Mushibugyou

June 29, 2014

Those little crawly things… Don’t you just hate them? Well, I do. Thank goodness they are just small although some of them can be as deadly and lethal. At least you can squish them with the slipper or newspaper. Now, imagine those bugs are ten times your size. Who is going to get squished now? And thank goodness I do not live in this anime whereby bugs are big and dangerous. It’s like they eat humans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Set in the alternate feudal era of Japan, Mushibugyou has giant insects that became the bane of mankind. They attack towns, devour people and bring terror to those lucky enough to survive. Till the next time. But don’t worry. Just like we have Ghost Busters for flushing out the ghosts, in this anime we have insect exterminators to get rid of those giant bugs. And they’ll need more than just slippers or newspaper to get rid of those menacing insects. Yeah. Big swords, sharp weapons, bombs and even some sorcery powers to do the trick. They keep you safe so you can have a good night’s sleep without worrying about those creepy crawlies if they ever want to share a bed with you.

Episode 1
Jinbei Tsukishima from Tsugaru excitedly takes his first step into Edo to begin his new job as an insect exterminator. However the country bumpkin got lost but thank Heavens that the busty Oharu takes him back to her tea house. As she leads him to the Insect Magistrate’s office, she learns that it was actually his father, Genjuurou who was summoned for the job. However he cannot travel and took his place. Oharu is grateful for the setting up of Insect Magistrate 10 years ago because it kept people safe from the attacks of giant insects. Her parents were killed by the insects. A scream is heard nearby. Jinbei sees a Prison Spider devouring humans. He goes into action but is not good enough. Kotori Matsunohara from the Insect Magistrate wants Jinbei to leave it to them. Kotori thought he summoned for Genjuurou so Jinbei further explains. When they were accompanying the province lord’s son, they encountered an insect. Jinbei was scared stiff so Genjuurou was the one who killed the insect. However this scary incident caused the lord’s son to wet himself. Genjuurou took responsibility of this and severed his own leg. He also lost his position and any chance of advancement. Thus Jinbei wants to be a strong samurai he can take pride in and perform his duties in his stead. He will do anything to prove himself. Maybe now is the chance because Oharu has been captured by the spider. Jinbei may be brave but he’s not making any progress as a newbie. The rest of the insect exterminators turn up, Hibachi, Shungiku Koikawa and Tenma Ichinotani. They show him what it’s like to be professionals in this business and easily kill the other spiders. Jinbei remembers Genjuurou told him a samurai must be brave. Because if he is frightened, the people behind will as well. He must be the shining start that washes that fear away. Jinbei snaps out from his flashback to free Oharu and kill the spider. I guess he can be this strong if he has the determination. But here comes the big mother spider. What is he going to do? He doesn’t. Herald the super strong and mysterious Mugai. Like a shining star in the sky, he easily cuts the mother spider. Jinbei expresses his gratitude and vows to be like him but Mugai pays no attention.

Episode 2
Hibachi is an admirer of Mugai too so she’s not too please that the new kid could just easily talk to him like as though it’s nothing. So all the insect exterminators meet at the headquarters as usual as Kotori explains the country being invaded by giant insects. The source and why they are attacking is still being investigated. After 100 years still… However insects rarely appear in cold regions like Tsugaru and thus Jinbei never had such encounters. The Insect Magistrate is formed to fight these bugs and leading them at the top is Mushibugyou whom nobody has really seen her face. As another insect attack is reported, the exterminators move out but Kotori orders Jinbei to stay behind since he is the weakest. He also orders him not to draw his blade for the next month. A samurai has to stay true to his pledge, right? Hibachi is not happy she has to team up with Jinbei. Since Jinbei is so eager to know more about Mugai, Hibachi gladly tells all that she admires of him. She also reveals her past that she is from a ninja village that uses explosives. As the war ended, their skills became unneeded and many young ones abandoned the expertise. Only Hibachi and her grandfather carried on the tradition. Hibachi vowed to carry on the tradition but grandpa told her off that he didn’t teach her to pass it down to other generations. Because it’s a man’s thingy. That’s when she decided to leave and join Insect Magistrate since Kotori was there to hire her. A dragonfly bug became her first opponent and there Mugai was easily exterminating it. I guess that’s the start of her big admiration. I’m sure they would love to praise Mugai more but they see corpses along the river. It’s that dragonfly bug. Hibachi will defeat this one on her own this time (unlike the last time she was just sitting behind Mugai) and wants Jinbei to evacuate the survivors. She’s having a hard time but gets help from Jinbei who has finished his task. They cooperate to take down the bug. Hibachi reports to Kotori that Jinbei didn’t draw his sword. Technically, it was sheathed all the time so it doesn’t count.

Episode 3
Jinbei trains to cut bugs but he can’t cut a big boulder till Koikawa easily does so into smooth smaller pieces. Jinbei wants to be his disciple and follows him everywhere. However people kept throwing stones and call him the Killer of 99. Currently there are houses being broken into and robbed. The walls and iron grills have clean cut. Jinbei accompanies Koikawa drinking that night. Later he spots Koikawa with a bloodied sword, corpses around and the officials accusing him of murder. He is arrested but Jinbei believes his innocence. Pleading to Insect Magistrate fell on deaf ears because they too can’t do anything much as a bureaucrat. So how? He sneaks into prison just to break him out! Isn’t that breaking the law? Jinbei is confident he will find the true culprits behind this. Flashback on Koikawa’s past reveals his father was upset that mother spoiled his son too much that he couldn’t kill. I’m sure as the head of the Black Spiders group, this must be bad for his image. Though, Koikawa committed many crimes except murder because it was what Okiku, his kind mother told him never to do. One night he saw his father killed Okiku. He was unable to contain his anger and started killing everyone. That’s how he earned that nickname. Jinbei and Koikawa are confronted by the officials who are to kill the murderer even if it’s not their job (it’s to catch criminals). They have to put aside their differences now because a praying mantis insect shows up. Koikawa gets into action better when he is drunk. Meanwhile Mugai is visited by a former friend, Mitsuki. She hopes he will come back to the Insect Hunters because his brother is waiting. Meanwhile the officials attack Koikawa instead of helping him. Now he has to fight humans before he gets to fight the bug. Jinbei stalls them and was further explained that before Koikawa could kill his dad, Kotori approached him and revealed the Insect Hunters were the ones responsible for his mother’s death. Because of that, the wrong people died. Jinbei doesn’t care about the past. Because his sword now protects people. Koikawa cuts the bug up nicely and inside its stomach is all the gold it stole. So if the insect is the culprit, why was Koikawa at the scene? He admits he is afraid of dogs and accidentally stepped on one’s tail. He ran away and the first thing he grabbed was a bloodied sword at the crime scene. That’s why he didn’t say anything to claim his innocence. Who would believe such an embarrassing story? To his surprise, Jinbei believes every word. He treats him to drink and Jinbei vows to be a samurai like him. He corrects him he is a killer. Is that the sake talking?

Episode 4
In another insect exterminating job, Tenma uses his paper shikigamis that turn into giant papers and box away the insects. He gives the rest of his teammates the cold shoulder. While Tenma is praying to his late parent’s altar, he spotted something and screamed. Jinbei is first to arrive at scene and tries to guess what was it that startled him (Tenma is acting like there is no trouble). Soon, it is discovered, Tenma is afraid of bugs especially the ones with more legs. His trauma began when he picked up a fallen fruit. It’s filled with worms. So why did he become an onmyouji for Insect Magistrate? To be like his parents and make them proud. Jinbei is touched by his devotion and promises to keep this a secret. Unknown to them, Hibachi and Koikawa have heard it and from the looks in their devilish eyes, they’ve already hatch a plan… Next day, Jinbei helps train Tenma to overcome his fear but he freaks out even with a tiny caterpillar. Then here comes Hibachi and Koikawa with a bag for him. Centipedes!!!! YIKES!!! Tenma accuses Jinbei a traitor. Jinbei tells the duo off that Tenma was trying to overcome his fear. Now that doesn’t feel fun anymore, no? While Tenma is feeling depressed, a kid comes up to him and expresses how much he wants to be like him (horrible drawing included). Then an insect starts rampaging. Oh God. Why does it have to be a Thousand Legged Centipede!!!!!! However it burrows underground and it makes it hard for them to attack. Only if they can launch it in the air. Tenma’s shikigamis can do that. But is he up to it? Of course. Tenma learns Hibachi and Koikawa eavesdropped on his phobia and played a prank on him, not because Jinbei told on him. Tenma uses his shikigamis to box up the centipede and let the rest cut it into pieces. Everyone heap praises on Tenma and this makes him feel better. Next day, he shows the gang that he has overcome his fear of bugs. At least he can walk ‘closer’ to the caterpillar. But when Hibachi shows him an earthworm, he freaks out and punches them away. I guess the cure to his phobia will be a long way… Later Kotori summons Jinbei because Mugai has requested him on this next mission. Mugai? Wants Jinbei to be his partner?! Dream come true?

Episode 5
Of course eager beaver Jinbei is excited to be personally chosen by him. No matter how much he blabs, Mugai remains silent. They arrive at the residence of Minister Mizuno for bug exterminating. They are shown a room filled with blood and insect cocoons. Seems the insect plans to make this mansion its nest. Hearing a cry from the next room, they see a Giant Flea (Larva) trying to suck a man’s blood. Although the flea is fast, Jinbei is able to cut it down. See that, Mugai? Okay. What are you going to do with the many other fleas? That’s where Mugai comes in and slices them all. Cool! Not end of the problem yet. Here’s the Giant Male Flea. If there is a male, the female must be nearby, right? Jinbei offers to go take care of the other one but Mugai warns him not to as he is not strong enough. Jinbei thanks him for his consideration but will do his best to meet his expectations. Jinbei protects the house servant, Yasuke from being the Giant Female Flea’s next meal. Flashback reveals Kotori asked why Mugai chose Jinbei. Was it because he had high hopes for him? Don’t be silly. It was because since he is the weakest among the exterminators, if he gets killed, he can be replaced. Mugai is not worried about Jinbei a bit despite Mizuno and the rest of his retainers. Because the female is larger and much stronger than the male. Mugai asserts he doesn’t need a partner. Then he kills the flea. Jinbei holds off the flea till he couldn’t anymore. He is being eaten alive! But he is glad to have saved Yasuke. Mugai thinks Jinbei has been done in but sees him in the midst of being eaten. He is surprised that he is still talking about not being able to live up to his expectations and apologizes for everything. Mugai slashes and kills the bug and assures him, he never had any expectations for him to begin with. But that smile… On the way home, Jinbei tries to find out what he meant about not having any expectations of him. Mugai conveniently says he forgot. But hat smile…

Episode 6
Nagatomimaru in a Noh mask for the first time sneaks out of his house after 10 years (?!) to go look for more information about bugs. He gets owned by Hibachi and Jinbei in practice. He is taken to Kotori and wants to access the Insect Magistrate’s library. To him, knowledge is power! Or maybe he is just a bookworm nerd. Jinbei is impressed with his extensive knowledge but Hibachi doesn’t like his arrogant talk and takes off his mask. Hmm… He’s got the looks. Jinbei is tasked to send him home but Nagatomimaru wanders off himself. He sees a man being attacked by a giant mosquito. A dream? I can’t blame him for he has never left his house but really, after reading so many books on insects, he can’t believe what is before him? Yeah. He even pats it! So real… Even with Jinbei trying to slash the insect, Nagatomimaru is still thinking this is a dream. So real… What a dream. Do dreams spill real blood? Jinbei requests his knowledge to fight this bug. Nagatomimaru reveals nobody respected him as a kid. They were just yes men who ‘respected’ him for his position. Till he found a book and it opened his eyes. And do dreams get blurry vision? Because Nagatomimaru is crying after seeing Jinbei’s resolve. He decides to help out and uses thatch and mugwort to repel the insect. Jinbei is able to cut it before his comrades come. Then they all party into the wee hours of the morning. Nagatomimaru reflects the need to share more of his knowledge with people like Jinbei. Since he is already here, he gets up to sneak into the library when everyone is out. Rummaging through the shelves, a box falls off. He doesn’t recognize the crest on it but the scroll shows a map of Japan and half of it is marked with a big ‘X’. Kotori then walks in and he recognizes who Nagatomimaru is. He is Ieshige Tokugawa, the next shogun. He makes a deal. If he keeps a secret of what he saw, he will not leak his identity. Nagatomimaru wonders if this has to do with spies sent to Kyoto and not returned. Kotori says nobody and only a selected few know of this. He hopes he will not return to this place too. He agrees to that but will visit Jinbei every day. Hibachi probably still drunk, thinks Nagatomimaru is an intruder and beats the hell out of him. She didn’t know she beat up the future shogun…

Episode 7
Summer is here and this means the fireworks festival. But it also means the appearance of a super big Warrior King Beetle. At this rate it can flatten Edo from one end to the other. But why is Kotori calm? Because when such happens, all insect exterminators are not to engage in the bug except Mugai. They are to assist in evacuating the people. Mugai begins his grand fight with the beetle. The people get to see his superb brawl with the giant bug from afar. It’s like watching a picnic show, no? Meanwhile Jinbei meets a mysterious woman (unknown to him, she is Mushibugyou) who laments she cannot view the fireworks because of the walls. Even with the ‘tremors’, Mushibugyou ‘assures’ Jinbei they are just testing the fireworks. That guy of course believes every word. Mugai has cut the beetle’s horn and is going to use it against the bug by slicing it in half! That’s the end of it. Jinbei has found a tower where they can watch the fireworks. They catch it in time. Mushibugyou apologizes that because he was trying to help her, he couldn’t watch the fireworks with his friends. On the contrary, he is glad to have met her otherwise they wouldn’t have found this splendid place. She gives him a bell as a reward. When the fireworks end, Jinbei is baffled since when there is a big hill over the horizon. He didn’t even know about Mugai’s bug fight… Mushibugyou is back in her rightful place in the Insect Magistrate office. Knowing the insects are acting strange, it is that time again she seals herself away according to the custom. Dead in the night, the carriage leaves and Mitsuki is tailing it.

Episode 8
However Mitsuki loses sight of it and gets punished by fellow member, Gaikotsu. Had she known the carriage was carrying Mushibugyou, she would have killed her herself since this is the goal of Insect Hunters. And because she failed, it ruined their chances of knowing where Mushibugyou takes refuge. Mitsuki seeks to redeem herself and will ask somebody from Insect Magistrate. And she had to pick Jinbei. Because he looks like a dumb kid, right? She starts off with her honey trap by seducing him and it works (while releasing various insects around Edo to keep the rest busy). Jinbei has time to show her around because Kotori ordered him to rest. She sees Mugai across and causes a ruckus that has Jinbei jump off the bridge to save the eels so as not to make him suspicious they know each other. Mugai doesn’t know what she’s up to but tells her she picked the wrong one. Mitsuki’s seduction continues till she meets a formidable foe in the name of Oharu. Those giant peaches… And it seems Jinbei pays more attention to her instead. When Oharu gets wet, he offers his clothes to dry. Mitsuki tries to same but he offers his underwear! Insulted! Change of plans. Mitsuki kidnaps Oharu and wears her kimono to show it to Jinbei. The dumb guy thinks it suits her. So she had to spell everything out Oharu is kidnapped and to come save her or she’ll be fed to the bugs. When he finds her, he starts lecturing her so she just gets straight to the point. Tell her where Mushibugyou is. Honestly, he doesn’t know because he hasn’t even met her. He is going to ask Kotori but Mitsuki don’t want him to leave them behind and forces him down the sand trap. In this buried village, Jinbei is made to fight bugs while Oharu frees herself. They come up with an idea to get to the top exit by climbing-cum-jumping on falling buildings Mitsuki throws at them. It looked like a hilarious synchronized acrobatic act if you ask me…  Mitsuki is upset and summons the rest of the bugs here but this also leads the rest of Jinbei’s teammates to the scene. With the insects done for, Mitsuki flees. She meets up with Mugai and admits he was right that she picked the wrong guy. But he cheekily says that wasn’t what he meant. And that he himself doesn’t know it. Meanwhile Insect Hunters are asking for the fishermen to take them to Hachijou Island. But there’s nothing there. Oh there is. Perhaps a little girl hiding there. The fishermen who are Insect Magistrate agents instantly know what they’re up against and draw their sword. Too bad they all died. Leader wonders if it’s alright to leave Mitsuki behind. Gaikotsu says she is useless and when they get back, they’ll kill her.

Episode 9
Not only the insect exterminators are despatched but the samurai and temple department as well. Who will protect Edo when a bug attacks? Kotori puts it this way if Mushibugyou dies, Edo will be flattened in no time. But there’s a bug showing up right now. Jinbei wants to stay back but Kotori tells him Mushibugyou’s life comes first. The people will have to put up with this for a while. To say, some are going to die? But Kagetada Ogami, the head of the samurai department and his team stay back to deal with the bug. Once the ship arrives near Hachijou Island, a sick looking (as in ill) Insect Hunters member, Manako cuts the ship into pieces. He fights on par with Mugai and Koikawa becomes enraged learning he is from Insect Hunters. He wants to know if he was the one who killed Okiku. Not saying. Hibachi takes Jinbei and flies away to the island first. Manako reveals he wants to die and is tired of living in this world. But to do that, Mushibugyou must die. The head of the temple department, Yumehisa Shirasagaki fires the cannons at him and Koikawa finishes him off. Meanwhile Mushibugyou senses invaders and lets loose a poisonous fog. However Insect Hunters take their antidote and trudge on. Hibachi is a sitting duck and gets shoot out of the sky. Jinbei falls into Mushibugyou’s house. He thinks she looks like the girl during that fireworks night and a servant of Mushibugyou. Since he doesn’t let her finish explaining, she plays along with him. Jinbei tries to find out the kind of person Mushibugyou is and so she indirectly talks about herself, a lonely person. She feels envy in his positivism. Leader, Sougan and Shidou crash in to kill Mushibugyou. Her poison and acid hands protect her. Meanwhile Hibachi faces off with Mashiro who can kick up shockwaves with her feet. Mushibugyou tries to keep Jinbei away from the fight but he keeps butting in despite the Insect Hunters blatantly ignoring his existence and heading straight for their target. She feels weird. She knows Insect Hunters are here to kill her but yet she can’t think anything else but Jinbei. The res arrive on the island but are being attacked by Kuroganemaru. Koikawa doesn’t think he is the one who killed Okiku because this wimp can only fire guns. Only a skilled person could have cut Okiku like that. He lets Tenma deal with him while he pushes forward. He then sees Mugai facing off with Gaikotsu. He overhears Mugai was once the leader of Insect Hunters. He becomes enraged and suspects he is the one who killed Okiku. He attacks Mugai.

Episode 10
Mushibugyou concludes Jinbei is a spy for Insect Hunters. For every time he interferes with her each time she tries to use her poison and that Insect Hunters don’t harm him. She is surprised when Leader hits Jinbei away. Jinbei continues to be beaten up till he is knocked out cold and he can only think of Mushibugyou’s safety. Meanwhile Mugai drops his sword and lets Koikawa slash him. He realizes he is not Okiku’s murderer. Mushibugyou warns not to interfere while she attends to Jinbei. She feels guilty for doubting him. She stopped being human a long time ago as her touch brings death to those who come into direct contact with her body. That’s why they gave her this post, thinking they were manipulating her. The warmth in her heart was missing and it froze her. Now she understands why she can’t stop thinking of him. She didn’t really want to hurt him and hates herself for abandoning her humanity. She transforms into her powerful form that looks like a dark purple butterfly called Kuroageha. She is hell bent on destroying Insect Hunters. They can’t touch her. She is too powerful. Leader signals to Gaikotsu and Kaina to fire the Evil Insect Slaying Blade. It penetrates her barrier into her heart. She becomes powerless. As explained, it was reforged again and again out of the skeletons of all the insect types. They have been doing it for a long time and cost much blood and pain before finished. It symbolizes the hatred that runs through their Jingaitou clan. Mushibugyou notices Jinbei still breaths and plays the helpless damsel to take their attention away from him. However they notice he is still alive and Leader is going to slice him up before they kill her. Thankfully she doesn’t have to feel the pain in the heart because Mugai arrives in the nick of time. He fights all of them at once while Tenma’s shikigamis pull Mushibugyou and Jinbei to safety and run. Some of the Insect Hunters go after them. Koikawa wants to know who killed Okiku. Gaikotsu admits he is the one. He was eliminating those in the way and she got caught up in it. After Koikawa drinks his sake, he uses his 3-sword fighting style to break Gaikotsu’s jointed sword and slice him in half. Kaina smashes the ground and it separates everyone. Mushibugyou will not escape alone as she tries to carry unconscious Jinbei.

Episode 11
Mushibugyou still feels guilty for doubting Jinbei and wants him to live so she can apologize. That is, if they can get past Sougan. Before Sougan can deal the fatal blow, Jinbei strikes back. Oh wait. It’s not really him. Inuyasha? Well, that’s what I thought he looks like when he powers up in this trance state. Sougan is going to do a suicide move just to take out Inu-shima (my term for Jinbei when he is in this form) but he is too fast and powerful and cuts up Sougan. Looks like he is the one going to hell instead. Leader could sense Sougan’s death and sends Mashiro and Shidou to not let his death be in vain. Now with the brothers alone, Leader wants to know why he betrayed Insect Hunters. He was to kill Mushibugyou alone that night but defected to her side. Why, brother? Not saying. Even if Mushibugyou was the one responsible for annihilating their village. Tenma and Hibachi couldn’t best Kuroganemaru. The shikigamis were the one getting totally owned. They get reprieve from Koikawa but Mashiro and Shidou provide some backup. Mad Kuroganemaru wants to finish them by himself but all his bullets were blocked by Inu-shima! Then Inu-shima attacks his own comrades! And then Insect Hunters! He’s gone crazy. His long hair isn’t for decoration as it turns into a deadly hand that suffocates them. That hand turns into a giant thorny mace that shoots out thorns. Everybody run! He’s going crazy! Mushibugyou makes her way back in hopes to stop him and bring back the original one but is unfortunate enough to bump into Shidou. He is going to kill her. What else? Inu-shima probably heard Mushibugyou’s bell. And instantly slices Shidou. Not as Inu-shima but Jinbei himself. He’s back. But just enough for him to do that as he collapses. Don’t worry. Just sleeping. Leader calls Insect Hunters to retreat. Since Mushibugyou is weak, they can kill her any time. Mushibugyou sees a hair in Jinbei’s mouth and wonders if this has something to do with his transformation. The insect exterminators are happy they’ve won and leave the island with Mushibugyou. Unknown to them, some bug guy, Yukimura Sanada and Sasuke Sarutobi are watching them. They want Mushibugyou to hold out a little longer because when the king awakens, they shall escort her back to their giant cocoon castle.

Episode 12
When they return, they see Edo in a sea of fire. The bugs are still bugging. Ogami’s samurai department is filled with the injured. Even Ogami is having a hard time handling things on his own. Jinbei saves Oharu from another insect rape. But the one stealing the show by killing and piling up the insects is no other than Genjuurou! Father and son reunion begins with father beating up son. That’s for being weak? Edo is saved and everyone celebrates. Jinbei doesn’t remember what happened at Hachijou Island. The rest cannot say as instructed by Kotori till he finds out more. Genjuurou has Jinbei explain what he has learnt so far. He only realizes he is weak and apologizes for sullying the Tsukishima style name. Father beats him up again because he never gave him the right to carry on that style. Since he needs more training, they’ll leave tomorrow firs thing in the morning. Mushibugyou talks to Mugai about Jinbei. Is he an Insect Hunter like him? He doesn’t answer but wants her to be concern about her own safety as she is powerless. As she is still wants to apologize to Jinbei, she sneaks out. Seeing him in training and vowing he will be as strong as possible, she leaves. Jinbei follows Genjuurou on a journey through the rivers and jungles till they reach the top of Mt Fuji. As the first step to master the 36 Blades of Fuji (that’s not one style, but 36 styles!), the first technique is Fuji Hammer. Genjuurou makes it look he is slicing when the effect is hammering the ground. Lava starts spewing out. Jinbei must use that same technique to seal the eruption path. He has 3 days to master it or else the village below will be burnt. For 2 days and 2 nights, Jinbei tries his best but all he did was sliced the rock. On the third day, the lava is getting bigger. One chance left. He summons all his determination to cut the lava in half and then successfully perform the Fuji Hammer to seal it. Genjuurou shows the next move, Fuji Storm which hardens the lava into igneous rock. This was supposed to be the next move to learn but I guess they ran out of time. Mushibugyou is still depressed. Thinking if the others find out she met Jinbei, it might hurt him for their ranks and positions are too far apart. However she also remembered his promise to show her the blue sky and this made her feel better. Yukimura sends Sasuke to lead the next assault.

Episode 13
This is actually some sort of a recap episode but only from the series’ female characters. There is this eager journalist, Osono who wants to interview Jinbei but since he is not in town, for some reason she heads to the women’s bath. I suppose this is where all the gossips can be found. First she interviews Oharu who relates how she first met Jinbei and how he saved her. Next is Hibachi but it is mostly about her ranting on Mugai and the initial attack of Insect Hunters on Hachijou Island. Finally, Mushibugyou alone in her own bath thinks back the events on Hachijou Island beginning from how she turned into Kuroageha and the mysterious awakening of Jinbei’s other side. She is unsure what to do now that she no longer has the power to protect Edo. Osono has finished her draft and shows it to Oharu and Hibachi. It is also complemented with a drawing of them in sexy poses. Making the story more exciting? Before they can stop her, the gust of wind blows all the copies around town…

Episode 14
Sasuke is asking villagers the way to Insect Magistrate’s office. Those who don’t know, die. Oh hell, he just killed everybody. Yumehisa reprimands Kotori because it seems the other insect exterminators decide to take leave too. Can’t let Jinbei have all the fun? He then shows Kotori the new cannons that will protect Edo. Jinbei is enjoying dango with Genjuurou when a man carrying a wounded elderly comes up to them. It seems all the villagers he passed through has been devastated by this insect-like man. This old guy is the only survivor. The insect is heading towards Edo. Genjuurou kicks his son to get his ass moving back to the capital. Too late. Sasuke is already feasting on some dead bodies. Yumehisa and Ogami attack Sasuke but their attacks do not penetrate. Not even the cannons. So much about firepower. It only managed to crack his mask and reveal his fly face. If these 2 can’t even touch him, what about their men? Don’t even mention about them. Before Yumehisa is done in, Jinbei returns to save the day. Sasuke is happy to have found Jinbei and will now kill him. Jinbei is able to keep up with Sasuke’s moves but when he slices the insect in half, it splits itself. This is no illusion. They’re real and pack the same amount of power. The more he slices, the more it splits itself. Jinbei’s comrades return to help out. Seems they haven’t been going on a holiday but to improve themselves too. Despite the power up, as long as they cut up Sasuke, the more it clones. Bummer. I suppose half the sky is filled with those flies. Then they realize that some carcasses do not clone itself. They notice their heads are damaged. If they’re going to end this madness, they must kill all in one go. I guess this is Jinbei’s cue to show what he has learnt and the rest to stay out. He unleashes his Fuji Hammer and the impact kills all of them at once. Amazing. Shouldn’t he have thought of that? Kotori notes those insect men have made it to Edo. Well, there is a horde of them rampaging through Kishuu province right now…

Episode 15
Yukimura’s Ten Crucifix Insects are slaughtering the people of Kishuu. They are Seikai Miyoshi Nyuudou, his brother Isa, Kamanosuke Yuri, Juuzou Kakei and Kosuke Anayama. Meanwhile the shogun, Yoshimune receives report about the insect men. The ministers are worried but Yoshimune assures they have the Insect Magistrate. Mushibugyou plays along despite her powers are gone. They hear Ieshige’s commotion outside. He is demanding to know more so he can relate his information to Jinbei. Mushibugyou goes talk to him. In his room (filled with creepy Jinbei memorabilia!), they both realize that they have to conceal their identity and position to maintain their relationship with Jinbei. Ieshige considers her his comrade and shows her his secret. A telescope to spy on Jinbei?! He is sure turning into stalker material. Oh wait. He is. And so they see Jinbei and the rest of his pals frolicking at Oharu’s place. Genjuurou sees reminiscent of his late wife, Kanae in her. Yeah. Big boobs. In fact, they first met at Edo. Oh dear. Story time. She was a skilled swordswoman but it seems they hated each other guts when they first met. So they fight. Their speed, skill and power are enough to shatter the town. However the more they fight, the more they enjoy it. And it won’t be too long before they get married and Jinbei was born. The fight never ended even after a year. Through the seasons, through different locations… Are they that good? Jinbei is inspired to be strong like him. When Genjuurou wishes for Oharu to be his son’s wife, Hibachi acts strange. What do you know? Mushibugyou is also spying. She’s trembling… Mushibugyou asks Ieshige if Yoshimune is to hide a treasure, where would it be. He shows her the map of Japan with lots of ‘X’. He reproduced it from memory. Thinking the territories marked with insects are under their control, he notes it stops at the province of Kishuu. This means it is their greatest defence. However if Yoshimune is to hide a treasure, it would be the farthest. The edge of the map, Ezo that is. Mushibugyou knows it’s Kishuu. Yoshimune learns Sasuke’s body has disappeared. That’s because fellow Ten Crucifix Insect member, Saizou Kirigakure didn’t take him away to save him. It is to kill him so he won’t spill any details. Mushibugyou confronts Yoshimune and forces him to spill whatever legend there is at Kishuu. Something to do with a well that will regain her power. She wants to leave immediately but it will be dangerous to be on her own even if she travels in secrecy. Yoshimune’s trusted man, Echizen Ooka will accompany her. She requests another travel companion from Insect Magistrate. Guess who? Pack your bags, Jinbei. You’re going to Kishuu.

Episode 16
Yukimura and his Crucifix confront Munenao Tokugawa, the lord of Kishuu province. Yukimura desires a ship. A large one that can house a thousand humans. He even has blueprints on how it should be constructed. Kishuu has fine wood and the craftsmen for it. In exchange for this, he will not kill the people of Kishuu. Mushibugyou, Ooka and Jinbei continue their journey on foot. Ooka cannot comprehend Jinbei’s easy going nature and each time he does something, he wrongs him! Always telling him that what if it’s a trap to ambush the ‘servant’ (Mushibugyou). Arriving at the gates of Kishuu, they are not allowed entry due to Munenao’s orders. Ooka reveals himself and that they have a letter that allows them to do the necessary but unfortunately the guards won’t let them slip. Munenao supposedly has received a secret letter stating Mushibugyou’s arrival. However he burns it away. As long as Yukimura is around, he can’t allow Mushibugyou in and is ready to take in whatever punishment to Shogun metes out. So Ooka takes the rest to another entry point. Yeah. They need to traverse around the dangerous cliffs. Jinbei had to tie Mushibugyou to his back to avoid her falling off. At the second gate, the guards spot them but they hide up the try and will wait for night fall. However Jinpachi Nedzu of the Crucifix arrives to slaughter all the guards. Jinbei is upset and wants to fight him but Ooka warns him again not to get his feelings involved and to protect the ‘servant’. However Mushibugyou gives him permission to defeat this insect man. Jinpachi is surprised and thrilled that Jinbei puts up a fight. Ooka cannot understand why Mushibugyou chose Jinbei for this mission because from his observation he doesn’t focus and acts like a child. She replies that Jinbei has mistaken to her identity and she wants to make some memories. Did he understand that too? Jinbei uses his Fuji Hammer followed by Fuji Strike to defeat Jinpachi before they enter Kishuu. Jinpachi reports the intruders into Kishuu. He notes they know of them because they refer to them as insect men. Munenao knows it is Mushibugyou since not many people refer to them as such. But Yukimura tells Munenao that he has broken his promise. He was not to let anybody in as their presence here is supposed to be a secret. He is going to kill all of Kishuu’s people unless he and every one of his people can bring the corpse of the intruders.

Episode 17
Munenao announces to his people to capture the ‘criminals’ dead or alive in 10 days or they will be doomed. Everyone gets their ass moving when the insect men do a demonstration of crushing a giant human ball. Meanwhile a young girl, Irori (what is she? Magical girl? Idol?) has seen what is happening and sends her flying squirrel, Mokota to deliver a message to her sister. However she is captured by an insect man, Rokurou Mochidzuki of the Crucifix. Jinbei and co must pass through this village secretly but Jinbei is more concerned about helping a granny in trouble. He got more than he bargained when granny takes out a knife and almost slashes him. She alerts the other villagers and now they are baying for their blood. Jinbei cannot understand why this is happening but he won’t kill them. Even more heartbreaking is that a young boy is trying to kill him. But when real bandits show up, Mushibugyou and Ooka save the day and defeat the bandits. However the villagers round and tie them up. Meanwhile Mugai makes his way to Kishuu and the rest of the insect exterminators follow suit after Hibachi gets Mokota’s message. It could have been a wonderful time for Hibachi with Mugai alone had not the other 2 tag along. Although Jinbei and co are tied up, they are baffled to see the villagers partying. It’s thanks for saving them from the bandits. Bizen, the village head wants to kill them so that they can survive. But here comes Mochidzuki and Rokurou Unno. They heard the ‘criminals’ are kept here and wants them or else Irori will die. Before Irori could become loli rape insect food, Jinbei barges out to save her. However he got smashed by the Rokurou duo combo. Then Ooka as usual had to lecture Jinbei about this and that so it seems Jinbei wasn’t out in the first place and lifts Unno up. They go on the offensive and Bizen is puzzled that they try to protect them when they wanted them dead. And Jinbei is doing it with a smile! In the end, Ooka cuts up Mochidzuki and Jinbei uses Fuji Hammer on Unno. Irori personally thanks him but Jinbei’s sweet smile seals it. She’s in love with him! They are about to leave but Bizen can’t let them go like that and hopes they will explain everything.

Episode 18
The insect exterminators are in town but Jinbei attacks Hibachi! Every bit of her clothing sliced off! He doesn’t believe it is her and must be some imposter since she is in Edo. Then when she bombs him, he recognizes that familiar explosion. Irori reunites with her sister. Something tells me she loves her big sister a lot to the point of obsession. Hibachi is surprised to see Mushibugyou but is forced to play along and pretend Mushibugyou is the servant. As part of the plan to infiltrate Munenao’s castle, Bizen has taken them to see the lord of this region, Masashikata Yamagatake. Ooka is in a discussion to request his aid. Yamagatake will give his full support since he laments the death of many innocent people. That night, Mushibugyou asks Hibachi what she thinks about Jinbei. She flusters… In that case, Mushibugyou will leave Jinbei in her care from now on. Mushibugyou can’t sleep so she goes talk to Jinbei who must be telling boring stories and his admiration for the rest of his stories. But she doesn’t mind and finds it fun. He accidentally drops the bell and though this brings back memories of the fireworks festival, Mushibugyou is surprised that he cherishes it and feels it connects his karma to hers. She takes his hand and finds it warm. She would have wanted to stay like this longer but the rest of the insect exterminators see this. What more, Jinbei also sees them and calls out to them. Hibachi is sorry they interrupted Mushibugyou’s moment with him but she doesn’t mind because she felt fun. Next day, Ooka shares his plan with Mushibugyou and Jinbei. As their faces are known, they must stay hidden till the real fight begins. For now, Hibachi and Irori are finding a way into the castle, Koikawa and Tenma hit the streets to ask people for information while Yamagatake and Mugai are using their connection to secure more aid. Once the real battle begins, they will be split into 3 groups. The first group contains Mushibugyou, Mugai, Yamagatake and his men. The second group has Irori, Bizen and the servants and the third group, the insect exterminators. Munenao receives word the ship is finished. He shows it to Yukimura and he is of course impressed. Thinking his people have been freed, however Yukimura wants to feast on a banquet. Munenao accuses him of breaking his promise but Yukimura says he also broke his. His people have not captured the ‘criminals’, right? Yukimura will leave once he kills everyone in Kishuu. Munenao is driven to despair. The army he prepared all got slaughtered and the craftsmen who worked on the ship got ‘snacked’. Next morning, Yukimura announces to everyone that they will die for failing their mission. He orders the insects to feast on them till not a drop of blood is left but Jinbei and co arrive to save the day.

Episode 19
Ooka suggests for them to have a duel. Yukimura can dictate the terms even to his own advantage. However Yukimura doesn’t want to waste time on them and has the insects continue devouring. Till what Jinbei says hit his nerve. Is he running away? Is he scared? Because Jinbei thinks they can beat them easily. And so Yukimura agrees but wants his men to have a chance at glory first. As Jinbei and co make headway into the castle, Ooka reminds them that their task is merely to buy time for Mushibugyou’s group till she reaches the well even if it costs the lives of the people of Kishuu. Their survival or death does not matter. Jinbei somehow got separated from the group. He is faced with Jinpachi again. But this rematch has them fighting in water, Jinpachi’s forte. But I don’t know how Jinbei manages to hold his breath for so long, swim as fast and even use Fuji Hammer to rock everything. In the end, Jinpachi is defeated but the surprising thing is his human form coming out from his insect shell! Meanwhile the rest come into Saizou, the leader of the Crucifix. Because Hibachi knew him as an Iga clan ninja, she wants to fight him. He whisks her away to another dimension to fight. Back to Jinbei, Jinpachi is going to commit suicide as failure but before that he will take down Jinbei with him. Ironically Jinpachi is faster and more powerful in his human form and can still use and control water. Jinbei takes a beating when he remembers his father’s words about controlling the flow. Everything has a flow. Control it and you control the battlefield. And so Jinbei reads the flow of Jinpachi’s water attack and unleashes his Fuji Storm to defeat him. Even in defeat, Jinpachi can be talkative. He is warning about the rest who are the strongest, blah, blah, blah. Just die already. Finally he disintegrates. Jinbei gets going and then sees Hibachi caught in Saizou’s trap.

Episode 20
Jinbei jumps in to cut her loose but almost killed her because it was Saizou’s illusion. She has Jinbei watch their match. Seriously? Shouldn’t he be heading along to fight more insect men? Hibachi goes back to fighting and she is better than before. Was Jinbei her motivation? When Saizou uses his fog teleport technique to evade her bombs, she realizes he is using a forbidden technique of Iga. She knows who he is because she heard stories from grandpa about a man who stole a scroll of forbidden techniques and killed his master. Saizou clearly remembers doing that because his master won’t teach him so. It makes him transform into his human form and uses more illusion attack on her. Hibachi is suddenly saved by her grandpa. Although she feels odd he is not supposed to be here, grandpa praises her mastering his techniques. He wants to defeat Saizou with her so he can quit being a ninja and live a quiet life with her. That was a dead giveaway so Hibachi blows that fake illusion up. She knows grandpa is a stubborn guy and will never quit being a ninja. He’ll be one till the day he dies. Unfortunately because Jinbei has been standing there watching in awe, he too becomes a victim of Saizou’s illusion. He sees Hibachi as the enemy and tries to cut her down. Till he crashes into a tree that he breaks free from the spell. Saizou then makes him see another illusion. One whereby Hibachi is tied up on a tree so the stupid guy falls for it and tries to climb the wall to save her. Good riddance? Eventually Hibachi is overwhelmed. She realizes his wings are making sounds that are causing the illusion. Just as she is about to give up, she hears how Saizou commenting Jinbei the weakling. She tells him he might be an idiot but his desire to save people makes him never to give up. He’ll fight even if he can’t stand. So when Jinbei ‘saves Hibachi’, he breaks out of the spell and realizes he is just hugging a tree. Hibachi also doesn’t want to lose out and breaks free from her trap. She realizes that Saizou is not strong. He used forbidden techniques won using treachery and looked down upon others. Hibachi and Jinbei’s combo defeat Saizou. However he isn’t dead yet as his liquid form escapes underground. He possesses one of Yamagatake’s men accompanying Mushibugyou to the well. He overhears them about her regaining her power.

Episode 21
Yukimura learns about Mushibugyou’s whereabouts and notes this will be the best chance he’ll have. Hibachi and Jinbei seem to fall into an illusion trap again. Jinbei the dumb one gets taken in by Oharu’s appearance and follows her seduction lead to Seikai and Isa. Ooka and co too are in the endless corridor illusion but Koikawa slashes his way out and they meet up with Hibachi. When Jinbei returns, he is close to defeat. Koikawa wants to fight them so they grant his wish while the rest trudge on. Jinbei disagrees with Ooka’s argument that Koikawa is weaker than before. But Ooka views although he is still strong, but not as strong as before he joined the Insect Magistrate and when he was a killer. Koikawa thought his father killed his mom and that goal to hunt him down was what made him strong. When he found out he wasn’t, there was no goal left to live for. No matter how much Koikawa cuts, the cockroach Buddha praying brothers have the ability to regenerate. They also grant him his wish to be more powerful and shed their insect skin for their human form. I thought they look like aliens… Koikawa continues cutting but the roaches continue regenerating and they’re doing it at 5 times faster the rate. He remembers he was about to kill his father but ironically he was crying and begging for his left. The man who tortured him was in that state? The brothers think he hasn’t killed enough, the reason why Koikawa feels his hands have been heavy since his first kill. The more he kills, the heavier it becomes and he can never lift this weight off and must live with it for the rest of his life. Koikawa didn’t kill his father because doing so would mean walking his path. He is not an insect. But an insect exterminator. Koikawa gets back up and cuts the brothers in such high speed that they cannot regenerate in time. When the rest rendezvous with him, they are glad that he has won.

Episode 22
Because the path splits, Jinbei takes Tenma to explore one of them. Because everything scares that little kid, they talk about their parents. Tenma has never met his since they were separated when he was young but he hopes to meet them again one day. I suppose this gives him the much needed motivation to face an insect man. Oh good. Here is one. Tenma returns to being scared. Anyway Kosuke proclaims he is justice. Everything to him is justice. This gay sounding insect wants to teach Tenma justice. Every line he says has justice. Justice! Justice! Justice! Although Tenma manages to give him some beating with his powered up shikigamis, Kosuke fights back and turns the tables with his, wait for it, justice! And Jinbei can only watch in awe. Although Tenma was several times close to defeat and death, Kosuke saves him because it is justice. Power is justice. He does not have the right to die yet. With justice this and justice that, Kosuke is going to teach him the core tenets of justice. Part of his twisted justice includes abandoning hope, do not rely on his friends, shikigami and family. Throw away all these or he can never attain justice. Tenma takes a pounding and his justice record reaches a new height. Yeah. 89 blows. 89 justices. For his final justice lesson, he must admit Kosuke is the true justice because he is justice. Only then he will be allowed to die. Tenma remembers he was given the shikigamis believed to be made by his parents who put their heart and soul into it. He was told they want to see him after he has grown strong. Tenma’s desire to see them makes him grow stronger so much so he gets enough power to combine his shikigamis and himself (paper gatai?). Whose justice will prevail at the end? Before Kosuke can show his true justice by shedding his insect skin, Tenma punches him away with full power that sends him flying into space!!! Justice! Never knew such justice could exist, eh? Meanwhile Ooka and the rest stumble into a room choking with blizzard. Waiting for them are Juuzou and Kamanosuke.

Episode 23
When Saizou reports that Mushibugyou has reached the well, Yukimura orders their deaths. However Mugai cuts Saizou and knew he was a bug all along as he smelled like an insect. Saizou recognizes his blade which belongs to the Insect Hunters. This made Mugai remember that night he left to kill Mushibugyou. He indeed wanted to kill her but after seeing the truth in her eyes, the loneliness and pain, she was like him. Unloved by everyone and only performing the tasks set before her. He decided not to kill her. Mugai and Saizou’s fight temporarily enters the dimension where the rest are fighting. Ooka notes that nobody is protecting Mushibugyou so he and Jinbei leave the area to go her. When they get out, they are before the stairs that lead to Yukimura. Jinbei wants to fight him to stall for time and leaves the task of protecting Mushibugyou to him. The seal on the well is broken but Mushibugyou is still cautious to enter. The rest have to leave as the well is emitting poisonous gas. Although it may help regain her power, if she has regrets whatsoever, the evil power of the well could just make her disappear. Seeing the light from the well, Ooka wants Jinbei to go protect Mushibugyou instead because it was he who promised that he will protect her. Can he fulfil his duty if he doesn’t go now? So Jinbei leaves Yukimura’s fight in Ooka’s hands. He goes up the stairs to face the big boss but his hands are trembling. Since he can’t make the first move, Yukimura blasts him away with a powerful one. Ooka gets up and another attack causes him to lose his left arm. Yukimura is impressed with his moves but play time is over. Ooka says he has underestimated his opponent. His task ends when Mushibugyou recovers her full power. Nobody will be able to touch her nor can she touch anybody. He remembers the emotionless Mushibugyou like as though she accepted her fate and acted she didn’t care for anyone else in the world. This journey changed her. She had become far more human than himself. He vowed to protect those feelings. He will do what it takes to buy Jinbei more time. But unfortunately it is game over for him as Yukimura deals the fatal blow. He dies with a smile on his face. Jinbei reaches Mushibugyou and is told about the well. Humans will die if they enter but it makes the insect stronger. She apologizes for not telling him the truth when she had the chance. Before she can do so again, here comes Yukimura. Gosh, I thought they’ve wasted time talking. Was Ooka’s death in vain?

Episode 24
Juuzou and Kamanosuke turn into their human forms to turn the fight more interesting. Jinbei cannot accept Ooka is dead. He gets riled up when Yukimura mocks the dead samurai. Still, no match for Yukimura. Yukimura greets Princess Naa (Mushibugyou’s real name) and wants her to accompany him back to their castle where their king awaits. She refuses as there is something she must do. Jinbei gets back up to fight him to give time for Mushibugyou to dive into the well. Meanwhile Saizou has trapped Mugai and is going to turn him into a bug. Unfortunately Mugai has seen through his illusions. While he is being turned into an insect, this leaves Saizou’s defence wide open so Mugai stabs him with his sword and absorbs everything from him and will use this power to destroy Yukimura. Jinbei thought he has defeated Yukimura. Think again. How can he when he is so weak? Butterfly dude continues to entertain himself while the rest try to delay him to buy Mushibugyou time to recover her powers. One of Jinbei’s strikes causes Yukimura to repel him into the well. He sees Mushibugyou’s past. When she was a little girl, she protected a little insect although everyone else wanted it killed. But her kind parents allowed it. One day their castle was under attacked. Naa hid the insect before she was killed. The insect got out of its captive to revive her. When Naa wakes up, all she saw was dead people around. She looked for her parents but they didn’t see her as their daughter and told her to stay away. Eventually they died on choking poison. Naa saw herself in the reflection that she was emitting tons of poisonous gas and the insect told her it gave her this power. Mushibugyou is surprised to see Jinbei. Now that that he has seen her past, she blames herself as foolish and it all began because she sheltered that insect. But Jinbei says she was not wrong. Her kindness made her did the wrong thing to protect the insect. He is sure a right future awaits her. Mushibugyou is touched by the warmth of his heart. For a century her heart remains frozen till his warmth melted it. And it is still filling her heart. Jinbei credits it to everyone’s smile (maybe except for Mugai) that gives him the power. He will always be by her side and follow her to the end. Mushibugyou pushes him back up and says his task is done. When he resurfaces, he hears this. Yukimura indeed wants Mushibugyou to regain her power. When it is complete, she and his king will wipe out humanity. Of course this comes with a price. Mushibugyou will lose her memories in exchange for her powers restored. The greater the power, the more memories it will take. In the end, Mushibugyou will lose all of her memories!

Episode 25
Jinbei can’t accept that. But it means what it means. How simpler can you get that explanation? Jinbei lifts a huge rock and dives back down the well. Yukimura is kept busy with Mugai. When Jinbei reaches Mushibugyou, he tells her about the memory loss. He will not allow her to forget the fun and happy times she had. But if she doesn’t regain her power, how can she defeat Yukimura? Don’t worry, leave that bug to Jinbei. He can squash him without her power. So believe in him! So when they leap out of the well, Jinbei carries Mushibugyou to escape while Mugai tries to buy them time. Mugai doesn’t believe he was the heroic Yukimura. This has him remember he was a loyal samurai to his lord. He failed to protect him on the night they were attacked. The burning roof collapsed on him and Naa’s pet insect corrupted him and turned him into a cocoon. Because his king used all his power to revive Naa, the most he got was turned into an insect men and it took him a century to break out from his cocoon. Yukimura injures Mugai and drops the castle blocks on Munenao. Juuzou and Kamanosuke cannot stand the smell of the smoke so they have to retreat. Seems Irori has made lots of insect repellent, Chinpou style. Sounds so vulgar… However Juuzou fights back with his farts! Serious! Yukimura stands before Jinbei now. He commends him for his loyalty but Jinbei disagrees. This is not loyalty. Whether she is a princess or not, he will protect her life with his. This is the way of the samurai. Big words. Even so, not powerful enough to stop Yukimura from beating him up. Mushibugyou tells him to stop. Hibachi and co get the much needed backup from Kotori since they were moments away from losing. Kotori has done some thinking after they left. If their goal was to kill Mushibugyou, they would have come to Edo at full force instead of sending Sasuke. Something must be up. But Juuzou won’t say. Or he doesn’t know? Kamanosuke throws Ooka’s spectacles to him and calls him a fool for directly challenging Yukimura. Kotori tells the rest to head to Mushibugyou as he is going to show these 2 his anger. When they charge, Kotori easily slices them apart! Fatality! No chance at all. Mushibugyou is back at the well. In exchange for Jinbei to live, she will go back down the well. Even if she forgets him, she hopes he will not for her. Jinbei vows never to even in death. When she re-emerges, Yukimura is shocked that she did not become a Kuroageha butterfly. So in shock that he got beaten up by the rest of the insect exterminators. Now that everyone is here and ready to protect Mushibugyou, she suddenly stabs Jinbei! Evil smirk…

Episode 26
Jinbei tries to make Mushibugyou remember his name she carved on her palm. Doesn’t ring a bell. You’re screwed. Yukimura doesn’t want Mushibugyou to sully her hands so he absorbs all the poison in the well and releases them as bugs. Yukimura charges forward despite getting wounded in all the attacks till he can advance no more. Seeing his never-give-up spirit, the rest also attack but to no avail. Mugai uses Saizou’s power on Yukimura to reveal his invisible shock wave power. Yukimura targets Mugai as his next victim but before he is killed, Inu-shima awakens and saves him! As explained by Kotori, Jinbei has the blood of Insect Hunters probably from his mother’s side. Since the Eternal Insect cursed the clan of Insect Hunters and bathed them in its blood, it’s a reason why Jinbei turned into so as it responds to Eternal Insect’s power. Like how Jinbei woke up at Hachijou Island after contacting with Mushibugyou’s hair. Inu-shima hears Eternal Insect’s voice to hate and kill everything. It’s that same voice that overwhelmed him at Hachijou Island. Till Mugai had to bring him back to his senses about his promise to be a samurai who wins till he dies. With Jinbei awakened as himself, everybody is ready to fight Yukimura. Mushibugyou is bored watching them and wants to take over. Jinbei will take care of her while the rest have their hands full with Yukimura.

Mushibugyou unleashes her poison at Jinbei but he inches closer and tries to absorb all her poison as he thinks it is what making her forget. After all, he promised to protect her and her memories. This causes Mushibugyou to remember the moments she spent with Jinbei. Seeing his carved name on her palm and Jinbei’s warm hug, it brought her back to her senses. The price is that Jinbei is knocked out after absorbing all her poison. Yukimura is going to destroy Kishuu but Mushibugyou protects the town. Everyone continues their attack on him to buy enough time for Jinbei to wake up. Yukimura is still cocky and tries to paint a gloomy picture of everything. Jinbei remains positive and unyielding, never giving up and will keep winning till he dies. Jinbei unleashes this combo to destroy Yukimura once and for all: Mt Fuji Storm + Mr Fuji Rising Dragon + Mt Fuji Meteor Drop!!! Woah! It’s like an atomic bomb! Not even cockroaches can survive that! Amazingly, the town still stands. Everyone bids goodbye to our heroes as they set sail back to Edo in the boat they made for Yukimura. Mushibugyou talks to Jinbei about how she has always leave it to fate to rule her life. Now she looks forward to returning to her days at Edo. She wanted to reveal her true self to him but he interrupts that he too is looking forward to show Mushibugyou the blue sky with everyone else. I’m sure she’s looking at it right now. When they get back to Edo, it’s back to the familiar scene of exterminating insects.

What’s Bugging You?
Wait a minute. The ending was kinda abrupt, don’t you think? Sure, our heroes defeat the antagonists and get to go home safe. End of story. Well, I think there are lots of potential for this series so perhaps another season is much warranted. Because we certainly haven’t seen the last of Insect Hunters yet and it’s like as though they have been conveniently forgotten in the final arc since we are so much focused on the insect men and all the action down at Kishuu. Then there is Eternal Insect to deal with since Yukimura failed to bring Mushibugyou back, I’m sure the king won’t wait for another century to reunite with his queen, right? There are other mysteries yet to solve like the giant men devouring insects that appeared a century ago. All these should set a nice foundation and build up should they have another season. I figure the pacing of the story is quite decent since it builds up quite nicely with the introductory Edo arc in which we are introduced to the main characters of the insect exterminators and having an episode focused on them as well as the insect-of-the-week. Yup, feels like one of those tokusatsu shows whereby kids gleefully wait to see what kind of monster will show up this week. It is followed by the Hachijou Island arc before ending with the Kishuu arc which takes up half of the series. Although the Insect Hunters’ most prominent moment was the Hachijou Island arc, I suppose it is to move the story forward because the gang wouldn’t have gone to Kishuu had not Mushibugyou lost her powers and thus setting up the final battleground which takes up half of the season.

The action plays a big part in the success of this series and perhaps the reason why I didn’t find this bug slaying series to be a bore. I know for a person like me who can’t stand the sight of bugs, because of the monstrosity of the insects here, they look more like monsters than anything so in this sense, this ‘loophole’ didn’t make me squirm each time a bug (or bugs) had to appear on screen. Although each of the characters has their own unique moves, but sometimes I feel that the repetition in using them makes it feel that they lack other sort of moves. For example, Koikawa is prone to use his trademark technique called Slash of Repentance, which cuts up everything nice and perfectly. Not that I can tell any difference how he slashes but in the end, every bug gets cut up into pieces. After his secret training, he uses Slash of Compassion but this is not so often used as the first one. Although seeing them doing the same moves may be boring over time, nevertheless seeing them work together and take out bugs is still exciting. But I would love to see Jinbei mastering the remainder of the 36 styles. Since that absurd meteor strike move, I even imagined and came up with the other possible moves of this style. One that turns into a machine gun and shoots beams! Be warned though, some action parts may get gory because of the insect parts being cut up and the initially scenes of human becoming insect food.

Character wise, I guess I don’t need to spell out that Jinbei as the main protagonist isn’t perfect and could be passed on as a retard because of his carefree and seemingly simpleton thinking. But you know, every hero like him has always got to have a big kind heart and courage. It’s hard to brush him off seeing he is quite passionate in what he believes in. He might charge straight into a fight with no strategy and armed only with his steely determination to win but you have to give it to him that he never gives up. He’ll come back to win even if it kills him. Yeah. Is it no wonder why he wins in the end? Now that we have a glimpsed about his mysterious power (not that I understand fully about it, because I thought from what I understood, Jinbei may be a bug too), all the more reason why I say there is a lot more potential for this series and the rest of the other characters to grow. Even Mushibugyou has grown into a more humane person than before. From someone who has accepted her fate into ‘living’ a lifeless life, after Jinbei has poured so much warmth and kindness into it, even the hardest and coldest ice on the face of the planet will break and melt. His simplicity is all it took to open her eyes. So it’s a big thanks to Jinbei for giving life to Mushibugyou. She pretty looks much forward to it now rather than some mundane dead end job.

The other characters in the insect extermination squad may be oddballs and although I won’t go so far to say that their bond is so close that they are buddies, at least they know how to work with each other for the greater good and look out for each other. As stated, the introductory arc sees Jinbei with one of them and even they have their own episode while taking on a member of the Crucifix. We get to learn a few things from them like Koikawa’s fear of dogs, Tenma’s fear of insects and Hibachi’s admiration for Mugai. Speaking of Tenma, after his personal training, I find it a little odd that he now rides a giant paper crane. It’s like as though he has become too lazy to walk or telling us his legs have become crippled so he resorted to this flying technique. Mugai as the most mysterious member of the team doesn’t say much. There is more than meets the eye to this powerful dude. But in the end, he too puts his faith in Jinbei and believes in him as opposed in the beginning whereby he doesn’t even look at him. Other characters felt okay but didn’t leave much of an impact such as Ogami and Yumehisa. They could have been nice additional fighting power to the insect exterminators but I suppose being in another department is another story. Then there is Nagatomimaru/Ieshige whom I thought would play a major role in providing Jinbei with intelligence or whatsoever. Disappointingly he was mostly missing during the Hachijou Island and Kishuu arc. As if, if he didn’t appear at all, it wouldn’t have changed much of anything. The scary thing about this dude is his infatuation for Jinbei. It’s like their fateful meeting turned on his gay switch… Seriously… Say, what happened to Mitsuki? After her failed mission, she was never to be seen again except in the final scenes whereby she is seen hanging around in Edo.

Although Ooka can be passed off as a serious character who is set on getting his mission done, the thing that I find him funny is that his favourite word especially to Jinbei: “Obatsu desu!”. Although it literally means punishment, in a more precise context it would be “That’s wrong!”. It’s like almost every sentence he says begins with this word since whatever suggestion or word that comes out from Jinbei’s mouth seems to be wrong from his point of view. Funny isn’t it? It is even funnier when Jinbei retorts back to him with that phrase when he disagrees. I mean, hearing Jinbei go “Obatsu desu!” right back at Ooka feels like he’s getting right back at him at his game. Too bad the smartest man in Edo just had to die. And yeah, speaking of favourite word, I felt that Tenma too had this tendency to call out the names of his shikigamis, Matsukichi and Tamekichi, whether it is for them to start an attack or they get pounded.

Romance. How should I put it? Almost all the female characters in this series have a thing for Jinbei. Although he is probably too dense to see it and the pacing and action of the series overshadow this. As far as I can see, Mushibugyou Oharu, Hibachi and Irori have taken a liking for Jinbei. Mushibugyou obviously for the warmth and kindness that Jinbei has shown her but because of their rank that is poles apart, I figure she has to restrain herself. Besides, right till the end Jinbei still believes Mushibugyou is the servant. Although there are attempts for Mushibugyou to reveal her identity, there will always be some sort of interruption that prevents her from doing so. It’s like as though fate is not going to let her do so. Maybe it is better this way. Will Jinbei be different once he knows she is the real Insect Magistrate? I doubt he would. Even brute girl like Hibachi takes a liking for Jinbei as you can see her reactions towards him. Does this mean her admiration for Mugai has diminished? Perhaps both are separate matters. But what about Irori? It’s like they’ve forgotten about this loli when the final battle against Yukimura and his Crucifix began. And since she stayed back at Kishuu, she can say goodbye to Jinbei forever. I don’t know if Mitsuki harbours feelings for Jinbei but I won’t be surprised if she does. There is another potential ‘love rival’ to consider: Nagatomimaru! I bet he is in love with Jinbei for all we know. This can turn out into a yaoi series so I hope one of the girls would get to Jinbei’s heart before this stalker can make his unholy move. The things he does, everything for Jinbei just feels like an excuse…

The only reason why Oharu exists is for fanservice purpose. Where else can you find a woman with such big bouncy bosoms in old Edo? And then there is this tendency for Jinbei to always slip up and get her boobs in his face. It’s like he is connected to some sort of fanservice fate each time they meet. For those who prefer flat chest, there is always Hibachi since there are a few scenes of her in almost her exposed skin. Like when Jinbei cut her clothes by mistake as he thought she was an imposter. Felt like a cue for fanservice after not having seen Hibachi in her loincloth or her ass for so long… Like as though Hibachi is Oharu’s substitute for fanservice when the latter is not around. Then there is Mitsuki. Her dressing is an atrocity! Such indecent exposure would have earned her condemnation from all sides especially in such conservative times. I know she uses seduction techniques, the reason for her dressing but I feel it makes her look like a slut. Furthermore, what is the use of being so sexy when she can’t even successfully seduce simple Jinbei boy? Maybe something is wrong with Jinbei.

The drawing and art seems pretty decent. Backgrounds and scenery are okay too. Some of the characters may have a little cartoonish feel to it and the insect men look pretty drab in their insect form despite using various insects to depict them. And they look like those insect type monsters that come straight out from those tokusatsu shows. But the big thing that bugged me was the hairstyle of some of the characters. For instance, Mugai and Oharu. They have this very huge arc as their hairstyle like as though it is like some sort of insect horn. It makes me wonder how it can stay up so perfectly like that. Heck, Mugai can hold such a big sword, what is this hairstyle for him? Then there is Kotori’s hairstyle which I don’t even know what to make of it. Sometimes I think it looks like a bird’s beak… Not forgetting those of spikey types like Mushibugyou, Koikawa, Ogami and even Yukimura. This anime series is produced by Seven Arcs, responsible for animes such as Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Dog Days and Sekirei so you can see a little similarity in their art style here.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview is amusing because it has Jinbei narrating his perverted thoughts using lots of sexual innuendoes such as those ‘bombs’ hidden in Hibachi’s chest, sending up those ‘fireworks’, training his eyes to watch those boobs bounce, taking a deep breath in and out to make those boobs stand out, or even grab those ‘stars’, ‘peaches’ and ‘melons’. Then the girl will scorn him before beating him up and he will groan in pain from the hit. I notice in some episodes they also love making perverted jokes about Hibachi’s white loincloth… It’s really useful in putting out fires, stop the bleeding, etc. Can you get sexier than that? But this narration sometimes sounds odd because we only hear the characters speak and there is no other sound effect like him doing the perverted stuff or those ka-pow sounds that he got hit. In a way, it makes it sound unreal like they are just acting and reading from the script (which I suppose it is). I don’t believe the background music was drowning out the sound effect and pretty sure there is none. I’m not that deaf.

