells Frenda to take Takitsubo back to Kinuhata since she won’t be able to protect them both as they’re both already exhausted. She’s going to face off with Misaka alone.

Episode 10
Noticing Frenda’s tape lines throughout the facility, Misaka goes to collect all the dolls she left behind. That’s why she’s late in meeting Mugino in a showdown. Of course she is not pleased that Frenda forgot to clean up before she left. She’s going to get a good spanking afterwards. Misaka throws a doll and explodes it with her electromagnetic power but Mugino is able to block them. But can she block with all the dolls? In addition, every doll is fitted with something magnetic so Misaka is able to control them. Unfortunately, Mugino has some sort of glass that is able to refract her beam into many directions and takes out many dolls. Whatever tricks Misaka has, Mugino can counter it and even interfere with her lightning. She brags about their position as Railgun and Meltdowner and that if she beats her, she’ll move up a notch in the ranking. The last doll slams into her head taking her out. She got taken out this way? So easily? I guess she didn’t see it coming while she was bragging. Misaka sets the data room on fire but when she leaves, she is attacked by Mugino. Now she’s mad. She’s very dangerous. And she’s going to kill that b*tch! Since Misaka has accomplished her mission, she doesn’t have to face her and tries to run. But she must pick her exit carefully or risk being trapped or cornered by Mugino. Mugino thinks it is game over when she corners Misaka at some bridge. She wants Misaka to use her trademark railgun move since it will be her last. However there is a reason why Misaka ran here. As Frenda has drawn lines all over the place, this means she has secured the exit routes too. With a little spark, Misaka uses those lines and tears apart the bridge. While Misaka uses her electromagnetic power to cling on like a magnet, Mugino falls but uses her beams to soften her fall or else she would have died. She tries to fire randomly from below but Misaka has already escaped. Mugino goes back to the other facility and threatens one of the scientists to reveal the project Misaka wanted to destroy so badly. She laughs at the idea of turning Accelerator into Level 6 and the reason ITEM was hired. She also comes up with a devilish idea. Morning comes and Misaka has rested well in a hotel room. She goes to the last facility but there is nobody. No electricity. Could this be a trap? Checking things out, she finds all the data erased. Then she reads the news that it filed for bankruptcy. Did she force them to retreat because they can’t handle the project with only one lab? Now that it’s over, everything feels so unreal but bitter memories of her killed clones still remain. However she’s glad the experiment is stopped and they don’t have to die anymore. She sees Touma having trouble at the vending machine.

Episode 11
Touma doesn’t recognize who she is and this pisses her off. She zaps him but we know his Imagine Breaker nullifies everything, right? Misaka gives out a good laugh after learning the vending machine ate his 2,000 Yen bill. Then she stops laughing because she remembers it ate 10,000 Yen of hers before. Don’t worry. She’ll get him his 2,000 Yen worth of drinks. Here comes the kick! Meanwhile Saten deduces Misaka has a boyfriend as a reason for her late nights. Uiharu is thrilled. Nightmare for Shirai. Could it really be? They hear a vending machine alarm go off and Shirai knows who this serial perpetrator might be and goes to check it out. To her horror, she sees Misaka sitting on a bench next to Touma. Her eyes are just burning. First, Shirai politely introduces herself to him just to size him up. Misaka gets mad when she learns Shirai thought this monkey who couldn’t even remember he fought with her would be her boyfriend. Shirai is fast enough to avoid her zap. She starts planning about a scheme to make her detest all males so she could be the one Misaka will run to for comfort. Nice plan. I’m sure it’ll work. Knowing Misaka will be in no harm since they’re not dating, she leaves and lets them be. Touma is surprised to see Misaka’s sister. No, not Shirai kind of sister but Misaka’s clone! OMG! What is one doing here? He thought they’re twins. The clone came to investigate the vandalized machine. She thinks they’re in cohorts because Touma’s fingerprints were all over it! Misaka quickly takes her clone away to confirm if the experiment has been stopped. Actually, it resumed and 10,000 clones have already been killed. Misaka starts to feel sick and also guilty that she ‘killed’ them. She tells her clone off not to appear before her like that so she goes off and resume her scheduled experiment.

Meanwhile the facility head is confronted by his fellow colleague. He is furious that there are many contractors for this project that will eat into their profits. But he is confident they will still make a profit and their priority is to carry out the experiments. Misaka learns there are 183 facilities conducting the experiment. I guess it’s their plan to deter her from attacking. 20 was fine but nearly 200 now? Very demotivating…  It made Misaka realize that she was stupid. Academy City is constantly under surveillance so there is no way that something like this will go unnoticed by the upper echelons. This means the entire city is her enemy. Meanwhile Accelerator is fresh from killing another clone. He remembers how he was approached by some guy about this Level 6 experiment. At first he wasn’t interested because he is already number one. But would you pass the chance of becoming beyond than strong? Does absolute power interest you? After being brought to see the Misaka clones in tubes, he likes how their twisted minds are thinking and accepts. Misaka is doing lots of thinking. She knows the culprits are not making any fuss about her attacks because they don’t want the public to know about this. If she tries to destroy that, she might not live a normal life again. She seeks Shirai’s advice what she would do if she causes a big disaster to Academy City. Her reply is that if someone threatens the city whether she is her onee-sama or not, she will still perform her duty. Misaka is relieved that even if she ends the experiment and gets caught by Shirai, she wouldn’t mind it.

Episode 12
Misaka dreams of her good times with her mom. She was able to fix everything. If only those experiments never happened and was just a bad dream… Shirai is in her perverted mode again and despite knowing she’ll get punished, she’s going to relish every moment of ecstasy till that punishment. But surprise, surprise. Misaka pats her head and wishes her good morning. As explained by Misaka, Tree Diagram is a super computer responsible for predicting overwhelming amounts of simulation ranging from weather forecast to the massacre of her clones. She happens to see Touma but is in no mood to beat him up. She is not happy when he mentions he wants to thank her sister for helping him out to carry the drinks. Misaka also mentions she hates that blimp which reports the weather from Tree Diagram results. Because it means humans are acting in line with a machine’s calculation. She goes off to destroy it. She arrives outside the only terminal linked to Tree Diagram. Acting as a student on assignment, the nice janitor tells her to not get too close because of the guards. But we know that won’t be much of a problem for Misaka, right? Her electromagnetic power is enough to snuff out the robots without a trace. Her plan is to plant a fake prophecy that an error occurred when Accelerator and Railgun come into contact. Therefore the shift to Level 6 is impossible. Touma then bumps into the Misaka clone attending an abandoned cat. She is in a dilemma to feed it or take it home because she thinks the cat hates her. I guess Touma has to take it, huh? So Touma brings Misaka clone to the bookstore to find a book on how to take cats. Since the bookstore doesn’t allow pets, she throws the cat at her. See? It doesn’t hate her. Nearby, Accelerator beats up a few punks in the alley. He sees Misaka clone waiting outside the bookstore and remembers it’s time for the experiment. However he is greeted by another clone and they proceed with the experiment. Misaka has snuck into the terminal. She finds it odd there are no humans and the security system is not working. Is this a trap since it is heavily guarded outside but none inside? Have they abandoned it either? Doesn’t make any sense. Even in the operation room, it seems the dust collected on the system is thick but the computers remain functional. No one has been here for a long time. Hacking into the system, she is surprised there are no prediction requests to Tree Diagram for a long time. Well, there are but none are getting processed. Looking at the last report to the supervisory board, she learns that Tree Diagram went off orbit. Then a team was dispatched but a portion of Remnant was retrieved. To her surprise the final report says Tree Diagram has been destroyed.