The voice casting has Kenn as the leading character, Jinbei whose other anime roles include Akihito in Kyoukai No Kanata and Dino in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn. Takuya Eguchi has been voicing teenagers’ role like Kon in Ixion DT, Salvadore in Campione and Hachiman in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, so he sounds really low and gruffy as Koikawa here. Others include Takuma Terashima as Mugai (Wolf in Blood Lad), Rumi Ookubo as Hibachi (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Yuu Serizawa as Tenma (Maxi in Inu To Hasami Wa Tsukaiyou, Mamoru Miyano as Kotori (Death The Kid in Soul Eater), Megumi Han as Mushibugyou (Sumire in Chihayafuru), Kazuhiko Inoue as Ooka (Kakashi in Naruto), Jun Fukuyama as Nagatomimaru/Ieshige (Lelouch in Code Geass), Junichi Suwabe as Yukimura (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Sumire Uesaka as Irori (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Katsuyuki Konishi as Leader (Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), Youji Ueda as Gaikotsu (Saemon in Basilisk), Keiji Fujiwara as Munenao (Sven in Black Cat), Rikiya Koyama as Genjuurou (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Satomi Akesaka as Oharu (Arsene in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes) and singer YUKI as Mitsuki.

The first opening I feel is the best sounding one. Tomoyo by Gagaga SP may start off like an old rock and roll tune but then it quickly descends into a full blown hard rock style. Although this isn’t my favourite kind of music genre but this theme suits the anime quite perfectly. Furthermore, the singer’s voice sounds like although he is singing after having too many drinks last night. Drunk? It just sounds crazy and sometimes a little out of tune and plain. Maybe that’s why it works. The second opening theme is Ichizu by I-Ris. Although it is still a rock theme, however it feels very much toned down and doesn’t have that oomph and crazy feel like the first one. The first ending theme, Denshin Unchained by FREEDa’M sounds like an idol song. I thought it was AKB48 singing this slow anime pop piece. The second ending theme, Through All Eternity ~Enishi No Kizuna~ by Ayami sounds like a moderate rock piece. And the ending credits animation here is like as though they are spamming images and poses of Mushibugyou. Nothing but her…

Overall, this series isn’t really complicated with complex plots, storyline and all. But its simplicity of a group of people slaying insects may not be a cup of tea to many and even more so the setting is feudal Japan (if you’re not into period kind of shows). But the action sequence are pretty decent and do not disappoint so stick around to see the fights. Hopefully, it will give ‘chickens’ like me the much needed strength to swat insects whenever caught in such situations. Okay, so it really didn’t. In fact, it just reinforces my fear for them. Now I’m even more afraid! Oh God… Why do you have to make insects so yucky and repulsive? Why can’t they look like cute anime maids? I’m sure I’ll love them even more to death. Yeah. I’m an insect for even saying that.

Futari Wa Milky Holmes

June 28, 2014

What in blazes is this???!!! What the hell is going on???!!! What happened???!!! Am I dreaming???!!! Because… WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO MAH MILKY HOMES???!!!Those bumbling, clumsy and incompetent disgraceful quartet of loli detectives have become competent and adept!!!! YES!!! You read that right!!! Milky Holmes is suddenly useful!!! Well, actually nothing wrong with that. It is just that we’ve been so used to the awkwardness of Milky Holmes that we have accepted this as the truth of reality so when they really become effective, it’s like they changed everything in the series. It’s like turning One Piece’s Luffy into a responsible and highly dependable leader. Not right, no? Alternative was ‘alright’ since we all were ‘informed’ that it was going to be different (although it proved Milky Holmes shouldn’t be some serious detective show) but this supposedly third season of the Milky Holmes series? Shocking? Where will we get our sadistic kicks of laughing at failing lolis then?

However, Milky Holmes isn’t going to be the main heroines of this third instalment (which takes place a few years later after the second season) because a new pair will be in focus in Futari Wa Milky Holmes. They will be the new team of friends-cum-detective that you will see in solving the crimes and catching phantom thieves in their quest to become the greatest detective as per their dream. So now our original Milky Holmes will be relegated to just side characters and making cameo appearances. Hmm… I wonder if that is a joke itself. Also, the third season’s duration time per episode is slashed in half. 12 minutes for each episode? I suppose they don’t want to bore us with serious detective work without any humorous jokes and gags along the way.

Episode 1
Kazumi Tokiwa meets up with her friend, Alice Myoujingawa for school. Along the way they talk about how cool it would be if they could enrol in Holmes Detective Academy. However Alice’s brother, Shion was dead against it. As long as it is other detective academy except this one. When they see a picture of Milky Holmes in the street, Alice fawns over them because they are her idol and she aspires to be like them. However Kazumi argues that in the eyes of commoners they are deem as legends due to the fact that phantom thieves have been laying low. So the lack of solving cases caused people to think they do not exist. Huh? Of course Kazumi wants to be like them too and thus the reason why they are working hard and aiming to become detectives. Alice praises her for such lofty goals since her parents are also detectives. However Kazumi says it has nothing to do with them. They live separate lives. Father is always busy working for overtime money while she doesn’t even know what mother does and is never home. It’s like they don’t care for her. Meanwhile Kokoro is bored and stuck in traffic enforcement. I guess it’s much better than her Genius 4 pals who are stuck in office doing desk jobs. She also has an apprentice under her wing, Keiko Totsugawa. Then the alert is sound. A phantom thief is sighted at the city museum. At last. Time for some action. However it is also reported that phantom thieves are hitting different parts of the city simultaneously. Kazumi and Alice see a shady guy run pass them. They think he is a phantom thieve and start chasing him. Kazumi uses her bow and arrow Toys but missed. The guy shoots back his beam but Alice’s Toys shields them from harm. This guy thinks he has gotten away but to his surprise is brought down by the real Milky Holmes! But he’s not out yet because his comrades help him escape. Then before the girls, a group of phantom thieves appears. The leader laments that detectives and phantom thieves have been making secret deals behind the scene and thus a shame to those phantom thieves who have ground away their fangs. He believes detectives and phantom thieves will always be the opposite side of justice and crime and never together. He declares a war against the world and those phantom thieves who have sullied their title. This group consisting 7 phantom thieves is called Coloured Phantom.

Episode 2
Although Alice is happy that they got to see Milky Holmes in action, this only makes Kazumi feel sad because she really wants to become like them and help catch phantom thieves. So how? Alice suggests going see them directly. And so a bunch of girls sneak into the academy just to see them. But they hear Milky Holmes somewhat arguing in their room. As they inch closer to eavesdrop, Milky Holmes slams open the door, knocking them out. When they come to, they are in their room and very much happy to see their idols. They’re the graceful and elegant detectives they know. When they mention about their intention to be like them, their reply is to just do it. Although they don’t have a licence yet, what is important is they pick a name for themselves, wear a detective’s uniform and do a Nike. Just do it! After they leave, Milky Holmes ‘crumbles’ from exhaustion because it was really hard trying to put up their graceful act. Tiring to keep up their public image, eh? As Alice’s grandma has made her a detective costume for making it into Holmes Detective Academy, she also requested one for Kazumi. Meanwhile a phantom thief contacts Violet Shadow, the leader of Coloured Phantom for permission to strike and have his revenge against Milky Holmes. He allows it but warns he is on his own and won’t help out. The rest deduces that this dude has outlived his usefulness. And so this shady guy, Red Lion leaves a warning letter as trap for Milky Holmes. However Kazumi and Alice spot him in the back alley in his suspicious activity and go to stop him. He is not convinced with these amateurs and easily overwhelms them. He thinks of using them as bait to lure Milky Holmes but Kazumi won’t be defeated. She gets back up and fires her arrows. Her will to become a great detective is so great that her arrow suddenly becomes a huge bright light. So powerful that it sends this guy flying crashing into the wall! Because feathers are floating down in the aftermath, Kazumi decides to call themselves as Feathers. Kokoro and the police are investigating the scene and baffled why this phantom thief is lying around. She notices a card on his sunglasses which states that Feathers were here. Who?

Episode 3
Kokoro is being interviewed on scene and it’s not so much about Red Lion taken into custody. It’s about who Feathers are and how they apprehended him. She wants them to come down to the station to give a statement. Of course our Feathers duo are ecstatic watching it back at their home. Shion knows Alice is watching this news instead of sleeping. He sighs he should have objected her enrolment into the academy because he views her as a gentle girl and shouldn’t be doing something so vulgar. Even in school, Feathers become a much talked topic among the students. Happy, Kazumi? But the teacher cautions them to get their licence first instead of causing trouble like those fakes who aren’t even nationally accredited detectives. Of course this upsets Kazumi but there’s nothing she can do about it since Feathers are still pretty much a secret. Kazumi has dinner at Alice’s home and while watching the talk show, the people are divided. Some are sceptical that this happened since Milky Holmes didn’t do anything about it. But super sleuth, Ryouko Komatsu vouches her support for Feathers. Suddenly the station receives a video from a Coloured Phantom, Yellow Black Hole. She challenges Ryouko to join Feathers to protect them and will be targeting her detective’s licence that she values more than her life. Shion turns off the TV believing nice young girls like them shouldn’t be watching such violent shows. So the Feathers duo feel somewhat responsible because they got Ryouko involved. They’re going to solve this one. After this little transformation scene that could almost rival a magical girl, they sneak out of the house. Meanwhile Shion is looking through the comments made by other Coloured Phantom about Red Lion’s capture. Oh no… Could it be… Say it isn’t… Okay, it is. Looks like he is that leader of Coloured Phantom. Feathers heard Ryouko’s scream and it seems her licence got stolen. They find her licence outside a warehouse but find it suspicious that the phantom thief would drop it. As they head inside, Yellow Black Hole casts a trapdoor on Alice and causes Feathers to be separated. Kazumi is all alone and faced off with Blue Hunter. However his Toys is replication so Kazumi’s arrows cannot hit his clones. Once she is surrounded, she is overcome with fear and loses her ability to use Toys.

Episode 4
Blue Hunter senses Milky Holmes coming so he abandons the scene. Alice is safely returned. When Milky Holmes arrive, no phantom thief or Feathers around. Kazumi felt frustrated that they had to be saved by them again. They creep back into Alice’s home and it seems Alice’s parents know about it but choose to keep quiet (heck, they left a big trail of curtain hanging out of their window). They don’t want to let Shion know about this too. Depressed Kazumi thinks of seeing Milky Holmes for advice but she sees a never-seen-before stairs. It leads her to a secret library and a forbidden door that she believes contains Milky Holmes records. She learns that Milky Holmes once lost their Toys too and then it hit her that everyone can only have 1 Toys. Elsewhere Alice is at the warehouse scene to investigate. She notices no real trapdoor so it must have been a work of a Toys. However she is made to leave by Kokoro. Ryouko closes her detective agency since she doesn’t have her licence. But it’s in Alice’s hand, right? She won’t give it back yet as there is something she wants to investigate. They follow Ryouko and see her suspiciously trying to trigger something with her PDA. Then Feathers reveal themselves. Ryouko wonders how they escaped the trap. Alice knows the licence is the trigger for the trapdoor and tricked Ryouko by using a bird fly around with it. Birds don’t fall through a trapdoor, right? Because everyone can only have 1 Toys, it wouldn’t make sense that Blue Hunter will have this trapdoor Toys. Ryouko admits she is Yellow Black Hole. Feathers are appalled a phantom thief is disguised as a detective. Kazumi is about to fight her but Blue Hunter arrives to assist his comrade. As he charges, they get into formation when Kazumi’s arrow again grows, blasting away Blue Hunter’s mask, revealing him to be one of the detective talk show’s host. Yellow Black Hole tries to convince Feathers to join them as their Toys are very much suited for phantom thieves. Rejected. She then explains she was once a detective and admired them. But then she realized a mystery that could never be solved. She leaves them hanging with that and escapes with Blue Hunter. Later, Kazumi deduces that it was Alice’s shield that amplified her arrow. I suppose whenever they combine their Toys, this is what happens. Alice wants to be more than somebody who protects Kazumi. She wants to catch phantom thieves with her. Kazumi agrees.

Episode 5
Feathers are handing out flyers to look out for activities that may need their detective skills. However Alice notices a lonely old woman frequenting the bar after alighting the same bus alone and never touches her drink and always seating in the same seat. Kazumi deduces she is a phantom thief. Of course she was just over thinking. So for 5 days they tail her since she got on the bus but nothing suspicious so far. Then one day she didn’t take the usual route and got off early. They tail her to a park where she reveals herself as Yoshie Kawashima, a national spy! Just kidding! She knows they are detectives in training and had been tailing her so she got off early just to surprise them. Of course being detectives, she isn’t going to give a straight answer and they have to figure it out themselves. She only hints that she gets on the bus to see someone. As for why she never touched her drink, she started frequented the bar a month ago and loved some cocktail. However recently the bar master changed the formula and though she tried to talk to her about it, she remained stubborn. So she comes every day to test if the taste would return back to original. Sadly not today. One day, they see her talking to the bar master. She’s acting strangely like she’s never seen her for so long. They tail her to the back alley and confront them. Yoshie reveals this person whom she gets on the bus to talk to is her son (the bus driver) whom she has never seen for a long time (she put him up for adoption when he was young). As they leave to talk, Kazumi tells them to hold their horses. She saw Toys activated when the son introduced himself. He deceived people that way, the reason why the drink’s recipe changed was because he took over the bar master’s place. With the cat out of the bag, the phantom thief reverts to her true form and reveals she was trying to get granny’s fortune. She makes a run for it and tries to throw her boomerang at them. Alice’s barrier deflects it and cuts the rope she was climbing. Left hanging on a pipe, Kazumi finishes her off with their big combo. Boom! Once again, the day is saved thanks to Feathers. In the end, the real bus driver actually turns out to be her son. She never said anything initially because she was preparing herself mentally for it. And now that she is, she finally goes talk to him.

Episode 6
Yellow Black Hole is about to steal some golden panda artefact but was intercepted by the legendary phantom thief of their time, Visconte. He was believed to have disappeared after a great heist 10 years ago. Alice walks Kazumi home after the former had dinner at her place. Kazumi’s dad is worried she came back so late and didn’t call or anything since phantom thieves are getting bolder and more violent lately. Kazumi is not impressed. He’s always at work and they hardly spend time together. Besides, Milky Holmes and Feathers will keep this place safe. Father thinks Feathers are amateurs. Kazumi doesn’t take this insult well so she vows to become a great detective and catch all the phantom thieves. Later that night, Alice calls Kazumi that on the news, Visconte has left a challenge letter that he will steal a diamond that commemorates this city’s founding at midnight. A bunch of police and even Milky Holmes are at the scene. This means Feathers can’t let this chance go. Kazumi sneaks out of the house but don’t think father doesn’t know… Outside the museum is crowded and Feathers can’t get through so they decide to go up the nearest tall building. As the clock strikes midnight, Kokoro starts laughing like a maniac that she wins. That’s what you call counting your chickens. She didn’t think the phantom thief would be a few seconds late, didn’t she? After a couple of policemen drop unconscious, here is Visconte with the diamond in hand. How did he? Ciao, baby. Kokoro orders Keiko to get the chopper to go after him but the apprentice is nowhere to be found. Feathers see Visconte gliding in a glider. They use their combo move to shoot him out of the sky. Visconte spots it in time and avoids. Feathers chase after him but it seems he has already abandoned his glider. He even left the diamond there! A note says that he was so impressed by their Toys that in respect of their courage, he returned the stolen gem! Of course this only serves to piss off Kokoro even more. Damn those Feathers again. But Milky Holmes is singing all praises about their Toys and think they will become great detectives. If you have been wondering that familiar feeling about Visconte, wonder no more because true enough as I suspect, he goes home to his loving wife and they turn out to be Alice’s parents… All in the family?

Episode 7
Alice notices her father’s back a little pain. Shion hints he ‘fell out from the sky’. After she leaves for school, the parents see Shion about his interference in the Beika Hall incident. They guess he is the leader of the Coloured Phantom and that phantom thieves should always conduct themselves with grace. Shion is not amused and is sick of this grace thingy. He asks them what they think of this place now because detectives and phantom thieves should be natural enemies. Father hopes he will understand one day what it truly means to be those. Yellow Black Hole proposes with Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution that her plan will make Violet Shadow happy. Alice shows Kazumi their team’s logo.  As they make way to the printing store, Yellow Black Hole spots them and sets off an explosion at the mall. The duo are then being told by Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution (in ordinary clothes) it was Yellow Black Hole’s doing. They took the bait and went after her. Meanwhile Shion enters Alice’s room and finds lots of crumpled paper in her wastepaper basket. Hmm… You’ll never know what you’ll find… Kazumi keeps finding small diamonds believed to be dropped by Yellow Black Hole. In a straight line? Obviously a trap! Kazumi goes after that phantom thief when she is in sight but Alice knows better that it’s a trap. She uses her shield to block Kazumi from falling into her trapdoor. However her amateur skill causes her to bump Kazumi away. Yellow Black Hole once again tries to coax Alice to join their side and ditch that clumsy oaf. Rejected. Then they combine their powers and zap her. Yeah. Wonder why she was making it so easy to let them zap her as she just stood there. Unknown to Feathers, their data is being collected by Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution. Shion arrives on the scene to see Yellow Black Hole being arrested by Kokoro. She winks at him, a hint that the plan is going well. Of course he didn’t approve of this but there’s nothing he can do now. Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution show Shion the data. Now they can defeat Feathers and begin their grand revolution. Shion didn’t know his little sister was part of Feathers, eh? Now he does.

Episode 8
Feathers are surprisingly invited to tea with Milky Holmes. Upon entering their room, they see Sherlock and Kokoro in a childish tussle over, Ellery Himeyuri. She is the director that took over Milky Holmes after Kobayashi. She was once a police but became a detective after learning about Toys. Currently she is on a journey to find her purpose and returned here to check things out. So the childish tussle was about whose place she should stay with. How to solve this problem? Himeyuri goes with Feathers. Problem solved. Sorry Sherlock. Sorry Kokoro. Meanwhile Shion has been acting strange since, locking himself up in his room. Truth too much to handle? He even deleted the data and video so Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution couldn’t do anything about it. This makes their fellow phantom thief, Pink Lovely Doom more interested in Feathers. Himeyuri could guess the duo are Feathers because Kazumi accidentally left their box of name cards on the table. Oops. She won’t tell their secret and wants to learn about their Toys when they get a distress call that another phantom thief has been spotted. Mush Miller from France is running away with his loot and fools Kokoro with his mirror image. He also tries the same thing when stopped by Feathers and Himeyuri. Not even their combo can stop him. Himeyuri wants Alice to use her Toys to trap him and has her maintain putting up some of her barriers. Then she borrows Alice’s Toys and has Kazumi come along with her. She has Kazumi fire her arrows at him as she manipulates the arrows to ring the crook in. Once they tie him up, Himeyuri reveals her Toys is Induction. She can use other people’s Toys and hopes they will forgive her selfishness of using their Toys. She also feels they have great potential in them. Meanwhile Keiko snaps a shot of them and looks up in the database. She is amazed to learn Alice and Shion are related. Well, what do you know? Because Keiko discards her police uniform and her true self is the Pink Lovely Doom! Why am I not surprised? Does this answer the question why she is always not around when Kokoro needs her? Although Alice is particularly happy about Himeyuri’s praise, but Kazumi isn’t because she didn’t acknowledge their strength as a team and was only acknowledging Alice’s strength.

Episode 9
There is some rule that police officers must not have Toys. So when Keiko’s reading goes off the charts, the higher ups want an explanation but she activates her Toys and makes them forget. Shion might be out of his room but he argues with father about letting Alice go to a detective academy. It was funny when sleepyhead Alice walk into the scene unaware of everything so Shion had to put up that perverted big brother act that his little sister is oh so cute to make her feel a little disgust and leave in a rush. Father says that if Alice wants to be a detective, there is nothing he can do about it. But Shion is not going to accept it since their family are phantom thieves. So can he bring himself to fight Alice since detectives and phantom thieves are eternal rivals. They realize too late that Keiko had heard everything. Now she knows their leader is the son of the legendary Visconte but she still needs him as their symbol for the new generation of phantom thieves. Shion is shocked to see Keiko is one of his comrades but nobody can do anything because Keiko unleashes her Toys. She gets away scot free. Kazumi is still reeling from Himeyuri’s words that she’s not focusing. Till the teacher had to tell her Toys reflects the strength of her heart and must believe in herself. Pink Lovely Doom lets the gang know that Feathers are not real detectives and can be dispose of anytime. Besides, they are ready to go ahead with Violet Shadow’s plan to take on Visconte. He himself doesn’t even know he had such plan. Kazumi continues to sulk… Thinking back how much Alice’s Toys is much better than her. WTF. Don’t you believe in your friend?

Suddenly there is a projection of Violet Shadow proclaiming he will steal Visconte’s precious treasure. Keiko is conveniently near Feathers just to tell them Violet Shadow’s location at the tower. All going according as planned. Visconte checks his treasure room and since everything is untouched, it could only mean one thing. His wife wants to join him. Feathers arrive at the tower and see Visconte and Madam Visconte. Alice couldn’t recognize her because she put on a little weight. Wait till you get an earful from mommy… Pink Lovely Doom is here too and notes they are going to take his precious treasure. Visconte warns not to lay hands on his daughter as he orders Madam Visconte to take them away. Kazumi is baffled they know their names. Pink Lovely Doom is not panicking yet and notes Milky Holmes is now on scene. They cut away their only balloon escape so Madam Visconte and Feathers are grounded. Now Violet Shadow comes in. He wants Alice to come with him because she belongs to him. Alice recognizes that voice. He takes off his masks and shocks them over his real identity. He wants Alice to become a phantom thief and promises no one will hurt her again. Pink Lovely Doom relishes everything is going as planned and they’ll gain a more powerful member on their side. But did she count on this? It is Kazumi who begs that she wants to become a phantom thief!

Episode 10
WTF?! Kazumi becomes part of Coloured Phantom?! She is so ‘eager’ to learn the ways of the phantom thief? Pink Lovely Doom thinks back what went wrong in the perfect plan. In that confusion when Kazumi wanted to become a phantom thief, Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution dropped a smoke screen for them to escape. She wonders what Kazumi is hiding, though Kazumi sheepishly says she may have always wanted to be a phantom thief. Unconvinced, Pink Lovely Doom will test her out. Meanwhile Alice is reeling from the shock alone in her home. Who wouldn’t if you find out your entire family is a phantom thief. The rest of her family members are ‘missing’. She stumbles upon a secret passageway to see many newspaper cuttings on the wall on Visconte. She thinks Kazumi must have figured she is the daughter of a phantom thief and thus cannot work with her anymore. Milky Holmes receives a letter of challenge from Kazumi. They reason she became a phantom thief as part of her training to become stronger. Pink Lovely Doom has Kazumi bust into the museum to steal the cap of Kobayashi to prove she is a true phantom thief. However moments before she could do it, she breaks down and couldn’t. Pink Lovely Doom deduces she just wanted to leave her friend. As she possessed a great Toys and helped her whenever she is in trouble, if she accepts that she’ll end up hating her. That’s why she left her and insisted in becoming a phantom thief. She doesn’t need her in her plan. When Milky Holmes arrive, Pink Lovely Doom uses her Toys to make them forget she was ever here. So now it’s Kazumi alone facing off with Milky Holmes. Thinking she is in training, they will not hold back and throw all they’ve got! However Kazumi is saved by Alice. She will become a phantom thief too as she was responsible in making Kazumi make that decision. She is relieved that Kazumi didn’t become one because of her family. However Alice will still be one. She wanted to be a detective only because she doesn’t want to be separated from her. She wants to be with her. Kazumi thinks Alice is innocent and pure and should be a detective. In order to protect that, Kazumi reverses her decision and decides to become a detective again. The friends rejoice and hug. Back a whole again. Milky Holmes leaves satisfied that this ‘training’ had come to a happy ending and notes Feathers have a very powerful bond.

Episode 11
Pink Lovely Doom rues that her plan ended up strengthening their bond so she asks the boss what will be their next step. He wants everyone to gather. And looks like the police security is still lax because the captured Coloured Phantoms have somehow escaped. Once all the Coloured Phantoms gather, Violet Shadow drops the bomb shell that they will disband as they have served their purpose. Of course this doesn’t sit well with the rest especially Red Lion who is going to claw him up. He also reveals Violet Shadow doesn’t even have his own Toys. However he is knocked away by Darkside Revolution’s shadow claw. He will not allow anyone to hurt his big brother. Then Great White Fallen Angel wraps her Soul Binding chains around Violet Shadow and put him in dream land. They are going to get rid of a couple of feathers that are standing in the way of his ideals. A giant shadow monster, Gigantic Phantom destroys a huge building. Kazumi and Alice get a call from Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution that they are issuing them a formal challenge to settle this once and for all. They are acting on their own and nothing to do with Shion. As Feathers reach the ground floor of the tower, they are faced with Red Lion and Blue Hunter. However Kokoro and the rest of her Genius 4 gang are here to buy Feathers some time. Up the stairs they run, they run into Arsene and her gentlemen thieves! They give her a free speedy ride to the top. Why are they helping them? Arsene replies it is a detective’s duty to solve riddles. At the top floor, they see unconscious Shion tied to the chair. Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution consider Shion their true brother and disregards Alice’s true blood relationship with him. They reveal they were abandoned by their parents because their Toys were too powerful. But Shion took them in and treated them like family. For this, he shall always be their big brother. If Feathers are not around, he will not have to suffer so much and they’ll forever be together. Darkside Revolution unleashes his Gigantic Phantom to finish them. Suddenly… Milky Holmes makes their grand entrance via elevator and will challenge Coloured Phantom. Don’t take too long babbling because the elevator door is going to close…

Episode 12
Not only are those kids planning to destroy them, they will also destroy this city and make a new world where they and only their onii-chan can live. Grand plans. Can it work? Maybe this big dark orb can help them achieve it. As they shift their position to the rooftop, Milky Holmes wants Feathers to go after them to save Shion while they handle Gigantic Phantom. It’s going to be since it replicates. But they can get by with hard work and their trusty Toys. Great White Fallen Angel chains Kazumi in her Soul Binding to render her unconscious. When the dark orb has enough energy to be released, the duo get absorbed instead. All their Toys that were in effect are now stopped. Gigantic Phantom disappears and Soul Binding is gone. When Shion sees what is happening, he realizes their Toys are going berserk and at this rate they and the city will be destroyed. He wants to save them but can’t get near the out of control orb. Kazumi too wants to save them but feels unconfident that she lacks the power. Till Alice gives her that nod and Kazumi now has the confidence. Believe in yourself! They unleash their usual combo attack at the orb. The biggest ever! It neutralizes everything so safe to say, the day (or night, rather) is saved. When the kids pop out from the orb, Shion jumps to grab them but falls off the edge! OMG! Don’t let this end in a tragedy! Of course not. Here Shion comes flying back in his white angelic wings. What the hell? Is he a messenger of heaven? No. These wings are his Toys. Milky Holmes gets a pleasant surprise when Kobayashi makes his appearance and praises them. In the aftermath, the Coloured Phantom incident ended. Each member went their separate ways. Blue Hunter and Red Lion continued to be phantom thieves but risked getting caught. Yellow Black Hole quit being one and decided to make her way back up as a detective. Great White Fallen Angel and Darkside Revolution have found a new home. Keiko is still Kokoro’s apprentice although nobody is sure if she is still continuing her phantom thief ways. Shion still continues to care for Alice. I hope it won’t turn into a creepy siscon level… That painting of her may just suggest the start… As for Feathers, they are called to tea again with Milky Holmes. They are surprised to see how clumsy they are handling their tea. But Milky Holmes has good news. From now on, they will work together as detectives. Thus their new name: Milky Holmes Feathers! Though they still operate as a duo, they continue their ways as the mysterious detectives in the eyes of the public and showing no signs of slowing down. Only Kokoro is complaining. They’re stealing all the spotlight! Got a problem? The road is long but they vow to become the best detectives in the world.

Bring Back Mah Dummies!
Yeah well… It’s nice to see that things worked out for everything and everybody but even so it doesn’t feel satisfying because… I WANT MAH MILKY HOLMES’! Retarded version, that is. Although Milky Holmes has been very helpful and different from what we know them, at least there are signs that they are still the incompetent fools we are familiar off. At least behind closed doors. In those instant, fans of the idiotic Milky Holmes in seeing such scenes will be hoping that there will be full blown idiotic silliness and then we can burst into laughter in seeing such classic nostalgia. Hey, many of us never tire to see the antics of 3 Stooges or even Mr Bean, right? But they have kept their clumsiness well under control so in this sense they aren’t really the useless Milky Holmes they are from before. Good work girls but… We still prefer the clumsy you.

For our new pair of Feathers, as budding and up and coming detectives, they are a great pair as well as inseparable friends. There is nothing wrong that this season and series trying to tell us about close friendship and to believe in yourself and your friends but I feel that Milky Holmes series isn’t a good place to do it. We are after here for the silly laughs, am I right? Sometimes I find the duo a little boring since their combo Toys are the same. It’s like their only trump card. Kazumi fires arrow into Alice’s barrier to amplify it. It usually wins. End of story. Since no friendship is perfect, we are shown cracks in the relationship for a while when Kazumi starts thinking the unbelievable that her friend is better than her and loses confident in herself while Alice discovers she comes from a family of phantom thieves. Everything of course has to end well as expected because you don’t want your heart broken seeing Kazumi and Alice turn to the other side forever. The only thing that bugged me is their so called secret identity. To the few characters like Milky Holmes, their family and even Coloured Phantom, they are known. But to the public, they are ‘faceless’ and never seen before. Especially Kokoro who is so pissed every time she hears their name. So my point is, if they have been solving a lot of crimes and catching phantom thieves, won’t they be recognized? I mean, nobody is around when they usually solve things. But there is always a risk. Heck, it could have been easily solved if they just wear a mask and I won’t even raise this issue. All they did is just change their outfit and run around the city without anything to cover their face. Isn’t that how Keiko managed to connect the dots? That’s why it is a big mind boggling question that they are still a relatively big mystery to the public. I can imagine the shock when their faces are known especially to their friends.

Other characters for this season are pretty sufficient too but they lack making an impact. For instance, Coloured Phantom as the antagonist of this series failed to live up to whatever they are doing and I don’t even know what the heck is this new revolution thing that they want to bring.  The rest serves as just ‘pawns’ for Feathers to face off and capture. Although Shion was the leader of Coloured Phantom, I feel Pink Lovely Doom is the real mastermind and the one pulling strings from the shadow because of her Toys that makes others forget. Oh, it was going to be evident that the way the real identities of the Coloured Phantom are revealed, you can make a guess who that phantom thief is based on their voice and sometimes the way they act. Thanks to Violet Shadow AKA Shion getting the ball rolling, therefore it was no surprise who Yellow Black Hole, Visconte and even Pink Lovely Doom are in the end. I still can’t believe Shion’s Toys are his angelic wings because it felt like some sort of convenience for a happy ending. I personally thought it would have been more believable if Visconte and Madam Visconte dived into the scene with their glider and saved him but they had to showcase Shion unleashing his Toys instead. Maybe it’s all thanks to Pink Lovely Doom making him forget he even has Toys. Shion sometimes whenever he is in siscon mode, he is one funny dude because it gives off a feeling that he really fawns over his sister which is just creepy. Just the perfect disguise to not notice your brother is the leader of a phantom thief group. And now he is no longer one (not sure if he really quit being a phantom thief for good), it is going to get a lot worse with Alice always preoccupying his mind.

Although the gentlemen thieves do make their cameo appearances in a handful of episodes, they do not have any spoken dialogue until that penultimate episode with Arsene. Their cameos feel like to tease and make us viewers pinpoint in glee, “Hey! That is that nipple erecting joker beauty sicko! He is still around masquerading as a teacher!”. So why appear to help Feathers? Here is my theory to solve that riddle: Because there won’t be a place to have detective-phantom thief cat and mouse game fun if the city gets destroyed by a pair of selfish kids who only want their onii-chan. And since this is Feathers’ problem, they have to solve it themselves. They’re here just to give a little push and extra service to us viewers. Heck even the rest of Genius 4 make their stinking one scene appearance. Better than none, right? Yeah. There are some that never made their appearance in this third season such as Milky Holmes’ pet cat, Kamaboko, that mysterious is-she-a-good-guy-or-villain Mori Arty and uh huh, who could forget the Kokoro obsessed Irene. Speaking of Kokoro, she feels more responsible this time although there is an air of bratty-ness and you wished that every time she starts getting pissed off, you wished she’d become her joker self like in the past. Uh huh. She still doesn’t like Sherlock to call her “Kokoro-chan” but this time no golden mask to whack her as retort. She also doesn’t resort to her annoying bragging about her massive IQ. I know… This way it made her look ‘smarter’… So really, these original girls have matured? I want mah original Milky Holmes back, boo hoo! Himeyuri as the new character who only appeared in one lousy episode was because as I found out, she was the heroine players control in the second Milky Holmes PSP game (in the first, players helmed Kobayashi).

Some of the mystery can never be solved. In other words, certain things left me mind boggled like what was Ryouko’s mystery that she quit being a detective and turned into a phantom thief? Was there a loved one involved? I don’t know. Not that we really care. Then about Kazumi’s mom. All we see is her dad and it seems their relationship is strained. We didn’t see it resumed back to normal and after this series ended, I began to think back and thought… Hey, could Kazumi’s mom be a phantom thief as well? Hah. Not that we really care. Here is another trivial one that we might not care too. I remember Feathers facing off with Yellow Black Hole and Blue Hunter. The latter got injured and they escaped. So how did he end up getting captured by the police instead? Maybe it’s during one of those unseen missions not shown in any of the episodes. Yeah, who cares. Why the heck did I even notice this even though praying for Stupid Holmes to return was largely occupying my mind. And what does it mean to be a true detective and phantom thief? I don’t know. I am neither so I’m guessing it is this series’ cops and robbers. I figure there is some sort of romance when you play tag in the city. Catch me if you can! And why did Visconte even allow his daughter to become a detective? Don’t know. That because she wants to sounds like a flimsy excuse. I know it’s good to give your daughters freedom in what to do. Or if he is going to be a strict daddy, it will be closer to revealing his true identity? So by being such a flexible father, does this mean if Alice wants to be a slut, he’ll allow it? Just saying…

The art and drawing mainly remains the same. However I can’t help but notice that there is a very slight difference. Because when I first looked at Milky Holmes, they are less ‘prettier’ than they are in the previous 2 seasons. It is like as though their drawing have become somewhat simpler. It is not that obvious but obvious enough for viewers like me to tell the difference. Especially Cordelia, I thought she looked a little different than usual. Otherwise, the art style remains as good as before ranging from your typical cute girls with cute bright sparkly eyes to the background. Just like in previous Milky Holmes instalments, the end card features a chibi style drawing but this time it is mainly on the Feathers duo. Funny. Amusing.

All those returning characters in this series have their seiyuus retained and they still play their part well. The new ones also aren’t too bad especially with Ayasa Itou as Alice, this is her debut voice acting and so far her only anime role. Aimi Terakawa voices Kazumi (Emi in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko, Roxanne in Freezing Vibration) though she played a minor role in the original Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Other casts include Kazuyuki Okitsu as Shion/Violet Shadow (Madarame in Genshiken Nidaime), Hiroki Touchi as Visconte (Panther Lily in Fairy Tail), Sayaka Ohara as Madam Visconte (Alicia in Aria The Animation), Ikumi Nakagami as Keiko/Pink Lovely Doom (Yukari in Girls Und Panzer), Aya Hisakawa as Ryouko/Yellow Black Hole (Maya in Tenjou Tenge), Yuka Ootsubo as Great White Fallen Angel (Kyouko in YuruYuri), Yuka Takakura as Darkside Revolution (Mai in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko) and Natsumi Takamori as Himeyuri (Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo). The opening and ending themes are generic lively anime pop so there isn’t anything special that attracts me. Despite this season is about Feathers, it is the original Milky Holmes quartet who sings the opening theme, Glory Glowin’ Days. Milky Holmes Feathers takes the ending theme entitled Seishun Beginner.

In the end, this third season didn’t actually break any new ground because everything else felt the same. It is just that it gives us new characters but nothing that really impresses in the long run. Long-time fans of the anime series may consider this season as a fall from grace although I won’t put it to the point that it is utterly disappointing. It tells us that going back to basics is what is important. Maybe they want to redeem Milky Holmes’ pride of being respectable and useful detective lolis but to us all, they are best doing what we know them for: Making hilarious whimsical mistakes, bungling all over, messing things, screwing up everything and looking cute while doing that. So producers take note. If you’re going to make a fourth season for Milky Holmes, please BRING BACK MAH DUMMY DETECTIVE LOLIS!!! And then I wouldn’t mind seeing them spam us with super erected nipples.

Niji-iro Prism Girl

June 27, 2014

I thought this was one of those old animes or at least from the early 2000’s since the art style felt like it was somewhat from that era. However Niji-iro Prism Girl the anime was released just as recently back in August 2013 although it has only 4 episodes that run no more than 12 minutes each. By the way, the manga ran from 2010 and ended at the end of 2013 so the anime must be to coincide with the manga’s end. My motivation to watch this show? I don’t know. I thought it had been a long time since I watched a shoujo genre. Heck, I can’t recall when was the last shoujo genre anime I watched besides Full Moon Wo Sagashite which was a couple of years ago. If Full Moon Wo Sagashite was about a girl fulfilling her dreams to become a singer, then Niji-iro Prism Girl is about a girl trying her luck in the acting world. And she’ll meet all kinds of characters as she chases her dream. Okay, not really much to tell since there are only 4 episodes as said.

Episode 1
Nijika Koihinata despite only 12 years old, has the look of a mature teenager. While she hears the other girls squealing over Japan’s current hot idol, Touya Ichinose, Nijika notes a secret that nobody knows. Touya lives in her house! Because her dad who works in the entertainment industry is letting him stay over. What logic is this? Anyway contrary to the public’s view, Touya is a little nasty and loves teasing Nijika like how he does now by forcing her to eat green peppers she hates. On TV, there is an announcement of an audition to find the next Saori Fujimiya. Who is she? The late legendary actress who is Nijika’s mom. It was Nijika’s dream to become an actress like her but since she always failed, she hated show business and gave up on that dream. Guess what? For some reason, she showed up at the audition! Did she change her mind to follow her mom footsteps? Two things: 1) The audition is only opened to girls above 16 years and above so Nijika actually lied about her age! 2) Participants will be acting with Touya in a forbidden romance between a butler and his milady. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Nijika and even daddy and Touya are surprised she is here. At first she blunders due to her nervousness but Touya being the pro quickly has her back on her feet. She gets into her role and displays her milady traits by playing a violin. The crowd is enchanted. Just when Touya is going to kiss her and send the fan girls heart beating like hell, flustering Nijika pushes him away. Touya adlibs and continues his act and even though it may be part of the act, Nijika felt he was like mocking her. But that made her realized that she loves acting. A pillar prop is going to fall on her so Nijika uses her athletic moves to escape it. Since it’s not lady-like, it confuses the crowd so she adlibs with a convincing act followed by a convincing confession and a convincing jump into his arms. Nijika feels she had so much fun and it renewed her hopes to become an actress like her mom. In the end, Nijika wins the audition. However she has to cover her real age from now on. Thankfully her friends at school saw how cool she was at the audition and agree to keep her age a secret.

Episode 2
Touya accompanies Nijika to a commercial for a chocolate company. Along the way, she bumps into Ria, a famous child actress. Because her disguise came off, people start to recognize her especially one big fan of hers. To quell the situation, Nijika acts out as a delinquent detective, one of the famous dramas her mom acted in. She is drawing too much attention to herself so before the girls recognize Touya the hot guy, they quickly get into the building. Inside the stage, Touya briefs her about the protocol for this and that. After she changes, she is surprised to learn Ria is her co-star. Touya notes that Ria has been acting since 5 years old and won numerous awards. This might be Nijika’s big break if this is successful. Nijika introduces herself to Ria but the latter ignores her. Ria explains she was a big fan of that delinquent detective drama, the reason she got into acting. She won’t lose to her because if she messes up here, she won’t acknowledge Nijika as the next Saori. Ria even suggests to the director to adlib and not act to the script. Well, since it’s cutie Ria requesting for it, okie-dokie. At first Nijika doesn’t know what to say to adlib. She tries the friendship approach but is only scorned off. This pisses off Nijika and throws a little tantrum. But when she sees Ria smiling, she figures this might just be a test. Nijika makes a beautiful leap and make convincing adlib lines about Ria’s wonderful smile. Nijika is surprised that Ria accepts her and they both become friends and eat the chocolate. Their act was so good that the director decides to use this one shot as their commercial. Ria praises Nijika that when she provoked her into an argument, she turned it into an opportunity for friendship. That leap changed to mood for everything and it proves she has a real talent as an actress. Ria acknowledges her as her rival and looks forward to compete with her to be the next Saori next time. The commercial is released and everyone is in awe with the new actress starring alongside Ria. Although this means she isn’t famous enough, Nijika is resolved to work even harder.

Episode 3
Nijika is starring in an episode of a popular delinquent show starring Yuu Arisugawa. His dad is a famous actor and he has been acting since 3 years old. Guess what? Despite looking good, his attitude may just be a jerk like Touya since he is mocking Nijika right off the bat she is here because she is pretty. That just pisses her off. Nijika thought she did well in a scene but Yuu whispers she is just terrible. In a scene whereby Nijika’s character is supposed to break free and reveal her secret delinquent character, she is so convincing that Yuu is overwhelmed. Though, he still mocks her she is not worthy to lick his feet! What is his problem? Before the next scene, several staffs commend Yuu but he scoffs them off and doesn’t want them to compare him with his father. Nijika talks to him and she understands how he feels. Heck, she even advises him not to worry about how others see him. Yuu is blushing… The confession scene begins. Nijika is taken aback when he kisses her hair but bounces back with improvised lines to give the scene even more impact. When her character confesses, instead of him going away like in the script, he hugs her and confesses back! Is this all part of the script? It was convincing enough that when he just walked away coolly, Nijika felt he humiliated her with his acting. Suddenly Yuu takes Nijika and confesses that he likes her. Isn’t the scene over? Are we doing it again? No. It’s for real. He really likes her! She is shocked but since they’re still filming, they’ll finish their confession scene later. In the final goodbye scene, Nijika thinks back about her mom and her acting overwhelms Yuu. Later he admits defeat and tries to hint that he is really in love with her. I’m not sure if it’s her payback by playing dumb or she’s really that dense. Yuu mentions her great acting might get her to win the Diamond Prism Award one day. It is an award given to the outstanding and promising rookie actresses above 16 years old. Of course Saori never won it since she retired early right when she reached that age. And then call it coincidence because Touya comes running in to tell Nijika to good news that she has been nominated for the award!!!

Episode 4
Ria and Nijika are in a final showdown for the award. But this episode is a flashback of Nijika and when Saori was still alive. Due to some illness, her career was cut short and she was hospitalized. Little Nijika practised hard in hopes of becoming a great actress like mommy. However Nijika soon called her mom a liar because she failed to attend school acts or events due to the doctor forbidding her to leave the hospital. Nijika wanted so much for mommy to turn up but she never. She felt awful for telling off her mommy like that so daddy suggests to go apologize. She is also shown the anemone flower. This was the flower daddy gave mommy when he propose to her to signal true love. Saori keeps her promise to go picnic with Nijika as to make it up to her. She got special permission from the doctor although they know it is very risky. It could even shorten her lifespan. Even if daddy knows it, he wants the mother and child to spend precious moments together. Saori is trying hard to not worry Nijika as she hides the fact her body isn’t in good condition. Although the bento Saori made isn’t edible, Nijika is glad that mommy made them. Nijika searches for the anemone flower to give her as present. Saori acts out a scene picking up that flower. Her acting is so good that Nijika thought she saw a real flower. This motivates her further to become an actress and perform with her. When Nijika comically tumbles down a hill, they see a field of anemone flowers and Saori is surprised as it isn’t in season yet. Saori starts crying and tells her to keep believing. As long as she has a strong will, miracles can happen. Of course we know Saori can never keep her promise to act with Nijika. Unless she’s acting with her from Heaven. Back to reality, the winner of the award goes to… Drum rolls please… And the diamond tiara goes to… Next scene we see, Nijika clumsily goes off to a drama shoot while Touya continues reminding her about this and that. Sounds nagging, isn’t he? Of course he believes he will be better and surpass Saori. Oh, the diamond tiara sits nicely in her room.

It’s All Just An Act
Although it was fun watching this little short series, there are a handful of issues which I think will not make everything possible or that this show is just some sort of a fairytale for girls. First and foremost, Nijika won the award, right? Nothing wrong, right? Happy ending, no? Well, remember Nijika is only 12 years old and she won something that only 16 years old and above are qualified to, right? So what does this mean? Nijika technically isn’t qualified to win this! I know winning this shows how outstanding she is but that isn’t the point. Now, what happens if the public actually finds out about this? It is going to turn into a full blown scandal and I am pretty sure she will be forced to retire and be branded as a liar for the rest of her life. Therefore if she is going to continue her happy acting life, she has to hide her age till she dies. With ‘over inquisitive’ people these days and the wealth of information readily at your fingertips, nothing can escape the knowledge and eyes of the internet.

Also, Saori is a legendary actress, right? This means there will be lots of paparazzi and obsessed fans wanting to know her every move. Although Saori is no longer in this world, I am sure that they will know that she has a daughter, right? Come on, doesn’t everybody know the children of the famous Hollywood people? So what are the chances that people don’t actually know who Nijika is? Unless you tell me she is some illegitimate child which I think she isn’t. True, she might not be acting till recently but the fact that she is Saori’s daughter will already make her stand out. In view of this, how the heck people don’t know Touya living with Nijika is still another mind boggling puzzle. It’s not like they’re living in some secret mansion or hidden place, right? It feels like an ordinary town. Aren’t neighbours suspicious about a hot looking guy coming out from the same house with Nijika? Heck, he is so famous, he is probably recognizable a mile away. And don’t get me started the reason he is living with them. I know he is from Hokkaido but couldn’t he get his own place? Therefore in my conclusion, if you’re going to be a famous actor or actress, as long as you are in this anime, you can hit it big without the worry of your privacy being invaded because the people here just simply don’t care. The fan girls may just swoon over you but that’s just about it.

Aside that, the characters are rather okay. Nijika is your typical girl with a latent talent in acting. Duh. She inherited those acting from her mom’s genes, right? Besides, doesn’t she look very close to mom? Still can’t believe people don’t recognize her as so. Lively and cheerful girl, she learns fast and earns experience points in the acting world via job-on-the-spot. She didn’t go to any acting school, right? Her other rivals, Ria and Yuu are okay too but it makes me wonder if they are having some sort of child slavery because both of them are already in front of the camera at such a young toddler age when they should be learning to walk, read and write. Which means, now that they are in their teens, they are considered ‘old veterans’. Touya is still a jerk but I don’t see him as one as the episodes pass. It’s like his role has been reduced to just looking out for her.

Of course you can’t have a shoujo genre without the romance part. Honestly, 4 episodes aren’t enough to flesh out anything. Although it is confirmed Yuu has some feelings for Nijika, I’m putting my money on Touya-Nijika pairing. That guy may not show it but you know how things will turn up. Especially if a hot boy is living under the same roof with you. And then maybe we can have a love polygon between the characters. Nijika-Touya-Ria-Yuu and more! There is this funny looking pet that belongs to Nijika, Capybara. I don’t know what the heck this little Pokemon piece of sh*t is but most of the time you see it eating/munching an onigiri in its hand and hangs around bumming on her shoulder. Cue for something cute? When Nijika is busy, it hangs out more often on Touya’s shoulder.

One of the reasons why I thought this was a retro anime from the early 2000’s was the art and drawing style as said earlier on. Because anime series like Full Moon Wo Sagashite, Mirumo De Pon, Shugo Chara, Mermaid Melody and Daa! Daa! Daa! (UFO Baby) also have this similar style. You know the typical shoujo style trademarks. Cute girls with big bright sparkly bug/doe-like eyes that melt your heart when you stare into them. Eyes so big that you think that they might be related to the tarsier. Haha! Just kidding. But really, their eyes are big enough to occupy 3/4 of their face. And yeah, all the guys here are good looking too. Heck, even Nijika’s dad looks so young enough that I thought he was her big brother!!! Serious! The ending theme is Dream by 2&. Sounds like a typical girl rock music.

I don’t know if I want to watch this show if it is made into a full proper season anime. You never know. I might not be a fan of the shoujo genre but based on history, I usually end up watching some of them. Maybe if they can surprise me with the romance, love polygons and cat fights, just maybe I’ll watch it then. Uh huh. Isn’t that what makes drama romance genres exciting? That kind of love relationship and its complications. So love life in real life or in reel life, the world is one big stage and everybody is a full time actor or actress. I must be playing my part as a lonely single otaku very well. I wonder if I will ever have my shot at romance. If I could only get my ass off my seat and my eyes away from my computer, that is. Ah never mind. I’ll stick with 2D as usual and dream about it.

Coppelion

June 22, 2014

Once again, disaster strikes the heart of Japan. Tokyo in particular. And no, this time we cannot blame it on invading aliens or powerful demons from other realms. Instead, it is mankind’s own doing that has caused the biggest nuclear meltdown and in result the once thriving and vibrant city of Tokyo has been turned into a ghost town. You cannot survive in this highly radioactive area unless you are wearing a very high protective suit and gear. But who wants to live in such devastated place? Well, there are those who cannot escape or evacuate in time and are thus trapped. What is the only hope to bring those survivors out? According to Coppelion, 3 genetically engineered high school girls who are resistant to any form of radioactivity and each with their own special set of special abilities are sent into the capital to search and rescue survivors. Unlike normal humans, they don’t need any sort of hazardous material suits and can just walk straight into radioactivity like as though they’re taking a stroll on the beach and the wind carrying the radioactive waves are like the soft breeze blowing in their face. Of course their journey will have them not only find human survivors but about humanity and ultimately themselves.

Episode 1
Ibara Naruse, Aoi Fukasaku and Taeko Nomura just entered central Tokyo. As instructed by their superior, Onihei Mishima, they are to find and locate survivors in Japan’s largest ‘ghost town’. While taking a break at the bridge, they hear cries of a man below. Ibara disregards whatever regulations to go help him (they were only supposed to find and not make contact). She injects a soothing pre-emptive drug before Mishima’s helicopter team arrives to take him into custody. Ibara makes it a point that if she is going to find someone, she will help him no matter what. It is partly explained that the trio of girls are Coppelion, modified ‘dolls’ whose DNA can withstand high radiation levels. Trekking deeper into the old capital, they notice that animals like birds are still thriving. Have they gotten used to the level of radiation? Mishima is also on TV and giving rare footage to the media because he wants the people to see what it’s like the highly contaminated epicentre of the radiation. However the thick fog surrounding it prevents us from seeing everything clearly. As the girls continue their journey, they notice a dog following them. Taeko has this ability to communicate animals so she stays behind with it while the rest go ahead. When Ibara detects an SOS signal, it comes from a dead man. She is suddenly attacked by a wolf. Rather, a wild dog. She manages to neutralize it with her tranquilizer. Noticing its wild fangs, they think the dogs may have evolved and suddenly they are worried about Taeko. They try to communicate her since she has no weapons but there is no answer. Only a bloodied walkie-talkie. Aoi fears the worst but Ibara is adamant of going to rescue her.

Episode 2
Actually they find the dog wounded and Taeko being held hostage. He thinks they have taken his daughter hostage and wants her returned. Ibara easily apprehends him. Taeko rushes to the dog’s side to treat it. It protected her. Once Ibara injects the Aether drug and he calms down, Mitsuo Kawabata brings them to their little ‘home’. This small place can only fit for 1 family. His wife, Yukiko and daughter, Miku. They manage to live here with the air purify and a mysterious supply truck that delivers necessities every week but it stopped coming last week. Why continue to live here instead of somewhere else? They are all convicts. Leaving this place means risking getting arrested. Miku may have gone to see her late mom at the race course graveyard. Yukiko is not Miku’s actual mother as Mitsuo remarried. Mitsuo is desperate for them to save his daughter. Ibara, Taeko and Mitsuo head out to find Miku while Aoi stays back with Yukiko. Although Ibara finds the graveyard, Miku is not around. Aoi learns that Yukiko killed her first child. She regrets doing it. Yukiko gives excuse to go to the toilet but ends up missing. Aoi reports she may have gone out to look for Miku. Ibara senses something amiss. They may have not seen Miku before but is sure she is not a ghost. They conclude Miku needed help but the parents argued if they should send an SOS. Thus Yukiko may have kidnapped Miku. Using the dog’s smell, they trace Yukiko’s whereabouts to a tilted hotel. Ibara heads in. She sees Yukiko taking Miku as ‘hostage’. Yukiko wants them to leave them alone because they can live freely here. But Ibara gets emotional. She is not really human but a doll trained to rescue people from the old capital. If she rejects her, it’s like she is robbing her reason for living. Let us help her. Just like that, Yukiko feels remorseful for what she has done. Before she can hand Miku to her, the building starts collapsing. Ibara cannot hold on to Yukiko’s hand any longer. Yukiko wants Ibara to take Miku instead. Then she lets go and plunges to her death. Miku is taken in by the rescue team. Ibara finds Mitsuo lying at the graveyard and tells him what happened. However he doesn’t want to go and be left behind. As long as Miku smiles, he is okay with everything. Ibara respects his wish.

Episode 3
The girls are now tracking the mysterious supplier. Thanks to the dog, it brought them the car keys believed to be the delivery truck as the perpetrators are also looking for it. When Mishima learns the emblem on the car key that resembles tiger stripes and 3 stars, he wants the culprit captured alive, top priority. He will be heading there too. Ibara confronts the suppliers, Denjirou Shiba and his assistant Kamata. They admit they are the ones doing the deliveries but until last month new high level radiation Zones have been formed and it restricted their movement. He then lets them try an underground grown apple. Tasteless. That’s what happens if you don’t grow things under the natural sunlight. But with most of the elderly residents now ‘residing’ at the graveyard, the only survivor left is granny Ayame. Shiba also knows about the Kawabata family and although Ibara laments she couldn’t save the parents, Shiba is glad Miku is still alive. Meanwhile Mishima gets information from his scientist, Mushanokouji about Shiba. He was the one who developed this radiation suits called Barrier Suits 35 years ago and an expert in nuclear physics at Mitsuboshi Heavy Industries. He is also the lead design engineer for the plant that caused the disaster. The girls begin their walking to reach Ayame since radiation level is too high for Shiba and Kamata to advance. They hear cries from Ayame about a big demon crow attacking and that she has taken shelter at an art museum. Everyone scrambles there but no grandma but only her walkie-talkie. Shiba feels guilty and responsible. Had he not build that thing, all this would never have happened. His hands are soaked with blood that could never be washed off. Ibara remains positive. He did his job as required as a scientist and should be proud. Science is her ‘mother’ after all. They see the demon crow flying above but it is actually a stealth bomber. Since Japan’s military doesn’t have such craft, they wonder who the trespasser is. One way to find out. At the air base where it lands, they see a couple of black suit guys trying to haul away Ayame. Ibara releases smoke screen. The guys leave Ayame and take off. With Ayame in Kamata’s care, the rest go off to put that crow back in its cage.

Episode 4
Although they have a bazooka, taking it down won’t be easy since the stealth bomber has chaff. It even goes round and chases after them. Shiba must be a great driver avoiding all its bullets. It can even penetrate through the building walls! And then Ibara wants Shiba to slam the brakes and her count. When she does so, they are soon directly underneath the stealth bomber. Ibara fires the bazooka and it hits. It is going to crash land but they anticipate at a nearby boat racing pool. As the area is very hazardous, Shiba is dropped off while the girls push forward. They are horrified to see the dead bodies of the pilots. Trying to boat to the jet, they see barrels underneath the pool. They are highly radioactive waste. This pool is filled with it all and leaking the contamination to the surrounding area. The people in the jet must be here to dump more of it. Aoi picks up a logo that spells Yellow Cake. Mishima explains it is a company that handles disposal of hazardous wastes. Foreign countries whose dangerous radioactive wastes are hard to dispose, pay a sum to this company who will dump it here. I mean, what are a few more radioactive contaminations, right? Ibara is upset that these people think nothing of this city and have forgotten what happened. They realize Shiba has not returned to base yet. Seems he has heard it and now knows what to do to atone his sin. But where are the girls going to find him? Ayame thinks he will be at the shrine where he usually brings her. They find him there but he has taken off his mask. Ibara injects her final Aether into him but it will only last 10 minutes. Mishima must get here by then if he wants to capture him alive. Ironically, Mishima’s helicopter is running late and the girls are anxiously waiting. Is Tokyo that big or did Mishima start late. In the dying minutes, the helicopter is spotted. Ibara rushes to retrieve the Aether and manages to inject the drug into Shiba. Phew. Not a second to spare. Shiba couldn’t face Mishima because he knows the incident killed his wife and daughter. Ibara doesn’t think Mishima is that kind of man. He is part of the army and knows his job to protect civilians. Mishima extends his hand to help Shiba. The old guy still regrets that they cause the mess and forcing the children to clean up. But Ibara doesn’t care about such complicated stuffs. She knows that today’s sky looks beautiful. Shiba gives Ibara a book that contains names of those still living here. The girls continue their journey to find them. They should have requested for some sort of transport at least. Taeko and Aoi don’t want Ibara to push herself. They are like her too and will be by her side to help her so she doesn’t need to cry alone anymore.

Episode 5
The hazardous wastes are being taken out by special helicopters and placed in the middle of the road. It’s like nobody is going to drive around, right? Ibara and co find a toppled truck. The old man, Gojirou Kaiji inside is more concerned about his pregnant daughter, Ibuki at the back. Ibara gets a call from Mishima that their special helicopter has been shot down and the wastes disappeared. Ibuki adds that the ghosts of SDF are here and they are the ones who attacked them. Looks like the 1st Division is back and orders another attack. Ibara uses all she’s got to escape. Reporting this to Mishima, he is bewildered because that unit was supposed to be wiped out during the disaster. When the roads were clogged with people trying to escape the city, some believed government will come to their aid and hid in several safe zones. Since SDF dispatched some of their units to save them and the 1st Division was the core in protecting the city. The government feared suffering huge losses and abandoned the rescue before sealing the old capital behind a high lead wall. The 1st Division may have survived the trap. Although the 1st Division sometimes make their rounds, they have never attacked them before. It is not long before Ibara’s party is found by the 1st Division. But thanks to their comrades, Kurobe Oyakata (the chief) and Gennai Ishikawa (the repair man) coming into the picture, they are rescued. However Taeko is shot in the stomach when she tried to protect Ibuki. Although she can regenerate, it will take a week so she’ll be out of action.

Meanwhile Mishima is summoned by Prime Minister Natsume. Because tomorrow is the start of an international conference, he wants Mishima’s team to be there as security. Ibara calls in to report Taeko’s condition. But upon hearing the 1st Division’s name, Natsume orders their elimination. Ibara couldn’t care less about this old geezer and wants a rescue team. Besides, they’re not combatants. However Natsume says it’s either they eliminate the enemy or they won’t get any rescue. As Natsume leaves, Mishima tries to get more from Ougai the cabinet secretary. However he doesn’t say much and mentions he is prioritizing the conference. Besides, Coppelion costs them a lot. Mishima thinks if they can’t mobilize themselves, they will use personnel who are already in place. He’ll send in the Cleaners. He calls Ibara that they need to hold out for 3 days, the duration of the conference. Ibara and co are taken to their hideout, which looks like some giant futuristic spherical home called Planet. It is the biggest safe zone. Gennai even created an indoors robot named Nosense. He should work on his naming sense… Taeko is put in an oxygen chamber to speed up her recovery. The rest are shown around the place that is mainly powered by water. A hydroelectric dam was built as a stable source of energy. There is even a room that imitates like the real life outside. Grass, trees, the sky. Even the sun. Mushanokouji is reluctant about Mishima’s request to contact other teams because it is a clear violation and he needs the Prime Minister’s consent to do that. But after being bribed for sukiyaki, Mishima contacts the Cleaners to meet up with Ibara’s team.

Episode 6
There are intruders detected at the gate. Since nothing is showing up on the monitor, Aoi thinks it’s the dog and goes out to get it. Then on visual it shows… The 1st Division is coming! Guess what next? Aoi is taken hostage. She relays the message from their general, Kunikida. They want them to join their side and that they are not the enemy. All they want to do is to protect their territory. Then Kunikida orders to withdraw. Ibara knows that the army is trying to get Coppelion, that’s why they attacked Gojirou to bait them. Kurobe knows where their hideout is and takes Ibara there. It is at the park and their base is a big pile up of junk. When Ibara sees Aoi in chains, she dashes out to save her. She threatens to fire but Kunikida is not cowed and dares her. Ibara is surprised and this allows the army to beat her up. That’s when Haruto Kurosawa, the Cleaner guy drops in to attack the base and fight with Kunikida. Kurobe picks up Ibara and they escape in Haruto’s tank. Ibara wakes up and is appalled Haruto purposely left Aoi behind (partly I thought she was too slow in running). He also stuck a transmitter on her to hear 1st Division’s conversation. Yeah, Aoi is one mad girl stuck in a cage and thinks they have abandoned her. But food shut her up. Because Haruto damaged their base, he heard they are moving to another base. They will make their rescue move when they relocate. That night they go into action when they hear 1st Division moving. Following them leads Ibara and co to a water treatment plant. Now it’s just contaminated water. It was once low in radiation level but it’s gradually getting worse. They see the army removing drums with low radiation waste. The pools must be filled with them. As part of Haruto’s plan, Kurobe and Gennai distract some of the army. Those left behind, Haruto will take them out. Ibara is horrified that he is going to kill them. That’s what a Cleaner is all about, right? He reminds her they are puppets and have no reason to show humans any kindness. Haruto gets up and starts putting bullets into the men. Ibara is about to ambush and save Aoi but Kunikida knows of her move (because they were trained in a similar fashion to protect their country) and strangles her from behind. Ibara breaks free and notices he is not wearing an oxygen tank. Kunikida takes off his mask and shows him half his face is decayed and only bones. However she is relieved that his eyes are still human and wants him to come with her. But he grabs her and orders his men to shoot at them. Aoi tries to escape and surprisingly, the soldier lets her go. When she reunites with the rest, they are stunned to see Ibara gunned down.

Episode 7
Ibara is not breathing and bleeding like crazy. Haruto takes charge to save her life while Aoi could only cower in fear. He does the best he could before they have to bring her back to Planet where Taeko does her surgery on her. Her life is saved after Haruto gives his blood to her as transfusion (Coppelion’s blood differ by the year and grade so Haruto is the only person whom Ibara can receive from). Aoi locks her in the room and feels guilty for causing all this. I know Ibara wants to motivate her and get her out of the doldrums but she could have picked better words. Now Aoi thinks she’s as bad as a shut-in or NEET. Because that is what those people who don’t work and laze around do, right? Haruto then returns to the police station where Kunikida is being kept imprisoned. He questions about the wastes from a foreign company they’ve been taking out from pools. Kunikida replies that they don’t care about Yellow Cake and they’re not merchants either. Because he is cocky, Haruto threatens to kill him. He pleads for his life! As Haruto deduced, if he wanted to really die, he would have killed himself. That way would have also been easier to protect the 1st Division’s secrets. Since he isn’t, there must be a reason he is alive. Kunikida replies that there is no leader in the 1st Division and the rest are heading to the sarcophagus as they speak. Their plan is to gather all the waste there and let the world cower in fear. As the sarcophagus is the epicentre of the radiation, so high its level that nobody in whatever protective suit could get near it, it is like a bomb filled with radioactive material. That’s why the army was targeting Coppelion as they are the only ones who can get near it. Haruto relays this to Ibara but it seems Ibuki is going into labour. Ibara calls Mishima to send a helicopter now but his hands are tied. Natsume wants to show off Japan’s military might to the might so they’ll have to wait. They can’t even spare one stinking helicopter? Kurobe remembers a hospital in the old capital. Ibara contacts Haruto to inform they’re going there and to look after things. Especially Aoi who is still locked in. She hears Haruto trying to contact his other Cleaner members who often go missing by themselves. It seems there are new Zones popping up along the way and they have to take a detour. Actually the odd thing is, how can anybody dump such high level radioactive waste in the middle of the street? Just when they find a way through, they are surprised to see before them 2 girls without any protective gear. Waited long?

Episode 8
Hearing Haruto trying to contact them, they realize they must be from his Cleaner team, the Ozu sisters, Kanon and Shion. Shion has super human strength and wastes no time in throwing a barrel at them. They are forced to retreat but the sisters chase them and made them crash their truck. They continue to attack but Ibara drops a flash grenade so they can escape. Then they contact Haruto to find out more information. He explains about Coppelion being injected with modified DNA. Therefore they are actually clones of real people and inherit much of their characteristic. The sisters though were cloned from an actress, she was secretly a serial killer. The sisters find them so Ibara becomes the bait so the rest could escape. The sisters have allied themselves with 1st Division and know about their plans to blow up the world and contaminate it with radioactivity. Because once humanity is wiped out, Coppelions will rule the world! Ibara drops Haruto’s new grenade, an ultrasound grenade that temporarily deafens them to escape. They then hijack a tank from the 1st Division but the sisters are hot on their tail. Shion jumps on the tank to fight Ibara but the latter punches her off onto Kanon’s bike and in good timing they fire a tank bullet into them. However only Shion is passed out because Kanon used her as a shield. Now we will get so see Kanon’s super power: Electricity. They put DNA of an eel into her. Zap! Zap!

Kanon is not amused at Ibara’s ideal of saving lives. She tells them about the truth about being Coppelions. She overheard Haruto and Mishima talk that the way they are made, they can drop dead anytime. In that way, humans won’t feel guilty over their deaths. Ibara wonders if that is what they were talking about. Kanon says this is war and a race to see which side gets eliminate first. Will the Coppelions just drop dead first or will they annihilate mankind. She wants Ibara to join them but of course she rejects. Even though if she knows she won’t have much time to live, she will live to the fullest. Kanon rejects that. This old capital is the kind of world humans fear. They world should end up like this. Ibara knocks her out with a single shot. Just to be safe, she tranquilizes the sisters and ties them up. Meanwhile Nosense talks to Aoi about feelings (I guess she gave in to some snacks). Ironic for a robot, eh? Although he was created here, he has never left this place so he is envy that Aoi who can go outside and feel the skin. Aoi notes it’s better not to know what is outside. Once the gang are back, Gennai fears that the sisters may have been placing radioactive wastes all around and radiation at those places are climbing to a dangerous level. Including the observatory area. Haruto is taking a walk when he is ambushed by several 1st Division soldiers. However they have to flee when their natural sensor (a bird in a cage) starts acting strange. Because of the storm picking up, the wind is shifting and carrying the radioactive.

Episode 9
The wind is blowing towards Planet and will reach it within 2 days. It must be devastating since the birds that are caught in it drop dead. You can even see animals crossing, running away from the wind. But the worst part is that the wind can change direction. The only solution is to ‘fly’ and they’re going to use the old train to do that. So Kurobe explains his plan to fix the train. Because they have the Ozu sisters on their tail, there will also be a diversion team to draw them away while the repair team fixes the train. Speaking of them, they’re back up and ready to kill. Haruto explains that Kanon’s ability isn’t just lightning but she can use the ions around her to sense others (the reason she can find them so fast) albeit it is only limited for a kilometre. Right in this important mission, Ibuki is experiencing further contractions and may not hold much longer. Gojirou leaves it in Taeko’s care to help deliver the baby if that time comes. However she is not confident as she is scared in touching a life and seeks Aoi’s help. The recluse only gives lip service to try her best. Good luck. Gennai and Kurobe note if that old nurse was still around, it may be possible. However she was rescued by Coppelion. She is Ayame. They manage to contact her for help and she is more than happy to guide Taeko on it. Yeah, she was dying of boredom in the nursery. Ibara confronts Haruto and wonders if he is on their side. He is not sure but if she needs an answer it would be that he wanted to find out more about people. That night everybody has a feast since it is going to be their last stay at Planet. Aoi doesn’t know what she’s missing out. Oh, here she is. Welcome back. Aoi learns from Gennai that they are transporting animals out too since if left behind they will die from the Zone. It feels like Noah’s Ark. Nosense will stay back since he is a robot. But Aoi wants him to come with them because he is a kind hearted living thing. He argues he will only be in the way. Seriously, Aoi got so emotional about it that she throws a tantrum and runs away. Ibuki has a request for Coppelion to save one more person. He is a soldier in the 1st Division and the father of this baby. Aoi thinks she has met him and the person who let her go when she tried to escape. On the day they leave Planet, Aoi is happy to see Nosense coming with them but thanks to Gennai, he has been upgraded to combat mode and padded with armour. Ibara sends a message to Mishima via a secret email address. Why not use the radio? Because the Ozu sisters are also using it. Upon hearing their name, Aoi faints. That scary, huh? And she’s part of the diversion team with Ibara and Haruto.

Episode 10
Aoi’s trauma of the Ozu sisters was because they always bullied her. Always. The diversion team finds the sisters and the soldiers and manages to distract them. They signal to the repair team to get started. As Gennai fixes the power line, Ibuki goes into labour. Haruto showcases his several designed weapons including a bomb that multiplies into many and a mine that emits electricity that will confuse Kanon’s searching power. The sisters got bored with this hide and seek and decide to head back. Ibara needs to divert their attention and what better way than to use Aoi. Here comes the trauma again. Against her will, Nosense takes her before the sisters and they are really looking forward to lose some steam. Haruto detects a change in the wind again. This time is stronger and they have to be quick. Aoi hides in the boat at the lake and laments she shouldn’t have come out. Nosense lectures her that the world is grim because she puts up that face. Then Shion beats him up to a pulp. Find you. Aoi is mad. But can she fight super strong Shion? Well, not really. Nosense holds her back to let Aoi back but gets beaten up further. Then it descends into a swan boat chase… If you’re wondering why Kanon has not intervened it’s because she is scared of water. She is afraid of getting electrocuted. Nosense manages to pick himself up and in his free will decides to go save Aoi. The slow (and comical) boat chase ends with Nosense blowing Shion out of the picture. The soldiers pick up a radio. Since they hear a woman going into labour, they’re not interested and leave. However Ibara notices one keen on listening to it. He must be Ibuki’s husband, Itsujirou. She goes out to persuade him to come with them but the other soldiers and Kanon surround them. She takes Ibara hostage and tells Haruto to show up. Join them or taste her electricity. Haruto tells her there is no need to seek revenge against mankind because from their history, they’re already on the path to destruction. I guess that means he chose the electricity. Kanon is not pleased with his crap because he used to hate humans. Itsujirou fires back as diversion to let them escape. At the park where they take shelter, he mentions this is where he met Ibuki but their love was a forbidden one. He views he has lost his heart a long time ago and turned into a ghost but she is different and is not supposed to be here. Ibara believes their encounter changed him and he is human. Gennai has finished fixing the power line but there is no power flowing through. It could be the substation problem. Gojirou will go fix it since he used to work in an electric company and he hopes this will be his last chance to atone for his sins. Ibara’ side meets up with Aoi’s side but are overwhelmed by the enemy’s firepower. It gets even worse when the soldier releases a huge spider mecha.

Episode 11
Fire away! Don’t want to get in its path, do you? It is believed the spider’s weakness is its access hatch at the bottom between the legs. Although Ibara fires her bazooka directly beneath under it, the hatch is not even scratch. The spider crashes into the building where Kunikida is imprisoned to rescue him. If that isn’t a lot of trouble, wait till you see the Ozu sisters coming into the scene in a dragster! There is a button on top of the spider that will open the door’s hatch. Ibara will distract the sisters but somebody needs to climb up there and press the button. Aoi is tired of being useless enough so she volunteers. However the glass is thick. Ouch. Kanon electrocutes Shion so she could fight Ibara with some electric powers. Kanon then zaps Aoi. However it’s like something awakened in her. She changed into a different person and is more powerful. She smashes the glass and press the button. Enough time for Ibara to shoot her bazooka into the hatch. Then the spider just blows up. Wow. It’s like there was a self destruct button on it. And what do you know? Aoi is flying! Once she brings Ibara to safety, she collapses. When Ibara wakes up, the sisters are gone and they are waiting at the train station but the train isn’t coming. Something is wrong. As Ibara is injured, Haruto will go to see himself what’s holding the rest up. Ibara wonders if she will see him again. He reminds her there are 2 sides to science. He believes she is on the bright side. That didn’t answer her question. When Haruto arrives, he sees Gennai and Kurobe steeling up the train. Then he heads to Gojirou who is having problems with the substation power. Haruto offers to help look for the root of the problem as Gojirou explains his secretive past. He was an employee of Mitsuboshi. Although the country funded them generously, the safety department experienced budget cuts. As a result, they outsourced this to third parties. All their personnel left the dangerous area. It was when he realized this country is a broken. The gears were already broken and he is part of it to let this accident happen because independent checks became less frequent due to cutbacks. He wonders if humans are worth saving. Haruto thinks they are because no matter how dangerous it gets, they don’t run away. He needs more brave people like him so there won’t be another accident again.

Although the power is back on, it is short-lived because a power pole just fell. Gennai and Kurobe rush to fix it. Meanwhile Kunikida shoots Haruto. Why is he going so far? Kunikida feels he has devoted himself to save the world and mankind. When the 1st Division was heading into the capital for a search and rescue, he wanted to find an old friend. It was Natsume who was then the Minister of Defence. When he is found, he sounded like a true hero that he can’t abandon his people but had to put the Prime Minister’s safety as priority. Once they left, they never came back. The government left the people and ran. Since the poor and brave get left behind, he doesn’t approve a future built on such disgusting sacrifices. Haruto argues why he didn’t do anything but watch like a ghost. It’s because he still believes in people. Kurobe comes by to check things and fires random shots. Kunikida orders the retreat. Haruto doesn’t want him pursued or hurt since he is only human. Kurobe tells the current problem and he sounds like as though he’s not going to make it. Gojirou don’t want him playing the hero and wants him on the train when the problem is fixed. Though the power is fixed, Kurobe and Gennai rush back to the train but the wind is going to catch up on them. They won’t make it back. Kurobe gives the last Aether drug to him but Gennai stabs it back at Kurobe instead. Kurobe carries almost-dead Gennai back. The train cannot start because the battery is not recharged. Just great. Now this sh*t. You can’t be serious. Because Kurobe is praying so hard that probably God heard him and started the train. Think they’re scot free yet? The pillar ahead is going to fall! WTF?! Is God enjoying screwing with them? Problem after problem. Haruto leaps out to hold it back despite heavily injured. He gets help from Kunikida in holding the pole. The train zooms past them and they can’t stop as the wind is picking up. Kunikida said Ibara called him a human despite his hideous face. He feels grateful to them because he can now die like a human. The wind engulfs them.

Episode 12
The Ozu sisters are already at the train station so Ibara and the rest have to keep them at bay before they destroy the train. Ibara wants them to surrender and come over to their side so they can treat their wounds. However Kanon refuses and accuses her of not knowing anything, the reason Coppelion were created. I know, I know. It’s that doll being manipulated thingy, right? The train is coming but they can’t let the sisters or the 1st Division close to the platform. Thanks to the trap set by Haruto set, Ibara fires at the ceiling to collapse it on Shion. Though she is strong enough to lift it up, however she loses her strength and crushed herself. Ibara is saddened by her death but has no choice but to jump on the train. The rest of the 1st Division also hops on. What? Change of heart suddenly? As they are approaching the Zone, Ibara orders everyone into the safety shelter (it’s going to be cram with all the animals). As she is wondering where Haruto is fooling around, she is told about his death. She breaks down and unable to continue. Aoi tries to bring back her spirit. Thanks to her, they gotten this far. Thanks to her smile, they got the courage to keep on living. So don’t be sad. Ibara feels better know and is going to break through the Zone by driving the train. Meanwhile complications arise in Ibuki’s labour. The baby isn’t coming out and she is in immense pain. Ayame deduces that something is hindering the baby to come out and it could be the umbilical cord wrapping around its neck. She needs Taeko to make a decision to save either the mother or child because the only way is by Caesarean and surgery in the hands of an amateur means only one may survive. Ibuki says she has already prepared for the worst and wants her to save the baby. However Taeko says she will save both since she did take up surgery classes before. The train heads into the Zone as everyone prays for the best. Thankfully they emerge unscathed. Gojirou hands over the bomb left behind by Haruto to Ibara. Taeko is still in the midst of surgery and assures the rest she is working to save both the mother and baby. Gojirou gets mad when he learns who Itsujirou is. Meanwhile Kanon pushes the slab off Shion. She is still alive. She would be dead if she was a normal human. Shion wants her to kill her because it is so painful. They’re going to drop dead without warning one day, right? So what differences would it make if she dies now? Kanon says she is lucky to feel pain. All she could feel is electricity flowing through her body and does not even know what pain feels like anymore. And so Kanon uses all her electricity power to revive the giant spider and chase the train. She’s one freaking mad lunatic…

Episode 13
Aoi makes a panic call back to Mishima for help but his assistant, Ibuse picks up. She doesn’t care if help arrives 12 hours late (if they start now, that’s how long it will take to reach them), just come! Eventually Mishima manages to get away from all the protocol so they can begin their journey to the old capital. Kanon’s body is taking a toll. Her electricity is draining her life and she’s vomiting blood. However she is prepared to die and feels the need to settle this once and for all. Once it’s over, she’ll die with her sister. Because there is nothing for them. They have no future in this place. Kanon latches the spider onto the train. A building is threatening to fall on the tracks. When Ibara gives the signal to hit the brakes, she fires the last bazooka shell left so that the water reservoir on the building top will ‘cool her down’. Unfortunately it did not break and sits nicely on top of the spider. Ibara is exhausted from that move. She almost gave up when she remembers Haruto’s special bomb. She throws it at the reservoir to explode, giving Kanon the ultimate shock of her life. Ibara reaches her hand to save Kanon but the latter wants her sister saved first. Aoi helps Shion in. Although she hates the sisters, she is through seeing people die. Once that is done, Kanon is going to kill herself as she views she has no right to get on that train. She jumps off but Ibara catches her hand. Kanon wants her to let go. She believes there is nothing good waiting for them. So what is the use of continuing to live? Ibara might not know that answer but at least she learnt something: They have become friends. And with this power of friendship, Kanon is pulled in and the sisters somewhat repent their actions and thank their saviours.

Gennai is on the last leg of his life. As promised, the train passes the part of town whereby the sunset causes everything to soak in beautiful crimson red. Gennai passes away peacefully :'(. Finally after all that hell roller coaster ride, Ibuki finally delivers a healthy set of twins! Mother is also fine. Wow, Taeko can be a delivery nurse. Everyone rejoice at the bundle of joy. Everyone arrives and meet Mishima’s rescue team. The 1st Division soldiers surrender themselves. Since no handcuffs were brought, I guess they just have to hop onto the helicopter. The Coppelion trio say their goodbye to the rest. Nosense gives parting advice to Aoi that she is an adult now and must get her act together. Wait a minute. The robot is crying? Before Ibuki boards the chopper, she hopes Taeko can be the godmother of the twins. Ibara takes the liberty to name the twins Riku and Sora. Ibuki finds the name lovely and hopes her babies will take a good look at this place. The place where they were born. The rest didn’t know that the Coppelion girls will have to continue their field trip in the old capital. They hope they can come visit them sometimes. They’ll always be waiting. And so the trio go back down to the ground and continue their search for others. I suppose the Ozu sisters too tag along.

World’s Biggest Tag, Hide And Seek!
Yawn… Oh my! Sorry, if that word made you conclude my sentiments for this anime. I don’t want to say that this series was a bore and a disappointment but it seems I share the same feelings with many of the viewers out there. At first when this show started, it had great potential. However as the episodes go by, it started losing its shine and in the end, it has this feeling that it failed to live up to its potential. You see, it was a great idea about sending genetically modified high school girls into the highly contaminated area to search for survivors. It’s like playing a big hide and seek game, right? However, you can’t be doing this for every episode, right? It gets boring and repetitive. So for the remainder 2/3 of the series, they turned it into somewhat a giant tag game. Yup. This ‘huge’ arc of the Coppelion trio running into the Ozu sisters becomes the bane of the series. Our heroes try to get away but the sisters and the remnants of the 1st Division are always on their tail. And so what do we get at the end of the cat and mouse game? Humans are safely brought out and the Coppelions return to the playground. What the heck? Nothing else explained. The big issues are still not resolved. Minor side characters that appeared previously ‘vanished’. You won’t hear of them again. Viewers these days have so high standards that we would have cursed for a better ending although we ourselves can’t come up with a better ending.

Although the devastating setting of a post nuclear Japan would make people think about the dangers of having nuclear power plants in their backyard and how a moment of carelessness and selfishness from dumb authorities can make millions suffer, the more important aspect of this show is the irony of the Coppelions who are sometimes more human than human themselves. Especially with Ibara who really gets to her nerve when she sees humans nonchalantly wasting their lives and not trying to live to the fullest. Coppelions may be clones or creations close to humans but despite all that, they can never be totally humans. That’s why they feel clashed and conflicted with their existence. It is as though they only live to die. That’s why they sometimes feel envy for humans who take things for granted because despite the real emotions they have, they don’t completely understand what it means to be human. Although I believe that they ironically understand what it means to be human more than us humans do. Thus Coppelions are like the chicken and egg situation. If not for this disaster, Coppelions would not have been born. It would have saved the world a great deal of anguish from the calamity. Because of the catastrophe, they now exist and have touched the lives of many and get to experience what it is being human. I wonder how many Coppelions are there actually in addition to the ones that have appeared here. So when they talk about that ‘graduation day’, could it be the Coppelions survived some sort of test and ‘qualify’ to go out there and to their deaths?

Because I read that the setting of this anime takes place 20 years after the nuclear meltdown disaster happened, it occurred to me how come there are still quite a number of survivors in the area. I mean, where do they get their fresh water and food supply from? Shouldn’t the water be contaminated? It doesn’t matter how high or low the radiation level because as long as it is contaminated, it is not safe for consumption. Sure, you can say that there are good people going around weekly to supply those stuck. But then again, Tokyo as painted here is such a big place, how can those people make their rounds in time? What about fresh air? Everyone is forced to wear the suits when they go out. Even in them, they have to beware the Zones. Besides, why wouldn’t the survivors just leave? I supposed with Tokyo being all abandoned, people like those with criminal records or with no place to go can call this their home and they have the freedom to do anything they want. The law doesn’t reach them here and if they go out back to society, it’s game over. Another thing that boggles me is how come animals can adapt to the place but not humans. I thought only cockroaches can survive a nuclear fallout. Trees are even growing! Unless of course it’s the Zone. But seriously, humans must be that weak as they can’t evolve and adapt like animals and trees. I suppose it’s to give us a convenient setting that Tokyo is a big ghost town rather than a big dead place. It gives much visual pleasure to see the green trees and some fauna amidst the rubble. Yeah. All man-made things are destroyed. Noticed that? Behold the wonders of nature!

The characters play an important role in trying to make this anime live up to its potential and although the Coppelions each have their own abilities and personality, it still somewhat feels it has fall short. Ibara as the leader of the rescue team is your typical serious and no nonsense when it comes to saving lives. She is kinder than any humans and puts the lives of others before anything else. I feel that Ibara is sufficient enough to go it alone and doesn’t really rely that much on her comrades. I’m not saying that she doesn’t but help from them is so miniscule that I don’t really remember them. Heck, most of the action sees Ibara as the action girl. Because Aoi seems to be like the joker and comic relief of the pack. Besides loving to eat, she loves whining and complaining. She is perhaps the most negative person in the series. But that is what makes her funny. She doesn’t do much and when she turned into a shut-in, she just earned herself the useless character award. The only grumble I have about her is her unexplained awakening. The anime did not explain about it and left it as a big mystery. Which of course left a bad taste in my mouth. If I had not read in summaries around the internet, my heart wouldn’t be at such an ease to know that awakening was some sort of her other split personality in which Aoi has no memories of when she is in this mode. Also why I considered Aoi as the most useless one is because among the Coppelion gang, she does not have any sort of powers. Or at least not shown in the anime. Again, I found out that later in the manga that she does have some power but suppressed. As for Taeko, because of the Ozu sisters arc occupying a big chunk of the series, she has been reduced to a mere labour nurse for Ibuki and her presence is confined to the safest room. So you see, without these 2, Ibara can pretty much get by all by herself, no?

The Ozu sisters were being made the antagonist of the series and they certainly have that insane and maniacal looks to play the part. After all, you can’t blame them for wanting to destroy mankind because it is this disaster that created them. Will you not lose interest to find out what your real purpose of existence is? Imagine this. If cows, chickens and pigs could understand humans and they learn that they are bred for consumption purposes, born to be slaughtered and fed to humans just because they occupy the top spot of the food chain, who would they feel? You’d definitely go on a rampage, right? You’re going to die so might as well bring down as many as possible. This is the case with Kanon and Shion. I think in actual fact all they wanted was just a place to call their own. They were so warped in their hatred that they lost sight of everything and thought they could ‘win’ by defeating Ibara. I guess fate was not on their side. In the end, the pros of living outweighs the cons of dying and I suppose to prevent any more deaths and cute high school girls from dying (only old people and handsome boys die XO), they made them survive. Whether they are officially part of Ibara’s team now is another matter.

At first I feel stumped how can a Coppelion like Haruto die when he gets engulfed in the Zone. I mean, no matter how high and dangerous the radiation level, Coppelions can walk in and out of it like as though they’re taking a stroll on a windy beach. Then I concluded, perhaps it is because Haruto has been injured so much, it takes time for his injuries to heal and in that point, his immune system must be weak and thus succumbed to the Zone. But then again, we are shown and believed to be dead because we didn’t actually see him die, right? There seems to be hints of some sort of relationship between Haruto and Ibara. The latter seems to care a lot about him and even got emotionally broken down after learning his death. They must have been real close. We would love to see some romance blossoming between the duo despite the gang in a crisis situation. Too bad they had to kill him off. What a bummer. He, like the Ozu sisters were averse to humans at first. Then after reuniting with Ibara, it seems that he softens his approach. Maybe that’s why the Ozu sisters ‘left’ him and doesn’t listen to him subsequently. Or else how did Haruto retain his Cleaners team in the first place?

The other amusing character goes to Nosense because just like Coppelions, he is more human than humans. Heck, this robot can even have emotions that humans don’t. He can feel for you. I don’t mind if the entire world is replaced with this kind of artificial intelligence because they do a much better job being humans. He becomes somewhat Aoi’s companion and perhaps her ‘sifu’ too. He is the one who brings Aoi out of the doldrums and imparts lessons of life. Ironic for a robot to do that, huh? I wonder what kind of programming and software was installed. The only reason why this robot is not joining Coppelions is because he has found his new purpose to become Ibuki’s twins’ babysitter. I hope he won’t be a substitute mother. Other characters are okay but lack any impact. Like Mishima is a strong person and he does show remorse and guilt for the disaster but because he is always not on scene and mainly communicating with Ibara via walkie-talkie, you won’t feel much about him. Kurobe, Gennai and Gojirou do have their part to play but it feels insignificant. Of course working together as a group as you can see it pays off. I believe Ibara and Haruto could have fixed things themselves if not by the fact that they can only be at one place at one time. Ibuki spends most of her scenes going into contraction and labour and partly to blame why Taeko’s appearance has been reduced. Ayame also ‘returned’ but that is just to give advice and guide Taeko on how to do her part. Otherwise, other saved humans like Miku, Shiba and Kamata once they’ve been rescued, they never come back. It is mind boggling that the 1st Division army was so bent on destroying the world. In the last minute, they changed their mind. I guess when you’re so close to death, you have second thoughts about it. Life is indeed precious. And while people are dying and trying to survive, Japan’s own Prime Minister and the other nations seem to be fooling around with high table talks and whatever useless conference that gets everybody nowhere. It just resonates like in the real world, huh? Make them get on the ground and do the rescuing themselves to see what it’s like. Then again, why would they?

My biggest complain about this anime is the colouring and the hue. If you have watched the anime K, then you will know what I am talking about. I am not sure if they want to portray this is what it looks like in a radioactivity area but heck, scenes outside the radioactive area also have this sort of feel. You see, the colourings of the scenes are so off that it is just, how should I put it, irritating. At certain scenes, everything can go shades of greenish or bluish. And then the next it may become purplish. It is like they ran out of colours while colouring one scene and then when they replenished that colour, they got too lazy to redo the colouring again and perhaps even decide to use up the rest of the newly replenished colour on the next scene. What the hell? It is like as though the art department is trying to screw with us and didn’t put enough effort to put more colours in the scene. It’s like they think they can pass it off with this ‘uniqueness’. I agree that while using such dull and drab colours would evoke the sense of gloominess and the devastation of the surrounding, however I feel like they were just plain lazy to put in other colours. Then again, it may be radioactivity interfering with everything. Not. Otherwise, the art and drawing are pretty cool and in some scenes, cell shading is done. They capture the devastation of Tokyo pretty well.

In the voice acting department, Kana Hanazawa as Aoi once again plays the kind of lively characters that makes them cute-cum-silly. Like Kobato or Lana in Freezing. Well, it’s better than those brooding yandere types. Haruka Tomatsu as Ibara is just like her strong willed female characters such as Shizuku from Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun and Asuna in Sword Art Online. The other casts include Satomi Akesaka as Taeko (Arsene in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Kenichi Suzumura as Haruto (Sougou in Gintama), Yui Horie as Kanon (Nanami in Valvrave The Liberator), Maaya Sakamoto as Shion (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Rikiya Koyama as Mishima (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Koutarou Nakamura as Gennai (Naoyuki in Clannad), Koutarou Nakamura as Oyakata (Kinzou Momoyama in Ginga E Kickoff), Mamiko Noto as Ibuki (Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo), Masahiko Tanaka as Gojirou (Ryuunosuke in Shaman King) and Masahi Nogawa as Nosense. Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Angela and they somehow remind me of her style as she sung the Shikabane Hime anime themes. The opener is the rock outfit Angel while the slow rock of Tokumade serves as the ending theme. The very weird thing of this ending theme is a part whereby she was saying her words very fast like as though she was rapping or they fast forward her lines. It gives off that WTF feeling. Or else it could have been a rather sad song especially if you listen to the meaningful lyrics of what it takes to remain as a human. The ending theme for the final episode, Bye-bye is a rock and doesn’t sound too bad since it tries to give off that feel good factor.

Overall, Coppelion as I have said has lots of great potential but the way the story was executed and many events and things not properly explained and as though they were made out for convenience (do you remember Yellow Cake? I thought that company would have some sort of impact in the series later on but unfortunately, that name was forgettable), it ends up being a big meltdown, oops, I mean letdown. Trying to put in some tear jerking dramatic moments didn’t help because you would feel pity of the situation the characters are in and not the anime in general. Everything was almost tragic despite they tried painting that there is hope amidst despair. Sighs… They could have ended this tragedy by blowing up the entire Earth, killing 99% of the human population and turning the world into a new ice age called the radiation age. Hah. Tragic. It will then indeed by a lonely planet for our Coppelion gang. Then there will born a new race of super humans and the start of a new chapter in the history of mankind. Absurd as it may sound but ironically that would have been a less tragic perspective and scenario for this series than how everything had turned out.

Gintama (cont.)

June 21, 2014

I know it has been over for a long time and this blog is very late but what the heck! I was slowly enjoying every bit of the second season of Gintama. It’s one of the very few long running shows that I wouldn’t mind it would go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever… You get the idea. Heck, I think this is the only show that I would want to continue forever. Even though long running anime series that have ended such as Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, I have a feeling that even if it starts up again, I will get bored of that too. Although Fairy Tail is still interesting, that similar feeling that it will no longer be exciting still worries me and hangs over my head. Need I even say about One Piece? That’s why with the return of Gintama, I was very much delighted. I get to laugh at all the nonsense (from mild to perverted, take your pick), watch all the action and cry at all the drama. This show has everything and a lot more that I could wish for. Now my only wish left is for it to run forever…

Time skip Arc
Well, 2 years have passed since the first season of Gintama ended. And what does Shinpachi find? Everybody has drastically changed and he is the only bugger who didn’t change. Even the unthinkable happened like Otae and Kondo got married. Some just leaves you WTF because Kyuubei and Katsura changed genders and are fighting to be the best transgendered around. Shinpachi is relieved that the only other person who hasn’t change is Hijikata. Just when they’re about to accept the changes, they realize some sort of pimple parasite has been affecting everyone. They go all out to rid of it and in the end, it is revealed that both of them too got parasites. The one who saved them, Gintoki is the only one who actually didn’t have a parasite.

Glasses Arc
Ayame’s glasses accidentally broke so Gintoki has to reluctantly buy her a new pair, much to his annoyance because that woman is acting like her perverted usual. In addition, the glasses are the wrong prescription but she treasures it because it’s a gift from him. This causes her to flop in her ninja missions and her superiors are sending in assassins to rid of her. She almost died and lying in coma. This has Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura along with Zenzou to protect her. But are the Yorozuya guys serious because they seem to be goofing off at critical moments. Don’t worry. Because the assassins themselves are pretty goofy. A guy whose ability is swapping pillows, an old guy who loves swapping tight t-shirts and a pair of twins specializing in some sort of snack. So when the real boss appears, cornering them with his assassins, Ayame revives and her new glasses turn her into some super powered super human glass mecha that kicks ass.

Kabukichou Four Devas Arc
A young girl, Pirako Chin is looking for the strongest man in Kabukichou. She thinks he is Gintoki and becomes his underling. Yeah. She is also here to turn this district into a garden of bright red flowers! Of course as revealed, she is the daughter of one of the 4 Devas of Kabukichou, Jirocho and wants to help him take over this town. At the same time, the 4 Devas are in a meeting and as suggested by Kada, call upon a truce and the first one to break it will face the wrath of the others. Otose is made a scapegoat that she has a bone to pick with Jirocho because they were once lovers. Otose’s late husband, Tatsugoro Terada was the police of this area and Jirocho the yakuza. Although both were enemies, they loved and protected this place. Their odd relationship made them also friends and fell in love with the same woman. Of course Tatsugoro won over Otose in the end and as Pirako theorizes the only reason Jirocho left his wife and daughter to come to this town is because he still cares for Otose. Otose is warned to leave this town. But while paying her respect at her husband’s grave, Gintoki sees her in her own pool of blood. He thinks Jirocho was the one responsible and becomes a demon to kill him. Because he made a one-sided promise to protect Otose after her husband’s demise. War is on the verge in this district since Otose is gone (at least lying in hospital). Saigo is forced to tear down Otose’s snack house since his young member is held hostage. But Yorozuya isn’t going to give up and did not leave town as warned. They stayed back to protect the snack bar. They received unlikely help from several other characters from the series. That MADAO guy, that fire fighter, that blacksmith, that hardboiled detective, that old guy who makes robots and even the host guys. Of course everything was a conspiracy by Kada to take over this town. Gintoki and Jirocho battle through Kada’s hordes of assassins to chase her away while the rest at Yorozuya team up with Saigo’s transvestites to deal with her army of assassins (Shinpachi, Kagura and Catherine rescued Saigo’s young lad thereafter). The final showdown between Gintoki and Jirocho ends up with the former in victory (of course). Kada thought she could launch a final attack to bring down everyone but was stopped by Pirako. There could have been a heart warming confession between Jirocho and Otose but since everybody was too busy trying to eavesdrop, it ruined everything. Jirocho gives up his title and everything and goes on a journey with Pirako as her father.

Jugemu arc
Kyuubei is tasked to train a monkey of the Shogun family. Because it doesn’t have a name yet, everyone chips in and it becomes ridiculously long. I salute to everyone who can say its name without screwing up! Yeah, it likes throwing poo too at Gintoki. Of course the monkey grows close to Kyuubei and when it is back in the Shogun’s nephew’s hands, it flees. Kyuubei’s members are forced to find the monkey or their reputation will suffer. The nephew then understood why it ran away and was jealous because he never had friends before and was happy to have this monkey as one. He gives Kyuubei to keep it and in return as favour, adds to its name. Like it needs another extra word to its already hard to pronounce and remember name.

Prison Arc
Gintoki gets framed and thrown into prison. The prison warden makes him the enemy while he somewhat strikes up an unlikely friendship with an old long time prisoner who is always writing to his son that he always looks forward to see. Then there’s this unlikely alliance with the local gang leader, Sachi too. Yeah. Gintoki becomes to new gang leader somehow. The warden wants to strike a deal with Gintoki. For his early release, he wants him to play the troublemaker role. Sure, he is going to do that but in his own way. When the prison is causing riot, Gintoki searches the warden’s office for proof. It is revealed the old man’s son died 10 years ago and the letters he wrote were never delivered. So who has been replying them all this while? The warden himself. He pretended to be the old man’s son to cover his death. So by causing havoc, this old guy’s clemency would be revoked and he can’t get out of prison to see his son. The warden gets beaten up by prisoners who have a grudge over his mistreatment but is rescued by Gintoki. Remember. If he makes trouble, he must set him free. When everything blows over, the warden quits his post and was ‘threatened’ by Gintoki to talk to the old man one last time. From the looks of it, the old guy seems to know it was him all along. Bad handwriting. And yeah. They’ll continue to write to each other.

Love Choris Arc
Shinpachi has been obsessed with his new simulation girlfriend lately. Momo. I guess this is what unpopular boys do when they can’t get a real girlfriend. Can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. He isn’t the only one. Even Kondo has Sayaka for company. So it is up to Gintoki to bring Shinpachi back or else he would have to face Otae’s wrath. In order not to have any character overlap, Gintoki gets the ugly and horrible Pinko. Why did they even make such character that always has a censor streak over her eyes? And all those who chose this character are weird sickos! Like Tojo and Ayame… Then there is this world tournament to see whose Love Choris is the ultimate wife. Gintoki’s only chance to break Shinpachi’s habit is to enter. See all the world class otaku losers there…  Shinpachi advances to the final with Momo while Sougou’s masochistic ways makes him to finalist for Sayaka’s route. No guesses for Pinko’s one. Just when everyone is putting down Gintoki and Pinko (seriously, are you willing to make love with this ugly b*tch with a dead child behind her back?), suddenly Pinko transforms into a super sexy beautiful and tsundere character!!! Shinpachi isn’t going to lose to Gintoki (Sougou is out seeing he became the S&M victim). And after all that love and illusion lecture by Gintoki and show them the kind of adult love to those virgins, sure, everybody breaks free from this illusion. Because they had enough after Gintoki strips down naked right on stage during his demonstration. Seen enough, haven’t we?

Renho Arc
Elizabeth goes missing and a place card was left behind not to look for her. And as revealed, Elizabeth belonged to a race that lost their world and is seeking to make Earth as their replacement home. He infiltrated this planet by being Katsura’s pet. Yeah, heavily Star Wars and Gundam parody arc. Dark Vader as the big bad boss? And how can you tell from one Elizabeth from another? Oh, the funny hairstyles… Also returning after a long time and helping out our heroes to prevent Earth being taken over is Kaientai led by Sakamoto and his deputy, Mutsu. As Renho Federation closes in on their plan, they drop rain that turns everyone into faces of Elizabeth. Can’t speak… While Mutsu tries to stall with her negotiations, the rest infiltrate the base and get engaged in some weird stuff. They eat video game cartridges? And there is the real Elizabeth who has been promoted. Then there are lots of other stuffs in between which I don’t remember about Elizabeth not really betraying both her homes but to protect what she considers precious who are no other than her friends. Oh, did I mention Elizabeth here has way more spoken dialogue in all of her appearing episodes combined? Every other army in Renho Federation turn against Dark Vader whose actually form turns out to be the entire planet of Renho. We have Gintoki and the rest combining into some mecha too to fight the equally huge Death Star. In the end, our heroes win, the Renho cast away their silly white duck suits (and they all turn out to be middle aged old men in underwear) to live freely. In order to protect his Earth friends, Elizabeth erases their memories. Something tells us they can’t really forget when they see the last of Elizabeth’s face as she departs with her Renho Federation. And then the ultimate revelation… That Elizabeth was just a temporary one and the real one just returned from a long vacation. Everybody beats up Katsura for the trouble they have gone through. But they saved Earth, right? So much about Katsura being a hero for once without being idiotic…

Ski Vacation Arc
It’s that Shogun again. Yeah. This time the gang are forced to look after him when he is here for the ski trip. Once more, the Shogun gets abused like as though it’s his destiny like getting kicked multiple times by Otae or being used as a human snowboard (dicks make good snow brakes?) After all those bloopers, they get lost in the snowy mountains and the Shogun goes missing. They have to organize a search and rescue party. Otherwise heads will roll. I guess with no Shogun as the punching bag, Kondo takes his place. And he has to search for him in his underwear in this worsening blizzard. The rest need to take care of themselves first and find a place of refuge otherwise they can’t find the Shogun if they’re dead. So when they finally find a cabin to take refuge, the Shogun is there but the insults towards him didn’t stop. It ends with big disaster when they argue how to keep the Shogun warm with their body warmth and he is pummelled out into the snow again. And although everything returns back to normal, the Shogun loves the snow so much that he is back again with a new skiing style. Going airborne and naked like a human snowboard?

Scandal Arc
After a night of heavy drinking, Gintoki finds himself in a very difficult situation. Did he have an affair with Otose, Otae, Ayame, Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and even Hasegawa?! Deep sh*t. He can’t even remember but is forced to take responsibility. Zenzou is willing to help him out but there is so many a guy can take because Gintoki has to live with them without all of them noticing! And they’re all living in the same place next to each other! That’s going to be tough even for a harem series. I don’t know how he put up with his schedule but it’s torturous. A good lesson why people shouldn’t be six-timing. And then he has to go on a date with all of them somehow all at the same time. It’s like God is screwing with his life and enjoying it. Zenzou manages to help out using fake dolls and thankfully enough, the dumb girls took the bait. Gintoki is forced to take over control of the dolls when Zenzou goes to the toilet. All hell breaks loose and the ladies realize they’ve been duped. Gintoki is tied to a tree for days. It made him realized. He was so worried about his own ass that he never thought about them. All this started because of that one moment of irresponsibility. He’ll quit drinking. With that confession, it turns out to be the biggest prank ever just to make him promise that! His expression is priceless! Worth it? Definitely. Everyone cooperate and teach him a lesson after he went on a rampage in his drunken state. Even after this prank, Gintoki is in no mood to drink ever again. Till he finds out from Hasegawa that he really did him over. Suddenly he rushes to the next store to get the strongest liquor he can find! Oh sh*t! Even with Hasegawa drinking so much to forget and he can’t, it could mean…

Host Club Arc
Kyoshiro is going to quit his host club because of a mysterious lady, Yagami who supposedly brings death if she ever visits a host club the second time. Since she did declare she will be visiting Takamagahara again, his other host guys have quit in fear and so Yorozuya and the rest need to find a way to handle Yagami when she arrives. They try recruiting others for the host job like the Shinsengumi, Otae and even Hasegawa but more importantly can they even be a proper host? Things get out of hand when Tsukuyo and Saigo’s people cause things to go out of trouble, putting Kyoshiro out of commission. Gintoki has balls shrink and wants to flee this joint but Yagami has arrived. No way out. Yagami joins the rowdy group of girls who doesn’t hesitate to ‘bully’ her. I guess everybody is drunk. The host guys are having a hard time cleaning up this mess when everything leads to chaos. Yagami then leaves even without seeing Kyoshiro. She clears the misunderstanding about the rumours. Because she has no place to go and have no friends, she goes from bar to bar. By that time, the rumours of her spread. Till she met Kyoshiro and his smile was different. It was for everyone and not just for her. She came back to see that smile again. Yagami didn’t have to leave empty handed. In fact, she was welcomed back to Takamagahara by Kyoshiro for the third time. This time she’s got everyone as her drinking partner.

Thorny Arc
Mimawarigumi is an elite police force joined by those from the elite. Thus the useless failure and troublemaker son of the noble family, Tetsunosuke Sasaki is sent to join Shinsengumi under Hijikata’s wing. A big pain in the ass at first but after encountering Tetsunosuke’s older brother, Isaburou who is the commander of Mimawarigumi and self-proclaim big fan of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata’s view change. After all, Isaburou talks bad about Tetsunosuke like he is a stain that ruins the family’s name. It’s odd that without those shades, Tetsunosuke looks like a clean cut cherry boy. He takes it upon himself to learn from Hijikata and do whatever he wants. Hijikata also remembers his own bloody past. He had a brother named Tamegoro whom he admired. One day thugs set fire on the village and Tamegoro lost his eyes while protecting him. Hijikata turned into a rampaging demon and slaughtered everyone. From that day he was known as Thorny and had to leave and couldn’t be with his brother. Hijikata tasks Tetsunosuke to hand a letter to Tamegoro and he promises to deliver it. At the same time, Isaburou hired Gintoki to infiltrate some gang planning to do some large scale terrorist act. This same gang was the bunch Tetsunosuke used to hang out with and he gets kidnapped by them. This sets Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi on collision course. The latter uses this excuse to wipe out Tetsunosuke seeing he has ties with the separatist and couldn’t care what happens to him or the terrorist while pinning the blame on Shinsengumi. This puts both sides against each other with Hijikata against Isaburou and Sougou fighting with Nobume, a deadpan female whose swords can cut through anything like hot knife through butter. It gets chaotic with Gintoki in the picture. Time to do things his way. Once Tetsunosuke is saved, the demons clash. The terrorists find it hard to escape as they are caught in between. Shinsengumi switches clothes with Mimawarigumi to cause confusion. Sougou-Nobume match ends with Nobume tricked into cutting all the pillars and the building crumbles. Shinsengumi makes a deal with Isaburou to call this a draw and avert the crisis. He has no choice. Tetsunosuke goes to complete his letter delivery mission at his grave only to see Tamegoro’s wife. Seems the brothers communicated via letters. Although Tamegoro is blind, he was always eager for his letters. That’s why she reads it for him. But they’re all blank… Probably all they want to know is if he is still alive. That’s all that matters. Actually, maybe it’s because Hijikata doesn’t know what to always write…

Other episodes:
Episode 204: Kagura has problems giving Gintoki and Shinpachi her Valentine’s Day chocolates and enlists Ayame, Otae and Tsukuyo to help out but they too are embarrassed to give their chocolates to Gintoki. I didn’t know this Yorozuya guy is this popular. And even though it seems that they won’t be able to hand it to them directly, eventually they leave it on their doorstep. Surprised to see 4 Valentine chocolates?

Episode 205: This is how Yamazaki ends up hating anpan for the rest of his life, which becomes a running joke for the rest of the series. He is supposed to do a stakeout on some Joi’s member who ran away with their money and is confident he will run into his sister. Every day, he eats the same anpan till he is sick of them. By the time he is hospitalized, it was just a trick to make him off guard. And when Yamazaki’s discharged, he gives them a taste of his anpan revenge. Also, Kondo seems to finally land a date with Otae! Is this true! However bad luck seems to be obstructing him but he won’t let it ruin his date. Finally a meteor is in danger of destroying Earth and he uses his batting skills to hit it away. The pint size meteor hits Otae’s face. Game over.

Episode 206: Catherine has a boyfriend? She is so in love that she turns into a beautiful woman! Who is this woman?! Because Otose seems like she doesn’t approve of it, Catherine elopes with him to start a new snack business as promised. However it was a ruse to dupe her of her money and she is left homeless and penniless. Till Otose comes to bring her back with her open arms and Gintoki goes to teach those swindlers a lesson that conning a woman of her money isn’t evil. He will show them what true evil means…

Episode 215: The only thing I remember about this episode is that Kada has gone senile, being imprisoned by the Harusame after her failed takeover of Kabukichou. There is also an unlikely alliance formed between Kamui and Takasugi.

Episode 216: Yorozuya puts up a ridiculous factory tour of the Patriot (whatever that is) for the kids. You think the kids really believe it? Especially with that tissue box being the main component of the Patriot (whatever the hell this thing is). Can’t blame the kids for giving Gintoki the biggest kick of frustrating when the factory tour turns into some sort of televised life drama. Wasted time but at least it was educational. Yeah. It was all crap!

Episode 217: Remember the Shogun? Yeah. It’s him again, Gintoki and Hasegawa being forced to by Matsudaira to take care of him at the pool without his identity being exposed. Expect all the constant abuses thrown at the Shogun as he tries to fit in. And his very elastic loincloth has the guys bowing down to him with respect…

Episode 218: Yorozuya fights over crab meat! Obviously it is Gintoki and Kagura who are trying all sorts of underhanded tactics to get a piece of the juicy crab legs, much to Shinpachi’s dismay. It becomes an all-out (exaggerated) war to get whatever crab meat left. In the end when everyone agrees to share the crab porridge, it tastes horrible so they get cheap crab flavoured snacks instead.

Episode 219: Kagura helps a guy who wants to be a human punching bag but you know with all those weirdoes around, you can’t help get disappointed. He won’t be getting his punch till finally he sounds like a pervert that will ‘help you forget the bad memories’. Enough to freak that guy out and land him a punch. There, he got it.

Episode 220: Hedoro’s family are visiting the public bath so Gintoki and the rest panic they have some sort of hidden agenda to take over Earth and go all out to give them a warm welcome. As the lie builds on and on, they find it hard to contain it and it involves beating them up, ripping their horns, smashing their heads, etc. And after all that good hospitality, they want to repay it by scrubbing their backs… You know how hard they scrub, right?

Episode 223: Katsura infiltrates Matsudaira’s family to find his weakness. However he ends up saving his daughter (whom Matsudaira is having strained relations with) when the building she is in is hijacked by terrorists. In the end, he somewhat patched up their relationship.

Episode 227: This was inevitable. Sket Dance crossover! They had to return the favour too. So we’ve got jokes about the cross-over seiyuus from both animes and since Gintoki and Bossun really want to be seen as the leader, they go all out forcing the rest in some scavenger hunt. Only the blockheads go all out against each other to grab some fruit that turns their crotch into hammer. Yeah. They got that eventually. Happy?

Episode 230: Kagura really wants a handphone so she could text to Gintoki and Shinpachi. Do they need this when they can just talk face to face? After everyone reluctantly gets a second hand handphone, Kagura spams everyone with text on just about anything. Annoying? Of course her handphone seems to belong to a killer and he wants it back as he has left some valuable information on it. Then the killer turns out to be a shy barber who had left messages he was never able to say for his late wife. It is until Kagura throws a ‘tantrum’ that it is them who aren’t able to say what they want (because she hasn’t received a singly reply from them) that they perhaps realize the importance of communication. Although they give the handphones back to the guy, they still keep the handphone straps and without saying, this makes Kagura happy.

Episode 231: An udon shop owner passes away and Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi attend his funeral. However only Gintoki and Hijikata could see his spirit! They’re trying to remain calm (but fail miserably) and try not to provoke his already restless soul (even failing more miserably). They have been reluctantly task to carry his coffin but it seems parts of him keep sticking out especially his dick. In the end, it was just the dead man’s pleasure to have a fun filled funeral before he passes on to the next world. These guys are always so fun, no? And as his last reward, he lets them have their favourite udon bowl. Savour every last taste of it.

Episode 243: A manga magazine is being put in charge of a difficult manga. All previous editors have gone crazy and being locked up. In order to be assigned to another manga, he needs to find a new artist but none of them inspired till he meets… Gintoki and Sachi! It becomes retorting hell for this editor due to their crazy manga drawing and story. Big shoulder pads? In the end he goes insane and gets locked up too. Anybody would if they had to put up with the duo’s nonsense.

Episode 248: Who wants to be a MADAO-naire?! A chance for penniless middle aged guys to get 10 million Yen! Hasegawa is about to get that chance. A big parody of Slumdog Millionaire, we see how past events of Hasegawa’s life lead him to answer every question correctly. The ironic part is how each correctly answered question, it digs up a traumatic past Hasegawa doesn’t want to remember! Yeah, he was a poor soul even back then getting bullied and mistreated by kids but a kind girl looks up to him because it reminded her of her debt ridden dad who ran away. She remained positive and cheerful while living with him in the streets till she contracted an illness. That’s when Hasegawa entered this game show to win and clear her debt. The organizers think he cheated and try to put in tough nonsensical questions even a newspaper article that came out today! But Hasegawa could answer them all simply because all the questions were related to him. Especially the final answer that asks about that girl’s name! Hasegawa used the lifeline to tell her to live happily. Just when he thought he had cleared her debt, he found out that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now he is told to hurriedly get the rest of it. This sucks… Why? Because he’s a MADAO!

Episode 251: New Year’s Day episode. Gintama bought a curse kotatsu because once you sink in, you can’t leave. And you’re going to feel very lazy about doing anything or moving about even if something you want is just inches out of your reach. It’s the universe underneath! Don’t ask! Just accept it! With everyone except Shinpachi balding and talking like old men, Shinpachi is reduced to retorting hell over their idle chatter as more and more character drop in to share the kotatsu. Finally when everybody wants to relax for good, they realize it is too crowded and not enough space. They start fighting with each other till the kotatsu is destroyed. Everyone returns to normal (complete with hair) and has no memories but Shinpachi has turned into a bald old man, too tired to just end it with a retort.

Episode 252: Even the final episode of the season is not spared. It turns out to be a random episode with the theme of apologizing to viewers and everyone to whom they have offended or made fun out during the entire run of the Gintama series. You’d feel there is no sincerity in it since every apology seems like adding more offense to everything. Gintama style. In the end, they have to admit that they can’t give up the dirty jokes. Because we love them too! Hell, yeah! Gintama forever!

Enchousen

The third season began 6 months after the second season ended. And it couldn’t be more welcoming for a person like me who still loves this show many years down the road. I’m sure they had their reasons in not making it continuous (like they ran out of materials from the manga) or they just like to play pranks and screw with us viewers like they always do. But this Enchousen season slightly differs. Although it only ran for 23 episodes, half of it are rerun episodes from the first season! I’m in a dilemma to whether to call it a bad move or not because although those rerun episodes are picked from one of the funniest standalone episodes and it was good to watch some of them again and remember those laughs (yeah, that Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung was one of the best ones), it wasted some time when they could have put in more materials or at least funny fillers. The only thing ‘added’ was the gorilla creator seen lazing around instead of completing his work and the announcement of the Gintama movie in 2013. Or some pain-in-the-ass teasers-cum-excuses why the second movie is being delayed to summer. Because to coincide with the end of the TV series. HOLY WHAT?! The TV series ends for good???!!! Otherwise, sometimes I feel these reruns are like fillers in between the arcs of this what I believe is the final season in the Gintama series! Gasp! NO! I want it to run forever like Naruto and let that ninja show be the one who ends! And so, just when Gintoki thought he had gone AWOL for 6 months and could return with some excuse that will have his comrades forgive him, an unexpected new hero that has taken over the show…

Kintama Arc
What’s this? A new cool blonde guy, Kintoki Sakata has taken over the show?! This is what you get for being absent for so long. To add salt to injury, everyone in town doesn’t remember Gintoki and this Kintoki guy is a true hero whom everybody loves. He’s got the looks. He’s got charisma. He’s even got the money! Oh sh*t! The perfect hero whom everybody admires indeed! Even the 60 volumes of DVDs, all replaced with Kintoki’s face! Including this season’s opening and ending themes! Did Gintoki ever exist? Was it all only his imagination? Does Gintoki have a place left? What is happening? It seems only Tama and Sadaharu aren’t affected by the hypnosis. Robots and animals not affected, I guess. As revealed, due to Gintoki’s irresponsible ways, Shinpachi and Kagura requested Gengai to create the ultimate robot that covers every flaw that Gintoki has. So now the trio will have to work to regain everyone’s memories but it will be tough because they keep screwing up and Kintoki is always on scene to fix it. It makes Gintoki look like the bad guy, huh? A pretend suicide by Ayame becomes the turning point. When Gintoki dived down to save her, he knew his fellow pals will come to save him. Their body reacted on their own. They can’t explain it but suddenly they felt they might have seen this guy somewhere before. Tama wanted to settle this herself but got busted by Kintoki. Kintoki then frames Gintoki that he was the one who hurt her friends and wants everyone’s help to track him down. This puts Gintoki’s pals in a bind. They feel something is not right but have no choice but to seek him out. Gintoki is forced to put up the biggest fight in his life as everyone in town is now against him. But when Gintoki saves them instead of fighting them, they become all the more confused. With the final showdown with Kintoki at hand, everyone surprises this blonde dude and goes against him. The bonds they had with this silver idiot go deeper than any memories, eh? Although Kintoki can still hypnotized lesser skilled people (read: unimportant extra background characters), he can’t mesmerize the likes of Ayame, Tsukuyo, Kyuubei, Katsura and even Hasegawa. Kintoki reveals his true objective wasn’t to spread his influence throughout the world but to end this anime! Gintoki doesn’t give a damn and beats him up and going to do hara-kiri with him. He is not afraid of the show losing a main character because every idiot in this show is the main character! Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae reconcile with him before Gintoki vanishes…

Mantama Side Arc
What do you get when you don’t have gold or silver anymore? You’ve got this ditzy girl called Mantama in a brand new story and anime of her own! Even her own opening theme! And so it goes that Mantama and Kintoki made some promise to meet each other in the future before the former’s demise. In a world where some strange tower that causes every man’s dick to fall off, Kintoki is the only guy left with the ‘sword’. Other guys become transvestites. He’s the object of every girl’s dream but he only cares for one person whom he made a promise before they were born. And then it’s like destiny. This Mantama-look-a-like becomes a transfer student. But a series of mishaps that involve abusing Kintoki’s ‘sword’ before Mantama truly reunites with Kintoki in class. Turns out it is everybody in Gintama in disguise! Is this their way of getting back at him? Gintoki doesn’t care what happens to him but Shinpachi and Kagura beg for him to be spared and will go around apologizing to everyone. Kintoki realized he was so busy trying to change others that he didn’t realize others were changing him. So is he going to be a follower of silver now? But whatever it is, it’s welcome back Gintoki!

Courtesan of a Nation Arc
Yoshiwara had a famous courtesan named Suzuran. But like everybody else who grows old and hagged. Well, you know what I mean. Just like many women and men who come here to make a dream that lasts for one night, Suzuran has been waiting for that one man to come fulfil that promise. For how many moons has she waited… Yorozuya with Tsukuyo go to find that irresponsible guy and he turns out to be the previous Shogun, Sadasada. How can you easily get into the Shogun’s palace? Easy. Kagura seems to be the best friend of the Shogun’s niece, Soyo. I guess girls will be girls. Not even her personal servant, Rotten Maizou could line her in. Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi are also hired to guard the palace since it is under martial law as lately somebody has been attacking important bakufu officials. Eventually when Tsukuyo gets the chance to ask Sadasada about his promise with Suzuran, turns out this evil bastard was just using her to kill off those against him during his rule. Isaburou gets in injured in the retaliation. Yorozuya, Tsukuyo and Nobume are thrown into prison with the Shinsengumi tasked to execute them by daylight for trying to kill the Shogun. Not until Soyo’s heart breaking story about a certain courtesan and Shogun retainer’s tragic love romance got their ass moving. Maizou and Suzuran fell in love with each other and they made a promise to meet each other. However Sadasada found out about this and ordered him to kill her the next time they meet. As an act of loyalty, Maizou got an arm cut off. Because of his position, Maizou couldn’t go meet Suzuran and had to live with the regret of breaking the promise because if he did, he must kill her. Everyone who heard the story prefers to become wanted criminals to attack and seize this country for the sake of an old woman.

Gintoki is faced with an old foe during the Joi war: Oboro, an assassin and leader of the Tensho and part of the Tendoshu organization. Gintoki could have died from his poison needles till Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi show up to assist. Even Kondo and Shinsengumi join in the fray. Not to mention the entire police force led by Matsudaira attacking against the palace! Wouldn’t this be amounting to treason? Well, the only guy who could summon the entire police force is him: The current Shogun: Shigeshige. He orders his palace guards to stand down and hopes to make it up to Maizou for all the years of his service. Sadasada is still confident he can get out of this scot free and not being judge. But he may need to wait longer till Gintoki finishes his rematch with Oboro. Spurned by the death of his beloved teacher, Shouyou Yoshida, Gintoki gets the much needed strength to defeat Oboro. Tendoshu arrives to pick up Sadasada to ‘judge’ him but Shigeshige resigns as Shogun to take responsibility and drag his uncle down to hell. Eventually his resignation has been rejected and his position reinstated although most likely he has just become an interim ruler since there is something brewing between the Hitotsubashi faction and Tendoshu. Also because, Sadasada who has been imprisoned is killed by Takasugi probably trying to avenge the death of his teacher too. Oboro lives and reports back to the Tendoshu council. He notes their true enemies are the students of Shouyou. Lastly, everyone sets up so that Maizou could go see Suzuran one last time and fulfil their promise before she breathes her last breath.

Beam Saber School Arc
Gintama must really love the Star Wars franchise. Yup. It’s going to pay ‘homage’ again to it in this arc. The ‘big brother’ of Shinpachi and Otae’s dojo who was supposedly dead in a blast when he decided to travel to outer space many years ago, suddenly returns. He is Hajime Obi or simply known as Obi One. Uh huh. You read that right. Coincidence that Hajime means first or one? Though, he is half cyborg and this machine part is keeping him alive. Also, he has become some super sword master throughout the galaxy with his beam saber technique of his. And so it’s nostalgia once more for the siblings because you know, he was a cool big bro and perhaps Otae’s first love. Did I hear that right? His return and vow to help rejuvenate the dojo with his beam saber technique of course sends jealousy bells ringing to Kondo and Kyuubei who view him as a threat to Otae. And now for the conspiracy part. You know those little green Jedi masters? Yeah, they’re the antagonist now. Clad in balaclava, it seems Hajime is a weapon they sent down to Earth because Earth banned some beam thingy that they produce. So now when the conditions are right, the cannon embedded inside Hajime will activate and thus a sign Earth has declared war on the galaxy. That’s when Gintoki comes into the picture to bring the real Hajime back and not this evil Kenofi (Kenobi?) persona or kill him off. As usual, it has got to be Shinpachi who has to overcome and deal with this to move forward. He finally deals the finishing blow and Hajime is proud Shinpachi has grown stronger. Before his demise, he fires the cannon back at those Yoda bastards, who also fire their beam to destroy him. In the end, they destroyed each other. Lots of drama, lots of tears but the important thing is to keep smiling. Even if you’re crying.

Episode 265: ALERT!!! FINAL EPISODE!!! They finally made Sadaharu the star of this last episode. Due to no jobs, this means no money and no food. Heck, they even had to share dog food! Because of that, Sadaharu leaves Yorozuya and despite his stomach growling, he meets an abandoned stray puppy. He takes it upon himself to take care of him as several characters in the show try to take him in but the dogs have to leave since Sadaharu knows he’ll be dead meat if he continues to stay under these sickos. Food is already a major problem and the puppy is sick. Sadaharu is forced to catch and steal fish from every source (no matter how ridiculous). But the puppy’s condition worsens and the hospital isn’t going to take in some stinky dog. He feels bad that Yorozuya is looking for him and Gintoki knows what’s going on. He is on a job from several neighbourhood women who wants him to catch the stray as they fear it may spread disease to other dogs (its owner who is a dog lover died). And leave it to Gintoki’s way to rescue the day and teach Sadaharu a valuable lesson the hardship of having someone in care. Also as a family, they share the good and painful times together. Everything ends well, they get treated in a vet and the puppy is adopted by the dead owner’s relative. And everybody shares the same dog food… Is that what being family is all about?

Platinum Soul
Good things must come to an end… I think I’ve said that before but I guess this time is for real. No word has been said about another season or continue this ridiculous and hilarious series because if you are a seasoned Gintama viewer and know all their ‘dirty tricks’ of trying to troll you, they’ll be back, right? Only this time, they aren’t! It’s really the last episode and the last season! Boo hoo! Why can’t this show go on forever unlike some blonde ninja or pirate with stretchy limbs? Or why can’t it take a hiatus like Fairy Tail and then come back again? Oh wait, it did that once. Why not do it again? I am sure that there are lots of other silly stand alone episodes and interesting arcs that are not animated. Stupid lazy gorilla. Get off your fat furry ass and do more stories. Hah. Blaming somebody is always easier.