Episode 13
Misaka wonders how Tree Diagram was destroyed. More importantly, what will she do now? There is only one way left. Destroy all the labs. She becomes a zombie in doing so. Tedious. But she has to. It’s the only way left she knows. When Touma leaves the bookstore, he finds Misaka’s clone gone. He thought she ventured into the alley and to his dismay, sees the area slightly decimated. She dropped her shoes too. I’m not sure if Accelerator is bored or having fun in this experiment because like always, the clone tries to do her best in shooting him down but his vector technique is always superior. He is going to put an end to this. As Misaka is destroying a lab, she sees a live recording on the monitor of her clone being killed before her eyes. Actually, the screen was suddenly covered in blood. You can guess what happened. Misaka falls into despair that she failed to protect again. Accelerator remembers how when he first attend the first experiment, he is appalled this must be some sort of joke as he faced off with a weak Misaka clone. He was told that each Misaka clone retains memories of the previous and learns from its past due to Misaka Network. So it’ll get harder and harder. The last few Misaka’s clones will be tough sh*t for him so please bear with the weaklings now. To end the experiment, he must kill them. They are after all, just puppets. And so the first experiment ended with the clone shooting him but the bullet ricochet and ended up killing herself. When Touma arrives on scene, he gets sick to see blood everywhere. He calls Judgment but by the time he returns, the place is cleaned up. Furthermore, records of the video show no suspicious activities. They warn him not to pull this prank. Touma is confused. Was he dreaming? Then he spots Misaka’s clone behind him. So it was a dream? But she is carrying something suspicious in a sleeping bag. Suddenly all the clones appear before him! What the f*ck is this? They explain briefly about the Misaka clones he met and the gist of their purpose in this experiment. Gee, why tell him all that despite he failed to answer some password authentication code? So what has he got now? He has to take care of the cat… Touma then heads to the dorm where Misaka stays. But he is unsure if he should ask details of the horrifying experiments that involve killing people without remorse.

Episode 14
Shirai is worried about Misaka but promises she will wait for her. Then there is Touma at the doorbell. Can her worst nightmare return? She wanted to ignore him but perhaps this monkey knows something about Misaka. She lets him in to wait but has to hide him under the bed since the dorm lady is here to check on them as she heard some commotion. While Shirai assures her it is some other noise and brings her away to complain, Touma finds some notes inside Misaka’s stuffed teddy. Those are notes about the Level 6 shift, map of the targeted facilities and even schedules of Accelerator’s fight with the Sisters. He then realizes what Misaka and her clones said. It all starts to make sense now. He rushes out and finds her alone in sullen mood at the bridge. Realizing Touma has discovered everything, she hopes he could blame it on her to make her feel better. Surprisingly he says he was worried. Very worried. Misaka is close to breaking down. She explains about the project and the mindless slaughter of her clones despite the fact they knew what was coming. Before anything happens, she is going to settle things with Accelerator. Touma won’t allow her since based on Tree Diagram’s prediction, she will die in 185 moves. Can she win? True. But if she dies in the first move, this will throw the scientist off their feet as Tree Diagram’s prediction is absolute and will re-evaluate.

Touma doesn’t agree with her sacrificing herself because her death will be in vain if they recalculate. She is sure that won’t happen because somebody shot down Tree Diagram a long time ago. He still won’t let her through. She will not die on his watch. Misaka is disgusted with petty ideals and warns she will force her way and attack him with all she’s got. She is surprised when he says he won’t fight back. Then she blasts him away. More shock because he didn’t nullify her electricity. Maybe she didn’t hit his right hand. Slightly wounded, he stands back up. Now it’s his turn to tell her. He knows what they are doing is wrong but the way she is handling it won’t save anyone either. Misaka feel she doesn’t deserve to be in this place but would her Sisters appreciate her doing that? They’ll get a peace of mind when she dies? I think Misaka is really broken. As Touma still won’t budge, Misaka lets loose a powerful shock. Don’t worry. He is still alive. Even some lap pillow service from Misaka. Why, oh why? Why can he still keep smiling after getting beaten up like that? He could have led a normal life and pretend he never saw anything. It’s because he is glad she is his friend. Oh Touma, now you made her cry. He knows how to stop the experiment. Assuming the experiment is based on presumption that Accelerator is the strongest, what if he isn’t and loses to a Level 0 like him? Yeah. He is going to fight Accelerator himself. Now it’s Misaka’s turn not to allow him because this is her fight. She needs to settle this herself. How can she? She’s an emotional wreck. He wants her to help him out instead. It’s his dream to go back home smiling without losing anything. So just wait here and he’ll bring her Sisters back. That’s a promise. After all those cool words, how can you not, even for a tsundere biri-biri give in?

Episode 15
By the time Touma finds the clone, she is in the midst of being beaten to a pulp. Angry Touma tells Accelerator to get the f*ck away from her. He throws the clone and amazingly Touma catches her. She doesn’t understand his actions. He doesn’t care. He just wants to save her and the world. So don’t die. Accelerator gets cocky using his telekinesis power to throw things at Touma. So much about putting up a fight. However he feels Touma is something different than the rest who challenged him. He gets back up and fight. He continues to mock Touma the weakest of the weakest and compresses the oxygen around to make a big explosion. He is about to give the killing blow when he finds himself lying on the ground. Bleeding. Touma is the one who is standing. What the hell just happened? Touma gives a few knuckle sandwiches and uppercuts to him and Accelerator couldn’t believe he has been hit by a weakling. So is Misaka. She can’t believe a complete stronger is defeating Accelerator. On the verge of insanity, Accelerator remembers the need for absolute power. The power to control all rules and reason. He uses the air flow and wind around him to fling Touma away. Oops. Now he is out in his pool of blood. Accelerator is impressed with this new power of controlling the atmosphere and works up some giant plasma. Misaka knows at this rate, the destruction can range for miles and that is what this mad kid cares. She is further distraught thinking Touma is dead but I suppose when she tells Accelerator to stop, she heard Touma eking out a little voice. But Accelerator doesn’t give a damn about her and continues powering up. Noticing he is using the wind, she has a plan but can’t do it alone. She goes to her clone but finds her dead. Another round of guilt trip. Powerful but can’t even save and protect. Those words touch the clone’s heart and she agrees to help her. Accelerator suddenly finds his plasma dissipating. He realizes the wind turbines around the city are moving in an opposite direction to disrupt his calculation. This could mean it is the work of those Sisters. The almost dead clone relay via Misaka Network to the rest to do the job. And Touma… Have you slept long enough? Otherwise you’ll be hearing more of Misaka’s desperate pleas for help in your dream.