This anime has not lost its touch of comedy, action and drama. Everything that you are familiar with the Gintama series are still retained here. Especially the jokes. From making gags that purposely break the fourth wall (that includes scolding, criticizing and insulting their own production crew) to blurting out copyrighted brands (but with a bleep and censor over it) to disgusting but humorous pervy jokes, intense retorts, shameless parodies and witty one-liners that will either have you cringing in disgust or laughing too hard that your stomach hurts. Those who watch Gintama will be familiar with the roller coaster ride of emotions that they put viewers through. One minute it can be all funny nonsense, the next it suddenly turns into an emotional melodrama that will tug some heart strings, you get emotional and want to cry, then suddenly something silly disrupts it all and you’ll be laughing like mad again. Yeah. You may go hysteria while watching this if you are emotionally unstable. But I loved it. Some scenes happen so fast that you haven’t got time to explain to yourself why you’re laughing one second and then sobbing in the next.

For both seasons, I still feel that there is the lack of the major parts of the series’ real antagonists. I thought at least somewhere within the season, they will dedicate another arc for Takasugi and Kamui. Heck, it was just one stinking episode that didn’t really get us anywhere except the fact that they made an alliance. Even there are some juicy and interesting bits about Nobume who once had some sort of connection with Oboro. Alas, we didn’t get to see anything more than that so in this sense it was a little disappointing. Big powerful villains with an equally tragic past with Gintoki didn’t really make an overall impact in the direction of this series? However this doesn’t really dampen my spirit and my overall feel good factor for this series. Because sometimes I think it is best for this show to have comical standalone nonsensical episodes that will make us laugh out loud till our tummy hurts. Yup. I think that would be the best. Perhaps that is what the movie is for? I don’t know and I can’t say since I didn’t go watch it.

Every other character has their good and bad points but this is what makes them quirky and memorable. Some become the butt of jokes and ‘whipping boy’ of the series like Katsura and his stupidity makes you wonder if he can lead his rebel Joi faction to victory. And you thought that the Renho arc would have gave him some sort of redemption but unfortunately like many other characters, they stay the same as they are in the end. Another character ‘beaten up’ left, right, up, down, centre and everywhere is Hasegawa. He has become synonymous with MADAO and nobody pities his homeless or pitiful state. Kondo is another one since he is frequent to stripping naked, being taunted as a gorilla and beaten up by Otae whenever he becomes a stalker. For Yorozuya, Shinpachi is glasses, Kagura the violent and blunt brat and Gintoki the big guy, big man, big brother of everything. He’s got so many sides from being a joker to a lazy person and to a kind person who will protect those dear to him, seemingly so perfect yet so flawed, I suppose that is why he is the series’ main character. You will love and loath everything about him. That’s what makes him cool. Other usual characters are still identifiable with their odd traits like Otae’s disastrous cooking, Sougou’s sadism, Hijikata’s mayonnaise obsession, Kyuubei’s aversion to a man’s touch, Tsukuyo’s low alcohol tolerance and Otose’s heavy smoking. Only ‘new’ to the bizarre personality is Yamazaki’s anpan obsession which has of course become a running joke each time he appears.

Besides the jokes, drama and characters, the action scenes are quite okay. It may not amount to be the best fight scene ever because this is Gintama, it is a mix of everything so you can’t have the best of every genre that it mashes in. It’s fun and exciting to see Gintoki take up his wooden sword as he go head to head with the big bad villain of the arc as well as the rest of his other pals in action. But eventually Gintoki is the main character so he has to be the one having his final fight with the final boss, right? There are going to be lots of blood spilled when the fight gets intense or reached its climax so if you are the kind who is faint-hearted, you might squirm at the sight of seeing the characters vomiting blood from taking the impact. Heck, you shouldn’t be watching this series if you are faint-hearted as the jokes can be really outrageous. The art and drawing are still good and consistent with the first season so there are no complaints from me on this department.

As usual, a variety of opening and ending songs greet and close this series. Mostly the themes are rock based. Some are memorable but some just didn’t get my attention. If I had to pick the best theme for both these seasons, personally it would be Samurai Heart (Some Like It Hot) by Spyair. This rock theme is quite befitting the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc. Tougenkyou Alien by Serial TV Drama (yes, that is the name of this Japanese band) is crazy enough to get you into the insanity world that is of Gintama. Sometimes it makes you want to go “Dah! Dah! Daaaaahhhhh!”. And that opener with those crazy troll face smiles… Classic. Wonderland by Flip is one of the 2 songs that isn’t actually rock based but more of hip hop. It’s like going through a Gintama trip of nostalgia as we see main and supporting characters from all the Gintama episodes, arcs and seasons making their one shot cameo appearance. Trying to say goodbye? The other non-rock song is Moonwalk by Monobright. No, this isn’t a tribute to Michael Jackson and in fact it sounds like an opera tenor singing to an oldies rock ‘n’ roll tune.

Well, I don’t know if Gintama will be animated with more seasons in the future. It’s like telling me to go read the manga which is still ongoing. Heck, I prefer to watch something than read. Although Gintama is not perfect and may not be suitable for everybody, this is one series that mixes up everything and comes out on top without screwing up everything. Heck, even if it did screw up, they can even make a joke out of it or come up with some funny excuses and we will still accept it. But it will be unforgivable if they do not come up with more episodes because I don’t mind waiting for a year or two. Or maybe even in 5 to 10 years. Oh please. Don’t say it’s really over. Screw your production budget and tight schedule. I want more Gintama! I think I know what kind of answer Gintoki will be giving me. Sure, you’ll get your Gintama sequels… Coming real soon, in the year 2114! I’ve been had. Here’s my crazy troll face smile for you! 

Koroshiya-san

June 20, 2014

Hitman. The word brings dread to many because we all know that their best ability and job is to take other people’s life. Serious. Silent. Stealthy. Deadly. But some aren’t as stern as we think they are. Take for instance, Koroshiya-san. He is considered the best hitman in town and takes up any request to kill and will kill anything. You have somebody you want to kill, he kills for you. However… He spends most of his time ‘killing’ other things like a kid’s homework and housekeeping. Uh huh. And so this short anime that lasts only 3 minutes each tells the comical ‘assignments’ that our hitman has to undertake. And true to part of the synopsis, “… Though he does not aim to, he also never misses the laughter”.

Episode 1
Hitman just killed his target. He needs to wipe clean all of his tracks including his footprints and fingerprints. However seeing how dirty this place is, he starts cleaning the entire house! Clean freak! And when the detectives do their investigation, they know it’s the same guy… A little boy wants to be Hitman’s disciple. He thinks about it and is okay with thoughts of being the number 1 killer, number 1 big brother, etc. But when he thinks about being number 1 old man, he strangles the kid! Short of killing his Apprentice, that is. Hitman takes a haircut but the barber misinterprets the style he wanted and cuts him a Russian hairstyle.

Episode 2
Apprentice is told to get over here within 10 minutes. Not a second late. For he is testing out a new timer system in which if he doesn’t, Hitman will die! Stuck inside a giant hourglass? Hitman thinks he can handle the red light district. But he splits after his ‘first experience’. Hitman finds Apprentice has thrown away a notice about his school’s Parents’ Day. He doesn’t have any parents. Hitman will be his parent since he is his guardian. So here he is on that day, even becoming his father during visitation days and ends up as the next president of the PTA! Hitman tells Apprentice that when he receives a job, he must do it and kill whoever regardless if the target is his parents. But his parents are dead. Oh… Hitman feels sorry for asking. Apprentice asks about his parents and he complains about his dad’s lecturing and mom’s worrying and cleaning his room without consent. Then there’s the arranged marriage too… Apprentice takes it as he is living with them.

Episode 3
Before Hitman kills his target, the latter wants to hear his signature phrase. He regrets asking because it is to be a hitman that is loved by everyone. Hitman writes in the sand the kanji word for kill. He thinks he is a cool headed killing machine till a woman goes up next to him and writes massacre. He starts feeling the shivers. A guy tries to hire a hitman but it seems they are busy and fully booked till August. Even Hitman is busy doing homework! What gives?! Damn those kids for dumping their summer homework on those hitmen!!! Do them yourself! Hitman is about to kill somebody but he chants some strange spell to conjure some RPG-like sword!

Episode 4
Hitman talks to his fellow colleagues that if they are caught, they’ll be given the death penalty and need to find a country where capital punishment is abolished and will be able to live as prisoners. He writes the kanji of prisoners in a cute way and his colleagues are swooning over it. Hitman and his buddies are in a standoff. They think the other shouldn’t be on their turf. Turns out they are cleaning the bathroom and end up fighting each other! Killing each other with cleaning products?! The woman who hired them just doesn’t know what to do. Yeah. Assassins + cleaning products = dangerous mix. Hitman talks to his buddies against about the meaning of the police to them. It brings the topic of Sakurada Gate in which Hitman changes its intonation to some musical score. They like how cute it sounds.

Episode 5
Revenge Girl trains hard so she can avenge her father’s death. When she walks by Hitman, he wonders if she has come to kill him again. When she says she is going to the store to get some vegetables, he misinterprets it as going to get some sex education. Revenge Girl feels cold around the knees since her skirt is short. An English speaking foreigner asks her if she is cold so she blurts out in English that she wants a low skirt. Revenge Girl again faces off with Hitman. He wonders if she has something to cut other than him. Noting her long hair, she explains she hasn’t cut her hair and let it grow since her father died by his hands 6 years ago. She won’t cut it till she gets her revenge. She starts getting emotional and yells out about no cuts, no changes and no leaking and this causes Hitman to think perverted thoughts.

Episode 6
Hitman and Sergeant are good penpals? I don’t know. The pigeon carrying an assassination note arrives late so they write a letter apologizing about it and such. Do they really know who the other is? We see all the hitmen lining up on a sushi conveyor belt. Why? So customers can pick which one they want as their plate corresponds their price tag! There is something wrong with this system… When Hitman writes the word ‘kill’, putting it sideways makes it look like a face of an old man. When Apprentice wonders how long till he becomes a hitman, Hitman writes 63342. I don’t get this part. Is this some expenses or word play?

Episode 7
Hitman just finishes off his target so the latter puts a curse on him. Hitman takes him seriously and thinks he is done for. Even the victim thinks he shouldn’t give up so easily. Hitman and Sergeant so happen to shop at the same store. Their hands touch each other when they try to get the same thing. Under the hand of the law? So gay… Hitman is about to kill somebody via slow death but since he doesn’t know how long a silk floss should be, he takes his time ordering it and once the package arrives, they can’t resist the temptation of enjoying the soft silk floss. When will he do him in? Don’t worry, he has all the time in the world… Hitman and the victim are dressed up as animal mascots at the children’s amusement park. Sergeant is there too in a suit and wants to bring them both in. Of course it won’t be that easy so the trio start killing each other. The kids view this as the best entertainment ever! Awesome!

Episode 8
Goro the police dog tracks the scent of Hitman to his hideout and will ambush him. He fell asleep but when he wakes up, finds a bowl of food. Goro thinks he has become domesticated. Following Hitman’s footprints in the snow, he also senses cat tracks. When both footprints meet and the cat one goes missing, Goro couldn’t believe Hitman may have carried the cat in his arms. When Goro is faced with Hitman, he panics. Never had such experience before, eh? Hitman is going to drop something on him but it turns out to be a flea cleaner. Goro feels Hitman has been watching him like a stalker. Suddenly Hitman attacks and tickles him! He likes dogs, doesn’t he?

Episode 9
Hitman tells a woman if she truly wants him to take out this man. It reminds him of how he let Apprentice cut some sealed pages in a porn magazine for him. He hints to her the more she wants something to be taken care of, the less satisfying it is when it’s actually done. She understands. Hitman remembers the disappointment after looking at the unsealed page. A fortune teller knows Hitman wants some control and can make it come true for him. Turns out he wants control over the amount of additives in the foods he buy. Hitman and Apprentice eat popsicles after helping a lady to clean up her house and take out the trash.

Episode 10
Sergeant gets a taunting call from Hitman so he warns no matter where he is, he will be right on his tail and grab it. This makes Hitman think about the human tail bone which is in the butt and calls Sergeant a pervert! On another night, another taunting call. Since police and hitmen can never understand each other, they start making comparisons of things that are a total opposite of each other. Day and night, water and oil, light and shadow… Yeah, it becomes like some sort of competition to outdo the other. Adam and Eve… S&M… It lasted till morning. Running out of ideas? Sergeant soon takes a trip to start anew. He ends up at a lake named Yashiroko. But reading it in reverse reads as Koroshiya (hitman) and he starts flustering he can’t get over him!

Best ‘Cleaners’ In Town…
Argh… He really got me. Strike right in my heart. Yeah. Hitman’s antics make him look more like a joker than a killer so it is no wonder that I couldn’t help myself from laughing hard at certain scenes although there are a handful of short funny skits that I don’t really understand. But overall, this ‘funny guy’ really has the skills to ‘kill’ you by making you laugh. Like how Hitman’s best skill is cleaning. Yeah. Cleaning the house and not the bodies. Therefore I can’t complain if the comedy here kills me. I’d be laughing to death. However due to the short duration nature of the anime, it won’t end up as epic mega comedy animes like Gintama or even Kill Me Baby (another anime that features a hitman). So in this sense, sorry Hitman, you failed to kill me.

This series had some potential especially the characters but of course the duration doesn’t allow anything to be fleshed out properly and you take what they have to give all packed in that 3 minutes of silliness. Actually, only 2 minutes of it since the first minute is dedicated to the ironically named rock piece opening theme, The End by Mix Speaker’s Inc. It’s odd to see Hitman’s relationship with Sergeant and it makes you wonder if they really know who the other is. I can imagine the shock and dumbfounded manner they will break in when they do. Now that we know Hitman is an animal lover especially dogs, I wonder how this will impact on Goro. Can the canine do his job properly? Other characters like Apprentice and Revenge Girl do have their potential but limited screen time means Apprentice is reduced to just his sidekick and Revenge Girl serves more of a fanservice role.

The animation style seems to be like that of those using Flash but it doesn’t suck that bad and the characters do look decent. However it is far from looking great and as I read several few comments on this series, many didn’t like the artwork and aren’t too fond that the anime is like a bad adaptation from the yonkoma manga that it was adapted from. Since I didn’t read the manga, I can’t say. Though, I won’t say that this would be one of the greatest anime or even entering my top 500 list (that bad, huh), I would still give it points for managing to make me laugh. Even if some call the jokes boring and those who watch this is just to kill time. Maybe it’s because I’m dumb and simple. Maybe it’s because there is no plot whatsoever to drive this anime forward. I don’t know about others but if hitmen were this funny instead of scary, I’d love to hire them to be clowns at my nephew’s birthday party and then cleaning up right after it’s over.

Love Lab

June 15, 2014

Imagine if love was only that easy. You won’t need to be embarrassed with screw ups or feel the pain in your heart if you ever get rejected or dumped. Love is a natural process part of life but that doesn’t mean we all know what to do about it in such nail biting and do-or-die moments. That’s why we need some sort of class to learn and experiment with love and hook up with the opposite sex. Folks, welcome to Love Lab. A special class where you get to learn different approaches and tactics on how to nail that guy of your dreams.  At least, this is what a group of girls in this anime are trying to do. Doesn’t it show that they are desperate to get a guy? Doesn’t it show that they are just losers because they are already in high school and they have yet to get one? Oh, did I mention that they are in an all-girls’ high school? Probably that answers why they’re feeling deprived. Well, at least they are being straight normal girls rather than turning yuri. Yeah. I prefer it that way. However as you know, things in love don’t really go according to plan so there’ll be ups and downs, hilarious and embarrassing moments just to get a boyfriend. And they have to do this interesting lesson in secret without letting the school know. You don’t want your reputation to be downgraded to a slut, right?

Episode 1
At the prestigious Fujisaki Girls’ Academy, the girls are particularly swooning over Riko Kurahashi since her tomboyish nature makes her the slick badass of the school. There is also the student council president, Natsuo Maki who is pretty and gets top grades. Enough to skip a heart beat or two. Or perhaps even more. Riko has studied so hard for a year and yet she feels bored. She wants to see some exciting stuff. She gets her wish when she was told to take documents to the student council room. She sees Maki kissing a hug pillow of a boy (let’s call him Dutchy). How do you explain that? Practising kissing? Maki becomes embarrassed that her life is over. Is she brave enough to kill herself? There’s always the other option… Bribe her with tea? Riko promises not to tell anyone and that she too has done something similar. Maki gets the wrong idea that she is experienced (because she was boasting about it) and wants her help in love lessons. The bread in the mouth cliché didn’t work because Riko almost get killed by Maki’s speed. Maki really thinks she is a love expert from the way she gives her ‘advice’. In truth, either the boy confesses to her he likes her best friend or they see her as a friend whom they can easily talk to. Maki thought her troublesome role is done for the day but the next day she is surprised to see that Riko will serve as an advisor to the student council president. Here’s the exciting life she wished for. Since resigning won’t be an option, I guess Riko has to reluctantly play on. More love lessons. Even the simple hand holding practice, Maki somehow pisses Riko off with her twisted interpretation.

Riko notices Maki doing all the work. What happened to the rest? Well, Maki was previously the vice but since she was always doing the work, the ex-president threw a tantrum and gave her the post. The treasurer was good at handling money but since she had very suspicious motives, she was banned from the room. The clerk is a very shy person. So much so Maki has never seen her before. And no, she’s not a fairy. She really exists. Well, the student council is indeed a place for weirdoes. Next day, Maki screws up and sends the love lessons report to the staff room. Before the teachers could read it, she and Riko recollect them back. This reinforces the need for Riko to be her advisor. Later they practice dropping the handkerchief event. But as usual, Maki is such an airhead that it makes you wonder if she was really the top girl that everybody sees her to be. Another day, Riko is just fresh getting reprimanded by the teacher about her hair band and was told to be more like Maki. It’s like putting salt on injury when she sees Maki trying to reveal her nape in an alluring way. If only the teacher knew… Riko helps Maki tie her hair. She dances happily and twirls around till she almost pukes. Riko tells her to act more graceful because her fan girls will cry if they see her like this. Then they heard a thud. Suzune Tanahashi stumbled upon her way out. On no. Busted. Eyewitness. She’s the clerk, right? Not according to Maki. She’s a fairy…

Episode 2
It has been 2 days since the incident. Maki thinks Suzune hates her because she would have preferred if she laughed at her instead. On the other hand, Suzune thinks they’re mad at her for peeking at their secret activity. Riko looks for her but she runs away to the toilet. Riko seeks an explanation. She wasn’t spying on them. She went in when nobody was around to do some work but to her surprise, Maki came in so she hid. The rest was history. Riko says it would be better if she goes to apologize. Suzune opens the closet and Dutchy falls over her. Maki is more concern that Dutchy is cheating on her! They realize Suzune is a klutz when she starts looking for her glasses. It’s right on top of her head. Maki wants her to teach the way for the klutz. She could be popular that way. Does she care about her perfect image? Suzune finds the duo arguing to be cute and finds the gap in Maki’s personality to be adorable. Suzune becomes interested to be part of the love lessons and since they have very high hopes, Riko can’t let them down and continues with her exaggeration. Next day, Riko and Suzune almost get a heart attack when Maki is collapsed on the floor. It’s just a ploy to get somebody to carry her like a princess. Since the noobs have no experience in what a princess carry is all about, Riko tells them about it from her experience and it only enhances their perception the love master she is. And so Riko teaches them to be cuter by making their body lighter. Tighten your stomach muscles, look down… She just made that up, did she?

Riko and Suzune receive a few harassment letters but why is Maki smiling? They’re actually from Yuiko “Eno” Enomoto, the ex-student council president and she’s spying from across their building like a stalker. She is in cohorts with Sayori Mizushima who happens to be the treasurer. Sayori has spied on their latest activity and reports back to Eno. Eno is going to show everyone who is the real student council president. First, she tries to reprimand a couple of students but she sounds so scary like a villain. Would it have been easier if she just announces her intention to go back? I mean, legally she is still the president, right? Eno starts throwing a tantrum with lots of excuses. She tried to talk to the teacher but she was told Maki was doing a fine job. She was so pissed that she started spying and blackmail them. She ropes in Sayori to help get back their posts. With money as motivation of course. Now they look like villains and ruining their own reputation instead of their enemies’. Maki and Riko talk about Sayori as an elusive person and what do you know? She pops up holding Dutchy in her hands! Who is this? Suzune cooks up the greatest lie ever. Baron Dabadaba. Their guardian god. Right now, Riko wished that she would stop talking and Maki to stop adding fuel to the fire. When Maki mentions Dutchy is an expensive pillow her parents bought, Sayori wants to sell it. Money eyes. Riko tussles with her for Dutchy and accidentally the pillow flies away. Desperate Maki jumps to save it. Sayori leaves and returns to Eno. To the latter’s dismay, she has declared war on them.

Episode 3
Maki acts defensively but she looks so silly sneaking around. Later Maki ambiguously tells Riko she wants to do it with her because it feels so lonely doing it by herself every day. I wonder how many students who heard that nearly got a heart attack. Actually what she wants is to practice a marathon. The running kind. While the trio are doing that, Eno sees this opportunity to harass Maki and make some “Your dad’s in lingerie” comment. Because she is from the top and the sun blocking out her face, they couldn’t well see who it is. Eno takes this as an insult that they think nothing of her. The lingerie insult goes on for a while… Since this isn’t working, Eno and Sayori try to look for any weaknesses in the student council room. Inside the cabinet, there is a file without any label. Love lessons summary. Eno has a plan to print copies of this and show it during the committee meeting. Next day, Maki collapses for real. As said by the infirmary nurse, she did overwork herself. Maki feels guilty that she knew about it and yet she didn’t do anything about it. She then confronts Sayori and begs her to return as the treasurer. She will but with a condition that Eno be reinstated as the president. The duo are childhood friends. But Riko cannot accept Eno as the president as she views Maki doing a better job. Both sides argue why their candidate is better. Although Sayori is pointing out more bad points of Eno than her good points. Meanwhile Eno is in a dilemma of wanting to go ahead with this nasty photocopying plan. She got frightened by the teacher who wants her to make some copies too. After she is done with both sets, she returns to Sayori only to see her arguing on her behalf. It was good until she ruined it with those bad points. Riko points out Eno is not fit to be president because she abandoned her responsibilities because of her pride but Maki has never. The argument becomes a childish one with Eno calling for Riko’s resignation as advisor. I guess negotiations failed.

Riko and Suzune vow to work hard themselves. On the other hand, Sayori notes Eno has become selfish. She loves it when she was silly and funny but now she was just being silly. I guess that’s why she loves playing pranks just to see her reaction. Eno will openly announce her intention to become president again at tomorrow’s meeting. Riko wonders why Maki never told her about Eno and Sayori. It was because she didn’t want to think Eno was harassing her because when Eno handed over the post to her, she was told nobody will follow her if she did things her way. Thinking so would mean she still didn’t acknowledge her. A teacher accidentally messes up the copies but puts them back together. Maki goes to collect them thinking nobody has seen it as she wants to drop this dirty tactic. During the committee’s meeting when Eno barges in and announces her intention, the others point out about the love lessons in the documents. Maki panics when everyone starts talking bad that she has been doing this kind of stuffs. Because the documents do not bear any name but the positions, Riko was quick to point out it was Eno’s doing and that Maki was just helping her. Still, that doesn’t dispel the fact that they were practising love lessons. Seeing both Maki and Eno are speechless, Riko takes up the microphone and tells everyone off. Doesn’t everyone here dream to have a cool boyfriend once? Riko admits she does. It doesn’t matter who you are because it’s something they all share and that’s why it was researched. Sayori comes up with a brilliant excuse that they were doing this because of a request and were researching it for that girl. The suspicions die down and everybody believes in their student council again. Maki is very grateful for Riko and hopes she will continue to be her friend. Aren’t they? Eno also apologizes and to make it up, she’ll return as the vice president and Sayori as the treasurer. And yes, they can all study love lessons together. It’s going to get livelier.

Episode 4
With Eno and Sayori joining the love lessons, Sayori wants to know why Riko is the one giving lessons. Suzune and Maki paint Riko a master of love. Since when she was the love sniper? Riko wants to tell the truth to end it but since Sayori thinks it’s just a lie, her stubborn and show-off side means she just dug herself a deeper hole. Then they talk about mixers where they can meet potential boyfriends. Of course Riko’s only mixing around with boys was in the football club or the cram school. Riko has them practice good introductions which is a key to winning hearts of strangers. Sayori makes Riko dig a deeper hole herself by wanting her to do the introduction herself but she gives excuse that it’s too advanced for beginners like them. Maki and Eno get into a childish argument about their hair length to snag a boyfriend. Are they arguing or in agreement? Riko remembers why she grew her hair long. It was short and when she received a letter, it wasn’t a love letter but a letter of admiration to say it makes her looked so manly. The girls get a real request about a girl who is in dilemma about what to get for her boyfriend. Sounds very vague, doesn’t it? Seeing Riko is the love master, I guess everyone depends on her. So as not to let everyone down, she’ll go talk to some boys. Riko thought of just getting her information from magazines but Sayori wants some pictures… Riko also thought the rest should do their part by asking their male members. This has Maki and Eno in a war of words. Eno still calls Maki’s dad a lingerie. Riko and Suzune are curious to know what’s the deal behind this. So it is explained that her dad runs a lingerie company called True Tree. Eno’s uncle runs TV station and recorded an advertisement by Maki’s dad. His opening lines were already cringing. “My body is made of lingerie”. Then he starts playing the piano and sings a lingerie song! His brain is lingerie?! His heart strings are panties?! If hearing that doesn’t make you cringe, you’re a real pervert. As for why Maki is a lingerie, it was some training bra that was developed around when she started wearing bras.

Riko knows how to counter Sayori’s request for pictures. Since she is going to a cram class, she’ll just take pictures of the guys. But… Sayori shifts the goal posts. She wants to meet them too. Suzune then wonders if Sayori doesn’t trust Riko. Actually, hasn’t this been the case all along? Along the dumb ones realize this now? Because of Suzune’s puppy dog eyes, Sayori is feels guilty and apologizes. She will not doubt her. But this only ‘worsens’ Riko’s image. Now she is the undisputed master of love, right? When Riko returns with the survey answers and pictures, Sayori wonders if those guys are her ex-boyfriends or those she turned down. Because they all seem so happy… The rest also asked their male family members. And Sayori asked her boyfriend. SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND?! Already dating 6 months. The last she saw him was 6 months ago. They’re doing long distance relationship. Going through the survey, it seems guys don’t want handmade items. This disappoints Maki since she is good at it. Eno teases her and would rather use her money and buy something expensive. Speaking of which, expensive item is also on the unwanted list. Feel the despair. Suzune thought of compromising and do handmade money. Isn’t that illegal? Now the only thing left is to tell the girl their results. How can they when the request was written anonymously. They can’t announce it out loud as this school prohibits dating and don’t want the teachers to find out. Announcing it during the committee meeting is fine but the next meeting is in 2 months. Maki for once becomes a love expert analyzer. Judging from the way she writes and asks a third party for help, it is probably for an event nearby like a birthday. Riko gets an idea when she sees this weird antic. Eno and Maki in an argument, musical version. Suzune trips her tea and Sayori throws Dutchy to save them (too bad he got all wet). They’ll do their announcement via broadcasting it during recess. Huh? I don’t see the connection.

Episode 5
Maki uses her charm to hijack the broadcasting room. With Eno as fellow DJ, they bring their research results on air under the guise as a special English broadcast lesson. But why does it seem that the duo are fighting each other on air with their ideas? The students find it weird but for the girl who requested it, she knows what’s going on. To distract the teachers, Sayori and Suzune head to the teacher’s room but only Suzune is to talk. She becomes so nervous that she blunders everything. She is so natural that she doesn’t need to act the part. When it is over, Riko who is waiting outside the broadcasting room is confronted with teachers Sakagami and Yoshida (the advisor to the broadcasting club). Sayori saw Riko being whisked away to the detention room but didn’t say anything. The student council members wait for Riko and she shows up late. When she does show up, she gives excuses that she has taken care of apologizing to Yoshida for not submitting an application to use the broadcasting room. Sayori tries to give her away but Riko won’t allow it. Riko tries to commend Maki’s great English and wants to learn from her so she can improve her marks by 20%. Next day as Maki is at the library, Sakagami sees her and notes how Riko should be like her as she was causing trouble yesterday. When Riko enters the student council room, she feels all the members angry at her. It’s like they want to kill her. Maki is being scary so it’s not good to fool around. Riko comes clean. When Sakagami confronted her, she gave an excuse she forgot to submit an application. Sakagami wanted to stop it right away but Riko stopped her on grounds that the abrupt end would damage Maki’s reputation. Sakagami pulled her away to the detention room to reprimand her about her fancy hair band so Riko pleaded to Yoshida not to let anyone to interrupt the broadcasting. She will. Provided she gets 20% increase in her next English test. Maki is not happy she took the blame and doesn’t want her to do it again.

Sakagami reflects on what Maki told her and wonders if she did a mistake. Maki did tell her that she forgot to hand in the application since it had some mistakes (although it’s a lie) and that Riko was trying to cheer her up. As ‘punishment’, Riko is forced to undergo hellish English tutorials courtesy of Spartan Maki. I think she’s enjoying this. She even has Dutchy wear a real uniform to motivate her. Yeah. Motivate her will to kill Dutchy. When Maki reveals she used the extra funds to buy a boy’s uniform for Dutchy, Sayori takes Maki away to reprimand her for embezzling funds. When Maki returns, she is cross-dressed as a boy. Call her Makio! She might be cool and suave in her lines but she’s creeping the girls out. Riko scores 75% on her test which is much lower than what the others score. Hey, at least she did achieve 20% increase. So now the girls are back to talking about getting a boyfriend and their conversation this time is about leggings. Of course they want to hear it from master Riko but she had to lie again. All the boys that she ‘dated’ will just end up breaking their heart. Although it is her heart that is hurting the most. The girl who requested the love research has written a follow up letter. Although she thanks them, she had to give up on their advice. She bumped into this crush of hers she barely gets to see while choosing a gift for him. She tried to talk to him directly and despite having a long talk and walking home together, she learnt he likes another girl. She felt sad but felt better after she cried her heart out. However since he is not in an actual relationship, she thinks she has a chance and won’t give up yet. Thanks to them, she will continue trying and will come up with a strategy. The girls are happy for her and this makes Maki want to get a boyfriend real bad. Meanwhile outside the room, Momoka Minami and Nana Ichikawa from the Newspaper Club smell a big scandal going on and are going to get this scoop.

Episode 6
Riko’s brother, Rentarou doesn’t like the way his tomboyish sister uses violence on him and shoots his mouth this is why guys reject her. Adding salt to it, he is her opposite because he’s got girls confessing to him all the time! Depressing, isn’t it? So while Riko rushes to school lamenting that she is luckless with guys, little did she know that all the girls she zoomed past are swooning over her. Riko begins her usual love counselling with Maki who is getting desperate to get a boyfriend. The duo go out shopping and Riko had to bump into the person she loathes the most: Sayori. As usual, Sayori gets nasty trying to make Riko show she is the love master while eager beaver Maki is just so, uhm, eager. Riko is in a bind what to do but it seems God answered her prayer that a boy suddenly showed up to her. Yeah, this guy seems to know who she is. Unfortunately Riko doesn’t remember who he is but plays along she knows him. When Sayori guesses he is one of those boys Riko rejects, he runs away. Hit the spot? Although Riko is curious to know who this guy is, she is actually feeling good. She loves this feeling. So much so her politeness is creeping out her family! Riko’s friend, Mika Kiriyama wants to know what is going on between Riko and Masaomi “Yan” Ikezawa. Ikezawa who? Must be that guy. She learns they go to the same cram school so Riko thought of using this chance to find out and will go to today’s cram school. But she is dressed up for the occasion. Then turns out this Yan guy is a bespectacled moody guy. Then Satoshi Nagino pops up. He’s that guy! Instantly he flees and Riko goes after him. Since he won’t stop, she had to yell out to him as the guy who got rejected. The old ladies must be laughing in their hearts… Riko admits she doesn’t know him and hopes to get a hint. But he is not pleased and doesn’t tell her. It doesn’t make a difference since she doesn’t recall him. For that second, she thought she recognized him.

Somehow, Riko’s mom managed to get a picture of Satoshi. Heck, there is an album of Riko and Satoshi together. Childhood friends and football teammate. Yeah. He looked so different when he was young. Like a wimp. When Maki learns about this, she also wants to tag along to her cram school. Satoshi can’t admit that running away to Yan. So he lies he gets stomach ache whenever he sees that face. He’s going to get it again so don’t sh*t in your pants. Here is Riko waiting for him. He runs again. Riko leaves Maki in Yan’s care. When she catches up to him, she explains now she remembers him and praises his manly looks, etc. Then she had to comment about his cute smile that never changed. He got upset again. Back to square one. Meanwhile Maki is unsure what to say to Yan. But whatever she says seems to just upset him. However Maki flusters when he calls her cute (he meant it as sarcasm). Then her heart breaks when he calls her an idiot for being so. She couldn’t take it and runs to Riko’s side and explains what happened. Riko gets the wrong idea he is toying with her heart. And so Maki tries to read up on all the types of guy there is in the world. Maybe she should start with something easier. The student council have a set of problem on their hands. They have collected from several suggestion boxes and find there are a few girls asking for love advice. They can’t use the broadcast trick again if they want to keep this a secret from the teachers. Riko and Maki ponder about it so much so they unwittingly slip their tongue to Momoka. But she has to stop her ‘interview when excited Nana almost gave them away. Maki remembers who they are and realizes they’re in sh*t. Momoka and Nana need to get this scoop so they can bring down their mortal enemy: Sayori. That girl makes lots of enemies, doesn’t she?

Episode 7
Problems abound but Maki is still acting carefree? Want to continue with love studies still? Meanwhile Nana is trapped on a wall like a cat up a tree and Sayori is just starring at her. Seems she saw something happening in the room between Riko and Maki and wanted to pick up whatever they threw outside. Trying to take a shortcut, that’s how she got stuck. Momoka saves the day and brings her down. Riko suggests putting love lessons on hold since the newspaper girls are going to be a pain to deal with. But Maki thinks that since all they can do now is wait for them to move, they can still have their love lessons under tight security. I don’t know what tight security she is talking about since she starts today’s suggestion by wanting to study how to make a guy’s heart skip a beat. Riko the master is of course made to tell how to do it. I think she’s making this up and oddly Maki becomes a freaking monster when trying out the ‘lightly touch’ part. However the harsh reality and experience with Yan causes her to shrink in fear and she prefers to make her Dutchy become real. Now she’s turning to fantasy? Riko suggests they come over to her house and practice talking with her brother. How hard can it be? Well, for one, Rentarou doesn’t have any positive views of Riko’s friends. Girls are always stubborn, full of jealousy, gossiping b*tches and like her sister, violent. So on that day as Rentarou opens the door, he is taken in by Maki’s beauty and gracefulness! He is love struck. Yeah. Standing there like an idiot. But the rest that show up are just disappointment. Giant girl (Sayori), petite girl (Suzune) and thick eyebrows girl (Eno). Sayori is a pro in telling people off but Suzune is so meek and shy you wonder if what she says can constitute to a tell off.

Inside Riko’s room, Sayori finds a book for unpopular girls. Riko forgot to put it away. So why does she have something like this? They are distracted by a photo album. But they notice there are no pictures of any boys. They conclude they must be spies or VIPs that don’t want to have their photos taken. Yeah, Riko will go with that. Rentarou is forced by mommy to buy drinks and snacks for the girls. His mind is only clouded with pretty Maki that he looks like an idiot. When he comes home, he thought Maki is in the kitchen with mommy but to his disappointment, it’s just Suzune. She tries to scold him but it ends up like some oddly prophetic curse. In a cute way. Telling him to go bald? Rentarou didn’t like it when his mom makes him serve the girls. He flusters when Maki takes over. Oh yeah. He’s in love. He excitedly tells dad the prettiness and elegance of Maki. She overshadows Riko that he feels sorry for her. Yeah, he’s going to be sorry for saying that because she heard it… Rentarou catches Riko trying to act like a princess in the toilet. Just to keep him quiet, he wants her allowance and ice cream in which she is willing to give. But when he wants her to ask Maki about her opinion on young boys, Riko knows what’s going on and threatens back. Rentarou is willing to give his ice cream so Riko could tell Maki he is a good little brother. After Riko’s friends leave, Rentarou wants to know what Maki said about him. Elementary school boys are mischievous and cute. She feels like their mother. Ouch. Too bad kid. The next day, Riko’s mom is furious about her low grades in a test and forces her to cram school next week. You can thank Rentarou for ratting her out. At cram school, Riko admonishes Yan for hurting Maki’s feelings. He tries to explain what really happened but Satoshi cuts in, thinking if he complimented her, she must be cute. However Riko notes Satoshi did see her. She was by her side then. But he says all he could see was Riko. They get embarrassed with this ambiguous statement before it descends into a silly argument.

Episode 8
Nana is caught spying on Maki and Riko again. So she explains why they call Sayori their enemy. When she went to request to increase their budget, Sayori told her off she knew sh*t about money. But didn’t Nana request too many things to buy? Since then, the club has been demoted to a society and they lost their clubroom. Nana is disappointed for supporting a person like her and calls them by their nickname. Princess of Fuji and Wild One respectively. Riko is traumatized she is called so. Wasn’t opening her ears, eh? To rid of that nickname, she dresses and acts so girly! Freaking funny! Freaking disgusting! Even Sayori got sick! The more girly she talks the more pissed off the rest feels. She even tries to imitate whatever Maki does! A Broadcasting Club member hands them a few more requests from the box. Among them are anonymous girls after hearing their broadcasting, asking questions like if boys like tanned girls or plump ones. They can instantly tell these are written by the Newspaper Club girls. They know if they ignore theirs and reply the rest, they will call it favouritism. Ignoring all, they will be pressured with more and more questions. Since Riko is still in her annoying girly mode, Maki dresses up as a boy and acts like one. Will she imitate this one? Yeah. Riko is through being girly and is back to her normal self. Effective. Next day, Riko sees the gang tanned. Trying to imagine what it’s like being dark skinned? Anyway they continue discussing about the Newspaper Club’s intention. It’s like as though they are purposely letting them know what they’re doing. If they wanted to ruin them, they could have told the teachers. If they were after a scoop, they would be secretive. They split up to look for answers. Maki finds out that some members quit to join other clubs when Newspaper Club got demoted. They are surprised with Momoka creeping up. She finds it odd that Sayori is making friends. Sayori won’t say anything to avoid falling into her trap. Then Momoka shows them a scoop she plans to publish: A picture of girly Riko. Sayori got sick and ran away but Riko seems to like it!

Eno finds out from the previous advisor of the Newspaper Club that there is supposed to be a newspaper contest that Momoka always gets some kind of award every year. This year there is a rule change. Societies are banned from joining. Eno tries to tell this to her friends but they are busy with their antics. Furthermore, they are distracted and delighted to hear Sayori is supposed to meet up with her boyfriend after school (I suppose he wanted to after she skipped their 6 months dating anniversary and his birthday). The rest want her to go see him but she is more interested on how to turn their relationship back to just friends. She is irritated when they start imagining the lovely things they would do. After they send her off, they come up with a plan to counter Newspaper Club. Maki and Riko see Momoka in the little room and have written a lazy answer regarding her plump question. She replies she didn’t write this. In that case, it shows that they aren’t good in love advice and might resort to asking teachers. Momoka suggests she can get their answer published via backstreet newspaper distributed only to students. Maki tries to maintain the upper hand that they need 10 days (the deadline of the contest) to decide but Momoka surprises them that she isn’t interested in the contest. They are left baffled if they are doing this for revenge to get back their club status. Nana is on her way home and sees Sayori with her boyfriend. Shutter chance. Next day, she thinks of asking Sayori for an increase in budget, thinking she must be in good mood. On the contrary, the most foul mood. Nana threatens back and shows the picture. Sayori didn’t like it and tries to snatch it. Sakagami sees the commotion and sends them to the detention room. She reprimands Sayori upon learning she is with a guy (Sayori lied he is her friend). She warns if she is in an illicit relationship. Sayori thought she had been keeping this a secret so as not to get into trouble. If she knew this would happen, she would have told them. Sayori admits that guy is her boyfriend and is quitting the student council. Meanwhile her friends are awaiting Sayori’s entrance to celebrate her 6 months relationship. She’s really running late…

Episode 9
When Sayori returns, she straight away tells them about what happened including her resignation. So who is more surprised in this surprise party? Riko knows she is trying to take the fall alone but she’s not the one to say since she did it once herself. Sayori doesn’t want to deny now that the truth is out and when asked if she really wants to quit to student council for good, she says yes because she has enough. This doesn’t sit well with Eno and she goes after her while remembering their awkward friendship that goes back when they’re elementary kids. Eno tries all sorts of psychological tactics to change Sayori’s mind but she can’t be bothered. Till Eno mentions she will start a movement that supports romantic relationships. She’ll hijack the broadcasting room and tell the entire school everything over and over again. She’ll go onto the internet and tell the whole world! Because if Sayori won’t stand up for herself, she will. Then she gets all emotional and runs away crying. Momoka sees her ex-club advisor, Miyabi Sugihara and overhears about Sayori’s case. There will be an emergency meeting to decide her fate tomorrow. Suzune finds Nana (who is overwhelmed with guilt) to confront her about her actions. They both start getting emotional and start crying. They’re crying, Eno’s crying but Momoka is not crying? Riko and Maki get everyone’s ass into the room because they plan to get Sayori back. Discussing about the boy in the picture, as it was dark, Nana couldn’t see his face. However Sayori was. They cannot say she’s with a girl as he was clearly wearing a school uniform. Destroying the evidence will only reaffirm her guilt. Because Maki seems like she is fooling around, Riko reprimands her. This causes Nana’s perception of the Princess of Fuji to shatter. This is her true nature? Eno and Suzune looking embarrassed… But Momoka understands why Sayori finds it fun here.

During the meeting, since Sayori affirms the boy in her picture is her boyfriend, Sakagami has no choice but to have her quit from the student council. Suddenly Maki dressed as a boy barges into the room. Everyone is shocked to see this, including Sayori. Nana plays along and confirms this is the face she saw. Looking at the picture evidence, they see the similar mole on both their face. Sakagami still doesn’t believe and wonders why she did this to protect Sayori. Maki says it’s the other way around. It was to protect her. Mixing in some truths and lies, they explain that during the broadcast, some misinterpreted their programme and handed in love advice requests (they show the one Nana put in). Maki is someone who will do what it takes of what is asked of her but since this school forbids dating, they know nothing about boys. Thus Maki cross-dressed to find out what it’s like to be one and Sayori helped her out. The girls try to make the teachers feel guilty about their narrow mindedness and jumped to conclusions without any proper investigations. Sakagami remembers wrongly assuming Riko at fault then. The girls finally announce that if Sayori is to quit, so will they. Sayori is very pissed off with this cheap act but for the best of everyone, she is forced to stay quiet. The teachers let this case go but everyone must write an apology letter. In the aftermath, Sayori notes that Maki’s value took a dip after that act. Was it worth it? To her, losing a friend would be worse. Also because of that, Sayori’s value increased and perhaps Riko’s too since she had none to begin with. Sayori is so ‘appalled’ by their stupidity that she gives out a hearty laughter. They never see her laugh likes this. Momoka talks to Sugihara and it seems they both have a hand in this. Sugihara, who felt bad if the duo got punished over something this trivial, borrowed the camera evidence from Sakagami and handed it to Momoka to do some detailed analysis. That’s where she spotted the similarity of their moles. Momoka notes that at first she wanted to get back at them to get back their club’s promotion but now as long as Nana has her confidence back and they’re happily printing papers together, she doesn’t care if they’re a club or society. Nana has taken a big scoop they can publish without hurting anyone: A picture of Sayori laughing. Now if she can only get down from the tree…

Episode 10
It’s payback time? The girls are going to make Sayori disguise herself for her date with her boyfriend. I think they’re going to enjoy this. Wait, no. They are enjoying this. Taking off her glasses makes her blind as a bat. They suggest ways to make her skirt shorter or take off her pants. Because the school uniform is the only dress she has, Maki shows a closet containing dresses and skirts she can try out. Just the question of which era. Say what? From caveman to ninja to medieval, take your pick. Did Maki waste the student council funds on this? Then Nana snaps a picture of her in a dress… Oh dear… The next scene is narrated by Yuu Yamazaki, Sayori’s boyfriend. This was how they met. She just transferred into his class during elementary days. He observed her weird and stoic behaviour. She was famous at first but soon the girls started picking on her because it is true that her family ran away. She didn’t give a damn about them and they leave her alone. Then the boys started to bully her. However her acid tongue made them repent! Amazing! Then Sayori became all alone, nobody mixed with her and Yuu was only left to watch her from afar. One day when the boys are racing using cloth rags to rub the floor, Yuu was in the lead and in his excitement didn’t see Sayori ahead. His head dives into her skirt!!! Ever since, the other girls looked at him with disdain and Yuu becomes her lackey to treat her to sweets every day till they change class. That’s going to be a long time, right? It’s like a life sentence. When he heard his friends saying Sayori put up the usual stony face, Yuu wonders if he was seeing things because he saw the most embarrassed looks on her face. He starts liking her though he wished they spend more time together these days. Meanwhile Sayori visits Eno’s house and her brother is scared of her! Especially of her words that brings this lazy bum down to reality! But each time he starts whining and becomes an uncontrollable pervy at the end, Sayori lets loose her abuse, fist or the harisen. Heartbreak of brother complex Eno?

The girls find a picture of Suzune and her siblings in dog ears. She was once a fan of that dog-bus anime called Tororo. Thanks to her brother’s influence, each time there is a ring on the door, she will eagerly think it is Tororo and rush there. Then she’ll put on the most disappointing look. From her sister coming back to the mailman to the milk delivery guy. No doggy. Sister blames brother for this and so as not to crush her dream, they give all sorts of excuses and eventually brother pretends to become Tororo and gives her a ride. Suzune loves it. Sister felt jealous and also wants to do the same but end up arguing about ‘business rivalry’. Suzune starts crying when they fight so they put aside that and form a ‘business partnership’. Then they find lots of Eno’s pictures too. How come all of them have her being bullied by her brother… They feel sorry for her. So she confronts him about that but he explains his ‘complicated’ reasons which turn out to be nothing more about being a perverted masochist. She’s so disappointed… Sayori cannot believe that Suzune can trip when there is nothing. So as prevention, she must pay a penalty if she ever becomes clumsy. Since Suzune doesn’t have money, she will allow her to flick her forehead. Then she bumps her head on a branch. Merciless Sayori flicks her forehead! Hope she learns her lesson. Suzune notices all the girls admiring the graceful Maki. Suzune herself too gets her kind treatment. She notes that everyone doesn’t know her other weird side. This secret is what makes her feel superior to them all. As for Eno, nobody takes what she says seriously… Suzune is running laps around the school during PE. It’s something she hates. So slow… Tiring out… She notices Riko trying to encourage her from her classroom but always gets reprimanded by the teacher for not paying attention. Later when they talk about this, Riko admires Suzune for not giving up despite hating running. Or maybe she finds her panting cute. A candy as reward? Suzune feels good about it and as she rushes to the student council room, she trips and bangs her head on the table! Here comes Sayori’s forehead flick! No mercy!

Episode 11
Thinking back at the progress of their love lessons, they haven’t made any progress in getting a boyfriend. Riko is studying because her mom made her go to cram school due to her bad grades. This leads the rest to discuss about Satoshi and possibly he might have lingering feelings for her. One of the questions in the suggestion box has a student interesting what kind of hairstyles boys like because she is particularly interested in a guy who goes to South Middle School. At her cram school, she discovers Satoshi goes to that school. Reluctantly she asks that question and he replies those with long black hair. Riko thinks he is describing Maki since the way he puts it, all the guys at South Middle School adore this idol. Satoshi is still reeling from the pain that she doesn’t remember their age old confession. If that’s the case, he will also forget that embarrassing past. This riles her up and so she asks him one of the questions in the suggestion box how to tell a guy who asked her out that she wants to go back to being just friends. He is sure that guy will be disillusioned and leave her so just let it be. Now they hate each other. Riko tells the answer and Maki seems to revel in her victory over Eno? Now that she knows her hair type is popular, she creates a plan to attract guys with her hair. Her sister, Natsuho accidentally peeked into her notebook (thinking she was studying) and to her dismay, sees all the ridiculous plan of using wind to fan and prop up her hair. Using typhoon? Getting all wet? Maki even made several revisions (because Riko rejects them) but it just gets ridiculous. Dancing at school? Fishing at school? WTF. Natsuho is so concerned that because Maki lacks interactions with guys and her yearn for love is going in a wrong direction, she wants father to take responsibility for over protecting her and fears there will be smooth talking evil guys who will trick her. Father is puzzled because she too went to an all-girls school but is being very perceptive of the world.

Father has her go to a cram school and Maki is more than happy to accept it. However her first time there ends up being a panicky. She had to be left alone with Yan and since he mistakes her first name as her surname, she panics when he calls her that without honorific. Twice. So she comes running to Riko for salvation. All the guys start falling in love at the sight of her. And then they see her hug Riko. Maybe she’s lesbian. Even worse, she says how Yan took away her first time! Everybody now hates Yan! Maki feels embarrassed that she lost her composure. Satoshi feels something amiss when Maki mentions about Riko being a popular girl. He thinks she has been pretending and lying to her friend. Riko didn’t like the sound of it and punches his gut. That ruined her day. So is his. And so is Maki’s day. But the worst ruined day of all… Yan. It seems like Riko heard the good news that the school is going to lift the ban on dating and recommend it. However Satoshi had to pop up and ruin it about her lying. Turns out she was sleeping in class and was sent to the teacher’s room to be reprimanded. Later Riko learns that Maki’s first time was the fact Yan called her by her first name. She wanted such event to be special (cue for her delusions with Dutchy). Riko thinks it isn’t a big deal. It is to Maki, reminding her that she is the one who is a relationship specialist. Suddenly Satoshi’s words continue to haunt her. Next day, Maki uses the fan to fan herself for the hair effect. Because of her evil aura, it scares off her friends. Feeling cold, now? Suzune suggests she fans herself with the harisen. Looking odd for an idiot to fan herself with that. They discuss how they used to fan themselves with a paper so Maki combines all their ideas how she will use it to fan herself to attract guys. Seriously, don’t. Sayori notices the Newspaper Club duo eavesdropping outside. They are shown the special double print issue of Sayori smiling and in that dress. Except for horrified Sayori, everyone loves it. But what they want to show them is the main article below called Love Lab Report.

Episode 12
The report contains answers to the questions in the suggestion box but in the form of a novel with fictional characters. That way, they won’t be easily found out. But Eno is suspicious that they are doing this after being harassed. They want to be acknowledged for their talent and achievement. Besides, this is to thank Maki for talking things out with the teachers because now societies are allowed to take part in the competition. Also to upgrade their club and get a bigger budget. There’s always the hidden agenda… Maki instantly agrees to go with this plan and so happy that she starts doing laps around school. Huh? She even thanks her love master. This sends Riko close to panic and a reminder she needs to get out of this lie. At cram school, she smacks Yan for what he has done to Maki. He then finds out Maki is her surname and feels embarrassed he should have find out about it first. Riko teases him that he must have fallen in love with her. He vehemently objects. Riko may need to speed up that confession because Maki is going to her cram school starting next week. There are many chances for her to confess but she’s a super coward. At the cram school as Maki goes to the teacher’s office, she is surprised to see Satoshi. She starts getting uneasy that she is alone with a boy and acts real weird. Satoshi guesses that she hasn’t figured out about Riko’s lie and wants to ask her but she acts panicky. Then when he asks about Riko, she mentions all the good things about her and that’s why she wants to be her friend. Later Riko enters the room and is devastated to learn Satoshi has told her everything and the truth. She’s really shaking in fear now. Till Satoshi says he lied and didn’t say a thing. Deserved that punch? Look who is calling who a liar?

Maki is now in her class and is devastated to see Yan. His sarcasm is aimed at putting her down but she has the last laugh when the teacher looks through Maki’s work and that she has gone far in the syllabus. The teacher teases Yan of being good friends with Riko since he helped her out to study (though Yan claims he forced her to) so Maki’s delusion is that he is in love with Riko! Because of her popularity, he got rejected and thus his foul mood. Yan dismisses Riko as a popular girl but a dumb and insensitive. Maki chides him for badmouthing her friend so he replies that she must be pushing people around with her biased assumptions and hopes she’s not convincing herself she is her friend. That comment devastated her but Maki plays cool. She notes he uses the words that would hurt her and thus is a person who is not worth believing. She advises to put his intelligence to better use. When Maki leaves, she comes crying into Riko’s arms to seek comfort. She relates the horrifying experience of Yan badmouthing her as unpopular and all. You don’t know how true everything that was. Riko assures her everything but at the end of the day when they leave, she remembers she forgot to confess.

Next day at school will be it. For sure. However Maki interrupts with an announcement to have the Newspaper Club use their storage room. Because they are collaborating with them, they need a secret place. It may raise suspicion but Maki will have them make special paper announcements from the student council so it will seem like helping them out with publicity. Also, they can study love lessons without holding back. The only thing now is to make sure the readers are aware of the risk and it is suggested they write their names and class down. Of course that list won’t be released but it will somewhat make them their accomplices. Riko is starting to sweat because once this is in full swing, she’ll be lying to a bigger group. Without thinking, she goes and run with Maki. Eno and Suzune note how Riko is a humble person, never brags about her love achievements and always talk at their level. Sayori says maybe it was all a lie… Because Maki continues to thank Riko and hopes she would stay her friend for her, that was the last straw. She needs to come clean over now. Stammering a lot, Riko confesses the whole truth. Then turns it into a hypothetical what-if question. Then Sakagami pulls her away for a hair band violation. After that, Mika sees Riko and knows about her student council giving love advice since she was once a Newspaper Club member. She taunts her how she is going to do that if she has no experience herself. Riko’s fear comes true when she thinks Maki has heard what they said. However that doesn’t seem to be the case as she blushes at their compliments of her. Riko heaves a sigh of relief as they walk back to class. Not knowing the disappointed face Maki is putting up. So she has heard…

Episode 13
Maki has been clumsy, tripping with funny noises. Riko knows something is wrong because Maki says she is flooded with work and will postpone love lessons. She’ll never do that, right? Even Suzune and Eno feel something is wrong. Ever since, no love lessons were being carried out. Riko felt guilty and wanted to call her but mommy says it’s rude to call someone so late and should go talk to her in person tomorrow if it’s that important. Riko is so overcome with guilt that she wants mommy to get angrier and even whack her! Next day, Riko sees Maki in the clubroom. Actually it is Sayori in Maki’s wig sorting out all the weird stuffs she thinks Maki has brought with the funds. Was she misusing the funds? Then here comes the real Maki but she runs away. Riko gets this idea to practice with Sayori in that wig. However she keeps making stupid clam jokes which just pisses off her. But she did actually sound like Maki! So real! And then those stupid clam jokes… Maki runs into Suzune and Eno. She trips. They think it’s one of her silly love training thingy and start praising Riko. This causes her to cry and run away. Or drool if that what her tears look like. Sayori finally tells off Riko that she’s over thinking. It is preventing her from acting. During the broadcast hijack and the time Sayori quit the student council, what was it on her mind? Suzune and Eno rush back to inform Maki is acting weird. They think it’s because Riko and Maki have been acting too normal! No retorts! Riko laughs and knows what to do.

Maki is outside the cram school. Lots of guys are staring at her beauty. Satoshi sees her and wonders if something is wrong. Then Satoshi’s old friend comes by and thinks he is hitting on his chick. Accidentally he reveals the tomboyish nature of Riko. Though Maki stands up for her, the guy mentions she has been lied to. Riko arrives and is devastated the truth is out. The guy tells Riko not to lie to this girl but gets beaten up. Riko says she is the one who did wrong and not Maki. Everything is her fault. Satoshi then reveals he did like Riko but got rejected so his friend apologizes and leave. Then they realize their drama has attracted a large crowd. Embarrassed Maki runs away. After tsundere Satoshi whacks Riko that he’s doing this for Maki and not her, he wants her to go after Maki. Riko thanks him and praises him a cool guy after all. He is left further embarrassed when the crowd thinks he got rejected again. And Yan heard it all… Does he need to have more salt rubbed into his wounds?

Riko ends up in Maki’s house and starts apologizing everything was a lie and regrets hurting her. She admits she is not a love expert and only had her heart broken many times. She is just like her, a beginner at love. Is that all she has to hide, says Maki. Thinking she is really mad, Riko is prepared to stay away from her forever and quit from the student council but soon takes back that last request as she wants to continue goofing around with the rest. Maki presses her cheeks and then laughs. She is relieved and thought she had been forcing herself to spend time with her. She adds she didn’t want to be friends with her forever because she thought she was a love expert. She wants to be her friend because she helps people out. Although she is sad and disappointed, she couldn’t be happier that they get to experience lots of things together. She hopes Riko can continue spending time with her. They both get emotional once they made up. Next day, Riko apologizes to Suzune and tells her the truth. Suzune never had the knack to get angry so this somewhat annoys Riko. Get angrier! But nothing fixes it like a big hug. Then Riko does the same to Eno and Sayori. Eno wasn’t so forgiving and chides her. That’s more like it. Of course Sayori wasn’t worried because this room is filled with idiots. Riko needs to atone for her sins so Sayori has predicted this and had Suzune made very large harisens. Start practising those swings! Momoka shows them the first issue of their love lab report. Since they can’t waste any moment and need materials for the next issue, I guess it is back to more love lessons. Let it resume immediately!

Love Lessons Not From Classes But From The Heart!
It has been quite a funny series seeing this girls come up with weird to disgusting ideas just to attract guys. But all in the name of comedy. Come to think of it, even if they did manage to pull them off, don’t you think it will just make them look like clowns? Would it even be guaranteed they will steal the guy’s heart? Well, Riko wasn’t a love expert to begin with so I’m sure that’s where all the kooky ideas came from. She just pulls them out from thin air. So my guess is that it isn’t the love lessons that are so much important. I’m thinking that they enjoy each other’s company so much that this love lessons thingy feels like an excuse for being together. Yup. That’s got to be it. Otherwise, why spend so many hours inside the room learning love lessons and they do not even have a single field outing in putting what they learn to good use? I know the chances of success will be low with what Riko taught them but if they were placing getting a boyfriend as their priority, don’t you think they would have already attempted to do so after the first or second lesson? Instead they hang out and goof around and having a blast. That is not entirely a bad thing. Unless you tell me because of the school rules thingy, they’re just learning and accumulating all the love lessons now and postponing getting a boyfriend so when they enter college, they can start hitting on a guy. At least this shows that they are straight, boy crazy and aren’t yuri lovers (unless you’re those girls from Fujisaki). It also got me thinking if they seriously want to be in love or maybe it is just lust and infatuation instead. Just in love with the idea of being in love.

Still waters run deep. Never judge a book by its cover. Those are the idioms that perfectly describe the student council quintet especially Maki. At first sight and to many of the unsuspecting students, teachers as well as guys from the outside, she is the (seemingly) perfect, elegant, graceful, pretty, intelligent and polite dream girl whom every guy would like to have as his girlfriend/wife and role model for every girl aspiring to be. Once you get to know her, that perfect vision of her quickly crumbles. So you either accept or reject this side of Maki. But thankfully for those around her, they understand and accept Maki for who she is. I mean, nobody is perfect, right? Despite her desperation to land a boyfriend, I think what she really wants is somebody to call a friend. As you observed, her head might be filled with thoughts on how to get one but when she is faced in a real situation, she quickly panics. Probably she met the wrong guy like Yan. Yeah, first impressions always count. It’s like wanting to get a boyfriend always occupies her thoughts and nothing more. Get a boyfriend, get a boyfriend, get a boyfriend… But she doesn’t think much about its aftermath or follow-up like what to do on a date, how to maintain the relationship, etc. It’s just like that perverted Yamada from B Gata H Kei whose mind is always and preoccupied with sex and nothing else but when faced with the real thing, she freezes and flops. A mountain out of a molehill. This pretty summarizes up Riko’s situation. The more you lie, the harder you will find yourself getting out to the point it is impossible. Procrastination is the thief of time as Riko delays and delays her confession till it reaches boiling point. Understandably what Riko did was not to lose her image and ultimately her friendship. How many of us are guilty of doing the same thing? Many of us would have done the same thing if we were in her shoes. So people, there are lots of good lessons to be learnt here, albeit they are not about love. And please do not imitate their ideas seen here unless you want your egos and reputation sore.

The characters may seem generic but with their own quirks, they make this series quite funny and they themselves are memorable. As explained in the paragraph above about Maki. Beautiful and smart but desperately lacking in love. She has 2 sides to a coin. Everybody does, right? Riko very tomboyish in nature and one that easily resorts to brute when annoyed becomes the straight guy of the series especially when Maki starts acting like an idiot. In the end, she too realized that all she wanted was a real friend whom she can goof around. Otherwise, why has she been staying in the student council for so long? She could have just left a long time ago and washed her hands off everything. Riko doesn’t seem to be desperate to get a boyfriend too. If she was, Satoshi would probably be a good start since he still has feelings for her. Maybe it’s the part of being childhood friends that prevents her from doing so. Probably the best character in the series is Sayori because she is scheming and manipulative. Above all, she is quite sharp and observant, a must if you’re handling money, right? Everything she does should have a benefit to her or to her amusement. I guess that is why she sticks around the gang because it’s so much fun watching these idiots goofing around. Although she might seem cold and emotionless, she still cares for her fellow friends and will do the necessary to protect them. Some things are just worth more than dollars and cents. Eno is quite childish in nature while Suzune is the cute and moe blob of the gang. Even more moe with her clumsy ways. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t really want the girls to stray too much from their known behaviour because we love them best the way they are. Imagine if Maki turned more tomboyish and into Makio or Riko becoming more feminine. That would be plain disgusting, right?

Other characters are pretty decent too but not so much focus is put on them. Like Eno’s brother who is a NEET and a pervert (masochist, to be more exact). This guy is hilarious as a useless bum. I think it will be even funnier if he had more screen time but at the same time you would cringe in disgust the kind of fetish he has. Then again, I think it’s just sufficient for him to make limited appearance. Eno must be so disappointed to know the kind of brother he has become. Also making only an episode appearance (even so, very limited) is Sayori’s mysterious boyfriend, Yuu. It’s nice to see how she among the quintet is the only one with a boyfriend and in a way it doesn’t feel like she’s making things up. Even if Sayori is scheming, why would she lie? She’s not like Riko, right? She can tell you the truth straight in your face with no remorse. Satoshi feels like a character whose role is to be embarrassed. This might sum up his feelings for his entire life. Embarrassed for being confessing to Riko, embarrassed for being rejected by her, embarrassed that he still remembers about it but she doesn’t (which actually feels like an insult) and more recently embarrassed for giving the misconception that he got dumped again when all he did was put up a brave front to protect Riko. As for Yan, he’s like the master of sarcasm and pissing off. Continue this way and I don’t think any girls would end up with him. Unless she’s the ‘M’ kind. Rentarou is the total opposite of Riko when it comes to popularity. But ironically even if all the other girls like him, he can’t get the one he truly wants: Maki. I wonder if he has given up on her seeing that Maki will only see him as a kid.

The art and drawing style seems to lean towards pretty and cute. Even Riko the tomboyish one and Sayori the nerdy looking one do look pretty. Some say that this anime is another of those ubiquitous cute girl doing cute things. Hmm… Doesn’t it look like it? The student council quintet seems to have covered almost every dream girl feature that a guy would love. Maki the pretty and intelligent one or Maki the dorky side, Riko the tomboy, shy Suzune the petite and clumsy, Sayori the bespectacled and childish Eno who is also, uhm, tsundere? Sometimes. I wonder if thick eyebrows are considered a moe point. Then there is also another clumsy girl Nana and ironically she is afraid of heights but doesn’t think twice to climb a tree and take shots for her scoop. And if you like chubby girls, there is Momoka to go about. On a trivial note, I notice that Maki’s ideal guy has to be one that looks like Dutchy. Thanks to her first unpleasant encounter with Yan. This has got me thinking that her ideal handsome guy looks so ugly! Such low standards! Don’t you think? Maybe she should go watch more romance movie and see more of those teen magazines to get an idea of what a handsome guy is. If that is her standards of what constitutes an ideal guy, maybe a guy like me has got a chance… Dream on… And all those girls at Fujisaki, somehow I feel they’re, how should I put it, low level. They are easily ‘paralyzed’ at the sight of our beauties. You can see love hearts in their eyes and around their heads while they walk pass, oblivious to those fan girls fawning over them like as though they are some hot K-pop star. Unhealthy and twisted development? I wonder how they will handle things in the real world where there are men. Perhaps it is Maki’s aura that really attracts people but imagine if there were hotter guys and prettier girls than her, I think they would have died with a heart attack in an instant. So Maki and Riko the big main distraction of Fujisaki? Thankfully nothing yuri going on. Even if there was, it was so subtle that I didn’t notice.

The casts include Manami Numakura as Riko (Yurika in Aikatsu), Chinatsu Akasaki as Maki (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Inori Minase as Suzune (Gre-chan in Robot Girls Z), Ayane Sakura as Eno (Miyabi in Koko Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru), You Taichi as Sayori (Kanae in Witch Craft Works), Chuna as Momoka (Sorata in Binbougami Ga), Rina Hidaka as Nana (Hideyoshi in Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox), Takahiro Mizushima as Satoshi (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yan (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Yuka Terasaki as Rentarou (Basil in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Ayumu Murase as Yuu (Shun in Shin Sekai Yori), Kyoko Hikagami as Sakagami (titular character of Hello Kitty), Satomi Arai as Sugihara (Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) and Yuu Asakawa as Yoshida (Motoko in Love Hina). The opening theme is Love Shitai by the main quintet. Although it sounds like your generic anime girl group pop (think of the opening for Minami-ke series), something about the certain parts of the song being sung in a too girly fashion way that it made my hair stood on ends. Really. The same group sings the equally generic anime pop ending theme, Best Friends, which is much bearable and I prefer this slower paced one. Of course that insert song about lingerie by Maki’s father, Nete Mo Samete Mo Lingerie is hilarious. Not so much about the tune but the lyrics and the person who sang it. Although I was laughing my ass off hearing that song, I won’t be caught dead singing it.

Overall, this anime proves that it can be still be funny, entertaining and enjoyable using a group of girls and the theme of love without resorting to such shameless tactics of heavy fanservice, sexual innuendoes, panty shots and bouncy boobs. As long as you have likeable characters and a theme that everyone could relate to in real life, you’ll definitely garner a few fans and followers. Hey, everyone wants to experience love, right? Everyone wants to be loved, right? Yeah well, everybody also fails rejection that’s why we want to make it right and successful at first go. Because the first defeat can really be disheartening and discouraging. So maybe if they come up with another season and with more silly ideas to love, I might just be tempted to give it a try no matter how silly and ineffective it might be. Like they say, it’s better to have love and lost than never loved at all. That’s why love is such a complicated subject not taught in schools. But these girls may prove and show otherwise…

Kyoukai No Kanata

June 14, 2014

Got supernatural thriller and action? Check. Monsters to slash? Check. Got a dangerous weapon or thing that will cause the utter destruction of Earth and mankind if not contained? Check. Got the main protagonist character who is half human and half demon? Check. Got a character that utilizes her blood as a weapon? Check. Weird characters with equally weird if not sickening fetishes? Check. Cute girls? Check. But most important of all, does your girl wears glasses? Check, check and double check! Yes, got it! If you answered yes to loving your animes with all the above especially the glasses part, then please proceed and go ahead to watch Kyoukai No Kanata (Beyond The Boundary). Because glasses are what define this show. Glasses are what make this show move ahead. You cannot have this show without glasses. It is an abomination if there are no scenes lasting more than 5 seconds without glasses or spectacles. Glasses are a must! Glasses are compulsory! Glasses rule! Glasses FTW!!! Glasses… They are GOD!!!

Before I start sounding like a pervert with fetish for glasses, please keep in mind that my all time anime fetish still remains on maids. With glasses or not. Ahem. I don’t think I’m here to discuss my fetish in this blog so let’s move along, shall we? Ah yes. This show. How shall I put it? How should I explain it? I’ve already done so in the first few sentences of the first paragraph in this blog because that is what I feel best summarizes the show. Not the cursed blood, not the types of supernatural demons called Youmu, not the quirky characters that either want to make you laugh in ecstasy or puke in disgust, but the glasses. Oh… Looks like I’ve come back to that topic. I suppose with so many deviants and perverts with all sorts of fetish, I think the producers feel it is high time that those with glasses fetish should be given some due attention. Glasses fetishism in the world isn’t rare but they aren’t making much hype as maids or beast girls. Oh yeah. Glasses. Can’t live without them…

Episode 1
Akihito Kanbara sees Mirai Kuriyama trying to jump off the building to commit suicide. He tries to persuade her to stop. A girl like her is too pretty to die. He loves glasses. He should be careful in choosing his words. Mirai jumps back and stabs his heart with her crimson sword! And that is where their beautiful friendship began. A girl stabbing his heart he calls friendship? In the Literary Club, Akihito and Mitsuki Nase are screening through books when Mirai sounds like she is making a commotion outside. Akihito goes out to check on her. She’s being clumsy tripping on everything. Hmm… Meganeko… Dojikko… Total moe! Akihito tells her to give up because he is an immortal. No matter how many times she stabs him, he cannot die. Yeah, how many times has she tried to do that? He corrects her he is not a Youmu or possessed by one but a halfie. But she views as long as she is the Spirit World Warrior and he is somewhat a Youmu, what she does is not wrong. There’s your logic. Back in the clubroom, Mitsuki teases him the pervert he is, getting stabbed may just be his part in being a masochist. Akihito concludes the reason Mirai is persistently doing this: Love! Dream on. But Mitsuki warns him to stay away from Mirai as her family has jurisdiction over the Spirit World Warriors here. After school, there Mirai is again like a stalker, waiting to kill him. She materializes the sword from her blood, calling it a family curse because everyone was killed leaving her as the last survivor in her family. Akihito runs away while Mirai gives chase. Despite being clumsy, she still manages to catch up. He manages to outwit her when her stomach growls. Time for a break? Suddenly a real Youmu crashes in. Shizuku “Nino” Ninomiya swiftly fights and chases after this yeti and before they know it, they’re gone.

Akihito treats Mirai to a meal as she explains she has never defeated a Youmu before since her clan is hated for their ability to control blood, she tries to keep her powers hidden and avoid anything that has to do with subduing Youmu. But how come she has no qualms in killing Akihito and furthermore treating him as target practice?! Hey, what’s the use of being immortal then? He’s got nothing to lose, right? Although he cannot die, the pain is still immense and he doesn’t want to feel that. However he notes that killing a Youmu is easier than stabbing him so why doesn’t she do that? She didn’t answer. Later Mitsuki sees Akihito just to remind him to stay away from Mirai because her family is watching over Mirai, who is a newcomer in this city. And her family are the unwelcoming and over-protective type. Of course, this isn’t going to stop him. In the evening, he goes to ask Mirai the reason she moved here. She couldn’t tell. He wonders why she is eating outside instead of back home. From her reaction and answer, it seems the place she is staying has a Youmu. He is going to help her on this one so she can regain her confidence. He won’t have to live in fear of being stabbed by her again and again. But she doesn’t want to because she’s scared. If that’s the case, why not call it quits? She tried. She couldn’t because of her cursed blood. Akihito feels the same way too. As they enter her room, strange paranormal activities start to occur. The mummy Youmu attacks.

Episode 2
Mirai tries hard to fight back but it’s quite aggressive. All Akihito can do is give lip service to do this, do that, don’t this, don’t that. Eventually Mirai gets tired and the Youmu escapes. Akihito tells her to finish the job or else she won’t get paid. Money makes the world go round. And so reluctantly she chases it down and uses some secret technique that squirts out her own blood to corner it before stabbing right in its eye. It becomes a crystal. Akihito will accompany her to see Ayaka Shindou tomorrow to appraise this crystal. She is the official appraiser for the Society of Spirit World. Probably Mirai is feeling anaemic after using her blood so he might be taking advantage of her trying to persuade her to join his club. Because he likes megane girls. Just kidding. Really? There’s another member who is also a Spirit World Warrior she can talk to and can learn a few things from her. However Mirai refuses as she doesn’t want to interact with others. Next day at Ayaka’s place, they are greeted by her sister, Ai. Mirai panics because she senses Ai as a Youmu but Akihito explains there are some which are very docile. Ayaka is a Youmu too. As proof, they even show her the certificate of authorization. When Mitsuki comes into the picture, she doesn’t hesitate to insult the Playboy he is. Since Akihito’s persuasion for Mirai hits dead end, he has no choice but to look for Hiromi Nase. Akihito hates talking to this guy because of his tendency to call him some weird nickname. And even putting his fingers under his armpits… So gay… There’s some sort of agreement between them that Hiromi won’t go against him in exchange Akihito doesn’t side with anyone. Hiromi is in no obligation to tell him about the aggressive Youmu he ran into last night.

Later Akihito returns to Ayaka’s place and sees Nino trying to haggle with her. She didn’t think 26,000 Yen is enough. Due to some barrier Ayaka put up, Mirai can’t seem to find her place on her own. On the verge of tears. Luckily Mitsuki is there to guide her in. Mirai asks about her relationship with Akihito and she puts it as ‘watching him’. Akihito is embarrassed to see some magical postcard his mom, Yayoi sent. Because she is a nut case. Dressed up like a cat girl and acting so hyper active. This is not the first time. Imagine the number of times he could have died from embarrassment. It doesn’t help when Mitsuki continues taunting to torment him. “Just die already”… On to serious stuff, Yayoi warns the very powerful Youmu type called Hollow Shadow. It has no physical body and be sure to stay clear of it. Ayaka adds the last time she heard, it was so powerful that 5 A-rank Spirit World Warriors lasted only a few minutes against it. Last night Youmu may be influenced by its power since low level types do get influenced by energy emitted by others. Ayaka begins appraising Mirai’s crystal. Only a thousand yen. No wonder she’s furious. Mitsuki hints to Mirai that she can drop by the clubroom if she runs into trouble or needs advice. Mirai was kind enough to treat Akihito to a meal for his help. She doesn’t want him to bother with her anymore because their lives are totally different. She believes she is not allowed to enjoy life like him because she has killed someone with her very own hands.

Episode 3
Mirai is seen in another Youmu hunt but it is Mistuki who finishes it off. Although Mitsuki gives her the crystal, Mirai doesn’t want her charity and throws the tiny crystal back at her. Miroku Fujima, an officer from the Spirit World Warriors’ Observation Department is seen asking Izumi Nase about the Hollow Shadow. Her personal opinion on Youmus in general is that they are just monsters. Akihito finds Mirai and hands her a 10,000 Yen bill. It was how much that tiny crystal was worth. Oh sh*t! Mitsuki handed it to him and he got it appraised. So take it. Despite her mouth saying no, her hands are itching to grab it. Akihito is here to talk to her but again she reminds him not to get involved. First she used him for target practice and now she wants to run away? Later Mirai walks pass Nino and is told about Hollow Shadow passing through this area tonight. There are orders to stay away from it till it passes. Meanwhile Akihito and Hiromi are in some sort of fetish sick argument.  We know who has the megane fetish. What is Hiromi’s? Siscon. Man, he loves his sister, Mitsuki. He falls into despair when Akihito mentions he managed to get Mitsuki to wear one. And here she is in one. True defeat. She only wears this just to rile up her sick perverted brother. Then she throws the glasses away to show her disrespect for it. Much later, Mitsuki meets Akihito in a deserted place. She is here to warn him that Mirai may go after the Hollow Shadow herself. She also heard some sort of rumour that bad luck follows those who take in the ones who carry the cursed blood. A Spirit World Warrior, Inami took in the survivor of a clan. When she tried subduing a Hollow Shadow, she lost her daughter whom she cared.

A purple mist befalls on the town and Youmus are creeping up here and there. Of course ordinary people can’t see it. A big ominous mass of cloud is heading their way. Although some Spirit World Warriors remain in the sanctuary of their barriers, others like Hiromi are putting up barriers over town to divert it away. Akihito goes to see Mirai who of course is just going out to defeat the Hollow Shadow. As usual, she wants the stalker to go home as this is none of his business. He notices her ring as she explains the Inami family took her in despite she was cursed. The ring was supposed to suppress her cursed blood. Although she was isolated in the family, only their daughter, Yui played with her. They became best friends till one day Yui got possessed by a Youmu. Mirai took off her ring and killed her. Akihito says she is not at fault and that he’s alike. But how would he know? She blames he is the one in the wrong. Unlike him who got Youmu friends, people treated her like a demon and are afraid to touch her. So please don’t pretend he knows what it’s like. Mirai makes her way to the outskirts but as she prepares herself to fight the Hollow Shadow, she is attacked by someone she knows, Sakura Inami. They are swallowed by the mass and end up in some ghost town? Mirai runs away from her but is cornered. Her sword is slowly cutting through Mirai’s blood sword when suddenly here comes Akihito bumping Sakura away. Comical? I guess he got frustrated on what she said and has done lots of thinking (how long has it been since?). It’s she who is wrong!

Episode 4
Akihito takes Mirai and run but Sakura is relentless. Although the storm of Hollow Shadow has passed, it seems Mirai and Akihito are stuck in some mind maze of their own inside Hollow Shadow. Going up the endless escalators, they even have time to argue, nitpick and be stubborn while Sakura is hot on their ass. So who is this Sakura girl anyway? She is Yui’s sister and is out to kill Mirai. I guess it’s not hard to see why. Mirai sees illusions of Yui and gets attacked by her. Since she is in shock to attack whatsoever (‘Yui’ preparing to kill her while she just stares), Akihito throws her dropped ring and this made Mirai open her eyes and realize this is not the real Yui. She squirts her blood to break free of its grasp. ‘Yui’ transforms into Hollow Shadow. As Mirai stabs it, they return to the real world. Akihito wanted to get Mirai but was told to stay away. Mirai’s blood is raining down on the land and disintegrating it upon contact. All the surrounding trees and land die in that instant. Once it’s over, she asks if she looks normal to him. She looks like a beautiful bespectacled girl in his eyes. Suddenly Hollow Shadow stabs Akihito from the back and possesses his body. He wants her to stab her before it complete takes over him. He’s immortal, right? Otherwise everything will be in vain. That’s what she came here to do, right? Summoning her courage, she stabs through him and then squirts her blood to kick out Hollow Shadow. In the final intense battle, she manages to slay it.

Before she could go to him, Hiromi, Nino and Ayaka tell her to stay back. They are not upset that he fought the Hollow Shadow and then proceed to put up a barrier to seal him. As explained, after suffering heavy injuries like this, his half Youmu side will awaken. Akihito soon turns into one. A very powerful one that it is taking the trio all they’ve got just to keep him at bay. The little fiery projectile that escaped the barrier could cause a massive damage. Thank Izumi for putting up a barrier before it flies to town. In the end, he was too powerful to contain. The land is devastated and the rest knocked out. Mirai sees the monster in him and regrets what she said to him. Saying sorry now doesn’t quite cut it. Feeling responsible and the need to stop him, she dashes and jumps onto him. She doesn’t let go of him despite the struggle. Her burning blood soon calms him down and neutralizes his Youmu side. Then they get emotional after seeing the destruction they caused. In the aftermath, Mirai is seen devouring her food like there’s no tomorrow. Need to replenish her blood? Or maybe she’s just upset she took the wrong crystal. Yeah, that rock was probably worth 200 Yen. Akihito asks if he looks like a normal person. Well, a creepy perverted senior with glasses fetish. Yeah. That’s normal. The real crystal of Hollow Shadow is in Izumi’s hands and with it, this will delay the plan of Society of Spirit World Warriors for now.

Episode 5
Mirai is brought to the Literary Club after much pestering from Akihito. When she spots a gardening book in the shelf, she immediately takes interest. Without hesitation, she joins the club! That’s all it took. Then the guys are in cohorts, some sort of harassment conspiracy as they label and size up Mirai as the perfect girl with glasses and little sister features. 2 in 1. Everyone including Mitsuki pays a visit to the Nase’s family house. They meet Miroku on his way out who is just leaving after his observation stay. Because Mirai ignored warning to stay away from Hollow Shadow, she got her licence revoked for a month. She panics because no income means no food. How will she pay her rent? Don’t worry. Akihito will help out a little. Later Mirai and Mitsuki talk over food. Mirai still feels she is alone but Mitsuki wants her to ditch that thinking. She reminds him about Akihito being half Youmu and almost killed Hiromi, the reason why her family is keeping close watch on him. They spot a passer-by emitting Youmu aura and quickly go to draw it out and attack it. Mirai doesn’t hesitate anymore and kills the Youmu. Since her licence is suspended, she gives the tiny crystal to Nino who just came into the scene. Guess how much is that worth? 50,000 Yen!!! Such rotten luck this girl has with money. But as thanks, Nino treats her to a hearty meal. Mirai also notices a poster of a local festival but Mitsuki says she won’t be going like always since she is part of the Nase family.

Akihito is skipping classes since his Youmu transformation the other day continues to bother him. Mirai and Mitsuki take up a part time job at Ayaka’s place since the sisters will be going to the festival so they’re stand in to run the place. For extra income, Mirai is made to dress up as a maid and being taken photographs! Because a certain guy with bespectacled fetish requested it. No prizes to guess who this freak is. Ayaka is even willing to pay double if she is in the nude! But don’t worry, it’s for her personally collection. Ai even shows her nude photo collection to Mirai. It’s in her cat form… Oh, there’s the human form too. But we won’t get to see it… The sisters leave that evening and meet up with Nino, dressed all so sexy ready to grab a guy. Is this what the festival means to her? Mirai talks to Mitsuki about Akihito’s truant. She thinks he is alone like them all, perhaps a reason why she too never go to the festival year after year. I guess eventually they succumb to the allures of it and close the shop early. So happen Akihito is also there but the whiny kid is being brought in by Hiromi. Mirai says that everyone is here because they feel lonely. The fireworks lit up the sky. Everyone is happy watching it. Except maybe for Nino because her potential date stood her up because of his job. Hiromi is probably the happiest person since Mitsuki tells him to go get her a candy apple.

Episode 6
Mitsuki has a plan for Mirai’s school debut. First, start taking off those glasses. Akihito will not allow such defilement! Then they notice several bonsai plants in the corner that belongs to Mirai. She spent her money on this. No wonder she is always broke. So to make more money, Ayaka mentions about a fruit type Youmu that doesn’t go around attacking people. There is one detected on top of their school rooftop and could easily fetch 500,000 Yen. Immediately Mirai rushes to get the job done. Money face. What she didn’t know is the nasty surprise that awaits her. It seems each time it is easily agitated, it will let lose a very stinky liquid and flood the place. Yup. The duo stink. A lot. So much so others really stay away from them. Heh. Even Mirai made a fart sound with her mouth and pin the blame on Akihito. So they can’t get near it without a plan. Learning it has a fetish for girls, they need another person to distract it while the other attacks. So they beg Mitsuki to help out and she eventually relents when they ‘threaten’ with their stinky clothes. Desperate? I suppose the smell is going to last no matter how much they wash. Why not use Ai? Because she’s a Youmu. With Mirai doing sexy poses and attracting the Youmu, Mitsuki sneaks up behind it. All is going well till her pet who is supposed to attack it falters because it overate. Plan failed. Stink time.

Now they’re wearing gas mask because somehow Mitsuki got the direct hit. Though she herself cannot smell it, the only way is to defeat the Youmu if she wants to rid of this smell. So horrible that not even dear brother can stand up to it. She is put in a bubble as they figure out how to defeat it. The guys kinda like this idea of her in a cage and go on ranting about their fetish. Till Mitsuki just unzips and get out. Now start using your brains to defeat the Youmu! They learn that this Youmu also likes songs. At least if you sing and dance your body matching to the music’s rhythm, it will be attracted and lower its guard. Using the song that was believed to defeat this type of Youmu, Mirai seems embarrassed that they’re going to sing it. However she is a horrible singer! And instantly it’s stinkyville again! Mirai is fed up of being smelly and is at her limit. YOU STINK! But with the rest are so furious at this losing streak that they want to win against this Youmu, it made Mirai rethink her decision. And so they spend an entire week in training before facing in this final battle. Guess what? They have become idols! Oh yes. The girls put up an idol worthy performance with the guys equally as their backup dancers. The Youmu is totally fixated on them as they perfectly sing this song with flashbacks of their ‘harsh’ training inserted in between. They unleash their final weapon into the fray: Ai. She too joins the group as an idol and when the song ends, they have totally got the Youmu’s attention. They couldn’t believe it. They have won. But… Who is supposed to attack the Youmu? So much thought into practice and nobody thought about this last bit? Just sad… It’s going to reek again! Mitsuki is furious. The soap ran out… Washing and washing and washing and washing and washing…

Episode 7
Sakura is probably overkill the Youmus while thinking about her dead sister. All memories of her inside this little bell of hers. Meanwhile Hiromi is appalled that all his idol CDs have been replaced with hard on yaoi gay pictures! It must be a warning from Mitsuki. Because Hiromi secretly tried to submit an application of her to join an idol group. Yup. That’s it. Akihito even joins in the folly daydreaming about idols in glasses. Heaven. As for Mirai, she’s not too happy that for the umpteenth time the stray baseball destroys her precious bonsai plant. Nino is here (no, not to talk about some guy) to see Mirai. It seems Sakura has passed the necessary tests to transfer to this school. Of course they have no grounds to reject her but if they really want to, they could seek Izumi. Mirai talks to Mitsuki about the time she defeated Hollow Shadow. She learnt that as long as she as Yui’s murderer is still alive, there will be no closure for Sakura’s case. That night, Akihito sees Sakura at it again, over killing the Youmus. She passes out so he uses he weapon to destroy what is left. He has to let go of it as he feels an immense power being sucked away. Of course since Akihito is a nice guy who can’t let girls lie around in the street, he brings her home and even cooks her fried rice. Not that she even wants to eat it. That’s gratitude for you. Akihito learns her weapon grows stronger when she feeds Youmu crystals to it. She is still bent on killing Mirai because it is part of the deal to keep this weapon. She doesn’t remember the guy who gave it to her because all she cares is getting stronger to fulfil her sister’s dream of becoming the best Spirit World Warrior. Then Mirai is at the door. Sakura definitely wants to fight and doesn’t care if his house gets wrecked. He shoves her into the cabinet while he tries to fool Mirai. However she sees a pair of shoes. Akihito doesn’t have siblings or relatives, right? Then she becomes frantic. Naming all the girls she knows who could possibly be his company. Her delusions take a drastic when she thinks it is Hiromi!

Akihito is forced to reveal the real person just to shut her up. Now she’s cowering in fear. Counting sheep? Perhaps she thinks she is dreaming… Sakura will not be his prisoner any longer so she breaks through his window and escape. Couldn’t she have just opened it normally? Next day, Sakura becomes the new transfer students in Mirai’s class. What are the chances? As usual, the inevitable grudge match between Mirai and Sakura happens. During battle, Mirai tries to reason with her that her regret never went away even after defeating Hollow Shadow. She doesn’t want Sakura to suffer the same fate. Mirai sizes up Sakura about her powers. Although she has killed lots of Youmus and gathered them in her weapon, she is weak and will not be able to become s Spirit World Warrior. It is her who will be the one for them all. Sakura loses her will and the weapon tries to consume her. Mirai cuts her free. She wonders if Sakura is jealous of her because Yui once told her she was for her. She wants Sakura to continue living as herself. Sakura reconciles with her and they walk home together. She narrates it was the memories of the bell. Each time she hears its ring, she struggled to a point she grew desperate and lost herself. She always wondered where is the one who mattered most to her. But looks like she knew the answer all along. Meanwhile Miroku picks up the weapon and notes it has absorbed enough Youmu crystals. Now to recover Hollow Shadow. Meanwhile Mitsuki notices Izumi staring out through her window. She sees the town slowly being covered in its own reflection. She notes the Calm is coming. It is time frozen where everything stops.

Episode 8
It might seem Izumi wants to do something yuri to whoever that is. Like practising on her… But it turns out she just froze her. Or so it seems to me. Mirai and Sakura are now like, erm, friends? Mirai trying to wake sleepyhead Sakura for school but she lost her motivation since she enrolled here just to kill her. Now with that goal gone, is there a reason to go? At the train station, Akihito is also feeling sleepy. Cheeky Sakura shoves Mirai’s face close to him. Still sleepy? Seems he was awake last night trying to decide which frame looks best on Mirai… Wasted time… When Sakura takes one and puts it on, Akihito revives! The power of glasses! Later the rest of the gang sees this magical postcard again from Yayoi. Yup, that weirdo act again. A hamster this time? You can’t blame her son for being appalled. So after all that fooling around, it’s just to warn them about the Calm? So basically during this period, all Youmus will somehow lose their strength and be weakened. During this time, all Spirit World Warriors will take this chance to eliminate strong ones that they couldn’t before and earn big money. Akihito has to be careful since he is half Youmu and will affect him in some ways. Mitsuki is being picked up by Miroku for a drive. He makes her look at the odd horizon, in which they believe is a Youmu. Powerful ones do not have a physical form and it is believed they spend time building its powers and are born from the hatred and evil of the heart. If left alone, they will lead to ruin like war, disease and famine. This is what is called Beyond The Boundary. He is here to ask het more information about it since Izumi is somewhat stingy. However looks like Mitsuki is also kept in the dark so she turns on the tables on him to ask more about what he knows.

Her family may be trying to destroy this Youmu in secret and that there is something that may be related to Mirai. When she killed Yui, she was marked for death but suspiciously Izumi stopped it. Miroku is then attacked by Hiromi. Don’t like some stranger talking to his sister, eh? Mitsuki becomes very concerned when Hiromi gets caught up in an explosion. Hiromi must have loved the moment she yelled out “Onii-chaaaaaaaaaan~”. And now she turns into a tsundere. Hmph. It just upped her moe factor. Akihito dreams that his friends were scared of him and didn’t want him to come near them. Because he was ran over by a car and yet there were no wounds on him. And then Akihito’s hands are covered in their blood… He is snapped out when he realizes Izumi is before him. And then she casts her spell on him. It results in him being weakened (both his human and Youmu side). He is confined to bed and in the care of Ayaka. When the clock strikes midnight, all the Spirit World Warriors like Nino have a field day exterminating the weakened Youmus. Even Izumi joins the fray. Mirai is obviously worried about Akihito so Sakura wants her to stay with him. Instead of telling it straight that she likes him whatsoever, she puts it as she treats her like a normal person when they first met. So if you want to go to him, just go. Miroku confronts Ayaka and wants to take Akihito into custody. Not on her watch. She transforms into her true form, a nine tail fox demon. She is still powerful despite the Calm but Miroku nonetheless has the upper hand. Ayaka could have been finished had not Izumi butt in. Meanwhile Akihito starts to turn into a Youmu.

Episode 9
When Mirai returns to Ayaka’s place, Akihito is up. But Ai is down. Hiromi and Mitsuki just finished disposing a giant Youmu. Wasn’t it supposed to be weak in the Calm? Izumi and Miroku begin their super power battle with magic, explosions and barriers. Because Miroku can project a duplicate image of himself, he manages to escape her blow. Izumi then returns to attack Akihito but he too escapes. So the gang go find him but in his place, they find something more disturbing. A cupboard filled with glasses! Even worse, many scrap books of Mirai in those cosplay shots and each with their own commentary! This scrap book is number 135… Oh sh*t!!! Ultimate horror? But what makes Mirai close to tears is the glasses catalogue that he wants to buy a pair for her birthday. They head outside when a slight earthquake rocks the place. In the forest, a big hole in the ground and they believed it was made by Akihito. After Izumi inspects it, she concludes with a speculation. The next time Mirai sees Akihito, she must kill him. It’s because the Calm has completely upset his internal balance between human and Youmu. If the Calm ends now, he will stay this way forever and his human side will never re-emerge. He will be nothing but a powerful immortal Youmu. Therefore the Calm is the only time where he is not immortal and vulnerable. Mirai is so in a dilemma that she didn’t realize she’s churning up the gas bill. Sakura’s kick may have made some respond but she’s still pretty emotional. Mitsuki too talks to her brother about what Izumi said. Hiromi could kill him to spare Mirai’s ordeal but to make sure Akihito is dead, Mirai is their best bet.

After Izumi reports to her higher ups about Beyond The Boundary will be theirs soon, Hiromi confronts her about her intentions for using Mirai. Based on the way she interacts with her, he knows she is manipulating her to kill Akihito. As there is no proof to show Akihito’s human half to drastically weaken, he deduces she must have used her frozen barrier on him. Her answer is that to beware the Society of Spirit World Warriors as they are trying to take the family down. Hiromi talks to Mirai at the school rooftop. He lets her look at the horizon which is believed to be Beyond The Boundary. He doesn’t want her to kill him. If she ever finds him, call him. Mirai tells him this was the first place she met Akihito. She clearly remembers the first thing he said to her was that she loves her freaking glasses. Crazy? Maybe. Now she wished they never met if she knew this was in store for her. It’s like someone wants her life to be a living hell. It’s like she’s really cursed. Hiromi does his investigation at the family library to find out what profit could his family make by tricking Mirai into killing Akihito. Then he realizes that a small part of Beyond The Boundary has only appeared. The rest of it must be spreading somewhere else and is frighteningly powerful. Akihito is the only one who fits this description. I guess this is why the family kept an eye on him. At the same time, Miroku breaks into the place to steal the Hollow Shadow’s crystal. Mirai has found Akihito lying somewhere in the forest. A timely call from Hiromi. He realizes she is going to kill him and had planned it from the start. The chatter is cut when Akihito attacks her. She has a tough time fighting back since he is able to neutralize her power. And partly all those memories with him start flowing through her mind and screwing with her heart. She takes off her glasses and charges. Her blood sword pierces through him.

Episode 10
Akihito wakes up in his place with Mirai by his side. His injuries are slowly healing. Like his waifu, she cooks him fried rice but there is only one lousy boiled egg since she used up the entire fridge as practice. There’s a pig’s head in it for celebration? Because the duo continue to act so annoying, Sakura had to pop up to tell Mirai and say it straight to this dense guy’s face. Be honest with him. Mirai has been nursing him since he went unconscious. It’s now summer. It seems it is switching back and forth between summer and winter scenes. In the latter, it is gloomier as Akihito is acting like a zombie much to Mirai’s dismay. In the summer scene, Mitsuki thinks she is seeing things since Akihito is here. He’s supposed to be dead 2 weeks ago. That’s her sarcasm. On a serious note, she hopes he can take a good look at himself because she has had enough of these nightmares. In the clubroom as they chat, Mirai starts to get emotional about him being kind to her. And then the scene outside the window turns into Beyond The Boundary. Mirai points out that is him. His Youmu side is a collection of tainted hearts that will destroy the world. She reveals she came to this town to kill him but couldn’t. She didn’t want to. However she did try to force it out from his body (the stab) but as a result it is she who disappeared. She is before him because they are in his dream thanks to the small amount of her blood in him. But soon he will be waking up. She tries to kiss him but finds it difficult. Even in dreams? She disappears before he could grab her. He wakes up in bed for real and only her glasses are seen remaining by his side. Don’t feel like getting excited over it, huh?

Flashback to 6 months ago. Mirai got a call from Izumi to meet so she packed her bags and took a train to this town. Izumi showed Mirai to her higher up and how her blood will help kill Beyond The Boundary. She is their best bet since Beyond The Boundary has regenerative abilities that makes him immortal. She will offer her full support as Izumi tells Mirai all she needs to know about this Akihito person. Her brother tried to do the job but was almost fatally killed. Although Mirai wanted to finish this job quick, Izumi wonders if she could because of her mental state. She is still reeling from Yui’s death. And so the montage of selected scenes in previous episodes now start to make sense. Like how Mirai killed Akihito many times under the guise as target practice. Of course she was really trying to kill him but she wondered if he is really a threat since he looked so cheerful and happy. And since he couldn’t die, Izumi advised her to observe him for a while. Each time Akihito talked to her and she puts up that sullen face was because she was thinking about her own predicament. Even those short ‘forgettable’ scenes of Mirai meeting Izumi. There was something much more to it. Like the reason why Mirai tried to push him away each time he wanted to get closer and refused to join any clubs was because Izumi told her to keep her distance away from him. The Hollow Shadow incident opened her eyes. She never knew he suffered this much and all the while was only thinking about herself. As she couldn’t do so during that Hollow Shadow moment, Izumi reminded her it will be the end of the world once his destructive powers are awakened. And during the festival, they meet up so that Mirai could tell her she does not want to kill him. When the Calm came, Izumi came up with this plan to freeze his human side and is certain Mirai will go with this option to save Akihito without killing him. She must use her blood and body to draw out Beyond The Boundary and let it absorb into her body. She didn’t hesitate to go for this so Izumi gives her his coordinates and wants her to act quickly before the Society of Spirit World Warriors do. Akihito would have wanted her to live and to kill him so she may do so. However she knows she is going to save him anyway.

Episode 11
In the winter world, Mirai is fighting hordes of Youmus and trying to find the core of Beyond The Boundary. Mitsuki is relieved to see Akihito up. Yes, it is true. No sarcasm involved. As explained, he has been in coma for 3 months and lost his immortality. Mirai is considered good as dead because when she used every last ounce of her blood to flush out Beyond The Boundary, she totally vanished. Akihito hears some strange explosion noises from the sky but the rest heard nothing. So after Akihito has his fill of 3 months of food, he wants to go see Izumi but Hiromi thinks it’s of no use. The siblings tried to do so many times but were turned away. Though they were shocked that the only 2 options were either Akihito gets killed or Mirai sacrifices her life. They were never told since it’s not like they were going to choose who to die, right? But great timing because Izumi is here to talk to Akihito. She tells him about the probably history of Beyond The Boundary and that being possessed by it means death but somehow Akihito manages to live with it. However he is not interested in all that but Mirai’s whereabouts. Only the clan with the cursed blood could kill it but there was a problem. Mirai refused to kill him. She had no choice but to use the other method which was only feasible by her clan during the Calm. It is her duty to protect her family and the world. Furthermore, Mirai did it on her own free will as there is this person whom she would give her life for. If not for her, the world will not be here. Sakura is upset that Mirai is gone that she double kicks Akihito but no answer. As he goes through his handphone messages, aside from the stalker Hiromi, there is one from Mirai. He frantically reads it. It was sent before she confronted him. It’s the usual about her past and cursed features, how she loathed it till she realizes her powers weren’t meant to hurt but to save others. She’s happy to live, so happy to have met him, so happy that she wasn’t cursed. Now that he is a mortal and can die normally, he should live his life normal too. Her last words weren’t a confession like we hoped for. It was that she now doesn’t feel unpleasant anymore.

Miroku believes the Nase family thinks everything is fine if Mirai is gone. He knows Beyond The Boundary escaped being killed by fusing it with Mirai’s blood. Although it is weaker and fighting against her, it is sucking powers from surrounding Youmu and Spirit World Warriors to amplify its power. He wonders what will happen if he further boosts it. Using his car battery (?!), he enhances the Hollow Shadow’s crystal. The place starts to rock. Mirai continues to fight off Youmus and protect zombie Akihito. The real Akihito sees a big mother sphere in the sky and all kinds of Youmus being sucked up from the ground into it. There is also a letter saying that Mirai is alive and to come to the Literary Club room. The rest also receive this letter and make their way. However Akihito doesn’t want them to come in yet because there is this big armour dude in their room. Turns out to be Yayoi trying to make a flashy debut. Can you not blame her son for beating her up! A son beating up his mom?! Aside Akihito screaming his head off and Yayoi’s weird outfit and character, she tells them Mirai is still alive and battling for her life. She shows them a Youmu crystal that has been sitting in the clubroom. It doesn’t belong to Hollow Shadow but Akihito. This means it is also part of Beyond The Boundary. Akihito takes it and absorbs it into his hand despite the repelling electricity force. Yayoi adds that thanks to Mirai’s strong emotions, she has created an empty shell of Akihito and he can go there using it. How does she know all this? Because she is his mother. Izumi barges in and wants to know what he can do. Not sure. But he is willing to do anything for a pretty girl in glasses. Izumi backs down and let him go. He dashes to the highest point of some building and makes a great leap and break into the sphere. Mirai is at her limit but before she collapses, here comes Akihito crashing him and grabbing her in his arms. Look who is back?

Episode 12
Mirai argues all her hard work was for nothing if he is here. He argues a future without her is meaningless. I argue that you’re both at fault! Meanwhile serious Izumi tries to interrogate Yayoi on her goal and what exactly is Akihito. Because Yayoi continues to fool around with bad puns, Sakura couldn’t take it and kicks her! Although Izumi stabs her, it was only her double. All Yayoi hints that Akihito and Mirai aren’t your usual Youmu and Spirit World Warrior. They’re very special so take good care of them. Akihito and Mirai continue to battle Youmus and the core itself. Akihito’s right hand is now a Youmu after absorbing that crystal. Since it possesses some Beyond The Boundary’s power, it might be just the thing that will end this battle. Meanwhile everybody else gangs up to fight Miroku. However he is only interested in Izumi and whisks her to another dimension to fight. Mitsuki tells Hiromi to go help Izumi because if she handles it herself as usual, nothing will change. Hiromi hears how Miroku mentions that they both are possessed by Youmu, something nobody else knows. However Izumi denies that unlike him, she refuses to give into it as a human being. So don’t compare himself to her. Miroku’s taunting and teasing continue to piss Izumi off. When she stabs him, a big explosion occurs and they return to the normal world. Back to the other duo, we see them in action of hacking and slashing Youmus along their way with Akihito speeding up his bike across the ravine, falling short and even pushing the pedal to the metal riding against gravity all the way up. I guess you can never do this in the real world. Also, they’ve been jabbing each other about stuffs. It’s like they thought the other knew something like the enemy’s weakness or something but actually, no. The next thing they know, they see visions of past and current people they know who don’t want to be killed. Akihito wants Mirai to close her eyes so as not to let the Youmu deceive her as they are just embodiment of human hatred. Therefore it manifests in their heart’s weaknesses and then into real forms before them. He holds her hand and reminds her he was always with her. She is not alone. When she opens her eyes, all those ‘people’ turn into their true hideous Youmu form. They have to fight them all. There’s no choice. Thankfully they get a little help from Ayaka and Ai.

Then the final boss has supposedly taken the form a giant human hand trying to pound Akihito. However he stops it with his puny fists as he knows well everything about it is also him. He rages on all the negative emotions like despair, jealousy and loneliness that he has always felt. All of it belongs to him and he is going to take it back. In the end, he successfully absorbs Beyond The Boundary. Mirai then wants him to pat her head and say thank you. Something feels odd. It’s because she’s disappearing! Because Beyond The Boundary has returned to Akihito, this space is dissolving. Mirai will cease to exist like she was long before. She is thankful for being able to meet him. She is thankful for being able to fall in love with him… But that confession isn’t going to mean a thing if she’s going to disappear like hell!!! Akihito cannot accept this he frantically tries to catch her but she completely vanishes. He only caught her ring as he crashes back down into the real world. In the aftermath as he narrates, he thinks that it is Mirai’s hard work that once again brought peace to the world. Everyone’s daily lives resume as normal. Miroku has disappeared though the Society of Spirit World Warriors denied everything and blamed he was acting on his own. Izumi also went missing shortly and thus Hiromi took over the family head, although he vowed never to become like her. Despite Mitsuki still verbally abusing Akihito in the clubroom, he feels that without Mirai around, there is no point having a future. I’m not sure if this is a pun and play on her name since it means future. I think it is. No glasses = no future. So he is somewhat ‘forced’ to face this reality. Then he gets poetic, ranting about light and darkness existing together, blah, blah, blah. Then one day Mirai’s ring vanishes from his hand and he realizes something is up. He rushes back to the rooftop and the first thing he yells out is how much he loves Mirai in glasses. There she is standing without one. He doesn’t know if this is fate/destiny, Mirai’s hard work or just his strong feelings for her that got through. But screw all that because all that matters is they are reunited. The first order of business? Put these glasses on, baby. Gladly.

Idol Saiban! ~Mayoi Nagara Mo Kimi Wo Sabaku Tami~

I am not sure what these ONA episodes are for despite just to bring in the laughs. It has no relation to the plot whatsoever in the series and only lasts about 7 minutes per episode. Instead, you see our girls in chibi form as judges as they try to judge a different character on a ‘crime’ they have made. But they are so relaxed and carefree that it makes you wonder if this is really a courtroom in the first place. Worse, could it be a kangaroo court?

Episode 1
Akihito is being brought in to face charges by the panel of judges consisting of Mirai, Mitsuki and Sakura. Why is he the only one in normal form while the rest are so chibi cute? Simple. Because he’s not cute. The head judge Ai makes her entrance but she’s acting and talking so much like an idol judge that it’s just pissing Akihito off. Cute, no? The other girls discuss it was a bad idea making her as the head judge but it can’t be helped since she ended up with the most votes via some online election thingy. After that folly is done, Sakura reads the charges and Akihito is being charged for grossness. How does he plead? Not guilty. Exhibit evidences are shown how he is engross with glasses. Are these shots taken illegally? Ai is going to hand down her verdict. But first everybody gets up on stage and sings a group idol song that makes you go “WTF, is this a courtroom or concert?!”. Ai passes down Akihito’s sentence and it is to have Mirai’s glasses broken. Eh? What? Now this really makes him panic but he can’t do anything about it as a concrete pillar smashes Mirai’s glasses into bits! He’s in despair… Big despair. And Mirai is so like WTF…

Episode 2
Today’s defendant is Nino. They explain that she is brought here to be judged for a crime but they sarcastically hint that she has been punished enough throughout her life. Then Mitsuki nails it to her that because she was a little popular back in high school, she set the bar too high and missed a chance to become a woman. Nino is disgusted and shows her frustration by using her power so they keep her lock in a barrier. With Ai coming into the picture, it seems she somewhat copied Nino’s hairstyle and it feels like it is an attempt to piss her off. Nino’s charges: For being painful. Huh? First photo exhibit shows a shop clerk addressing how young she looked in a dress but Nino acted that she didn’t want the flattery. Despite her smiling face, it is actually filled with pain. Next photo evidence shows her in a mixer. Throughout the duration, she has been constantly maintaining her posture in a certain position to attract the guys. Looks painful, doesn’t it? Of course she failed to get any guy of her own. So here is the verdict. After that idol dance thingy, Nino is sentenced to become a high school girl. She is forced to wear a uniform but it makes her look like as though she is cosplaying. Yeah, looking at it just hurts. Big despair for Nino…

Episode 3
Hiromi… Is to be charged with contempt of court! Because he is stark naked and only clad in his scarf!!! Posing and loving it?! Mitsuki tries to slam the concrete pillar on him but to no effect. Then she fires away all the machine guns but this only made him ‘dance’ and ‘strut his stuff’! Hiromi even can coolly tell them off his punishment has already begun before the trial started. He denies being a pervert but a siscon. Yeah. To his sister, it’s the same. And worse. She sends this proud pervert falling through a trapdoor. When Ai arrives, she is disappointed that there is no defendant. She came all the way here just to exploit and torture people and what’s this? No show? A judge that exploits and torture people? As long as she is cute, it doesn’t matter. Cute = justice! Looks like she gets her wish since Hiromi returns. Still naked. Cover your eyes! Mitsuki and Mirai even think of suing him for this harassment. Definitely sure to win. But Ai doesn’t need to read out his charges since he’s so obvious in flaunting his indecency. Her verdict is he is to be sentenced to Akihito. Eh? What? He is to put his hands under his armpits for 3 days. Hiromi looks like he’s enjoying it. Yeah. The one suffering is Akihito. What the hell is this hard on gay thingy?! Where the hell are his fingers touching?! If it’s any consolation, thankfully none of the girls turned into a fujoshi.

Beyond The Glasses And Little Sisters – How Unpleasant!
The ending… I don’t know what to make of it. I have some mixed feelings of course. Everything that happened in the last episode somewhat feels rushed. It’s like they want to close this chapter and pull things out from the air for explanation to viewers. It just boggles the mind. Like about this Miroku dude, I don’t understand about his intention except that he is supposed to be the main antagonist and I am guessing his ambition is to destroy the world, the reason he wants to unleash Beyond The Boundary. Bad guys don’t win, right? So he is made to go missing. How convenient. Why not just kill him off and save the trouble? Heck, Miroku and Akihito don’t even face off or hardly even meet. If I remember it was just only once and that was just a brief one when he was leaving the Nase’s residence. How can the Society of Spirit World Warriors feign ignorance for everything big that has happened especially when one of their members was going on a rampage? The world was going to end and they didn’t take action at all? Shouldn’t the Nase family who has absolute jurisdiction in this area have done something about it. I figure in that case they aren’t just as powerful I thought they are. Because Izumi can’t even defeat this single dude. Strangely and conveniently enough too, Izumi also goes missing. Going after him? Why, does she like that guy? I don’t know. It’s all so hazy. And conveniently also, Hiromi becomes the head of the Nase family. Heck, he doesn’t look and feel the least bit part of it but I guess it isn’t important. With this kind of character, he can lead the family? Suddenly I’m envisioning the doom of the family in the next few weeks… Thus everything in the just feels suspicious.

And then there is this absolutely unexplained part to a point some may call it rubbish because they just want the viewers to feel good and relieved in the end. It’s about Akihito reuniting with Mirai in the end. Somehow. We’ve given that crappy uncertain narration by that guy himself as reasoning why Mirai came back. Don’t know. Not sure how. That’s how it seems about Mirai’s return. But we couldn’t care less about it because our lovebirds are back together again and they can come up with the craziest and most ridiculous reason why she resurrected because in the end the things that matter most is her glasses Mirai coming back to Akihito’s side once more. Here is a ludicrous reason from me why Mirai came back: Because God does not have glass fetish! She was refused entry at the Heaven’s gate and sent back down to Earth just because of the prejudice of wearing glasses. Therefore people who wear glasses don’t go to Heaven. CRAAAAAAAAAAAAP!!! I know it is nonsense but it sounded better than Akihito’s reason that his strong feelings for her got through. Even if that were to be true, his strong feelings are for her glasses… Yeah… Really… I mean, look at the first thing he said about her when he finally laid eyes on her. Something to do with her glasses, right?

However to be fair to this show (and putting aside the glasses obsession), this anime isn’t really bad at all. Heck, mostly because I read in many online comments and many had good things to say about it. I just thought those people had glasses fetish and blinded them in making a non-prejudiced review… Oops! Just kidding. Although, the show is far from being perfect and each still have their grouses. Heh. Everybody is a critic. So this show has got a little twist and revelation that stunned many (in both good or bad ways), like yours truly because we were being so focused on the glasses that thinking of the serious stuff was, well, unthinkable. There were some great action scenes with Mirai swinging her blood sword and slashing through the Youmus. Perhaps it is the execution of those action scenes that made it a little more exciting than your usual hack and slash animes as there are some magic and supernatural stuffs and things that go boom in a big way. There were also some funny moments (especially Mirai looking and sounding like a joker whenever she’s not in killing, hack and slash mode) and some of the lines were funny and it really made me laugh. There were some drama moments that would possibly pull a heart string or two. So I suppose overall in these areas, it is not bad actually. Although animes mixing in lots of genres here and there tend to end up messy and all over the place, this one doesn’t feel so and perhaps the reason why many felt it was beyond expectations.

Then there are of course the characters. Each of the characters is so quirky and weird that it makes them memorable. Let’s start off with Mirai because this bonsai loving girl’s favourite word is “Fuyukai desu” which simply means “How unpleasant”. You can tell her mood the more she uses this word in her sentence. The more irritated, the more “Fuyukai desu!” you will hear. So much so it might just turn into some “Fuyukai desu” spam. And because she is always experiencing the unpleasant (according to her) and viewing herself as having rotten luck, she often takes out her ‘complain’ in her blog. In which you can see her whip out her PDA and start typing in like mad her frustrated and “Fuyukai desu” feelings. I have a feeling that it will make her a target for online bullies. Then there is Akihito whom everyone will remember him as not the halfie but the guy who has great fetish in glasses. You can see his extreme reaction to them whenever it involved them. Especially if it is Mirai. In a way it is as though glasses are what define Mirai just like what Gintama’s Shinpachi is. Fuyukai, no? I suppose they want to add another catchphrase to the series because towards the end, you could hear them say almost as often, “Zama miro” which means “Serves you right”.

Well, speaking of the romance between the duo, sadly they didn’t officially become a couple despite Mirai finally confessing it. But during her vanishing moments? Not romantic even for a guy. The interaction between the duo is hilarious at times and sometimes the way they have a go at each other. So that kind of bond and relationship forming between them, it’s so obvious where the duo are heading to that you just feel frustrated that they are not being honest about it that you want to shout out to them and tell them to confess and kiss. Even if I did say Akihito is in love because of Mirai due to her glasses, in the end I would prefer much to believe that he likes her for who she is. The glasses are an added bonus. A very big bonus. Same thing for Mirai. She likes him not because of his constant undying love for glasses but for who he is. Being a hard core glasses fetish guy is nothing compared to the pain they’ve gone through and I’m sure she can live with it. Or maybe not. Nino is one of the many female characters in animes whereby she is past that ‘prime age’ of being a lady and is desperately in need of a guy. No matter how hard she tries, she always ends up lonelier so it becomes a taboo word for her and you don’t want to test her patience because her ground stomping move can really, well, shake the ground.

I wanted to point out that Mirai is the only character in this series that wears glasses. Unfortunately Miroku for whom many of us would love to ignore also wears a pair. But like I said, nobody really cares about him, right? Because Mirai is a billion times cuter in glasses especially when she gets clumsy sometimes. Ultimate moe? Well, I figure that one goes to Ai because the only role she has in this anime even if it’s supposed to be some minor supporting role is to act cute and be cute. Because in all the action scenes that has her and big sister in their truly form fighting the Youmu, it is only Ayaka who is seen fighting them while Ai just hangs around. Those who aren’t obsessed with glasses can breathe a sigh of relief that there is still some cuteness in girls without them. So why didn’t they put every female characters in glasses? Perhaps is to put the sole focus of glasses cuteness on Mirai. It makes her stand out more that way. Fuyukai desu…

Hiromi is equally quirky too if not, even weirder than Akihito because of his little sister complex. He has this serious look and side to him but when he opens his mouth on his fetish, it’s very hard to believe that this guy is an idiot. And what is the deal about him liking to put his hands underneath Akihito’s armpits? Cold? Why not his own? They’re nearer, if you know what I mean. I hope he does not have this hard on gay thing for Akihito. That would be totally sick and dangerous. To a point that Beyond The Boundary in Akihito might just explode and do a nuclear bomb on the world. Seriously, if this is meant to be some sort of new fetish play, I’d rather stick to his little sister one. Speaking of her, the only thing I remember much of her is her love for verbally abusing Akihito. She has the knack for it and although sometimes the words she chooses are so high level that I could not understand, I still laughed because it felt funny. Like as though it’s a cue for me to laugh… Sakura somewhat felt redundant after her brief storyline. She has been made to sometimes become a comic relief character but not as a big joker as Hiromi (double the effect if Akihito plays along with him). She hated Mirai for so long and suddenly after the Hollow Shadow incident, it’s like everything has been forgiven. Now she hangs out by Mirai’s side but still with her facial expressions as deadpan as ever sometimes perhaps trying to play the straight guy whenever Mirai is around and in her emotion flustering thingy.

One character remains a big mystery is Yayoi. Perhaps nothing is explained about her to keep the mystery of this crazy-screws-loose mother. It’s good to have mothers who aren’t your typical strict go-to-your-room-and-study kind of moms. It’s good to have mothers who can be like your best friend. But this one acts like a big embarrassment so even her kid Akihito who isn’t 100% human can feel the total humiliation and discomfort whenever mommy starts acting and prancing like a childish joker. It only gives the rest more ‘ammunition’ to taunt and tease him with no mercy. Especially Mitsuki. And some just want to kick her. Like Sakura. Whoever she is, I’m sure she must be a real important character because you know, when characters act like airhead but possess some powerful and mysterious powerful, you better bet that the character must be super badass that it makes you regret knowing their true personality and would have preferred the idiotic one instead.

If the art and drawing looks very familiar, then you should know that this anime was done by Kyoto Animation, the same company who brought to you Tamako Market, Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shita, Hyouka, and K-ON! Yup. The characters here have a very strange resemblance to those animes that I have just mentioned. For example, Mitsuki at certain angles looks like K-ON!’s Mio or the titular character in Tamako Market. Mirai is just a glasses version of K-ON!’s Yui. There is a striking resemblance between Ai and Hyouka’s Eru. Hiromi could have been Hyouka’s Houtarou with a different hairstyle while Akihito might probably be Satoshi’s twin from that same anime. The dead Yui in this anime somehow reminds me of Hyouka’s Mayaka. The only character which I find familiar but do not strike a chord with a Kyoto Animation design character is Ayaka. I thought she looked a lot like Bleach’s Unohana… Serious! Also, I thought the pair of hair buns on Sakura’s head makes her look like Mickey Mouse… Serious!

Generally the art style of the background and other scenery is also pretty decent. Then with all the added magical effects in certain scenes, I guess it provides some visual candy to a certain extent. The Youmus may not be given much prominence despite being the series’ main ‘enemies to slash’. But some do look hideous enough to give horror amateurs the scare. On a side trivial note, each episode has some sort of colour in their title. Well, I think that the colour is somewhat given prominence in that episode whether visually or figuratively. I wonder what the colours of glasses and little sister fetishes are… Don’t get me started on pantsu… Whoops!

Stereotyping somebody is bad. That’s why it never occurred to me that Minori Chihara was the voice behind Mitsuki. Expressionless girls are her forte. So I thought for a long time since this was how I usually recognized her like Chiaki in Minami-ke and Horizon in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon. Heck, I even thought she was the one who voiced Sakura instead. Worse, she should have voiced Sakura. So as the sarcastic verbal abuser Mitsuki, I would never have known it was her if I didn’t do my usual seiyuu search. Risa Taneda did a good job in voicing Mirai making her feel so alive and cute. Goes to show that it’s not only the glasses. Or maybe that enhances the cuteness of everything. Risa Taneda’s previous voice acting roles include Xenovia of High School DxD New, Saki of Shin Sekai Yori and Yukari in Yuyushiki. Other casts include Kenn as Akihito (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Hiromi (Haru in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun), Moe Toyota as Sakura (Kurumi in Saki: Zenkoku-hen), Naomi Shindoh as Ayaka (Shizuru in Mai-HiME), Yuri Yamaoka as Ai (Choi in Tamako Market), Akeno Watanabe as Nino (Rito in To Love-ru), Ayako Kawasumi as Izumi (Saber in Fate/Stay Night), Masaya Matsukaze as Miroku (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo) and Hiromi Konno as Yayoi (Sae in Amagami SS).

The opening theme which is the same name as this anime is sung by Minori Chihara. Although I said that her forte is emotionless girls (but even that is my very personal opinion), it doesn’t mean that she cannot sing. She’s a good singer in fact having sung a handful of anime themes. Though, I personally think this opening song is a cross between the opening theme of Black Rock Shooter TV series and BTOOOM!’s ending theme, Aozora (which was sung by May’n). Daisy by Stereo Dive Foundation serves as the ending theme. Although the slow rock and ‘lazy’ feel in this song reminds me of Kamisama No Memo-chou’s ending theme, Asunaro (which was sung by Kenichi Suzumura), it doesn’t sound quite bad actually. The insert song of Yakusoku No Kizuna by the seiyuus of Mirai, Mitsuki and Ai during that ‘failed’ idol stint also sounds good. If I hear it a few more times, I may get addicted to it. Maybe I already am…

In the end, I don’t know what else to really say about this show. Except that it wasn’t really about a world where humans and Youmus co-habitat and roam together. It wasn’t about special people with special powers exterminating those demons. It wasn’t about discrimination of a hated clan for ridiculous reasons (why hate somebody who could control blood?) and the reason they got annihilated and left only a survivor. It wasn’t about somebody having the most destructive mass weapon of destruction lying dormant within that could blow up the world any time. So what is it about? GLASSES! Constant reminders and spamming for the love of glasses of a certain character seems to have created that lasting effect. Rest assured that I have not developed any obsession or fetish for glasses. And that is good news. Because it seems the only way that I will remember this anime in the long term is glasses. It could be worse. Any glasses in real life could remind me of this show! Who else can you blame for making me remember it this way? Fuyukai desu, isn’t it? Hah. Zama miro, serves them right.

Strange+

June 13, 2014

A detective agency that will do anything? Sounds more like Gintama’s Yorozuya, right? Well, that’s what I thought when I watched Strange+. Yeah. A bunch of oddballs in a private detective agency, Mikuni, going around handling not-so-normal requests and at the same time meet different and interesting people. Oh wait. Let me correct myself. Meet odd and strange people is more like it. True to its anime title, in fact everyone here is just plain weird. Odd. Peculiar. Bizarre. Strange. You have the leader of the quartet a little boy Takumi who has a fetish of stripping naked or dress in female clothes. His younger brother Kou who dotes over him who is usually the voice of reasoning or the butt of jokes, the Rastafarian Masamune and the sexy Miwa. But that is what makes this short series (3.5 minutes per episode) quite funny.

Episode 1: Thief
The quartet are being chauffeured in by a maid to see the rich lord of the mansion, Doumoto. He has received a letter that a phantom thief, Rusty Nail is going to steal his prized family treasure: A little golden statue of the old geezer in some ambiguous position! Hey, at least it is made of gold. Turns out the maid is Rusty in disguise as she steals the treasure and makes a run. The detectives chase after her but get into silly traps like rolling ball down the stairs and butt punches from all the doors they open. Just when they thought she exited via underground, it was a decoy because she flew off in a hang glider. Takumi laces the butts with gunpowder and fires at her. Success. However the spark fuses all the other butts and the entire mansion is burnt down! Hey, at least the gold is saved. But how the heck are they going to repay his 2 billion Yen mansion???!!! Just laugh it off everybody. Hahahahahahahahahahaha…

Episode 2: Princess
Another old geezer hires the detectives to be the bodyguard of his daughter, Kiyoko. But Kiyoko is being an unfriendly b*tch that pisses off Takumi and Kou. They have to hold back if they want to see this mission through and get paid. She is also looking like a tsundere as she has her bodyguards meet her at a fast food joint after school and they must come dressed in her school uniform. Seems what Kiyoko wanted is to experience the normal life as a high school student. She thinks chatting with friends at the fast food joint is so. So what did the guys talk about? Panty shots! Kiyoko is enjoying her burger but the rest misinterpret her smile as she likes the panty shots topic. Later Kou and Kiyoko seem to be talking fine with each other. The rest don’t want to ruin their ‘romance’ but a bunch of shady guys prepare to kidnap the princess. The rest jump in to stop those bozos while Kou feels being a bodyguard is boring. He doesn’t even know what’s going on behind…

Episode 3: Hospital
I don’t know what sick dream Takumi is having but he grabbed Kou and it looked ambiguous from Masamune’s point of view. Anyway the big guy has got some injury so Miwa suggests he go look for Doctor Ozu. Oh no. You scared? But Takumi loves this shady doctor a lot that it is just pissing off Kou. He has to stop being jealous of all his brother’s friends. Ozu gives Masamune an ointment or if he wants to heal faster, take the mysterious Ozu soup. No thanks. He’ll take the former. Ozu’s cute little nurse, Dorothy shows them the way out. Later that night, Ozu comes stumbling in all bloodied. Actually he fell from the stairs. But the emergency is that Dorothy is kidnapped. There were shady people knocking on their door and he fell for the trick of junior high girls going through puberty and opened the door before some gruffy bad guys took Dorothy.

Episode 4: Trap
And so the gang head off to a rescue mission. Inside the building, they have to traverse obstacles that you see in outdoor parks like rock climbing. Meanwhile the baddies are having a hard time dealing with Dorothy as the whiny brat keeps crying and demands for her plushie. They do just that to shut her up. Ozu senses Dorothy nearby but it turns out to be a giant monster! It turns out to be her plushie. WTF?! And so without the guys lifting any finger, Dorothy is saved and the baddies beaten up. So it’s like they just came to pick her up? When Kou mentions that Takumi is a nice person, Ozu wonders if he has seen his true side to him. He hopes he will work hard and not be left behind. He leaves Kou with a lot of thinking to do. Could it mean Takumi has something to do with that plushie’s transformation or something?