Episode 16
Accelerator is puzzled why Misaka is helping the clones. Because they are failed copies of her. Or is she jealous that somebody is going to breach Level 6? Actually, it’s quite simple. Because they are her sisters. Accelerator doesn’t find her answer amusing. But more shock is to come. Because Touma gets up! Accelerator charges at him and is going to kill him but when their fists connect, Accelerator’s power nullifies and his index finger bends backwards! Accelerator remembers how he was drafted into this experiment. With all the fighting going on in the world, he was told that he needs to be more than just the strongest and to follow their experiment plans. Because if power breeds fighting, he needs absolute power so no one can contest. At the end of the flashback, Touma gives him the nastiest punch right in his face. Accelerator defeated. Misaka visits Touma in hospital the next day. She brought him cookies but that dense guy couldn’t keep his mouth shut about homemade cookies. She almost zaps the entire room. On to serious stuff, he mentions like night one of her sisters visited him. He was told the experiment has been cancelled. Misaka still feels guilty because had she not give her DNA, all these would never have happened. True, but their birth is something to be proud of because they would never have known the meaning of happiness and pain. He is sure they don’t want to see her so down over it.

At the park, she sees her clone sister and was going to get sentimental over what happened. Till she sees her trying to teach a couple of young girls how swing aggressively! Embarrassing? The girls even try to guess which is the older sister! She picked Misaka correctly only because she had the Gekota plushie. The clone is cheeky enough to mention about her childish traits, tsundere behaviour and short temper. However as her big sister, she was willing to give her life for her. The clone says now that they experiment have been halted, it’s like the remaining Sisters have become unemployed and wandering around without purpose. They have lost their purpose of existence. She hopes Misaka could stay with her till she finds a purpose in life. On another day, Misaka is going to visit Touma and this time bringing homemade cookies. She’s starting to show her tsundere side in beating him up if he doesn’t appreciate it. To her surprise, Touma has been discharged. More tsundere with lots of tsun-tsun. Can’t admit she is here to visit him. Can’t even give the cookies to him. Before they part, she tells him her name and to call her by that instead of Biribiri. I guess it was the happiest face she puts on when he calls her that. So much so Shirai is in total shock that something must have happened to her. Oh, she is here to warn Misaka that the dorm lady has found out about her unauthorized night excursions. An acceptable explanation is demanded. Well, can’t let that spoil her happy mood. It must be a good day for her too since at the gachapon machine, she got the elusive Gekota badge at first try.

Episode 17
The start of a new arc, Silent Party. The dorm lady is suspicious of Misaka’s excuses. Even more suspicious is her group study request. Funny because Shirai also did the same thing. However she approves of it due to her answer of friendship. But she cautions she must not be a second late on the curfew. Or else… Everyone is to meet at Saten’s place later in the evening. Saten tidies her place up as she speaks to Uiharu about the handmade cookies Misaka and her made. She is confident there is a boy involved and hopes to get the full details. Otherwise, why on earth would Misaka be acting so feminine (and tsundere). She was so clumsy on it that Saten can’t help fawn over her cuteness. Uiharu lets a bunch of hackers hack into the decoy server as she has book report problems. After Shirai finishes her patrol and goes shopping for ingredients. She meets Kongou along the way and coincidentally she too is shopping. But at a pet store? Dead mice! For her pet snake. But of course. Misaka sees the doctor and is told that her clones, due to exposure of many drugs that stimulates their rapid development, they have not long to live. At most one to two years. However many institutions are working together to find adjustments to eliminate their hormone imbalances so there is still hope. When she stops by the family restaurant later, to her dismay she sees Frenda and Mugino. Frenda starts getting cocky till she is reminded by Mugino why they lost in the first place. Blonde girl gets whacked. Shirai happen to come in and thinks Misaka is the one who started this public fight. Then it descends into Frenda vs Shirai in a shouting match whose onee-sama is better. It got out of hand when they started comparing their boobs. Busty or flat? The friends finally meet up and start their nabe party. Hey. I thought this was supposed to be a group study? Shirai bought soft shell turtle to help smoothen their skin (some collagen crap). She also has fresh turtle blood she wants Misaka to drink. Yeah. It has libido enhancement, I believe. She’s not going to drink it anyway. Not even a sip. The party goes on fine and everyone had a good time. But Misaka and Shirai need to hurry back before curfew time.

Episode 18
ITEM is ordered to stop a weapon’s deal at a warehouse but all they find were robots attacking them. Little do they know, a bunch of scientists called STUDY are collecting data on Mugino’s power and they’re ready to move to the next phase of their plan. Misaka and friends go visit Banri and she will soon be discharged. She mentions about moving out and got permission to live with Haruue. On the way back, Shirai and Uiharu talk about Academy City Research Exhibit Assembly or Academy Assembly for short. They are to be security guards for the yearly event that hosts exhibits, seminars and talks from the city’s top academic students. Meanwhile Kongou impresses the crowd when she disables a snatch thief with her power. However some dude reprimands her for using her powers nonchalantly. Despite the case being solved, he mentions there were other ways she could have solved this like calling Anti-Skill whose office is nearby. What if she didn’t get to subdue the criminal in one blow? Because he is dangerous and could have took somebody as hostage. She endangered innocent people with her rash act. Wow. Somebody put this obnoxious girl in place. By the time her friends come to vouch for her, he is gone. Misaka and friends are to treat Banri as celebration for her discharge. However Konori calls Shirai as there is a traffic problem in a certain area. The lights went out so they need manpower to direct the chaos. Uiharu helps her and tells the rest to go ahead with the party. Banri thinks of joining Judgment because she wants to be like Uiharu. But Misaka points out Uiharu is nice to her not because she is part of Judgment. It’s because they are friends. By the time Shirai and Uiharu are done and arrive at the party, Banri has already left because she needs to undergo one last check up. Uiharu has bought taiyaki for Haruue. It’s the same type of taiyaki she bought her when she was feeling scared. She feels so grateful that she gets so emotional. It’s probably infectious too because it got Uiharu. The friends leave when the party is over. Saten takes them through a shortcut through a park. They see a blonde loli sleeping in the bed of flowers. When she wakes up, they try to ask her for details but she isn’t replying. Does she know Japanese? Then Saten to pro shows them how it’s done to talk to kids. Well, we’ve got a reply that she is called Febri. And she knows Misaka.