Episode 5: Mistress
The quartet are to infiltrate a building like in a spy movie. Instead of doing it covertly, they knock out some guards to wear their uniform. Takumi wears nothing but the hat… They are so noisy that they got spotted and captured. But Masamune is strong enough to rip out from those ropes and free his buddies. They try to escape through the vent but a couple of guys, Kaori and Mera stop them. The quartet recognize the duo as those guys working under their employer. They claim they are double agents (doesn’t sound convincing). The duo begin their attack and target Kou and he panics. I don’t know what he’s thinking but he uses the wire screen. What is he going to do with that? Takumi just stands there naked looking cute. Don’t even ask. The alarm is sound and they recognize it as end of the game. The rest laments they won’t get any bonus this year because they failed to clear the game as Kou learns their employer is no other than the founder of their detective agency and Kaori and Mera are her subordinates. This building belongs to her and she likes to do surprise tests on them that determine their bonus. So how much will Kou get? 300 Yen! Not enough to cover a beef bowl …

Episode 6: Precious
When the quartet enter the supermarket, they see Rusty doing her shopping! She reminds them she is the kind of chivalrous thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. She’ll be coming to their agency tonight to steal something. Oh, she already went off without paying… So that night as the gang waits, they wonder what are the precious things in their agency. Takumi thinks it’s their ancient TV that doesn’t even have a remote. Then Rusty appears and tries to take what she thinks is precious. Let’s say it wasn’t worth it. Do you want strange fungus growing out of your hands after touching that odd mushroom lamp? Or what the heck is this embarrassing drawing by Kou? Definitely not Picasso level. Not wanting to give up, she clones herself into Takumi but that kid clones himself even more and nails the true perpetrator. Then Rusty and Takumi get into a battle of agility, jumping down a building and hopping on electric poles. Takumi throws a mushroom into her mouth. She starts growing into giant size and a helicopter shoots her down like Godzilla. Turns out she was just hallucinating but it knocked her out. Next morning, Kou is flattered when Takumi mentions they were able to protect their most precious thing. No, it’s not them but the TV. Disappointed?

Episode 7: Procession
Masamune feels somebody is watching him. Miwa has him relaxed with a cookie but it was swapped with an octopus! Enter Kyouya. Who the heck is he? Don’t remember? The last they saw each other was 2 nights ago. Masamune calls his bluff because he was waiting in line at some otaku event. Yup. That is exactly where they met. In fact, they met at the same circumstances for many times. Kyouya is always behind him during such event and he lucked out when Masamune gets the last of the limited edition. So he throws down another challenge for the upcoming event. On that day, Masamune brings Kou and Takumi along and he thinks of not worrying as they have plenty of time if they start out this early. Unfortunately they get distracted by silly things that eat up a lot of time. Or even traps that are just playing psychological on them. By the time they reach there, the line is long and Kyouya revels in his victory. However Masamune will just use his reserve tickets. Kyouya just realized that he spent all his time making those traps he forgot to make a reservation. And from now on, Kyouya keeps showing up now and then with Masamune. Like friends, like rivals… Go home already!

Episode 8: Intruder
Kiyoko’s friends are appalled at these ‘foreign exchange students’ who are no other than the weird Mikuni detectives under disguise to catch a panty thief at school. At this rate, they could even be mistaken for that pervert. So when they say birds of the same feather flock together, I guess it really means the perverted guy, Baron Eros actually makes his entrance. But the rest or more surprised to see Kyouya here. He is a student in this school, what do you expect? I don’t know what kind of challenge Takumi and Baron Eros had but it lead the former to punish the latter for being distracted by swimsuits. Miwa thinks she is going to be his next victim but he is searching only for young high school girls… This next pain is going to hurt a lot. When Baron Eros thinks he is going to have a peeping chance of a girl changing, it turns out to be Masamune. Takumi beats him up for not coming after him instead. WTF. To make him regret his actions, Takumi did some brainwashing and he did change and turn into a different person. But his dead eyes… Something awful must really have happened for him to turn into a zombie. Or at least someone who doesn’t see attractiveness in anyone else but Kou… Don’t even ask.

Episode 9: Guard
This time, the quartet are to protect an important political figure named Bill in this hotel. That foreigner politician look familiar to you? The rest think it’s some game and if they clear it, they get their bonus. Yeah, they’re really excited. Till a real bullet almost hit Kou! Is this still a game? The rest still think so. They have to run away from assassins in the elevator, hiding in the vending machine and a sexy dispatcher who threw clothes melting acid onto Takumi. The assassins try to fight fire with fire. Because they become oddball perverts! The detectives aren’t please with this because there shall only be one pervert in this world no other than them! And so the fighting goes on… In the end, Bill excitedly reports to Mikuni that he loves the quartet’s excellent work. Farting into vending machines, hitting someone’s face with his butt… Sure he wants to say all that?

Episode 10: Curse
The detectives are now to hold on a medallion worth 80 million Yen! Wow! Till they are told its curse. Whoever holds it will have bad luck. Now everyone tries to pass it off to the other! So while the authorities are going through legalities to donate it to the museum, they want them to guard it. Takumi makes scaredy cat Kou wears it. Masamune tries to take it off but lots of accidents befall on him to prevent him from even touching it. Out in the open wilderness where nothing could possibly go wrong, here comes Ozu trying to show off his scalpels!!! Ozu tries his hand to take it off but bamboo shoots suddenly grow and hit his crotch. True awakening? Rusty appears to steal it but was told it was cursed. Takumi cheekily pushes Kou to her and in her panic, she punches it off. She is happy to have stolen the medallion till she experiences all the bad luck. She doesn’t want it anymore and throws it back to Kou. Shouting some curses with it. Next day, the news reports that the medallion have fallen off a cliff and shattered into pieces while being transported. All the work for nothing…

Episode 11: Antique
The gang is at Kiyoko’s home to see her father’s antiques without appraising them. Inside his treasure room, it seems that most of the antiques are weird. But which antique isn’t? Thinking there is some sort of interesting history in all of them, however daddy mentions that each one is inhabited by a Tsukumogami spirit. Haunted? Disappointed? It’s no wonder they keep calling him a geezer. Even Kiyoko calls him that. Father is going to teach her a lesson by unleashing a ghost in a pot but it possesses Kou. Since the ghost died without being loved, the only way to solve this is to kiss. Seriously, the old man wants to kiss him?! The ghost goes on a love attack rampage. Kiyoko feels responsible for this and will allow him to kiss her. But the romantic mood is ruined when a possessed statue bumps her away and kisses Kou. Both ghosts ascend to heaven very much in love with each other. In the end, the detectives receive the pot and statue as memento…

Episode 12: Hero
Kaori and Mera have a new job for the detectives. They are to act in a live hero play based on an anime 21 years ago made for kids: Sailor Bloomoon. All the audiences… Are grownups! Heck, it was an anime that aired 21 years ago, right? Masamune as the bad villain didn’t like how some of the audiences comment on him so he takes them ‘hostage’ like as done in such shows. Herald Takumi in the lead as Sailor Bloomoon to save the day! With his teammates against the villains, it seems the hero side is acting like the bad guys so much so the audiences are rooting for the evil ones! They’re asking the monsters to save them instead! Who are the bad guys now? Takumi even takes out a real knife for real slashing and bloody effects! With the audiences cheering them on, the baddies make a return and win! Was it supposed to happen like this? Since the show is a success, the guys already have their next hero show in line: Futari Wa Muri Kuri! NO MORE HERO SHOWS PLEASE!

Everyone Makes Strange Bedfellows
It was quite fun watching the spontaneous and nonsense so it is no wonder that another season is in the works. Of course the comedy is perhaps just the saving grace of this anime because in other aspects it just feels sufficient. Firstly the art. Although I won’t go so far as to say it is bad enough that my one year old nephew can draw better, the art feels so unpolished and at times makes the character feels cartoonish. But I think that is to enhance the comedy effect since Kou and Takumi are the biggest jokers in the series. Heck, everybody else is but these two are the main ones. Because of so, the ‘sacrifice’ means that if the art is purposely made to look funny, that means conventional anime viewers like myself won’t really enjoy the style it has to offer. Maybe except for Rusty who was looking pretty in a maid outfit…

There is no plot whatsoever even if the synopsis of this anime starts out as Kou coming to town to find his brother Takumi but ends up in his detective agency doing weird errands and meeting weird people, this shouldn’t discourage you from enjoying the silliness of everything because who cares about all that when you can laugh like mad? Each episode is random and can standalone by itself (I think that episode involving Dorothy despite being split into 2 episodes, I can consider both to be independent of each other) so much so that if I submit my stupid ideas, they can even make a short episode out of it. Even if there are some foreboding plots like whatever Takumi’s true form is, I’m sure we can’t be bothered with it since we’re here to enjoy the antics. So for those who really want to see some storyline progression, please look elsewhere. Besides, how much can you cram into 3.5 minutes per episode?

Then there are the characters. Because we have been told what the title of this anime is, we already have our mindset of what to expect from the characters. Despite being fearless detectives who would do and take on anything, they are all just probably big idiots who don’t really know the meaning of fear. They’re likeable because they are being silly and you can probably guess their behaviour from day one right up till the end. To sum it all up. They’re idiots. Strange idiots with no common sense. At the end, you would have clearly known that Takumi is some sort of perverted exhibitionist who loves stripping down to his birthday suit whenever he has the chance. The other minor characters are oddballs too but you wished they had more screen time to add to the silly fun. Like Ozu’s shady doctor business, Dorothy’s cute moe factor, Rusty’s determination to just steal and fail badly, Kyouya being some sort like an ‘extension’ to the detectives and Kiyoko… Is she in love with Kou?

For the voice acting, everyone plays their part well with Jun Fukuyama playing as Takumi (Lelouch in Code Geass), Tomokazu Seki as Kou (Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile), Ryotaro Okiayu as Masamune (Byakuya in Bleach), Satsuki Yukino as Miwa (Kagome in Inu Yasha), Mitsuki Saiga as Kyouya (Phantom in MAR), Shoko Nagahiro as Rusty (Sora in Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Ozu (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Taeko Kawata as Dorothy, (Hisami in R.O.D.), Wataru Hatano as Kaori (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Katsuyuki Konishi as Mera (Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) and Ayano Terasaki doing her debut as Kiyoko. The opening theme is Beauty Boy by Jun Fukuyama and despite the animation has some crazy action, they changed it to a Sailormoon parody for the last one. On a trivial note, every episode begins with some sort of illustration. Some are funny, some are sexy, some are disturbing (especially those involving guys in fanservice or seemingly yaoi shots!) and some are just plain strange. Also, the end card illustrations are done by different people. Some funny, some sexy, some disturbing and some just plain strange. Did I repeat myself again?

I won’t try to make comparisons of this anime with huge random nonsensical comedy animes like Gintama or even Cuticle Detective Inaba, Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, Yondemasu Yo Azazel-san or Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. Each has their own distinct uniqueness so it won’t be quite fair to judge them by comparing. All I can say is that if you have a little spare time and want to watch something that isn’t serious and something that makes you burst into hilarious laughter, Strange+ has that little dose for that temporary fix. I know it’s strange but like they say, laughter is the best medicine. When you have a world where everybody is just so strange, then everything is pretty much normal, don’t you think?

Valvrave The Liberator

June 8, 2014

I think I am really starting to think that I may be a closet mecha fan. From time to time I will find myself picking to watch a mecha series despite each time I deny that I am a fan of such genres. True, that I have not watched epic mecha series like Gundam or Macross but over the years I have watched mecha themed animes from Linebarrels Of Iron to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and even Code Geass. Each time, I was okay with the mecha battle and action. Heck, I guess it’s better than watching yaoi or hentai. Now my journey of mecha animes has brought me to yet another mecha series. This time, Valvrave The Liberator or also known in its original Japanese name, Kakumeki Valvrave. So does this really mean I am a mecha fan? Well, I still think I am not but I figure I do not dislike the genre as much as I did before. Maybe watching a whole lot of range of animes has broadened my perspective? Yeah. In time, I’ll be excepting yaoi and hentai too.

I’m not really sure nor do I remember why I picked this one up despite there were a handful of other mecha series similarly at that time. Maybe it was the characters? Sure, there are nice looking characters and some pretty girls here. Maybe it was the comedy factor? Sure, every anime has that ice breaking comic relief scene. Even the grimmest one would. Maybe it was the action? Sure, who wouldn’t love to see big robots punching, slicing, hammering and shooting whatever they have in hand with another giant robot. Maybe it was the interesting plot? Let’s see… In the distant future, men have the capability of living in space. However mankind can be divided into 2 factions: The westernized-like ARUS (Atlantic Ring United States) and the German/Russian-like Dorssia Military Pact Federation. However there are those that remain neutral and they belong to JIOR (Japan and Islands of Oceania Republic). And so you’ve guessed it. When a country remains neutral, there is temptation to seize it as their own for whatever nefarious plans. When a particular peaceful module of JIOR gets attacked by Dorssia, so happens that this school district module has to stand up on its 2 feet and defend itself. Yup. A boy who reluctantly becomes a hero. He and his mecha pilot to save the day and bring new order and hope to the people of JIOR. And then there are those dark secrets and conspiracy unveiled along the way. Typical. Unoriginal. But heck, when you have mecha power backing you up, you can’t complain, right?

Episode 1
As narrated, men continued to expand colonizing the universe. With the completion of Dyson Sphere, space colonization has accelerated that 70% of human population have left Earth. A group of transfer students enter the JIOR Sphere. But they seem to be Dorssian military in disguise as they slaughter the welcoming crew. Didn’t expect this to happen, do they? It’s more peaceful down at Sakimori High School because we see Haruto Tokishima in an eating contest with Shouko Sashinami to decide which clubs get to use the grounds. Haruto lost. And the loser gets blamed. In class, Shouko is puzzled why Haruto kept looking and her and pesters him to tell. Because she’s cute when she’s quiet. That wasn’t sarcasm. I think Shouko didn’t really get the picture because she thinks that he thinks she is uglier if she talks! In general, don’t men view women that way? But the most baffling thing was how Shouko confronted Haruto and bugged him about this right in the middle of class! It’s like nobody cared or give a damn! Where the hell is the teacher?! Later Haruto once again talks to Shouko regarding that eating contest. He didn’t like such competitive stuffs and would rather share the place. One of those Dorssian boys, L-elf Karlstein heard it and it seems he has a grudge with the word ‘half’. He confronts Haruto and tells him off about sharing. Should you share a girl’s love in half? Then he pushes him down and lectures him about people coming to beat the crap out of him but won’t fight back. Although the incident is blown over without anything serious, Shouko is upset about it. But Haruto is okay and thanks her for worrying. Then it’s like suddenly he isn’t timid anymore because he wants to tell her something. Shouko is the one who flusters and needs time to prepare herself. I guess they took too long because something just crashed in. That’s because the Dorssian forces have invaded JIOR. The place soon turns into a battlefield and the citizens panicking and hiding for cover.

The Dorssian transfer students hack their way into a secret underground lab in the school and kill all the scientists. Before L-elf could take the Valvrave mecha, one of the scientists ejects the robot to the surface. Oh, how convenient. Just where Haruto and friends are. Shouko wanted to help somebody stuck in a car but the beam blew the place up. Haruto becomes devastated. No time for hide and seek. When reality hits him, he becomes enraged. He wants revenge. Conveniently he climbs into Valvrave and it’s like as though he knows how to pilot this thing and activates it. Or it could just be he is hitting the buttons randomly. But it won’t budge. The Dorssian forces try to force Haruto out. Just before he could give up, his thoughts are filled with L-elf’s words and Shouko. Then he sees the option on the screen to abandon his humanity. What the hell. Go for it! He gets injected in the neck and it’s like some sort of auto check-up is done on him. Valvrave is activated 100%. Now Haruto is like a natural piloting Valvrave as he crushes all the Dorssian forces. Too fast. Too bright. Too powerful. You’re all f*cked. Once it’s over, everybody is singing praises of it! The cyber space is filled with such comments. They can’t stop the commenting. Apparently somebody uploaded Valvrave kicking Dorssian ass onto the internet. Some in surprise, some with questions, some want to be his friend, some think he’s cute. But I guess Haruto is the only one who isn’t jumping with joy. Shouko… When he climbs out of Valvrave, he is approached by L-elf. He suddenly believes what he said earlier about competition. That’s the least of his problem because L-elf stabs his heart! Then shoots him several times! Just when he thought he had won, Haruto springs back to life and bites his neck like a vampire! Wait a minute. Vampire and mecha combo?

Episode 2
Haruto’s friends, Saki Rukino, Kyuuma Inuzuka and Aina Sakurai arrive on scene and are devastated to see blood all over him. The Dorssian students tell them to get away from Valvrave. They are surprised when L-elf points his gun at them and fires at A-drei, blinding his left eye. While Haruto’s friends escape to a nearby shelter, the rest of the Dorssian students, H-neun, X-eins and Q-vier fire back. L-elf runs into the shelter. The friends wonder why he is helping them. L-elf says he is Haruto and doesn’t know how he ended up in this body. Could it be the bite? They believe in him since Haruto has a bad losing streak in rock-scissors-paper. But Haruto wants to go back out and reclaim Valvrave and kill those Dorssian bastards. Revenge is still on his mind. Meanwhile Dorssia has taken over JIOR who have surrendered unconditionally. They will now be under Dorssia’s territory and the citizens are being deported. X-eins reports to his commander of their successful takeover and also L-elf’s betrayal. Haruto didn’t bat an eyelid in killing some low Dorssian army and the scientists examining Valvrave. All is fair in war. He is surprised to see his own body and all the wounds healed. As Dorssia begins to counter attack, Saki enters Valvrave with him. She wants to test out a theory. First she ties Haruto up and then has him bite his own body. Instantly, Haruto is back in his original body and L-elf awakens, surprised at the turn of events. Haruto starts up Valvrave but it looks like an amateur piloting this mecha. Somehow Haruto pilots out into space. More enemies show up. Is surrender an option? Now he pilots like a pro and slashes them all. I think it must be revenge. A-drei despite injured goes into battle mode. Revenge too?

A-drei fires all he’s got at Valvrave. It suddenly stops. L-elf has broken free of his bind and takes Saki as hostage. He is demanding answers from Haruto because A-drei just labelled him a traitor for shooting him. He doesn’t remember what happened and was sure he killed Haruto. Haruto then receives a call from Shouko. She’s still alive buried underground with teacher Takumi Kibukawa. You should hear the relief in his voice. He promises to get back alive and to meet her. Because he wants to continue that discussion. With renewed hope, Haruto is just as motivated but he can’t do anything much because he notices if the heat capacity reaches 100, it will overheat and Valvrave will stop functioning. But L-elf has noticed something in its numbers and other data so I don’t really understand about his explanation when that number reaches the weird 666. That, plus his newfound determination to live, Valvrave literally goes on fire. Well, it seems like it or it could be very bright lights. Then it does hara-kiri and unleashes a powerful blast that disables A-drei’s mighty mecha. Dorssia is utmost surprised with this super blast. They are forced to retreat when ARUS forces arrive. L-elf continues to demand Haruto for answers. He accuses this monster to behind everything that has happened. Haruto looks extremely shocked. When Haruto lands back in JIOR, L-elf is taken into custody. The discussion continues. I suppose he got cold feet in wanting to confess so he tells her all he wanted to say how lame her shirt was. Lame. Can you blame Shouko for getting real upset? Yeah. That shirt was limited edition too. Kyuuma wonders why Haruto did that. Because he has turned into a monster, he has no feelings. If so, why is he breaking down and crying so badly?

Episode 3
L-elf is under interrogation. When Haruto mentions L-elf’s name, the interrogators quickly point their gun at the Dorssian and tell him to up on his feet. L-elf hints a loud speaker, earthquake, panic, 3:14 and the answer will be behind him. The ARUS army arrives and JIOR residents welcome them. Like heroes, huh? But not as much applause when they see Haruto. He’s the real hero. The real star. Yeah. Even girls want to give him their mail address. Lucky bastard. Haruto then analyzes his blood in the lab. Seems normal. But something else is abnormal. The cut on his finger heals immediately. Do you think he should go see a doctor? Saki doesn’t want him to because he’ll be treated like a lab rat then. Suddenly Haruto’s blood starts acting up. He then turns into a vampire and tries to bite Inuzuka’s neck. After all that pushing and resisting, Saki’s slap is the only thing that snapped him out? So what just happened? Before they can think about it, Haruto is brought to meet Senator Figaro, a politician from ARUS. He shows him the website which his heroic deeds were uploaded by young hacker girl, Akira (using an alias named Rainbow). There are many comments wondering about Haruto’s whereabouts so he is advised to reply and let them know. The moment he does so, the web is flooded with all sorts of comments and praise. Even celebrities and top athletics are rooting for this guy. They love him. How does it feel to be a hero? But why isn’t Haruto smiling? Figaro says he is their only hope for JIOR. Haruto understands that as they want him to fight. On the contrary, Figaro wants him to run. What Haruto defeated is just a fraction of Dorssia. He views running away is not the same as losing. You die when you lose but as long as you survive, you win. Meanwhile those interrogators and guards must be slacking because they didn’t even notice L-elf unscrewing a screw on the chair he is sitting on. Then he tosses it up to break the only light in the room. Lights out. He takes the broken glass shreds and cut himself free, cuts all the useless people and slaughters the rest without mercy by ‘borrowing’ their machine gun. They never saw that coming. Now to initiate the next phase in plan.

A-drei and the rest return to Dorssia’s main fleet. They meet Commander Cain Dressel and are honoured to participate in the reconquest. A-drei is still reeling from L-elf’s betrayal but Cain understands this friendship thingy. Haruto helps the students evacuate. The loudspeaker in his hand just reminded him of L-elf’s words. At that time, warning has been sent to ARUS soldiers around the campus of an escaped Dorssian prisoner. 15 minutes later. Even L-elf feels disappointed. He doesn’t care how big ARUS army is or being seen. Because he pulls off this cool manoeuvre as he skydives down and the floors behind him go boom. He checks his own physical and mental capacities and deems them as what they should be. He deduces Haruto is the irregularity. Meanwhile Haruto is checking around if there are other students left behind in the building. Then this delinquent guy, Raizou “Thunder” Yamada confronts him and wants him to hand over Valvrave. He wants to avenge his friend and isn’t going to listen to Haruto’s crap or let him hog all the glory. Well, at least there is one guy who doesn’t view him a hero like the rest. Shouko thinks she saw somebody still in the building and goes to check it out. It leads her to Akira’s room and looks like she is still hacking unaware of Shouko’s presence. The big ship to evacuate the students hits a snag. Some smoke surprise attack causes it to be stuck. There’s your earthquake. When the students realize they won’t be getting out soon, panic starts to rear its ugly head. What’s next on the agenda? Oh, look at the time. It’s 3:14. And the last prophecy comes true. Haruto looks behind to see his answer: L-elf! After taking out Yamada, he wants Haruto to form a contract with him. They will bring revolution to Dorssia.

Episode 4
Those ARUS guys are in a meeting. Their plan is to defend the borders from Dorssia until they can get their hands on JIOR’s secret weapon, in which they will declare war with them. Everybody votes in approval. None objects. Akira starts throwing her stuffs for Shouko to get out. She starts shivering in fear and doesn’t want her to tell others about her existence. Haruto rejects L-elf’s offer since he is the enemy. He tells him his words are prophecies and knows that he must form a contract because he has got no other choice. He will help save this school and his girl. Haruto thought of using Valvrave but L-elf shoots it down. The contract is the only way. Haruto is bent on using his cursed power to protect others so L-elf replies he has to stain his hands to do so. In the event if Haruto decides to form the contract, do the peace sign to him. Haruto returns to Figaro and the rest of the ARUS troops inspecting Valvrave. Haruto tells them to get away from Valvrave since it is cursed. It goes unheeded. When one of them enters the cockpit, the programme views him as a mistake. He gets injected and his body blows up!!! The place is under attack by Dorssia. Figaro panics since he thought it wasn’t supposed to happen so soon. He wants to evacuate and couldn’t care less about the students. This upsets Haruto that he lied. Well, you know politicians. Haruto tries to bite one of the solider but realizes it only works when it is directly to the skin. Figaro has Haruto secured and shall be taken back along with Valvrave for research. Figaro lies to the student about the ‘earthquake’ as some maintenance work and assures their evacuation. Akira and Shouko heard his lies via intercepted transmission and know he is lying to the students. She calls Haruto but he is tied up to pick up. The soldier ends the call. When Inuzuka finds Shouko, she tells him they’re in big trouble.

Satomi Renbokouji, the student council president initiates an emergency meeting to hear Shouko out. However without proof, they can’t believe her and would rather believe ARUS. Shouko is in a bind because she cannot tell about Akira. She starts stripping herself in some twisted logic to show how pure she is. Okay, so they get the idea. We don’t get any Shouko fanservice. While the student council vice president Takahi Ninomya and other students distract the soldiers. Yuusuke Otamaya leads Shouko and Inuzuka inside some ventilation to where Haruto is held. The ventilation breaks and Shouko falls on the lone guard. This easy? Shouko realizes why Haruto didn’t pick up his handphone. Figaro is about to leave when Haruto tells them about ARUS’ lies. The students are worried. The hero can’t lie, right? Figaro then shows his true colours. He takes up a machine gun and fires at Yamada blocking the way! Just short of killing him. While the student panics, Haruto seizes Valvrave (after biting one of the guards). He regains order but the students’ joy is short-lived. Because L-elf announces every other module except this has been under Dorssia’s occupation. This means their families have been taken hostage. He does the peace sign, forcing Haruto to consider. While everybody is at a loss on what to do. Shouko comes up with a brilliant idea. She suggests to blackmail Dorssia back. Because if they harm their families, they will hand Valvrave to ARUS. She also forces Figaro and ARUS to work with them. Or else they’ll give Valvrave to Dorssia. Now either side cannot do anything will not act rashly. She shows the peace sign to Haruto. I’m sure he’ll gladly go with her on this one. Shouko has further plans. She wants this module to be declared independent and not rely on others. A bunch of kids running a ‘country’? Well, it sounds exciting so everybody votes for independence. Valvrave then goes up into space and surprises Dorssia by attacking the module. Actually, he is cutting and separating the module as part of their independence. L-elf starts laughing because he didn’t foresee this.

Episode 5
It’s been a week since the independence was declared. At least there is peace since ARUS and Dorssia aren’t making any rash moves. The kids are ruling the nation as their own. Yeah. No adult supervision. Like a dream come true to do anything they want’ eh? Especially Shouko who is having the most fun. Throwing items from the supermarket aisle and dancing in the sprinkler water. Probably fun time is over when they realize that somebody needs to maintain the electricity to power up the module. Yup. Blackout. Oddly, it starts snowing too. From what I understand, some electric over-current is causing the artificial atmosphere to malfunction and turning the season into winter. Since Otamaya is knowledgeable about machines, he is sent to fix it. But why is the button to restore everything in the most unreachable place? Ridiculous. Yamada has to let Otamaya hang on his hand while he tries to swing and push it. Better hurry because Yamada is bleeding. But he is willing to withstand the pain as he doesn’t want any more of his friends to die. I guess when things are not going your way, you blame others. The girls blame Shouko for pulling off that independent stint. Otherwise all this would never have happened. Starting to realize they can’t live on your own? Going to die? Saki tells them off that they too are partly to be blamed because they went along with it. The last we need now is a cat fight among themselves. Takahi is so bent on ‘disciplining’ Saki. They trade slaps. Everyone heaves big sigh of relieve when power comes back on. So now everything is okay? Haruto gets an idea from Shouko’s attempts to quell the situation via singing. He broadcasts to the other JIOR people to tell them that the kids are doing fine, a music video with Saki singing and everyone else dancing or doing silly stuffs that is worthy of being a YouTube video. I suppose the entire universe saw their broadcast. From ARUS to Dorssia but the people of JIOR are glad they are fine. Thanks to this stint, the Haruto donation fund initiated by Inuzuka soars from a paltry few thousands to 250 million and counting!!! Haruto and Saki go down deep underground and are surprised to see more Valvrave robots. Saki is impressed but Haruto doesn’t want anymore curses and monsters like him to be made. He hopes this can stay a secret between them. She agrees in exchange for them to be alone together. Is that a sign of confession? If that doesn’t convince you, Saki’s kiss will.

Episode 6
Actually Saki wants to be famous. That kiss? In harem sense, maybe. Ignoring Haruto’s advice, she then enters a Valvrave of her own and is willing to cast away her humanity to pilot it. She flies about and is thrilled with the newfound freedom. Haruto thought she shouldn’t have done that. What about the people she cares? Well, she doesn’t care. From her sob speech, she considers herself a loner with no family and friends. She wants to escape this horrible world. Like the nice guy Haruto is, he wants to do something for her (because she’s crying…). Saki hugs him. But it’s a ploy just to bite his neck. The only other adult in this independent module is Rion Nanami, a trainee teacher and she is forced to be made as JIOR’s representative. Takahi is looking for Saki but stumbles upon Haruto. To her surprise, Haruto starts flirting with her and even wanting to ‘seal her lips’. He puts a candy stick in her mouth instead. Little does she know, this is actually Saki fooling around in Haruto’s body. Having fun? L-elf has been observing them since and is surprised Saki is a compatible match for Valvrave. He concludes this entire school was part of the plan. Soon, rumours spread that Haruto and Saki are dating. There’s that ambiguous picture of them together. Fans of the idol aren’t happy. Plus, there’s this fake announcement that Haruto considers Saki her little sister. Hey, Haruto said he helped, right? That was what the kiss was for. Advance payment. Of course Shouko doesn’t believe all this crap. The girls almost tussle over him. Why is Saki so bent on becoming even more famous if she is already so popular? She’ll vanish unless she carves her existence into the world.

Dorssia makes a surprise attack. Don’t they care if JIOR gives Valvrave to ARUS? Well, not if they can snatch it first. Satomi tries to get Haruto but they are surprised to see another Valvrave and Saki piloting Carmilla (the name she gives for her Valvrave or else we’ll be wondering which Valvrave they’re referring to). Dorssia is caught by surprise as they didn’t know there is another Valvrave. Saki is having fun destroying the small fries. It’s like as if she’s a pro in controlling Carmilla. However play time is over when X-eins releases a flurry of missiles. As part of his analysis, Valvrave is a close range fighter so if they can keep the robot at a distance, their efficiency is reduced by half. Saki becomes scared and is paralyzed with fear. Not so fun anymore, huh? Haruto begins his assault but he too is limited to what he can do when kept at bay. Even the ARUS battleship is taken out in a flash. It was carrying Figaro. Goodbye senator. Shouko contacts Saki to tell her to calm down. Only she and Haruto can save them. Everybody in school is watching her so don’t screw up. Didn’t she say she wants to be famous? This was enough to get Saki going. She wants this clip to be broadcasted to the entire universe. With everyone cheering for her and the chat rooms filled with motivating messages, Saki goes on the offense with high speed agility. She will not let the world kill her. The world who wanted her dead (snippets of flashbacks regarding her untimely retirement from her idol career). She closes in on X-eins and destroys his ship (he escapes via pod). Dorssia orders a retreat. Once again, JIOR is saved. How does it feel to be the heroine? Cain is not fazed by this failure as he has another plan prepared. He leaves command of the fleet to his personal assistant, Kriemhild.

Episode 7
Haruto shows the rest the secret base filled with Valvraves. Satomi wants to put them under the property of the student council but Haruto disagrees. He can’t say about the humanity thing. Shouko knows he has his reasons and agrees to let the Valvraves be in Haruto’s care. Everyone votes for Haruto too. Welcome to democracy. More importantly, Kibukawa will need to have a look at the machines first before letting any other students in. Later Haruto confides in Inuzuka and Aina about losing one’s humanity when using Valvrave. Haruto may have saved many lives with this power but he feels like a monster. He doesn’t even know if he’s dead. Aina believes he is human and will always be their friend. Satomi is still reeling from that democratic vote when Takahi calls him. It’s like she’s luring him to kiss her but pulls out the last minute, feeling this is wrong. Can you understand women? Shouko, Saki and the rest of the girls are in a cooking class when L-elf barges in to give a manual to Shouko. He wants to turn this new JIOR into a military state to survive. She rejects. Since negotiations failed, with a click of the button, the place shuts down. L-elf announces he has taken over this place and everyone will surrender their lives for the glory of this nation. He has filled the place with bombs so be careful where you step. Yamada climbs up to the room and with Saki, they try to beat the crap out of him but were taken out instantly. Meanwhile Aina calls Haruto a holy spirit. Because he is like an immortal who can control others and pilot Valvrave. Only God can do that, right? Haruto likes that term as it’s much better than monster. L-elf summons Haruto and wants him to pilot Valvrave and form the core of the national defence force.

L-elf is going to remind Haruto about his naïve ideals again when they are suddenly attacked by A-drei. How did he get in? Anyway Haruto gets shot while L-elf escapes and then tricks A-drei with a blinding light. A-drei still cannot believe he betrayed them but L-elf doesn’t seem interested in correcting him. A-drei views L-elf as his right hand man however L-elf won’t be anybody’s right hand man and has already picked Haruto as that. A-drei is surprised Haruto is still alive. A-drei orders Q-vier to capture them but he blasts the entire place instead. Aina gets caught in it. L-elf opens the hatch and blows them out where Dorssia reinforcements are waiting. Saki gets into Carmilla to deal with the menace. However her movements are restricted via H-neun’s magnetic boomerangs. Scared all over again? L-elf sees Haruto’s leg pinned under the beam. Cutting it off would reduce his efficiency to pilot Valvrave and there is no time to lift it. He wants Haruto to bite him and take over his body although there is no guarantee L-elf’s body can pilot it. Even if he dies, it is a calculated risk he is willing to take. This is their only option with highest chance of success. He takes the bite. Before Saki is killed, here comes Valvrave and Haruto (in L-elf’s body). Thanks to L-elf’s predictions, Haruto is able to easily gun down important enemies, go head to head with H-neun (who loves melee combat) and destroy his magnetic boomerang gun to free Saki. The plan has failed so Dorssia retreats again. Inuzuka finds Haruto’s body and knows he has taken over somebody else. He calls Aina to help move the body away but to his horror, Aina’s corpse is floating about… Haruto notices a picture in his pocket. It is a picture of a girl, Liselotte. He couldn’t understand why he starts crying.

Episode 8
When L-elf was young and running away from the Dorssian army, he stumbled upon the princess of Dorssia, Liselotte. Desperate he took her hostage. When L-elf opens his eyes, he is tied up but he isn’t pushing the panic button yet. He tells everyone their country will fall in 6 hours. He is still waiting for Haruto to make a contract with him. Do it and he will save everyone. Meanwhile A-drei shows Cain pictures he got from the infiltration. There are several other Valvraves. Cain is impressed but also mentions he is stepping over his bounds for L-elf. This means this is A-drei’s last chance to bring him back and makes him in charge for the next mission. It’s gloom and pending doom for the JIOR students. Saki laments she is not strong enough. When word of Aina’s death gets around, everyone sinks into gloomsville. Inuzuka almost loses his cool, taking out on Haruto that he didn’t protect her despite he was there. Shouko sees Akira to free her (she was tied up prior to L-elf’s coup). Shouko breaks down. Satomi is surprised somebody else has found his little sister’s hideout. More importantly, she was with somebody else other than him. Inuzuka hounds Kibukawa to let him pilot a Valvrave while Yamada was just getting angry and wanting to fight to prevent more deaths. But don’t you think more fighting leads to more deaths? Oh, here come the Dorssian guys again. Haruto and Saki go into action but this is just a distraction as A-drei leads a small team through a backdoor into JIOR. This was how they got in the last time. They even hijack JIOR ships and fire warning shots, demanding them to surrender. Haruto and Saki are having it tough themselves. It’s those pesky boomerangs again but as X-eins calculated, they don’t need to do anything as the Valvraves will eventually run out of power and overheat.

Satomi becomes desperate and wants L-elf to make a plea to beg for his life and will use this as a bargaining chip. You think he’d stoop that low? Satomi even threatens to shoot him! And you thought Yamada was the one who is going to go berserk, eh? That’s when Haruto calls. He wants to make a contract with L-elf. As expected. However he wants L-elf to save everybody with no sacrifice. Deal. L-elf easily breaks out of his chains. It’s like as though he was just lying there pretending to be tied up. As he rushes through the battlefield, he tells Haruto and Saki to wait at certain coordinates and fire all they’ve got at a particular section. The cool seawater gushes out to freeze the boomerangs, cool down the machines and also make it impossible for A-drei’s team to stay in position. Their plan just fell in one swoop. L-elf also pilots a ship to buy time so Valvrave could power up and destroy all the Dorssian battleships in one strike. Like a whiplash. Too late to even think about retreating. Once again the day is saved. Everybody rejoices. Maybe except for Inuzuka. Because he was trying to rush to pilot a Valvrave but got shot in the shoulder by a couple of Dorssian guys. He had no choice but to stay hidden in the corner but L-elf zoomed past him killing those guys without even batting an eyelid. So yeah. Don’t you think it reinforces Inuzuka’s depression he couldn’t do anything? L-elf continues remembering his dream. Liselotte offers to give half her life so he could life. How can you split a life? To a woman, her hair is her life, right? She cuts a small portion and gives it to him. Cain is happily looking through the Valvrave photos and it seems he has that I-have-cast-away-my-humanity-to-pilot-Valvrave mark on his neck to.

Episode 9
There is an online memorial for Aina. It’s streaming with rest in peace comments. Haruto leaves all battle formation and tactics to L-elf because he has decided to trust him. His vampire instincts work up again but this time L-elf punches him out in the gut and notes how frequent it has become. The module is heading towards the moon where it is said to be a neutral place. In preparation for the next war, students undergo military training prepared by L-elf. They readily accept this as they have seen enough sacrifices. Yamada is caught for the fifth time trying to sneak into a Valvrave. Inuzuka thought this will be the key but L-elf could read his intention like a book. He tells him off about seeking vengeance via emotions. Because once a pilot is chosen for Valvrave, it cannot be swapped. What happens if a talentless guy like him becomes one? Avenging won’t bring back the dead. Wars are won by calm and effective machines. Inuzuka trains himself to speed assemble a rifle. Haruto and Shouko are worried about him since he is the hardest hit since Aina’s death. Were they dating? Dorssia returns with another attack. This time JIOR has setup several defensive barriers. Valvrave and Carmilla go into action and that’s when they instantly retreat. Of course it was just a decoy for a bigger fleet to surprise attack the module. What will they do? Valvraves have been completely cut off and not enough time to head back. At the same time, a blackout occurs. I guess the defensive barriers were sucking too much energy. I have a feeling L-elf has all this planned out because with no electricity, Yamada who is under arrest, escapes his cell.

Inuzuka sees Yamada trying to enter a Valvrave and tells him not to. However Yamada doesn’t give a crap about his whining because all he cares about is revenge. Screw everyone. Screw happiness. It made Inuzuka get sentimental about Aina. I’m sure Yamada isn’t interested about his so called ‘confession’ to her. He punches Yamada. He’s not going to fight for everyone but himself. And so Inuzuka willingly casts away his humanity to pilot the blue Valvrave and defend the module from a super cannon blast that could have well destroyed it. But can he handle this many Dorssian forces? Here comes Yamada to help out in his yellow Valvrave. He’s having a field day crushing Dorssians. Revenge never felt so good, eh? The fleet’s commodore orders the use of some main cannon that will even hit their allies. Desperate, isn’t he? L-elf contacts Inuzuka and tells him about the heavy siege artillery. The beam is fired and Inuzuka who was thinking about confessing to Aina if she was around suddenly sees visions of her. Is this her spirit trying to protect him? It gave Inuzuka the resolve to not only block but deflect the beam back and destroy the main ship. Cain orders their retreat. Operation failed yet again. Inuzuka and Yamada return like heroes. Everybody thinks they were so cool. Not exactly everybody. Haruto tries to beat up L-elf because he knows very well the first attack was just a diversion though L-elf claims they got into the machines themselves. Inuzuka is fine with it and wants to fight alongside Haruto. He also mentions he was ‘rejected’ by Aina. Because she doesn’t want him to ‘come to this other side’. Later L-elf confronts Kibukawa at the lab. He wants to know why all the teachers except Nanami were JIOR soldiers. Kibukawa adds that everyone else who worked in JIOR were soldiers because this entire module including the students were made for the Valvraves.

Episode 10
Kibukawa explains some rule that made JIOR unable to maintain a sizeable defence force and thus the creation of Valvraves that could eliminate an entire fleet. Also some explanation about Runes in which information particles are broken down into. In addition, Haruto’s Valvrave is the only unit that has this weird little interface programme and that hara-kiri sword move. Nanami announces that a representative is needed to represent JIOR once they reach the moon. She feels she is not the right person to do it and wants to hold an election to elect their very own Prime Minister. And so among the top running candidates include Satomi. Yeah. He’s looking every bit like a politician on campaign. Then there’s Yamada too. This badass dude is going for the top post? I suppose among the Valvrave quartet, somebody needs to be top to keep their secret a secret. Why not Haruto? No confidence in being a leader? And why the heck is Nanami participating too? I thought she didn’t want to be the representative? Just to show she can be trounced by somebody else? L-elf helps out to oversee the election. He’s a refugee so he can’t vote. Haruto and Takahi are alone in the elevator. She is wary of him when Haruto’s vampire instincts start to take over. Before he could rape her, Saki kicks his gut. They make excuse because Haruto is attracted by her beauty, etc. Haruto tells Saki about this problem getting more frequent and fears he will become some uncontrollable wild beast. If that happens, Saki will kill him. He agrees to that. Everyone wonders why Shouko hasn’t announced her candidacy. She feels she is not a good leader. But Otamaya’s gang would definitely support her since she rescued their stuffs several times. Then the rest misinterpret Shouko is announcing her candidacy but she keeps denying she is the woman suited for the job. Meanwhile Cain tells A-drei and co this is the last time they can attack JIOR. Once they reach the moon, it is a neutral place. Cain will also be heading into battle this time. Kriemhild catches H-neun looking for documents in a room.

Shouko is acting weird so her friend Marie Nobi wants Haruto to help her. At the shrine, he sees her watching a video that indicates her father the Prime Minister is missing and may be dead because the unconditional surrender was signed by the deputy. Haruto realizes she has been fighting a lonely war and knew it for a long time. He blames himself for not knowing. He wants to go bring him back. He’s not even his father so why? He can’t stand her in tears. Someone important to him is crying. If he doesn’t do something now, when will it be? Well… That sounded almost like a confession. It gave Shouko the motivation to run for Prime Minister. She makes it in time before the deadline. Thanks to Marie who has filled out the form on her behalf. Saki who saw the whole thing confronts Haruto about his ‘stupidity’. Love between them will never last because she is a human, he is a holy spirit. Suddenly his vampire instincts start up again. In the election hall, all the candidates give their final speech. Satomi sounds so like a politician. Shouko as the last one bursts into the scene and announces they should have a cultural festival when they get to the moon! Because the war delayed it and that they could even die tomorrow, all the more they should have it. Besides, this is the only time in their lives they get to be students. Then she starts naming all the interesting and exciting activities last year (and the specific person involved) and wants to experience them again this year. Dream big! Do something different! Oh yeah! Everyone is revved up and each one mentioning the dream they want to achieve too. Lastly, Shouko wants to confess to the person she loves once they reach the moon. And all those guys think they’re the one… Dream on. She wonders if Haruto would think she had done well. I don’t think he would because he is busy raping Saki!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY SH*T!!!!!!!!!! So is this really a curse? Once it’s over, Haruto probably doesn’t have any memories of the greatest sex ever. Oh, Shouko won the election.

Episode 11
In a military tribunal held in Dorssia, it seems JIOR’s ex-Prime Minister, Ryuuji Sashinami is being tried for misleading other nations by claiming neutrality and secretly developing weapons of mass destruction. Yamada has called his Valvrave Nobu Lightning (after his dead friend). Haruto feels guilty and calls Saki out to talk. She takes advantage of this. She won’t make him apologize and will be as long as she can with him. Even when Shouko calls his handphone, Saki hides it (he was busy making coffee for her – ironically he can handle a complex mecha robot but can’t operate a simple coffee machine). Shouko and the rest of her cabinet are in a group photo. They include Otamaya (Minister of Education and Science), Inuzuka (Finance), Satomi (Chief Cabinet Secretary), Takahi (Foreign Affairs), Marie (Internal Affairs) Nanami (Health and Welfare), Juuto Banshou (Transport) and Iori Kitagawa (Justice). Apparently Haruto and Saki are also part of it but they’re not here… Shouko gets a congratulatory note from Akira. She decides to speak with her real voice instead of typing it out. Spunky Shouko got carried away and hopes Akira could come see the outside world and make friends. However Akira remembers some trauma and screams crazily, smashing her keyboard. Satomi will go talk to her since she is his sister. But then… Dorssia attack! It is a much bigger fleet than before. As part of L-elf’s plan, he has the module run away. This is to break Dorssia’s formation and when they start chasing, they form a straight line. This is convenient for Haruto to power up his hara-kiri move and slash them in one strike. As Dorssia is hailing them, L-elf will accept their communications from the Prime Minister’s residence. Hey, you’ve got to look the part, right?

Shouko makes her first debut as Prime Minister as she gets in contact with Dorssia’s Rear Admiral Delius Wartenberg. Without wasting time, he shows Ryuuji in his hands. He has been found guilty and will be executed. Shouko reminds them about giving Valvraves to ARUS if they hurt their families. Delius is unfazed and wants Ryuuji’s execution prepared now. Shouko calls them a coward and Delius reminds her they are at war. Anything goes. Cowardice and justice means nothing before victory. They’ll do anything to obtain that. L-elf whispers they have located their position. It is in the middle, right in the path of Haruto’s hara-kiri blade. However if they don’t fire now, they’ll lose their only chance and everyone will die. Your decision, Prime Minister. Didn’t know her first decision would be so tough, eh? Delius makes a deal that if she hands over the Valvraves, he will transfer their friends and families. What about the other JIOR people? Don’t need to worry about them. They’re just strangers. Shouko still wants to save them. Ryuuji tries to talk to Shouko one last time. He tells her to move forward to the future. He gets beaten up by Delius’ men. Once Haruto has powered up, he unleashes hara-kiri blade and 74% of the enemy gets destroyed. Everyone rejoices except for Shouko in tears. Her dad died before her eyes. She feels she couldn’t do anything. Victory is only a brief reprieve. Because Cain’s little unit ambushes from below. I guess L-elf couldn’t predict everything. Then he sets up some drill that starts boring to the core above while the rest of his men begin the infiltration. Haruto wants to go back and fight (his Valvrave is unable to move after that awesome technique). When Saki tells him to go save Shouko, that guy suddenly returns into her cockpit. What gives? Do we have time for this? He wanted to say this after the battle. What is it? He wants to marry her! Gasp! Trying to take responsibility?

Episode 12
Saki of course rejects him with the reason that being an idol she cannot be tied to anyone, blah, blah, blah. They need to discuss this another time because the more time they waste, the more Dorssian forces will advance. As of now the drill is heading straight up to the school and releasing choking poisonous gas along the way. Haruto calls L-elf to meet up. Shouko doesn’t want L-elf to tell Haruto that he killed her father. Or else he will feel guilty over it and try to take responsibility possibly by marrying her. I’m guessing that is what will happen. Cain has captured Kibukawa and from his scars he knows what kind of soldier he is. He will interrogate him later and is going to attend a ‘graduation ceremony’. Satomi contacts Shouko to tell her to save Akira. He also reveals Akira was bullied as a kid, the reason she holes up there. Akira didn’t like her big mouth brother revealing everything and intercepts the communication, saying she likes it here, no baddies, there is clean justice and a world that only belongs to her. That proves she’s a bully victim, right? L-elf and Haruto plan some Trojan horse tactic but as they enter the chamber supposed to contain Valvrave, the students guarding it are dead and Cain is there. Like as though he has been waiting for them. Haruto is easily shot by Cain (but didn’t die). For once, there is somebody better than L-elf. Cain makes it looks like child’s play when he takes on struggling L-elf who can’t even find an opening. Eventually Haruto the wuss tries to hold back Cain because he believes L-elf can only stop this. I think Cain lets him go because A-drei is waiting for L-elf. Meanwhile the other Valvraves are in a tight spot. The Dorssian forces are trying to ‘iron’ them because when the machines overheat, they stop moving.

Akira doesn’t care about living or dying and she’ll do both alone. Shouko is upset she thought that way and lectures her about their friendship. Since when did they become friends? Ever since Shouko decided. She runs to reach Akira but hacker girl starts activating lots of obstacles along her path. Just when Akira’s heart softens, the drill zooms close to Shouko, knocking her out. Akira panics. Everything mechanical in that area has malfunctioned. The only way is to get out of her box and save her. Can she do it? It does bring back traumatic and horrific memories but her promise and friendship with Shouko is stronger. It took a lot of guts for Akira to burst out of her box and rush to Shouko. However a wall has collapsed and is blocking her path. Conveniently, another path opens and it leads her to a purple Valvrave. She doesn’t hesitate to resign herself as a human (she never viewed herself as one I suppose) and activates this Valvrave. Not only she manages to save Shouko, thanks to her hacking skills she is able to hack and stop the drill, make it go back down and control all the tiny Dorssian ships to take each other out. In that commotion, Haruto and L-elf free themselves and return to Valvrave. L-elf tells him to fire at defenceless Cain. He is a dangerous man so don’t go spouting crap about justice and all that. It’s for the greater future. Despite shooting Cain to death, amazingly he is able to dodge all that! Cain then activates himself to become a super human and flies to a room containing a Valvrave. He easily activates it and the little programme in this Valvrave and Haruto’s start resonating. They are surprised to see Cain’s Valvrave taking a form of a human. L-elf analyzes that since this unit was actually broken, only specially prepared students can pilot Valvraves and Cain was able to harness its light without any equipment proves that Cain is not human at all. What is he? He is Magius, a group of people controlling the world from the shadows.

Episode 13
The president of ARUS as well the Furher of Dorssia, Amadeus K. Dorssia are summoned before the Magius council. The Valvraves have brought the attention of the council and they didn’t like how Amadeus trespassed the domain of Magius and kept it secret from them. They reveal Cain has been a Magius for 10 years and will make Amadeus one. Yup. They bite his neck. Meanwhile Akira continues her fight outside by freeing the other Valvraves and hacking the Dorssian forces. Haruto also continues his fight with Cain but cannot overwhelm him. Cain then rips apart Haruto’s Valvrave and let their little programmes (Pino and Prue) to resonate. However the system overloads so Cain no choice has to pull back so as not to damage it further and retreat with the entire Dorssian forces. Two months down the road, JIOR has successfully planted itself on the moon. Haruto became a symbol of heroism against Dorssia while Saki’s song became the best seller that brings hope to others. But it’s not so rosy for Shouko and her cabinet members as she finds out how hard it is to negotiate with those ARUS blokes. In short, ARUS dominates. Inuzuka calls his Valvrave, Beast High. It is a name of an energy drink. They’re paying him to use that name. Money matters. Haruto agrees to subject himself to an experiment as the gaps between his fits are getting shorter. L-elf and Kibukawa conclude that it has something to do with the more he uses Valvrave. Saki is concerned about Haruto’s state. She is willing to let him rape do what he wants to her like last time since it eases his pain. Tempting, right? He won’t do it and runs away.

Satomi and some of the cabinet members are leaving to Earth in what L-elf calls as reconnaissance. It is to see if there are any countries against them and to display their willingness to use military force. Saki contacts L-elf that she lost Haruto. Suddenly all the Valvraves cannot start up. L-elf thinks they ran out of Runes. Thanks to the tracking device L-elf planted on Haruto, he manages to find him and explain the Valvraves have stopped functioning. Some brief explanation about Rune particles crap. Because Valvraves pack a lot of power and require extraordinary fuel which is no other than Runes, the source that is rich in them is humans. That’s why Haruto attacks people in his fit to ‘refuel’ Valvrave. He is not willing to do it and even thinks the idea of L-elf killing him is good. He won’t have to hurt anyone anymore. But when he thinks about his harem Saki and Shouko, he takes back what he said. Because if he dies, a new pilot will be chosen. He is going to shoulder the curse but will only attack L-elf. They will share this curse, hope and the entire deal 50-50. L-elf lets him bite his neck and all the Valvraves power up. Wow. You mean only Haruto can do this refuelling? Or is it L-elf is a person damn rich in Runes? Once the Valvraves and the module carrying Satomi and co leave the neutral zone, as expected Dorssian forces are waiting just to attack them. Part of the reconnaissance to Earth is to find the ones who created the Valvraves. Because Haruto wants to destroy them and end the curse. Cain shows Amadeus several ‘children’ of Valvrave.

Episode 14
Dorssia has been defeated again. Haruto and the rest try to get Akira who has shut herself inside her Valvrave. Satomi says it is useless to communicate with her. Anything they have to say goes through him first. Akira doesn’t like the sound of it and throws him away. When everyone else is sleeping, Akira tries to sneak out. She could have done better than covering her head with a cardboard box. But Marie discovers her. Marie considers Akira her friend not because Shouko told her to help keep an eye on her. The friend of her friend is also her friend. Geddit? Akira disconnects a call from Satomi. Marie wonders why she hates her brother so much. Because he never stood up for her but keeps talking about family. She only has bitter memories. Marie notes at least she has memories unlike her who doesn’t have any so she can’t even feel sad or anything. As the JIOR guys are preparing to take the port down to Earth, L-elf has Yamada and Inuzuka bite the necks of the officer to temporarily possess them so they can give the clearance to base and let JIOR go through. Satomi sees an incoming call and was too late to heed L-elf’s warning not to answer it. Turns out Dorssia was watching their frequency and since it matches, they launch an all-out attack. Satomi starts feeling guilty he is at fault while the Valvraves launch into action. However the Valvraves cannot stay in action long and must return to the shuttle since the re-entry will cause their machines to overheat unlike the Dorssian’s. They’re like sitting ducks now. Akira moves on her reflex to destroy that Dorssian pest but she overheats and is unable to move. Kibukawa has just finished creating a gadget called Familiar for Haruto to use. Not only it quickly cools his machine, it packs lots of power in a single punch. But Akira is still in danger from burning up and she has strayed too far from the shuttle. But L-elf is reluctant to leave the course and jeopardize the mission.

Flashback reveals Satomi was under immense pressure to do well in his entrance exam so he could fulfil his parents’ wish of becoming the top elite. Akira sympathized and wanted to do something. She hacked into the school’s system. Unfortunately she got caught and though she was very scared during interrogation, what scared her most was that Satomi despite saying he did not order her to do it, he doesn’t know why she is doing this. Akira’s heart sank. That was when her bullying began. To make things worse, Satomi ignored her pleas for help and pretended not to hear. Haruto steers towards Akira as he can’t abandon her. He uses Familiar on her but the system overloads and explodes in Haruto’s face! Akira hears her brother’s plea to go save her because if she dies, he will never make things right with her. She then starts hacking the ground control radio transmissions. The idea is to latch onto another shuttle during re-entry if they are to leave their course. Nobody can hear who is talking what in the cacophony except Satomi. He begs to L-elf to save Akira. Takahi supports him that if he doesn’t, he might lose 2 Valvraves and especially Haruto who is pivotal in his plan. They need Haruto, right? And so L-elf steers close enough for Akira (pulling Haruto) to get back into the shuttle. However it’s not a good landing. They crashed. Thankfully everyone is alright. Marie notices the wound on Haruto’s eye healed. L-elf notes they have strayed from their route and have landed in Dorssian territory.

Episode 15
When the Dorssian team arrive, no Valvraves or passengers. I guess it’s good they have landed in an area where there is no civilization and the canyons are able to hide those big robots. But transportation is their biggest problem. They need a ride to JIOR territory. L-elf suggests they use the enemy. How they’re going to do that. First, a reconnaissance team to spy. He wants Saki and Akira to follow him. Akira? Can this shut-in girl go out? Probably big brother sounded so whiny that she decides to do it. L-elf notes that her skill is important for this mission. Meanwhile back on the moon, fake Valvraves are made to deceive the enemy and buy time. I hope they don’t just make up of cardboards. Also, the ARUS guys learn that the JIOR party has crash landed. Due to some fake data, they pretend to take the bait and use the existence of Valvraves to pressure Dorssia. L-elf leads the girls through the narrow ways. He knows the place like the back of his hand because this is where he was made. They arrive at a canyon village. Saki sees a couple of kids. She tries to be friendly but the boy takes out his gun and shoots her! I guess he isn’t an idol fan. They then attack L-elf and even though he may seem like he is on the run, he is cool and have a plan. As he explains to us, this is no ordinary village. It is where kids are trained to become top agents. This was where he and the rest grew up. Eventually L-elf knocks out the kids. Saki is still alive because she is a holy spirit. L-elf hasn’t killed the kids because they will prove useful. He wants the girls to take over their bodies and lure the army to this hill where they will blow it up and bury them. In that confusion, Akira is to hijack a truck back to the rest. Back at the assembly, Saki (as the boy) reports she has sighted those JIOR people. The higher ups take the bait and will head there. But A-drei and Q-vier are also here to observe.

Meanwhile Marie enters Carmilla and tries to find out more information. She is surprised Pino is interacting with her. Even more surprising, it seems they have both met 5 years ago. Obviously Marie can’t remember since her memories only go as far as 2 years back. Haruto finds her and is surprised. Meanwhile L-elf’s plan begins as planned. Yamada and Inuzuka take out the flying base of Dorssia but unknown enemy fighter machines enter the fray. Yamada doesn’t care as long as he gets to kick some Dorssian butt. Unfortunately he doesn’t know the enemy’s strength. Their laser blasts away Nobu Lightning’s arm. When it is supposed to be Haruto’s cue, that guy is not around. That’s because he is confronting Marie. How come she gets to talk to the programme? Of course she too wants to know what Haruto is because she was damn sure his right eye was damaged and now it’s healed. Haruto probably would have started from the top explaining everything when Marie is suddenly shot in the forehead! OMG! L-elf saved us the trouble of a recap episode. Haha! Now stop the talking and get back to your position because the war has started. Anyway Haruto is upset he had to resort to violence just to prevent Haruto’s real identity from being leaked. Well, what do you know? Marie gets up. Could she also be…

Episode 16
Marie remembers she was a loner when she entered high school. Not because she didn’t want to. How can she get to know others if she didn’t even know herself. A-drei takes a look at the landscape and then orders a retreat. He knows this is part of L-elf’s plan and trying to bait them. Furthermore, this is like his home ground. Saki calls L-elf just to let him hear A-drei’s orders. L-elf is stunned that A-drei is part of this mission so he has to prematurely set off the bombs and take down at least half of the Dorssian forces. This means L-elf’s team is also caught in the ground collapse. Marie is somewhat saved thanks to Valvrave protecting her. In her haste, she gets inside it. L-elf tries to find out what Marie is but how can she when she doesn’t even have memories. Pino then answers it is because she used them. A-drei and Saki (still in the boy’s body) are separated from the rest of the force. A-drei does mouth to mouth CPR to revive the kid. He sees a familiar writing carved onto the rocks and starts laughing. It brings back memories. As part of his spy training then, he killed a friend. He was connected to the royalist, supporters of the old order. If this was found out, the entire team would have been held responsible for the crime. So A-drei killed him in secret to stay alive.

Pino explains to Marie that they met before Valvrave was developed. They were in a same place. Marie was a test pilot when Valvrave was in development phase. In order for Pino to operate, she ‘ate’ her memories. L-elf realizes that the riches human source for Runes comes from the memories. The more she ‘eats’ them, the more Marie loses her memories. Then suddenly, she can’t remember how she enrolled in this school or the entrance ceremony. Akira has hacked the system and relays information to her friends. Everyone is in dreaded situation. Yamada and Inuzuka are being attacked relentlessly by the Dorssian reinforcements. Satomi’s side has been captured by the Dorssian. Their only hope is Haruto and his Valvrave. So where the heck is he?! However Marie is reluctant to pilot Valvrave. Afraid she will lose more memories. Then she remembers Shouko’s words. They might not be able to get her past back but they can make more future memories. With that, Marie pilots Valvrave and begins her attack, using never seen before moves that astound everyone. Even more powerful than Haruto. Although her memories are eating away, she is confident she can make them again. L-elf picks up Haruto and says their plan is back on track. He tells him Marie is the original pilot of Valvrave. Once everyone hijacks a Dorssian transport and flies away, Marie has already forgotten everything. Who is Haruto? She is glad they are friends. Valvrave reaches 666 to enable the hara-kiri sword move. The most powerful slash ever destroys all the Dorssian forces in the vicinity. Marie is unconscious in the aftermath.

Episode 17
Marie is dead!!! L-elf, Haruto and Kibukawa ‘interrogate’ Pino. Although she does admit she ‘eats’ Runes in the form of memories, past and ultimately life force, she says she is not at fault as it is Valvrave who killed her. Isn’t that the same thing? She blames the humans who locked her in this programme and she became some sort of a Rune collector for Valvrave. Kibukawa knows she is telling the truth. Marie’s body showed abnormally low signs of red blood cells. Something that doesn’t happen to a person who is recently healthy. He also cautions Haruto since he too has shown such symptoms. He might end up like her if he continues to use Valvrave. Haruto wakes up from a nightmare that nobody remembers him. When the red alert is sounded, Haruto becomes clumsy in piloting Valvrave as Marie still haunts him. However it was just a test by L-elf to check to see if they’re ready. Or rather to see if Haruto is still of use. L-elf briefs the rest that the Dorssian royalists plan to support them as they want to take back control of their kingdom before the coup. However in exchange for the supplies, they have to take out an underwater submarine called Phantom. H-neun tells X-eins that A-drei has been found alive. This brings back memories 12 years ago when they were fighting to survive and almost died as terrorists but Cain saved them. X-eins then leaves to meet Cain at his Grunau villa. H-neun talks to Kriemhild about this and she says there are lots of rumours about Grunau like those who went there never return. She hopes he won’t do anything silly since plans are in motion. L-elf explains to Haruto about Phantom that it’s a ship that is unknown and doesn’t exist in Dorssian army records. As the royalists don’t have equipment to track it underwater, the reason they are needed. Phantom has an emblem that belongs neither to the royalist or military.

As Haruto and L-elf infiltrated the underwater base, H-neun also infiltrates Grunau. He is going to find out Cain’s true identity because he saw him doing un-human-like stuffs. However Cain is there. Like as though he knew he was coming. I guess he did. H-neun still remembers clearly what he said 12 years ago about never asking a friend to watch his back but be strong enough to watch his and his friend’s back. But today he said the opposite thing. Cain shoots and injures him. Bloodied H-neun runs away and stumbles into a room where Amadeus and the council are in some ceremony. A ceremony that requires a huge amount of Runes. To H-neun’s horror, X-eins will be the next ‘sacrifice’ (because the council wanted a young intellect). Meanwhile L-elf and Haruto find in a large room with humans in chambers. Runes are being harvested from them. L-elf is surprised that Runes weren’t a discovery from JIOR as Dorssia has been using it too but for what purpose? Haruto fires into a few chambers but it didn’t change anything. L-elf tells him he can run but the world won’t stop moving. Satomi’s group is being attacked by Dorssia. Inuzuka can’t hold them off much longer. L-elf contacts Satomi and wants him to pilot Valvrave, lying that Haruto is injured and playing mind games with him to save his sister. From what Pino told him, the entire school is able to pilot Valvrave (so it’s interchangeable now?) and by rotating the pilots, they don’t have to worry about running out of Runes. Haruto is upset that he knew this all along but L-elf says that Haruto is not fit for combat now. He can’t let a coward who can’t fight properly to pilot Valvrave. Haruto thinks he doesn’t understand how it feels like to have memories and life being sucked out from you. L-elf thinks he doesn’t understand how powerless he feels. He can’t even pilot Valvrave. And so Haruto goes back to pilot Valvrave because he can’t let anyone else bear the curse. Due to Marie’s hara-kiri slash that softens the bedrocks, Haruto shocks the ground to erupt the volcano and destroy the Dorssian army. He doesn’t care if L-elf is going to over-use him till he dies. He is confident of ending this war before his body collapses. How sure is he? X-eins finds Cain in the room but surprised to see him holding H-neun’s gun. Cain mentions the ceremony has to be restarted again from scratch but they have found a new food source: Those JIOR people on the moon…

Episode 18
L-elf once tried to escape with Liselotte and left a bloodied trail. However destiny was not meant to be. She herself is in some sort of punishment and as Cain puts it, it’s for betraying Magius. She asserts all she wanted was to be honest. The kids need to get back to the moon because if it gets destroyed, they won’t have a place to call home. L-elf has a plan as usual. They’re going to ride an old rocket in some museum display. He shows them a list of deported JIOR people in the town they are heading to and by rescuing them, they should get a general idea of what is going on. Haruto realizes his father’s name is on the list. Yeah. Somebody’s mother, uncle and grandpa too. Maybe their entire family. Kriemhild secretly sees Liselotte to get some approval letter. She is baffled when Liselotte mentions the name of Mikhail. X-eins and Q-vier are still shocked over the betrayal of H-neun who has been leaking military info. The kids enter Dorssiana, the old capital of Dorssia before the military’s rise to power 10 years ago. Akira hacks into the system and once everything is running, they meet Kriemhild and her men. She was L-elf’s ex-superior. She hands him the approval letter. But when she asks if there is a person called Mikhail among them, L-elf instantly knew where this is going. That was his previous name before he entered the Karlstein institute and adopted this identification code. He knows that the need to use this permission requires someone who is a successor to the throne. There are 63 of them but 56 are not in town. So from the remaining 7, the one who knows his old name could only be her. Yup, it’s Liselotte. He runs off. The rest are not sure to continue with L-elf’s plan. Why take the risk and carry it out if he’s not around? But Haruto suggests they should because everyone is fighting their own battle to protect what is important.

Haruto, Inuzuka and Kibukawa meet the deported JIOR scientists who are happy they are going to be rescued. Haruto wants to know if his father, Souichi is around. Here he is and he is happy to see his son. Not a single day goes by without thinking of him. That’s a frame of his gene… Freaky…  This explains his senile and mad scientist look. He reveals that he was part of the project to create Valvraves although he denies it being a weapon (the army ‘sponsored’ them with weapons) and it was supposed to be a new life form. He views at as the ultimate being of the universe. Does this mean they’re God? Souichi is happy Haruto and the rest are the chosen ones adjusted for the project. Every JIOR children born had their genes and Runes adjusted for Valvrave. They might not have given their consent but their parents did. So the children of this project are not only experiment subjects but also hostages. He wants Haruto to be proud as he is the ultimate being. However Haruto doesn’t view it as a blessing but a curse as too many has died. Since daddy is laughing like a mad scientist, Haruto punches him. He has then decided. No, actually he already did that a long time ago. He is more determined than ever to destroy Valvrave. Souichi panics and begs him not to destroy his dream and mankind’s future and progress. Sorry, dad. The big robots must go. Meanwhile L-elf has burst into the tower and leaving a trail of Dorssian blood in his wake. Not even the helicopters can get him. He enters the room Liselotte is being held captive. She is surprised that he is doing this. Because he wasn’t the same 3 years ago. Now he has created a path, a country where they can run to. He wants to take her away.

Episode 19
A-drei and Saki enter the transport that JIOR hijacked but find nobody. Saki snoops around and finds her Carmilla. She also finds her original body and bites it to return. However A-drei sees it and wants to question her. The scientists are evacuated but Souichi decides to stay put, disappointed at all the deserters. Cain knows how L-elf thinks so he has his Dorssian army attack the museum and blow up the runway. L-elf rescues Liselotte not because he wants to repay his debt of her saving his life. It’s because he also loves her! I could never have guessed. Okay, I somewhat had a hunch it was something like that. He kills all the Dorssian forces in his way but here is Q-vier. He is happy fighting L-elf in a knife battle. Till Haruto blows up the wall to rescue them. However L-elf wants him to take Liselotte as he is going to settle things with Cain. Pino is surprised to see Liselotte and wonders who she is. Liselotte admits she is not human and is the same like Pino. She is a Magius, a creature that has taken hold of a human body. Centuries ago, their race crash landed on Earth and lost contact with their own kind. As they need a body to survive, they possess living things. As for Haruto, he is more of something that takes after them. He remembers Souichi’s of trying to create a new life form. Over the long duration of their war against humans, they formed an organization the 101 Council where the most influential Magius and humans were chosen to keep their existence a secret from the public and secure nutrients (Runes) for their survival. Humans are the only things in this planet full of Runes. Thus Liselotte survives by consuming humans. Because she tried to reveal the truth and coexist with humans, she is punished with some curse placed on her. Her Runes are drained at regular intervals and is constantly on the brink of death.

Haruto returns to protect his friends at the museum from the attacking Dorssian army but is close to overheating. Liselotte thinks it is time to part as she only went with him or L-elf wouldn’t have gone further. She tells Haruto L-elf told her he loved her but she can’t reciprocate that because a Magius can never be with humans. Haruto objects to that (based on his experience I guess) and doesn’t want her to write it off like that. Praising L-elf for all the amazing qualities he has, he is sure L-elf wouldn’t want this and can make her happy. L-elf has been riding his back and avoiding all the attacks that come his way but not without taking some damage. He arrives at a control centre and calls Satomi about the change in plan. They will use the road as their runway. But there is a drawbridge that shortens their runway and they won’t make it for lift off. That’s why L-elf is there to lower the drawbridge. Once the rocket blasts off, Q-vier fires and damages the thrusters. At this rate they won’t make it to the atmosphere but if they abandon, Dorssia will attack them. L-elf didn’t count on Haruto to come back and rescue him. However Valvrave is on the verge of overheating and can’t help push the rocket. So Liselotte flies out and uses her curse to stop the damage. Remembering her younger days, as beings not of the body but the soul, she never understood this thing called love till she met L-elf. Thanks to him, she thinks she does now. She would love to return that love to him. Things start to take a toll on her. She starts losing her memories and when the rocket breaks through the atmosphere, she loses her life. L-elf is devastated to see this. Haven’t seen him showing so much emotion before… His efforts all in vain?

Episode 20
The Valvraves are trying to shoot Phantom down. No luck. Haruto has no choice but to charge and hit it with his sword. Although Valvrave overheats, it manages to save the day. And they manage to do it for once without L-elf’s plan. Yeah. L-elf is so sad sulking alone that he’s practically useless. Going by his own terms, that is. He’s still clinging on to his past as he scribbles on what was supposed to be the best method to save her and where he went wrong. The walls, the floor, the ceiling… It looks like he wrote some rocket scientist equation. Conclusion: There was no way he could have saved her despite all the simulations. Haruto and co return to a hero’s welcome. Shouko’s hug just shows how much she missed him. Everyone is being interviewed by a famous journalist, Barlet and it is being broadcasted throughout the rest of civilization. Back on Dorssia, an uprising against the military is taking place. Especially those loyal to the royalist are beginning to move. Thanks to the Valvraves who have shaken the people’s trust in the army. Also, Liselotte’s death may have made her a martyr in the eyes of the royalists. Cain isn’t about to push the panic button yet. For he has Saki held captive. While the people pay their respects to departed Marie, Haruto continues to put on a long face. I don’t think he caught L-elf’s symptoms. Even with Barlet asking him mean questions, he just says he doesn’t know. How can he care so much? So many problems at hand. Magius. The council. Phantom. Saving Saki. Dorssia. It never ends. So he gets some timely advice from Inuzuka. Just go on a date with Shouko to take his mind off. All these problems are the reason more why he should. Because they don’t know when they will die next. Although people can do amazing things when faced with deaths, just don’t leave regrets.

Shouko relays the good news to Haruto that ARUS and many other countries decide to vote and condemn Dorssia’s attack. Shouko has been pushing for this for a long time and was turned down many times. But she never gave up. Probably ARUS’ elections are coming up. If Dorssia ignores the condemning vote, sanctions on them will follow. That’s why she got the TV station and Barlet for this interview. Haruto realizes that everyone here was fighting too. Weren’t they? Shouko is glad he returned and believed in him. X-eins laments the death of H-neun and wonders who killed him. Fiddling around with his ring memento, something in it activates. The council thinks those kids have gone too far. They need to take them out from the stage. Shouko and the ARUS president meet in a high level conference. I guess the gym is the best place they could hold for now. Amadeus joins the discussion via video conference. But first he shows them Saki as his captive. Has everyone wondered why mere kids can stand their ground and even win against the military might of Dorssia? Behold and witness this! Cain stabs his sword through Saki’s heart! Everyone watches in horror as she screams and drops dead. However they soon see the unbelievable as her wound heals and she wakes up. Special effects? Too real for that. Amadeus says that before them is not even human. It is a monster!

Episode 21
There’s more footage. Barlet has boarded Phantom (JIOR took it under their custody) and broadcasts the heinous scene of people being sucked of their life force. And die. Thus Amadeus argues this is the reason why Dorssia has been fighting them, monsters that feed on humans. Shouko and the rest of the other JIOR students don’t know what is happening and are taken aback. Haruto stands up and explains that he was going to tell everyone about this after the conference. Well, that just worsens the situation. ARUS president orders Shouko’s arrest. Even among the JIOR students, they’re fighting and blaming each other about this monster thing. Are they monsters? They thought they were humans all along. And then all hell breaks loose. The army starts shooting and slaughtering every student!!! Oddly, if they are monsters that could resurrect, they shouldn’t be dead, right? Not that they care. As long as the monsters are purged. JIOR becomes a bloody massacre as the survivors panic and scram for evacuation. ARUS and Dorssia then form an alliance to wipe out JIOR and their armies will soon attack the moon. The chat sites are filled with death calls, wanting the heads of JIOR. Shouko and Iori’s capsule is the last to evacuate but the rail got damaged and needs time to recharge. They get a call from ARUS president. Haruto receives a distressing call from them when he starts to lose his memories. Upon entering the capsule, Iori and the rest point their gun at him. It’s a trap. ARUS president promised to let them go if they hand over the Valvrave pilots. Iori then shoots him in the heart. Shouko is distraught. Now she’s a killer. Trying to justify that he killed her scientist father on Phantom sounds like an excuse.

Oh wait. She isn’t a killer yet because Haruto revives. Shouko is shocked to see this. So is everyone. He is truly a monster. Is he the Haruto she knew? Shouko cannot express in words her shock and disappointment. He knew it all the time and never told her. She trusted him. She believed in him. Remember those old times? Oh no. He can’t remember. Something is missing. Haruto can only remain silent. Shouko calls him a liar. Shouko announces to all the Valvrave pilots to cease attack. She is going to hand over Haruto over to ARUS to save her people. Yamada isn’t particularly happy about her decision because it just defeats the purpose they have been fighting all the time. Once Haruto and L-elf are handed over, ARUS forces are ready to destroy Shouko’s capsule. Breaking the promise? Yeah well. That’s how we look at it. So how does it feel to be betrayed left and right? Before they are doomed, Inuzuka protects them. He corrects them all that they are not monsters but holy spirits. Otherwise, why are they protecting them? Inuzuka plans to save Haruto in his final attempt. Oh dear. He takes in a lot of damage and takes back the capsule Haruto and L-elf are in. However he takes in the biggest blast just to protect Shouko’s capsule. He wants to know about Haruto’s feelings for Shouko. Is there time for this? Probably he’s not going to make it so might as well. Haruto says he has always loved Shouko. Now and forever. Now Inuzuka can die happy. He does a kamikaze and takes out all the enemies with him.

Episode 22
Haruto and L-elf are somehow stranded on a crater. Haruto is still reeling from Inuzuka’s death and L-elf… He just couldn’t be bothered with living. Meanwhile Shouko will not allow Yamada or his ‘kind’ get close to them. So much about gratitude. As Prime Minister, her priority is her people. Yamada blows his top about everything but Kibukawa sides with her. Would he have done any better? A-drei learns from Saki that L-elf’s body was possessed when he shot his eye. It made him remember they the 2 of them wanted to start a revolution because the Dorssian military has become so much worse than ARUS in terms of greed and corruption. Haruto and L-elf eventually start fighting each other. Well, there’s pretty much nothing to do and the outlook looks grim. They start punching and accuse each other it’s their fault, this and that. L-elf reveals Haruto killed Shouko’s father. And true enough, that guy falls into guilty mode. L-elf wants him to give up on Shouko since their relationship can never be mended or go back to where it was. This riles Haruto up and he fights back. No match for L-elf, though. Shouko is devastated when more of her students succumb to their injuries. She steels her heart and decides to go pilot Valvrave. It’s not like Haruto is coming back, right? She is surprised to see the option to cast away her humanity. Pino wants her to quickly do it since she is ‘hungry’. Shouko is confused when Pino shows her clips how Haruto first piloted Valvrave to avenge Shouko. When she realizes that’s how she turned into a monster, it’s her turn to feel guilty and devastated.

Back to Haruto and L-elf. They’re still at each other. Blaming each other. It’s always your fault! Then Haruto also riles L-elf up by saying Liselotte was a Magius and was punished because she sided the humans and went against the council. L-elf cannot believe it all and beats him up. L-elf tries to think back Liselotte’s words and actions as they might hold a clue to make sense of it all. Then he realizes what Haruto said was true. Although Liselotte is no longer around, he can inherit her dream. Haruto sees L-elf in tears and is convinced he brings sadness to those around him. Then he meets his other self in his subconscious who paints a grim outlook of everything. However he reasons he cannot die yet because there are things he needs to do. Then it’s like Haruto suddenly cause a short burst of magic, sending L-elf flying a short distance. No gravity on the moon. He recognizes that light as the same thing Cain did and won’t be surprised if he is able to do the same thing as a Magius. They both agree to make a world where both men and holy spirits can live together. Using Haruto’s new power, they fire the flare to signal for help. Then they sit together like buddies while awaiting rescue. Part of Haruto’s plan is to unveil everything to the world because he got his hands burnt trying to keep it a secret. In order for everyone to live peacefully together, they must know about Magius and the council. Dorssia small fries pick up the flare and are about to exterminate the duo when suddenly Carmilla whizzes in to fight. Saki and Haruto are relieved to see each other. X-eins points his gun at A-drei. First L-elf, then H-neun and now him. What is going on? Did he betray them and release Saki? A-drei doesn’t call his act betrayal but his punishment.

Episode 23
Because of A-drei’s suspicious background, X-eins was ordered by Cain to investigate him so he knows about his revolution plan. He plays the H-neun’s ring which reveals that Cain killed him. He wants to avenge his friend. Haruto is onboard Carmilla and her return to protect her friends brings rejoice and relief. Back on Satomi’s side, Haruto tells his intention to unveil the world so that everyone can live peacefully. Can they trust him? Of course. Now he’s teeming with confidence. The plan has already started with L-elf infiltrating the enemy. First he poses as an injured soldier to get in. However A-drei can see through his move. Now that he has known he didn’t blind his eye, he harbours no ill will. However he is still considered the enemy of the state. Why didn’t he say his innocence? If he did, would he have believed? A-drei is appalled at the state of Dorssia now as it is being consumed by monsters. His mission is to eliminate Cain and all parties related to him. Since their interests are aligned, A-drei sanctions L-elf back to active duty. Saki talks to Haruto and wonders if his plan can work because he might be putting up a brave face then. She heard from Kibukawa about the Runes eating up their memories. Haruto is confident enough to say he’s got them all intact. Another bluff? I was hoping Saki was thinking if he still remembers that rape scene… Satomi is concerned about Akira so he had to tell her to eat him. His Runes. She kicks him out. If he only didn’t sound so perverted.

Haruto requests to see Shouko but the other students don’t want to let the monster near him. Shouko meets him but he is only restricted to the hangar since she cannot let him closer without ascertaining he is dangerous. Akira is visibly upset but Haruto regrets lying to her. He is going to show her the world. Then he learns from Pino that Shouko sat in his Valvrave and learnt everything. Not time to get emotional, buddy. While Amadeus and ARUS president are giving their damning speech on the monsters on JIOR, our heroes begin their move. The Valvraves fight through waves of Dorssian and ARUS mechas while trying to deliver Akira to the module so she can hack her way in. Haruto starts losing his childhood memories with Shouko but he soldiers on to fight. Akira begins her hacking but is attacked by Q-vier. Yamada goes to protect and buy her time and deals with the sadistic kid. In the end, they killed each other. Or more precisely, Yamada got tricked by him and gets one helluva big blast. Akira has completed her hacking and is devastated to see Yamada in his dying moments. The allied forces fire all they’ve got to overkill this dude. Another one bites the dust. Haruto is mad. Where the hell is L-elf?! Speaking of him, his team has infiltrated the stage Amadeus is giving his speech. Killing all the Dorssian soldiers in his way, he slices Amadeus’ neck. Thanks to Akira’s hacking, this scene of his wound heals and this is being broadcasted to everywhere. Now the chat rooms are filled with talk that this guys is like those monsters. I guess Akira’s hacking is so good that the council can’t even do anything about it. Hah. Living for so long and they can’t even best a kid who hacks? Big joke.

Episode 24
The galaxy is in uproar. Does this mean those Dorssia blokes are traitors too? ROAR! Chat rooms filled with flaming. Just when our heroes thought the tide turn in their favour, the broadcast shortly goes out before turning back on with a statement that the video was fake. Guess what? Everybody believes it! WTF?! In that case don’t you think that those JIOR students who resurrected should also be fake? Akira is attacked by Cain’s Valvrave and takes heavy damage. Haruto comes to her rescue as wells as X-eins charging in to avenge H-neun’s death. A-drei also wants a piece of the action but has to be content with Q-vier who is all out to eliminate traitors. Haruto is losing memories fast but he still believes he can go on. He gets knocked down into the module. X-eins takes this chance to fight Cain and ends up trying to take him out via self-sacrifice. All in vain. L-elf views Haruto is an amateur fighter and cannot best Cain. The only way is to hijack his body and pilot Valvrave. Of course. What else do they have to lose? As Saki pushes the module away, she thought to herself that she was happy when Haruto started losing his memories. Because it could mean she would stand on equal footing with Shouko. He knew he would always choose Shouko but she promised herself not to give up. She has time to think about this? Q-vier is ecstatic there is another Valvrave to fight so he abandons his just for that. A-drei tries to hold him back accidentally shoots and kills him when they struggle. Cain explains that the council isn’t an evil organization but one of justice. Furthermore, it is humans who attacked them first. Magius wanted to co-exist but humans feared them. For that reason, over the course of many years have made deals with leading figures of humanity. Magius will live in secret so as not to arouse fear in humans and in exchange they are allowed to prey upon a certain number of humans. This system has kept humanity safe from fear and chaos. In conclusion, the ones who threaten the world and peace are humans and Valvraves!

Haruto doesn’t give a damn about all that and objects when Cain mentions this is the best system without conflict as both sides live separately. Because they never tried to live together. Giving examples of his friends who despite lost everything and even their lives continued to fight and make the dream come true. This increases Valvrave’s power but also causes all his memories to be eaten up. Even the most recent ones. Meanwhile there is a revolution spreading across Dorssia with the royalist breaking out all over. Kriemhild is part of the royalist and acts on the royals order. Magius is having trouble too because lots of influential people are being arrested on being suspicions of being a Magius. Fake or not, they get apprehended. Seems this is part of ARUS president to try and take out Magius too. After all that fighting, Haruto finally stabs and destroys Cain with his sword. And that’s the end of it. In the aftermath, Pino and Prue are reunited. L-elf wakes up and to his horror, Haruto doesn’t remember a thing. Not even their contract or their recent fight on the crater. Haruto wonders if he knows who he is. L-elf does. His friend. Because all his Runes are eaten up, Haruto passes away but with a smile on his face. Chaos continued throughout the world and because the people have become so paranoid, it descended into a Magius hunt and not even the council is spared from the massacre. I guess this is what happens when everything is so wired up. You cannot hide anything! The JIOR people still got a place to call home. Satomi and Takahi got married. All this turned out to be a big story told by Saki and Akira to a mini L-elf kid? Satomi then breaks the alert that there are alien intruders at the memorial hall. Yes, aliens. But before them there is Shouko. She shows them the bust statues of all the heroes who died in founding this country. Those people dear to her. She wants to be friends with them. Yeah. After all that fighting, why don’t we just get along?

The Price Of Freedom
WTF?! What the hell is this rushed ending? I figure there is nothing else more to tell since the hero died. So you want to fast forward life as normal for the rest without the hero as Haruto joins the league of a handful of heroes who die in the last episode. Seriously, at the rate they’re killing off certain characters as the series goes by, I thought that everybody should have just died in the end. Serious. If that happened, that would have been more believable despite everything is already so gloomy and chaotic. Everybody should just die. Ah well, I guess it is to show that when there are survivors, their responsibility and duty is to continue living just to show that those who died are not in vain. Already with this kind of ending and then they had to end with another random piece of crap of other life forms trying to take Shouko’s life. Or so it seems. So they’ve discovered there are other aliens. Why are they all hostile towards us? Or is it that we are hostile towards them? How many alien life forms have humans met since? The aliens should have just nuked everybody and save the trouble about future and friendship. If you really want to be friends, just add them on Facebook intergalactic version.

So I still can’t believe everything was over. In just a few minutes ago, we were seeing Haruto battling the final boss and using up all his life just to end it. It also brings in a lot of questions. A lot. Like that L-elf look-a-like kid that Saki and Akira have been telling this entire anime to. There were a few episodes in the second half whereby it starts off with Saki telling this kid a short story. So it’s like some sort of scene that makes you expect that something is going to happen. But I wonder why they chose to design this kid looking so close to L-elf, like as though he is a love child between Haruto and L-elf. Oh sh*t! I really said that. Any random looking kid would just do but a mini L-elf? Feels suspicious. Call me a nitpick but when an anime ends something like this, I kinda remember and start to think back at all of the ‘bad’ stuffs and even trivial ones. That Pino and Prue thing I also don’t understand. Huh? What?

Oh, here’s another one. Remember how people got scared and went on a Magius hunt? Why didn’t they hunt down Shouko, Saki and Akira? Just because they look like pretty girls, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous, right? Of course we know they aren’t but people were so panicked that anything Magius must die. Heck, even all those hooded people in the council die just for convenience so this anime can come to a closure. It is even more mind boggling because Saki was the one used in the first demonstration. She was a famous idol, right? People should recognize her. Yet, she gets to live in the end. And I am speculating that this storytelling is done many years in the future since the founding of this new country looks pretty settled in. Besides, as holy spirits, they don’t age, right? So the only way for them to die is to use up all their Runes. How are they going to do that? What happened to the remaining Valvraves anyway? Akira’s Valvrave is pretty much damaged so I understand if they don’t want to fix it. But Carmilla is in fine working shape and hell if other countries are just going to leave it as it is. So where did it go? Even at least Haruto’s Valvrave was seen as some towering figure at Satomi and Takahi’s wedding. And Shouko dons Haruto’s red suit for nostalgia? If she can’t get that guy, wearing his clothes is good enough.

Many of the characters towards the end feel redundant. That’s why personally I felt that in a why it would have been better if everyone was killed off. Like for instance, Haruto’s dad. They left him alone back at the Dorssian capital and he slowly goes senile. That’s all you’ll ever get to hear from him. I wonder if he knows his son even died in battle. Should have made him died after that by making the building collapse all over him. Then there are Kibukawa and Nanami whose presence I felt is so that it won’t make this new JIOR a totally student country where everybody is just 15-17 years old. What do they seriously do in this anime? Don’t remember. It’s not like they leave a lasting impact. Should have made them died during the massacre of the JIOR students. Kriemhild was a closet royalist and her role was just to help start the revolution? Why now? Why take so long to start the revolution? Should have made her ship exploded after that call. L-elf and A-drei continue to live peacefully in the new country? Shouldn’t they have died in the battlefield along with their comrades? Shouko… A lot of loved ones have been killed. Shouldn’t the trauma of it all lead her to kill herself? Should have just died… Everyone should have just died! I mean, they killed off the hero, they killed off some cute girls, they killed off the hero’s pals and then conveniently massacre a good number of Sakimori students, so I thought while they’re at it they should just kill off everybody! Hahaha! Oops. Sorry. Got a little ahead of myself. There are probably more things that I didn’t understand but what are the chances of remembering things that I don’t comprehend? I don’t even need Runes to be eaten by others to have bad memory problems.

Despite that shortcoming, in terms of storyline and plot, I would say that this anime is quite interesting with the things are developing. So it’s thumbs up in this section as it keeps me intrigue to want to know what is going to happen next. Although there are many characters main and supporting, each have their role to play in the progression of the story no matter how big or small that role is. The best and personally my favourite character goes to L-elf because of his ‘predictions’. It makes him a super cool dude. The way he can foresee and plan various scenarios makes him a true and ultimate survivor. It is like as though he is someone who can see into the future or futures and he just picks the best route for the best outcome. He never falters and rarely shows emotions, sticking strong to his principles and beliefs, which I deem is the reason why he always stays 10 steps ahead of everybody and keeps them eating his dust. He expects the unexpected. He expects everything. Always prepared. So is it no wonder that he is my favourite character in my books? Even if his act may seen inhumane but what would you have done in his shoes? I would really love to become a guy like him of this calibre. Haruto the reluctant hero tries to solve everything himself and takes everything upon himself. The more he tries to hide or not get others involved, the more it does. A total opposite of L-elf, it is perhaps he has something to lose, the reason he thinks so and hesitates. So in the end when he just screws with everything and is going all or nothing, it is that point he truly shines. Not to say that he didn’t because he has always been the nice caring guy his friends know him to be. Now he has repositioned his priorities for what is best for everything, there is nothing to be afraid of. The rest of the characters some have their quirks and traits like Q-vier who is itching to just kill and Yamada who is always bursting with anger over everything. Satomi is painted like a worrywart especially when it comes to his sister and thus looks like a weakling. Akira has overcome her fear of other people so much that her trauma of being bullied seems like a distant memory. I suppose the Valvrave could be her ideal cure if she ever wants to forget those memories.

Romance and love triangle could have been another great factor for guys like me to look forward to. Sadly, there isn’t. Because that rape scene is the most memorable scene ever in this series, many had nicknamed this show as Valve-rape. May I add Libido Raper too? As in Liberator, geddit? Too bad for folks who want to watch that scene uncensored in the DVDs because I read it is still censored. The first half of the series was somewhat a little fun in this area. You can sense either Shouko or Saki wanting to be with this guy. There is a kiss scene. A date scene. Almost a cat fight scene. And a proposal scene. Wow. Even if this is supposed to be a mecha themed anime, I wouldn’t complain with such little distractions. And then when it comes to the second half, the romance died down because somebody had this great idea of splitting up the gang, one heading towards Earth and the other remained back on the moon. Heck, Haruto didn’t even have enough screen time with either Shouko or Saki. Damn it’s the curse of the harem and not the bite ;p. It’s like in the second half, everybody was everywhere and all over the place so it’s hard to get this romance thing going. Of course it was a surprised that it is revealed L-elf is doing all this because of the simple reason for the woman he loves. At least this shows he is still human. Just not your ordinary human. And then she had to die. He became useless. It felt like a big slap in the face because the once untouchable dude has turned into a useless extra character whose presence doesn’t matter. Thankfully he redeemed himself in the end and even called Haruto his friend. He never liked that guy till they shared the same goal to reveal the world. Initially I thought Takahi was going to be part of the tussle with Shouko and Saki for Haruto. Especially when Saki hijacked Haruto’s body and teased her about it. Unless it was just a push to get her with Satomi. Not that we see anything between developed between 2 dozen episodes till that final sudden wedding scene. Aina could have been part of the race too since it is hinted she does have a secret crush on Haruto. Too bad she died.

Action wise, I think there are lots of great action scenes. Some with blood and gore so if you can’t stomach a soldier’s neck getting slit or blood flying and scattering across anywhere, you’ll be much safer watching Barney and Friends or Sesame Street. The mecha fights are entertaining too but they don’t spam those robot battles and sometimes bring in some variety like hand to hand combat between humans. But still, the mecha duels are the biggest thing to expect. Especially with the Valvraves with their flashy light when they start getting aggressive. I figure enemies get stunned ‘admiring’ those beautiful lights, the reason why Valvraves get to slash their way through. But it’s odd that such big mechas is prone to overheating. Have they not found a solution to it? Like, make them carry a big pack of ice each time they go into battle? And isn’t space supposed to be cold, at least in your own shadow because you can actually freeze in it. Heck, we’ve seen so many Hollywood sci-fi movies that we even think it is normal to see explosions in space. There is no air in space, people! So you can’t hear or even make such noise. Nobody can hear you scream in space.

Since I’m not a mecha fan or even an expert, I can’t really say much about the mecha design and concept. I’m sure with so many mecha animes around, each one is trying to design their own unique mecha. For a casual viewer like me, the Valvraves look great, cool and majestic. However with their different colours, sometimes it feels like they are a mechanized version of Power Rangers. Really. You’ve got the red (which is like the leader colour in such tokusatsu or sentai shows), yellow, blue, green and purple. And then the bad guy’s one is white and black. To add more uniqueness to the Valvraves, each design have their own weapon like Carmilla’s round “air filter” buzz saws, Beast High’s shield, Nobu Thunder’s extra large arms which also serve as cannons and a little wand for Akira’s Valvrave. I suppose to paint a prettier picture of Valvrave, the enemy mechas somewhat look plain and ugly. Like for instance the giant battleships look like a Gorgon. The smaller and faster but weaker ones look like a rip-off from Star Wars’ TIE Fighter. Although later on they have humanoid mecha versions, they look so plain, boring and generic. Even the ARUS fighter jet feels like it was ripped-off from somewhere.

The art and drawing quality seems pretty good. With lots of pretty girls and handsome guys all the way, you can never go wrong. Even the Dorssian antagonists have this bishonen look and feel. Heh. How can good looking guys like L-elf and A-drei be the real bad guys even though they initially start out on the enemy camp and remain in one for most of the series. Some of the visuals of the setting and locations are quite good too. Since this anime was produced by Sunrise, it is no surprised that they have lots of experience in producing mecha themed shows such as Code Geass, Space Runaway Ideon, Overman King Gainer and Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Of course the biggest and most famous mecha under their belt is the Gundam series.

There are quite a number of popular seiyuus lending their voice to this anime. Oh, where do I start? Ryota Ohsaka plays the lead role as Haruto (adult Jun in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen) with Ryohei Kimura playing as L-elf (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai). Then there are popular seiyuus-cum-singers like Haruka Tomatsu as Saki (Asuna in Sword Art Online), Yui Horie as Nanami (Hanekawa in Bakemonogatari), Aki Toyosaki as Liselotte (Yui in K-ON!) and Nana Mizuki as Kriemhild (Tsubasa in Senki Zesshou Symphogear). Yuuichi Nakamura as Yamada I thought he was the embodiment of all the angry character roles or those who are susceptible to get angry he voiced (think like Gray in Fairy Tail, Tomoya in Clannad, Minamoto in Zettai Karen Children) because for every time he opens his mouth, it’s like his words are filled with angst even if he is on friendly terms. Other recognizable seiyuus include Jun Fukuyama as A-drei (Lelouch in Code Geass), Daisuke Ono as Cain (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Aoi Yuuki as Akira (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Yuuki Kaji as Q-vier (Alibaba in Magi), Mamoru Miyano as H-neun (Light/Kira in Death Note), Takehito Koyasu as Amadeus (Aokiji in One Piece) and Koji Fusa as Figaro (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach). The rest that I don’t ‘recognize’ include Asami Seto as Shouko (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Daisuke Namikawa as Satomi (Waver in Fate/Zero), Yuuki Ono as Inuzuka (Zenkichi in Medaka Box), Minako Kotobuki as Takahi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Otamaya (Bossun in Sket Dance), Wataru Hatano as Kibukawa (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Yoshimasa Hosoya as X-eins (Haruto in Kimi No Iru Machi), Misato Fukuen as Marie (Eve in Black Cat), Ai Kayano as Aina and Pino (Mayaka in Hyouka).

The opening themes are done by the duet of Nana Mizuki and T.M. Revolution. The rock and energetic pace befits the nature of the series and I think they’re quite fun to hear. Mainly because the duo seem to be taking turns singing their lines, like as though they are completing each other’s sentence. In a way, it seems quite addictive just to hear them sing that way. The first opening theme is Preserved Rose while the second opening theme is Kakumei Dualism. Although I feel that Preserved Rose sounds better than the latter. The first ending theme is Boku Janai by Angela. This song is also not bad but it reminds me of her style like she sang in the Shikabane Hime series. The second ending theme is Soba Ni Iru Yo by Elisa. I didn’t find this one appealing because it feels like an opera singer trying to hold in her high pitch voice till the end she realizes really one high pitch tone. Realism also by Elisa is the third ending piece but this time this one sounds dramatic orchestra song with choir voices accompanying the lead. She’s like trying a lower opera voice for this one. I thought the entire song just felt weird. The final ending theme is Akai Memories Wo Anata Ni by Momoko Kanade, a generic anime pop.

One thing I noticed about the people in general in this anime. They have short memory and herd mentality. They forget who their saviour was and are easy to condemn. Remember when Dorssia first attacked JIOR and all hope were lost? And then came Haruto piloting Valvrave to save the day. Everybody loves him. Yay. He’s the hero. We love you. And then when Magius come up with that conspiracy to paint them as monsters, everybody starts believing in this lie and starts condemning like as though they are the big devils. Short memory, huh? So much for gratitude, huh? Didn’t they ever think how can a high school boy pilot something so complicated? Easy to praise when things go their way, easy to criticize when things do not. So basically everybody here is also some sort of in denial because when the same trick on Amadeus is done and quickly brushed off as hoax, they quickly believe in it. Like as though they want to take the easy way out and are afraid to change from what they firmly believed in. Therefore everybody is equally as guilty as all of the characters in this series since they either do nothing about it or this. Everybody should just die! Whoops… There I go again. So what do we learn in the end? Never send kids to do an adult’s job like running the country. That’s definitely not child’s play stuff.

Overall, I won’t say that this anime is mediocre since I did find it enjoyable and entertaining. But! Disclaimer note: Not to a point where I have become a mecha fan. Call me a liar or a closet mecha fan but I still prefer harem romance comedies. So maybe it will be some time before in the future once again I will conveniently pick another mecha anime to watch. And maybe next time hopefully it won’t be as complicated as a reluctant kid who becomes a hero and saves the world in a giant robot. With a little help from his friends. Then you also have a secret organization ruling and controlling the world from the shadows that our hero must also rid off in order to attain true peace. And then he dies, everybody dies. More importantly, nobody gets the girl in the end. Haha! So when it comes to saving the world, let’s leave it to the professionals like superheroes, shall we? Because throwing away your humanity just to save the world isn’t worth all the trouble. You should live for humanity, not die for it. Food for thought: A human who has thrown away humanity to save humans, who is more human?

Outbreak Company

June 7, 2014

Listen up, folks! We have got a mission. A very big and important mission to spread the otaku culture around especially to those civilizations that have never heard about the goodness in the form of anime, manga and games. Are you ready to lead this moe missionary charge and spread the word to the new world? This is our chance to prove that we otakus are not lazy and perverted people who waste time idling all day in front of the idiot box or stand in long lines of queue just to shake hands with our favourite idols. If you are an otaku of any level (inexperienced are also welcomed but the higher the better), you can apply to help out in this mission and spread the message armed with only otaku knowledge and know-hows. So get ready and let us start preaching about the world of otaku!

This is what Outbreak Company is all about. You didn’t think it was some anime about a terrorist organization trying to create a biological warfare, didn’t you? Okay, I did at first. But when I read it was about a shut-in guy who somehow secured this dream job that perhaps every otaku would love to have, I have just got to see how it’s done. Yeah. Anime is already such a big export of Japan and even expanding further as we speak. So is the sky the limit? Apparently not in this anime. Because we’re not about to spread the otaku culture to some African country or the North Pole (hey, Santa and polar bears could use a little otakuism), but an alternate parallel world where entertainment is hardly heard of. What do these guys do for fun, really? To us, it is a new unexplored and untapped market that could bring in the profits and establish good relations on both sides while enjoying doing what we love most. So people (or aliens, whatever you call yourself out there) let’s all welcome and embrace the otaku culture with open arms!

Episode 1
Shinichi Kanou is looking through an online job ad. Hmm… A job that otaku loves? As long as you love anime and manga, you’ll never have to work again? Too good to be true. Just answer 200 questions. No problem. Shinichi answers all of them correctly and before he knows it, he is in an interview at Amutech and being told by his interviewer, Jinzaburou Matoba that he has become the perfect candidate. First he asks about Shinichi being a shut-in. Because he got rejected by his childhood friend. No laughing matter. Shinichi passes out after drinking a drink. He wakes up rebuking his dream that his childhood friend rejected his confession because he is an otaku! Before him is a maid, Myusel Foalan who seems to be afraid of him although this guy totally digs maids (like yours truly). They can’t understand each other’s language till she gives him a ring to put on. Minori Koganuma from Japan’s 1st Division SDF introduces herself and tells him he is in the Ratatos Forest on the outskirts of Marinos, the capital city of the Holy Eldant Empire. She is his guard. First thing he asks is her cup size. F. To get a better perspective where he is, she shows him outside. Hmm… Great mountains, nice forest, flying dragon… Wait. FLYING DRAGON?! Holy sh*t! Yup. He’s in another world. Soon Matoba arrives to discuss business with him. His actual job is a cabinet minister in Japan. He explains a year ago, a strange wormhole was discovered near Mt Fuji. It connected Earth to another world. It is similar to humans with some slight difference like magic. So in order to cultivate good relations between both ‘neighbours’, an alliance was formed and Matoba’s department was to facilitate exchanges between both realms.

So the Amutech company that interviewed Shinichi was to make him the general manager in charge of Japan’s best exports to this world: Anime, manga and games! I agree! The government didn’t do a good job running it so they thought what a better way than to get a real otaku to do it. Shinichi doesn’t want to shoulder this burden but Matoba reminds him that he can’t leave. Can’t beat them, join them. They assure him that he will be compensated. So go spread the Akiba culture, tsundere, moe… Did he say anything about hentai? Later Myusel serves Shinichi tea. He notices her long ears and she becomes afraid. However Shinichi loves it and it is even better she is half-elf and a maid. Because she cannot read or write, he introduces his Japanese writing to her and gives her a copy for her to study. Myusel feels grateful. Then she introduces him to a strong guy servant, Bluk Darwin. Shinichi didn’t count on him being a lizard man. Oh, he’s the gardener. Next morning, after the folly of Myusel trying to undressing as part of her maid job, Shinichi along with Minori and Matoba head to the palace to see the supreme ruler. He is told not to say things out of line as there are some inhabitants who do not welcome them. Inside the huge palace, Shinichi is once again made to remember to follow their lead and not say anything rash. But when he finds the supreme leader to be a little girl, he couldn’t contain his excitement and blurts it out. I don’t know if some otaku beam of his hit her head but Petralka Anne Eldant III isn’t happy to hear that. In fact she is so pissed off that she gives him an uppercut! While her advisor restrain this fuming ‘adult’ (she claims she just turned 16 the other day), you can see Shinichi’s big smile… Lolicon…

Episode 2
Petralka wants to cut his head but Matoba gives excuse that Shinichi wasn’t mocking her but admiring her beauty since the official age of adult in Japan is 20 years old (lies!). She calms down and forgives him. Minori introduces him to the Zakhar the advisor and noble knight, Galius En Goldbal who is Petralka’s cousin. Galius stands up and cannot accept Shinichi as the ‘evangelist’ who will teach otaku culture to them. He looks like poison. Shinichi stands back up and tells him off he is stupid to judge a person like tell. Everyone is in shock. Now Galius wants to cut his head! But Petralka is laughing so hard and finds Shinichi amusing that, she decides to leave this otaku business in his full care. On the way out, Shinichi is devastated to learn that there is no next plan. Their side was so busy in securing land and budget that they never thought of how to go about this otaku business. Yeah. Greedy people want to monopolize this, eh? So Shinichi’s task is to select products that would make the people go wild. However it is going to be hard since the ring works as telepathy between the wearers. How can they enjoy anime and manga in a foreign language then? That night, Shinichi sees Myusel studying to read and write on her own. He decides to help her. So the daily routine becomes something like this. By day he will find materials to further their exchange culture and by night he teaches Myusel. Shinichi’s room is now filled with all the otaku stuffs. It really looks like one. Myusel and Bluk have a go reading manga or playing games because Shinichi wants feedback on what they think. Then Petralka comes by herself to see him at work in person. Since she can’t read, she has Shinichi read aloud for her. A loli’s flat boobs on one side and a busty maid on the other side. Heaven. But he can’t enjoy it since he’s so tense. Because Shinichi is paying too much attention to Myusel (to help her in her reading), Petralka becomes jealous and sits on his lap! Then she makes the maid go do what a maid is supposed to do. Serve tea.

That night, Shinichi thought there was an intruder in his room and whacks him but turns out to be Bluk. He gives Shinichi a stick for him to whack! Myusel explains that it is only natural in this world for masters to beat his servants. It got Shinichi thinking that he really needs to know more about this world so the next day with Minori and Bluk accompanying him to town, he learns 80% of the people are illiterate and most signs are in forms of pictures. Worse, all children were trained as soldiers. At a training camp where he introduces his otaku stuff, he learns that the kids do not know the meaning of fun because after training they will be ploughing the fields. Bluk remembers he was also part of the military training along with Myusel. The kids also cannot read or write as that is only reserved for the rich and noble. How can they experience the wonderfulness of otaku culture when they can’t do that? Back home, Petralka continues with her ‘reading’. It was about to get to the exciting part when Myusel comes in to serve them tea. Shinichi thinks he needs a little break since he has been reading aloud for a while. Petralka is not amused. She scolds Myusel for disrupting them. Myusel further cowers in fear the more Petralka verbally abuses her and this doesn’t sit well with Shinichi. He feels mad. So mad that when he grabs Petralka’s hand (she was going to throw the bread at her), it seemed like he could almost break it! Luckily he manages to calm himself down and mentions he used to be judged and persecuted one-sidedly before (the rejection). He talks about freedom, peace and equality, values that are needed to understand his culture. However Petralka doesn’t even know the meaning of that. Petralka lets them off the hook since he was trying to teach her something but in exchange she too wants to learn his language and must teach her. She can’t accept a lowly maid knows something she doesn’t and will see for herself if this otaku culture will benefit her kingdom. That night when Myusel reads a heart tugging manga, that look on her face would have turned him on but he didn’t have any reaction. He felt sad for her.

Episode 3
A month later, the school that will teach otaku culture regardless of race and class is completed. Petralka comes by to show off that she has completed her simple kanji practice book and even does tongue twister to show off. She notices Shinichi staring at Minori’s boobs. He is then labelled a pervert because both types are very fine with him. Shinichi has a reading class and of course Petralka gets the special seat on his lap. After class, she tells him he is a rare person who enjoys what he preaches as many evangelists are just out for money and fame. She has never enjoyed being with someone before. Then he had to ruin it by mentioning Myusel’s name. Minori had to explain that people in this world are strictly bound by hierarchy and will never take to freedom and equality. They were lucky because they were considered something new and exciting. That night, Myusel shows the results of her hard work. She takes off her ring and could speak and understand Japanese. Although she sounds like an amateur foreigner speaking the language. Shinichi is impressed. Next day at school, Petralka shows up again to show off another volume of kanji practice book she has finished. When Shinichi mentions Myusel has not time to practice because she was helping him out, Petralka blows her top. Sounding like a jealous brat, she accuses him of always ignoring her and giving the maid all the attention. She has had enough and orders Myusel to leave this place forever. Suddenly the school is under siege. A group of terrorist, Baydona led by Alessio takes Petralka as hostage. As they are tied up, thanks to Myusel’s ability in both languages, she is able to translate to Shinichi what the terrorists are talking about. They are a minority anti-imperialist group with no monetary or political power and have a powerful magic weapon called Eradicating Flame that could send the entire school in flames in seconds.

Alessio then grabs Shinichi and accuses him of bringing this otaku abomination. He reminds him of the different races, their strengths and weaknesses. Of course humans with the lack of all such power have been given the ‘gift’ to control and ‘unify’ them. Shinichi chides him off sounding like a jealous race supremacist. Although Alessio admits it’s true, he thinks the culture Shinichi brings in will destroy their value and it is their duty to protect it. He is going to cut off his head to make him an example when Petralka says that killing those not of this world won’t change a thing and they’ll be treated like martyrs (did she learn this from some manga?). Upset Alessio tosses Shinichi back, right into the boobs of Minori. She’s not exactly horny wanting to plunge his face deeper but to take out a pen knife (literally) hiding in her cleavage. Minori can free herself and attack anytime but Shinichi wants to wait till exactly 7pm sharp. Then he feigns he needs to go the toilet real bad. Outside the corridor when the clock strikes 7, his handphone alarm clock rings and this alerts the terrorists thinking it is some high level magic. Of course Shinichi toys with their minds about this ‘magic’ of his so they become hesitant. It was enough time for Minori to bust out and give her kung fu chops to the terrorists and Myusel to unleash her powerful magic blast. Alessio has activated Eradicating Flame and is going to blow up everything. Nothing can stop him! Till Shinichi puts it out with a fire extinguisher! That’s all it took! Never underestimate the fire extinguisher! Oh yeah. A fearsome weapon it is. Minori punches him out but before he lands, he throws a knife at Petralka. Myusel uses her body to protect her. Why? She wanted to believe in Shinichi’s mangas where all races can live in harmony and understand each other. Petralka is the most devastated one. Since when did she care so much about this maid? Can she order her not to die?

Episode 4
Myusel dies! Just kidding! There was some locket in her clothes that blocked the knife. So she’s recuperating and doing fine. A month later, Myusel is released and you can see how useful she is because without her, all his mangas are strewn on the floor. Nothing like the good ol’ maid to clean everything up. On the first day of school, the moment he enters class, all the races are arguing among each other. His first otaku lesson as the school’s principal, he teaches the students very advanced words! Zettai ryouiki! No panties! Wow! Too hot to handle? For Minori maybe. So she takes over class for a simpler start. Guess what? She is a fujoshi! BL! Uke! Seme! Trap! Oh boy. I feel this kingdom is going downhill if this otaku culture gets picked up. On their way back, Minori’s gadget detects an intruder near their house. It turns out to be a wolf girl, Elbia Hanaiman happily sketching the manor. Guess what? Beast girl. Animal ears. Animal tails. Wow. Shinichi loves it! As they take her in, Minori warns him that although she claims to be a wandering artist, she could be a spy from Bahailm, a neighbouring kingdom that is always at odds with Eldant. There are many cases like this that happened before. Elbia is whisked away by the guards and her pitiful puppy dog eyes got Shinichi’s sympathy. He feels pity that she’s being treated like a criminal. Next day, Shinichi and Myusel are before Petralka to be rewarded for their brave efforts. Shinichi had to bring up this spy issue but Galius tells him it’s none of his business. He begs to differ. He views her artistic skills important to draw out the otaku culture. Pictures are the more effective way to spread it.

However all Petralka sees is that Shinichi is interested in her because she is a beast girl. A young beast girl. A young beast girl with big boobs. Shinichi corrects her that Elbia’s boobs are small. But when Elbia is brought before them, wow, it’s huge. If his standards are so high to call them small, what do flat ones like them are? Shinichi argues he wants to keep her (their laws dictate she will be executed for being a spy) so in this ‘brilliant’ plan of his, he has her answer a few simple questions. However she elaborates them so as not to sound suspicious but of course, from the sound of it, it proves she’s a spy. I mean, she’s drawing his manor not because she’s trying to look at every angle that might hold military secrets, right? Dead giveaway. Shinichi gets desperate. She can’t be labelled a spy just because she has animal ears and tail. They’re in fact wonderful! Petralka takes it that he has such fetish and that he wants to keep her as his lover. Minori objects because Shinichi’s true love is Galius! Shinichi is seme and Galius is uke! Because Galius blushes and didn’t say anything… OH SH*T!!!!!!! Say it isn’t so!!! Worse, Minori explains all the BL stuffs to Myusel. Shinichi has a plan to keep Elbia. Let her live and send her to report back to Bahailm. But feed her with false information and in no time the enemy will come dancing into their hand. Galius loves this scheming idea (hope he doesn’t mean he loves him to – and feed Minori’s fantasy). Petralka is not amused not because Elbia is of a different race but rather the fact that lots of women are gathering around Shinichi. She allows him to keep her. Elbia is so happy that she hugs him with her huge boobs pressing against him. I guess Petralka has tolerated enough of his nonsense. She is going to castrate him!

Episode 5
Shinichi has Elbia draw a few things and is amazed at her skill level. In school, Shinichi teaches his class the history of bishoujo games. He even answers their question of his favourite girl character and demonstrates his favourite game! Getting nostalgic? Minori seems to be keeping her cool very well whenever she asks if he is going to introduce BL into the curriculum. He hasn’t considered it… Myusel is taken in by Shinichi’s kindness when he also helps around the house. One night, Elbia didn’t join the rest for dinner like usual. He goes to check her room and it seems she is drawing lots of scary drawings. One of them a portrait of Shinichi like as though he is her victim! Scary! She kicks him out of her room but he sees those killer eyes in her. Next day at school, Shinichi sees his students arguing about their games and figurines! Wow. It’s good that the passion caught on. But a lot quicker than he thought. Minori had to fire a warning shot to break them up. I think she is most upset because none of them caught the BL fever. When Shinichi goes home, he receives a distress call from Petralka to see her now. As he leaves, he sees Elbia looking at him with those killer eyes. He thinks she is really an assassin pretending to be a clumsy girl to fool him. At the palace, Petralka says she didn’t summon him. Hmph! Wait a minute. Is she acting tsundere? Furthermore, she says she hates him. Hmph! Definitely tsundere. Galius seems to have accepted this otaku way too as he returns a BL book he borrowed from Minori! OH SH*T!!!! So… Petralka called them just to show off her tsundere side? Wasting his time… Back home with Shinichi giving Myusel the usual lesson, he remembers she did ask him about wanting to follow him back to Japan. She still wants to even though she won’t come back here again. Shinichi dreams of a cliché romance of Myusel wanting to come with him. It turns into a nightmare of Elbia going to kill him! Phew. Just a dream. Oh wait. Elbia is really on top of him! And she’s not horny. Shinichi screams and the other girls come rushing in. They see Elbia licking his neck. Disappointed? Myusel seems so. Yeah. Shinichi sounds like he is enjoying it. As explained, Elbia was in heat and whenever there is a full moon, this causes her to act weird. That drawing of Shinichi was because that was when that heat of hers just activated. However Elbia did hint that she won’t just jump onto any man whenever she’s in heat. Oh Myusel, looks like you’ve got some competition around the house. When Shinichi compliments her great animal ears and tail, she glomps all over him. Be careful. Myusel might become yandere… Next day in school, the otaku argument among the student argues… They’ll pass with flying colours. Definitely.

Episode 6
The class war continues… Shinichi and Minori see Petralka and tell her about the future of the school. It might have 25 students only now but in the future that amount may swell to about 500 and thus the need for extra help. He wants Myusel to become a teacher. Petralka isn’t pleased because this means the duo get to be together the entire day. This means he needs somebody else to take over the maid job. Hire another maid? Petralka rejects it thinking he wants another big breast maid. When new otaku goods arrive, Minori is happy that her golden ball from some favourite anime of her arrives. But Elbia steals and plays with it. This makes Minori angry and she’s going to shoot her down! Armed and dangerous! With Myusel’s magic, they manage to get it back, although the ball is now messed up. After hearing Elbia’s reasoning that anything that looks like the moon will awaken her instincts, Minori gives the ball to her. This causes Shinichi to have an idea. So he requests for a friendly football match between dwarves and elves. Shinichi’s intention is of course to bridge the racial divide and you know like in sports themed animes, the enemy becomes your friend, right? If he only knew about reality. So with the announcement of the friendly match and the winner gets a prize, both sides get motivate to learn football. From reading mangas to watching animes and even super powered practice. On match day, the dwarves take an early lead thanks to their immense strength. Yeah. Just right at the start of the whistle’s blow, they already scored the goal. The elves never see it coming, huh? Their super strength means they pound the land, leaving craters and their opponents eating dust. They lead 50-0. And it’s only the first half. Minori is not happy because she supports the elves side as they look very much like the characters from her favourite football anime. It is suggested the elves can use magic to spice things up.

During the break, the gang eats Myusel’s handmade bento. As there is a rice on Petralka’s cheek, she knows about this moe custom of a guy taking the rice off. He does so and goes into ecstasy. There is one on his cheek so Petralka does the same. Ultimate ecstasy. But she missed one so Galius picks it. Galius blushes. All the ecstasy just went down the drain… The second half continues and this time the elves fight back with their super magic. It’s their turn to pound the land and make craters. In the end, it becomes a total warzone because everything is thrown and flung at each other. Except the ball. The only thing untouched.  Matoba hopes Shinichi have learnt his lesson in reality. Sports can also be a tool to incite nationalist pride. Both sides are taken out, the land is decimated and I don’t know who is keeping the score anymore. It must be off the charts. Elbia takes the ball and plays by herself. At the same time, Petralka who has been itching to get into the game has changed and steals the ball from her. Oh no. Another war is going to start. With a little help from Myusel’s magic, Petralka pulls of some air spinning goal. Then she goes to high five and celebrates with Myusel. Everyone sees this and is in shock. Matoba explains that half-elves are mostly targeted in discrimination and seeing her mixing around with the supreme ruler who is supposed to be the top of the hierarchy isn’t a good thing. However Shinichi thinks it is. Because they set aside all those complicated stuffs and what he sees is something beautiful. He believes everyone will too. With that, the game ends in a draw. Although both sides are awarded handheld console each, their rivalry continues into the game… Things never change.

Episode 7
Shinichi is upset that Matoba somehow screws up and brings him the wrong otaku stuffs. Instead of his favourite Rental Madoka anime, he brought back the adult version of it. This is a big deal because his students can’t wait to get their hands on more ‘schoolwork’! I understand the otaku rage if they don’t get their fix… He requests to go back to Japan and get them himself. Because the location of the hole is top secret, he doesn’t mind getting drugged. The next time he opens his eyes, he is back in his room. Ah, familiar territory. Thank goodness for internet. As he is unpacking, he wonders the extra bag and when he opens up, Myusel! OMG! She can fit it! Elf trafficking? She was afraid he will never come back so she secretly hid in the bag. Of course Minori gets to know of this but Matoba doesn’t want to raise any alarms yet since there will be surveillance on them back in Japan. Meanwhile Petralka is stamping tons of documents. The pile up was thanks to her being out of action from football muscle ache. As motivation to finish it all, she will get to see Shinichi. Full steam ahead! If she only knew where he is now. Galius is not worried because the amount of work she has, Shinichi will be back by then. Myusel becomes like a fish out of water, marvelling at Japan’s technology and modern conveniences we take for granted. Even if the train ride was such an emotional and fulfilling experience. Wait till she sees Akihabara. Shinichi shows her around and lets her experience the things that are done here.

Of course there is the maid cafe that is a must-patron. Myusel could sure learn some useful maid serving tips here. But the other maids think Myusel is really a pro, the way she acts and serves Shinichi he master. When they head back, it only dawned to Shinichi that he will be spending the night with her. Alone. His mind starts to go wild just at the thought of bathing and sleeping. Since Myusel has no extra clothes, Shinichi rushes out to the convenience store to buy a pair of panties as she takes a bath. I’m not sure what Shinichi’s intention was when he barged back in making some joke. Maybe he decided to get naughty with her? By that time, she’s already sound asleep. He even had the thought of violating her when she’s asleep but loses all motivation when he hears her sleep talking. That is all. Goodnight. Meanwhile happy Petralka is just seconds away from finishing her mammoth task! Did Galius underestimate her? Better call Shinichi now! Zakhar has a plan… The old fart dresses up as Shinichi!!! Petralka not amused. Especially when she finds out his whereabouts. But instead of punishing them, she leaves depressed. Hmm… She’s taking this pretty well. Next morning, Shinichi wakes up back in Eldant kingdom. Then he remembers. It was so fun yesterday that he forgot to bring back what he wanted! And he gets lecture from Matoba about the resources, men and tax payers’ money involved. But if it’s a consolation, at least Myusel is putting her maid cafe lessons to good use.

Episode 8
Petralka is depressed enough not to be interested in doing her job. So one day she runs away from her room and a big search is called. Though, Galius knows she can’t go that far. Eventually Shinichi finds her sleeping in a storeroom crate. He hears her sleep talking about her parents. Shinichi wonders if she can be given a break just for today but Galius mentions there are always new work every day. It will pile up. Next day, another problem. Now she shuts herself in and laced it with magic barrier that no Eldant locals can enter. Shinichi recognizes the symptoms. Petralka has become a shut-in. Because Minori paints him as a top class expert shut-in, looks like Shinichi has to handle this by himself. Galius explains to him that because of the adults’ incapability, Petralka is burdened. After the previous ruler passed away, she was next in line for the throne while Galius as her cousin became her advisor. Normally her parents would have been next in line but they were murdered. Killed by Galius’ parents. They poisoned each other eventually. Since Petralka knows this, the reason she works hard so as not to make the same thing repeat itself. Shinichi will do all he can but he doesn’t want anybody to interfere. And so Shinichi’s smooth talk (or perhaps she’s just a simpleton and really wants to see him), he is let in. Seems she is really trying to live a life of a shut-in. She is going to read her manga, watch anime, play games, sleep and not do any work. However Shinichi lectures her on what it takes to be a true shut-in. And so she occupies a very small portion of the corner of her room. Everything must be in reach. Eat only junk food. Heck, there is even an oath for shut-ins! Blame society, not yourself! She’s amazed. He becomes her partner in crime. Great. Just what we need. Two shut-ins.

However Petralka still feels the need to take a bath so dead in the night, they sneak out. How do they get past the guards? Shinichi drops an adult manga. They go crazy over it! Nice diversion. In the bath (Shinichi wonders if he should peep so as not to be labelled as a pervert who just loves big boobs), Petralka wonders if he is going to talk her out of it. He says that he too was once in her position and understands. As they head back, they hear the guards worried about their highness and if she is doing fine. Back in the little corner, Petralka learns from Shinichi how he once became a shut-in. After being rejected, he became scared in seeing his classmates’ face and eventually his parents. So he shut himself in and became one before he knew it. As days pass, the door becomes heavier and to a point he cannot open it himself. Probably this guilt talk must have made Petralka feeling guilty. She realizes she ran away from her duties and caused lots of trouble. And when things don’t go her way, she takes it out on others. She feels she is a bad supreme ruler. Shinichi doesn’t understand all that but what he thinks is that Petralka should be herself. Next morning, Petralka gets the strength to open her door. Galius and Zakhar are waiting outside and Petralka returns to her duties. Meanwhile back in Shinichi’s manor, everyone is going to die of starvation. Because when Myusel heard Shinichi will not be coming home and staying at the palace, it’s like she become broken. Cooking and cooking and cooking and cooking and cooking… The pot is already black… Why don’t they just get food somewhere else instead of wishing for Shinichi to come back?

Episode 9
Myusel is doing her teaching job well on her first day. Because as a working staff, they are entitled to day offs so Matoba hopes they can use them up. Galius suggests the lakes near one of their vacation homes. This is also as thanks for helping Petralka out the other day. And so Shinichi revels that he was born for this days. Yeah. The obligated beach and swimsuit episode has finally arrived. If he could only talk to Minori looking straight in her eyes instead of her boobs… Although Petralka is still doing her work, Zakhar says that he has scheduled for some time off for her at her vacation home. In the mean time, a group of brilliant minds are being gathered to discuss… Petralka’s swimsuit?! Wise sages now looking perverted old men looking at swimsuit catalogues… And one of them persistently insists on the classic school swimsuit. Oh yeah. This must be a very tough decision to call. While Shinichi and the girls frolic in the sand and water, suddenly come running for help to them is one of their students, Roic. He is panicking that his fellow classmate, Romilda is going to get killed. When they heard the teachers were on vacation, they thought of going to check them out. Along the way, they saw something suspicious in the bush. Romilda when to investigate but got zapped by some sort of lightning. Minori vows to protect everyone and rescue Romilda. That’s her job. The description Roic gave and Elbia drew seems to show that the unknown enemy are bushy monsters.