Episode 19
Could this be Misaka’s cousin? Sister? Don’t tell me… HER DAUGHTER?! Oh, Shirai… But Febri is scared of Misaka and cowers behind Saten. Misaka thought she could cheer her up by doing a little finger puppet Gekota play. She snatches it for her own. And that puppet is a rare one… Get back here! Since it’s getting late, Saten doesn’t mind taking her back to her place and Uiharu helps out. They eat and bath together like good sisters. While that, we see STUDY having data on Febri and they have an idea about her whereabouts. Misaka is still sore over the lost of her single puppet despite having tons of the rest. Because she is worried that Febri doesn’t acknowledge her, Shirai gets the wrong idea and will be like that loli. But she looks more like a slut… And got zapped. When Febri is asleep, Saten tastes the lollipop. Let’s says there is a very intense taste that normal young girls couldn’t stand. Next day, they try to find her from the database to see if she is a lost child but couldn’t come up with any match. Could she be Child Error? They think of putting her in a home so Misaka has the dorm lady use her connections to do the necessary but it will take 5 days. Saten is cool with it and is okay with Febri staying with her till then. On the way back, Febri naturally makes friends with other people including Kongou. Everyone except Misaka. Does she have a grudge or something? Saten notices Misaka’s frustration and feigns she needs to go to the toilet and leaves Febri in her care. Meanwhile Yomikawa sees a little problem when a delivery truck here to delivery equipment and the school that is supposed to collect them hasn’t showed up to do so. One of those STUDY scientists is disguising as a student of that school and confirms back to his comrades that their equipment has arrived. Misaka makes no headway in getting Febri to say her name. She is so obsessed in thinking of a plan that when she realizes it, Febri is gone and the Gekota puppet is on the ground. She calls her friends to apologize on the situation and they start looking around this big campus. Febri has actually followed a Gekota mascot. When the mascot guy takes a break and unmasks, you can see the horror on Febri’s face. It’s like discovering the truth about Santa, eh? Before she knows it, she realizes her Gekota puppet is lost. She too is lost. The scientist then spots Febri. Febri gets scared and starts calling all of Saten and friend’s name. All but one. You know who. But the first one that turned up is Misaka. The scientist sends several robot guards to capture Febri but was easily intercepted by Misaka. She thinks she could get an emotional hug from Febri but she actually ran to Saten. Well, at least she’s safe. Saten tells her to be a good girl and apologize. Febri hugs and says sorry but it’s just to snatch the Gekota puppet back. Why that brat! Meanwhile STUDY feels fortunate to get a chance to experiment with the Railgun and vote to go ahead with it.

Episode 20
Yomikawa and Anti-Skill investigate the security robots. They find it strange that it malfunctions because they are new. Furthermore, there are no batteries or circuits inside it so it shouldn’t even be operating. Meanwhile Misaka is still desperate to get her rare Gekota puppet back and tries to trade with all her other ones. Febri isn’t giving in. Even while eating, Misaka thinks of holding her stuffs but she was fed by Saten. Then everyone patrons the public bath. Misaka asks if Febri likes Gekota a lot and since she does, she gives it to her and hopes she will take care of it. Oh, Shirai couldn’t join them because she was made to be dorm lady’s lackey, massaging her feet. Bad luck that she was at the place too? When she’s done, the bath is over. As they head back, they see signs of detour and like the obedient girls they are, follow the directions. It leads them to a warehouse so they sense something amiss. Taking out their handphones, they realize several unanswered calls from Kongou. Just then, a robot comes out from the warehouse and starts attacking them. Of course this is an experiment by STUDY. Misaka engages the robot but finds it strange it won’t get short-circuit as it continues to attack. Febri realizes she dropped her Gekota and goes to get it. Before the robot hammers her, she stares into it and the robot suddenly stops moving. Kongou throws a steel beam to finish it off. Febri suddenly collapses. Yomikawa again investigates the area and finds there are no batteries in this robot. Only some crystal. Febri’s condition turns for the worse. The doctors can’t identify what’s wrong with her as her fever isn’t going down. They have to send her to a bigger institution. Meanwhile STUDY is pleased with the results. As per their prediction, it proves that those who rely on their power are powerless. They take a vote to dispose Febri. Misaka feels guilty for letting another innocent bystander get hurt. Kongou pops up as she is also worried about Febri. About her calls, she wanted to warn them that Febri is being targeted. She and her friends saw that guy who reprimanded Kongou in the streets and wanted to have a word with him. They heard him talking to the phone about reclaiming Febri. Reclaim? Like as though she’s a thing. Next morning, Febri seems okay. Back to normal. The doctor talks to Misaka personally. He did nothing and can’t help her. Does she have some sort of serious illness? Well, he could if it was a human illness. Because Febri is fully and scientifically man-made.

Episode 21
Still can’t believe, Misaka? So what about your clone sisters? The doctor adds although she looks pretty normal on the outside, her body functions differently and gives off some sort of poison. If accumulated, she will die. The candy has some sort of compound which suppresses it. The ones who can solve this are those who created her. He heard rumours of researchers trying to make artificial humans long ago. They might be underground organizations so deep that even Anti-Skill can’t even reach them. Is Misaka willing to face the darkness? After Febri is discharged, Misaka sees her clone and goes to talk to her. Seems she has talked to Febri too and discovered that she has an older sister whom she wants to see. Is there another artificial clone of her out there? Also from her talking, Febri definitely got her knowledge from Testament like the clones so she is probably made by the same people. Misaka suspects Shinobu. Thinking the fastest way to find out is ask those directly behind this, she plans on going solo and be the lone heroine again as she doesn’t want to put her friends in danger. Then she gets a call from Kongou worried about Febri’s state. She also mentions about her friends worried about her when she did not told them anything during Febri’s search. She understood their feelings because if she was in their shoes, she would want to help out too. So this friendship thingy made Misaka realized. She tells her friends the truth but warns they will be dealing with very dangerous people. Are they up to it? Before she knows it, they’re talking among themselves how to save Febri and what they plan to do. It’s like Misaka isn’t part of their circle.