With Elbia’s keen sense of smell, she manages to ambush them and lure them into a magic trap set by the elves. Of course when they try to escape, Myusel goes after them but is taken hostage. Shinichi fearing that she might lose her life like the last time, runs in like a (pathetic) hero just to save her. However Minori’s warning gunshot stops everybody. She forces the monsters to take off their bushy disguise and to everyone’s surprise, they are men from SDF. While Minori questions them, there is a touching scene going on between Shinichi and Myusel. She is very touched of his gesture to save him. Suddenly her top comes undone. Like in such cliché anime scenes, Shinichi gets pounded by her magic in her embarrassment. She just beat up her master, didn’t she? Romilda is fine and just sleeping. The lightning was their stun gun. Minori feels suspicious that the SDF’s answer was to guard them. But why run when they were found out? Surprised and confused? Then she sees their camera. It contains pictures of the ladies. Minori blows her top upon knowing they’re just being peeping toms. Then they get a taste of what pain is like. This is going to hurt a lot. Meanwhile Petralka has finished her work and wants her swimsuit now. Yeah, the council hasn’t even decided yet but the chairman says to leave it to him. So he presents the school swimsuit to Petralka and blames it on the rest! Blame these degenerates for insisting it but he was against it. Surprisingly Petralka loves it and the chairman quickly changes his mind that it was all his idea. Yeah. Such a great mind this guy has. And I don’t care if his name was Estaban or how he became the chairman for life.

Episode 10
Minori in a maid outfit? Actually Myusel accidentally washed all her clothes and spilled some suspicious liquid over the one she is wearing. So she is borrowing it for the time being. Her bust is so big that the buttons burst out into Shinichi’s eyes! Then his hands had to grope her boobs. And Matoba just came in. But there is a more pressing matter at hand. The recorded football match has somewhat being leaked and found its way to a file sharing site. If this world is found out, the project might be shelved. Shinichi suggests saying the video is part of a larger fantasy video. That’s right. They should start ‘making’ the video or a fake documentary. Minori is excited and wants to be the director. Petralka becomes the heroine in this Rental Magica rip-off. Shinichi personally came to request her to play the role since it will be the first Eldant movie so the lead role has to be someone well known of. Who else than the supreme ruler? This guy sure got a way with words. Minori even tries to get a real dragon for the film. But because she blatantly disregards the advice not to use aerosols (as dragons are sensitive to any smell), the dragon blows them away with its fire breathe. Looks like they’ll have to make do with a mechanical one. We are distracted for a little while when Shinichi enters the tent only to be sees Elbia, Myusel and Petralka semi-naked. Elbia and Petralka are not embarrassed a single bit while Myusel, embarrassed at first eventually turns into a weirdo and drops everything just to comply if this is what her master wants. I thought Shinichi would love it…

Minori checks on Roic and Romilda doing the editing and despite making everything look like Rental Magica, it is part of the plan to cause an outrage (because every other damn copyright infringement is in it) for the ‘project’ to be shelved. During filming of the final scene, the mechanical dragon is supposed to come into the scene but a real one attacks. Thanks to Minori once more blatantly using her aerosol… It destroys the set. That’s when SDF steps in and fires all its RPGs, artillery and whatever bullets they have at it to chase it away. The Eldant counterparts are in surprise that a huge beast was driven away like that. I guess Petralka is the only one who is having fun and thinks everything was special effects. Before they wrap up, Petralka pecks Shinichi on his cheek as thanks. Woah! What gives? You mean there is no other special meaning to it? On the day of the big screening, Petralka is excited to see her debut like everyone else. Things go downhill when she realizes she fumbles in her lines but in a cute way. I guess this is why it was left unedited… But Petralka becomes so embarrassed that she screams for this movie to be stopped, sealed, burnt and erased from history! And so the screening met its premature end. Although it made its way to Japan, rumours spread that it was a rip-off and it was shelved, thus ending the rumours or whatever speculation there was about the other world.

Episode 11
Matoba praises Shinichi for a fine job in spreading the otaku culture. Keep up the good work. Of course he feels good. The government praising an otaku. Rare, no? Although materials from Japan are somewhat arriving lesser and lesser, Shinichi notices a handful of things. One of his students, Edward who has been translating mangas to the local language has been writing his own high quality light novels. Even Elbia’s art has become more manga-like, which is a good thing. Then in class, students fight over manga to read since there are not enough materials. Even outside school, there are some arguing to get to work but the lazy ones want to finish reading their manga. Subsequently, Edward becomes like a zombie trying to translate as much as he can. Those bags under his eyes… Shinichi complains to Matoba about this and hopes he could speed up the materials. However Matoba notes the plan is going well. Have you guessed it? The locals are so addicted to otaku culture. They can’t live without it. It’s part of their daily life. This is what they’ve been aiming for. They were trying to invade this world. Because they cannot use military might or economics, they invaded via culture. Therefore Shinichi is an invader (those similar words of Alessio ring in his head). As many of the commoners of Eldant are illiterate, it would be more feasible to have them learn Japanese and make them read only Japanese works, shifting their values in the process. Once that is done, all the government needs to do is limit the materials. Yes. Otaku culture is a very efficient invasion weapon. Thanks to that, it has become an accepted part of life. However he warns Shinichi that he missed the important point. As this is a national secret, those who opposed will be disposed of. Come to think of it, why do you think a useless person like him got involved in a big secret project? That’s because he will be easy to dispose of if things go awry. Who’d really know and care for a shut-in, right? It’s all what they have wanted and what they get. Later, Minori further explains the government’s plan to invade due to rare metals and resources. Cultural invasion was used since this world’s entertainment is under developed. The effect was swift and infectious. Like an outbreak. Shinichi still reeling from being used wonders what happens if he wants to quit. She warns he knows better that even in mangas, those who quit well know that they will never truly be let go of.

During tea with Petralka, she is praising the goodness of the otaku culture as it has lifted her people’s moods, increases one’s insight, etc… But Shinichi cannot stand all that praising anymore and slams the table. So he becomes a shut-in once more, with a heavy guilt conscience refusing to go out and spread the otaku culture. Matoba reminds him that his higher ups want results and to continue spreading the otaku culture like he always does. Or else they’ll find a replacement. That night, Shinichi sees Myusel making plates of food for him as encouragement. He asks her if he should be in this country as he feels like an invader. Myusel doesn’t understand all that. What she knows is that he is a kind person. Whatever he does, he will still be her master. Ever since he came, she learnt to read, write, enjoy manga and anime, talk with the supreme ruler and even play football with her. Then in tears she pleads to him not to leave them and wants him to stay by their side. Shinichi thanks her for opening his eyes. It was the much needed speech he needed. So the next day he goes to see Petralka and suggests a way to spread the otaku culture even further. Eldant should make their own products! If they do so, they don’t have to rely on Japan anymore and can enjoy it as much as they want. He shows proof of Edward and Elbia’s high quality light novel and art respectively. Matoba warns him not to step out of line but he disagrees. He didn’t do anything. All he did was gave them an idea and it’s up to Eldant to decide. Petralka likes it a lot and approves! The entire hall applauses! But it’s not so good for Matoba. Because when this dude opens his squint eyes… He looks scary!

Episode 12
A couple of stealth SDF guys enter Shinichi’s manor and try to take him out. However they were ambushed by maids who are also elite guards of Petralka. The gang has expected that the Japanese government would try and attempt to take Shinichi’s life. So Matoba is made to explain but like the politician he is, he claims there are radicals within the group and investigation is being carried out so that this will never happen again. Blah, blah, blah. Of course everyone knows this isn’t over by the long shot. They know Shinichi is still a threat but will not try anything so bold next time because Petralka will sever ties. And so many peaceful days followed. Those elite maids follow wherever Shinichi goes. Even to bed. I wonder how he can sleep with all of them standing and watching him. No privacy. So peaceful that eventually they left. Then one day, a sudden attack leaves a huge hole in the castle’s wall. The flag of Bahailm is seen among the ruins. The school is also attacked but Shinichi makes a dash there to save a very rare anime magazine that is already out of print. Minori is about to enter Matoba’s quarters when he hears him communicating with the higher ups in some nefarious plan. When Shinichi reaches the school’s library, he is relieved that the rare magazine is still fine although the entire place is starting to burn up. However a couple of SDF guys were waiting for him and knock him out with the chloroform. Then they lay him on the ground to let him die. Shinichi’s servants have been chasing him. Bluk breaks the school wall for Myusel and Elbia to enter. Lizard dude has to wait outside since his skin is sensitive to fire. Elbia uses her animal instincts to fight the SDF guys retaliating with guns and taser. She might have been done in if not for Minori arriving in time to help out. Myusel reaches Shinichi and tries to wake him up. A cupboard is about to fall on them but she uses her magic to hold it back up. As usual, she’s being tearful about wanting to be with him everywhere. That includes heaven. Her magic is depleting and before they can succumb to the flames, Elbia and Minori dash in to save them. Elbia uses her new move she learnt from the manga to make a big hole in the wall. Everyone jumps and Bluk catches them from below. Shinichi wakes up outside. The school is burnt to the crisp. There goes his precious magazine. But he can’t be worried about that now. Because Matoba mentions they are truly finished this time. If Eldant learns of this, they will surely cut off all ties. Shinichi isn’t about to give up yet and wants to speak to his superior.

In Matoba’s quarters equipped with full internet and video camera, Shinichi begins his tele-conferencing with the superior who has expedited his immediate and ‘peaceful’ return to Japan for rehabilitation. Of course Shinichi knows it is a trap because along the way, there will be an ‘accident’. The superior threatens that he can eliminate him anytime and warns not to overstep his bounds. Shinichi smiles. Because he had a transmitter transmitting every word he said back to the princess. He doesn’t believe at first because she is fluent in Japanese but Matoba notes he ‘forgot’ to put it in his report that Petralka is indeed fluent in their language. Then the real princess shows up and the superior changes his tune with his shaky greeting and trying to kiss up to her. Now that she is in the driver’s seat, she warns that if any of such atrocity happens again, she’ll kick them out of her kingdom on the spot. The superior praises Shinichi for his marvellous work and changes his mind not to bring him back to Japan. In the aftermath, the school is being rebuilt. Myusel wonders if Shinichi was ready with Petralka’s plan. Honestly he was scared but eventually he did it because of love. His love for manga and anime. He couldn’t forgive his government for misusing them. Sorry Myusel. He wasn’t talking about you. Disappointed? But there’s still hope because Shinichi is about to confess the most important thing to Myusel when Elbia calls him as the palace summoned him. Disappointed? He sees Matoba who has just returned from Japan to report what happened. Their decision is that they view Shinichi’s actions still have a large profit potential for Japan so for the moment he is safe going about in his business. But there is no telling when the war-minded Prime Minister may change his mind. Though Shinichi can refuse, but then his budget will disappear and he may not be able to bring in his otaku stocks. Call it the basic political stunt of tightening the budget. As for why Matoba didn’t report Petralka’s Japanese proficiency, Shinichi observed that he needed something to protect himself rather than going down with the ship. Having an audience with Petralka, Shinichi thinks that her casual talk with him is to show how close they are and serves as a warning to Matoba that if he tries anything funny, she’ll be really mad. So Shinichi plays along and talks friendly with her. She gets embarrassed when he calls her first name. Maybe Shinichi was thinking too much. Once the school is rebuilt, his students return and he continues his teaching. All hail Japan’s anime and manga!

Otaku Outbreak!
Hmm… I can’t help feel the ending was somewhat a little rushed. As expectedly, it ended all good and well for our protagonists so there is nothing to complain about. Imagine had ties been really cut off, it would mean a loss to everybody. The Japanese government would get to continue with their ‘invasion’ because they’ll be kicked out entirely although I am very sure that they are still interested in invading but for the time being just need to lay low. Very low. Everyone in Eldant has gotten so close with Shinichi that it would be a big devastation if he is to be thrown back to Japan never to return. Couldn’t they just make him an exception, grant him asylum and stay here? Ah, maybe this world doesn’t know of such complicated political manoeuvres. So you see, if ties were really severed, all sides lose so now that Petralka has issued her warning, no funny business for the time being. And it’s amazing that the government who has always been perceived as using underhanded dirty political tactics to get what they want, have compromised so much and bent over just for this single otaku kid who is probably not known to no more than the number of fingers on your hands. So they’re really thinking ahead of the future that there are profits and gains to be made in long term relationships. Also, it seems Eldant isn’t ready in making their own otaku products, a reason why Shinichi is staying and relying on limited good brought in. Maybe Eldant just prefers to enjoy them.

Many of the episodes mostly feel like fillers since it is mainly about Shinichi trying to spread the otaku culture the way he knows best and those around him. Threats like the Baydona group and the Japanese government’s trying to rid Shinichi in response to his act of defiance didn’t really feel threatening at all due to the nature of the series. I thought the local terrorist group will return again but I suppose that was not meant to be since I figure that the otaku culture has been widely accepted so there is no reason for them to fight back. Wouldn’t there be a very small and handful of people against it? My guess is not likely since this is another world we’re talking about. If dwarves and elves can be smitten by this culture, what are the chances for humans?

However the character development also isn’t really much or not fleshed out properly. The only thing that really developed was their love for the otaku culture. You can feel that there is a bond formed between Shinichi and Myusel but as things played out, the final impact wasn’t there. Mainly because I think their past is not very well explored or mentioned. Like for instance, Elbia was taken into part of Shinichi’s household but she feels more like a ‘family pet’ and nothing much about her background if she is truly a Bahailm spy or just a wandering artist. Even that episode focusing on her (if I could call it that) felt like a filler. I’m sure Bluk the lizard guy has his own past too but he’s just hanging around… Petralka’s past was mentioned too but the way she acts about shows that she has gotten over it or just that there are too many important things to do than to dwell on the past. So it’s like we don’t need to worry if she snaps from stress or her trauma (if there is ever one) resurfacing. I mean, their parents killed each other. Surely that would hit hard especially when you’re a kid. For some like Elbia and Edward, they have the skills for what it takes to be a manga artist or light novelist. However their future about isn’t really clear so we don’t know where they are heading. Thus considering these little factors, the character development seems a lot under-developed and much to be desired.

The main characters may be typical but their unique and sometimes quirky personalities make them memorable. So we can say that Shinichi despite being an otaku still cares a lot for others. In a way he isn’t the extreme kind since he is willing to impart his otaku knowledge to others who are willing to learn. I just wonder how far his otaku lessons will take because I’m sure a guy of his calibre knows about some hentai stuffs. Too high level? Well, the way I see it, the things he teaches are already high level. Heck, everything otaku is high level! I am predicting that one day, one of his students will ask, “Sensei, when can we start learning about hentai?”. Shinichi: “Oh my God, where did you learn such a thing?!”. Student: “From manga and anime”. Duh… Myusel who was once a fearful maid has opened up a lot and found new solace in this otaku culture and especially Shinichi himself. Then there’s Petralka who could be easily passed off as a bratty loli but after that incident in which Myusel protected her with her life, she doesn’t discriminate her anymore. It’s like they’ve become best friends but short of spending lots of time together. Minori’s fujoshi’s fetish makes her stand out the most, otherwise she would have been another bland character. Just like everybody else that hangs around Shinichi, they somewhat become fond on him.

The romance and harem may not be even to close to the basic stuff and it’s like the females that gather around him are supposedly what a typical stereotype harem should have. Look what he has now. The maid, the bratty princess, the beast girl and the military lady. They even fit into the other range such as bespectacled and they’ve got bust size ranging from A to F. So what else is missing from his list? I’m sure you can think of many. Because this is the medieval setting, sorry for those who think miko priestess should be on the list. The romance development highly hints at Shinichi x Myusel. Initially I thought it was going to be Myusel vs Petralka all the way when the princess got the ball rolling with her bratty attitude to try and keep Shinichi for herself. Then after the life threatening incident, she doesn’t bother too much about it anymore. Myusel on the other hand, her feelings keep growing to the point if Shinichi is found involved in suspicious activities with another women, she might just snap and become yandere! In a worst case scenario, hell even Galius may harbour some feelings for Shinichi! Now that’s a wide range of harem he’s got there. See how otaku has changed this dude? Thanks Minori, for turning this guy into some BL stuff. I was hoping somewhere Shinichi would bump into his childhood friend and make the harem more interesting… Guess not.

The government is once again painted as the bad guy. I guess in the view of many ordinary people, people at the top holding so much power are usually corrupted and filled with lies. I guess it is only human nature that we would love taking advantage of the weak and those we think are less civilized. It makes me wonder if this anime is an indirect hit out to their own government since you know, they aren’t very well receptive of this otaku thing. Yeah. Maybe. But who cares anyway. Everybody in the government here has their own agenda. Even if Matoba feels like a double agent, he wouldn’t be a wise politician if he has not have a backup plan to save his own ass when things go awry. I’m not sure if Matoba like Minori has come to like Shinichi after being with him for so long. He may be just saying it because of his position or his ulterior motive. There is a tone of suspicion when he says or assures things. It’s like the way he says it, it’s so fake and can’t be trusted. But then again, if he really wanted Shinichi to take the fall, he wouldn’t have even given him a chance to speak to his superior and come up with even the lamest excuse. In the end if you think about it, it’s probably just to cover his own ass.

Using otaku culture as a concept for invasion sounds quite interesting because you change the mind set of the people. Though, this is hardly anything new because in history, we have conquerors in the past trying to use such concepts (others and not otaku, mind you) in their bid to invade and gain control. Like how the west once had this White Man’s Burden trying to spread Christianity to the native locals of the Americas. Then there was this Opium War in China whereby the British used drugs to weaken the locals and make them addicted so they couldn’t fight back. It is great that the people of Eldant now have something new that they can be passionate about. However like everything in life, too much of something is always bad. The otaku culture indeed has entertaining values but when things are taken to the extreme, it becomes detrimental. Instead of becoming a medicine that brings pleasure to the soul, it becomes an addictive drug.

Subtly, I think this anime was trying to highlight the mistreatment of several classes by superior ones. It’s the same anywhere in the universe. As long as there are differences between races and ethnic tribes, there is bound to be discrimination. Just like how we know the general perception of otakus, right? But that will all be changing soon… I hope. However along the way, suddenly you realize that there is no much such issue in Eldant anymore! When you think back about it, it’s like as though it has become a distant memory. Was the spread of the otaku culture so good that everyone really put aside their differences and work for the better? There were a handful of scenes that may suggest some idiot who doesn’t want the different races to get friendly altogether to cook up some sort of rebellion. Like that football match, the friendliness between Petralka and Myusel had everything watching in awe. That kind of scene makes cynics like me think too far ahead that some will not accept such unison between different races. But then, nothing happened. Like as though everyone was just watching in awe and accepted it. Well it is good that such problems are done away with but of course this will give rise to otaku problems. You’d want to spend more of your time on otaku stuffs instead of doing real work. I know there is a time and place for everything but tell that to an otaku. Every time is otaku time! I know. I understand what it’s like. Because am like that too ;p.

The funny bits are thanks to the otaku part and seeing Shinichi making his otaku references or how the people of Eldant react to their newfound entertainment. Shinichi seems to have a wide range of fetishes like for instance he doesn’t mind if it’s small or big boobs, as long as there is a pair, he’s happy to get excited. Like they say, variety is the spice of life. Since he’s a straight guy, anything yaoi or gay would just turn him off. Oddly enough, there is a lack of fanservice and if not, there isn’t any. The swimsuit episode is nothing to shout about. Speaking about the art and drawing department, it seems pretty okay and decent. Typical conventional Japanese anime with lots of cute and moe girls especially if you like elven maid girls and the supreme ruler herself looks like a cute loli. The medieval setting makes the fantasy setting looks good and if Shinichi would have his way and make another movie, he could have made a rip-off anime version of The Lord Of The Rings. On a side note, because the dwarf race does not grow and age properly like other races, it will be odd at first to see moustachioed and beardy stubby dwarf males in Shinichi’s class. That’s why there is always the screen indicator to tell us that those old looking dwarves are only 10 years old! Yeah. They may have come out of the womb with full facial hair. On the other hand, dwarf females remain looking like a loli for the rest of their life. So you can say they are the ultimate embodiment for those with loli complex. Legal loli? If there is ever such ruling in Eldant.

Of course when an anime is filled with otaku themes, you cannot lose the opportunity of putting in lots of parodies and spoofs into it. There are tons of them for you to spot especially if you’re an otaku. Surprisingly I can spot lots of them! Does this mean I am already an expert? However obviously the names of those animes, mangas and games are changed to avoid copyright infringement and lawsuits but they ‘rhyme’ or spelt closely enough to know that they are that particular anime. Reading just want to make you laugh after you’ve spot them. Like Attack On Iron Giant. Or how about S.C. (San Japo) II? Couldn’t resist cracking up on that one. Then there are those which I feel are exact copies of certain anime posters or characters but they just changed the tone and colour of it. Like as though someone just simply filled in the colours without giving much thought how odd it will look like if you compare it to the original. For example, Saber’s hair has been turned purple… Was Hatsune Miku’s hair red in colour? Odd, right? And that poster of Hataraku Maou-sama, everybody is spotting different hair and uniform colour.

The mid-intermission is an interesting and amusing section. It shows a particular character’s favourite anime and their favourite character. Of course they are parodies of real anime and I believe that the characters are too. So you know about Pencil Shin-chan? No crayon… Just pencil… Inazuma Twelve? What team game requires 12 people? I guess with each episode showcasing 2 characters on this, I figure there aren’t enough main or supporting characters so in one episode they even show the favourite anime and character of an SDF guy and an Eldant soldier! Are they referring this to just a particular person or the entire troop in particular? If the latter is true, then it feels like the entire troop is like clones, no? Then there is one on Bluk’s wife too which we never see her appearing at all in this anime but only mentioned by name. Some like Shinichi, Myusel, Petralka and Minori have the honour of having appearing twice. Though I noticed some of them their favourite anime and character changed. Well, I supposed it is okay to have more than one favourite. They didn’t say it was the most favourite anyway.

Another amusing segment is the next episode preview. Each time it starts off with Bluk trying to start playing his video game. It showcases the typical myth that gamers of yesteryears used to do with their cartridges when their game is not loading. Well, you have to be this old (like I am) to remember what video game cartridges look like. Anyway the big ol’ myth is that when your game isn’t working after inserting it in the console, you usually have to blow into them to blow away the dust or whatever. This is what Bluk does (the name on the video game is the next episode’s title). But of course that is never true and it only worsens the situation as your breathe contains saliva and whatever germs that would spoil to circuit board. Instead of the video game on screen, we get a glimpse of the next episode preview, which itself is pretty amusing to hear since the characters sometimes break the fourth wall or just talk nonsense. Like how the penultimate episode, our characters want to fight fate and make viewers enjoy this anime so much that they want to see this anime again (possibly of making more future episodes) and thus a reason they can see each other again.

In the voice acting department, all of the seiyuus are unknowns with the exception of Keiji Fujiwara as Matoba (Sven in Black Cat) and Shinichiro Miki as Galius (Urahara in Bleach). They are Natsuki Hanae as Shinichi (Wien in Tari Tari), Suzuko Mimori as Myusel (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Mai Fuchigami as Petralka (Miho in Girls Und Panzer), Maaya Uchida as Minori (Rei in Vividred Operation), Sumire Uesaka as Elbia (Sumire in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Kazuya Ichijou as Zakhar (Hot Eye in Fairy Tail), Kouji Takahashi as Roic (Souichirou in Onee-chan Ga Kita), Mariko Honda as Romilda (Kurimu in Seitokai No Ichizon) and Rikako Yamaguchi as Edward (Charles in Freezing Vibration). The opening theme is Yuniba Page by Suzuko Mimori while the ending song is Watashi No Housekibako by Mai Fuchigami. But the most amusing piece of music has got to be this background music. If you can call it that. During a few comical scenes, you can hear this song or rather somebody humming this: “Da, da da da da. Da da da da~”. It enhances the comedy effect that it makes you want to laugh upon hearing this. And it probably makes you want to ‘sing’ along too.

Yes, I would definitely love to take up this job. I’d love to have my own maid(s). However my otaku level is not so (frighteningly) high so I guess I don’t even qualify. For now it’s just me enjoying the anime stuffs that I can get. They should make more otaku shows like this one because overall, Outbreak Company was quite enjoyable although it may not be to those who are not otaku inclined. It might not be perfect but most (if not all) otakus are not perfect. I need more animes! More animes now! Looks like I’ve fallen into this never-ending spiral and can never get out. Do I sound like I’m complaining? People can think whatever they want of me as an otaku but that’s their business. So please let me do mine. Otaku culture isn’t a disease. It’s a way of life!

Remember those girls in high tech combat gear who sing in the midst of kicking ass? Yeah. Looks like it wasn’t really over yet and thus the sequel, Senki Zesshou Symphogear G. Except for my opening statement, I don’t really remember much about the first season albeit it was released around 2 years ago and how it ended. Big bad villainous girl was defeated and 3/4 of the moon was destroyed just to ensure that. Uhm. Yeah. Something like that. Then you have those funny and colourful creatures called Noise. Despite their odd looking shapes, they are deadly to the touch and if you get into contact with one of them, you instantly turn into carbon. What a way to die. Don’t worry. There will always be the Symphogear girls to save the day. In this sequel, there are new characters, new villains, new twists and new threats to mankind. But the same ol’ girls in the same ol’ high tech combat gear kicking ass. And oh, still singing while they’re at it.

Episode 1
Chris is part of our heroine team now. Along with Hibiki, they are protecting a carriage from a barrage of attacks from Noise. On board the train is Dr John Wayne Vercingetorix or Ver for short (no, not related to that famous cowboy actor) and a precious Relic called Solomon’s Cane. But there is something odd about the Noise. It’s like as though they are being controlled by someone and the timely attack proves they are after Solomon’s Cane. Hibiki’s innovation to destroy the pack of Noise via using a dimensional pocket to slow down the enemy’s movement and then hit them with everything she has from the other side of the wall proves to be highly effective. After Ver has been successfully handed over to the American military, suddenly another Noise attack on the base. Looks like their return to Japan will be delayed. Although the attack is contained, Ver goes missing along with Solomon’s Cane. Back in Japan, the very much anticipated concert duet between Tsubasa and rising newcomer Maria Cadenzavna Eve begins. They put up a worthy show that is being broadcasted live throughout the world. Yeah. I think some of them are crying to see their ‘angels’ perform. After they give their heartfelt speech about their music, there is more from Maria. She summons Noise and takes all the audience as hostage! Tsubasa cannot transform to her Symphogear form or else her identity will be revealed and she could kiss goodbye to her singing career. Maria then announces their organization, Fine has control over Noise and thus claim their rule over the world. In short, world domination. She starts singing and transforms into her Symphogear form. Those who analyzed her wave patterns are surprised to see she has Gungnir. Something similar to Hibiki’s but a black Gungnir?

Episode 2
Maria demands all the world’s countries cede themselves to Fine or get attacked by Noise. Well, that’s not going to be easy, right? Not at least with blockhead politicians at the top. Genjurou receives another update from another incident at a bio research facility in America. All the data were lost in the attack. Tsubasa is not afraid to draw her sword and lose her secret but Ogawa suggests singing some of her healing songs instead of battle songs. Maria releases the concert audience because taking hostage is not her style. Her motherly figure, Nastassja Sergeyevna Tolstaya doesn’t approve of this though Maria assures they haven’t lost any advantage. She will send Shirabe Tsukuyomi and Kirika Akatsuki just in case. Maria attacks Tsubasa and the latter cannot transform as long as the live broadcast is still on. Maria won’t let her leave the stage to transform. Just when she has accepted the faith to lose her secret, suddenly the broadcast is cut off. Thanks to Ogawa doing so at the control room. Now she can transform and strike back. Tsubasa can’t land the final blow as Shirabe and Kirika are here to outnumber her. The odds are even because here comes Hibiki and Chris too. Hibiki doesn’t want to fight and is confident they can resolve things via talking. Shirabe calls her a hypocrite because she doesn’t know the true meaning of suffering. This causes Hibiki to be unable to concentrate in her fight. Because time is not on Maria’s side, Nastassja suggests her girls to get out and unleash their last resort. A huge blob appears and Maria uses her Armed Gear to cut it into many smaller blobs. Because of its insane replication rate, at this rate it will swallow everything. They need to destroy it faster than its replication rate in one shot. Hibiki suggests combining their Swan Song. Battle Harmonics has Hibiki melding all their Swan Songs together into a single melody but it causes her to shoulder the immense burden. The blob is destroyed and Hibiki is crying not because of the after effects. It’s the pain of the heart of Shirabe calling her a hypocrite. Is she?

Episode 3
Nastassja analyzes their harmonic Swan Song that not only magnifies its destructive power but alleviate any stress from imperfect synchronization between body and Relic. It is a reason why they could use this method to destroy falling pieces of the moon and return safely. Those pieces she has used to awaken a beast called Nephilim. A week has passed since the incident and no word or action has come from Fine after that. Ogawa has done lots of tracing and found some unusual large scale medical supplies purchase to fictional sources. He will investigate further. Shirabe is still angry at Hibiki’s remarks. She can’t accept her as the heroine who saved mankind as she carries no burden of her own. Ah well, people like them have their own views and ideals they’re fighting for. It seems Ver is safe and is working for Nastassja. They are discussing their next phase of the plan. Nastassja leaves it to Ver for the next step and the question is will their prey take the bait. Hibiki and co are called in to launch an ambush at an abandoned hospital where the medical supplies were traced. It is believed where the Fine ladies are hiding out. The trio head in and realized this is a trap because the welcoming party is there to greet them. Heavy red mist and an army of Noise. After disposing the small fries, they manage to deflect an attack from Nephilim. Ver is amazed they can react this fast as he puts Nephilim back in its cage. They are surprised to see him defected. Obviously that attack was orchestrated so he could steal Solomon’s Cane and pretend to go missing. Ver explains Solomon’s Cane’s ability is to summon and control Noise and feels he is the one most suited to use it. Chris attacks but due to some lowered sync ratios, the Gears are placing great stress when used. The recoil of heavier attacks could kill them outright. A noise takes Nephilim to cross the sea. Tsubasa chases after it and cuts down the Noise. However it is Maria who retrieves Nephilim. Ver is arrested but he is not afraid. He explains Maria is the newly awakened and reborn Fine.

Episode 4
Our heroines are surprised that the villain of the previous season has returned and reincarnated. But what happens to the real Maria? Nobody knows. Tsubasa continues her fight with her and are equally matched. Chris thinks of doing some backup but Maria too has her backup. Kirika and Shirabe are here to secure Ver. Nastassja wants her girls to evacuate since they have recovered Nephilim. And their ship just pop out from thin air. I wonder what kind of technology they used. Tsubasa is worried Maria might be using some Linker drug like Kanade. Before Chris can fire a shot, the ship vanishes again. Cloaking ability? I thought it would be better if it was teleportation. Otherwise, shouldn’t you feel the wind disturbance if it was just being invisible? Kirika beats up Ver for his reckless act since it could have jeopardized their position. Well, he wanted to have some fun too. Now they have lost that base, it also means they have ran out of food source for Nephilim. It is quiet now since it is full but who knows when it will start going wild again. Genjurou learns Fine is made up of former members of the American military’s scientists, Federal Institute of Symphogear (FIS). Ver was also a member in FIS before Japan made their research public. This facility was also founded by Fine herself when she conspired with the Americans. It’s like she planned out everything from the start. Hibiki and Miku are attending a play of their friends at the cultural festival. Kirika and Shirabe are also there. But it’s not to have fun. Are they? They are to investigate the food source for Nephilim which are Relic fragments. Of course the girls can’t use their pendants since they are an important force. Maria will go take Tsubasa and co’s pendants but Shirabe disagrees. Because the more she uses her power, the stronger Fine’s soul grows and at this rate her real self will fade away. In exchange, they decide to do it on her behalf. And so they are here but can they steal Tsubasa’s pendant without her noticing? By force? Hibiki is surprised to see Chris on stage. Seems her friends put her up to a singing competition. At first she is scared but as she starts singing, the confidence grows. She remembers being transferred here and didn’t fit in but her friends never gave up. Now she is glad to call this place her home. Chris is announced as the winner unless there is somebody from the audience who would like to challenge her. There is. Kirika and Shirabe.

Episode 5
Kirika and Shirabe sing a song from Zwei Wing and that the loser of this competition must do one thing for the winner. Meanwhile special forces have found out Fine’s secret base. Maria is told to handle them but she doesn’t want to kill those normal humans. However it is Ver who goes on a rampage using Solomon’s Cane to kill the troops. When Ver kills a bunch of innocent kids passing by, Maria goes crazy. Right after Kirika and Shirabe finish their song, Nastassja contacts them about being discovered and to rendezvous at a certain location. Tsubasa and co go confront them before they leave school. They can’t fight and risk innocent people getting injured to they promised a duel to settle it in the future. When the Symphogear girls return to base, it is reported that Maria’s black Gungnir is an exact duplicate of Hibiki’s. Ryouko must have stolen it and gave the American government. The mind boggling part is why FIS would go so to make enemies of their home country. Nastassja reminds Maria she has no time to doubt herself. Flashback reveals Maria and her younger sister, Serena were part of an experiment to awaken Nephilim. Without a song, it is hard to control a forcibly awakened Relic. Serena offers to sing her song and believes she has the support of everyone even though Maria was against it. However it resulted in a lab explosion and the scientists were more concerned that an expensive test subject was destroyed instead of saving Serena. In the end, the building collapsed on her while Nastassja saved Maria. Kirika and Shirabe meet up with the rest but were slapped by Nastassja after they mention about the promise fight. She doesn’t want them to think this as a game. Ver thinks they can still turn things around to their favour and make that arranged promised duel. The place is the former site of Kadingir but the Symphogear girls are confronted with Ver instead. Shirabe and Kirika are locked up. The girls put up with Ver’s Noise. He reveals Fine’s plan to save humanity when the moon falls onto Earth. Of course those researching won’t announce it as not to spread panic. Also this means those who know about it are secretly devising a way to save themselves. They are going to use Nephilim to unite the people of the world and form one country and government. Ver makes Hibiki reflect on Shirabe’s hypocrite statement, that her fists may have protected a few but have also taken a lot of lives. In that hesitation, Nephilim bites off Hibiki’s left arm!!

Episode 6
Maria and the girls feel uneasy watching this. Is this what they should be doing? While Nephilim is powering up, Hibiki goes berserk from the shock. She transforms into a dark shadow. So awesome that her left arm materializes. Good as new? She even goes wild and beats up Nephilim, much to Ver’s dismay. The panicky doctor summons his Noise to attack buy crazy Hibiki destroys them all. She continues beating up Nephilim and tears out its heart! She would have gone after Ver too but it took a lot of restraining power for Tsubasa and Chris to hold her back. They notice her left arm very much intact. Nastassja’s condition worsens. Maria does first aid while Kirika and Shirabe reluctantly look for Ver as he is the only one capable of saving her. As Hibiki gets treated, she dreams of being shunned by others. People badmouthed her because she gets paid to fight Noise while others die. She was even called a murderer. Even her home and family got harassed. When Hibiki is discharged, she acts like her usual perky self but Tsubasa is not amused. Genjurou showed her hardened body tissues in Hibiki’s medical check-up. The fragments of Gungnir have spread through her body with continued usage. This Relic fusion will kill her soon. They are in a dilemma because Hibiki is a great asset in keeping FIS at bay and taking out Noises but they can’t let her fight anymore. Therefore Tsubasa acts as meanie telling Hibiki never to fight again because she has become a burden. They can fight without her. Ver like a hermit has finally found Nephilim’s heart. He takes it away like precious gold and with this, he can be hero once again. As Hibiki and friends walk home, they see several cars driven by special agents zooming past the corner. Then they crash. It is Ver and he won’t hand the heart over to everyone. Seeing Hibiki again, he panics and sets forth his Noise. Hibiki protects her friends and to Ver’s astonishment, she can touch the Noise without transforming.

Episode 7
Hibiki feels the power bursting through her body. The more Ver releases his Noise, the more Hibiki destroys them. Before she can do him in, here comes Shirabe and Kirika to his rescue. Hibiki starts feeling pain in her heart. Ver forcefully injects Linker drug into Shirabe and Kirika so they can sing their Swan Song and defeat Hibiki. There is the overdose side effect but Ver threatens that they must do as he says if they want Nastassja saved. Hibiki then sings her Battle Harmonics to leech away the duo’s. This leaves her in a vulnerable state. Kirika and Shirabe would like to finish her off but reinforcements are coming so they must not waste time in completing their objective of bringing Ver back. Hibiki is on the verge of overheating. Tsubasa slices the water tower to cool her down. Hibiki collapses and Tsubasa wonders if she has failed to save her. Ver fixes Nastassja back up to good. Now she has regrets thinking what she was making those good girls do. Ver shows them Nephilim’s heart he has retrieved and has fed it with enough Relics to bring its power back to normal. As this heart is needed to activate Frontier, they have determined the location of Shenshou Jing, something that is needed to release the seal on Frontier. Genjurou tells Miku what is happening with Hibiki’s body. The logic is that Gungnir will stop fusing the less Hibiki fights. But Genjurou says she is Hibiki’s best friend and the strongest link she has to for an ordinary life. Therefore he suspects spending time with her is the only thing that can hold Gungnir back. Nastassja tells Maria she doesn’t have to play Fine anymore as she doesn’t harbour the slightest trace of Fine’s soul in her. It also failed to reincarnate in any of the potential vessels. Shirabe and Kirika are hanging out together at a construction site when the metal beams start to fall on them. Kirika unknowingly unleashes some powerful barrier as protection.

Episode 8
Maria remembers Nastassja told her she was needed to play Fine in order to convince Ver to their side. Now she feels odd that she doesn’t need to do so anymore when they have Nephilim’s heart and Shenshou Jing. Kirika ponders who she saved Shirabe. Did she really do that? She also saw a mysterious woman before her eyes. Could that be who she thinks she is? Nastassja explains Shenshou Jing’s power to camouflage (based on bending light) and exorcise evil. Ver eagerly awaits Nastassja’s result to unseal Frontier. However it turns to disappointment when it doesn’t work. Even more disappointing when she hints she knew it wouldn’t work and it’s like she brought them here just to demonstrate how far they are from unsealing Frontier. That’s why they need to have an important discussion. Ver looking crazily mad… Genjurou’s team detect subtle differences in the official report of the moon’s trajectory. Seems it will fall sooner than later, the reason why FIS is acting now. Hibiki ponders about Tsubasa’s harsh words, especially how she wanted to ban Hibiki from fighting ever again. But she can’t waste her precious time brooding because she’s supposed to be out with Miku. Nastassja and Maria go see US government agents to strike the deal. But soon as they reach the agreement, the agents decide to dispose of them. So much about this thing called negotiation, huh? Suddenly a horde of Noise attack and take out those double crossing agents. Good riddance. However the surrounding area is attacked too. Maria transforms and fights off the US army. They seem to not hesitate to shoot innocent fleeing civilians! This works up Maria as she slaughters them. She blames herself this happened because she couldn’t be Fine’s vessel. Hibiki wants to help a lost boy looking for his mom. Against Miku’s wishes, she compromises that she will not use her power. After doing so, the building starts to collapse. Miku can’t hold onto Hibiki’s hand for long. Miku laments she can’t save her but Hibiki hopes she can let her do her part today and one day when she is really in trouble, she can save her then. Yeah, when will that be? Miku lets go as Hibiki transforms and lands safely below (imagine how hard the impact from the crater she created). When she is about to go rescue Miku, the tower explodes. Shouldn’t both the girls drop together and when Hibiki transforms, she can save her and then land, right? She’s fast enough to do that, no?

Episode 9
Hibiki is depressed so Chris and Tsubasa had to do the cleanup work. Kirika and Shirabe want to know what is going on but Nastassja remains quiet. Ver happily explains about the failed negotiations with the Americans and that Maria isn’t a vessel for Fine. Maria continues that they had second thoughts about saving mankind from the moon’s fall in a decade. Nastassja wanted to get the Americans help by sharing what they knew about Frontier but it backfired. If the negotiations succeeded, they would have lost the upper hand so Ver unleashed Noise and wreck havoc. Maria sides with Ver and believes in his way and brute force can change the world and maintain justice. Miku is alive and imprisoned by them. She was saved by Maria because her situation reminded her of Serena. However Ver ordered Miku to be brought back to base as he has some use for her. Genjurou shows Hibiki a transmitter from Miku. It showed that she got away from a tower and is alive. This brings back Hibiki’s drive and everyone goes on a training stint. Really. Genjurou is singing?! WTF?! Hibiki is passionately excited like her usual self. Tsubasa is calm and Chris is struggling. It’s like she has this I-wish-I-wasn’t-doing-this face. Kirika thinks Fine resides inside her if it’s not Maria. Shirabe says she wants to help Maria and not Fine so Kirika wonders if she is scared because if Maria is not the vessel, one of them might be it. As part of Ver’s plan to get world attention, he lets Noise attack an American warship. Tsubasa and Chris prepare to head out and warn Hibiki to stay back in the base. Shirabe can’t stand the sight of the weak being slaughtered so she goes down to fight the Noise, much to Kirika’s dismay. Then she goes to help her but it’s just a ruse to inject Anti-Linker into her. Ver using Kirika’s feelings of wanting to bring back Shirabe, makes her use the drug that forcibly lower’s her sync ration as it takes effect immediately. Kirika hints that she may cease to be herself any time. She wants to leave something behind and hopes Shirabe won’t forget her. Even if she disappears and the world remains, the memories they have will always be there. That’s why she’ll protect the world as Ver’s wishes. Tsubasa and Chris arrive on scene and have the advantage since Kirika is only fighting. Ver knows a way to tilt the scales back to their favour. He sends Miku in Symphogear into action!

Episode 10
Seems Ver has used Miku to use Shenshou Jing to form a Gear. He manages to persuade her that she can get what her heart desires and he didn’t even use a Linker for it. He used the persuasion of love! What’s love got to do with it?! Chris takes on Miku and although she wins the first round, Miku revives and counter attacks with a super blast. Chris uses her barrier to protect but how long can she last? Before it erases her, Tsubasa grabs everyone and rides upwards away from the beam that disintegrates everything in its path. Ver then unleashes tons of Noise and attack the other battleships. Chris is forced to take care of this menace as Genjurou orders the evacuation of the rest. Kirika seems to be desperate to kill Tsubasa and leave something for Shirabe to remember. This Ogawa must be an amazing guy because he rescues Shirabe and runs on water!!! No kidding! Meanwhile they detect Miku’s Symphogear to disperse all sorts of energy. Meaning, they can’t use Symphogear against her. You can’t fight fire with fire. Hibiki has a plan. Ver too has a plan. Due to Miku’s powerful beam, they can use to break Frontier’s seal. Hibiki confronts Miku and tries to convince her to come home. She won’t till she creates a new world where Hibiki doesn’t have to fight. Hibiki doesn’t want that kind a world. She wants the kind of world where she is enveloped by a warmth of light when she’s by her side. She will fight her to not let that happen. And so they fight. But Hibiki must be quick as she has her limit before she breaks apart. This is part of Hibiki’s plan to use that beam to free Miku. Genjurou forbids her since it is suicide. He forbids her to die. Her reply: She’ll come back alive even if it kills her! Oh, now I’ve heard it all. As Hibiki is starting to show signs of meltdown, Miku realizes this is not what she wants but she can’t control herself. Maria has prepared all the necessary reflectors to beam it down to Frontier. The moment it fires, Hibiki pushes and holds on tightly to Miku. They both get in the path of the beam. The giant Frontier surfaces from the sea. But there is another surprise: Chris shoots Tsubasa!

Episode 11
Shirabe is taken into custody. Frontier is actually bigger than it is and what they’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg. Miku is doing fine and thanks to that beam, she is cured. Before she can blame herself for hurting Hibiki, Hibiki thanks her that she is the one who saved her and the good news is that the beam also cured Hibiki. Although she cannot summon her Gear anymore, at least she won’t die. In short, she is a normal girl now. As for Chris, she has defected to Ver’s side. She believes that gaining more power will stop fighting in this world. Somehow she did not kill Tsubasa. Did she miss on purpose? Inside Frontier, Ver uses Nephilim’s heart to start it up. Then he injects Linker into his arm and turns it into a monstrous one just to take command of Frontier. Then it’s like some magic hand doing a slam dunk using the moon! WTF?! The Americans think they can take out Frontier with their puny cannons. Well, look at this. Ver controls gravity and floats all the ships before crushing them like tin can. Easy peasy. Maria doubts if this power will save mankind because Ver is excited in playing the last action hero. Worse, his slam dunk move made the moon closer to Earth and escalated its fall. At this rate mankind will be wiped out. Ver disagrees because he will still be alive. Technically, mankind is still saved if there is still one guy, right? And technically too, Ver isn’t human anymore, right? And he has plans for repopulation after that… Maria falls into despair. Since Tsubasa can’t be fighting herself, Hibiki suggests they have another Gear user to fight. They free Shirabe from her cuffs and hopes she will fight alongside them. She still brands Hibiki a hypocrite but even so, Hibiki won’t lie to herself. She wants Shirabe to do whatever wants. They’ll help her save her friends too. Genjurou didn’t see it coming that Hibiki took a ride on Shirabe into a battlefield. He clearly warned and forbade her to fight. She isn’t going to fight. She’s going to help people. Well, well. She knows her way with words now. Tsubasa confronts Chris and they fight. Shirabe meets Kirika and they fight. Hibiki is left to soldier on alone. Shirabe believes in the song in her heart. Ex-comrades and ex-friends fighting, Maris sinks into further despair and blames herself. Nastassja contacts her and informs she has found an ancient heretic way on Frontier that will prevent the moon from falling. But for this final ray of hope, she needs Maria’s song to set it free.

Episode 12
Kirika reveals she is the vessel for Fine. This is all the more reason for Shirabe to stop her. Because they love each other so much that they’re willing to kill each other. Maria broadcasts to the entire world and reveals about her fake portrayal of Fine to everything. She then sings so that she can return the moon back to its normal orbit (some mumbo jumbo from Nastassja that I couldn’t understand). Tsubasa notices a collar on Chris’ neck. She thinks she has been taken hostage. It seems Ver wants Chris to end the match quickly or he won’t hand her Solomon’s Cane and that bomb in her neck will blow up. Chris wants to end this in a single round so both ladies use their ultimate technique on each other. Kirika and Shirabe power up their Gear to the next level in their fight. Shirabe tries to make her understand that a world without her is not what she wants. Kirika is about to strike Shirabe when the latter puts up a strong barrier. Kirika realizes it was Shirabe who had been Fine’s vessel all along. She feels so guilty that she wants to kill herself. Unfortunately Shirabe uses her own body to protect her. See? You’ve killed your own friend. Ver sees Chris next to defeated Tsubasa. However true to his villainous self he won’t hold up the end of his bargain. He tries to activate the bomb but it’s not working. Because it’s broken. During their fight, Tsubasa slashed it. Ver summons Noise and uses Anti-Linker to render Chris unable to use her Gear. I don’t know what she did because she just burst out from her suit and the splinters kill the Noise. Now she’s naked. Oh, the cowardly doctor dropped Solomon’s Cane somewhere and they’re going to die.

Before that happens, Tsubasa revives and disposes the Noise. I don’t understand about the Anti-Linker reducing her stress or something. Ver escapes. Chris apologizes for going off herself but Tsubasa forgives her. She got to see her heroic side. Chris couldn’t understand why she can still trust her just based on her words but because of so, she’ll always be on their side. It’s where she belongs and can call home. Meanwhile Shirabe meets Fine deep in her unconscious mind. It seems Fine has taken the blow for her. As I understand, in this way she could lay low in taking over anyone’s soul. It’s odd that after playing the villain for millennia, she wants to be the hero? That’s why she’s letting Shirabe and the rest do the job and handle this. And so Shirabe comes back alive much to Kirika’s relief. Meanwhile Maria is sinking into despair and feels her song cannot save anyone. Till the doctor knocks her out. Nastassja tries to convince Ver that they can still return the moon to normal but he’s not interested at all. If she really wants to do it so bad, she can fly there herself. He ejects her and sends her flying to the moon! Maria is going to kill him and couldn’t care less if it means killing off humanity. She has no more reason to live. That scared you, Ver? However Hibiki stops her and gives her a pep talk not to give up living. Maria doesn’t listen and strikes but Hibiki catches her blade with her hand. Then when she sings, it’s like she neutralizes Maria’s Gear and she dons Gungnir back again. Maria can’t believe the kind of song Hibiki has. Is it the song from her heart?

Episode 13
Ver as usual becomes a coward and retreats to some operation room. As long as his left hand is a monster, he controls Frontier. Genjurou and Ogawa will find Ver so she leaves it to Hibiki to stop Nephilim’s heart. She meets up with her pals but Ver unleashes Nephilim to kick them out of his ‘garden’. Maria is reeling in depression that she’s useless. Probably she is so depressed that she is seeing visions of Serena. Or maybe she descended from heaven just to give her some encouragement. As they sing together, the world also sings with them. Nastassja (looking very odd that her body is now semi-robot) realizes that with this much Phonic gain, it is possible to put the moon back into orbit. So she contacts Maria to tell her to sing and activate something. Nastassja will sacrifice herself to prevent the moon from falling. Kirika and Shirabe join Hibiki and co in fighting Nephilim. Soon, Maria too. Everyone hold hands and start singing their Swan Song. Can 6 Swan Songs be enough to defeat it? Not just them singing but the entire population of Earth! Ver doesn’t want to be defeated yet so he releases Nephilim’s heart that will go on a rampage and feed on everything. Genjurou knows they can’t do anything about this so he leaves it to the Symphogear girls. He arrests Ver and takes him back to the ship where everyone escapes Frontier-turning-into-Nephilim. Ver wants Genjurou to kill him now and save lots of trouble. However that won’t do because he won’t allow Ver to die a villain who destroyed Earth or a hero who sacrificed himself for his ideals. He will be judged by the law like every other human. You mad, Ver?

With Nephilim an even hideous monster, the Symphogear girls transform and power up into their more powerful form to fight it. However Nephilim is eating their power too. Chris uses Solomon’s Cane to open a portal to the other world. Their plan is to trap it there. However it grabs Maria. She plans to sacrifice herself and be the hero by closing the gate and trapping Nephilim together. Of course the rest won’t let her hog the spotlight and everyone enters the portal together. Now they have infinite Noise to fight. Of course since they have Solomon’s Cane, it is possible to reopen the portal from this side but Maria must keep her focus. She is successful but Nephilim blocks their way. Couldn’t she have opened the portal closer? Then everybody hold hands, unleash some super final ultimate weapon in the form of giant gauntlets and smash through Nephilim and through the portal. Although back on Earth, it’s not over yet because they must close the portal because Nephilim’s explosion comes over and wipes out Earth. But the girls are too tired to move. Who can they rely on? They’ve one more comrade: Miku. She comes running, picks up Solomon’s Cane and throws it back into the portal in the nick of time. Nephilim’s explosion perhaps destroyed all the Noise over there. And once again the day is saved. In the aftermath, it is reported that the moon has gone back to its original trajectory but no contact could be made with Nastassja. Hibiki gives Gungnir Relic back to Maria but the latter views she is a suitable holder for it. Maria and Hibiki say their final goodbyes. The former is glad to have met her. I guess they’re going away to do time for their initial crime too. Ver has already gone cuckoo. Although things are back to normal, some mumbo jumbo they said that the events have prevented humans from understanding one another and in fact it pushes them even further from that. But Hibiki is not worried because as long as there are songs.

OVA 1
This is the first of 2 short OVAs that lasts approximately 13 minutes each and drawn in typical cute chibi fashion. Divided into several short skits and parts over both the seasons, the first OVA starts off with events roughly 2 weeks after at the end of the first season in which the moon was partly destroyed: Tsubasa and Hibiki confined and the latter Hibiki just can’t sit still and can’t help worry about things; Likewise Chris finds Hibiki’s scatterbrain a tad annoying (all she wants is just peace and quiet); Chris reflecting on her actions but feels scared when Tsubasa just stares into her like a creepy stalker; Chris being officially admitted into the team and given a place to live in which Tsubasa and Hibiki got a duplicate key too (privacy not guaranteed!); Chris flustering when Hibiki wants to hold her hand during the announcement of a Noise emergency; When Hibiki finally gets to see Miku, the latter starts hitting her and doesn’t stop. The pain…; Right before the start of the second season, Hibiki explains how Symphogear works (something like a karaoke machine?); Hibiki and Miku relocating to a bigger room in the dorm (Miku having trouble sleeping with Hibiki because she is like her sunshine that shines so bright. Geddit?); Chris getting her allowance but since she doesn’t know what to spend on or squander it like her comrades, she forces Genjurou to tag along. But to buy a Buddhist altar? Maybe she needs somebody to carry it home; Tsubasa pondering on her role in the battlefield while waiting backstage for her show while Ogawa quizzes her on several stuffs to promote her single; Chris using the altar as prayers to her deceased parents.

OVA 2
The second of the OVAs has the skits take place during the second season. This includes Hibiki saying goodbye to Miku for she is assigned with Chris to that escort-cum-protect mission in USA (Miku hints she is afraid she will cheat on her!); Maria taking relishing taking the foods at the table; Maria puts up a snobbish greeting with Tsubasa in the backstage but later feels relieved as she sensed the tenseness and feels she can’t compete against a force like that; On the other hand, Tsubasa thinks she is the cute type; A few days after the terrorist organization began to move, there is another emergency: Tsubasa has received a flood of offers after the broadcast of that quiz show. Ogawa takes the initiative to have her enter more of such variety shows to increase her presence overseas. More burden and work for her; After Maria and co’s abandonment of the abandoned hospital, Kirika and Shirabe end up with cooking duties but can’t help argue putting in the right seasoning. The stubbornness ends when they accidentally finish taste testing the stew; The duo go shopping and lookout for bargain prices but Kirika gets the wrong idea about the mackerel; While sleeping at night, Shirabe is rudely awakened when she notices Kirika giving a deathly stare at her. So she just wants to sleep together? So they end up sleeping with Maria but cause lots of trouble with their cold hands and feet. She’s so warm…; Shirabe worries when Kirika sits with her knees, sometimes her panties are visible; After Chris is bummed out over that training with Genjurou, she wonders this package reward he gave. It’s not candy she hoped for but a DVD of something shocking. She calls Genjurou to give her thanks now she knows it is possible to use firearms at close range; During the time when Frontier rises from the ocean, Miku remembers what Hibiki told her about the workings of Symphogear. Like a karaoke, right? Straight from the user’s heart and mind, right? She took it too literally and screams in fear; After the Frontier incident is resolved, Hibiki becomes a blabbermouth of wanting to be friends with Maria and co. Hmm… Ever notice that Chris is always full of angst most of the time? And lastly, Shirabe hands Kirika a mysterious letter that sends her panicking… Next season?

Sing Your Heart Out!
I didn’t really get all that saving the world crap thingy and even if it was just as simple as the moon falling out of orbit and crashing into Earth, everything else seems to have made it complicated. You know, Noise, Gear, Relic, FIS, America, Japan and anything else in the mix. I guess this is not really the end of it yet because a third season has been announced. Can’t get enough of babes in hard battle suits singing? I suppose there is some sort of allure to them. Maybe that’s why I stick around to watch the second season. Still, it feels odd that the girls really do sing when they’re fighting. It still boggles my mind how they can talk and sing at the same time. Unless there is some sort of tape recorder that plays while they’re in action. But that defeats the purpose of it all since you’re supposed to sing from your heart, right? That’s what they’re trying to focus on here. The song of the heart.

So characters from last season are still as they are with a little development. Hibiki the sunshiny cheerful girl and the one doing most of the battles in the front line. They try to put some drama about her arm bitten off and the fact Gungnir is going to kill her when it spreads throughout her body. In the end, everything was nothing to worry for and Hibiki will be as good as new like before, as though all those bad stuffs never happened to her. Tsubasa now has an even more caring side. She values her teammates preciously. Chris may be a little rough around the edge but it’s good to know that she knows where she belongs and thank goodness it is on the good side. After that hell she went through in the first season, you think she wants a repeat of that? Genjurou plays a lesser role in this season as he is mostly seen commanding his crew from the ship than playing master-cum-trainer role to the girls. However he still keeps an eye out for the girls. I don’t know if Genjurou is supposed to be the manliest of men since he’s got the strength and physical looks for it. Miku has certainly more role to play this season. Already worried about her best friend, she gets to experience what it’s like to be a Symphogear user and even play a part in helping her friends in certain crucial events. You don’t need to have Relics to be a super hero.

As for the new characters, the most ‘amazing’ one goes to the vile and despicable Ver. One word: Crazy. He is everything you would love to hate for in a villain. From being a psychopath who wants to play hero and God by destroying Earth for his own ideal world to a cowardly asshole who runs away when the situation changes the slightest against his favour. The more time passes, the crazier he becomes to a point I think he could end up senile and in a mental institution. Oh wait. He may be already there. So Ver has to be the main baddie since it would be an atrocity and a crime to put a beautiful lady and a couple of lolis as villains. They may have different ideals but eventually they did come together as one. What’s the use of this show if you can’t have all the Symphogear users uniting as one and combating evil? These girls are imperfect too as they have their own insecurities. In a way, it feels a little meh. Maria put up a strong and unyielding performance when she started out as a Fine hostage but then soon falters and caved in to her emotional side after seeing so many mindless deaths. I guess this proves she is human. Kirika and Shirabe have their own torment to deal with too but as it goes to show that as long as you have your friends around to support and believe in you, you’ll do just fine. I’m not sure to rule Nastassja out or not because nobody heard from her again and that she’s coughing so much blood out, by the time she reaches the moon, that will be her final resting place. Then again, that robot suit may be prolonging her life. Still looks funny, though.

The action is still okay though I won’t say it is disappointing or totally awesome. For a casual viewer like me, it was just enough to be passed as entertainment. The Symphogear outfit that they wear sometimes remind me that they are the sci-fi and more violent version of magical girls. Besides, who else can Symphogear girls fight besides Noise and big bad monsters like Nephilim? The American military? Woah. Let us not go there. It’s bad enough that they have been painted like double crossing agents and ‘food sacrifice’ for the Noise. Speaking of Noise, I still find it really funny that their colourful exterior and strange designs. But not as funny as when they touch humans and turn them into carbon. I know it’s not a matter to laugh when people die but it’s the way it was shown. It’s when they rush into the scene and touch the person and they instantly turn black. It’s like they are rushing in to give a big hug and say “Come here ya’ all. Give this Noise a nice big hug”. And upon contact, whoosh! Black carbon. It happens so fast that it looks comical. Maybe they don’t want to bore us with the details of showing us the ‘slower’ deaths and speed things up.

Still one of the amusing things from last season is the way the Symphogear girls unleash their special attacks. When they do so, the name of that attack is displayed on the screen in a flashy style and font. Every one of them seems to have their own design and theme like Tsubasa’s Japanese scroll type, Chris’ metallic Megadeth style, Miku’s very yellowish and flowery light and Kirika’s Halloween feel. Speaking of Kirika, her moves are a mix of alpha-numeric which may sometimes be hard to pronounce such as Kill Juliet which is written as Kill Jul13t and The Slasher Jabberwock which is displayed as Th3 Sl4sh3r J4bb3rwock. The plainest design of them all I think is Shirabe. It’s like just big plain white kanji writing in boring fonts over a plain black boring background. Some are in boring red and they are meant to highlight the Greek letters like alpha, sigma or omega. Boring…

Joining the casts this season include Youko Hikasa as Maria who sounds very much like other similar characters she voiced like Erica in Campione and Rias in High School DxD. Then there is Tomokazu Sugita as Ver and he sounds like having a blast being a crazy doctor. Just imagine an evil version of Gintama’s Gintoki. On second thought, don’t. Then there is Kikuko Inoue who yet once again manages to surprise me with her non-dreamy voice. She must be moving away from that because as Nastassja here, it reminded me of a recent anime I just watched, Ariel in Gen’ei Wo Kakeru Taiyou. Or maybe she’s getting older and no longer eternally 17 years old… Whoops! The rest of the line-up includes Yoshino Nanjou as Shirabe (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Ai Kayano as Kirika (Inori in Guilty Crown) and Yui Horie making her cameo as Serena (titular character in Miss Monochrome).

Just like last season, this season is not short of songs especially the insert songs. If I’m not mistaken, this season has more of them compared to last season since there are a bunch of new Symphogear girls in the fray. All of them I noticed have this techno rock feel which in a way is suitable since you need to get pumping and the adrenaline running if you’re going to sing and fight your way through all those Noise. Personally, the most amusing one of them all I find is Chris (the punk rock of Bye-Bye Lullaby) because of the lyrics. Because it’s like she’s rebuking in her song with lines such as “Go to hell” (the most prominent one), “Piss off” and “You’re trash so let death do the talking”. Telling your enemy that they’re useless and she is the superior one so forget about praying for God’s help because the devil’s here. And she doesn’t care. Yeah. It was really funny from my perspective and yet so fitting. I suppose this is what you need when you beat up your enemies. The words may even be enough to take away your fighting spirit. Or make you laugh. Of course this season’s opening theme is still handled by Nana Mizuki, the rock techno piece of Vitalization still has that vibrant energy but somehow I feel it is not as vibrant as the first season. Ayahi Takagi handles the main ending theme, a typical anime rock, Next Destination. However this time the ending credits animation isn’t some horror fest and feels more like some friendship thingy. Probably it’s because Chris has turned over to the good side. Youko Hikasa is a good singer herself so also has an ending theme albeit it is just the first episode, the dramatic piece mixed with some orchestra effects, Ressou Yari – Gungnir.

Well, I don’t know what else to say. Seems complicated when you put in all the terms and jargon and all the items or stuffs involved just to activate this so that it would lead to that and ultimately causing that effect. Uh huh. Destroying the world is just as tough as saving it. So I am not sure what else is there more for the girls to save when the third season comes. I can speculate about lots of things like the return of Ryouko (maybe she had a change of heart this time and decided to go back to her evil roots), or while they have saved the moon they somehow made the sun come closer and it’s speeding up global warming and heating things up (I know it’s crap, but that is what mainly this show is, right?), or even another dimension where a new breed of intelligent Noise is bent on taking over the world and give the Symphogear girls a run for their money. More characters, new Symphogear girls and more songs to sing. You can’t go wrong when you have cute girls in battle gears singing, right?