However searching for clues prove to be futile. Misaka and Shirai see Yomikawa but it seems the robots have been whisked away by HQ. It is strange because they acted so fast this time. She gives them the crystal because if everything were to be confiscated, there is no difference giving this to them. The girls discuss what they have but can’t come up with anything conclusive. The traffic lights problems, their handphones not working then, all cameras were out too. Too much of a coincidence. Re-examining their clues, Misaka suddenly wonders the first and basic problem. How did Febri know her name? Did Shinobu tell her? Does she have a hand in this? Meanwhile STUDY is pleased with the progress. Seems their priority is the Assembly and couldn’t care about Febri as she is just the backup. Oh, Shinobu is part of STUDY. Misaka can’t find anything on her as she has been expelled from her school. She gives the crystal for the doctor to analyze and he finds a human hair in it. The protein analysis doesn’t belong to Febri but another of her kind. He also analyzed the candies and the situation is more dire than expected. She will die in the next 72 hours. Misaka is desperate to go find her creators. Does she have a lead? Is she ready to take the plunge into the darkness? If by all means saving Febri, yes. The doctor knows some connections to certain people in the shady world as this would be the fastest way. He makes arrangements for Misaka to meet a familiar person being locked deep within the heavy security prison. Remember Therestina? I don’t ;p.

Episode 22
Mugino gets a call from her employer about another job. She isn’t pleased with this one because the last one was fake and this one feels like cleaning up her mistakes. Nevertheless she promises to pay them and that she can rampage as much as she wants. Therestina tries to provoke Misaka about Academy City’s darkness but she is not easily cowed. She tells her about Febri and wants information but Therestina continues to be provocative about Misaka concerning about friends. Since Misaka loves this city despite the darkness (otherwise she couldn’t have met such great friends), Therestina lost interest in teasing her and wants her to leave. Misaka won’t till she gets some information. Anything will do. But what if she lies? She chooses to believe her. She even eats the chocolate Therestina tells her to swallow. Not amused she can toy around with her, Therestina won’t say a thing further. However Misaka is continuing to pester her so she hints Febri was called Chemicaloid created by a group of scientists who probably want the world to notice them. Any big event coming up lately to showcase their ‘product’? The Assembly. Misaka tells her friends what she has found out when Kongou and friends come in to give Febri a dress as present (sorry, no clues from their side this time). But time is running out as Febri is feeling sick again. Not much lollipops left. Kongou sees a familiar face when Uiharu goes through the database. It is that guy she saw at the exhibition. Haruki Aritomi is a previous winner of the Assembly. In fact, he always wins an award every year. But why have they never heard of him? Because intellect geniuses don’t attract attention as much as high level espers. Oddly, he isn’t participating this year. There are lots of people not participating too and they may be his accomplices. Uiharu digs up more information and Aritomi is a director of STUDY Corporation, a company that manufactures drugs and other chemicals. It seems suspicious they bought a normal factory at an insane price. Could it be the place where Febri was made? Only way to find out is to pay a visit. Misaka thinks about Therestina’s words about some people who don’t even get a chance to be a guinea pig. Shirai cheers her up that she sees her not as Railgun but a kind and childish onee-sama. It’s just a ploy to molest her breast… ZAP!!! That sure ruined it.

STUDY detects an intruder in the first lab. They aren’t panicking because it is just bait with light security. There is no sensitive data there either and only the one on some poison neutralizer is there. Shinobu decides to check just to make sure there are no uncertain variables in their final phase of their plan. ITEM is running rampage in the factory destroying security robots. Once more Mugino is disappointed this is just like the last time. Misaka is spying from outside and wonders if they are here to ambush her or there is some in-fighting within the dark organizations. After ITEM leaves, Misaka ventures deep into the facility and is surprised to see Shinobu at the computer. Shinobu throws her the recipe for the poison neutralizer. She apologizes to Misaka and admits she was the one who taught Febri her name because she doesn’t know who else to depend on. Suddenly Aritomi walks in. He says that recipe is fake and it was added as extra safety measures. He is now certain Shinobu is the traitor within the group and the one who freed Febri. He is thrilled to meet Misaka and mentions he has lots of data from their experiments. Misaka is upset he calls Febri a product but she has to hold back her electromagnetic attack because he threatens to destroy the real recipe. He wants Shinobu to inject a serum to paralyze Misaka. Do that and he’ll give the recipe. Misaka tells her to do it to save Febri. She reluctantly does. Aritomi notes even Level 5 espers are powerless when they can’t move. As for the recipe, he crushes it. Not like they need it anyway because Febri is just a spare to their greatest invention, Janie.

Episode 23
Aritomi explains espers have always been given attention. Those who aren’t very well know no matter how much they achieve will never be recognized as greatly as espers. As espers are determined at birth, at this rate it is only based on chance. He thought if there was a method to produce them at a uniform quality from scratch as much as they want. So he joined forces with those who had the same intention and came out with this plan called Project Chemicaloid. Those who do not see the good of this are labelled as those who still believe in the esper level system. He once proposed this project to an underground group but was rejected. Then he heard another scientist doing a Level 6 shift project and was given lots of attention. That’s when he realized that all the old scientists believe in the esper system. Revolutionary ideas were labelled as heretic. He also explains about Febri’s hair in the crystals acting as remote control for Janie to control the robots. Tomorrow they will bring their greatest revolution. In short, a terrorist attack. Misaka wakes up in a room alone with Shinobu. Only her mouth and eyes can move since the paralysis is still in effect. Shinobu relates when she failed to stop the Sisters project, she was captured by a dark organization (ITEM) and sold to STUDY. She was forced to make Janie and Febri based on the paper and theory she wrote. That’s when she realized she needed to sort this out. Now it’s her turn to play the lone heroine and wants to do it all alone. Misaka might not be the one to say but because she also experienced the same thing, she can advise Shinobu before she makes the same mistakes. She proves it by using her electromagnetic powers to move her body, though it is hurting a lot. Now Misaka is an advocate of depending on others. A loud explosion is heard. Shirai and the gang are here to rescue Misaka. Using some nano devices to trace her, she told her friends if she doesn’t return at a certain time, they will come to look for her. Perfect timing for an example about relying on friends, eh? After that smooth speech, you think Shinobu is still selfish? Well, she’s asking Misaka for help. Shirai happily greets Misaka but gets shocked. Is this the treatment she gets for saving her? And she didn’t even do anything perverted. Oh. Right now, she’s a walking taser due to using her electromagnetic power to move.

Misaka explains what is going especially an attack on the Assembly tomorrow. She also tells them about Shinobu. She decided to stay back as it would mean her only chance of locating Janie. She knows STUDY still finds her useful and won’t dispose of her so easily. Also explain is Janie’s ability of Diffusion Ghost that has her control objects as long as it has Febri’s hair (I think this is what I understand from it). The problem is that they don’t know where Janie is to take action before STUDY strikes. However when Janie activates, Febri can at least tell the direction of where she is. Until then, they’re just sitting ducks. Shirai thinks all this is enough information for Anti-Skill to move but to her dismay, she finds out Yomikawa has been suspended. Currently she is living with that loli teacher. Yomikawa understands what is happening now after learning STUDY’s name. Seems their company became their main equipment supplier and the corporation is not as transparent. Uiharu tries to search for the security robots under them. Seems they have filled in all the necessary paperwork to move all the containers inside the Assembly. Each time that happened, a blackout occurred. Guess how many robots there are? 20,000!!!!!!! That’s as much as the need to kill clones to move into Level 6, right? Misaka is in a dilemma of wanting her friends to help but doesn’t want them to be in danger either. Don’t worry. They all share the same sentiment. As long as they work together, they can overcome this. So everybody including Kongou and her friends, pull some strings to get the things done as much as they can. STUDY is about to begin Silent Party as all systems are up and running. Misaka’s friends stand guard at various points of the Assembly, ready to take on those mean security bots. What can Saten do with a baseball bat? Hey, at least she’s being optimistic.

Episode 24
Actually, the entire Judgment force is going to stop those robots. I don’t know if the robots are that weak since a bunch of students can hold them back. Misaka has found STUDY’s hideout base. Aritomi has prepared some ‘refreshments’ for her. More robots to fight. She can’t do anything rash since Shinobu is taken hostage. Aritomi thinks numbers will defeat her. Don’t forget. Misaka is not alone. She has her friends. Her special move easily takes out those robots but bigger ones enter the scene. STUDY fights back by jamming communication signals and Judgment is in disarray since they can’t contact each other. Also, bigger robots are sent to wreck havoc. But here comes Yomikawa in time, piloting a big white mecha created by Kongou’s father’s corporation. Banri and Haruue take care restoring the communications. Saten has read the manual previously and understands how to pilot this mecha. Serious. She’s on a rampage! Misaka gets help from Mugino and ITEM. Mugino is also on a rampage for she is pissed that all those fake jobs were just experiments to get her data. This buys Misaka time to head into the operations room for the final showdown. Aritomi activates the final phase. That’s just a fancy term for last resort. Although all their robots cease to move, from their fancy scientific explanation, what I understand is that he is going to destroy Academy City by launching a devastating missile from space. And if they try to force a connection to Janie to stop it, she’ll die.

Aritomi is going to kill himself but why is his hand shaking in pulling the trigger? Because of that, Misaka was quick enough to shove the gun away. Then she gives him a pep talk about being strongest, weakest from her experience in Sisters Arc , blah, blah, blah. She doesn’t care about all that. She promised she will save this city and everyone and that includes bad guys like Aritomi. So don’t take the easy way out and not claim responsibility. But how is she going to stop this last phase? Not even Misaka herself can stop it. Sure. If she was alone. Remember. She has friends. She lets everyone else knows and they start cracking their head. From another round of fancy explanation, what I understand is that they need to destroy the missile before it splits into smaller selves that cover a wider perimeter. Misaka is to ride the white mecha up into space, launch it as her railgun power to destroy the missile for good. The calculations are done thanks to her clones. Then she falls back to Earth safely via Shirai’s teleportation. As for Janie, Febri uses the power of love to wake her up (also with the clones’ help) based on the theory that they are twins and share a strong bond. And there you have it, the day is saved, the baddies rounded up and still enough time for the Assembly to take place. Misaka and friends see off Febri and Janie. Saten and Uiharu being the most emotional. They are going with Shinobu to an overseas research facility to be examined and readjusted. Shinobu is now confident that she is not alone and can rely others for help.

Motto Marutto Railgun III
This is actually a short special that parodies certain scenes in the Sisters Arc. Among the short comical skits include: Saten putting her smelling abilities to good use by smelling out foodstuffs that are edible or not; Shinobu thinking Misaka’s English is not good, proceeds to teach her some English words like “Oops!”. Every time she says it wrongly, she gets a kick to the gut; Shirai ‘molesting’ Misaka’s teddy bear in a perverted way; Misaka hoping to get other stuffs from a gachapon machine like a pen or some slime bucket; Misaka thinks her power level is being ‘measured’ by her clone when she instantly replies her weird question; The thing mosaic out in Shinobu’s hands is supposed to be a new video game console; Misaka clone ranting about the scary fate of the video game industry with beautiful graphics that make you doubt your eyes and game controllers that you’ll never get used to; That pep talk Shinobu told Misaka before she was about to depart on her solo destruction of the facilities… It was actually about a lecture on the gaming industry and how the overall fun of a game is what makes it sells, something she has imbued in all the clones via Testament. But doesn’t that make the clones having a game brain? And because of that, the clone has downloaded shitty games and enjoying them; While facing off with a Misaka clone; Accelerator breaks the fourth wall talking about a certain seiyuu’s debut and getting some part in a long running series; What goes on in Misaka’s mind when she squares off with Accelerator? Her concern about other girls into girly things like Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse because Shirai criticized about her Gekota fetish. What is Accelerator’s opinion? He doesn’t give a damn and even so, it doesn’t suit her; The girls are at the restaurant waiting for Uiharu to turn up. Just because she doesn’t wear those flowers on her head, they didn’t realize she is sitting right next to them! It’s like she’s an invisible woman whose pleas for existence goes ignored!

Motto Marutto Railgun IV
The short funny skits continue… Misaka fears that since they’ve picked up Febri, there will be appearances of Kaiju! Did she just watch that Hollywood movie? Uiharu gets the wrong idea that they are those cute sea creatures like otters and walruses… They decide to steel themselves because they feel the writer of this series can come up with anything. Uiharu gets an idea to put the word ‘super’ in their weapon if they want to save Academy City since super does give that super strong feel. So does the supermarket… In the end, they think they need a super robot to fight the Kaiju but since nobody dares call Kongou, Febri would gladly do it. Now they’re all safe. Misaka ponders what happened to that black cat during the scene her electricity went berserk on the bridge with Touma. I don’t understand the joke about this when Shirai explained it to her. And then something about reading it online and an urban legend. Or a lie. Next, they discuss if fresh turtle blood really works that way. You know, the one on your libido. The one whereby it gives you great energy. It leads to them talking about the director and his addiction to alcoholism. Uiharu discusses the possible look-a-likes of Aritomi and something that is connected to those Gray aliens. Finally, a chibi Misaka’s clone sits on Touma’s head in place of Index. Never thought this would happen in this series, eh?

A Certain Tsundere And Moe-moe Railgun…
That’s about it. Pretty okay, I guess. I get to see biri-biri in electric action though the scientific terms still scare me to death. Although those terms aren’t as heavy as I thought it would be somehow it has become a ‘reflex thinking’ that the To Aru series is not without its fair share of scientific terms and jargon. Till this day I have not fully understand what an AIM field means or is all about. But besides the terms, some of the side story plot may seem incomplete only because the Sisters Arc is just one of the many arcs in the To Aru world. For instance the destruction of Tree Diagram. How? Why? What happened? If you just jump straight into watching this series, you might not really understand the impact of it all and might think it is just for the convenience of the show. But if you read the manga or watch the other seasons, you might find a connection for this event. Of course for me, I don’t remember a thing. And I don’t bother to find out more.

I am not sure if they used recycled scenes from To Aru Majutsu No Index but there are some scenes which I (vaguely) remembered like the one Touma confronted Misaka at the bridge before she wanted to do some suicide mission with Accelerator and the fight between Touma and Accelerator himself. But even that, I am not sure if they have redone those scenes or simply used back the same ones. I didn’t bother to go check it out since I didn’t really like that Index series and from time to time it still gives me ‘trauma’ due to the scientific jargon and terms. If they did just add in those recycled scenes, then it would feel cheap, right?

I read that many didn’t like the Silent Party Arc as it felt mediocre to the Sisters Arc. I suppose it is because the former is an anime-only story, I seem to agree that there lacks any depth of the characters and the plot. I mean, it is basically a small group of jealous scientists acting like typical one-dimensional baddies trying to show the world what they can do with science via violence. What else more can you do with that? And because this arc isn’t really linked with the other real arcs and serves more like a standalone, people can’t connect them together. Also, since the Sisters Arc ended in an odd number (even actually) of episodes, it is like as though the producers need to do something for the remainder for the balance 8 episodes. They can’t just end an anime season like that. Sticking it to a single season means cramming in everything in the Sisters Arc and it will be bad because you’d miss out a lot of other important details. Expanding it to full 2 seasons won’t do either because you’d be dragging things along and putting in mindless fillers just to fill up the ‘additional space’. Although the Silent Party Arc is considered as mediocre and doesn’t live up to its expectations (thanks to the great Sisters Arc), it is not entirely a bad watch. You can make do with this season without watching the final 8 episodes but personally, if you are a real Railgun fan (and Misaka’s) you’ll learn to take the good and the bad together, right?

Some of the characters’ roles in Sisters Arc left me wondering what happened to them in the end. Especially about ITEM and Shinobu. I know Misaka is the main star and their actions were just a small minor part in her role for this arc. ITEM was just some hired gun to stop Misaka and to provide us with some Railgun action but that’s about it. So what about Mugino finding out about the Level 6 plan eventually? Another story perhaps? For Shinobu’s case, she hacked into the facility but failed and she’s never heard ever since. That’s why I feel that the Silent Arc which is conveniently an anime-only arc somehow provides a few redeeming moments for them. Even though if ITEM did not clash with Misaka and their limited screen appearance to go berserk was just a reminder that they’re still around, heck, they at least played a minor role in helping out Misaka just like the rest of the other supporting characters. Otherwise, you’d see them just bumming around as though their role has been reduced to comic relief especially with bratty Frenda around. The same with Shinobu. The girl with a deadpan voice like as though she sounds very tired and a penchant to say one of two English words in her sentences, has always been feeling guilty that she can’t do anything right to save things. And thus this anime-only arc serves as a platform for her to redeem that part of hers and partly to let us see how Misaka has changed from a lone wolf to a team player just to teach her from experience the benefits of relying on others. Convenient, no?

Yeah, and it feels like Silent Party Arc is a story to bring the supporting characters to the fore like Kongou and her friends. The last episode was like everybody had a hand (no matter how small – like Yoshikawa) in helping in Misaka so it just doesn’t feel like this is only her fight unlike in Sisters Arc. Thinking back, I’ve been wondering about another character: Misaki. Did they forget about her? Her debut (and only appearance) seems to indicate there is something more about her, especially with her catty clash with Misaka. I believe that since she is another Level 5 esper and holds some mysterious power we do not know (something like controlling others), it would be interesting to see anything further on this. Sadly, no. Maybe that is reserved for another story in the future whether Railgun or Index series. I wouldn’t have remembered her if she did not make that cameo appearance in the ending scenes that briefly shows the whereabouts of all the characters. Yes, that includes Accelerator sitting nicely in hospital with Last Order by his side. Last Order who? The cute loli version of Misaka. Due to the lack of her appearance, I suppose that is why Febri was made… Replacement loli?

Thus it also feels the Silent Party Arc was to spearhead Misaka from a loner who wants to do everything by herself, shoulder the pain and responsibility all by herself, to a person that knows how to value the meaning of friendship and that this is one way to show that you trust your friends. I guess it was cool to see Misaka kick ass all by herself and even though it would be sufficient, what would be even cooler than to see Misaka getting a little help from her friends? Because even at the end of Sisters Arc, it was Touma who became the hero, right? Not that Misaka did anything directly to Accelerator too. All she did was watch. Even the rest of her clones play a little role in Touma’s help to defeat Accelerator. So now that Misaka has opened up to her friends (although not entirely), can we say that she is less tsundere by now? But she’s still tsundere when it comes to Touma, right? If Misaka is the tsundere, then Shirai must be a masochist. Despite knowing she’ll get zapped every time she tries to take her perverted advances out on her, she does it anyway. That makes her a masochist, doesn’t it? Better do it to feel good now and feel the pain as punishment rather than not doing it and regretting it later. Her perversion brings somewhat comic relief and a little yuri to the tense drama and dilemma Misaka is experiencing. If Shirai got her own little spin-off, it would probably To Aru Hentai No Shirai-san…

The action still doesn’t disappoint especially with Misaka doing her railgun move. It never gets too old. For me. Although it would have become boring if they made her use this ultimate move. Thus it would be more appreciative if this was shown sparingly. Despite Misaka only has her electromagnetic powers, it is also good to see how she uses it in a variety of ways against her enemies especially when she had that confrontation with Mugino and Frenda. It was quite exhilarating.

When I first heard the first opening theme for this season, Sister’s Noise by fripSide, I just thought how similar it was to the first season’s first opening, Only My Railgun, also sung by the same group. It felt like as thought they ripped out bits and pieces of that techno song and changed a few parts here and there to make a new song. Personally, I still prefer Only My Railgun. For the Silent Party Arc’s opening theme, it is Eternal Reality also by fripSide. Again, I thought it sounded very familiar to Sister Arc’s opening theme. Probably it is the techno tempo and their trademark sound style. Just like how the naughty gothic theme is to Ali Project. Grow Slowly is the rock ending theme for Sisters Arc and sung by Yuka Iguchi (damn, I couldn’t recognize it was her voice). She also sings Stand Still, the special ending theme for a couple of episodes (11 and 14) and is more of a slow pop ballad. Also another anime rock pop for the Silent Party Arc’s ending theme, Links by Sachika Misawa. Infinia is also the special ending theme for episode 23 sung by her. I thought the final episode has been turned into some sort of ‘musical’. Because for 3/4 of the episode, there are a handful of full length songs from this season, including one I believe was from the previous season, played out during the action sequences. Too bad I won’t be singing along since I don’t know the lyrics and more importantly I’m concentrating on the action.

As not been told to death, the power of friendship and relying on your friends is the great theme for this season. Because seriously, a bunch of kids in a city that houses the largest number of students, taking care of itself and running the city like pros while saving bad guys from destroying it. Sounds like fairytale but with a blend of science? There are deep and darker secrets lurking around in Academy City and now that Misaka and friends have got one foot in it, they’ll only get deeper and deeper. The culprits will as usual be the adults who are holding the top position. Some being as elusive as ever. But you know… They’ve got each other to rely on so it’s not a bad thing. After another day of saving the city yet again from the villain’s nefarious schemes, they even have time to attend class and hang out together like normal. Of course, until the next super villain comes. Then we can all depend on Misaka and co to kick ass once again.

Japanese dating simulations are a dime dozen out there. And for a big majority of them,  they have erotic or adult contents in them. I mean, that is the motivation to buy those games, right? Who would ever buy such games? Only lonely otaku loners and perverts… Maybe… But not all dating simulations contain such elements and a handful manages to stay clean. Amagami SS and Photokano are both considered spiritual successors to the Kimikiss dating simulation. Although I have not played any of these games, I read they lack that erotic content. Even the anime adaptation is considered ‘clean’. Maybe a little fanservice here but nothing explicit.

Total number of episodes:
Amagami SS: 26 episodes for season 1 and 12 episodes for season 2. Total of 38 episodes.
Photokano: Only 1 season of 13 episodes.

Multi-arc branching style:
Amagami SS: For the first season, each girl is dedicated 4 episodes while only 2 episodes in the second season.
Photokano: The first 4 episodes are common arcs. The remaining episodes dedicate 1 episode for each girl involved (with exception of Haruka’s arc that covers 2 episodes).

The school:
Amagami SS: Kibitou High School.
Photokano: Kouga Academy.

The hero:
Amagami SS: Junichi Tachibana.
Photokano: Kazuya Maeda.

His story:
Amagami SS: He was stood up on Christmas Eve 2 years ago and this trauma left him heartbroken. His encounter with the girls will open up his heart to love again.
Photokano: He has tried many club activities in the past but none was interesting enough to make him stay in the long term. But when he receives a camera from his dad at the end of summer vacation, he starts taking pictures with it and this leads him to romantic encounters with various girls.

His little sister:
Amagami SS: Miya.
Photokano: Kanon.

The girls:
The girls who have episodes and arcs covering them.
Amagami SS: Haruka Morishima, Kaoru Tanamachi, Sae Nakata, Ai Nanasaki, Rihoko Sakurai, Tsukasa Ayatsuji and Risa Kamizaki (only in first season).
Photokano: Haruka Niimi, Hikari Sanehara, Aki Muroto, Nonoka Masami, Mai Sakura, Rina Yunoki and Tomoe Misumi.

Other girls:
The rest of the girls who act as supporting characters and do not have an arc themselves.
Amagami SS: Hibiki Tsukahara, Keiko Tanaka, Kanae Itou, Ruriko Yuzuki, Manaka Hiba and Yukari Ayatsuji.
Photokano: Yuko Uchida, Katsumi Kurebayashi and Ruu Narita.

The other guys:
Amagami SS: Masayoshi Umehara.
Photokano: Hiromichi Kudou, Itta Nakagawa and Takashi Azuma.

Teacher:
Amagami SS: Maya Takahashi.
Photokano: Misa Kitagawa and trainee teacher Momoko Ootani.

Stalker girl:
Amagami SS: Risa.
Photokano: Uchida (her specialty is stealth mode so that’s practically like stalking, right?).

Childhood friend:
The girls who has been friends with our male protagonist since younger days.
Amagami SS: Kaoru.
Photokano: Haruka.

Student council president:
Amagami SS: Tsukasa.
Photokano: Muroto.

Swimming club girl:
Amagami SS: Ai.
Photokano: Muroto.

Lone club member:
Amagami SS: Tea Club. Rihoko will be the only member once Ruriko and Manaka graduate.
Photokano: Rina is the only member of the Cooking Research Society.

Going on a diet:
Amagami SS: Rihoko.
Photokano: Mai.

Most popular girl:
Amagami SS: Haruka – Has half British blood.
Photokano: Haruka – A tennis club member.
Coincidence that they share the same name? Also a coincidence that both girls are the only ones that the male protagonist said anything about marriage to them.

Bustiest girl:
Amagami SS: Sae.
Photokano: Momoko.

Challenge of love:
Amagami SS: In season two, Kurosawa openly challenges Tsukasa over Junichi.
Photokano: Nonoka challenges Maeda to a love challenge for a chance to become a girl he can love.

Cultural festival feature:
Amagami SS: Best Couple Contest.
Photokano: Photography Club’s photo exhibits.

Cat outfit:
Amagami SS: Ai and Miya dress up as a pair of cats in the Best Couple Contest. WTF…
Photokano: Maeda borrows and dresses up in a cat suit just to amuse Sanehara.

Cosplayer:
Amagami SS: Sae?
Photokano: Uchida? She may also be the legendary cosplayer named Alice.

Unusual episode ending:
The kind that doesn’t end with the typical guy ends up with girl.
Amagami SS: In season one, Rihoko didn’t become Junichi’s girlfriend but remained friends.
Photokano: Misumi transfers away to another school due to her father’s job.

Remarrying parents:
Amagami SS: Kaoru’s mother with some other man.
Photokano: Maeda’s mom and Kanon’s father.

Opening themes:
Amagami SS: All sung by Azusa. First season’s first opening theme: I Love. First season’s second opening theme: Kimi No Mama De. Second season’s opening theme: Check My Soul.
Photokano: Koisuru Lens by Kaori Hayato.

Ending themes:
Amagami SS: For the first season, each girl has their own song customize to their character. For the second season, a standard song, Kokuhaku by Azusa.
Photokano: Although Smile F is the only song, they are sung by the character who voiced them during their arc. For the general arc, it is a group performance by all the seiyuus.

Studio production:
Amagami SS: AIC.
Photokano: Madhouse.

Conclusion
To be honest, I thought the girls in Amagami SS look much better than their counterparts in Photokano. Seriously. In terms of character development, Amagami SS rules the day because it has more episodes which means more focus on the couple as compared to Photokano which may feel a little too fast. On the other hand because of this, the former may sometimes feel draggy and the latter would suit for those impatient people wanting to quickly watch the relationship go somewhere. In the end, it mainly boils down to the guy getting the girl. Happy ending? Only in your dating simulation games and anime but so hard in real life… It doesn’t have save game points where you can reset or go back to the point if you screw up. Are dating games an escape from the harsh reality or a way to fight it? Where else can you find a harem in this world and date different girls at the same time?